Tags: Muslim | Nations | Hate | Iran | GOP Voters Want All-Inclusive Debates | Lifting U.S. Oil Export Ban Could Damage Russian Economy | Russ Feingold Called Key to Democrats Takeover of Senate

Pew: Even Muslim Nations Hate Iran; GOP Voters Want All-Inclusive Debates

By    |   Sunday, 28 Jun 2015 02:04 PM

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Republicans Want All Presidential Candidates in Debates
2. Lifting U.S. Oil Export Ban Could Damage Russian Economy
3. Pentagon: Terrorists Are Now 'Unprivileged Belligerents'
4. Views of Iran Unfavorable Even Among Muslim Nations
5. Russ Feingold Called Key to Democrats' Takeover of Senate
 

1. Republicans Want All Presidential Candidates in Debates

With the number of announced Republican presidential candidates having already reached double digits, Fox News has said it will allow only the top 10 candidates on the stage for the first debate, based on their performance in polls.

But likely voters, including Republicans, want all White House hopefuls to appear in their party's upcoming debates, a new poll reveals.

In the survey by Rasmussen Reports, respondents were asked if it is better to include all candidates in the debate or include only those candidates who are above a certain threshold in the polls.

Overall, 60 percent of respondents say it is better to include all candidates, 33 percent would include only the candidates above the threshold, and 7 percent are not sure.

The percentage of Republicans who favor including all candidates is smaller but still a majority — 53 percent feel that way, while 39 percent would limit the number of candidates.

Among Democrats, who have far fewer candidates to contend with, 66 percent say they want to include all candidates, and just 29 percent would prefer to limit the number.

Despite the response of voters to that Rasmussen question, when asked to specify the maximum number of candidates who should appear on stage in an effective debate, just 36 percent overall say all candidates should appear regardless of their number, and 46 percent say the debate should be limited to eight candidates or fewer.

Another 4 percent say nine candidates is the maximum, 9 percent say 10 candidates, 1 percent say 11, and 3 percent say 12.

Before the first presidential debate between Republican Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama in 2012, just 50 percent of respondents in a Rasmussen poll said presidential debates were at least somewhat important, while 48 percent said they were not.

Editor's Note:

 

2. Lifting U.S. Oil Export Ban Could Damage Russian Economy

A bill recently introduced in the U.S. Senate lifting the ban on American crude oil exports could bring in more than $21 billion a year in export revenue.

Lifting the ban could also cut into Russian exports and loosen the stranglehold Vladimir Putin currently has on much of Europe, according to the American Action Forum.

The United States enacted a ban on crude oil exports in 1975 in reaction to the OPEC-generated oil crisis, and the U.S. remains the only country in the world that does not allow crude oil exports.

"If the crude oil export ban was lifted tomorrow, U.S. supplies headed to domestic refineries could be rerouted and placed on ships almost immediately to be exported overseas," the Forum observed.

"This quick reaction would have immediate consequences for the Russian crude market," which supplies much of Europe with its crude needs.

Germany is the largest European importer of Russian oil — 690,000 barrels a day in 2012. The Netherlands imported 550,000 barrels a day, Poland 480,000, and Belarus 415,000.

Other European nations importing Russian oil include Finland, Sweden, Lithuania, Italy, France, Spain, Bulgaria, Hungary, and the U.K.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2013 Russian energy exports accounted for nearly 70 percent of all Russian exports.

With imports of U.S. oil, "a country like Poland, which gets 96 percent of its oil imports from Russia, can narrow the margins on those imports, not entirely but enough to loosen the stranglehold that is currently in place," the Forum stated.

The Forum estimated that the U.S. has the capacity to export between 500,000 and 1 million barrels of crude oil per day.

At the low end, using $58.17 as the price of a barrel, exports would bring in — and Russia could lose — $10.7 billion a year. At the high end, they would bring in more than $21 billion in gross revenue.

Increased U.S. oil production has already reduced the need for imports of foreign oil. From the first quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of this year, U.S. Gulf Coast imports of medium crude oil from Saudi Arabia decreased by 52 percent, according to the EIA, while imports of medium crude from Kuwait decreased by 46 percent over that period.

Lifting the ban on exports would earn billions for the U.S., help America's European allies — and poke a stick in the eye of Vladimir Putin.

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3. Pentagon: Terrorists Are Now 'Unprivileged Belligerents'

The first comprehensive legal guide for the four military branches released by the Pentagon in decades replaces the George W. Bush-era term "unlawful enemy combatant" for al-Qaida members and similar terrorists with a new term: "unprivileged belligerents."

The 1,176-page "Department of Defense Law of War Manual" also states that certain journalists can be considered unprivileged belligerents.

"In general, journalists are civilians," the manual states. "However, journalists may be members of the armed forces, persons authorized to accompany the armed forces, or unprivileged belligerents."

It also asserts: "Reporting on military operations can be very similar to collecting intelligence or even spying."

Michael Rubin, a Middle East expert with the American Enterprise Institute, told The Washington Times: "It's a realization that not everyone abides by the same standards as we do. Just as Hamas uses United Nations schools as weapons depots and Iran uses charity workers for surveillance, many terrorist groups use journalists as cover."

He noted that two al-Qaida terrorists posed as journalists to assassinate anti-Taliban leader Ahmad Shah Massoud in Afghanistan in 2001.

"Journalists are the new consultant. Anyone can claim to be one," he added. "No American serviceman should ever be killed because a politician told them they had to take a foreign journalist at his or her word."

The Pentagon manual states that while civilians are due a warning before an attack, "the law of war does not prohibit the use of surprise to conduct attacks, such as the use of surprise in ambushes, sniper attacks, air raids, and attacks by special operations forces carried out behind enemy lines.

"Combatants need not offer opponents an opportunity to surrender before carrying out an attack."

According to the manual, it is permissible to shoot, explode, bomb, stab, or cut the enemy, or to kill retreating troops.

But it also lists weapons that are prohibited, including biological weapons, poisonous gases and other chemical weapons, certain types of mines and booby-traps, blinding lasers, and "weapons that injure by fragments that are non-detectable by X-rays."

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4. Views of Iran Unfavorable Even Among Muslim Nations

Due to concerns over Iran's nuclear program and the U.S. designation of the Islamic Republic as a state sponsor of terrorism, it's not surprising that people in the great majority of nations hold an unfavorable view of Iran.

What is more surprising is that Iran is viewed poorly even by Muslim-majority countries.

A new Pew Research Center survey of more than 45,400 people in 40 countries found that a global median of 58 percent of respondents have an unfavorable opinion of Iran, while a median of 23 percent have a favorable view. The rest did not express a view.

Unfavorable views of Iran predominate in several Muslim nations in the Middle East — 89 percent in Jordan, 64 percent in Turkey, 58 percent in Lebanon, and 57 percent in the Palestinian territories.

In Lebanon, 95 percent of Shiite Muslims have a favorable view of Iran, the nation with the world's largest Shiite population, but just 5 percent of Sunni Muslims and 29 percent of Lebanese Christians have a favorable view of Iran.

Not surprisingly, 92 percent of Israelis polled, including Israeli Arabs, have a negative view of Iran.

In Asia, seven nations have an unfavorable view, topped by Japan (73 percent), Australia (67 percent), and China (61 percent), and including mostly Muslim Malaysia (47 percent vs. 34 percent favorable) and Indonesia (41 percent vs. 36 percent favorable).

Muslim Pakistan has a favorable view of Iran — 57 percent of respondents feel that way, while 16 percent have a negative view, but that has increased from 8 percent over the past year, according to Pew.

In Vietnam, 42 percent have a favorable view and 35 percent an unfavorable one. In India, polling is tied, with 28 percent saying favorable and 28 percent saying unfavorable.

European nations view Iran poorly — topped by Spain at 87 percent — and that includes Russia (44 percent to 34 percent favorable.)

Just 14 percent of Americans polled view Iran favorably, as do 16 percent of Canadians.

All South American nations included in the survey view Iran negatively, topped by Brazil at 79 percent.

Among nine African nations surveyed, only Ghana (44 percent to 36 percent) and Ethiopia (27 percent to 18 percent) view Iran favorably.

Pew also found that people in the five Middle Eastern entities included in the survey have an unfavorable view of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani — Israel (90 percent), Jordan (82 percent), Lebanon (58 percent), Turkey (55 percent), and the Palestinian territories (53 percent).

The Pew survey results were released as Iran approached the June 30 deadline for negotiations over its nuclear programs.

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5. Russ Feingold Called Key to Democrats' Takeover of Senate

Wisconsin's Democratic former senator, Russ Feingold, is seeking to win back his seat in a 2016 rematch with Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, and one political analyst has taken a bold view of the upcoming race:

"If Feingold fails to defeat Johnson, who is considered by fellow Republicans to be their most vulnerable incumbent, Democrats will have no chance of taking over the Senate," observes Nathan Guttman, Washington bureau chief for the Daily Forward.

Wisconsin appears to be an odd place for Democrats to pin their hopes of winning back the Senate. The state elected archconservative Scott Walker as governor in 2010, rejected a grass-roots effort to recall him in 2012, and re-elected him in 2014.

But early polls show Feingold leading tea party favorite Johnson. A Public Policy Polling survey in March had Feingold ahead by nine percentage points, and an April poll by Marquette University had him ahead by 16 points.

Feingold's lead "has drawn national attention to the Wisconsin race as one that could possibly help Democrats retake the Senate, where they need to overturn five seats now held by the GOP," Guttman noted.

Howard Schweber, professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, told Guttman: "He's entering the race as a very strong favorite. It's remarkable to have a lead that big so early, but he's always had broad appeal to all voters."

Feingold was first elected to the Senate in 1992 and served three terms before he was upset by Johnson in 2010, 52 percent to 47 percent, as Johnson rode a wave of conservative Republican success that year.

Feingold was the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act, voted against Wall Street reform legislation after the 2008 financial collapse, and was one of 23 senators who voted against authorization for the invasion of Iraq.

Once considered outside the Democratic establishment, Feingold is now reaching out to party leaders for political support and fundraising help, Guttman said.

He is also spending more time in Wisconsin after spending much of his time in recent years teaching a course at Stanford University in California.

Feingold, who is Jewish, has long been a strong supporter of Israel. But not every Jewish political figure is excited about his possible return to the Senate.

Mark McNulty, communications director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said: "Russ Feingold — if he ever makes it back to Wisconsin from California — will just continue to support the Clinton/Obama foreign policy doctrine of retreat that has inflamed the Middle East and made the world less safe for Israel and the United States."

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Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories): 1. Republicans Want All Presidential Candidates in Debates 2. Lifting U.S. Oil Export Ban Could Damage Russian Economy 3. Pentagon: Terrorists Are Now 'Unprivileged Belligerents' 4. Views of Iran Unfavorable Even...
Muslim, Nations, Hate, Iran, GOP Voters Want All-Inclusive Debates, Lifting U.S. Oil Export Ban Could Damage Russian Economy, Russ Feingold Called Key to Democrats Takeover of Senate
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2015-04-28
Sunday, 28 Jun 2015 02:04 PM
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