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Tags: Christie | Is | No | George-W-Bush | Obama Not Atheist Minister Says | Wind Power Link to Toxic Waste | Radio Host Kuhner Marks One-Year Anniversary

Christie, George W. Bush; Obama Not Atheist, Minister Says

By    |   Sunday, 10 November 2013 02:14 PM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Beinart: 'Christie Is No George W. Bush'
2. Wind Power's Stunning Link to Toxic Waste
3. Minister: Obama Is No Atheist
4. Agency Sets All-Time Record for Annual Spending
5. U.S. Pastor Moved to More Dangerous Jail in Iran
6. Radio Host Kuhner Marks One-Year Anniversary

1. Beinart: 'Christie Is No George W. Bush'

Following Chris Christie's landslide victory in Tuesday's election, the media has been filled with comparisons between the New Jersey governor's potential presidential run in 2016 and George W. Bush's White House campaign in 2000.

Salon.com, for one, ran an article headlined "Chris Christie's Dream: Why He Wants to Be the Next George W. Bush."

But a headline from The Daily Beast tells a different story: "Chris Christie Is No George W. Bush."

Both Christie and pre-presidential Bush are Republican governors who appear moderate compared to more right-wing Republicans in Washington. Both have some appeal among Democratic-leaning voters. Both can count on support from big donors.

But "it's unlikely Christie can win the presidency by running as a second Bush," according to the Daily Beast article written by Peter Beinart, an associate professor of journalism and political science at CUNY and author of "The Crisis of Zionism."

Beinart argues that Christie, who is has moderated his position on key issues, is simply out of step with the Republican base. During his governorship, Bush cultivated strong ties with Christian conservatives.

Christie has gone out of his way to antagonize such voters. He dropped his opposition to gay marriage in the courts and signed into law a draconian measure that offers criminal penalties against parents if they refer their child to a minister, rabbi or other counselor on matters dealing with changing sexual orientation.

Beinart posits that minorities will form a much larger percentage of the voters in 2016 than in 2000. Back then they constituted 17 percent of Americans who voted on Election Day. In 2016 they'll probably account for 30 percent.

Similarly, the percentage of voters under age 30 has risen since 2000, and surveys show they favor the Democrats by a significant margin.

Christie will have to distance himself from "the Republican brand" to win over more minorities, young people, and women, Beinart asserts.

At the same time, he will need to win by a large margin among Republicans. But Christie "lacks Bush's strong emotional connection with the Republican base, and compared to 2000, that base is far less willing to defer to pragmatic elites," Beinart maintains.

He points to a recent study showing that three-quarters of tea party adherents would rather back a GOP candidate they agree with who polls poorly against the likely Democratic nominee than a candidate they agree with less who has a better chance to win.

Even if Christie somehow manages to win the GOP nomination, Beinart concludes that "unlike Bush, who entered the general election with the GOP's conservative base already sewn up, Christie will have to spend the weeks following his nomination victory mending fences with the tea party activists who didn't vote for him — while also significantly outperforming Bush among the young, female, and minority voters who loathe the GOP's Ted Cruz wing."

Editor's Note:

2. Wind Power's Stunning Link to Toxic Waste

Proponents of wind turbine energy tout its environmental advantages over fossil fuel energy sources that produce carbon dioxide emissions.

But what they don't talk about is the vast amount of radioactive waste and other toxic substances resulting from the mining of the rare earth minerals needed by wind turbines, according to a disturbing report from two energy experts.

Wind turbines use magnets made with neodymium and dysprosium, rare earth minerals mined almost exclusively in China, reported Travis Fisher and Alex Fitzsimmons, policy associates with the Institute for Energy Research.

An MIT study estimated that a 2-megawatt wind turbine contains about 752 pounds of rare earth minerals.

Simon Parry of Britain's Daily Mail traveled to Baotou in northern China to view the mines, factories, and dumping grounds associated with China's rare earth industry, including a 5-mile-wide lake of industrial waste.

"This vast, hissing cauldron of chemicals is the dumping ground for 7 million tons a year of mined rare earth after it has been doused in acid and chemicals and processed through red-hot furnaces to extract its components," Parry wrote.

"Rusting pipelines meander for miles from factories processing rare earths in Baotou out to the man-made lake where, mixed with water, the foul-smelling radioactive waste from this industrial process is pumped day after day."

As the lake of waste grew larger, local farmers told Parry, "anything we planted just withered, then our animals started to sicken and die."

Residents of a nearby village said their teeth began to fall out, their hair turned white at young ages, and they suffered from severe skin and respiratory diseases. Children were born with soft bones and the incidence of cancer and osteoporosis soared, the Mail reported.

The lake's radiation levels are 10 times higher than in the surrounding countryside, official studies found.

In Baotou, most people wear face masks wherever they go, Parry noted.

The report from Fisher and Fitzsimmons, published by Rightside News, disclosed that mining one ton of rare earth minerals produces about one ton of radioactive waste.

Last year the United States added 13,131 megawatts of wind-generating capacity, and at least 4.9 million pounds of rare earths were used in the turbines installed in 2012. That means at least 4.9 million pounds of radioactive waste were created to make those turbines.

In comparison, the U.S. nuclear industry produces between 4.4 and 5 million pounds of spent nuclear fuel each year. So the U.S. wind industry most likely created more radioactive waste last year than America's entire nuclear industry — while accounting for just 3.5 percent of all electricity generated in the country.

And the MIT study revealed that the demand for dysprosium could rise by 2,600 percent in the next 25 years as the wind industry grows, the Rightside News authors warn.

They conclude: "All forms of energy production have some environmental impact. However, it is disingenuous for wind lobbyists to hide the impacts of their industry while highlighting the impacts of others.

"From illegal bird kills to radioactive waste, wind energy poses serious environmental risks that the wind lobby would prefer you never know about."

Editor's Note:

3. Minister: Obama Is No Atheist

Evolutionary biologist and outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins raised eyebrows when he said on television that President Barack Obama is a secret atheist.

But the man Time magazine called "Obama's Pastor-in-Chief," Joshua DuBois, says that is far from the truth.

Dawkins is the author of a number of scientific works, but his best known book is "The God Delusion." Published in 2006, the book contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist.

During an appearance by Dawkins on Bill Maher's "Real Time" program in late October, Maher suggested that Pope Francis is secretly an atheist.

Dawkins responded: "Like many people, I'm sure that Obama is an atheist. I'm sure Kennedy was an atheist. But I doubt Pope Frank is."

DuBois disagrees. He is the author of "The President's Devotional: The Daily Readings That Inspired President Obama." He has been Obama's spiritual adviser and served as the executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships during Obama's first term.

He writes in an article for The Daily Beast: "Dawkins said that President Obama is a 'secret atheist.' With great respect to my non-believing friends, I happen to know that's not the case.

"I describe in my book 'The President's Devotional' some of President Obama's most intimate moments, and how he has leaned on his Christian faith in the toughest of times."

Not only did DuBois refute Dawkins' assertion, but he went on to say: "I think Richard Dawkins is a secret Christian. Or at least a theist, a believer, a man who knows God."

Now that's called payback.

Editor's Note:

4. Agency Sets All-Time Record for Annual Spending

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) spent over $1.113 trillion in fiscal year 2013 — setting a record for the most money spent by a federal agency or department in a single year.

CMS runs the federal government's major healthcare programs as well as the Obamacare insurance exchange.

CMS became the first federal agency to spend more than $1 trillion in 2010, with $1.035 trillion in outlays. Spending totaled $1.052 trillion last year and topped that figure in fiscal 2013, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement for September released in late October.

CMS' major outlays went for Grants to States for Medicaid ($265.3 billion), Federal Hospital Insurance Fund ($269 billion), Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund ($245.7 billion), Healthcare Trust Funds ($242.4 billion), and the Medicare Prescription Drug program ($61.6 billion).

CMS spending for fiscal 2013 was more in inflation-adjusted dollars than the entire federal budget in 1965, when President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation creating Medicare and Medicaid.

The federal budget was $118.2 trillion in 1965 dollars. That converts to $878.8 billion in 2013 dollars, according to calculations reported by CNS News.

"CMS remains the largest purchaser of healthcare in the United States," the Treasury report states. "With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act provisions, CMS has the opportunity to provide affordable healthcare to millions of additional Americans."

CMS spending was offset by $227 billion in incoming payments to the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund, but its umbrella agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, still spent $886.2 billion in fiscal 2013, the most of any federal department.

The Department of Defense spent $607.8 billion and the Social Security Administration had outlays of $867.3 billion.

Interest on Treasury Debt Securities cost taxpayers $415 billion.

For the year, the federal government had outlays of $3.45 trillion and a deficit of $680 billion.

Editor's Note:

5. U.S. Pastor Moved to More Dangerous Jail in Iran

American pastor Saeed Abedini has been transferred from a prison in Tehran to another prison known for housing violent criminals — and his supporters fear for his life.

Abedini is serving an eight-year sentence on charges of endangering national security. But supporters say he was in Iran working to build an orphanage with permission from the Iranian government, and his wife maintains he is being punished for converting from Islam to Christianity.

After spending more than a year in Tehran's Evin Prison, where he was surrounded by political prisoners, he has been unexpectedly moved to the Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj. Now he is reportedly penned in a 10-by-10-foot cell with five inmates who were likely imprisoned for murder or rape.

Rajai Shahr is considered to be one of Iran's most brutal prisons because of reports of torture, rape, and murder, according to British Newspaper The Guardian.

Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, which is representing Abedini, told the New York Daily News: "He could easily be killed not by formal execution but by a fellow inmate. That's why we are so concerned right now about his safety and survival."

Abedini's family in Iran arrived at Evin Prison on Nov. 4 for their weekly visit, only to be told that Saeed had been moved. They spent 90 minutes driving to Karaj but were informed that he was not permitted to have visitors.

His wife Naghmeh, who lives in Boise, Idaho, with the couple's two children, said in a statement: "I am devastated and I do not know what to tell my children. I am more concerned now about his safety than at any other time during his imprisonment. I can only imagine the torment and anguish he is experiencing."

As Newsmax reported in September, Naghmeh Abedini approached Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a hotel lobby in New York, where Rouhani was attending a United Nations meeting, and handed an aide a letter Abedini had written to the president pleading for his release.

Also in September, President Obama questioned Rouhani about Abedini's imprisonment during a phone call.

"Iran must release Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen wrongly imprisoned for his faith," said Sekulow, whose organization is now calling for Obama to speak out "directly and forcefully" to save Abedini's life.

Editor's Note:

6. Radio Host Kuhner Marks One-Year Anniversary

Conservative commentator Jeff Kuhner has celebrated his first anniversary as host of the morning drive talk-radio program on WRKO AM 680 in Boston, "The Kuhner Report."

"The people of Boston have welcomed me with open arms. Well, except for Deval, Menino, and the rest of the liberal establishment," Kuhner said, referring to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. Both are Democrats.

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Editor's Note:

Editor's Notes:

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Christie,Is,No,George-W-Bush,Obama Not Atheist Minister Says,Wind Power Link to Toxic Waste,Radio Host Kuhner Marks One-Year Anniversary
Sunday, 10 November 2013 02:14 PM
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