Monday, September 16, 2013

COLORADO FLOODING AND SYRIA, HAWAII'S MOLASSES SPILL

The flooding going on in Colorado is simply stunning. The Weather Channel reported this morning that 4,500 square miles have been affected, and that the number of stranded people being airlifted to safety is rivaling that of those rescued in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Unlike Katrina, where people where waving from the rooftops of flooded homes and overpasses, the people in Colorado are in hard to reach areas of remote canyons. Rescuers are using helicopters to reach the flood-stricken areas as many roads are washed out, including 17 miles of road in one canyon alone.

Lots of information in this Mail Online article: Nearly 100 school children trapped by deadly Colorado floods are airlifted to safety after two days trapped by rising waters as terrible toll of the tragedy rises to six dead and more than 700 missing

Looking over the news accounts of the past few days, there is a coordinating timeline between the Colorado flooding and the other “BIG” news story, that of Syria.

On Monday, September 9, John Kerry made a gaffe while in London about Syria, a remark that HIS OWN STATE DEPARTMENT walked back as a “rhetorical” statement, an off-the-cuff remark. Yet Russia seized upon it immediately.

Syria timeline: how Kerry's gaffe became a plan

On Monday, September 9, wikipedia (2013 Colorado floods) notes this about the “biblical” flooding -- that the storm system that brought the incredible flooding set up September 9.

During the week starting on 9 September, a slow-moving cold front stalled over Colorado, clashing with warm humid monsoonal air from the south. This resulted in rain and flooding along Colorado's Front Range from Colorado Springs north to Fort Collins.

On Tuesday, September 10, President Obama addresses the nation that night on Syria.

On Wednesday, September 11, many commentators, some on the left but many more on the right, note that his speech was one of his worst, in terms of defining foreign policy, that he had ever given.

Debka, however, reports what no main stream media source reports here in America -- that the “Obama-Putin deal didn’t stop at chemical Syria: US eases sanctions on nuclear Iran,” (DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 11,2013).

Iran, and not just Russia and Syria, is taking advantage of President Barack Obama’s decision to refrain from military force against Syria to collect a shower of diplomatic and political dividends.

The new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani announced Tuesday that the coming meeting of the General Assembly opening in New York later this month “may prove the perfect setting to reignite talks about the nation’s nuclear program.“ The US Treasury Department accordingly lifted a string of sanctions restricting humanitarian and athletic exchanges between US and Iranian NGOs and environmental projects, as a counter-gesture of good will.

Washington was not put off when that comment proved to be an exercise in image-burnishing for the benefit of the West. That same day, the Iranian president declared his country would not give up “one iota of its nuclear capabilities.”

debkafile’s Iranian sources disclose that the posturing on all sides provided the façade for the secret exchange of messages between Washington, Tehran, Moscow and Damascus.

They focused first on a Russian pledge to bring Assad’s chemical arsenal under international control and destroyed. This was followed by Tehran consenting to engage in direct dialogue with Washington when the next UN General Assembly session opens in New York on September 23.

Rouhani, who has consistently refused to enter into direct talks with Washington on his government’s nuclear program, said Friday, Sept. 6: “Initial steps in the future of nuclear talks may be taken in New York and then these talks will be pursued by the Group 5 + 1.” debkafile: For President Obama, the two issues - the disposal of Syria’s chemical weapons and resolution of the nuclear controversy with Iran - were closely interwoven in his quiet exchanges with Vladimir Putin, which emphasized the diplomatic, non-military route.

The Russian leader appears to have assured Obama that an agreed formula for defusing the Syrian chemical weapons issue without military force would provide the key to progress in nuclear talks with Iran.

Our Iranian sources report that Tehran was in on all stages of the discreet Obama-Putin discussions on Syria: High-ranking Iranian officials were present in Damascus and Moscow throughout, and points of agreement were brought to Tehran for approval.(emphasis mine)

Now we see that more is taking place than meets the eye.

It is worth noting that Hilary Clinton, when she was Secretary of State, once said that resolving the Iranian problem for the Israelis was directly connected to the Israelis' efforts in reaching peace with the Palestinians -- the Israelis couldn't have the one without the other.

Now, we see the Russians using the same tactic upon Obama: resolving the Iranian issue will not be accomplished without resolving the Syrian issue -- Obama can't have one without the other.

Debka reported this news on September 11.

On September 12, two notable events.

First, Russian president Vladimir Putin wrote an op-ed for the New York Times that basically, though subtly, insulted Americans in general and President Obama in particular. Several members of Congress spoke to various news agencies about the piece offending them. It is clear to many that Putin despises Obama.

Second, John Kerry flew to Geneva on Thursday. It is clear from this Debka report that more than just Syria would be discussed -- Iran’s nuclear program, a very direct threat to Israel, would also be discussed.

Wikipedia notes this about the Colorado flooding:

The situation intensified on 11 and 12 September. Boulder County was worst hit, with up to 18 inches of rain recorded by September 15.

By September 15, we are learning that 19,000 homes in Colorado, have been damaged or destroyed, 1000s have been evacuated and displaced from their homes and towns, and 100s are missing or unaccounted for. Several are dead. It will take months, if not years, for life to return to normal and infrastructure to be repaired, or replaced.

It would seem to me that the talks about Syria with the involvement of the Russians bears watching as there is more in play behind the scenes.

HAWAII'S MOLASSES SPILL

Also noted these two same day news stories for Monday, September 9:

Molasses Spill in Honolulu Harbor Kills Thousands of Fish

. . . a spill of 1,400 tons of molasses in Hawaii waters  . . .

The spill occurred Monday in an industrial area where Matson loads molasses and other goods for shipping. The harbor is west of downtown Honolulu, about 5 miles west of the popular Waikiki tourist area.

Ongoing Impact of Huge Molasses Spill in Honolulu Harbor Monitored

Marine life began dying Monday, when a ship loading 1,600 tons of molasses destined for the U.S. West Coast suffered a pipeline leak that dumped 233,000 gallons of the viscous material into the waters of the harbor. "This is the worst environmental damage to sea life that I have come across, and it's fair to say that this is a biggie, if not the biggest, that we've had to confront in the state of Hawaii," health department Deputy Director Gary Gill told KHON-TV, Honolulu, Thursday.

Same day:

Abercrombie calls for special session on same-sex marriage

Months of speculation are over, Governor Abercrombie called a special session on same-sex marriage Monday afternoon.

The Governor says it's the right thing to do and he believes he has the support needed in both the House and Senate to pass a bill that would make Hawai'i the 14th state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. Abercrombie says his decision is the natural progression in a discussion that began in this state 20 years ago.

"It's time for marriage equity to take place, and it's also time to recognize that it can take place without violating the religious principals of anybody in this state," Abercrombie said during his announcement at the State Capitol. (emphasis mine)

". . . it can take place without violating the religious principals of anybody in this state."

We shall see. There is a photographer in New Mexico, a bakery in Oregon, a private school in New Mexico, and several members of the U.S. military who would probably differ with Abercrombie's assessment.