TBR News December 3, 2017

Dec 03 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., December 3, 2017:”Considering rapidly increasing

populations, declining incomes and increasing pollution, the impact of global warming will be a global disaster.

The planet does not have enough fresh water for a significant part of its population and today, billions do not have access to water.

With a shortage of water, crops diminish in size and lend starvation to the disaster.

There are now enormous migrations of people from uninhabitable lands and there will be terrible war fought over land in the very near future.

No one knowS what causes the climate changes but the bloggers will be more than happy to let you in on their concocted secrets.

The reality is that huge social changes are in motion and cannot be halted.”


Table of Contents

  • Tens of thousands protest Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu, corruption
  • Police question Israeli leader’s ally on corruption charges
  • Palestinians and Arab League warn US not to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital
  • Trump still weighing whether to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital: Kushner
  • Rise of German far-right party causes alarm in Israel
  • ADL Data Shows Anti-Semitic Incidents Continue Surge in 2017 Compared to 2016
  • Netanyahu orders redraft of law seen as protecting him
  • What’s the truth about the Yellowstone supervolcano doomsday theory?
  • The Great 9-11 Plot
  • Author of GOP Tax Plan Says Children’s Health Insurance Program Is Held Up “Because We Don’t Have Money Anymore”
  • Smartphone addiction creates imbalance in brain, study suggests
  • Saudi Arabia’s crown prince wants to reengineer his country. Is that even possible?


Tens of thousands protest Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu, corruption

Around 20,000 Israelis have protested in Tel Aviv against corruption and legislation they say is designed to protect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from investigation. Netanyahu is suspected in two corruption cases.

December 2, 2017


The protests in Tel Aviv on Saturday were the largest of the weekly gatherings against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing multiple corruption allegations.

The draft legislation would block Israel’s police from publishing findings and issuing recommendations to the prosecutor’s office on indictments related to public officials.

Supporters say the bill would protect suspects’ rights, but critics have said the changes would only serve to keep the public in the dark on criminal investigations into Netanyahu.

The bill comes up for a second reading in the Knesset on Monday.

Case 1000, Case 2000

The prime minister is suspected of involvement in two investigations into corruption and abuse of office.

The first, known as Case 1000, involves allegations that Netanyahu received cigars, champagne, cash and other gifts from Israeli-born Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer. The case also implicates his wife Sara and son Yair.

Netanyahu has said the gifts were tokens of friendship, and that no favors were done in exchange.

The second, known as Case 2000, involves allegations that Netanyahu sought to negotiate positive coverage with the owner of Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper in exchange for cutting circulation of the pro-Netanyahu Israel Hayom.

The free circulation Israel Hayom has become Israel’s largest newspaper and is backed by US casino magnate and major political donor Sheldon Adelson.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the chance of an indictment against Netanyahu in Case 2000 increased after the prime minister’s former aide, Ari Harow, turned state’s witness.

Police have seized Harow’s phone, which had recordings of conversations between Netanyahu and Arnon Mozes, the publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth.

Netanyahu: Allegations are a witch hunt

Netanyahu has said the allegations against him are part of a witch hunt carried out by his opponents.

If indicted, the four-term prime minister would be under pressure to resign or call new elections.

Several people close to Netanyahu have been implicated in other corruption scandals, including the so-called “Submarine Affair” and another involving the Communications Ministry and telecom giant Bezeq.


Police question Israeli leader’s ally on corruption charges

December 3, 2017

by Aron Heller

Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Israeli police on Sunday questioned a close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges dating to his pre-parliament days as he was pushing for pro-Netanyahu legislation widely seen as stifling police investigations.

Coalition whip David Bitan was grilled in relation to accusations that he promoted the interests of criminals in return for debt relief while he was a municipal politician years ago.

Bitan is the driving force behind a legislation push seen as aiding the beleaguered Netanyahu, who faces multiple corruption accusations. Bitan’s so-called “recommendations bill” would end the police’s current practice of recommending to the state prosecution office whether to indict suspects upon completing their investigations.

It also aims to stem leaks from the investigations themselves, stating that no police recommendations be made public and penalizing those found leaking to the media.

Netanyahu’s Likud party was set to bring the bill for a parliamentary vote on Monday, but appears to be short on numbers and will likely delay it. Their hope is to move the bill forward quickly so that it will also apply to investigations currently taking place regarding Netanyahu.

Netanyahu has been questioned in two cases and police say they suspect him of being involved in bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Police have already grilled him six times regarding gifts he received from Hollywood and business figures, and in another probe about secret talks with the publisher of a major Israeli newspaper in which Netanyahu allegedly requested positive coverage in exchange for reining in a free pro-Netanyahu daily. One of his closest former aides has become a state’s witness against him.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and calls the accusations a witch hunt orchestrated by a hostile media.

Another investigation has engulfed his close associates and dominated news in Israel. The probe relates to a possible conflict of interest involving a $2 billion purchase of German submarines.

Netanyahu’s personal attorney, who is also his cousin, represented the German firm involved and is suspected of trading his influence over the prime minister in return for a hefty cut of the deal. A former Cabinet minister and top former navy and security officials have been questioned by police. Netanyahu has yet to be named a suspect in that probe.

Bitan’s questioning comes a day after tens of thousands of Israelis poured into the streets of Tel Aviv Saturday night for an anti-corruption rally calling on Netanyahu to resign. It was one of the largest demonstrations yet against Netanyahu’s lengthy rule.

“I think the time has come to change the government. The government is corrupt. We’re sick of the corrupt,” said protester Avi Elmozlinu.

Organizers are hoping that the grassroots movement picks up steam and becomes a regular Saturday night ritual that eventually forces Netanyahu from power.


Palestinians and Arab League warn US not to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital

The status of Jerusalem has been a key stumbling block in previous peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Until now US foreign policy has refrained from taking sides regarding the dispute over Jerusalem.

December 3, 2017


The Arab League and Palestinians are both warning the US against moving its embassy to Jerusalem. They said such a move would set back any future peace negotiations and could spark a new wave of violence in the strife-torn region.

The warnings come as US President Donald Trump considers moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, effectively recognizing the ancient city as Israel’s capital despite Palestinian claims to East Jerusalem. The move could come as early as Monday.

“We warned the American side that if the American government does in fact carry out that statement to recognize a unified Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and transfers the American embassy to Jerusalem, this is a step that will end any chance of a peace process,” Naabil Shaath, a senior advisor to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday.

Abbas is trying to rally international opposition to such a move, and Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit echoed the Palestinian leader’s warnings

“We say very clearly that taking such action is not justified … It will not serve peace or stability, but will fuel extremism and resort to violence,” Gheit said in a statement.

“It only benefits one side; the Israeli government that is hostile to peace,” he added.

‘Destruction of peace process’

Another Abbas adviser, Mahmoud Habash, warned that such a move by Trump would amount to a “complete destruction of the peace process.”

Speaking in Abbas’ presence on Saturday, Habash said “the world will pay the price” for any change in Jerusalem’s status.

White House officials say Trump is considering recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital without actually moving the US embassy there, which he had promised to do during his campaign.

While Israel regards Jerusalem as its capital, almost all of the rest of the world rejects that claim, saying the city’s status should be settled in peace talks with the Palestinians.

Hamas, the militant band of Palestinians that controls Gaza, has warned of a renewed intifada if the US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The status of Jerusalem has been a key stumbling block during previous peace negotiations — in particular, how to divide sovereignty and oversee holy sites — between Israelis and Palestinians.

The last Palestinian intifada, or uprising, occurred in 2000 after Ariel Sharon, then a right-wing opposition leader, visited the Al-Aqsa mosque (pictured at the top) in East Jerusalem. The subsequent violence left some 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis dead.

The international community has never recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or its unilateral annexation of territory around the city’s eastern sector, which it captured during the 1967 Six-Day war.


Trump still weighing whether to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital: Kushner

December 3, 2017


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump has not yet made a decision on whether to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, his adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner said on Sunday, a move that would break with decades of U.S. policy and could fuel violence in the Middle East.

“He’s still looking at a lot of different facts, and then when he makes his decision, he’ll be the one to want to tell you, not me,” Kushner said at an annual conference on U.S. policy in the Middle East organized by the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington.

A senior administration official said last week that Trump could make the announcement on Wednesday.

Kushner is leading Trump’s efforts to restart long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, efforts that so far have shown little progress.

Past U.S. presidents have insisted that the status of Jerusalem — home to sites holy to the Jewish, Muslim and Christian religions — must be decided in negotiations. The Palestinians want Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and the international community does not recognize Israel’s claim on all of the city.

Any move by the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would fuel extremism and violence, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Saturday.

A senior Jordanian source said on Sunday that Amman, the current president of the Arab summit, has begun consultations on convening an emergency meeting of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation before Trump’s expected declaration this week.


Rise of German far-right party causes alarm in Israel

Israelis have expressed consternation over the entry of the far-right populist AfD party into Germany’s Bundestag. Prime Minister Netanyahu has warned of rising anti-Semitism, reports Miriam Dagan in Tel Aviv.

by Miriam Dagan (Tel Aviv)

Septenber 27, 2017


“Germany votes – the ‘Nazis in ties’ on their way to parliament” read the headline on one of Israel’s most important news sites, Ynet. One of the two leading Israeli TV stations announced: “An earthquake: Who is the Alternative for Germany? Extreme and dangerous.” The other main news broadcaster said: “This is not just a party that’s against immigration and Muslims, it’s also a party that wants to change the perspective on the Nazi past. It’s dramatic.” Despite the pronounced polarization of left and right in Israeli media, the tone hardly differed on the AfD. Right-wing daily Israel Hayom led their front page with “Drama in Germany – for the first time since 1945, the extreme right-wing enters parliament.”

Across the political spectrum media outlets reacted with shock, which indicates how seriously the rise of the AfD is being taken here, in a country that’s used to having small parties with extreme positions in parliament. Again and again, news anchors quoted AfD candidate Alexander Gauland’s praise for German soldiers during the Second World War, underlined that the AfD was now the third-largest group in the Bundestag and discussed the historical relativism expressed by party members and their denial of responsibility for Germany’s Nazi past.

Beyond headlines though, the right-wing media has tended to interpret the AfD’s success in the German election as a protest vote and to downplay any danger. The newspaper Israel Hayom, which backs Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, ran an interview with Gauland under a quote from the AfD politician: “The voters of Alternative for Germany and Jews in Germany have similar concerns,” apparently catering to an audience that harbors sympathy for anti-immigration policies. Conservative media outlets commented on anti-Semitic currents in the European left, too.

“Congratulations to Angela Merkel, a true friend of Israel, on her re-election as chancellor of Germany,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter, inaccurately, seeing as Merkel can only be re-elected as chancellor by the Bundestag after forming a governing coalition.

It wasn’t until Tuesday, in a telephone conversation with her, that Netanyahu mentioned Israel’s concern about the rise of anti-Semitic elements in German politics. Calling on the German government to assume “historic responsibility” and reject efforts to deny or marginalize the Holocaust, Netanyahu highlighted worries shared by both the right and the left. He refrained from alluding directly to the AfD victory.

Many have criticized the Israeli government’s evasiveness about anti-Semitism as shameful. In an opinion piece in the left-leaning paper Haaretz on why Israel won’t condemn the shocking success of the AfD, former ambassador to Germany Shimon Stein and historian Moyshe Zimmerman called Israel’s response a “deafening silence.”

Read more: Netanyahu’s son under fire for Facebook post that echoes Nazi anti-Semitism

‘Warning signal to Israel’

Possibly more significantly, Colette Avital, chairperson of the Center Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, said “Israeli politicians should not hide behind a polite formula. They should condemn right-wing parties much more strongly.” Indeed, it seems the only government member who explicitly expressed alarm about the AfD victory was Construction Minister Yoav Galant, of the Centrist Kulanu party, who wrote on Twitter: “Observing with concern the expected changes with the entry of the extreme right into parliament – right-wing nationalism in Germany is a blinking red light.”

Though Colette Avital said she believes in the German government’s unfaltering commitment to Israel. Yet, she told the DW: “We are very worried about the rise of a right-wing, Nazi party in Germany. It’s shocking to us that a party that is openly Nazi is returning to German politics.” She stressed that an anti-Muslim party cannot be liberal at the same time: “It means you are not tolerant. And this is something that should not make us happy.”

That standpoint was echoed by Nachman Shai, a member of parliament and chair of the Israel-Germany Parliamentary Friendship Group, who called the election results “a huge warning signal to Israel and to the Jewish people.” Shai told DW he is not worried about the Merkel era, because she is considered a great friend of Israel’s – “but the question is, what will happen in the future? A high percentage of the German population harbors anti-Semitic and racist viewpoints. They will now have a public arena and may become more powerful.”

A number of other influential left-wing and centrist opposition politicians in Israel have twittered or voiced concern about the AfD, including Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid, whose father is a Holocaust survivor, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, one of the country’s most prominent politicians. Livni wrote on Twitter: “I congratulate Angela Merkel, a true friend of Israel. I’m convinced that just as she knew how to courageously stand up for her values, she will find a way to deal with the worrisome rise of the anti-Semitic, extreme right.”

In Israel, the consensus is that this was not just another German election.


ADL Data Shows Anti-Semitic Incidents Continue Surge in 2017 Compared to 2016

67 Percent Increase in Incidents Since 2016; Spike After Charlottesville Violence; Big Jump in K-12 Schools and on College Campuses

November 2, 2017


New York, NY, … New data released today by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) show that the number of anti-Semitic incidents remain significantly higher in 2017 compared to 2016. In addition to the significant bump in the first quarter of this year, there was also a distinct increase after the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August.

ADL, in its latest Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, reports that from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30 there were 1,299 anti-Semitic incidents across the United States, including physical assaults, vandalism, and attacks on Jewish institutions. That total represents a 67 percent increase over the same period in 2016 and already exceeds the 1,266 incidents reported all of last year. Of the incidents reported, there has been a disturbingly high number of anti-Semitic bullying and vandalism incidents in K-12 schools and college campuses across the U.S.

“We are astonished and horrified by the rise in anti-Semitic harassment, incidents and violence targeting our communities,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director. “While the tragedy in Charlottesville highlighted this trend, it was not an aberration. Every single day, white supremacists target members of the Jewish community—holding rallies in public, recruiting on college campuses, attacking journalists on social media, and even targeting young children. For over a century, ADL has worked tirelessly to protect any community targeted by hatred – and we’re not about to stand down now. No matter how emboldened these fringe elements of society may feel, they will never threaten our mission.”


Compared to 2016, each of the first three quarters of 2017 had a higher number of incidents year over year. These incidents peaked during the first quarter of 2017, and the pace slowed somewhat in the second and third quarters. Of all 1,299 anti-Semitic incidents so far in 2017, a majority (667) occurred in the first quarter of the year. An additional 632 anti-Semitic incidents were reported in the second and third quarters of the year, surpassing the 488 incidents reported during the same period in 2016.

Since 1979, ADL has counted anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. and reported the numbers in its annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents. This year, in response to concerns about rising anti-Semitism, ADL has stepped up the frequency of reporting, issuing semi-annual reports to share data more frequently.

From January through Sept. 30, according to ADL, there were:

703 incidents of harassment, including 162 bomb threats against Jewish institutions;

584 incidents of vandalism, including 52 against Jewish institutions;

12 physical assaults.

These incidents took place across the country, but consistent with prior reports, the states with the highest number of incidents tend to be those with the largest Jewish populations. These include New York State (267 incidents); California (197); Massachusetts (117); Florida (69) and Pennsylvania (58).


In August, ADL recorded a “meta-event” rarely seen in America: the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., which featured shocking and violent expressions of anti-Semitism and racism, including the display of swastika flags, chants of “Jews will not replace us!” and other overt anti-Semitic acts.

Anti-Semitic incidents spiked on and immediately following Charlottesville. Of the 306 incidents reported in Q3, 221 took place on or after the August 11 rally.

The Charlottesville rally was one of at least 33 public white supremacist events in the U.S. so far this year, which were supplemented with 188 incidents where white supremacists used fliers to spread their message to new audiences, especially on college campuses.


Anti-Semitism continues to be a serious concern on college campuses and in public, private and parochial grade schools. Incidents in K-12 grade schools in 2017 more than doubled over the same period in 2016 (269, up from 130). Of those, 142 incidents of harassment and 114 incidents of vandalism were reported. On college campuses, a total of 118 anti-Semitic incidents were reported in the first three quarters of 2017, compared to 74 in the same period of 2016 – an increase of 59 percent.

“We are deeply troubled by the rising number of anti-Semitic incidents, bullying, and hate in our nation’s schools and we don’t think the statistics paint a full picture of what is happening,” Greenblatt said. “Many school-based incidents still go unreported. As a country, we have to do more to ensure that our schools remain places where students can learn safely without fearing bullying and hate.”


Netanyahu orders redraft of law seen as protecting him

December 3, 2017


JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that a draft bill that sets limits on police investigators should be revised so it does not apply to criminal probes in which he is a suspect.

The proposed legislation, which has sparked protests in Israel, would prohibit the police from publicizing whether they have found sufficient grounds to charge a suspect.

Critics say the bill is an attempt to protect Netanyahu and keep the public in the dark regarding ongoing investigations in which he is a suspect, but its supporters said it is intended to protect suspects’ legal rights and reputations.

Some 20,000 Israelis demonstrated against the bill in Tel Aviv on Saturday and, as public pressure mounted, support among coalition members for the bill began to wane on Sunday, a day before parliament was expected to ratify it.

“For the debate on the bill to be topical and not be used for political propaganda, I have asked … that (it) be worded so that it does not cover the ongoing investigations in my matters,” Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page.

With ratification of the legislation delayed, he said he had told the bill’s proponent, David Amsalem, a lawmaker from his own right-wing Likud party, that it had become a “political battering ram against the government.”

But in justifying the legislation, Netanyahu said: “The bill is intended to prevent publication of police recommendations which would leave a cloud over innocent people, something that happens every day.”

Netanyahu is a suspect in two cases. In one, he is alleged to have meddled in the media industry and the other concerns gifts he received from wealthy businessmen. He denies any wrongdoing.

But, if charged, he would come under heavy pressure to resign or he could call an election to test whether he still has a mandate to govern.

Netanyahu has in the past said he had no interest in promoting personal legislation but he also did not order the bill’s sponsors, Amsalem, and David Bitan, another Likud confidant, to withdraw it.

Netanyahu has described himself as a victim of a political witch hunt and said he will be cleared. “There will be nothing because there is nothing,” he has said repeatedly.

(This story removes extraneous text from first paragraph)

Reporting by Maayan Lubell, editing by Ori Lewis and Jane Merriman


What’s the truth about the Yellowstone supervolcano doomsday theory?

December 3, 2017


If you spend any time on the internet, it seems every few months humanity is faced with a looming existential threat from the depths of space. Planet X/Nibiru, the rapture or a wayward comet are, according to conspiracy theorists, destined to destroy us.

However, there is one particular conspiracy, treasured by theorists, that our impending doom will come from within planet Earth – that lurking beneath America’s Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano that will kill us all.

Yellowstone, in the midwestern US, is – they claim – about to erupt and send unfathomable amounts of matter into the sky, covering anyone in the vicinity in a pyroclastic flow of ash and rock, and blocking out the sun, wiping out almost all life on Earth in the process.

Conspiracy theories tend to draw on some grain of truth. The super volcano really has erupted before, three times in fact, over the last 2 billion years or so, but the theory goes that it’s bound to do so again soon, right? RT.com caught up with Michael Poland, Scientist-in-Charge at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, to find out the full extent of this lurking supervolcanic ‘threat.’

Poland specializes in volcano geophysics, particularly in how volcanoes change and behave over time. Using GPS, satellites and other methods, he studies how the surface of Yellowstone National Park moves to figure out what’s happening below.

Firstly, what is a super volcano?

“Super volcanos, or super eruptions, are these eruptions that are on the eruption intensity scale, there’s something called the volcano explosivity index (VEI) and eruptions that have a VEI of eight are considered super eruptions. And that’s pretty massive, most eruptions that we see would be VEI three, four. Big ones are five and then once a century or so there’s a six, so a VEI eight is really, really tremendous.”

What would it take to cause one?

“You have to have a really amazing amount of magma in the subsurface, so that’s one of the criteria. In order to be able to put all of that stuff onto the surface and into the atmosphere you have to have it below the surface to begin with. And I think that’s something that is interesting about Yellowstone. We don’t know whether there’s enough magma beneath the surface to have a super eruption, the evidence suggests that a lot of the magma reservoir is actually solid, and about 50 percent of it is molten, so there may not be enough down there to have a super eruption.”

With that in mind, what are the odds of Yellowstone blowing it’s top?

“I think the odds of a super eruption in our lifetime, in our children’s lifetimes, in our grandchildren’s lifetimes are astronomically small. I couldn’t even quantify it, it’s not something I’m worried about.”

“I find it strange that Yellowstone is the volcano that’s ‘going to doom humanity.’ One of the things that bothers me about that is that there have been super eruptions when humans have been on the planet. There’ve been two and, in fact, both of those were larger than the last Yellowstone eruption. There was one about 74,000 years ago from Indonesia and there was one 27,000 years ago from New Zealand. Both of those were larger than the last eruption at Yellowstone and humanity survived.”

What about so-called earthquake swarms at Yellowstone? And wasn’t there a particularly strong swarm earlier this year, 4.5 on the richter scale?

“Yeah 4.5 is definitely noticeable, you’d feel it and people did, but there was a 4.8 in 2014 and there was a 7.5 in 1959. Certainly this summer’s swarm was really impressive, there were thousands of earthquakes, but that’s sort of what Yellowstone does. It has swarms all the time and one of them has to be the largest. I don’t see that as something to fear, however, instead I see it as an enormous opportunity for study.”

“The idea that Yellowstone is going to erupt and kill us all is so demonstrably false. There’s an odd disconnect I think between common sense and reality and what we know to be true and false based on past events and this irrational fear about Yellowstone in particular.”

The Great 9-11 Plot

The Plasmoid Cloud  & Seismic Spikes

Investigative reporter Christopher Bollyn produced an article in August of 2002 in which he stated that an unnamed German scientist claimed a “secret plasmoid cloud” brought down the twin towers. Six months later, however, we learn from the same source that the buildings actually were blown up by charges placed in the basement. Next, one will no doubt learn that Chinese Communist-trained pigeons equipped with mini-A-weapons were the actual culprits. The Chinese PRC, as is well known in certain circles, maintains a large military force on the border between Mexico and the United States and it was from their secret base in the Mexican desert that the deadly pigeons were launched on their fateful mission.Mr. Bollyn subsequently fled the country when arrested for claiming the Mafia and the Mossad were peeking in his Hoffman Estates, Illinois home and plotting to kill him. Bollyn attacked responding local police, was subdued and jailed. He has continued his fearful revelations from the Baltic area. And he was also sacked from the American Free Press for submitting “false and misleading” articles.



by Christopher Bollyn

American Free Press


February 14, 2002

Directed-Energy Weapons

A former East German physicist who studied Soviet infrared technology and plasmoids during the 60s and 70s, and who was directly involved in a demonstration of a Soviet laser beam weapon in 1991 for the U.S. Air Force in Weimar (DDR), told AFP that there is evidence that a directed-energy weapon using “deep infrared” radiation was used to bring down the WTC. Although infrared weapon technology is not widely discussed in the West, the Soviet infrared beam weapon is nothing new and was already used during a Soviet dispute with China in 1969 to destroy “a wall” at the Ussuri River, which separates Manchuria from Russia’s Far East, according to the physicist.

The physicist told AFP, “From my experience as a physicist and research scientist with the GRU (Russia’s Central Intelligence Agency)* I have enough experience to judge that the WTC towers have been burning too quickly, too hot, and too completely to have been caused by the kerosene [jet fuel] fires that resulted from the crashes. Furthermore, the demolished buildings nearby [the 47-story Salomon Bros. Bldg.] are an indication that there was a plasmoid cloud involved, which probably affected the buildings nearby.”

A plasmoid cloud is a heated and ionized gas that can be created and projected using far infrared thermal waves. Plasma occurs when a gas is heated so that some electrons have been separated from their atoms or molecules. Ball lightning is considered by experts to be a plasmoid phenomenon.

The physicist told AFP that he believes that a plasmoid may have been projected onto the towers before the planes struck. “The planes may have had a plasmoid in front of them. Just two or three seconds before the planes hit the towers, a plasmoid on the towers would have caused the Faraday cabin effect, like a car being hit by lightning.”

* The GRU was actually Soviet Military Intelligence, dealing with military matters.

Unfortunately, the reader of this stunning piece is not informed of the name of the “former East German physicist,” so that he might learn more about credentials of the man who has revealed the background of the astounding ‘plasmoid cloud’ that brought down the WTC towers.

The collapse of the Twin Towers generated seismic disturbances that were recorded by a half-dozen seismic recording stations within a 20-mile radius of Manhattan. Numerous websites have repeated an erroneous interpretation of the seismic recordings as evidence that bombs in the basements of the towers severed the core columns at the onsets of the collapses. One source of this error is an article by American Free Press reporter Christopher Bollyn, reprinted in Serendipity.

To the contrary, there was nothing strange about the seismic spikes recorded by the Palisades station. As the video and photographic evidence shows, the towers exploded into expanding clouds of rubble that were about 400 feet from top to bottom by the time they reached the ground. Those rubble clouds contained virtually all of the mass of towers — thousands of tons of rubble falling from as high as 1000 feet. That could certainly be expected to produce pronounced seismic waves.

In fact the seismic evidence from the Palisades station comports well with the sequence of destruction evident in photographs and videos: each tower was consumed by a wave of destruction that started near the crash zone and moved downward as it generated an expanding cloud of rubble. It took about ten seconds for the bottom of this cloud to reach the ground and another eight seconds for its top to reach the ground. Likewise the seismic records show small disturbances lasting for about ten seconds, followed by large spikes lasting for about eight seconds.

There appears to be no basis for the claim that the large spikes preceded the collapses, nor that the energy indicated by those spikes was more than could be accounted for by the approximately 110 megawatt-hours of gravitational energy stored in the elevated mass of each tower. And there is strong evidence contradicting the idea that the seismic spikes indicated underground explosions including:

  • There is no support in the large body of photographic and video collapse evidence for the idea of powerful explosions in the towers’ basements at the onset of the collapses. Instead they show waves of destruction proceeding methodically downward from the crash zones to the ground.
  • Underground explosions would have produced strong P waves, but the seismic stations registered only strong S waves. P waves oscillate horizontally — parallel to the direction of travel; whereas S waves oscillate vertically — perpendicular to the direction of travel.

An analysis of the timeline of the North Tower collapse on the 9-11 Research site corroborates the idea that the large seismic spikes were produced by rubble reaching the ground



Author of GOP Tax Plan Says Children’s Health Insurance Program Is Held Up “Because We Don’t Have Money Anymore”

December 3, 2017

by Rachel M. Cohen

The Intercept

The lead author of the Senate Republican tax plan, Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah, said that the federal government no longer has the money to fund the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP.

“The reason CHIP is having trouble [passing] is because we don’t have money anymore,” Hatch said. “We just add more and more spending and more and more spending, and you can look at the rest of the bill for the more and more spending.”

CHIP is an $8 billion program. The Senate bill passed in the early hours of Saturday morning includes $6 trillion in tax cuts, financed by $4.5 trillion in tax hikes elsewhere. Hatch, though, promised CHIP would still pass. “We’re going to do CHIP, there’s no question about it in my mind. It has to be done the right way,” he said.

As the expiration date for CHIP loomed over the end of September, lawmakers similarly assured the public they would reauthorize the popular bipartisan program that provides coverage to nearly 9 million kids and roughly 370,000 pregnant women.

After all, when CHIP was last up for reauthorization in 2015, Congress got the job done with more than five months to go. In fact, CHIP — which passed in 1997 — has never had a lapse in funding except for just five days when President George W. Bush twice vetoed its reauthorization. Congress responded with some short-term financing until CHIP could be formally reauthorized in 2009 under President Barack Obama.

Well this year, April came and went. Then May. Then June. Then Congress stressed they would definitely get to it before the August recess. Except then a new effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act took hold, crowding out all else. When the Obamacare dismantlement effort died, legislators said, “No, no, it will be coming back.” Then they promised to reauthorize CHIP at least before it expired in September. “Well… okay we’ll get it done in October — states still have some federal funding left in their reserves,” they said next. And then, “All right, we hear you, we’ll definitely deal with it before Thanksgiving.”

Now it’s December and lawmakers are saying, “Don’t worry, we’ll get it done by the end of the year.”

As tax reform picks up, health experts are feeling nervous. Never mind that more than 60 percent of Americans say CHIP reauthorization should be a top federal priority, while only 28 percent say tax reform should be.

“Under normal circumstances I’d say, ‘Yeah they’ll pass it,’” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus, a children’s advocacy group. “But we’ve been promised this for months now and Congress has shown no ability to focus on this, to get it done.”

The consequences of Congress’s inaction are already visible. While most states had some funds remaining in their coffers to last them a few months past CHIP’s expiration date, Governing magazine reported this week that Minnesota has officially run out of federal CHIP money. For now Minnesota officials say they’ll work to bridge the funding gap, but not all states have laws that allow for that. Colorado also started sending out notices this week to CHIP enrollees, letting them know the state will be shutting down the program by January 31 if Congress doesn’t act soon. Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington are also expected to run out funds in early 2018, and the federal centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services say that “the majority of states [are] projected to exhaust funding by March.” Even temporary enrollment freezes can lead to major drops in coverage. Researchers at Georgetown’s Center for Children and Families report that Arizona’s enrollment fell by more than 60 percent when the state temporarily froze the program in 2009, and North Carolina’s enrollment fell by nearly 30 percent when it froze CHIP for 10 months in 2001.

Even if states think that Congress might come through with funding, they have to prepare for the eventuality that it won’t — regardless of how much that costs, or how much confusion it creates.

“The way Congress is doing this is devoid of any understanding of how programs run,” said Lesley. “I used to work in state government. If you’re running a program, and there’s uncertainty, you have to plan to close it down. You have no choice.”

So what’s the holdup?

Part of it involves Congress fighting over how CHIP will be paid for, with legislators looking for $8 billion in what’s known as “offsets.” There are rules requiring Congress to determine where these offsets — or money for new spending— will come from, but these rules are often waived. Just last month, when Congress passed a bill to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a panel created through the ACA to make cost-saving recommendations, legislators waived the $18 billion offset requirement. And now Congress is preparing to pass a mammoth tax reform bill that the Joint Committee on Taxation said Wednesday would fall almost $1 trillion short of paying for itself. Offsets be damned.

Before this, Congress paid for CHIP using tobacco taxes, but those weren’t locked in, so that revenue now just goes to the federal treasury. “There’s enough money that CHIP shouldn’t ever have to be paid for by more offsets, yet now it’s expiring so none of that $2 in tobacco taxes, raised for CHIP, applies to CHIP,” said Lesley. “So here we are in reauthorization having to find offsets yet again.”

In early November, the House passed a bill, 242-174 largely on party lines, to reauthorize CHIP by taking money from the ACA’s public health preventative care fund, which pays for programs like opioid treatment and vaccinations. Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., charged that Republicans were capitalizing on CHIP reauthorization as a new way to sabotage the ACA. Pallone proposed changing the payment schedule of Medicare Advantage Plans to fund CHIP, but Republicans rejected that in the Rules Committee.

In mid-September, Hatch and ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., announced a bipartisan agreement to reauthorize CHIP for five years, but they haven’t yet brought the bill to the floor. They also haven’t made clear where the offsets will come from. Experts suspect that Senate leaders kept it off the floor because they worried it might have been derailed by partisan amendments, and they wanted to avoid politicizing CHIP in the way that the ACA and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, have been.

Cynthia Pellegrini — the senior vice president of public policy at the March of Dimes, an advocacy group focused on infant and maternal health — told The Intercept that her group has been hearing through the grapevine that the Senate has likely reached a bipartisan deal on offsets, though she doesn’t know more than that. But since Senate Democrats are unlikely to vote for anything that harms the ACA, that offset deal, Pellegrini said, “by definition” would exclude the public health prevention fund.

Passing CHIP on its own would allow for less horse-trading, but the clock has likely run out for that this year.

“There are procedural barriers to just putting up CHIP as an independent bill no matter what,” said Pellegrini. “In this climate, it would have to go through cloture, and have to have floor time. The Senate only has 15 or 17 more legislative days — though they may extend that into Christmas week — but there is literally no time left with everything else they want to be doing to put it up by itself. With the budget, CR [continuing resolution], tax reform, potentially Iran, all these bills have piled up. The question is, can they combine CHIP with other bills in a package and get it through faster?”

One option could be to move it through a strategy known as “hotlining” — in which the Senate gets the unanimous consent of all 100 members and moves it through rapidly on a voice vote. That means the package they’d be approving would either be very noncontroversial or very bipartisan.

Whether Congress can hotline CHIP will depend on if leaders can put forward something attractive enough that every senator would support — or at least not oppose it so much as to make a stink. The Senate could possibly package CHIP with other bills it is trying to get through by the end of the year — like Home Visiting reauthorization, Medicare extenders, or disaster relief.

Another option is to include CHIP reauthorization in a continuing resolution that provides short-term funding for fiscal year 2018. The current continuing resolution expires on December 8, so Congress may try to include CHIP in its next one. House Republicans are also trying to push a two-week continuing resolution to fund the government until December 22, which would require yet another continuing resolution after that for 2018. CHIP reauthorization could conceivably be included in either of those, too.

A Wyden spokesperson told The Intercept that the senator “remains optimistic common sense and decency will prevail over partisan politics.”

Lesley of First Focus — who helped draft the original CHIP bill in 1997 — said it’s frustrating that this whole debate over offsets isn’t even about expanding coverage, just maintaining the status quo. “We would say this provides an example of why next time we need to recapture all those tobacco dollars and create a trust fund for CHIP so this never happens again,” he said.


Smartphone addiction creates imbalance in brain, study suggests

November 30, 2017

Science Daily

Researchers have found an imbalance in the brain chemistry of young people addicted to smartphones and the internet, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 46 percent of Americans say they could not live without their smartphones. While this sentiment is clearly hyperbole, more and more people are becoming increasingly dependent on smartphones and other portable electronic devices for news, information, games, and even the occasional phone call.

Along with a growing concern that young people, in particular, may be spending too much time staring into their phones instead of interacting with others, come questions as to the immediate effects on the brain and the possible long-term consequences of such habits.

Hyung Suk Seo, M.D., professor of neuroradiology at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues used magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to gain unique insight into the brains of smartphone- and internet-addicted teenagers. MRS is a type of MRI that measures the brain’s chemical composition.

The study involved 19 young people (mean age 15.5, 9 males) diagnosed with internet or smartphone addiction and 19 gender- and age-matched healthy controls. Twelve of the addicted youth received nine weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy, modified from a cognitive therapy program for gaming addiction, as part of the study.

Researchers used standardized internet and smartphone addiction tests to measure the severity of internet addiction. Questions focused on the extent to which internet and smartphone use affects daily routines, social life, productivity, sleeping patterns and feelings.

“The higher the score, the more severe the addiction,” Dr. Seo said.

Dr. Seo reported that the addicted teenagers had significantly higher scores in depression, anxiety, insomnia severity and impulsivity.

The researchers performed MRS exams on the addicted youth prior to and following behavioral therapy and a single MRS study on the control patients to measure levels of gamma aminobutyric acid, or GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain that inhibits or slows down brain signals, and glutamate-glutamine (Glx), a neurotransmitter that causes neurons to become more electrically excited. Previous studies have found GABA to be involved in vision and motor control and the regulation of various brain functions, including anxiety.

The results of the MRS revealed that, compared to the healthy controls, the ratio of GABA to Glx was significantly increased in the anterior cingulate cortex of smartphone- and internet-addicted youth prior to therapy.

Dr. Seo said the ratios of GABA to creatine and GABA to glutamate were significantly correlated to clinical scales of internet and smartphone addictions, depression and anxiety.

Having too much GABA can result in a number of side effects, including drowsiness and anxiety.

More study is needed to understand the clinical implications of the findings, but Dr. Seo believes that increased GABA in the anterior cingulate gyrus in internet and smartphone addiction may be related to the functional loss of integration and regulation of processing in the cognitive and emotional neural network.

The good news is GABA to Glx ratios in the addicted youth significantly decreased or normalized after cognitive behavioral therapy.

“The increased GABA levels and disrupted balance between GABA and glutamate in the anterior cingulate cortex may contribute to our understanding the pathophysiology of and treatment for addictions,” Dr. Seo said.


Saudi Arabia’s crown prince wants to reengineer his country. Is that even possible?

It’s been tried before. The results were mixed.

November 30, 2017

by Calvert W. Jones

The Washington Post

Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, isn’t just consolidating power before his probable ascent to the throne. He’s also trying to remake Saudi society. He bluntly told reporters that his country is “not normal.” And so, like Ataturk in post-World War I Turkey, the shah in pre-revolutionary Iran and other authoritarian movers and shakers, he’s going to modernize his society — and fast.

McKinsey’s consultants helped design Vision 2030 , the prince’s sweeping reform agenda aimed at ushering Saudi Arabia into a more open, post-petroleum future. Reforms underway emphasize a vibrant private sector, a smaller bureaucracy, curbs on the power of the Wahhabi religious establishment and even the reopening of shuttered cinemas. The crown prince has vowed to restore a more “moderate Islam.” No wonder the international community, despite some lingering unease about Mohammed’s power grab and disillusionment with his disastrous war in Yemen, generally applauds all this social engineering. Thomas Friedman called it “Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring, at last.”

But social engineering is a tricky business, and the outcomes are uncertain. Ataturk succeeded in his equally dramatic efforts to remake Turkey along avowedly Western lines. In Iran, on the other hand, the shah’s decadence and modernizing failures triggered a radical backlash that culminated in the Islamic revolution. As it happens, something very similar to the prince’s project has already been tried — next door, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). What leaders there learned was that a top-down social revolution can’t work by fiat; it requires a profound investment in the people it expects to change.

Although Saudi Arabia and the UAE have important differences, they share many of the same social and economic challenges. Both are oil monarchies overwhelmingly dependent on resource wealth; both have socially conservative citizenries and large youth populations in need of jobs. They both face notoriously rigid “rentier” social contracts typical of the Persian Gulf, in which citizens expect government positions in exchange for their acceptance of the authoritarian status quo. But ruling elites decided that the UAE needed to become a more globalized society before the oil ran out, and in 2010, they released their own bold and strikingly similar plan: Vision 2021 . Beginning in 2009, I spent six years studying this effort and tracking its progress.

UAE rulers began, as in Saudi Arabia, with high-profile initiatives promoting knowledge, culture and innovation. For example, to spur the new economy, the UAE built Masdar City , which aims to be the world’s first carbon-neutral metropolis, designed to create an ecosystem around renewable energy involving research, innovation, education and product development. Mohammed is developing the city of Neom, which translates roughly as “new future,” with a robotics theme and similarly grand aims. On the social front, the UAE appointed a minister of state for tolerance , while the Saudis have the new Center for Moderation. World-class megacities, museums and universities feature heavily in both countries’ social-engineering efforts. The centerpiece in the UAE is the man-made Saadiyat Island, which houses the new Zayed National Museum, a New York University satellite campus, and branches of the Louvre and the Guggenheim.

The problem is that authoritarian modernizers cannot simply command a new attitude among their citizens. Opening cinemas and relaxing gender segregation may impress Saudi youth, but a new economy requires far more. Reformers in the UAE eventually realized — as Saudi rulers will discover, too — that they needed to adapt both the mind-sets and the skill sets of the rising generation. In countries where people see a government job as a right, that means reshaping the very nature of citizenship.

Soon after their reforms began, UAE leaders found that few Emiratis were gaining interest in private-sector employment, and most continued to expect jobs in the unsustainable oil-fueled public sector. So they turned to much deeper social engineering to build “globalization-ready ” citizens through major reforms to public education, starting with kindergarten. These involve what critics of Arab education systems have long demanded: a student-centered approach that focuses on skills mastery, creativity and problem-solving over the rote memorization of the past. The alterations shrink the emphasis on religion and double down on science, technology, business and vocational skills such as in IT and health care. Importantly, they also promote attitudes such as civic-mindedness, tolerance and entrepreneurialism: New curricula, for instance, are designed to boost volunteerism, community service, respect for diversity and love of country with engaging lessons and hands-on activities. The school calendar is packed with events like the Festival of Thinkers, the Summer of Semiconductors and the Young Entrepreneurs Competition, a nationwide business contest held at the landmark Dubai Mall. Teachers also report successful role-playing in which students have a disagreement and then practice what it means to be tolerant.

Is this deeper process of building globalization-ready citizens working? To find out, I surveyed more than 2,000 Emirati youth, comparing incoming and outgoing cohorts in regular public schools — i.e., the old system — with incoming and outgoing cohorts in public schools that have implemented the new program. This methodology, called “difference in differences,” is useful because it helps to isolate the effects of social engineering from other forces such as income disparities or maturation. I also interviewed hundreds of ruling elites, education reformers, parents, students, school administrators and teachers, and conducted several focus groups in the schools (in Arabic or English, as students sometimes preferred).

My research yielded several important insights. First, social engineering is better at changing civic attitudes than economic ones. Youth in the new schools ended up more tolerant and civic-minded than their counterparts in the older schools — no small achievement. In my surveys, they declared a new emphasis on tolerance relative to other values and said they planned to spend more time volunteering in their communities. But while students were socially “ready” for globalization in the leaders’ eyes, they were not more inclined to think beyond government jobs and compete in the private sector. In fact, they had grown even more supportive of a citizen’s right to a government job and less interested in entrepreneurship. (These results were all statistically significant, even when demographics and other controls were included.)

So if Mohammed is “gambling that personal freedom will encourage financial responsibility,” as Karen Elliott House, a close observer of Saudi Arabia, wrote in the Wall Street Journal, he may need another strategy. Social liberalization does not necessarily mean increased economic productivity.

Why did social engineering backfire when it came to these fundamental economic attitudes? In the UAE, I found that leaders had yoked their efforts to a feel-good nationalism that was essentially a form of self-esteem-building, heaping praise upon citizens and encouraging them to feel pride in their nation and themselves as its citizens. (One teacher reported spending more than a month on a unit called “Proud to be an Emirati,” and new schools are awash in motivational posters and patriotic banners.) The idea was that such praise-filled nationalism would help persuade young citizens to take on the new and more active roles envisioned for them in a post-oil society.

Being made to feel good about one’s country is not necessarily problematic. But excessive praise can have unintended consequences. I found that, while it did not hamper students’ growing social liberalism, it made them feel overly special — and ultimately even more entitled to the sorts of prestigious government jobs that leaders were trying to wean them off. In focus groups at the reformed schools, students frequently mentioned what they saw as their elevated status, saying that attention from rulers “makes the schools special and the students in the schools special.” Instead of gearing up to work in the private sector, they said they expected to be rewarded with top-level public posts.

The Saudi plan also appears to see feel-good nationalism as a motivating tool. Vision 2030 is full of over-the-top praise for Saudi Arabia and its people, asserting, for instance, that they will “amaze the world.” In downgrading the power of the Wahhabi establishment, the crown prince is necessarily moving toward a more secular nationalism as the basis for regime legitimacy. Yet if he wants young citizens to accept risk and seek jobs in the private sector, he would do well to avoid reinforcing their sense of civic entitlement.

Finally, UAE and Saudi social engineers may need to allow wider political participation if they want pro-globalization social engineering to succeed in the long term. The Emirati kids I studied had grown significantly more interested in contributing to public decision-making compared with their anachronistically educated peers. In other words, top-down social engineering can take authoritarian modernizers only so far. To build truly development-friendly mind-sets prepared to compete under conditions of globalization, Saudi rulers are likely to find that they must renegotiate the social contract in more transparent and inclusive ways, going well beyond what government planning alone can accomplish.





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