TBR News February 21, 2017

Feb 21 2017

The Voice of the White House 

Washington, D.C. February 21, 2017: “Not experienced in the mechanics of professional politics, Donald Trump is making his way, slowly but surely, into his presidency. His latest choice of a National Security Advisor is an excellent one and it is noted that Trump has said one thing at public rallies but shows far more acumen in private. But the Bezos-owned Washington Post is still under the mistaken belief that they control American thought and have continued their unrelenting , and often entertaining, drumfire of negativity towards Trump. In days of yore, the Post was influential but public attention has shifted away and looks elsewhere for its news. Eventually, the major media will continued its sharp declines and then the Internet will be the main source of information. And the Internet is a fascinating mixture of fact, fiction and lunatic ramblings.”


WP Anti-Trump headlines for February 21


  • Trump prepares rollback of rules on climate, water pollution
  • Anti-vaccine movement is energized by Trump in the White House
  • What political expression is allowed in the Trump era? Federal workers aren’t sure.
  • Hundreds of protesters in D.C. march in opposition to Trump
  • I didn’t think I’d ever leave the CIA. But because of Trump, I quit.
  • The Trump White House is already cooking the books
  • After weekend of anti-Semitic acts, Hillary Clinton urges Trump to ‘speak out’
  • The Trump presidency exists in a bubble
  • Can Trump win over African Americans? This survey suggests there’s little chance.
  • Riots erupt in Sweden’s capital just days after Trump comments
  • Trump wasn’t a real CEO. No wonder his White House is disorganized.
  • How a Time magazine cover artist captured the chaos of the Trump presidency



Table of Contents


  • Iraqi Forces Begin Bitter Battle for Mosul in Effort to Destroy Isis
  • Trump taps Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his new national security adviser
  • Trump’s new warrior-scholar
  • Jewish headstones destroyed at mass vandalization of St Louis cemetery
  • Fourth Wave of Bomb Threats Targets 10 Jewish Community Centers in at Least Six U.S. States
  • Rioters set cars on fire, loot shops in Stockholm suburb
  • Sweden’s two year U-Turn: How Liberals’ refugee policy turned public AGAINST migrants
  • Muslim Rape Wave in Sweden
  • Thousands of spills at US oil and gas fracking sites
  • Russia overtakes Saudi Arabia as No. 1 crude producer
  • Long-winded speech could be early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, says study
  • ‘Sky rivers’ responsible for massive California rain – study

 Iraqi Forces Begin Bitter Battle for Mosul in Effort to Destroy Isis

February 19, 2017

by Patrick Cockburn

The Unz Review

Iraqi government forces have started their offensive aimed at capturing the western half of Mosul, Isis’s last big urban stronghold in the country. There are an estimated 4,000 jihadi fighters defending the close-packed houses and narrow alleyways in the half of the city west of the Tigris River, which is inhabited by some 650,000 civilians.

Iraqi paramilitary federal police and interior ministry units are advancing from the south of Mosul with the initial aim of seizing the city airport. But the heaviest fighting is likely to come when the soldiers get into built up areas where the militant group has been digging tunnels and holes cut through the walls of houses so they can conduct a mobile defence away from artillery fire and airstrikes.

The fighting could be as fierce as anything seen in the Iraq war, which has been ongoing since the US invasion of 2003 overthrew Saddam Hussein. The operation is being largely planned by the US, which has 6,000 soldiers in Iraq and which leads a coalition that has carried out more than 10,000 airstrikes and trained and equipped 70,000 Iraqi soldiers. “Mosul would be a tough fight for any army in the world,” said Lt Gen Stephen Townsend, the commander of the coalition, in a statement.

The struggle for Mosul is the climactic battle in the bid by the Iraqi government and its foreign allies to destroy Isis, which established its self-declared caliphate in June 2014 when a few thousand fighters unexpectedly captured Mosul from a 60,000-strong government garrison. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Isis leader and self-appointed caliph, is in west Mosul according to Hoshyar Zebari, the former Iraqi finance and foreign minister, speaking to The Independent in an interview last week. This gives Isis an extra reason to hold the city to the last man.

The Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of the operation early on Sunday morning, but intense fighting has yet to start as Iraqi forces advance through empty outlying villages. Going by the well-planned resistance put up by Isis in east Mosul over the last three months since the first offensive began on 17 October, casualties on all sides are likely to be heavy.

Isis depended on mobile squads of snipers, booby traps and over 600 suicide bombers driving vehicles packed with explosives to slow the advance of the counter terrorism service and other elite formation, some of which suffered 50 per cent casualties during a snail’s pace advance. By the end of 2016, the Iraqi Kurdish health ministry was complaining that its hospitals were full to overflowing with 13,500 wounded soldiers and civilians from the fighting in Mosul.

Though Baghdad announced that it had seized all of east Mosul, its grip on captured districts appears shaky as Isis sleeper cells carry out assassinations and bombings. Two suicide bombers, who emerged today, blew themselves up, killing three soldiers and two civilians and injuring many more. Last week a restaurant owner in east Mosul, who had reopened his business and was serving soldiers, was killed by another bomber. The Iraqi army is short of well-trained troops and their dispatch to the front line means that districts already taken are vulnerable to infiltration by Isis.

While Mr Abadi called on the Iraqi forces to be careful of the human rights of civilians in Mosul, videos are emerging of young men being beaten and summarily executed in places already taken by Iraqi troops. Despite frequent claims that it is liberating Mosul, the Shia-dominated Iraqi government is effectively assaulting the last great Sunni Arab city in Iraq. Away from the television cameras Iraqi soldiers often suspect civilians in Mosul of having been much more cooperative with Isis since 2014 than they now claim.

Civilians in Mosul have no alternative but to cooperate with warring armies that are destroying their city. Iraqi planes have dropped millions of leaflets on west Mosul telling Isis fighters to surrender, and people to stay in their houses and to display white sheets to show they are not resisting. But since Isis kills anybody who shows signs of surrendering, this tactic is unlikely to be very effective.

Government military commanders say they have learned from their experiences in east Mosul and will try to advance on west Mosul from all sides in order to spread out the Isis defenders. They will also be strongly supported by US artillery and airstrikes seeking to eliminate Isis strongpoints. The government says that it is seeking to minimise civilian casualties, but it is impossible to know from a distance how many families have taken refuge in the interior of buildings or in cellars. If, as seems inevitable, government forces use greater firepower than before to capture west Mosul, then civilian loss of life and material destruction will be greater than in the east.

Trump taps Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his new national security adviser

February 20, 2017

by John Wagner, Missy Ryan and Greg Jaffe

The Washington Post

President Trump on Monday named Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his new national security adviser, replacing the ousted Michael Flynn — a move meant to help put the White House on firmer footing after missteps on multiple fronts.

Trump called McMaster “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience” while briefly introducing him to reporters at the president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida before returning to Washington.

In tapping McMaster, Trump turned to a widely respected and fiercely outspoken military strategist who was recognized for his battlefield leadership during both the Persian Gulf War and the Iraq War.

But unlike many officers, McMaster has spent virtually no time at the Pentagon or in Washington, which could prove a challenge in his new role.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who has been serving as acting national security adviser, will return to his role as the National Security Council chief of staff.

“I think that combination is something very, very special,” Trump said, later adding: “What a team. This is a great team.”

Both men were among several candidates whom White House aides said Trump had planned to interview over the weekend to replace Flynn, a retired general and an early and vociferous Trump political supporter.

Flynn was asked to resign last week amid allegations that he discussed U.S. sanctions with a Russian official before Trump took office and then misrepresented the content of that conversation to Vice President Pence and other administration officials.

Trump’s first choice of a replacement — retired Navy Vice Adm. Robert Harward — turned him down, compounding the embarrassment surrounding the episode.

Trump’s bid to move forward with a replacement comes as his fledgling administration is seeking a reset on several fronts. The president has pledged to issue a new executive order this week replacing his court-frozen directive on immigration, which has come to symbolize his struggle to translate ambitious campaign promises into policy.

The national security adviser, part of the senior White House staff, serves as the chief in-house counselor to the president on national security issues and has traditionally sought to play the role of a broker among agencies. The position does not require Senate confirmation.

McMaster will assume the position at a time of widespread security challenges, including Russia’s alleged meddling in last year’s election and North Korea’s ballistic missile test this month.

McMaster is widely known as smart, intense and fiercely outspoken, qualities that have won him wide praise among his fellow officers — and have sometimes grated on his superiors.

A White House official said McMaster will not retire from the military but remain a three-star general, as Colin Powell did as Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser.

Peter Feaver, a scholar on civil-military ties at Duke University, said he expected McMaster to take a skeptical view of Russia, seeing Moscow as a dubious partner and major potential threat to U.S. security. And Feaver said he expects a similar skepticism toward Iran, whose support for proxy groups across the Middle East many senior military officials say has gone unchecked, despite President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Tehran.

McMaster “also brings a deep personal understanding of what it means to go to war, and be at war for a very long time,” said David Barno, a retired lieutenant general who knows him well.

Barno suggested that McMaster would distinguish himself at the White House in coordinating rather than dictating policy.

“I don’t see H.R. as director of an orchestra; I see him as someone who is getting all the instruments to play together,” he said.

From his earliest moments as an officer, McMaster stood out among his peers. He earned a Silver Star for valor in the 1991 Gulf War when his armor company destroyed a much larger Iraqi formation in one of the opening battles. The Army’s official history of the conflict opened with a vivid description of his tank crew in action that day.

McMaster earned a doctorate in history from the University of North Carolina and turned his thesis into a widely acclaimed book on Vietnam, “Dereliction of Duty.” Relying on declassified documents, McMaster argued that the generals in Vietnam had caved in to political pressure and supported a war strategy they knew could not prevail.

In the Iraq War, McMaster commanded a 3,500-soldier brigade in the northern city of Tal Afar, which was being torn apart in 2005 by Iraq’s civil war. He largely jettisoned the Bush administration’s official strategy at the time of pulling back from cities and training Iraqi forces to take over the fight so U.S. troops could go home.

McMaster pushed his troops deep into Tal Afar, establishing 29 small American-manned command outposts. Instead of focusing on training the Iraqis, McMaster and his troops worked to stop the killing in the city and replace the local mayor and security forces.

“It’s unclear to me how a higher degree of passivity would advance our mission,” he said at the time in response to criticism.

Eventually his strategy, dubbed “clear, hold and build,” became a model for the broader campaign, led by Gen. David H. Petraeus, to stabilize Iraq in 2007 and 2008.

McMaster’s passion, intensity and high tolerance for risk sometimes put him at odds with his superiors. He was twice passed over for promotion to general before finally earning one-star rank. The panel that promoted him was led by Petraeus, one of his staunchest backers in the Army.

In recent years McMaster oversaw an anti-corruption task force in Afghanistan for Petraeus that produced mixed results. Of late, he has focused on Army doctrine and modernization, relative back­waters within the service.

Trump also told reporters Monday that John Bolton, a former United Nations ambassador who had been considered for the national security adviser position, would be asked “to work with us in a somewhat different capacity.”

“We had some really good meetings with him,” Trump said. “Knows a lot.”

In brief remarks, McMaster said it would be “a privilege” to continue to serve the nation. “I look forward to joining the national security team and doing everything that I can to advance and protect the interests of the American people,” he said.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump “gave full authority for McMaster to hire whatever staff he sees fit.”

As he introduced McMaster and Kellogg, Trump and his two appointees sat on a couch at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. The room was decorated with two massive chandeliers and dozens of roses in a large arrangement.

As the men spoke, classical music played. The event lasted roughly three minutes.

In response to a shouted question from a reporter about whether Pence played a role in the picks, Trump replied: “He did.”

During a visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels on Monday, Pence made his first public comments about Flynn’s ouster as national security adviser, saying he “fully supported” the move.

The vice president learned from a report in The Washington Post that Flynn had been captured on tape speaking to Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak about sanctions before Trump took office. The conversation happened the day the Obama administration announced measures against Russia to retaliate for what U.S. intelligence services say was the Kremlin’s efforts to influence November’s presidential election.

Trump’s new warrior-scholar

Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster has staked out a decidedly more hawkish position on Russia and gone out of his way to assert that the war against terrorism must not turn into a war against Islam.

February 20, 2017

by Austin Wright and Jeremy Herb


President Donald Trump has picked one of the military’s leading warrior-scholars to restore order to the National Security Council — but also one who has staked out a decidedly more hawkish position on Russia and gone out of his way to assert that the war against terrorism must not morph into a war against Islam.

Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, Trump’s newly named replacement for ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, is considered one of the Army’s top intellectuals. When he was a young major he published a best-selling book about failed military leadership during the Vietnam War and later went on to help pioneer counterinsurgency operations in Iraq.

The first active-duty officer to hold the post since Colin Powell under President Ronald Reagan, he has also attained legendary status in military circles for his willingness to buck conventional wisdom.

It is a pedigree that might soon come in handy in his new post as the top national security policy official in the Trump White House.

McMaster is currently the director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, where his job has been to figure out what the Army should look like in 2025 and beyond. He has placed particular emphasis on preparing to counter the kind of tactics and weapons that Russia, which he considers a rising threat to global stability, has used in its incursion in Ukraine.

This emphasis could put him at odds with Trump, who says he wants to improve relations with Russia and has expressed little concern about its aggressive behaviors in Eastern Europe and contends that Vladimir Putin can be bargained with.

But McMaster’s views will likely help build bridges with hawks in Congress who have been some of Trump’s fiercest Republican critics.

“I give President Trump great credit for this decision, as well as his national security cabinet choices,” Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in a statement after the announcement. “I have had the honor of knowing [McMaster] for many years, and he is a man of genuine intellect, character, and ability. He knows how to succeed.”

McCain added that he “could not imagine a better, more capable national security team than the one we have right now.”

Trump announced the selection Monday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, flanked by McMaster and Keith Kellogg, a retired Army lieutenant general who was Flynn’s chief of staff and is set to stay on under McMaster.

“He’s a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience,” Trump said of his new national security adviser. “I watched and read a lot over the last two days. He is highly respected by everyone in the military and we’re very honored to have him.”

McMaster faces a daunting challenge trying to right the ship following the rocky tenure of Flynn, who departed after it became clear he misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his pre-inauguration contacts with Russia’s ambassador.

Trump’s first pick to replace Flynn, Ret. Vice Adm. Bob Harward, turned down the job — in part, according to an individual familiar with his thinking, because he wasn’t given assurances he would be able to select his own staff and have autonomy from Trump’s close-knit political advisers– led by Steve Bannon, who Trump elevated to a permanent position on the National Security Council, and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that Trump had given McMaster “full authority” to hire “whatever staff he sees fit.”

But Philip Carter, a defense analyst at the Center for a New American Security, said McMaster will be tested to try to “impose order and discipline on a White House national security structure and process that has seen neither since Election Day.”

“This challenge will be particularly hard given the political winds within the White House, and the fact that McMaster comes to the White House as an outsider and relative political neophyte,” Carter said.

Retired Lt. Gen. Dave Barno, who has known McMaster for years, said the new national security adviser is a hard-charging and forceful personality who grasps the political challenges he will face in addition to the national security ones.

“He’s going to have to build a relationship with the boss, get in to see the boss,” said Barno. “There’s no question something he will do daily is tell the boss hard things that he doesn’t necessarily want to hear. And I think the president hired him with that expectation.”

McMaster, though, is already winning praise from GOP defense hawks on Capitol Hill.

“H.R McMaster is one of the finest combat leaders of our generation and also a great strategic mind,” Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas said in a statement. “He is a true warrior scholar, and I’m confident he will serve both the president and the country well.”

Michael O’Hanlon, a defense analyst at the Brookings Institution, called him “quite possibly the single most talented 3-star in the U.S. military today.”

“He is accomplished across wide domains of military operations as well as integrated political-military challenges like counterinsurgency warfare in general, and fighting corruption in Afghanistan in particular,” O’Hanlon said. “He is affable and likeable and charming but not afraid to challenge and provoke.”

McMaster’s book — “Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam” — is considered a key text of the military’s role in the Vietnam War. He wrote it as a major as part of his Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

He served in the first Gulf War as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He played a key role with retired Gen. David Petraeus in re-writing the Army’s field manual on counterinsurgency operations — pioneering the “clear, hold, build” strategy of clearing a town with U.S. forces and then building up local security forces to maintain control.

Petraeus, in a statement to POLITICO, called McMaster “a truly strategic thinker and a great team builder with superb organizational skills.”

“I was privileged to have him lead three major strategic reviews during the Surge in Iraq and then to establish the task force on anti-corruption during the Surge in Afghanistan. He is exceedingly well qualified to serve as National Security Adviser,” he added.

McMaster was even mentioned by President George W. Bush in a 2006 speech about the war in Iraq, with Bush quoting the then-colonel’s description of Al Qaeda’s brutality.

But McMaster is also known for a willingness to ruffle feathers — and sometimes run afoul of his superiors. He was twice passed over for promotion from colonel to brigadier general before Petraeus insisted his success in Iraq be recognized, author Mark Perry wrote in POLITICO Magazine last year.

In a nod to the potential tensions that could emerge between McMaster and Trump on Russia, the new national security adviser has warned the U.S. is losing its potential edge against Russia in land warfare.

McMaster led a secret Army study of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, which was designed to figure out how the Army should adapt to Russia’s military advances.

“It is clear that while our Army was engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq, Russia studied U.S. capabilities and vulnerabilities and embarked on an ambitious and largely successful modernization effort,” McMaster told the Senate Armed Services Committee last year. “In Ukraine, for example, the combination of unmanned aerial systems and offensive cyber and advanced electronic warfare capabilities depict a high degree of technological sophistication.”

In another departure from some of the rhetoric of Trump and Flynn, McMaster has sought to separate the depravity of Islamic terror groups from the wider religion.

For example in a recent speech at the Virginia Military Institute, he said, “We will defeat today’s enemies, including terrorist organizations, like [the Islamic State], who cynically use a perverted interpretation of religion to incite hatred and justify horrific cruelty against innocents.”

He joins an administration that includes many retired generals, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

Some defense analysts remain concerned about what they see as the militarization of the national security apparatus.

“Like Mattis, McMaster’s appointment commands great respect because of his military record, but also raises civil-military relations questions,” Carter said. “This continues a pattern of President Trump using military personnel and institutions to do political things. One of McMaster’s great challenges will be to resist Trump’s further politicization of the military, and do so while on active duty.”

But Max Boot, a conservative military scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations and a longtime critic of Trump, spoke for many so-called “Never Trumpers” in the Republican Party.

“McMaster is one of the most impressive army officers of his generation — a rare combination of soldier and scholar,” Boot said. “I cannot imagine a better choice for national security adviser.”

Yet, like many he also has doubts that McMaster can succeed if Trump does not moderate his rhetoric and insists on giving both Bannon and Kushner their own foreign policy portfolios.

“Not even the most talented individual will succeed in that job as long as Bannon and Kushner continue to run their own foreign policies and as long as Trump continues to make outlandish statements questioning basic American commitments and valued allies.”

Connor O’Brien and Michael Crowley contributed to this report.


Jewish headstones destroyed at mass vandalization of St Louis cemetery

February 1, 2017


More than 100 headstones were vandalized at a Jewish cemetery in St Louis in an incident Missouri’s governor described as “despicable”. The desecration comes amid reports of bomb threats against several Jewish community centers this week.

Photographs taken at St Louis Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery show collapsed and broken headstones. A reporter from WCOV who visited the cemetery counted more than 100 which had been toppled.

“These are Holocaust survivors that are in here, they shouldn’t have to endure anymore trauma, let them be settled,” Robin Rickerman, who has family buried in the cemetery, told WCOV.

Police said they are reviewing surveillance footage and have not ruled out investigating the incident as a hate crime.

Governor of Missouri Eric Greitens said the act of desecration will serve only to unite those it has targeted. “From their pitiful act of ugliness, we can emerge even more powerful in our faith,” he said on Facebook, where he described the incident as “despicable.”

St Louis mayor Francis Slay also condemned the incident, describing it as “a disgrace to our region” on Twitter.

The incident comes amidst a spike in reported of anti-Semitic incidents in the US. On Monday six states reported bomb threats against Jewish community centers (JCC). Paul Goldenberg, director of the Secure Community Network, said the caller involved in each of the incidents appears to be the same person.

More than 50 US Jewish centers have received bomb threats since the beginning of the year. No bombs have been discovered at any of the premises.


Fourth Wave of Bomb Threats Targets 10 Jewish Community Centers in at Least Six U.S. States

New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, New Mexico and Alabama centers affected, according to local news reports. Trump’s racist remarks empowered anti-Semites to act, Alabama rabbi says.

February 20, 2017

by Eetta Prince-Gibson

Haaretz and JTA

Hate crimes against Jews in New York have doubled in 2017, NYPD says  ●

48 U.S. Jewish centers received bomb threats in past month: ‘Why is no one talking about this?’

At least 10 Jewish community centers in at least five U.S. states were targeted with bomb threats on Monday, the fourth such mass disruption in less than two months.

According to local news reports, centers in New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Mexico,Texas and Alabama were targeted.

The threats have been called in to JCCs across the country, according to Paul Goldenberg, the director of Secure Community Network — an affiliate of the Jewish Federations of North America that advises Jewish groups and institutions on security. “It appears to be the same serial caller” as in the prior incidents, Goldenberg told JTA.

Goldenberg said that some of the JCCs were evacuated and others were not.

“The JCCs are very well-equipped to handle this,” he said.

Goldenberg did not confirm where any of the threats occurred, saying they took place across the country and that his office “is monitoring the situation.”

Goldenberg said the fact that the threats were made on Presidents Day, when more people might be in the buildings during the daytime, does not appear to be a factor in the threats.

Last week, President Donald Trump was asked during a news conference about the prior JCC bomb threats and what the government’s response would be to “an uptick in anti-Semitism.” Although the reporter did not suggest Trump was anti-Semitic, the president answered by denying he is an anti-Semite and called the question “insulting.”

The Levite Jewish Community Center in Birmingham, Alabama was briefly evacuated Monday morning after receiving a bomb threat. Rabbi Barry Leff of Temple Beth-El in Birmingham told Haaretz that President Donald Trump’s racist remarks had empowered anti-Semites to act, “so far, with threats.” “Racism and anti-Semitism have become more socially acceptable now.”

“There’s a saying, ‘Perception is reality.’ Some people are more frightened.  There has even been a case of a family that suspended activities at the synagogue, but mostly, people are on edge, stressed.”

Betsy Lynch, Director Levite JCC said that the community center was briefly evacuated after a telephone was received stating with “There’s a bomb in the building.” Lynch said it was unclear whether the call was recorded or live. A similar incident took place a month ago.

“Anti-Semitism comes and goes in cycles, and this is a cycle.  There are acts of anti-Semitism throughout the United States,” Lynch said. “Alabama is a very red state, indeed, but we have received tremendous support from the greater Birmingham community. In fact, a non-Jew came into the office to join the JCC just after we resumed normal operations because he wanted to show his support.”

“Clearly, someone is invoking fear against Jews, but we are not going to let them.”

The Anti-Defamation League also responded to the incidents. “We are confident that JCCs around the country are taking the necessary security protections, and that law enforcement officials are making their investigation of these threats a high priority,” said ADL chief Jonathan Greenblatt.

“We look to our political leaders at all levels to speak out against such threats directed against Jewish institutions, to make it clear that such actions are unacceptable, and to pledge that they will work with law enforcement officials to ensure that those responsible will be apprehended and punished to the full extent of the law,” he added.

The Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center in Whitefish Bay, Milwaukee was evacuated Monday morning after receiving  threatening phone calls, the Journal Sentinel reported.

Two Jewish Community Centers in Buffalo, New York were also evacuated Monday morning following bomb threats, the Buffalo News reported.

The St. Paul Jewish Community Center in Minnesota was evacuated Monday morning after a bomb threat, the Star Tribune reported citing local police.

The Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center in Houston, Texas was also evacuated following a bomb threat received by phone, a local NBC affiliate reported.

A Jewish Community Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico was also evacuated following a bomb threat Monday morning, local broadcaster KOB4 reported.

A total of 48 JCCs in 26 states and one Canadian province received nearly 60 bomb threats during January. On Jan 31, some 17 JCCs across the United States were targeted with bomb threats. On Jan. 18, some 30 Jewish institutions in at least 17 states received bomb threats. On Jan. 9, such threats were called into 16 JCCs across the Northwest and South, forcing the evacuation of hundreds. All the threats were false.

After each wave of threats, evacuations and the “all clear” from the police, the community centers resume activity, leading some to dismiss the bomb threats as merely a hoax. And yet, while no bombs were found at any of the JCCs, those who regularly attend the schools, community centers, and day cares that are evacuated are shaken and fearful after each set of calls directed at the Jewish community.


Rioters set cars on fire, loot shops in Stockholm suburb

February 21, 2017


Police in Sweden were forced to fire warning shots after a group of unidentified persons ran riots in the Rinkeby district of Stockholm late on Monday, setting cars on fire, throwing stones at police and looting local stores.

A police officer was injured during the clashes, forcing law enforcers to fire several warning shots at the crowd, Swedish public service broadcaster SVT reported, citing a local police spokesperson

At least seven or eight cars were burned in the area during the evening, police said in a statement.

A photographer from the Dagens Nyheter newspaper said he had been assaulted by a group of some 15 people in Rinkeby when he attempted to report on the unrest.

“I was hit with a lot of punches and kicks both to my body and my head. I have spent the night in hospital,” he said.

The unrest reportedly started after police arrested a wanted person at the subway station in Rinkeby, one of the districts with the highest number of immigrants in Stockholm, at around 8pm on Monday.

It is unclear how many people were involved in the riot, Lars Bystrom, Stockholm police spokesperson, said, adding that there were between 30-50 people.

“Some may have disappeared, others have been added, it is difficult to get a handle on how many exactly,” he told SVT. “We have a fairly large number of police officers trained to handle this type of a situation.”

Several shops in the area were looted during the riots. One of the shop owners, who had received an alarm signal directly to his phone, went to check on site and was beaten, SVT reported.

Police managed to restore order only after midnight.

An investigation has been launched into the violent riots and an assault against officers.


Sweden’s two year U-Turn: How Liberals’ refugee policy turned public AGAINST migrants

SWEDEN’S politicians’ open-door refugee policies has seen an increase in anti-immigration sentiment, a study has claimed.

February 19, 2017

by Alix Culbertson

The Express/UK

Fears of Swedes losing their culture and identity has fuelled a rise in anti-migrant sentiment, after 163,000 people arrived in the country in last year.

Sweden has been the poster child for openness and toleration for decades but that has changed in just two years, the study by independent British think-tank Demos found.

In September 2015, thousands of people took to the streets with banners saying “Refugees Welcome” while Prime Minister Stefan Löfven spoke about not building walls and offering help “when need is great”.

A year later, in October 2016, his government decided to implement border controls, which had always been available but not used, to stem the rapid flow of asylum seekers.

The report said: “This U-turn in refugee policy and rhetoric on refugee admission was accompanied by an increased focus on questions of national identity and civic integration. ‘Swedish values’ became one of the key terms in the immigration debate, in a country where nationalism used to be a political taboo.”

And a surge in nationalistic language has shown many Swedes now consider migrants a threat to the nation, the report said.

The 458-page study into populism in Europe found an increasing use of “exclusionary nationalist rhetoric” in 2015 and 2016 by Swedish politicians across the spectrum.

Since the beginning of 2015, the study found an increasing use of the term “Swedish values” by not just the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats which have gained popularity since then, but by all main parties.

Swedish media mentioned the term more than 1,600 times in 2016, an increase from 286 times in 2012, the study found.

The authors said: “Discussions of national identity became much more prominent from 2015 onwards in relation to the refugee crisis.”

Politicians continually spoke about Swedish national culture and heritage which, while not overtly anti-migrant, led to an exclusion of those who were not native.

The leaders of the liberal-conservative Moderate Party and conservative Christian Democrats were more subtle than Sweden Democrats about linking values and culture with the suggestion immigrants “are causing a demise of Swedish values”, however they did make the link, the study found.

Sweden has traditionally bucked the growing trend of support for populist anti-immigration parties across Europe, with the country welcoming an influx of labour migrants in the Sixties and Seventies.

Since 2000, the number of asylum seekers to the country increased rapidly from an average 16,000 annually to 160,000 in 2015.

Support for anti-migrant party the Sweden Democrats has increased since the 2014 election when it was already at an all-time high, the study said.

Politicians from all parties have been recorded making comments questioning the future of national identity or ‘Swedishness’.

Anna Kinberg-Batra, leader of the Moderates, said arranged marriages could not be defended as freedom of religion.

She said: “To take the future away from your daughter – that is not freedom.”

She added that honour killings were “dishonest and it goes against Swedish values”.

Ebba Busch Thor, leader of the Christian Democrats, suggested the migration crisis was not over and said if immigrants could not speak the language and understand Swedish culture and values “exclusion will grow”.

There was uproar when a Muslim politician refused to shake a female journalist’s hand in April last year, and widespread anger after several swimming pools offered female-only hours following requests from Muslim women.

Swedish National Day, originally a “non-celebration”, has now become a popular public festival after being made a public holiday in 2015.

The study stated: “Our analysis has shown ethnic conceptions of Swedishness go hand in hand with anti-immigrant sentiment.”

It added: “In short, Swedish immigration politics has changed substantially and rhetorically in the past few years, with asylum policies taking a restrictive turn following a large influx of asylum seekers, support for the Sweden Democrats rocketing and immigration taking an uncharacteristically but seemingly unmovable central position on the political agenda.”


Muslim Rape Wave in Sweden

February 21, 2017

by Fjordman

Swedish girls Malin and Amanda were on their way to a party on New Year’s Eve when they were assaulted, raped and beaten half to death by four Somali immigrants. Sweden’s largest newspaper has presented the perpetrators as “two men from Sweden, one from Finland and one from Somalia”, a testimony as to how bad the informal censorship is in stories related to immigration in Sweden. Similar incidents are reported with shocking frequency, to the point where some observers fear that law and order is completely breaking down in the country. The number of rape charges in Sweden has tripled in just above twenty years. Rape cases involving children under the age of 15 are six – 6 – times as common today as they were a generation ago. Most other kinds of violent crime have rapidly increased, too. Instability is spreading to most urban and suburban areas.

According to a new study from the Crime Prevention Council, Brå, it is four times more likely that a known rapist is born abroad, compared to persons born in Sweden. Resident aliens from Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia dominate the group of rape suspects. According to these statistics, almost half of all perpetrators are immigrants. In Norway and Denmark, we know that non-Western immigrants, which frequently means Muslims, are grossly overrepresented on rape statistics. In Oslo, Norway, immigrants were involved in two out of three rape charges in 2001. The numbers in Denmark were the same, and even higher in the city of Copenhagen with three out of four rape charges. Sweden has a larger immigrant, including Muslim, population than any other country in northern Europe. The numbers there are likely to be at least as bad as with its Scandinavian neighbors. The actual number is thus probably even higher than what the authorities are reporting now, as it doesn’t include second generation immigrants. Lawyer Ann Christine Hjelm, who has investigated violent crimes in Svea high court, found that 85 per cent of the convicted rapists were born on foreign soil or by foreign parents.

A group of Swedish teenage girls has designed a belt that requires two hands to remove and which they hope will deter would-be rapists. “It’s like a reverse chastity belt,” one of the creators, 19-year-old Nadja Björk, told AFP, meaning that the wearer is in control, instead of being controlled. Björk and one of her partners now plan to start a business to mass produce the belts and are currently in negotiations with potential partners. “But I’m not doing this for the money,” she said. “I’m really passionate about stopping rape. I think it’s terrible.” In an online readers’ poll from the newspaper Aftonbladet, 82% of the women expressed fear to go outside after dark. There are reports of rapes happening in broad daylight. 30 guests in a Swedish public bath watched as 17 girl was raped recently, and nobody did anything. The girl was first approached by 16-year-old boy. He and his friends followed her as she walked away to the grotto, and inside the grotto he got her blocked in the corner, ripped off her bikini and raped her, while his friend held her firm.

There are even reports of Swedish girls being attacked and cut with knives on the dance floor. A 21-year-old man who came to Sweden a couple of years ago admits that he has a low opinion of Swedish females –or “whores” as he calls them. He is now prosecuted, suspecteded of cutting eight girls in several pubs. He is also charged with raping a girl at a private party, and with sexually harassing another girl in the apartment. Several witnesses claim that the 21 year old has said that he hates Swedish women.

Some Muslim immigrants admit their bias quite openly. An Islamic Mufti in Copenhagen sparked a political outcry after publicly declaring that women who refuse to wear headscarves are “asking for rape.” Apparently, he’s not the only one thinking this way. “It is not as wrong raping a Swedish girl as raping an Arab girl,” says Hamid. “The Swedish girl gets a lot of help afterwards, and she had probably fucked before, anyway. But the Arab girl will get problems with her family. For her, being raped is a source of shame. It is important that she retains her virginity until she marries.” It was no coincidence that it was a Swedish girl that was gang raped in Rissne – this becomes obvious from the discussion with Ali, Hamid, Abdallah and Richard. All four have disparaging views on Swedish girls, and think this attitude is common among young men with immigrant background. “It is far too easy to get a Swedish whore…… girl, I mean;” says Hamid, and laughs over his own choice of words. “Many immigrant boys have Swedish girlfriends when they are teenagers. But when they get married, they get a proper woman from their own culture who has never been with a boy. That’s what I am going to do. I don’t have too much respect for Swedish girls. I guess you can say they get fucked to pieces.”

The number of rapes committed by Muslim immigrants in Western nations are so extremely high that it is difficult to view them only as random acts of individuals. It resembles warfare. Muhammad himself had forced sex (rape) with several of his slave girls/concubines. This is perfectly allowed, both in the sunna and in the Koran. If you postulate that many of the Muslims in Europe view themselves as a conquering army and that European women are simply war booty, it all makes perfect sense and is in full accordance with Islamic law. Western women are not so much regarded by most Muslims as individuals, but as “their women,” the women who “belong” to hostile Infidels. They are booty, to be taken, just as the land of the Infidels someday will drop, it is believed, into Muslim hand. This is not mere crime, but ideologically-justified crime or rather, in Muslim eyes, attacks on Infidels scarcely qualify as crime. Western women are cheap and offensive. We Muslims are here, here to stay, and we have a right to take advantage of this situation. It is our view of the matter that should prevail. Western goods, like the land on which we now live, belong to Allah and to the best of men—his Believers. Western women, too, essentially belong to us—our future booty. No wonder there is a deep and increasing suspicion against Muslims in the Swedish and European public.

Sweden has national elections less than a year from now. Here is a suggested draft email, in English and Swedish, that you can send in to Swedish politicians and media to protest the lack of honesty about what Muslim immigration is doing to the country:

I would hereby like to protest against the passivity and the lack of resolve demonstrated by Swedish authorities in the face of a huge spike in the number of rapes in their country. It is time for Swedish politicians, Swedish media and the Swedish public to admit that the large increase in the number of rape charges in their country during the past generation is intimately tied to the immigration that has taken place during that same time period. The attitude among many Muslim men is that women who are not veiled and act properly submissive have themselves to blame if something happens to them. Such a line of thinking is incompatible with the culture of freedom in any Western country. It means that as long as Muslim immigration continues, Sweden will continue to import an Islamic culture that will destroy women’s freedom in Swedish society. The strains caused by immigration are now so large that unless something serious is done about this, pretty soon Sweden will face the same kind of riots we have recently seen in France, and will approach the point of permanent ethnic and religious strife. Swedish politicians and media need to put the well-being of their daughters above that of political correctness and their own Multicultural vanity, and it is shocking that they actually need to be reminded of this. It is an international embarrassment to Sweden as a nation that Swedes travel around the world to lecture about women’s rights, and at the same time their own young women are finding that their most basic rights, such as being able to go outside wearing normal clothes without being harassed, are slipping away. It’s a sham, and it needs to end. Unless Swedish authorities are able to provide basic security to a population that pays some of the highest tax rates in the world, the Swedish government should publicly admit its inadequacy and resign from office. At the very least, it should be honest enough to tell Swedish citizens that they have to provide security for themselves, and stop making it difficult for people to do this. The Swedish general elections are less than a year away, and this time, Muslim immigration needs to be raised to the very top of the public agenda.


Thousands of spills at US oil and gas fracking sites

February 21, 2017

by Matt McGrath

BBC News

Up to 16% of hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells spill liquids every year, according to new research from US scientists.

They found that there had been 6,600 releases from these fracked wells over a ten-year period in four states.

The biggest problems were reported in oil-rich North Dakota where 67% of the spills were recorded.

The largest spill recorded involved 100,000 litres of fluid with most related to storing and moving liquids.

Higher numbers

The rapid growth in the extraction of oil and gas from unconventional sources in the US has had a massive impact on the production and consumption of energy over the past ten years.

The key to this expansion has been the use of hydraulic fracturing, the process of injecting fluids with chemical additives under pressure to crack underground rock and release the trapped resources.

However, environmental campaigners have long been troubled by the potential for this process to contaminate water supplies and the environment through leaks and spills.

A study carried out by the US Environment Protection Agency on fracking in eight states between 2006 and 2012 concluded that 457 spills had occurred.

But this new study, while limited to just four states with adequate data, suggests the level of spills is much higher. The researchers found 6,648 spills between 2005 and 2014.

“The EPA just looked at spills from the hydraulic fracturing process itself which is just a few days to a few weeks,” lead author Dr Lauren Patterson from Duke University told BBC News.

“We’re looking at spills at unconventional wells from the time of the drilling through production which could be decades.”

The state reporting the highest level of spills was North Dakota, a hot bed of activity in both oil and gas recovery.

The data recorded 4,453 incidents in the state, much higher than Pennsylvania, Colorado and New Mexico.

This can be explained by reporting requirements. In North Dakota, any spill bigger than 42 US gallons has to be reported while in Colorado and New Mexico the requirement was 210 gallons.

Most of the spills occurred in the first three years of operation. Around 50% of spills were related to the storage and movement of fluids via pipelines. The underlying causes were difficult to determine because of different reporting requirements.

“The causes are quite varied,” said Dr Patterson.

“Equipment failure was the greatest factor, the loading and unloading of trucks with material had a lot more human error than other places.”

A surprising number of spills occurred at wells which had recorded a previous incident, over half in the case of North Dakota. This suggests that targeted inspections on these sites might have a significant impact in reducing spills.

For the authors the underlying message is that better and more uniform data collection and reporting across different states would allow the industry and environmentalists to better assess the impact of fracked wells on the environment.

“Analyses like this one are so important, to define and mitigate risk to water supplies and human health,” said Kate Konschnik, another author on the paper from Harvard Law School’s Environmental Policy Initiative.

“Writing state reporting rules with these factors in mind is critical, to ensure that the right data are available – and in an accessible format – for industry, states and the research community.”


Russia overtakes Saudi Arabia as No. 1 crude producer

February 21, 2017


Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest crude producer in December, when both countries started restricting supplies ahead of agreed cuts with other global producers to curb the worst glut in decades.

Russia pumped 10.49 million barrels a day in December, down 29,000 barrels a day from November, while Saudi Arabia’s output declined to 10.46 million barrels a day from 10.72 million barrels a day in November, according to data published Monday on the website of the Joint Organizations Data Initiative in Riyadh. That was the first time Russia beat Saudi Arabia since March.

Saudi Arabia and fellow producers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided at the end of November to restrict supplies by 1.2 million barrels a day for six months starting Jan. 1, with Saudi Arabia instrumental in the plan. Nonmember producers, including Russia, pledged additional curbs. Brent crude prices have climbed about 20 percent since the end of November.

The U.S. was the third-largest producer, at 8.8 million barrels a day in December compared with 8.9 million barrels a day in November, according to JODI.

Saudi Arabia’s crude exports declined to 8 million barrels a day in December, from 8.26 million barrels a day, the biggest outflow for any month since May 2003, according to JODI data.


Long-winded speech could be early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, says study

Research finds distinctive language deficits in people with mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to dementia

February 21, 2017

by Hannah Devlin Science correspondent in Boston

The Guardian

Rambling and long-winded anecdotes could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research that suggests subtle changes in speech style occur years before the more serious mental decline takes hold.

The scientists behind the work said it may be possible to detect these changes and predict if someone is at risk more than a decade before meeting the threshold for an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Janet Cohen Sherman, clinical director of the Psychology Assessment Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, said: “One of the greatest challenges right now in terms of Alzheimer’s disease is to detect changes very early on when they are still very subtle and to distinguish them from changes we know occur with normal ageing.”

Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston, Sherman outlined new findings that revealed distinctive language deficits in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a precursor to dementia.

“Many of the studies to date have looked at changes in memory, but we also know changes occur in language,” she said. “I’d hope in the next five years we’d have a new linguistic test.”

Sherman cites studies of the vocabulary in Iris Murdoch’s later works, which showed signs of Alzheimer’s years before her diagnosis, and the increasingly repetitive and vague phrasing in Agatha Christie’s final novels – although the crime writer was never diagnosed with dementia. Another study, based on White House press conference transcripts, found striking changes in Ronald Reagan’s speech over the course of his presidency, while George HW Bush, who was a similar age when president, showed no such decline.

“Ronald Reagan started to have a decline in the number of unique words with repetitions of statements over time,” said Sherman. “[He] started using more fillers, more empty phrases, like ‘thing’ or ‘something’ or things like ‘basically’ or ‘actually’ or ‘well’.”

Worsening “mental imprecision” was the key, rather than people simply being verbose, however. “Many individuals may be long-winded, that’s not a concern,” said Sherman.

Sherman and colleagues had initially set out to test the “regression hypothesis”, the idea that language is lost in a reverse trajectory to how it was acquired during childhood, with sophisticated vocabulary being the first thing to go.

The hypothesis turned out to be wrong, but the team did find that dementia is accompanied by characteristic language deficits. In a study, the scientists compared the language abilities of 22 healthy young individuals, 24 healthy older individuals and 22 people with MCI.

When given an exercise in which they had to join up three words, for instance “pen”, “ink” and “paper”, the healthy volunteers typically joined the three in a simple sentence, while the MCI group gave circuitous accounts of going to the shop and buying a pen.

“They were much less concise in conveying information, the sentences they produced were much longer, they had a hard time staying on point and I guess you could say they were much more roundabout in getting their point across,” said Sherman. “It was a very significant difference.”

In another test, people were asked to repeat phrases read out by the investigator. Complex vocabulary or grammar was not a problem, but those with MCI appeared to have a mental block when they were given phrases involving ambiguous pronouns, such as “Fred visited Bob after his graduation”, which the scientists said required more mental agility to assign a meaning.

The prospect of an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s has had knockbacks in the past year as a string of drugs designed to sweep away the amyloid plaques seen in the brains of patients have each been shown to make no difference to the rate of cognitive decline in trials. Between 2002 and 2012, 99.6% of drugs studies aimed at preventing, curing or improving Alzheimer’s symptoms were either halted or discontinued.

Some believe that these failures may be, in part, because by the time Alzheimer’s is diagnosed, the disease has already caused irreparable damage to the brain, making it too late for treatment to help.

“So we are trying to push the detection period back to the very subtle, early changes in in Alzheimer’s disease,” said Sherman.

There are 850,000 people with dementia in Britain and this figure is expected to reach 1 million by 2025. Last year, dementia overtook heart disease as the leading cause of death in England and Wales.


‘Sky rivers’ responsible for massive California rain – study

February 21, 2017


When it rains, it pours and no one relates to this more than Californians, who after a prolonged drought have been slammed with drenchers and other extreme weather. According to a study, atmospheric rivers in the sky are to blame.

After a five-year drought, California desperately needed some rain. But now the problem is that it won’t stop. According to a study published Monday in Nature Geoscience, it is because of a condition known as atmospheric rivers, or water vapors that extend thousands of miles from the tropics to the western US.

The large volume of rain has created problems for California. In Oroville, the risk of a dam collapse caused hundreds of thousands to evacuate their homes.

The study claims that “Landfalling atmospheric rivers are associated with about 40–75% of extreme wind and precipitation events over 40% of the world’s coastlines.”

The atmospheric rivers are a part of the infamous Pineapple Express, which moves moisture from Hawaii to the West Coast, USA Today reported. Normally, Northern California experiences five to seven atmospheric rivers per wet season, but this year they’ve received 10.


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