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TBR News December 22, 2019

Dec 22 2019

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. December 22, 2019:“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.
Commentary for December 22: ” How to Find Hidden Mics, Bugs, or Listening Devices:
Anyone can buy apps to eavesdrop on you. Many require access to your device to install. Sometimes they’re hidden on the SIM card rather than on the operating system. However, some might be installed OTA (over-the-air, remotely).
•One thing to think about is the bug’s power supply. Some run on batteries, and as a result, they have a limited lifespan. If someone wants to listen to you constantly, they’ll need a device with a steady and dependable power source, so always pay attention to visible wires that may indicate a hidden bug.
•A bug might steal power from other devices. For example, some can hide in a USB cable and draw power any time the cord is plugged in.
•When the house is empty and traffic noise outside has subsided, walk around and switch off all electrical appliances, such as the refrigerator and computers. Be still and listen. Walk around the house quietly and listen out for any soft buzzing or bleeping. Track down the source.
•Electric switch plates are a favorite place for bug installations. Check every switch plate and wall socket by first looking at it and then trying to move it. If it has been recently disturbed, may be visually out of alignment or loose. Turn off the power, unscrew the plate, and see if there’s anything behind it that shouldn’t be there.
•Check your smoke detectors, wall and ceiling light fittings, ceiling tiles, clocks, and lamps. Warning: Don’t go poking screwdrivers anywhere near live electrical wiring.
•Look out for paint discoloration on walls or ceilings. A small, circular mark may be an indication of a micro-camera or listening device. Check the baseboards for bumps or signs of disturbance.
•Use your flashlight and hands to thoroughly examine every piece of furniture. Run your fingers along out-of-sight edges. Turn the furniture upside down. Look carefully for small holes in upholstery.
•Take notice of tiny patches of white dust from dry walls on baseboards or on sills. See if you can determine where it came from. It could be debris from the installation of a tiny pinhole camera.
•Examine every ornament and other innocuous objects in a room–pictures are good places to hide devices, and so are pillows.
•Try all the door locks to make sure they feel and work the same as usual. A lock that has been tampered with may exhibit stiffness, sticking, or feel very loose.
Remember, installing an external device to listen to your private conversations isn’t necessary if the device already has a microphone (like your cell phone or computer, for example).”

The Table of Contents
• Trump and his Generals review: a White House of foreign policy horrors
• Republican’s rush to defend Trump reveals a party in thrall to its leader
• The Republican’s most powerful political control system
• Trump slams House’s impeachment delay as ‘so unfair’
• World’s population to hit 7.75 billion in 2019
• Quarter of world’s population faces high water stress
• Overpopulation Disaster Looming
• Hezbollah versus Israel
• The Truth at last! Scientists have proven it!
• Editorial: Anti-vaxxers can’t compete with cold, hard facts
• The Season of Evil

Trump and his Generals review: a White House of foreign policy horrors
Peter Bergen delivers the shameful goods on North Korea and the death of Jamal Khashoggi – and yet could have been harsher
December 21, 2019
by Charles Kaiser
The Guardian
This is a breezy overview of the greatest hits and multiple failures of Donald Trump’s foreign policy. It’s full of gossip, much of it old, like Rex Tillerson calling the president a “fucking moron”, and some of it new, like Trump’s sudden command to evacuate all American civilians from Seoul after noticing how close the South Korean capital was to the border with North Korea
As with many of the president’s more outrageous requests, his aides simply ignored that one until he forgot all about it.
Author Peter Bergen is a former CNN producer – Osama Bin Laden was his big “get” – now a vice-president at a Washington thinktank, a sometime professor and a full-time Washington operator.
He has a nice origin story for one of the crucial relationships underpinning the president’s Middle East policy: the tender bromance between presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman, better known as MBS, who are famous for messaging each other on WhatsApp. Kushner, Bergen writes, confided to an administration colleague that the young prince “rushed me in ways that no woman” ever had.
Not even the CIA’s verdict that MBS probably ordered the assassination of a US-resident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, has diminished the warmth between the Kushner-Trumps and the Saudi royals. Bergen reports that Trump interrogated both the Saudi king and his heir about the murder of the Washington Post columnist but there was really only one detail that gave the president any pause: the sound of the saw used to cut up the victim’s body, picked up by a Turkish recording device.
“Was there a bone saw?” the president asked MBS. “Because if there was a bone saw, that changes everything. I mean, I’ve been in some pretty tough negotiations, I’ve never had to take a bone saw with me.”
The prince’s only response: he didn’t know whether a saw had been used, because the victim’s body “was given to a Syrian”.
“Just a random Syrian walking around in Turkey?” Trump asked.
Trump spurned an offer from his CIA director to listen to the audio, because “it’s a suffering tape”. Eventually the White House let MBS off the hook, blaming his “Rasputin” advisor, Saud al-Qajhtani, instead.
There are plenty of details here to reinforce an impression of terrifying incompetence throughout the administration. During Michael Flynn’s extremely brief tenure as national security adviser, a staffer asked: “What does an ‘America First’ foreign policy look like?”
Flynn had no idea, so he asked his deputy, KT McFarland, to answer.
“Wow! Look at all these people,” McFarland replied. “I didn’t know there were so many people on the NSC staff …”
A former Fox talking head, McFarland explained what she really needed: “I am a TV person. Give me the script and tell me what to say.”
Confidence in the National Security Council isn’t enhanced by Bergen’s quotes from a memo by Rich Higgins, an early director of strategic planning. It explained that “deep state” Marxists were embedded in the American government, allied to Islamists in a conspiracy including the European Union and the United Nations.
“This is a form of population control,” the memo said, “by certain business cartels in league with cultural Marxists/corporatists/Islamists who will leverage Islamic terrorism threats to justify the creation of a police state.”
That was too much even for the America Firsters. Higgins lasted less than a year.
Trump’s one real foreign policy success in his first two years in office was the freeing of 20 hostages held around the world. But there were many, many more failures, from his fruitless efforts to convince North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to give up his nukes (even after Trump confessed he had “fallen in love with” him) , to his disastrous decision to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, destroying the last, faint hopes of peace with the Palestinians.
Reliable judgement is the most important thing a nonfiction author can offer, and there isn’t always a lot of that here. Former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is described as a “heavy hitter”, rather than one of America’s most notorious union busters, while the neocon Elliott Abrams, an unsuccessful candidate to be deputy secretary of state, is a “sharp observer of the Middle East” instead of an “actual American war criminal”, as Eric Alterman has described him more convincingly in the Nation.
Then there’s the famous mercenary Eric Prince, whose detailed plan to privatize the war in Afghanistan Bergen says seemed just “a little self-serving”, since Prince was one of the largest players “in the war contracting industry”.
Despite the ample evidence of catastrophe, Bergen is shy about making any final judgements. After all, “Harry Truman was initially derided as a onetime haberdasher and Reagan was similarly dinged as a former actor” before both of their reputations, especially Truman’s, soared when they left the White House.
“Could the blowhard billionaire from Queens also enjoy a similar reputational shift?” Bergen asks.
With Trump becoming the third American president to be impeached, because of one of his most outrageous foreign adventures, the answer is surely a resounding: “No!”

Republican’s rush to defend Trump reveals a party in thrall to its leader
The GOP has become the prisoner of an erratic leader known for demanding loyalty but not famous for repaying it
December 22, 2019
by Tom McCarthy
The Guardian
As the action wound to a climax on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday night, Republicans warned the impeachment of Donald Trump was “tearing this country apart”.
Then, just to be sure, they put the crowbar in and pulled at the breach, declaring that by impeaching Trump in 2019, Democrats were seeking to “disenfranchise” everyone who had voted for the president in 2016.
Republican Bill Johnson of Ohio went so far as to use his 90 seconds of speaking time to call for a moment of silence to “remember the voices of the 63 million American voters the Democrats today are wanting to silence”.
If there is a political price to be paid by Democrats for taking on Trump, Republicans were determined to exact it. But in the process, they revealed themselves to be prisoners of a wounded, erratic leader known for demanding loyalty but not famous for repaying it. As the impeachment unfolded, it led to a party heading into the 2020 election never more obedient to Trump.
Trump, Republican politicians insisted, embodies everyone who once voted for him, while the Democratic House majority – installed just one year ago in an election with record turnout – stood for no one, or at best for a disembodied elite, or politically irrelevant classes who live in parts of the country that somehow don’t count.
“This lawless partisan impeachment is a political suicide march for the Democrat party,” Trump said on stage at a campaign rally in Michigan, where he spoke to a cheering crowd as impeachment unfolded.
But is it? If one of America’s major political parties is marching toward its political doom, it might just be the one that saw, in any allegation of wrongdoing by its leader, an existential threat to millions of voters – the party that under Trump has been steadily shrinking, ageing and being drained of all color.
The anxiety of the Republican position was palpable during the impeachment investigation in their efforts to present their minority case as the majority case, and in their strenuous sales pitch of untouchable executive power as a form of populism.
The Democratic House majority leader, Steny Hoyer, laid the dissembling bare in his speech on the brink of the impeachment vote.
“There’s been a lot of talk about the 63 million people who voted for Mr Trump,” Hoyer said. “Little talk about the 65 million people who voted for Hillary Clinton.”
The line brought a short outburst of applause in the chamber.
As impeachment was announced, Trump was on stage insulting a deceased and beloved former member of Congress from Michigan. Much was made of the Republican calls that followed for Trump to apologize, underscoring how alien the spectacle was, of a Republican daring to reproach the president.
“One day in the not too distant future,” former Republican senator Jeff Flake tweeted, “Republicans will wake up and say, “We did this for this man?”
For the duration of impeachment, the Republican captivity under Trump was such that no Republican member was able to entertain the idea that Trump might have done anything wrong, much less something so wrong as to warrant impeachment.
Instead, Republicans demanded standards of evidence that were impressively high while setting the bar on Trump’s conduct vanishingly low.
If Democrats could not produce a witness who directly quoted Trump as saying “no aid for Ukraine till they take out Joe Biden”, it was case closed, no matter what the surrounding universe of evidence, including Trump’s own words, showed. The refusal by Trump to admit any witness who might be able to testify to what he said in private was somehow the fault of the other side.
No fact that threatened Trump could be true, while any theory that exculpated him, no matter how wild, must be true.
Early in the impeachment process, when Republicans were struggling mightily to get their defense straight, the conventional wisdom was that the party would eventually land on some version of, “what Trump did was wrong, but did not warrant impeachment.”
They never got there, instead collecting around the argument that his conduct had been perfect in every way, and that to suggest otherwise was heresy.
It was unclear how impeachment had moved the electoral needle, if at all, for upcoming elections. In the must-win state of Pennsylvania, impeachment did not seem to be garnering a lot of attention among potential swing voters, said Christopher Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, before the vote.
“For most folks, impeachment doesn’t make a dime’s worth of difference,” Borick said. “Especially for those in the middle, I think the saliency of the issue is pretty low. These are folks that I don’t think spend a ton of time thinking about this issue.”
While support for impeachment has grown radically since the impeachment inquiry was opened, Republicans were right about the country being divided. On the morning after impeachment, support for the process was about +1, on average, while approval of Trump is near the top of the narrow band in which it fluctuates, in the low-40s.
“This impeachment has divided this nation without any concern for the repercussions,” said the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, the last Republican to speak before Trump was impeached.
The division predated the impeachment. But the repercussions have yet to fall.

The Republican’s most powerful political control system
December 22, 2019
by Christian Jürs
Government surveillance of the American public is very widespread and at the present time, almost every aspect of an American citizen, or resident, is available for official surveillance. This includes mail, television viewing, telephone conversations, computer communications, travel, ownership of property, medical and school records, banking and credit card transactions, inheritances and other aspects of a citizen’s daily life.
This is done to circumvent any possible organization that could contravene official government policy and has its roots in massive civil resistance to governmental policy during the war in Vietnam. The government does not want a reprise of that problem and its growing surveillance is designed to carefully watch any citizen, or groups of citizens, who might, present or future, pose a threat to government policy.
Another factor to be considered is the current American attitudes towards racial issues. There has always been prejudice in the United States against blacks. In 1943 there were bloody riots in Detroit and Los Angeles, the former aimed at blacks and the latter against Mexicans. Since then, there has been chronic racial prejudice but it has been relatively small and very local. Also, there is growing anti-Semitic prejudice in American but this is officially ignored and never is mentioned in the American media. Much of this growing problem is directed at the brutal actions of Israel against Palestinians. Israelis have an undue influence in the American political scene. The very far right so-called neo-cons are almost all Jewish and most are Israeli citizens. Also, the middle-level ranks of American CIA personnel are heavily infiltrated by Israelis and it is said that any secret the CIA has is at once passed to Israel and that countries needs are assuming importance in CIA actions.
The attitudes of the working class Americans were inflamed during the last presidential elections by Mr. Trump who catered to them and encouraged rebellious attitudes.
By speaking against Central American illegal immigrants, Mr. Trump has caused a polarization of attitudes and the militant right wing in America, currently small in number but well-organized and potentially very dangerous, has begun to make its views very well known in public demonstrations.

Trump slams House’s impeachment delay as ‘so unfair’
Deceber 21, 2019
by Alexandra Alper and Jan Wolfe
Reuters
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Saturday criticized House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi for holding off on sending the articles of impeachment against him to the Senate.
“It’s so unfair,” Trump said, days after he was impeached by the House, during a speech to conservative student group Turning Point USA, saying that Pelosi adopted the strategy because she has “no case.”
“They are violating the Constitution,” Trump said, calling Pelosi “crazy Nancy.”
The Democratic-controlled House voted on Dec. 18 to impeach Trump, setting the stage for a trial in the Senate. Trump is very unlikely to be convicted and removed from office by the upper chamber of Congress because it is controlled by his Republican Party. A two-thirds majority vote in the Senate is needed for a conviction on impeachment charges.
Republicans and Democrats are at loggerheads over how the trial will play out. Pelosi and other Democrats want to call top Trump aides as witnesses and are seeking assurances that the trial will be held on terms they consider fair.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has said he is working in tandem with the White House on trial preparations, drawing accusations from Democrats that he is ignoring his duty to consider the evidence in an impartial manner.
Pelosi has not yet sent the impeachment package to the Senate in a bid to increase pressure on Republicans there. Pelosi has also not yet announced the managers, or prosecutors, who will present evidence in the trial.
“Until the House gets a clearer picture of what a Senate trial will look like, the Speaker will not be in the position to appoint managers and take the next steps in holding this President accountable and ensuring the Senate fulfills its constitutional duty,” Pelosi’s office said in a statement on Saturday.
Pelosi’s office said senators have a constitutional obligation to conduct a “fair process that provides both the Senators, who will act as jurors, and the public with the opportunity to understand the full extent of President Trump’s abuse of power.”
Trump is accused of abusing his power by holding back $391 million in security aid to Ukraine in an effort to get Kiev to announce a corruption investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the November 2020 election.
The president is also charged with obstruction of Congress for directing administration officials and agencies not to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.
Trump says he did nothing wrong and has dismissed his impeachment as a partisan bid to undo his 2016 election win.
Reporting by Alexandra Alper, Jan Wolfe and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Leslie Adler

World’s population to hit 7.75 billion in 2019
The alarming increase is the estimate from a German foundation that monitors populations. It also suggests the 8 billion mark will be reached in the year 2023.
December 21, 2019
by John Silk (with dpa)
DW
By the end of this year there will be some 7.75 billion people living on planet earth, according to Germany’s Foundation for World Population (DSW).
The estimate gauges that the world’s population will have increased by 83 million since January 1 2019, which equates to roughly the number of inhabitants in Germany.
The globe’s population is increasing at the rate of 156 every minute and DSW predict the 8 billion mark will be surpassed within four years.
African population to double by 2050
The foundation also predicts that Africa’s population will double over the next 20 years. An African mother bears 4.4 children on average compared to the global average of 2.4.
The UN’s “World Population Prospects” report released in June this year predicted that the world’s population would grow to 9.7 billion by 2050.
The same report also predicted that by the same year, more than half the world’s population would be concentrated in India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the United States. In addition, India is expected to overtake China as the world’s most populous country by 2027.

Quarter of world’s population faces high water stress
A quarter of the world’s population lives in countries where water demand threatens to outstrip supply.

Forty-four countries are under extremely high or high water stress.
by Chase Winter
DW
Seventeen countries that are home to nearly a quarter of the world’s population face “extremely high” levels of water stress, according to a report released Tuesday.
The World Resources Institute’s (WRI) “Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas” ranked water stress using 13 hydrological risk indicators.
In the 17 worst impacted countries, “irrigated agriculture, industries and municipalities withdraw more than 80% of their available supply on average every year,” WRI said.
“Such a narrow gap between supply and demand leaves countries vulnerable to fluctuations like droughts or increased water withdrawals,” the report said, warning that communities are facing “Day Zeros” and other crises.
Qatar, Israel, Lebanon, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, UAE, San Marino, Bahrain, India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Oman and Botswana made up the top 17.
Twelve of the 17 worst countries are in the Middle East and North Africa, where pressure on already scarce water resources has been compounded by rapidly growing demand and climate change.
India ranked 13 in overall water stress, but has a population three times larger than the other 17 extremely highly stressed countries combined. WRI said that in addition to rivers, lakes and streams being overused, groundwater resources are overdrawn to provide water for irrigation.
Another 27 countries ranked for “high baseline water stress.”
The report highlighted that even in countries with low levels of water stress there are pockets of high stress. While South Africa and the United States ranked 48 and 71 on WRI’s list, respectively, Western Cape Province and New Mexico have extremely high water stress levels.

Overpopulation Disaster Looming
Wikipedia
Human overpopulation (or population overshoot) is when there are too many people for the environment to sustain (with food, drinkable water, breathable air, etc.). In more scientific terms, there is overshoot when the ecological footprint of a human population in a geographical area exceeds that place’s carrying capacity, damaging the environment faster than nature can repair it, potentially leading to an ecological and societal collapse. Overpopulation could apply to the population of a specific region, or to world population as a whole.
Overpopulation can result from an increase in births, a decline in mortality rates, an increase in immigration, or an unsustainable biome and depletion of resources. It is possible for very sparsely populated areas to be overpopulated if the area has a meager or non-existent capability to sustain life (e.g. a desert).
Advocates of population moderation cite issues like exceeding the Earth’s carrying capacity, global warming, potential or imminent ecological collapse, impact on quality of life, and risk of mass starvation or even extinction as a basis to argue for population decline.
A more controversial definition of overpopulation, as advocated by Paul Ehrlich, is a situation where a population is in the process of depleting non-renewable resources. Under this definition, changes in lifestyle could cause an overpopulated area to no longer be overpopulated without any reduction in population, or vice versa.
Scientists suggest that the overall human impact on the environment, due to overpopulation, overconsumption, pollution, and proliferation of technology, has pushed the planet into a new geological epoch known as the Anthropocene.
Current population dynamics, and cause for concern
As of December 20, 2019 the world’s human population is estimated to be 7.756 billion. Or, 7,622,106,064 on May 14, 2018 and the United States Census Bureau calculates 7,472,985,269 for that same date and over 7 billion by the United Nations. Most contemporary estimates for the carrying capacity of the Earth under existing conditions are between 4 billion and 16 billion. Depending on which estimate is used, human overpopulation may have already occurred.
Nevertheless, the rapid recent increase in human population has created concern. The population is expected to reach between 8 and 10.5 billion between the years 2040 and 2050. In 2017, the United Nations increased the medium variant projections to 9.8 billion for 2050 and 11.2 billion for 2100.
As pointed out by Hans Rosling, the critical factor is that the population is not “just growing”, but that the growth ratio reached its peak and the total population is now growing much slower. The UN population forecast of 2017 was predicting “near end of high fertility” globally and anticipating that by 2030 over ⅔ of world population will be living in countries with fertility below the replacement level and for total world population to stabilize between 10-12 billion people by year 2100.
The rapid increase in world population over the past three centuries has raised concerns that the planet may not be able to sustain the future or even present number of its inhabitants. The InterAcademy Panel Statement on Population Growth, circa 1994, stated that many environmental problems, such as rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, global warming, and pollution, are aggravated by the population expansion.
Other problems associated with overpopulation include the increased demand for resources such as fresh water and food, starvation and malnutrition, consumption of natural resources (such as fossil fuels) faster than the rate of regeneration, and a deterioration in living conditions. Wealthy but highly populated territories like Britain rely on food imports from overseas. This was severely felt during the World Wars when, despite food efficiency initiatives like “dig for victory” and food rationing, Britain needed to fight to secure import routes. However, many believe that waste and over-consumption, especially by wealthy nations, is putting more strain on the environment than overpopulation itself.
Potential ecological collapse
Main article: Ecological collapse
Ecological collapse refers to a situation where an ecosystem suffers a drastic, possibly permanent, reduction in carrying capacity for all organisms, often resulting in mass extinction. Usually, an ecological collapse is precipitated by a disastrous event occurring on a short time scale. Ecological collapse can be considered as a consequence of ecosystem collapse on the biotic elements that depended on the original ecosystem.
The ocean is in great danger of collapse. In a study of 154 different marine fish species, David Byler came to the conclusion that many factors such as overfishing, climate change, and fast growth of fish populations will cause ecosystem collapse. When humans fish, they usually will fish the populations of the higher trophic levels such as salmon and tuna. The depletion of these trophic levels allow the lower trophic level to overpopulate, or populate very rapidly. For example, when the population of catfish is depleting due to overfishing, plankton will then overpopulate because their natural predator is being killed off. This causes an issue called eutrophication. Since the population all consumes oxygen the dissolved oxygen (DO) levels will plummet. The DO levels dropping will cause all the species in that area to have to leave, or they will suffocate. This along with climate change, and ocean acidification can cause the collapse of an ecosystem.
Fresh water
Further information: Water crisis
Overpopulation may lead to inadequate fresh water for drinking as well as sewage treatment and effluent discharge. Some countries, like Saudi Arabia, use energy-expensive desalination to solve the problem of water shortages.
Fresh water supplies, on which agriculture depends, are running low worldwide. This water crisis is only expected to worsen as the population increases.
Potential problems with dependence on desalination are reviewed below, however, the majority of the world’s freshwater supply is contained in the polar icecaps, and underground river systems accessible through springs and wells.
Fresh water can be obtained from salt water by desalination. For example, Malta derives two thirds of its freshwater by desalination. A number of nuclear powered desalination plants exist; however, the high costs of desalination, especially for poor countries, makes the transport of large amounts of desalinated seawater to interiors of large countries impractical. The cost of desalination varies; Israel is now desalinating water for a cost of 53 cents per cubic meter, Singapore at 49 cents per cubic meter. In the United States, the cost is 81 cents per cubic meter ($3.06 for 1,000 gallons).
According to the United Nations’ World Population Prospects report:
Net annual human population increase by country – 2016.
The world population is currently growing by approximately 74 million people per year. Current United Nations predictions estimate that the world population will reach 9.0 billion around 2050, assuming a decrease in average fertility rate from 2.5 down to 2.0.
Almost all growth will take place in the less developed regions, where today’s 5.3 billion population of underdeveloped countries is expected to increase to 7.8 billion in 2050. By contrast, the population of the more developed regions will remain mostly unchanged, at 1.2 billion. An exception is the United States population, which is expected to increase by 44% from 2008 to 2050.
In 2000–2005, the average world fertility was 2.65 children per woman, about half the level in 1950–1955 (5 children per woman). In the medium variant, global fertility is projected to decline further to 2.05 children per woman.
During 2005–2050, nine countries are expected to account for half of the world’s projected population increase: India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bangladesh, Uganda, United States, Ethiopia, and China, listed according to the size of their contribution to population growth. China would be higher still in this list were it not for its one-child policy.
Global life expectancy at birth is expected to continue rising from 65 years in 2000–2005 to 75 years in 2045–2050. In the more developed regions, the projection is to 82 years by 2050. Among the least developed countries, where life expectancy today is just under 50 years, it is expected to increase to 66 years by 2045–2050.
The population of 51 countries or areas is expected to be lower in 2050 than in 2005.
During 2005–2050, the net number of international migrants to more developed regions is projected to be 98 million. Because deaths are projected to exceed births in the more developed regions by 73 million during 2005–2050, population growth in those regions will largely be due to international migration.
In 2000–2005, net migration in 28 countries either prevented population decline or doubled at least the contribution of natural increase (births minus deaths) to population growth.
Birth rates are now falling in a small percentage of developing countries, while the actual populations in many developed countries would fall without immigration.
According to the United Nations’ World Population Prospects report:
Net annual human population increase by country – 2016.
The world population is currently growing by approximately 74 million people per year. Current United Nations predictions estimate that the world population will reach 9.0 billion around 2050, assuming a decrease in average fertility rate from 2.5 down to 2.0.
Almost all growth will take place in the less developed regions, where today’s 5.3 billion population of underdeveloped countries is expected to increase to 7.8 billion in 2050. By contrast, the population of the more developed regions will remain mostly unchanged, at 1.2 billion. An exception is the United States population, which is expected to increase by 44% from 2008 to 2050.
In 2000–2005, the average world fertility was 2.65 children per woman, about half the level in 1950–1955 (5 children per woman). In the medium variant, global fertility is projected to decline further to 2.05 children per woman.
During 2005–2050, nine countries are expected to account for half of the world’s projected population increase: India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bangladesh, Uganda, United States, Ethiopia, and China, listed according to the size of their contribution to population growth. China would be higher still in this list were it not for its one-child policy.
Global life expectancy at birth is expected to continue rising from 65 years in 2000–2005 to 75 years in 2045–2050. In the more developed regions, the projection is to 82 years by 2050. Among the least developed countries, where life expectancy today is just under 50 years, it is expected to increase to 66 years by 2045–2050.
The population of 51 countries or areas is expected to be lower in 2050 than in 2005.
During 2005–2050, the net number of international migrants to more developed regions is projected to be 98 million. Because deaths are projected to exceed births in the more developed regions by 73 million during 2005–2050, population growth in those regions will largely be due to international migration.
In 2000–2005, net migration in 28 countries either prevented population decline or doubled at least the contribution of natural increase (births minus deaths) to population growth.
Birth rates are now falling in a small percentage of developing countries, while the actual populations in many developed countries would fall without immigration.

Hezbollah versus Israel
December 21, 2019
by Christian Jürs
Israel has long been prepared a serious planning for a future invasion of Lebanon and such an assault would continue attacking until both Hezbollah’s membership and their system of tunnels and bunkers was completely destroyed, because Israel will never tolerate a “zone of invulnerability” occupied by a sworn enemy, or a double threat posed by Hezbollah’s rockets.
In the event that Israeli military aircraft attack Tehran, there is the vital necessity that these Israeli military aircraft would be under great pressure to return to base at once because Israeli intelligence believes that Iran would immediately order Hezbollah to fire rockets at Israeli cities, and Israeli air-force resources would be needed to hunt Hezbollah rocket teams.
Israel’s Northern Command, at its headquarters near the Lebanese border, is ordered that in the event of a unilateral Israeli or American strike on Iran, their mission would be to attack and completely destroy any and all identified Hezbollah rocket forces, by any and all means necessary, to include small nuclear devices that could destroy a number of square miles of what is called ‘terrorist territory’ and render it useless as any future base of attack against Israel. At the present time the Iranians are keeping their Hezbollah firm ally in reserve until Iran can cross the nuclear threshold.
During the years since the 2006 Israeli attack on Lebanon Hezbollah has greatly increased its surface-to-surface missile capability, and an American/Israeli strike on Iran, would immediately provoke all-out retaliation by Iran’s Lebanese subsidiary, Hezbollah, which now possesses, by most Israeli/American intelligence estimates, as many as 45,000 surface-to-surface rockets—at least three times as many as it had in the summer of 2006, during the last round of fighting between the group and Israel. It is further known that Russia has sent large numbers of longer range surface-to-surface missiles to Syria which has, in turn, shipped them to Hezbollah forces in southern Lebanon. These missiles have the capacity to easily reach Tel Aviv and Israelis are very concerned that a massive rocket barrage deep into Israel could not only do serious damage to their infrastructure but could easily provoke a mass immigration of Israelis to other areas, thus depriving Israel of both civilian and military personnel it would certainly need in the event of increased Arab military actions against Israel.
Even if Israel’s Northern Command successfully combated Hezbollah rocket attacks in the wake of an Israeli strike, which American experts have deemed to be “nearly impossible” political limitations would not allow Israel to make repeated sorties over Iran. “America, too, would look complicit in an Israeli attack, even if it had not been forewarned. The assumption—that Israel acts only with the full approval of the United States is a feature of life in the Middle East, and it is one the Israelis are taking into account. A serious danger here to Israeli attack plans would be if the United States got wind of the imminence of such an attack and demanded that Israel cease and desist in its actions. Would Israel then stop? Though highly unlikely, this is an unpleasant and unacceptable
At this time, the Israelis have drawn up specific plans to bomb the uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz, the enrichment site at Qom, the nuclear-research center at Esfahan, and the Bushehr reactor, along with four other main sites of the Iranian nuclear program that have been identified by joint past and present Israeli-American aerial surveillance.
If Israeli aircraft succeed in destroying Iran’s centrifuges and warhead and missile plants, all well and good but even if they fail to damage or destroy these targets ,such an attack is feared by American and other nations as risking a devastating change in the Middle East. Such an attack could initiate immediate reprisals such as a massed rocket attack by Hezbollah from southern Lebanon as well as other actions from neighboring Muslim states.
This could become a major diplomatic crisis for President Trump that will dwarf Afghanistan in significance and complexity; of rupturing relations between Jerusalem and Washington, which is Israel’s only meaningful ally; of inadvertently solidifying the somewhat tenuous rule of the mullahs in Tehran; of causing the international price of oil to spike to cataclysmic highs, launching the world economy into a period of turbulence not experienced since the autumn of 2008, or possibly since the oil shock of 1973; of seriously endangering Jewish groups around the world, and especially in the United States by making them the targets of Muslim-originated terror attacks and most certainly accelerating the growing immigration of many Israelis to what they felt might be much safer areas.
An Israeli political and military consensus has now emerged that there is a better than 50 percent chance that Israel will launch a strike by December of 2019. (Of course, it is in the Israeli interest to let it be known that the country is considering military action, if for no other reason than to concentrate the attention of the Trump administration. The Netanyahu government is already intensifying its analytic efforts not just on Iran, but on a subject many Israelis have difficulty understanding: President Trump.
The Israelis argue that Iran demands the urgent attention of the entire international community, and in particular the United States, with its unparalleled ability to project military force. This is the position of many moderate Arab leaders as well that if America allowed Iran to cross the nuclear threshold, the small Arab countries of the Gulf would have no choice but to leave the American orbit and ally themselves with Iran, out of self-protection. Several Arab leaders have suggested that America’s standing in the Middle East depends on its willingness to confront Iran. They argue, self-interestedly, that an aerial attack on a handful of Iranian facilities would not be as complicated or as messy as, say, invading Iraq. The basic question then is why the Jewish state should trust the non-Jewish president of the United States to stop Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold.
For more than a year, these White House officials have parried the charge that their president is unwilling to face the potential consequences of a nuclear Iran, and they are frustrated by what they believe to be a caricature of his position. It is undeniably true, however, that the administration has appeared on occasion less than stalwart on the issue.
One question no administration official seems eager to answer is this: what will the United States do if sanctions fail?
In Israel, of course, officials expend enormous amounts of energy to understand President Trump, despite the assurances they have received from others. Delegations from Netanyahu’s bureau, from the defense and foreign ministries, and from the Israeli intelligence community have been arriving in Washington lately with great regularity. As an alternative to cooperation by Trump, Israel, through her supporters and lobbyists in the United States are preparing to offer extensive financial and other incentives to political opponents of Trump, mostly the right-wing Republicans and American Christian groups and cults. Both of these groups are being cultivated currently with the idea that if Trump will not cooperate, the Republicans will in the future as they always have before. Also to consider is the current antipathy of American Jews for Netanyahu’s Likud Party, and these American Jews, who are, like the president they voted for in overwhelming numbers, generally supportive of a two-state solution, and dubious about Jewish settlement of the West Bank.
Both Israeli and American intelligence agencies are of the firm belief that Iran is, at most, one to three years away from having a breakout nuclear capability, which is the capacity to assemble more than one missile-ready nuclear device.. The Iranian regime, by its own statements and actions, has made itself Israel’s most zealous foe; and the most crucial component of Israeli national-security doctrine, a tenet that dates back to the 1960s, when Israel developed its own nuclear capability as a response to the Jewish experience during the Holocaust, is that no regional adversary should be allowed to achieve nuclear parity with the reborn and still-besieged Jewish state, the Iranian desire for nuclear weapons and the regime’s theologically motivated desire to see the Jewish state purged from the Middle East
Patriotism in Israel runs very high, according to numerous polls, and it seemed unlikely that mere fear of Iran could drive Israel’s Jews to seek shelter elsewhere. But one leading proponent of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, If Iran crossed the nuclear threshold, the very idea of Israel as a Zionist entity would be endangered. “These people are good citizens, and brave citizens, but the dynamics of life are such that if someone has a scholarship for two years at an American university and the university offers him a third year, the parents will say, ‘Go ahead, remain there,’ If someone finishes a Ph.D. and they are offered a job in America, they might stay there. It will not be that people are running to the airport, but slowly, slowly, the decision-making on the family level will be in favor of staying abroad. The bottom line is that we would have an accelerated brain drain. And an Israel that is not based on entrepreneurship that is not based on excellence will not be the Israel of today.”
Most critically if a Zionist Israel is no longer seen by its 6 million Jewish inhabitants and also by the approximately 7 millions of Jews resident outside of Israel that because of continuing threats from outside the country as no longer a natural safe haven for Jews then the entire concept of a Zionist haven/state is destroyed
To understand why Israelis of different political dispositions see Iran as quite possibly the most crucial challenge they have faced in their 62-year history, one must keep in mind the near-sanctity, in the public’s mind, of Israel’s nuclear monopoly. The Israeli national narrative, in shorthand, begins with shoah, which is Hebrew for “calamity,” and ends with tkumah, “rebirth.” Israel’s nuclear arsenal symbolizes national rebirth, and something else as well: that Jews emerged from World War II having learned at least one lesson, about the price of powerlessness.
If Israel is unable to change Trump’s mind, they will continue to threaten to take unilateral action against Iran by sending approximately one hundred F-15Es, F-16Is, F-16Cs, and other aircraft of the Israeli air force to fly east toward Iran—by crossing Saudi Arabia, and along the border between Syria and Turkey, and, without consulting the Americans or in any way announcing their missions by traveling directly through Iraq’s airspace, though it is crowded with American aircraft. (It’s so crowded, in fact, that the United States Central Command, whose area of responsibility is the greater Middle East, has already asked the Pentagon what to do should Israeli aircraft invade its airspace. According to multiple sources, the answer came back: do not shoot them down.)
The first belief by Israeli military planners is that Israel would get only one try. Israeli planes would fly low over Saudi Arabia, bomb their targets in Iran, and return to Israel by flying again over Saudi territory, possibly even landing in the Saudi desert for refueling—perhaps, if speculation rife in intelligence circles is to be believed, with secret Saudi cooperation.
Israel has been working through the United States to procure Saudi cooperation with an Israeli air strike against Tehran and other targets inside Iran.. The Saudis are treating this subject with great caution lest other Arab states learn of their putative cooperation in an Iranian attack with over flights of Saudi territory by Israeli military aircraft.
The current American/Israeli military plans are for the Saudis to turn off their radar after they have been noticed by the American embassy that an Israeli attack is imminent and also to permit the Israeli aircraft to land in their country for refueling The Israelis are not concerned with any kind of Iranian aircraft resistance because their airfields have been pinpointed by American satellites and one of the attacking groups would use low-yield atomic rocketry on all the identified Iranian bases. It is obvious that when, not if, the Saudis part in this becomes public, it will create immense ill-will in neighboring Muslim states, an impression the Saudi government is most anxious not to deal with.
Israel has twice before successfully attacked and destroyed an enemy’s nuclear program. In 1981, Israeli warplanes bombed the Iraqi reactor at Osirak, halting—forever, as it turned out—Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions; and in 2007, Israeli planes destroyed a North Korean–built reactor in Syria. An attack on Iran, then, would be unprecedented only in scope and complexity.
The reasoning offered by Israeli decision makers was uncomplicated: At the present moment, Israel possesses 135 nuclear weapons, most of them mainly two-stage thermonuclear devices, capable of being delivered by missile, fighter-bomber, or submarine (two of which are currently positioned in the Persian Gulf). Netanyahu is worried about an entire complex of problems, not only that Iran, or one of its proxies, would, in all probability, destroy or severely damage Tel Aviv; like most Israeli leaders, he believes that if Iran gains possession of a nuclear weapon, it will use its new leverage to buttress its terrorist proxies in their attempts to make life difficult and dangerous; and that Israel’s status as a haven for Jews would be forever undermined, and with it, the entire raison d’être of the 100-year-old Zionist experiment.
Another question Israeli planners struggle with: how will they know if their attacks have actually destroyed a significant number of centrifuges and other hard-to-replace parts of the clandestine Iranian program? Two strategists told me that Israel will have to dispatch commandos to finish the job, if necessary, and bring back proof of the destruction. The commandos—who, according to intelligence sources, may be launched from the autonomous Kurdish territory in northern Iraq—would be facing a treacherous challenge, but one military planner I spoke with said the army would have no choice but to send them.
Netanyahu’s obvious course is to convince the United States that Iran is not Israel’s problem alone; it is the world’s problem, and the world, led by the United States, is obligated to grapple with it, not Israel alone. It is well-known that Israel by itself could not hope to deal with a retaliation against it by Iran and other Arab states but that a confederation of other nations, led, of course, by the United States could defend Israel against her enemies. The Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu, does not place and credence in the current sanctions against Iran, even the ones initiated by the United States at Israel’s urgent request. Is it known that Netanayahu is not happy with President Trumps’s reluctance to support an Israeli attack on Iran and has brought a great deal of political pressure to bear on the President by American Jewish political and business groups.
Netanyahu understands, however, that President Trump, with whom he has had a difficult and intermittently frigid relationship, believes that stringent sanctions, combined with various enticements to engage with the West, might still provide Iran with a face-saving method of standing down.
Israel’s current period of forbearance, in which Israel’s leadership waits to see if the West’s nonmilitary methods can stop Iran, will come to an end this December. The American defense secretary, said at a meeting of NATO defense ministers that most intelligence estimates predict that Iran is one to three years away from building a nuclear weapon. “
One of the consistent aims of Israel is to pressure President Trump, who has said on a number of occasions that he finds the prospect of a nuclear Iran “unacceptable,” into executing a military strike against Iran’s known main weapons and uranium-enrichment facilities.
Donald Trump is steadfastly opposed to initiating new wars in the Middle East and an attack by U.S. forces on Iran is not a foreign-policy goal for him or his administration. The Israeli goal is to compel him by public, and private, pressure to order the American military into action against Iran
President Trump has said any number of times that he would find a nuclear Iran “unacceptable.” His most stalwart comments on the subject have been discounted by some Israeli officials
If the Israelis reach the firm conclusion that Trump will not, under any circumstances, launch a strike on Iran, then the countdown will begin for a unilateral Israeli attack.

The Truth at last! Scientists have proven it!
by Benjamin Dova
I have been studying Planet Xes history on xfacts.com and zetatalk.com for four years now. Planet X orbits two suns about every 3657 years and is in our solar system now it is four times the size of Earth and it’s mass = 23 Earths. Planet X has many names from most countries, the most common name is Nemesis. This is what’s causing the Earth changes and disasters were seeing today. Our planet weighs nothing in space any magnetic disturbance will have disastrous affects on weather and tectonic plates and volcanoes. Planet X caused the Great Flood there was a pole shift that melted the poles. They said that this coming pole shift will be worst the Earth’s outer crust not the oceans will rotate 90 degrees because the Earth will line up with Nemesis as it crosses our skies. The Bible calls Planet X (Wormwood). The Incas called Planet X (Hercolubus), The Babylonians called Planet X (Marduk), the ancient Hindu astronomers named Planet X Treta Yuga and the destruction it causes Kali Yuga. So it has a history which makes it real. Almost every time it comes into our solar system it affects the surface of every planet it crosses. It’s coming in from our blind side (sun side). There seems to be a Government cover-up on this subject matter. WHY? Do they fear panic? We must warn people for survival reasons if theirs a fighting chance to survive we must take it.”

Editorial: Anti-vaxxers can’t compete with cold, hard facts
December 12, 2019
by The Times Editorial Board
Los Angeles Times
Anti-vaccination activists gave up on their misguided effort to repeal an important new state law — Senate Bill 276 — that will make it harder for parents to get their children bogus medical exemptions from mandatory vaccinations for measles and other dangerous infectious diseases.
The proponents failed to gather the 623,212 signatures required to place the repeal measure on the November 2020 ballot, and that’s a good thing. Although we’re confident that California’s voters would have seen through the baseless arguments that the self-styled “anti-vaxxers” use to justify their opposition to immunization efforts, any delay would have been a risk to public safety.
The excuse the referendum’s proponents offered for their failure to get it on the ballot is laughable. They abandoned the effort, they said on Facebook, because of the difficulty imposed by the “grossly misleading” title and ballot summary placed on the measure by the California attorney general’s office.
Do they mean the office used slanted or loaded language? If so, that wouldn’t be the first time the attorney general showed his or her political leaning in the description of a ballot measure, especially if was supported by a rival political party.
No, the problem evidently was in the remarkably nonjudgmental title and summary. As the measure’s authors complained in a Facebook post, the ballot portrayed SB 276 as a “benign” law that “simply requires the use of a standardized medical form that must be signed by a doctor and may be revoked if determined to be incompatible” with guidelines from three national health organizations. But that’s precisely what the law does.
Disingenuous or misleading ballot language is a real issue, such much so that that the Los Angeles Times editorial board has supported efforts to give the responsibility of writing ballot initiative titles and summaries to a nonpartisan third party. But that’s not what’s going on here.
See for yourself. Here’s the title for the proposed repeal of SB 276: “Referendum challenging 2019 law increasing state oversight of medical exemptions to school vaccination requirements.” The summary is just as dry and evenhanded.
It seems more likely that the ballot measure authors simply discovered when they tried to gather signatures that there’s not much support for their false and dangerous message outside their insulated echo chamber.

The Season of Evil
by Gregory Douglas

Preface
This is in essence a work of fiction, but the usual disclaimers notwithstanding, many of the horrific incidents related herein are based entirely on factual occurrences.
None of the characters or the events in this telling are invented and at the same time, none are real. And certainly, none of the participants could be considered by any stretch of the imagination to be either noble, self-sacrificing, honest, pure of motive or in any way socially acceptable to anything other than a hungry crocodile, a professional politician or a tax collector.
In fact, the main characters are complex, very often unpleasant, destructive and occasionally, very entertaining.
To those who would say that the majority of humanity has nothing in common with the characters depicted herein, the response is that mirrors only depict the ugly, evil and deformed things that peer into them
There are no heroes here, only different shapes and degrees of villains and if there is a moral to this tale it might well be found in a sentence by Jonathan Swift, a brilliant and misanthropic Irish cleric who wrote in his ‘Gulliver’s Travels,”
“I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most odious race of little pernicious vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”
Swift was often unkind in his observations but certainly not inaccurate.

Frienze, Italy
July 2018-August 2019

Chapter 35
Through the living room windows, a bank of indigo black clouds could be seen, slowly bearing down on the house and the temperature had dropped thirty degrees, but not as quickly as the barometer.
As soon as they had returned, Chuck and Lars spent the next half hour closing and bolting all of the shutters in the front and sides of the house. By the time they finished, the first snow was splatting against the walls and the trees were swaying heavily towards the south. Chuck almost walked out of the front door to make sure the garage doors were closed but changed his mind and went into the garage from the house to check the generator.
The waiting marksman would not have been able to focus his cross hairs on Chuck because the snow was blowing so thickly that he couldn’t see ten feet from his shooting blind. If there wasn’t so much money involved, he would have bailed out immediately but money has a way of blinding one to acute danger.
Gwen came downstairs, a book in one hand and a coffee cup in the other.
“My God, what a storm, guys! It’s making so much noise I can’t read.”
And it was. The winds boomed against the house and shrieked around the corners so loudly that it was difficult to be heard. Chuck had to speak very loudly. “The weather channel said winds up to sixty miles an hour, I just checked the outside thermometer and the temperature has dropped from forty five to twenty. And the barometer has gone below twenty-nine. Not a good day to go outside.”
“Where’s Lars?”
“I don’t know. He went into the cellar for something about ten minutes ago.”
Twenty minutes later they found him down there, sitting in a corner.
“Jesus, Lars,” Chuck said, “what are you doing down here?”
“This must be a hurricane, Chuck.”
“No, just a bad storm. Come on upstairs; we aren’t going to be blown away, kid.”
Ten minutes later, the lights went off, then snapped back on as the auxiliary diesel generator started.
When Gwen looked out an unshuttered window in the back, she couldn’t see more than a few feet. The original owner had installed a network of pipes under the driveway and when Chuck turned on the faucet inside the garage, hot water was sent circulating and the snow quickly began to melt. If it hadn’t been for this foresight on the part of the urinal manufacturer, they could never have opened the garage door.
There was the smell of rich cooking from the kitchen as Chuck came into the library and announced to the card players,
“Coquille St. Jacques with a Sauce Parisian for the main course, with a good Liebfraumilch, an excellent homemade sourdough bread that I got the culture for in Minneapolis and we can start with California artichokes with another sauce. Linzer torte for dessert. We can eat in the kitchen this time because it’s a bit noisy in the dining room.”
The storm had been raging for four hours and showed no sign of letting up. There was no way to chart its course because neither the televisions or the radios functioned properly and the telephone was dead. The barometer had fallen and finally stopped and the winds were now gusting to seventy miles an hour. This, coupled with the low temperature, produced a wind chill factor of -60 degrees. Anyone venturing outside would suffer serious frost bite if they were exposed to the wind for more than a few minutes.
The hunter in the blind had long before given up any thought of assassination and was trying to keep warm in his lair by scooping up snow and using it to plug the openings in and around the fallen tree. He was successful enough but being trapped in a major Siberian blizzard with very little food was not something he looked forward to. It would have been suicide to leave the protection of his blind and try to find his car. The snowdrifts were already over five feet high in places and higher where the wind piled it. His car was probably completely covered and in any case, the road was impassable

Dinner was very rich and very filling. Lars ate quickly and talked a good deal more than usual because he was unsettled by the storm. Once when he was a boy, he had been visiting a cousin in Kansas when a major tornado passed several hundred yards away, ripping up houses and tossing cars and cattle through the air like tissue paper in a windstorm. They had to hide in the cellar and the thumpings as bits of the neighbor’s family room pelted the walls of their house was enough to give the young boy nightmares for months afterwards.
The Viking house had been built with steel-reinforced concrete and the attic beams were steel and not wood. The roof pitch was steep enough to keep snow from building up and crushing the roof into the second floor, something that was now happening to many houses to the south.
There is a certain perverse pleasure in standing on the beach during a heavy storm and watching a distant ship pitching and rolling with a reasonable expectation of being driven onto the shore.

(Continued)

This is also an e-book, available from Amazon:

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