TBR News October 29, 2017

Oct 29 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., October 29, 2017: “Our rulers and the moneybags who control them often use fear of anarchistic lawlessness as a stick to beat us into line, feeding us television and newspaper images of groups of black clad, masked thugs causing mayhem at demonstrations against globalisation and its various perpetrators. For those of you unfamiliar with the factions involved, the alleged anarchists are the ones kicking in the windows of Starbucks and MacDonalds while the other black clad, masked thugs clubbing little old ladies to the ground are policemen.

The violent suppression of the Seattle and Genoa demonstrations against capitalism-run-amok and globalisation at the end of the 1990s confirmed that the Western society in which we and our forebears had invested money, sweat and blood was far from being as democratic as it ought to be. As the testimony of thousands of ordinary people who had been subjected to inexcusable violence by our democratic rulers’ bootboys began leaking into a wider public consciousness, thanks to some courageous journalists and editors who stood up to their publishers, more and more normally unengaged people began wondering about the official versions of events. Naomi Klein’s No Logo became a best-seller and the moneybags and their political lackeys began to realise that the proverbial cat was chewing its way out of the bag.

It is tempting to imagine the small group of really high-powered oligarchs who control the West’s money getting together in Davos or some such place after the Genoa debacle in November 1999 to work out an exit strategy enabling them to pull as much money as possible out of the economy before the whole house of cards collapsed. The ideas might have included a major war or two, with the added bonus of plundering Iraqi and Iranian oil reserves, and less dramatic wheezes like the sub-prime loans scam, a kind of pyramid selling scheme on a national level of the kind that fucked Albania in the mid-1990s. The moneybags put their man, George W Bush, into The White House by fixing the 2000 election and nobbling the recount. Not long afterwards comes 9/11, allegedly masterminded by a CIA-trained Saudi whose family is friendly with the Bushes and other American moneybags, and the game is on.

It is hardly as if we were not warned. Back in 1997, when New Labour was blowing Cool Britannia, Clintonian America was swimming in money and rabid ragheads were a flickering television image in the background, George Soros upset his fellow moneybags by telling us: “I now fear that the untrammeled intensification of laissez-faire capitalism and the spread of market values into all areas of life is endangering our open and democratic society. The main enemy of the open society, I believe, is no longer the communist but the capitalist threat.”

Intelligent observers may have viewed Soros’s statement as little more than a fat cat’s attempt to exculpate himself before the mob came swarming over the walls but events have proven him right. Meanwhile, the usual spittle-flecked scaremongers continue trying to preserve the status quo with dire warnings of the imminent descent of Western Civilisation into anarchy. It makes a change from the usual warnings of the end of the World although the Eco-Nazis have that market share of the terrorisation industry well in hand. Rest assured, however, that the World cannot end, because. wherever you are, it is always tomorrow somewhere else. Moreover, anarchy cannot reign. Anarchy can only exist.

As Sun Tzu remarked in his Art of War, the best chance for peace is to know your enemy before meeting him. Classical Greek thinkers like Plato and Zeno wrote of utopian societies governed by reason rather than authority. The concept in ancient Greek was expressed by the word anarchos, which can be translated as “without a leader, chief or king” or, simply, anarchism. The goal of true anarchists is the establishment of a society free of coercive authority of any kind but without any implication of disorder. This philosophical approach to the state of man has always been anathema to ruling classes for obvious reasons, and attempts to establish such societies, even on small local scales, have met with concerted resistance.”


Table of Contents

  • Why the Nanny State and paranoid parenting are creating a Fragile Generation
  • A Student Loan Nightmare: The Teacher in the Wrong Payment Plan
  • Storm Herwart sweeps across Germany, Czech Republic, Poland
  • Roosevelt and Pearl Harbor
  • “The Entire Russian Fleet”
  • ‘We built, are building & will build missiles’ – Iranian president says amid row with US
  • Trump says will release nearly all JFK assassination files


Why the Nanny State and paranoid parenting are creating a Fragile Generation

October 26, 2017

by Lenore Skenazy & Jonathan Haidt


One day last year, a citizen on a prairie path in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst came upon a teen boy chopping wood. Not a body. Just some already-fallen branches. Nonetheless, the onlooker called the cops.

Officers interrogated the boy, who said he was trying to build a fort for himself and his friends. A local news site reports the police then “took the tools for safekeeping to be returned to the boy’s parents.”

Elsewhere in America, preschoolers at the Learning Collaborative in Charlotte, North Carolina, were thrilled to receive a set of gently used playground equipment. But the kids soon found out they would not be allowed to use it, because it was resting on grass, not wood chips. “It’s a safety issue,” explained a day care spokeswoman. Playing on grass is against local regulations.

And then there was the query that ran in Parents magazine a few years back: “Your child’s old enough to stay home briefly, and often does. But is it okay to leave her and her playmate home while you dash to the dry cleaner?” Absolutely not, the magazine averred: “Take the kids with you, or save your errand for another time.” After all, “you want to make sure that no one’s feelings get too hurt if there’s a squabble.”

The principle here is simple: This generation of kids must be protected like none other. They can’t use tools, they can’t play on grass, and they certainly can’t be expected to work through a spat with a friend.

And this, it could be argued, is why we have “safe spaces” on college campuses and millennials missing adult milestones today. We told a generation of kids that they can never be too safe-and they believed us.

Safety First

We’ve had the best of intentions, of course. But efforts to protect our children may be backfiring. When we raise kids unaccustomed to facing anything on their own, including risk, failure, and hurt feelings, our society and even our economy are threatened. Yet modern child-rearing practices and laws seem all but designed to cultivate this lack of preparedness. There’s the fear that everything children see, do, eat, hear, and lick could hurt them. And there’s a newer belief that has been spreading through higher education that words and ideas themselves can be traumatizing.

How did we come to think a generation of kids can’t handle the basic challenges of growing up?

Beginning in the 1980s, American childhood changed. For a variety of reasons-including shifts in parenting norms, new academic expectations, increased regulation, technological advances, and especially a heightened fear of abduction (missing kids on milk cartons made it feel as if this exceedingly rare crime was rampant)-children largely lost the experience of having large swaths of unsupervised time to play, explore, and resolve conflicts on their own. This has left them more fragile, more easily offended, and more reliant on others. They have been taught to seek authority figures to solve their problems and shield them from discomfort, a condition sociologists call “moral dependency.”

This poses a threat to the kind of open-mindedness and flexibility young people need to thrive at college and beyond. If they arrive at school or start careers unaccustomed to frustration and misunderstandings, we can expect them to be hypersensitive. And if they don’t develop the resources to work through obstacles, molehills come to look like mountains.

This magnification of danger and hurt is prevalent on campus today. It no longer matters what a person intended to say, or how a reasonable listener would interpret a statement-what matters is whether any individual feels offended by it. If so, the speaker has committed a “microaggression,” and the offended party’s purely subjective reaction is a sufficient basis for emailing a dean or filing a complaint with the university’s “bias response team.” The net effect is that both professors and students today report that they are walking on eggshells. This interferes with the process of free inquiry and open debate-the active ingredients in a college education.

And if that’s the case already, what of the kids still in grammar school, constantly reminded they might accidentally hurt each other with the wrong words? When today’s 8-year-olds become the 18-year-olds starting college, will they still view free speech as worthy of protecting? As Daniel Shuchman, chairman of the free speech-promoting Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), puts it, “How likely are they to consider the First Amendment essential if they start learning in fifth grade that you’re forbidden to say-or even think-certain things, especially at school?”

Parents, teachers, and professors are talking about the growing fragility they see. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the overprotection of children and the hypersensitivity of college students could be two sides of the same coin. By trying so hard to protect our kids, we’re making them too safe to succeed.

Children on a Leash

If you’re over 40, chances are good that you had scads of free time as a child-after school, on weekends, over the summer. And chances are also good that, if you were asked about it now, you’d go on and on about playing in the woods and riding your bike until the streetlights came on.

Today many kids are raised like veal. Only 13 percent of them even walk to school. Many who take the bus wait at the stop with parents beside them like bodyguards. For a while, Rhode Island was considering a bill that would prohibit children from getting off the bus in the afternoon if there wasn’t an adult waiting to walk them home. This would have applied until seventh grade.

As for summer frolicking, campers don’t just have to take a buddy with them wherever they go, including the bathroom. Some are now required to take two-one to stay with whoever gets hurt, the other to run and get a grown-up. Walking to the john is treated like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.

After school, kids no longer come home with a latchkey and roam the neighborhood. Instead, they’re locked into organized, supervised activities. Youth sports are a $15 billion business that has grown by 55 percent since just 2010. Children as young as third grade are joining traveling teams-which means their parents spend a lot of time in the car, too. Or they’re at tutoring. Or they’re at music lessons. And if all else fails, they are in their rooms, online.

Even if parents want to shoo their kids outside-and don’t come home till dinner!-it’s not as easy as it once was. Often, there are no other children around to play with. Even more dishearteningly, adults who believe it’s good for young people to run some errands or play kickball down the street have to think twice about letting them, because busybodies, cops, and social workers are primed to equate “unsupervised” with “neglected and in danger.”

You may remember the story of the Meitivs in Maryland, investigated twice for letting their kids, 10 and 6, walk home together from the park. Or the Debra Harrell case in South Carolina, where a mom was thrown in jail for allowing her 9-year-old to play at the sprinkler playground while she worked at McDonald’s. Or the 8-year-old Ohio boy who was supposed to get on the bus to Sunday school, but snuck off to the Family Dollar store instead. His dad was arrested for child endangerment.

These examples represent a new outlook: the belief that anytime kids are doing anything on their own, they are automatically under threat. But that outlook is wrong. The crime rate in America is back down to what it was in 1963, which means that most of today’s parents grew up playing outside when it was more dangerous than it is today. And it hasn’t gotten safer because we’re hovering over our kids. All violent crime is down, including against adults.

Danger Things

And yet it doesn’t feel safer. A 2010 study found “kidnapping” to be the top parental fear, despite the fact that merely being a passenger in a car is far more dangerous. Nine kids were kidnapped and murdered by strangers in 2011, while 1,140 died in vehicles that same year. While Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker writes in 2011’s The Better Angels of Our Nature that life in most countries is safer today than at any time in human history, the press keeps pushing paranoia. This makes stepping back feel doubly risky: There’s the fear of child kidnappers and the fear of Child Protective Services.

At times, it seems like our culture is conjuring dangers out of thin air, just to have something new to worry about. Thus, the Boulder Public Library in Colorado recently forbade anyone under 12 to enter without an adult, because “children may encounter hazards such as stairs, elevators, doors, furniture, electrical equipment, or other library patrons.” Ah, yes, kids and library furniture. Always a lethal combo.

Happily, the library backed off that rule, perhaps thanks to merciless mocking in the media. But saner minds don’t always prevail. At Mesa Elementary School, which also happens to be in Boulder, students got a list of the items they could not bring to the science fair. These included “chemicals,” “plants in soil,” and “organisms (living or dead).” And we wonder why American children score so low on international tests.

But perhaps the single best example of how fantastically fearful we’ve become occurred when the city of Richland, Washington, got rid of all the swings on its school playgrounds. The love of swinging is probably older than humanity itself, given our arboreal origins. But as a school district spokesman explained, “Swings have been determined to be the most unsafe of all the playground equipment on a playground.”

You may think your town has avoided such overkill, but is there a merry-go-round at your local park, or a see-saw? Most likely they, too, have gone the way of lawn darts. The Consumer Product Safety Commission even warns parks of “tripping hazards, like…tree stumps and rocks,” a fact unearthed (so to speak) by Philip Howard, author of 2010’s Life Without Lawyers.

The problem is that kids learn by doing. Trip over a tree stump and you learn to look down. There’s an old saying: Prepare your child for the path, not the path for your child. We’re doing the opposite.

Ironically, there are real health dangers in not walking, or biking, or hopping over that stump. A Johns Hopkins study this summer found that the typical 19-year-old is as sedentary as a 65-year-old. The Army is worried that its recruits don’t know how to skip or do somersaults.

But the cost of shielding kids from risks goes well beyond the physical, as a robust body of research has shown.

Of Trophies and Traumas

A few years ago, Boston College psychology professor emeritus Peter Gray was invited by the head of counseling services at a major university to a conference on “the decline in resilience among students.” The organizer said that emergency counseling calls had doubled in the last five years. What’s more, callers were seeking help coping with everyday problems, such as arguments with a roommate. Two students had dialed in because they’d found a mouse in their apartment. They also called the police, who came and set a mousetrap. And that’s not to mention the sensitivity around grades. To some students, a B is the end of the world. (To some parents, too.)

Part of the rise in calls could be attributed to the fact that admitting mental health issues no longer carries the stigma it once did, an undeniably positive development. But it could also be a sign, Gray realized, that failing at basic “adulting” no longer carries the stigma it once did. And that is far more troubling.

Is this outcome the apotheosis of participation-trophy culture? It’s easy to scoff at a society that teaches kids that everything they do deserves applause. But more disturbing is the possibility that those trophies taught kids the opposite lesson: that they’re so easily hurt, they can’t handle the sad truth that they’re not the best at something.

Not letting your kid climb a tree because he might fall robs him of a classic childhood experience. But being emotionally overprotective takes away something else. “We have raised a generation of young people who have not been given the opportunity to…experience failure and realize they can survive it,” Gray has said. When Lenore’s son came in eighth out of nine teams in a summer camp bowling league, he got an eighth-place trophy. The moral was clear: We don’t think you can cope with the negative emotions of finishing second-to-last.

Of course, it’s natural to want to see kids happy. But the real secret to happiness isn’t more high fives; it’s developing emotional resilience. In our mania for physical safety, coupled with our recent tendency to talk about “emotional safety,” we have systematically deprived our children of the thousands of challenging-and sometimes upsetting-experiences that they need in order to learn that resiliency. And in our quest to protect them, we have stolen from children the best resilience training known to man: free play.

Play’s the Thing

All mammals play. It is a drive installed by Mother Nature. Hippos do backflips in the water. Dogs fetch sticks. And gazelles run around, engaging in a game that looks an awful lot like tag.

Why would they do that? They’re wasting valuable calories and exposing themselves to predators. Shouldn’t they just sit quietly next to their mama gazelles, exploring the world through the magic of PBS Kids?

It must be because play is even more important to their long-term survival than simply being “safe.” Gray’s main body of research is on the importance of free play, and he stresses that it has little in common with the “play” we give kids today. In organized activities-Little League, for example-adults run the show. It’s only when the grown-ups aren’t around that the kids get to take over. Play is training for adulthood.

In free play, ideally with kids of mixed ages, the children decide what to do and how to do it. That’s teamwork, literally. The little kids desperately want to be like the bigger kids, so instead of bawling when they strike out during a sandlot baseball game, they work hard to hold themselves together. This is the foundation of maturity.

The older kids, meanwhile, throw the ball more softly to the younger ones. They’re learning empathy. And if someone yells, “Let’s play on just one leg!”-something they couldn’t do at Little League, with championships (and trophies!) on the line-the kids discover what it means to come up with and try out a different way of doing things. In Silicon Valley terms, they “pivot” and adopt a “new business model.” They also learn that they, not just grown-ups, can collectively remake the rules to suit their needs. That’s called participatory democracy.

Best of all, without adults intervening, the kids have to do all the problem solving for themselves, from deciding what game to play to making sure the teams are roughly equal. Then, when there’s an argument, they have to resolve it themselves. That’s a tough skill to learn, but the drive to continue playing motivates them to work things out. To get back to having fun, they first have to come up with a solution, so they do. This teaches them that they can disagree, hash it out, and-perhaps with some grumbling-move on.

These are the very skills that are suddenly in short supply on college campuses.

“Free play is the means by which children learn to make friends, overcome their fears, solve their own problems and generally take control of their own lives,” Gray writes in 2013’s Free to Learn (Basic Books). “Nothing we do, no amount of toys we buy or ‘quality time’ or special training we give our children, can compensate for the freedom we take away. The things that children learn through their own initiatives, in free play, cannot be taught in other ways.”

Unstructured, unsupervised time for play is one of the most important things we have to give back to kids if we want them to be strong and happy and resilient.

Where Have All the Paperboys Gone?

It’s not just that kids aren’t playing much on their own. These days, they’re not doing much of anything on their own. In an article in The Atlantic, Hanna Rosin admits that “when my daughter was 10, my husband and I suddenly realized that in her whole life, she had probably not spent more than 10 minutes unsupervised by an adult.”

In earlier generations, this would have seemed a bizarre and wildly overprotective upbringing. Society had certain age-related milestones that most people agreed on. Kids might be trusted to walk to school by first grade. They might get a latchkey at 8, take on a newspaper route around 10, start babysitting at 12. But over the past generation or so, those milestones disappeared-buried by fears of kidnapping, the rise of supervised activities, and the pre-eminence of homework. Parents today know all about the academic milestones their kids are supposed to reach, but not about the moments when kids used to start joining the world.

It’s not necessarily their fault. Calls to eight newspapers in North Carolina found none that would take anyone under the age of 18 to deliver papers. A police chief in New Albany, Ohio, went on record saying kids shouldn’t be outside on their own till age 16, “the threshold where you see children getting a little bit more freedom.” A study in Britain found that while just under half of all 16- to 17-year-olds had jobs as recently as 1992, today that number is 20 percent.

The responsibility expected of kids not so long ago has become almost inconceivable. Published in 1979, the book Your 6-Year-old: Loving and Defiant includes a simple checklist for what a child entering first grade should be able to do: Can he draw and color and stay within the lines of the design being colored? Can he ride a small two-wheeled bicycle without helper wheels? Can he travel alone in the neighborhood (four to eight blocks) to a store, school, playground, or friend’s home?

Hang on. Walk to the store at 6-alone?

It’s tempting to blame “helicopter parents” for today’s less resilient kids. But when all the first-graders are walking themselves to school, it’s easy to add yours to the mix. When your child is the only one, it’s harder. And that’s where we are today. Norms have dramatically changed. The kind of freedom that seemed unremarkable a generation ago has become taboo, and in some cases even illegal.

A Very Hampered Halloween

In Waynesboro, Georgia, “trick or treaters” must be 12 or younger; they must be in a costume; and they must be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years of age. So if you have kids who are 15, 10, and 8, you can’t send them out together. The 15-year-old is not allowed to dress up, yet she won’t be considered old enough to supervise her siblings for another six years. And this is on the one night of the entire year we traditionally let children pretend to be adults.

Other schools and community centers now send letters home asking parents not to let their children wear scary costumes. Some even organize “trunk or treats”-cars parked in a circle, trunks open and filled with candy, thus saving the kids from having to walk around the neighborhood or knock on doors. (That would be tiring and terrifying.) If this is childhood, is it any wonder college kids also expect to be micromanaged on Halloween?

At Yale in 2015, after 13 college administrators signed a letter outlining appropriate vs. inappropriate costume choices for students, the childhood development expert and campus lecturer Erika Christakis suggested that it would be better to allow kids to think for themselves. After all, Halloween is supposed to be about pushing boundaries. “Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little obnoxious…or, yes, offensive?” she wrote. “Have we lost faith in young people’s capacity-your capacity-to ignore or reject things that trouble you?”

Apparently, yes. Angry students mobbed her husband, the professor Nicholas Christakis, surrounding him in the courtyard of the residential college where he served as master. They screamed obscenities and demanded he apologize for believing, along with his wife, that college students are in fact capable of handling offensive costumes on Halloween. “Be quiet!” a student shouted at him at one point. “As master, it is your job to create a place of comfort and home for the students!” She did not take kindly to his response that, to the contrary, he sees it as his job to create a space where students can grow intellectually.

As it turns out, Halloween is the perfect Petri dish for observing what we have done to childhood. We didn’t think anything was safe enough for young people. And now we are witnessing the results.

No Fun and No Joy

When parents curtail their kids’ independence, they’re not just depriving the younglings of childhood fun. They are denying themselves the grown-up joy of seeing their kids do something smart, brave, or kind without parental guidance.

It’s the kind of joy described by a Washington Post columnist who answered the phone one day and was shocked to find her 8-year-old son on the other end. He’d accidentally gone home when he was supposed to stay after school. Realizing she wasn’t there, he decided to walk to the store a few blocks away-his first time. The mom raced over, fearing God knows what, and rushed in only to find her son happily helping the shopkeeper stock the shelves with meat. He’d had a snack and done his homework, too. It was an afternoon he’d never forget, and neither would his very proud mother.

When we don’t let our kids do anything on their own, we don’t get to see just how competent they can be-and isn’t that, ultimately, the greatest reward of parenting? We need to make it easier for grown-ups to let go while living in a society that keeps warning them not to. And we need to make sure they won’t get arrested for it.

What Is To Be Done?

By trying to keep children safe from all risks, obstacles, hurt feelings, and fears, our culture has taken away the opportunities they need to become successful adults. In treating them as fragile-emotionally, socially, and physically-society actually makes them so.

To combat this problem, we have established a new nonpartisan nonprofit, the Let Grow Foundation. Our goal is to restore resilience by overthrowing the culture of overprotection. We teamed up with Gray, the professor whose research we highlighted above, and FIRE’s Shuchman, a New York investment fund manager who is now our chairman.

We are building an organization that seeks to change the social norms, policies, and laws that pressure and intimidate parents, schools, and towns into coddling their kids. We will research the effects of excessive caution, study the link between independence and success, and launch projects to give kids back some free time and free play. Most of all, the Let Grow Foundation will reject the assumption of fragility and promote intellectual, physical, and emotional resilience.

Children know that their parents had more freedom to roam than they do, and more unscheduled time to read or tinker or explore. They also realize that older generations were trusted to roll with some punches, at school and beyond. We hope kids today will start demanding that same independence and respect for themselves. It’s their freedom that has been chiseled away, after all.

We want them to insist on their right to engage not just with the physical world, but also with the world of ideas. We want them to hear, read, and voice opinions that go against the grain. We want them to be insulted by the assumption that they and their classmates are so easily hurt that arguments must stop before they start. To this end, we hope to encourage their skepticism about the programs and policies that are ostensibly there to “protect” them from discomfort.

If this effort is successful, we’ll soon see kids outside again. Common setbacks will be considered “resilience moments” rather than traumas. Children will read widely, express themselves freely, and work through disagreements without automatically calling on authority figures to solve their problems for them. The more adults step back, the more we believe kids will step up, growing brave in the face of risk and just plain happy in their independence.

Children today are safer and smarter than this culture gives them credit for. They deserve the freedom we had. The country’s future prosperity and freedom depend on it.


A Student Loan Nightmare: The Teacher in the Wrong Payment Plan

October 27, 2017

by Ron Lieber

The New York Times

EUGENE, Ore. — On the first floor of a government building at Olive Street and West 10th Avenue here, Jed Shafer spends his days helping adolescents get their high school equivalency diplomas.

Outside the windows that line one wall are his once and future students, the “downtown kids” who gather in the bus plaza cater-corner from his classroom. He runs out to greet one from years past. Others he knows by name or back story, even if he has not yet lured them inside. Current students leave class early, only to hang out within view for hours. They return the next day or week, for the free lunch or mobile phone or toothbrush, and maybe stick around for another afternoon of tutoring.

To get himself here, looking out, reaching out, Mr. Shafer borrowed money to go to college and then some more to get his master of arts in teaching. And in 2007, he got early word of a new federal program for public servants that would forgive all of their student loan debt after 10 years of on-time payments. So he signed up, or so he thought.

This month is supposed to be the first one when nurses, social workers, soldiers and teachers like Mr. Shafer become eligible for loan forgiveness. But he will not be among them for reasons that are straight out of the theater of the absurd.

In 2015, he discovered that he was enrolled in a particular type of ineligible payment plan and would need to start his decade of payments all over again, even though he had been paying more each month than he would have if he had been in an eligible plan. Because of his 8.25 percent interest rate, which he could not refinance due to loan rules, even those higher payments weren’t putting a dent in his principal. So the $70,000 or so that he did pay over the period amounted to nothing, and he’ll most likely pay at least that much going forward.

He’s unlikely to be the only one. About a quarter of the people who borrow money for higher education end up in jobs that could qualify for public service loan forgiveness.

“There is going to be an enormous crush of borrowers who think they are eligible only to find that they are not,” said Seth Frotman, the student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which published a report on the subject in June. “We need to get ready for it.”

All Mr. Shafer has been trying to do for more than 25 years is get ready for a career where he could make a difference while also earning enough to buy a home and help raise a family. The son of a fisherman and a mother who eventually became a teacher herself, Mr. Shafer, 46, does indeed own a cozy house on a street with gorgeous foliage. He and his wife live with their two sons, ages 10 and 4.

At work, Mr. Shafer offers job interview advice to one student while plotting financial aid application strategies with another. The classroom where he and his colleagues work has notices on the walls about housing and a free Thanksgiving dinner.

But at home over the last two years, he has spent many hours communicating with his current loan servicer, FedLoan, which is part of the nonprofit Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. Eventually, he contacted elected officials and the Department of Education’s ombudsman department. The fact that he has had more than one servicer is a big part of what seems to have gone wrong.

As Mr. Shafer tells it, teacher circles were abuzz back in 2007 when the federal public service loan forgiveness program came into existence. Five years earlier, he had consolidated all of his student loans into a single one. At the time, his servicer verified his income and put him into a repayment plan where his payments would grow slowly over time, presumably as his income grew.

In 2007, Mr. Shafer said, he called his servicer at the time, ACS Education Services, and told the company that he wanted to enroll in the public service loan forgiveness program. No problem, he said he had been told, as long as he made his payments on time for 120 months. When ACS exited the federal loan servicing business, his loan moved to Mohela, short for the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority, in 2012. Nothing, he said, that he heard or saw from Mohela gave him pause.

In 2013, he heard this from a fellow teacher: Once borrowers in the public service loan forgiveness program reached 120 payments, only one servicer, FedLoan, could forgive the remaining balance. So Mr. Shafer did what he needed to do to move his loans there.

It was at that point that things began to go off the rails. Remember that repayment program that Mr. Shafer ended up in back in 2002? It is what’s known as a graduated repayment plan, and if you’re in one, you’re not eligible for public service loan forgiveness. He was supposed to be in one of the income-based plans.

All along, Mr. Shafer said, people at the three servicers told him that his loan was in “good status” when he asked whether he was on track for forgiveness in 2017. The phone representatives at these servicers, however, may have been defining that term more narrowly — namely, that he was merely making on-time payments. It’s also possible that they simply didn’t understand the highly specific requirements of the loan forgiveness program.

In 2015, Mr. Shafer received an email from FedLoan that definitively alerted him to the fact that none of his eight years of payments had counted toward forgiveness. He panicked and spent the next year fighting back, flabbergasted that so much time had gone by without any of the three servicers telling him that anything was wrong when he had quite specifically and repeatedly inquired.

So why didn’t they? A spokesman for ACS’s current owner said it could not comment on the concerns of a past borrower, even though Mr. Shafer granted the company permission to do so. A Mohela spokesman said that while it didn’t have specific records of having told Mr. Shafer that his payments were not qualifying, its phone representative’s contact with him in January 2013 was probably what spurred him to move his loans to FedLoan to become eligible for the forgiveness program. Mr. Shafer said that was not so.

At FedLoan, a spokesman said it had told Mr. Shafer that he had a problem, more than once, by phone and through other communications. Indeed, in Mr. Shafer’s pile of documents, I did find a 2014 statement that said, on the back, that he had not made any qualifying payments. Mr. Shafer had missed that, and many others probably did, too, given that FedLoan didn’t bother to put this crucial piece of information on the front of the bill, let alone in 100-point neon “You are doing this wrong” type.

As for FedLoan’s specific assertion that it disclosed the problem to him by phone in 2013, Mr. Shafer responds with the following: Why on earth would he have not jumped on the problem instantly and aggressively if he had heard that in 2013?

There does not appear to be any happy ending in the offing for Mr. Shafer, and after a year of appeals, he did move himself into an eligible repayment plan. If nothing else happens to mess this all up again, he should finish paying off his loans when he is 55, about the time that his first child starts college. That will be 37 years after he took out his first loan as a teenager.

Worried that your story will end with similar bad news? There are four crucial requirements in the public service loan forgiveness program. You have to be in an eligible job, with an eligible loan, making the right kind of payments (which was what tripped Mr. Shafer up) and doing so in the right way. A column I wrote in April outlines the process, even if conquering it proves to be another matter.

Mr. Shafer remains baffled by it all. Perspiring at his dining room table this week after a meal of halibut that he had caught himself, he sipped a second adult beverage and tried to understand what had happened. In what other area of life, he wondered aloud, would you pay your bills on time only to be told that the payments hadn’t counted?

Later on in the week, he put it like so: “They have the power, regardless of my service and full payments, to make me look inept. Though I have been working hard for 18 years to help young people graduate from high school and build a viable future — and have been sending a large chunk of my paycheck back to the very government I work for — they will surely win based on their documentation.”

So this is who we are now. For all sorts of reasons that made perfect sense at the time, we built additional repayment programs onto existing complexity onto well-meaning forgiveness overseen by multiple layers of responsible parties. And once that was done, Mr. Shafer, teacher of shelter dwellers and street kids and others whom fellow educators failed to reach, wasted a small fortune and will now shovel another one into the federal coffers.

Which leaves just one more question: If this is who we are, is it who we actually want to be?


Storm Herwart sweeps across Germany, Czech Republic, Poland

Storm Herwart wreaked havoc across parts of central Europe, disrupting public transport, causing floods and uprooting trees. At least five people have been killed and several injured

October 29, 2017


Strong winds battered parts of Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland on Sunday, throwing life out of gear.

A 63-year-old camper drowned in the Jadebusen River in Lower Saxony in Germany, when he was swept away in a flash flood.

At least four people were killed in the Czech Republic and Poland by falling trees.

Storm Herwart struck just weeks after Storm Xavier swept across  northern Germany, killing seven people.

State of emergency

The Berlin fire brigade declared a state of emergency early Sunday as the storm roared over the German capital. One person was seriously injured when scaffolding from a construction site fell on him.

The Berlin fire brigade said that it had received 100 emergency phone calls between 4 a.m. (0300 UTC) and 7 a.m..

In Hamburg, the Elbe River breached its banks, causing widespread flooding in the inner city area. The city’s famous fish market was closed as a result of the storm.

Fire fighters in the city have received 500 calls to deal with emergency situations.

In Oldenswort in Schleswig-Holstein, a historic windmill fell victim to the storm. Windmill Catharina was built in 1786 and was a huge draw among tourists, who could rent a room inside the historical structure.

Public transport disrupted

The weather delayed or halted traffic on several railway lines and slowed road traffic across the affected region.

German rail operator Deutsche Bahn cancelled all trains in seven of the country’s 16 states, citing “significant damage” on main routes. Some rail services could remain suspended until Monday.

The decision left thousands of travelers stranded and cut rail access to cities such as Bremen, Hamburg, Berlin, Hanover and Kiel.


Roosevelt and Pearl Harbor

October 29, 2017

by Christian Jürs

Roosevelt’s role in the Pearl Harbor attack has been the subject of speculation even from the first. His opponents claimed that he deliberately pushed the Japanese into war to permit him to fight his archenemy, Adolf Hitler. His supporters have firmly denied this thesis and the multiplication of books, scholarly articles and media dramas seems to have no end.

Several valid points have been brought by Roosevelt partisans that deserve to be carefully considered. The first is concerned with American military intelligence work and deals, in the main, with the interceptions of Japanese coded messages. It has been fully acknowledged that the Japanese diplomatic code, called “Purple,” was broken by the Americans and consequently, all high-level diplomatic messages between Tokyo and Japanese diplomats throughout the world were being read almost as soon as they were sent. (The average translation took two days.)

The question of the Japanese Army and Navy operational codes was another matter. The American government has firmly denied for decades that such codes had even been broken or, if that had, were not translated until 1945! While nearly all of the “Purple” intercepts have been made public, only a very few of the coded Japanese Naval messages have appeared in print and then only concerning matters of no special significance.

The Japanese Pearl Harbor task force did not broadcast any messages during their passage to the Hawaiian Islands but Japanese Naval headquarters did send messages to the task force. What they may have consisted of are not known at present and perhaps will never be known, although the National Security Agency, holder of these documents, has stated that it will release the Naval intercepts (known as JN-25) at an unspecified future date.

The argument has been well made, specifically by Roberts Wohlstetter, that so much material was intercepted during the period just prior to the Japanese attack, that it was extremely difficult for American intelligence agencies to winnow out the wheat from the chaff. In retrospect, it is glaringly obvious that some kind of a Japanese attack was planned and in train, but the direction of this attack was lost in the muddle of complex and difficult-to-translate messages.

A further point well made is, had American military intelligence learned of a definite attack on Pearl Harbor, it would have been impossible to keep this a secret, given the number of translators and other military personnel who handled such intercepted messages. The army and navy of that period were small in size and most senior officers in both services knew each other well, having served together for many years. In the absence of any concrete evidence to support the receipt of Japanese military messages dealing with an attack on any specific American installation, it is not within the realm of belief that these senior officers would passively allow American military units to be attacked.

In response to this entirely valid postulation, it should be noted that the specific warning did not come to Roosevelt from below but on a parallel level and from a foreign intelligence source which was far better equipped to decode and translate the Japanese transmissions.

A second area of interest has been the possible motivation for Roosevelt’s increasing pressure on the Japanese, pressure which culminated in a stringent oil embargo that forced Japan into war. Diverse reasons are given for this, including a personal prejudice in favor of China stemming from his maternal grandfather’s highly lucrative opium and immigrant-smuggling operations to an intense hatred of Hitler in specific and Germans in general.

Both of these reasons for Roosevelt’s attitude are historically valid but in and of themselves do not explain the dangerous brinkmanship practiced by Roosevelt in his dealings with Japan. It is clearly evident from reading the intercepts of the Japanese diplomatic coded messages that Tokyo was not only not interested in pursuing war against the United States but was seriously engaged in attempting to defuse and dangerous situation whose accelerating progress caused them great alarm. Roosevelt and his advisers were fully aware of the ease with which they could achieve effective dialog with the Japanese government. All diplomatic approaches by Japan were rebuffed by Washington and as the diplomatic crisis deepened, the possibility of military action by Japan against the United States was very clearly evident in Washington.

The actual motivation behind the turning of the screw against Japan and the refusal on the part of Roosevelt to negotiate has been explored extensively in print but one of the most valid answers seems to lie clearly in the section of the intercepted communication dealing with the Soviet Union.

As much as Roosevelt wished to enter a war against Germany, he was constrained by Congress from conducting a personal war. A de facto war against Germany was in progress in the Atlantic where US naval units were engaged in open warfare with German U boats but Hitler would not rise to the bait and issue a unilateral declaration of war against the United States. For a time, Roosevelt was checked in his ambitions.


“The Entire Russian Fleet”

Translated from the Russian

Ref: RSV 1801-02-115689//bd:g.81r


February 23rd is traditionally celebrated as the Soviet Army Day (now called the Homeland Defender’s Day), and few people remember that it is also the Day of Russia’s Navy. To compensate for this apparent injustice, Kommersant Vlast analytical weekly has compiled The Entire Russian Fleet directory. It is especially topical since even Russia’s Commander-in-Chief compared himself to a slave on the galleys a week ago. The directory lists all 238 battle ships and submarines of Russia’s Naval Fleet, with their board numbers, year of entering service, name and rank of their commanders. It also contains the data telling to which unit a ship or a submarine belongs. For first-class ships, there are schemes and tactic-technical characteristics. So detailed data on all Russian Navy vessels, from missile cruisers to base type trawlers, is for the first time compiled in one directory, making it unique in the range and amount of information it covers. The Entire Russian Fleet carries on the series of publications devoted to Russia’s armed forces. Vlast has already published similar directories about the Russian Army (#17-18 in 2002, #18 in 2003, and #7 in 2005) and Russia’s military bases (#19 in 2007). As always, we draw our readers’ attention to the fact that all information has been taken from public sources only. We have used the materials of over 5,000 Russian and foreign media, analytic reports and reviews, and other publications and Internet resources.

Although several new ships and submarines have been built for Russia’s Navy recently, the fleet is in depression. Severe problems and disproportions threaten to completely undermine its military potential. Chief danger lies in the reduction in the number of vessels, their rapid ageing, and the lack of adequate substitution with modern ships. Negative trends in the Navy’s development have not been overcome, and Russia keeps facing the risk of losing its fleet.

Lopsided Development of Strategic Nuclear Forces

When the Navy’s financing was drastically reduced after 1991, developing the Naval Strategic Nuclear Forces (NSNF) became the priority. The NSNF were declared to be the basis of Russia’s nuclear-missile shield. Consequently, the country got involved in building an expensive series of Project 955 strategic nuclear submarine cruisers. It consumed the major part of financial resources allocated for the fleet’s development, and the trend keeps strengthening. In 2007, around 70 percent of funds allocated for the entire battleship building were spent on constructing just three Project 955 and Project 955A atomic-powered vessels, not to mention the test program for Bulava ballistic missile, intended as their armament.

While building new missile carriers, the Navy kept massively removing old ones from service. By now, there have remained in the Russian fleet just 12 acting submarines with ballistic missiles (six Project 667BDRM “Delfin” built in the 1980s, and six older submarines of Project 667BDR “Kalmar”). While 667BDR submarines are living their last years, 667BDRM ones undergo mid-life repair and modernization, which will allow extending their service term till 2020. They are now being re-equipped with modified R-29RMU2 “Sineva” ballistic missiles, able to carry up to ten warheads. First four serial Sineva missiles were supplied to the fleet in 2006, and 12 more missiles were produced in 2007, which allowed re-arming Tula atomic-powered ship. Meanwhile, modernizing these vessels consumes major part of money that the Navy spends on vessel repair. It hampers the work on ships of other classes (including non-strategic atomic submarines).

The situation is logical, because there is an ambitious and hardly feasible task to maintain the fleet of atomic missile carriers at the same level as the U.S. does (the U.S. has 14 submarines with ballistic missiles), while the funding in Russia is incomparably lower. By the way, the Russian Naval Fleet’s budget in 2007 (if estimated in U.S. dollars) was nearly 50 times less than the U.S. Navy’s budget. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy is not building new missile carriers at all, and plans to begin replacing its Ohio submarines not earlier than in 2026.

Russia’s focus on developing the NSNF looks highly disputable. Supporters of this state of affairs (including the Naval Fleet’s top officials) point at high battle durability and survival potential of strategic submarines in case of first nuclear missile attack from an enemy. However, they hush up two fundamental circumstances.

First, Russia’s strategic atomic-powered vessels have low index of operative effort. Even in its best times, the Fleet was able to simultaneously maintain in military service not over 10-15 percent of its submarines (while the U.S. Navy maintains over 50 percent). Consequently, Russian missile carriers spend most of their time in military bases, thus being an extremely easy target.

Second, the Fleet’s degrading General-Purpose Naval Forces are evidently not enough to secure battle durability (protection from enemy forces’ impact) for strategic submarine cruisers at sea. When all funds are spent on building and repairing missile carriers, while forces supposed to cover them at sea are not renewed and are reduced, it is impossible to speak of the NSNF’s high survival potential. Meanwhile, the opponents able to threaten Russia’s strategic nuclear submarines (U.S and NATO fleets) have overwhelming advantage in forces at sea. By the way, the estimations meant to justify the NSNF’s advantages, including the cost-effectiveness index, usually ignore the expenditures necessary for deploying support and cover forces. However, those forces include not only atomic submarines, but also considerable groupings of surface ships, anti-submarine aircrafts, stationary hydro-acoustic lighting system, air-defense of bases, coast infrastructure, and many other important elements.

Reduction of Common-Purpose Forces

Investing nearly all funds in the naval strategic forces, Russia is spending resources on power fit for just one (and least likely) scenario of an armed conflict – the universal nuclear war. Meanwhile, solving the Fleet’s many other tasks of peaceful time and war time can be entrusted to the general-purpose non-nuclear forces only.

Strategic submarine missile-carriers are not necessary to solve a multitude of tasks like demonstrating the flag and the military presence, struggling against terrorism, participating in international and peacekeeping missions, evacuating civilians, transferring troops, guarding the coast, territorial waters and economic zone, protecting fishing and trade, securing the extraction and transportation of hydrocarbons. Just as strategic nuclear submarines will not be necessary in local conflicts. Meanwhile, the growing combat potential of the fleets of Russia’s neighbors and developing countries raises the question whether the reduced Russian general-purpose naval forces would be able enough to counteract limited aggressive actions, especially since Russia’s Naval Forces are so disconnected among the fronts.

The funds allocated to the Fleet for non-strategic components are not enough for complete new ship-building. Moreover, it is not enough even for repairing the existing vessels, which now rapidly become worthless, get removed from service, and become written off.

Once most numerous in the world, Russia’s submarine forces suffered severe reduction in the 1990s. The Russian Naval Fleet now has less nuclear submarines than the U.S. Navy does, and tends to further decline. There is practically no construction of new multi-purpose atomic submarines for the Russian Fleet. As an exception, Project 885 “Severodvinsk” submarine has been under construction since 1993. However, it will enter service not earlier than in 2010. What is worse, only six out of two tens of the Fleet’s multi-purpose atomic submarines were repaired in the last decade. Moreover, each repair dragged on for many years.

To replenish the fleet of diesel-electric submarines, new Project 677 “Saint-Petersburg” submarine was under construction at Admiralteiskie Verfi dockyard since 1997. It was launched in 2004, but its entering the service was delayed due to numerous imperfections.

The Fleet’s above-water forces keep being reduced now. Back in February 2005, Then Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Naval Fleet Vladimir Kuroedov said that battle ships are expected to leave service massively after 2010, without being replaced by new ones, and, consequently, not over fifty ships will remain by 2020. With so small a fleet, Russia’s Navy will be incapable of safeguarding the national security even in the nearest sea zone.

Unfortunately, the trend has not been overcome in recent years. “Soviet Union Fleet Admiral Kuznetsov” is the only aircraft-carrier that has remained in the Russian fleet. It is the first and the last Soviet heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser with springboard start and horizontal landing for airplanes. The ship certainly is of great importance for the Fleet both in prestige and practice. It is a school for deck aviation, which allows preserving and storing up the experience that might prove useful in the future. However, the ship’s technical condition is in decadence, and it is no longer a combat-ready unit. The matter is aggravated by the difficulty of training the pilots for the 279th independent naval fighter air regiment, which now has just 19 deck fighter jets Su-33.

Due to economic reasons, construction of new aircraft-carriers is a matter of far future, although there are design works going on now.

Escort battle ships are in a difficult situation as well. Project 956 stream-turbine destroyers have unreliable high-pressure boilers, which require costly and highly qualified technical maintenance, while the Fleet is now unable to provide it. So, just eight out of 17 built ships of that type have remained in the fleet by now, and not over three of them are in working order. Project 1155 large anti-submarine ships with gas-turbine power installations are in a somewhat better situation.

Project 22350 frigate now represents the class of ocean-zone prospective ships. “Soviet Union Fleet Admiral Sergei Gorshkov” is the first ship in the series. Its construction began in 2006 at Severnaya Verf dockyard. The construction of Project 12441 new-generation patrol ship “Novik” began in Kaliningrad in 1997 with great pomp. However, it suffered unfortunate fate: due to its technical complexity and high cost, they decided to remake it into “Borodino” training ship. Instead, the construction of simpler and cheaper Project 20380 corvettes began in 2001. “Steregushchy” lead ship is ready. However, due to financial and technical reasons, the construction of Project 22350 and Project 20380 vessels is delayed, although the Fleet optimistically plans to have up to 20 frigates and 40 corvettes accordingly.

Mosquito fleet (it includes rocket boats and artillery boats) has reduced by many times as well, and is not being replenished. The Fleet has practically stopped developing its mine-sweeper forces. Russian mine-sweepers’ major drawback is their lack of modern automatic systems for destroying mines along the course of a ship.

Large-scale modernization of the Fleet’s vessels is out of the question now. From 1991 on, qualitative development of Russia’s above-water naval forces has come to a standstill. So, those surface ships and boats which have remained in service are technically 20-30 years behind, and they lag more and more behind modern requirements and foreign vessels of corresponding types.

Two Fleets for Four Fronts

Financing the Northern Fleet’s and the Pacific Fleet’s common-purpose forces still allows maintaining in service at least a minimal number of ships able to secure battle durability for submarine missile-carriers in their coastal regions. On the contrary, the Baltic Fleet and the Back Sea Fleet have lost their combat capability, and can only carry out parade/representation functions now.

The Russian Fleet’s crisis is aggravated by its historic curse – the geographic disconnection of forces among four (or five, if counting the Caspian Sea Fleet) sea fronts, which makes it extremely difficult to maneuver among them. That is the reason why Russia has been chronically weak on each of its sea fronts.

The Northern Fleet can so far be considered the only oceanic fleet of Russia. However, its common-purpose forces have few vessels for implementing combat tasks – just three Project 949A nuclear submarines, two tens of atomic multi-purpose and diesel-electric submarines, aircraft-carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov”, missile cruisers “Peter the Great” and “Marshall Ustinov”, and several smaller ships. It allows securing the sea patrol by one strategic submarine missile cruiser, and periodical patrolling by some submarines and surface ships. Low combat-readiness of the only aircraft-carrier hampers forming more or less effective groupings for actions in the open sea. So, the Northern Fleet can now apply its forces only for a defense operation near Russia’s coast or for covering nuclear missile-carriers deployment in coastal regions. The Fleet’s inability to secure on-schedule repair of the vessels puts the Northern Fleet at risk of losing its aircraft-carrier, a number of missile cruisers, torpedo boat destroyers, and Project 949A submarines. In that case, the Northern Fleet will eventually turn into a flotilla.

The Pacific Fleet has now almost completely fallen into two groupings – in Kamchatka and in Primorie. They are almost devoid of operative connection. Kamchatka’s above-water forces are practically liquidated. It reduces to zero the ability to fully secure strategic submarines’ combat duty, although it is here where new Project 955 missile-carriers are to be supplied. The Pacific Fleet’s forces in Primorie have completely lost their nuclear submarines, and now constitute a small unit headed by “Variag” missile cruiser. The Pacific Fleet’s technical maintenance and vessel repair has always been the worst among all Russian fleets.

Russia has completely lost its century-long supremacy in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea. Both fleets are now unable to counteract even the united naval groupings of NATO-neighboring countries, not to mention their inability to blockade strait zones. The Black Sea Fleet is a quaint mixture of solitary ships of different types, most of which now have museum value.

There are no prospects for the above-water fleet’s renovation for the coming 10-15 years. Although, several new-type vessels’ construction has been initiated recently (Project 22350 frigate, five Project 20380 corvettes, three Project 21630 small artillery ships, Project 11711 large landing ship). However, the real amount of financing turns all these programs into protracted construction. The total number of ships planned to be built under the State Weaponry Program for 2007-2015, even if it is successfully and fully implemented, will not allow counting on the equal replacement of ageing ships and the formation of homogeneous units of new-type vessels. Most likely, it will boil down to replenishing some of the fleets with a few single ships.


‘We built, are building & will build missiles’ – Iranian president says amid row with US

October 29, 2017


Iran will not back down and stop producing missiles and stockpiling or “using” any weapons to defend itself, as this does not violate any international deals, President Hassan Rouhani said.

Speaking on state TV Sunday, the defiant president said that Iranians “have built, are building and will continue to build missiles,” which, according to Rouhani, does not violate international agreements. “We will produce any weapons of any kind that we need and stockpile it and use it at any time to defend ourselves,” Rouhani added. The statement comes as tensions between Tehran and Washington grow and the rhetoric becomes harsher.

On Thursday, the US House of Representatives almost unanimously voted for new sanctions on Tehran’s ballistic missile program. The document – the Iran Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act – was introduced in March.

“A key Iranian strategy is to enhance their ballistic missile capabilities to further their regional hegemonic ambitions,” Congressman Scott Taylor said. According to him, the bill targets and undercuts Iran’s attempts “by identifying and sanctioning the companies, banks, and individuals assisting Iran’s missile programs.”

Rouhani also lashed out at US President Donald Trump, who said earlier in October that he would not re-certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement. Instead, he deferred the matter to Congress to establish new conditions.

“You are disregarding past negotiations and agreements approved by the UN Security council and expect others to negotiate with you?” Rouhani said, apparently addressing the US leader. Trump’s decision prompted an international backlash at the time, with EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini pointing out that the Iran nuclear deal was not a bilateral, but rather a multinational, agreement. Hence, it was “not up to any single country” to drop it.

The Iranian nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) was ratified in Vienna in July 2015. The agreement was reached between Tehran and the P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UNSC (China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US) plus Germany.

Earlier in October, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said that Tehran does not believe that any additional inspections on Iranian nuclear sites are necessary. There is no need to change or add any chapters to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, he stated.

Also this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that canceling the deal would jeopardize global security. “Restoring the UN Security Council sanctions [on Iran] is out of the question,” Lavrov added. UN nuclear watchdog IAEA has repeatedly stated that Iran is complying with the deal.

Trump says will release nearly all JFK assassination files

October 28, 2017


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday he would release all documents related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy except those with the names and addresses of people who are still alive. “After strict consultation with General Kelly, the CIA and other Agencies, I will be releasing ALL #JFKFiles other than the names and addresses of any mentioned person who is still living,” Trump wrote in a series of tweets, referring to his chief of staff John Kelly.

Reporting by Idrees Ali and Dustin Volz; Editing by Alistair Bell

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