December 22, 2018

Malia and Sasha Obama are the Children of Martin Nesbitt and Anita Blanchard



Establishment media like New York Magazine photoshopped photos of Michelle Obama at the inauguration. The photo on the right in the image above is from New York Magazine's article, "Michelle Obama’s Face Perfectly Sums Up How You’re Feeling Today"; the photo on the left is from indy100.com's article below.

michelle-obama-displeased-1.jpg

January 20, 2017

indy100.com - Today the exceedingly unlikely happened. Donald Trump was sworn into the highest office in America. He officially became the 45th president of the United States.

The ceremony went off without a hitch. There were no mistakes, no slip ups, everyone knew their place and what to do.

From the guests of honour, the Trump's and the Pence's - to the previous presidents, vice presidents and their families.

That, of course, included President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama.

It was their responsibility to greet the Trump's, join them at the capitol building for the ceremony and then depart for a well-earned rest.

Both were of course incredibly professional, however, it was clearly a difficult day for the pair of them.

This was most evident in Michelle's facial expressions - and they certainly didn't go unnoticed by viewers of the inauguration.

The two photos below are from an article at the Daily Mirror.





The following was posted by 

The Obama family seems to be having a great holiday in Hawaii. Recently, President Obama was spotted taking Sasha and Malia to Sea Life Park. See the pics inside...


Yesterday, President Obama took daughters Malia (13) and Sasha (10) and a few friends to Sea Life Park in Waimanalo, Hawaii.


The Obamas were joined by Mr. Obama's best friend Marty Nesbitt (in the yellow), his wife Anita Blanchard (in black) and their kids, including Alex and Roxanne



The following are photos of Obama with Martin Nesbitt and Obama with Anita Blanchard Nesbitt.




Malia Obama strongly resembles her father Marty Nesbitt and Sasha strongly resembles her mother Anita Blanchard Nesbitt.



















December 17, 2018

As Pentagon Fails Audit, $21 Trillion Still Unaccounted For






August 16, 2018

Internet Giants Delete Content of Alex Jones

August 6, 2018

[AFP] - Internet giants launched an offensive Monday against far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who is now banned from Apple, Facebook, Spotify and YouTube.

The move, described by Jones as a "coordinated communist-style crackdown," came after months of criticism against Facebook, Twitter and YouTube calling for them to do more to combat disinformation and hate discourse.

Jones, whose site InfoWars has accused victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting of being "actors" in a plot to discredit the gun lobby, violated Facebook's hate speech policies, the social network said.

Facebook said the pages were taken down for "glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies."

Gunman Adam Lanza killed 26 people, including 20 children, when he launched his rampage in the Connecticut school.

Jones has repeatedly claimed the massacre was a hoax and that the parents of the murdered first graders were actors, an accusation that has sparked death threats against some of the bereaved mothers and fathers.

Several of the families have sued the 44-year-old Texan, accusing him of using their suffering to expand his audience. Jones has counter-sued, demanding in turn that they pay his court expenses.

Among the conspiracy theories Jones has peddled are charges that the US government was behind numerous terrorist attacks, including the September 11, 2001 strikes on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Several days ago, Facebook removed four videos Jones posted that the group said violated its policy on hate speech.

Jones responded by posting more content on other pages, prompting the social media giant to suspend his four main pages.

Facebook stressed that it was the violent language used by Jones, rather than his conspiracy theories, that prompted the move.

Spotify, the streaming music online service, had already removed a number of Jones's podcasts last week, accusing them of breaking its own hate-speech rules. On Monday, the Swedish company went a step further and banned his program altogether.

Apple removed most of Jones's podcasts, AFP confirmed, after the action was initially reported by Buzzfeed.

"Apple does not tolerate hate speech, and we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users," an Apple spokesman told Buzzfeed.

In late July, YouTube took down videos posted by Jones and suspended him for 90 days. After Jones sought to skip the suspension by broadcasting live on other YouTube channels, the online video platform said it closed down all of his affiliated channels.

His main YouTube channel counted some 2.4 million subscribers.

Pinterest also removed the InfoWars account.

Twitter has so far held out on taking punitive action against Jones, saying his account and that of InfoWars did not violate the microblogging service's rules. The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"Last night's purge was a coordinated effort and had nothing to do with enforcing hate speech rule," Jones said on his talkshow.

Several ultra-conservative websites showed support for Jones, publicly backing his claim that he was a victim of a plot by Big Tech companies.

"Are tech giants working together to censor conservatives"? asked Gateway Pundit.

A Breitbart headline read: "CNN, Democrats successfully lobby big tech to censor their critics."

2018 Has Been Bull of Weird Weather So Far

July 5, 2018

[Popular Science] - It’s been a strange year in a lot of ways, and the weather is no exception.

There was snow where it had no right to be, blistering heat in mid-winter, and Arctic sea ice was nowhere to be found. Okay, that last one isn’t that strange—it’s an inevitability of global warming—but still. It’s been a weird year the world around. Here’s a quick tour:

Ice and snow in Florida

Early January brought snowflakes to the Florida panhandle for the first time since 1989 (since 1885 if you’re just talking about January). That was courtesy of Winter Storm Grayson. Lest we forget the other southern states, Georgia got six inches of snow in some places and Charleston, South Carolina, got just over five. Predictably, everything came to a standstill as Bostonians laughed about pathetic Southerners. But as we reported earlier this year, there’s no reason for states where the low rarely gets below freezing to have the infrastructure to handle more than a flurry—and Bostonians wouldn’t be so cool in the face of the hurricanes that Floridians weather every year.

And snow in the Sahara

Not just a dusting—15 full inches in part of Algeria. The Sahara regularly gets cold enough to snow (nighttime temperatures generally fall below freezing in winter), but the humidity is typically far too low to produce precipitation (it being a desert and all). But experts pointed out that because the Sahara is so massive and there are so few weather stations in it, it may be downright common to see snow in some parts. We just have no way of knowing.

The coldest April followed by the hottest May

Sure, it was only the coldest April in the last 21 measly years, but it was the hottest May since we started keeping records. The National Weather Service has data tracking back 124 years in the continental U.S., and 2018 even beat out the Dust Bowl era. This increasing heat really shouldn’t be that shocking at this point—global warming has kept us on track to continually beat our previous records. The shift from the coldest April was what was so strange; two states even reported their coldest Aprils of all time.

A wildfire that caused a thunderstorm in Texas

The Mallard Fire in the Texas Panhandle burned so hot during the month of May that it formed a kind of cloud usually associated with volcanic eruptions. Pyrocumulus clouds form when air gets heated intensely, then cools and condenses as it rises. When this happens fast enough, it can sometimes cause storms (plus the rushing winds help fuel the fire). This one caused one-inch hail and lightning near Wheeler, Texas.

The Beast from the East

In late February, much of Europe (but especially the U.K. and Ireland) got blasted with arctic winds sweeping across central Europe to the west. The cold snap killed dozens as temperatures dropped dangerously, record-setting-ly low and snow slammed into many cities. Even Rome got some snow, where it is so rare to see flakes that they sent in the Italian Army to clean up the streets.

Yet more snow, this time in June

Newfoundland got a dousing of snow at the end of June accompanied by wind chills of 20°F. The average high that time of year is usually in the 60s. People are used to late-season snow that far north, but it’s been more than 20 years since any fell quite so late. Canadians can thank a big block of cold air sucked into a low-pressure system off the coast of Newfoundland for the snowfall during the last week of school.

And finally, those four nor’easters in a row

The Northeastern U.S. saw four winter storms in one month, and though snow in March isn’t terribly uncommon, it was a strangely stormy period. The jet stream happened to direct air down toward the coast while a block of air over the ocean prevented a shift in the wind, meaning that the area got pummeled again and again.

If it seems like there’s been a lot of snow-related weird weather, it’s not just because we’re only halfway through the year. Climate change may be making winter storms worse, or possibly more frequent, though it’s difficult to say for certain. Researchers think warming seas could contribute to more severe weather, and a few worry that rising temperatures in the Arctic could be destabilizing wind patterns and contributing to intense winter storms in the Northeast. Regardless, climate change will certainly mean more record-smashing temperatures and generally weird weather—so expect the unexpected.

World Agriculture Weather Highlights

July 28, 2018

Pentagon Report Claims 'Supersonic Tic Tac' UFO Stalked US Aircraft Carrier

June 2, 2018

[The Sun] - A supersonic UFO shaped like a Tic-Tac stalked a U.S. aircraft carrier for days before vanishing into thin air, according to a bombshell Pentagon report.

The object, which could reportedly hover in midair and make itself invisible, bamboozled U.S. Navy fighter pilots during a training exercise in the Pacific Ocean.

The leaked report, obtained by Las Vegas's KLAS tv station, tells how the USS Princeton, a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, had multiple radar contacts with what it dubbed a Anomalous Aerial Vehicle (AAV).

In November 2004, the ship's ultra-advanced AN/SPY-1 multifunctional phased-array radar caught the object hovering at 60,000 feet before nosediving to the ocean surface in a matter of seconds.

It then sped off so rapidly that crew members thought it was a ballistic missile.

It appeared again two days later, and a pair of high-tech F-18 jets were scrambled to intercept it, but pilots reported that the object had turned itself invisible.

It could still be detected as it was triggering a a circular disturbance in the water "about 50 to 100 meters in diameter."

The craft was described as "solid white, smooth, with no edges... uniformly colored with no nacelles, pylons or wings", and looked like "an elongated egg or Tic Tac," according to one of the pilots.

Days later, a second jet spotted the same disturbance — and this time saw the UFO hovering above it "like a Harrier [jump jet]".

When the two pilots returned to the ship, crewmates put on tin-foil hats to greet them and asked eager questions about their "UFO flight."

The report adds that the USS Louisville nuclear attack submarine was operating in the area but reported no disturbance.

An E-2C Hawkeye surveillance plane managed to detect the object, but was unable to lock on, suggesting that it was able to dodge radar.

It adds that the craft matches "no known aircraft or air vehicle currently in the inventory of the United States or any foreign nation."

What Big Thing Is On The Verge Of Happening? A Conflict In South China Sea

Ask Reddit

[–]schizophreniajc

A conflict in south china sea. A lot of westeners are unaware of what's happening there but the situation is getting worse every month.

[–]EkkoBandit

Can you explain?

[–]schizophreniajc

China built so many fake islands in the south china sea and started militarizing them. Ofcourse that's is illegal and no one is stopping them and even the U.S can't do anything. They are occupying those territories ilegally. The tensions there are rising even though many people here especially politicians that is being influence by china keep downplaying it. If world war 3 ever happens it wont start in korea or middle east but rathee in south china sea region.

[–]Toochi13

Battlefield 4 predicted the future

[–]Picard2331

I replayed that game twice and still have no idea what the fuck was going on. I want them to go back to Bad Company style single player so badly.

[–]Toochi13

It was world war 3 between China and the US. Also Russia to a small extent. In the multiplayer there's like 2 maps where Russia and China face off. The final dlc shows the us invading Siberia at the end of the war and discovering there working on futuristic weapons. Setting up bf2143. There was also a military coup in China during the story. The Chinese were raging war while having internal conflict and they somehow invaded all of Asia and possibly the Middle East and Africa. The US and Russia are also supporting different Chinese governments. That's the reason we rescue the blind dude. It's like the Bolsheviks and the other Russian parties in the 20th century.

[–]EkkoBandit

If no one can do anythying there won't be tension.

[–]schizophreniajc

No one can do anything to stop the reclamation but it doesn't mean no one will try. China even put a bomber there that is capable of bombing Australia. Recently the U.S sent ships 12 nautical miles of the nearest Chinese island increasing the tension there. 

The Philippine president said in a statement yesterday that if even one citizen or military personnel of his country got attack there he will immediately declare war to China.

[–]Republic_of_Ash

What's the Philippines capable of doing to China?

[–]Workchoices

Militarily they are mid range, but they are also a founding member of ASEAN, and other members are having issues with China as well (some of them over this exact same issue).

If the Philippines declared war, most of Asia would likely join them, alongside any other allies. It would be a huge clusterfuck.

Additionally, not many people know this but the US and the Philippines have a mutual defensive treaty. If China attacked the Phillipines, the US would be obligated to honor that treaty.

I personally believe that even if there wasn't an obligation, the US would use this treaty as a reason to get involved as its to their benefit to curtail Chinese expansion.

[–]Republic_of_Ash

But then, if the US fulfilled that treaty, wouldn't Russia immediately join with China? Not good...

[–]TeriusRose

Russia and China don't really have that kind of relationship as I understand it, it seems like their efforts together are mostly born of convenience. I don't even really think their interests are aligned.

[–]jekyll2urhyde

I believe America may be on the Philippine’s side and may be willing to step in and be the hero. I haven’t checked into my passport country’s politics lately, but last I know, the president is adamant that China will be met with a war if they dared to cross a line.

[–]fizzlehack

No. Not as long as Duerte is President. The PI is an ally of China.

[–][deleted]

puppet president.

[–]pavparty

I dont get why its a problem. Isnt this the exact same thing most other countries have done in the past? England colonising countries that it deemed ‘vacant’; america putting military bases all over the world; russia doing russian stuff. But because china is a bigger, more powerful country nowadays, everyone wants to cry about it? Is there any harm in letting them do what they want to do? Provoking them certainly isn’t going to help

[–]schizophreniajc

There's a lot of harm letting them do what they want to do. They DON'T OWN anything there,they already lost the case on UNCLOS. If they finish up building their military bases there they will have complete control of south china sea including the shipping lanes. You need to understand the dispute from the beginning to understand how important it is stop the chinese getting control of those chain of islands.

[–]tallandkind21

They are also claiming Spratley's Islands. The Philippine maps now show the previous South China Sea as West Philippine Sea. More Chinese vessels are being seen patrolling the area.

[–]pirrippu

It's a good strategic point. Apart from natural resources like oil (i believe), it's good place for fishing. Another major benefit of the occupying South China Sea is you 'may' control shipping lines that pass through there. As you may know, China is rebuilding the silk road (take time to google this up), you control the silk road, you control the trade routes in land. Now, how about the sea trade? Yes, you control the South China Sea. Most shipping lines pass through the area coming from chinese ports (i.e. Guanzhou) going to HK, then to SG to Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka in deep debt to China, then China built a port in their country) then to Middle East. It's not only a military advantage but economic advantage for them.

[–]PoorFarnham

War with China would be catastrophic for anyone who tried it, even if they won. Economically and from a military perspective.

[–]ghost103429

The area is a major trade link between all of East Asia to India, Europe, middle East,and Africa.China controlling the area means they can choke off South Korea's and Japan's access to oil and rare earth minerals or force shipments to pay for tariffs and be subject to search for tresspassing over "their" waters.

[–]PoorFarnham

Except they can't.

The extreme customs jurisdiction type stuff is limited to "territorial waters" which are 12 miles off of the coast. Even if all of China's claims are accepted, making the South China sea their territorial waters and not just their EEZ, Japanese ships can go down the coast of the Philippines and Borneo without being under Chinese jurisdiction. The South China sea is a big area but it's not a strait. China's claims wouldn't block it off.

The primary dispute is over fishing rights and oil rights, not jockeying for a shooting war.

[–]chillbraww

But there is nothing much that will be done by small countries. China will keep on bullying them.

[–]schizophreniajc

The government of Philippines is a huge mess right now tbh. Many officers in the military are demoralized by the action of the government especially the president himself. The Government wouldn't even allow Navy ships to patrol their waters facing the south china sea.

[–]Robinmtag

How do you make a fake island?

[–]schizophreniajc

I think artificial island or man made island is much a better word. They use dredging ship to build islands there.

[–]Robinmtag

So are they floating islands or are they anchored to anything?

[–]ChickenLickinDiddler

They're dredged. You take "soil" from the bottom of the ocean and heap it into a pile. Eventually it reaches a point where it's higher than the water line and you've got yourself a new island.

April 28, 2018

Politics 'Korean War to End!' Trump Hails 2 Koreas' Deal to Pursue Denuclearization

U.S. President Donald Trump hailed Kim Jong Un’s effort to end his country’s seven-decade war with South Korea and pursue the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula. “KOREAN WAR TO END!” Trump tweeted Friday. “The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!” Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in embraced after signing the deal during a historic meeting on their shared border, the first time a North Korean leader has set foot on the southern side. They announced plans to formally declare a resolution to the war and replace the 1953 armistice that ended open hostilities into a peace treaty by year’s end. [Source]

April 27, 2018

(CNN) - With a single step, Kim Jong Un broke with decades of hostility and distrust to become the first North Korean leader to cross into South Korean territory since 1953.

It marked the beginning of a landmark summit, the first meeting of the leaders of North and South Korea in over a decade, with broad implications for the world.

Shaking hands with Moon Jae-in, while standing in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) dividing the two countries, Kim told the South Korean President he felt the weight of meeting at "such a historic location."

"It was a very courageous decision for you to come all the way here," Moon replied.

The highly-choreographed summit is the result of months of diplomatic talks between the North and the South and every moment has been laden with symbolism and history by organizers.

But in a rare unscripted moment right after their first meeting on the demarcation line, Kim invited Moon to step into the northern side of the DMZ. "Maybe this is the right time for you to enter North Korean territory," Kim said to Moon, who took him up on the invitation.

South Korean viewers in Seoul erupted at the warm greeting between Kim and Moon, with residents gathered around television screens across the city applauding and cheering.

"I didn't think I would be able to see such things happening in my life. I am happy to be witness to history in the making," local resident Kwak Eun-jung told CNN.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in Friday.

'Why was it so difficult to get here?'

Before the talks started, North Korea's young leader said he wanted to write a new chapter in Korean relations.

"As I walked over here, I thought 'why was it so difficult to get here?' The separating line wasn't even that high to cross. It was too easy to walk over that line and it took us 11 years to get here," Kim told Moon and the gathered officials.

Moon praised Kim's "courageous and bold decision" to sit down for talks during their morning meeting. "Over the past seven decades we weren't able to communicate, so I think we can talk the whole day today", Moon said, drawing laughs from Kim.

Kim received a full red-carpet welcome at the DMZ, including a military band in traditional dress which played the Korean folk song "arirang," well known in both North and South Korea.

Signing a visitor's book upon entering the Peace House, where negotiations took place, Kim wrote "a new history begins now" and "an age of peace, at the starting point of history."

The summit is the result of lengthy and determined negotiating on the part of Moon, a longtime advocate of peace between the Koreas. It will also set the stage for the first meeting between a sitting US president and North Korean leader when Donald Trump and Kim meet in late May or June.

Denuclearization, peace treaty discussed

At the Peace House, Moon and Kim convened around a specially-designed table on the second floor of the Peace House.

To the left of Kim, sat his sister Kim Yo Jong, who led the Pyongyang delegation to the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics and has been playing a more visible role in North Korean politics.

During almost two hours of talks in the morning, Kim and Moon discussed denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula as well as the possibility of a permanent peace agreement, South Korean government spokesman Yoon Young-chan said.

Every moment of the summit has been carefully planned. In the afternoon, Kim and Moon planted a tree using soil and water from significant sites in North and South Korea before taking a private stroll in the DMZ.

In the evening, the two leaders' wives were expected to join them for the dinner.

In a White House statement issued on Friday morning, the Trump administration said it hoped the talks "will achieve progress toward a future of peace and prosperity for the entire Korean Peninsula."
In Beijing, the Chinese government said it "applauds" the leaders of the two countries for taking a "historic step" towards peace.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying finished her regular briefing with a quote from an ancient Chinese poem. "'Disasters are never powerful enough to separate real brothers, and a smile is all they need to eliminate the hard feelings'," she said.

'Peace, a new start'

The grand ceremony of the day began early when Moon's motorcade left Seoul for the DMZ, tracked the entire way by helicopters live-broadcasting the journey.

Crowds of supporters, holding signs calling for denuclearization, waved off the South Korean President as he set off on the hour-long drive north.

The meeting had been highly anticipated in South Korea as a possible opportunity to discuss a peace treaty between the two countries.

Although hostilities for the Korean War finished in 1953, with the signing of the armistice, no official agreement ending the war was ever signed.

Huge banners have been displayed across the South Korean capital of Seoul proclaiming "Peace, a new start" amid speculation the two leaders could discuss signing an official peace treaty finally ending the Korean War.

The North Korean leader would "open-heartedly discuss" all the issues with Moon, and was entering talks with the hope of "achieving peace prosperity and reunification of the Korean Peninsula," North Korean state media KCNA said.

South Koreans watch the summit from a train station in Seoul on Friday.

However, stakes are high and some observers are doubtful the two sides can bridge the gap created by more than 60 years of antagonism and suspicion.

Just last year, Kim was an international pariah, denounced for his weapons tests and dire human rights record, including what the US and South Korea say was the murder of his own half brother Kim Jong Nam, in Malaysia.

In the past three months, the North Korean leader has gone to great lengths to cultivate an affable and diplomatic image, making his first trip abroad to Beijing last month and just this week was photographed comforting the Chinese victims of a bus crash.

But experts said the outcome of the summit in the long term will depend on how willing Kim is to stick to its agreements. Observers have warned that the regime has a track record of extracting concessions without giving much in return, in order to ensure the survival of the Kim family dynasty.

"The success of this summit will not be known today but will depend on the reactions from Washington and Pyongyang over the coming days and weeks. North Korean cheating and US ambivalence has caused the collapse of all previous openings," Adam Mount, senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, told CNN.

Kim's arsenal

Officials around the world, especially in the United States, will be paying closer attention to any specific agreements by Kim relating to his nuclear arsenal.

Kim and Moon Jae-in pose for photos in front of Bukhansan Peace House for the Inter-Korean Summit on April 27.

Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said the North Koreans needed to make clear commitments on its nuclear and missile programs. "I would like to keep close eyes on ... this summit and find out if it is leading to concrete action," he said on Friday morning.

Less than a week ago, North Korea announced it had suspended its nuclear and weapons testing programs, which it proclaimed were "complete."

But while Kim has in recent weeks publicly endorsed denuclearization, what exactly he means by the term and how it would take place has been left extremely vague.

Trump Says He Refused to Approve $1 Billion Jerusalem Embassy

New embassy, angering Palestinians, to open next month

April 27, 2018

[Bloomberg] - President Trump says he rejected plans to build a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem for $1 billion.

President Donald Trump said he rejected a proposal to build a new U.S. embassy to Israel in Jerusalem for $1 billion, and instead the U.S. will spend less than half a million dollars to open the facility next month.

“The papers were put before me to sign an application for more than $1 billion to build an embassy,” Trump said Friday at a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House. “I had my name half-signed and I noticed the figure and I never got to the word ‘Trump.”’

The president said he called the ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, and asked about the expenditure. Friedman, Trump said, told him “I can build it for $150,000” by renovating part of an existing U.S. property in Jerusalem, and “instead of 10 years from now, we can open it up in three months.”

Trump said he authorized spending $300,000 to $400,000. “It’s going to be beautiful and it could be somewhat temporary,” he said.

“But that’s the way government works,” he said. “They were going to spend a billion dollars and we’re going to spend much less than half a million dollars.”

Trump announced late last year that the U.S. would move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing the city as Israel’s capital. The announcement infuriated the Palestinian Authority, which responded by breaking off U.S.-brokered talks on a potential new peace deal with Israel.

Trump said he may travel to Jerusalem to attend the opening of the new embassy.

April 14, 2018

Editorial on Illinois Exodus: When Living Here No Longer Makes Financial Sense

Chicago taxpayers have paid a heavy price. They’ve been hit with $1.2 billion in property tax increases for police, fire and teacher pensions; a 29.5 percent tax on water and sewer bills to save the Municipal Employees pension fund and a 56 percent and 28.2 percent increases in the monthly tax tacked on to telephone bills — on cellphones and land lines — for the Laborers Pension fund.
After the election, Chicago homeowners and businesses face yet another property tax increase for police and fire pensions in 2020 — and another hike the following year in the tax tacked onto water and sewer bills to save the Municipal Employees pension fund. Following five-year “ramp-up” periods, additional increases will be needed to honor the city’s statutory promise to keep all four city government pension funds on the road to 90 percent funding by 2048. By the city’s own estimate, police and fire pension costs will rise by $297.3 million, or 36 percent, in 2020. The Municipal and Laborers plan costs will grow by $330.4 million, or 50 percent, in 2022. [Chicago Sun Times, April 26, 2018]

April 13, 2018

(Chicago Tribune) - If the state of Illinois kept score on millennials it poached from surrounding states, it could have counted Sara Niedzwiecki — temporarily. A Wisconsin native, she moved near Chicago shortly after college, envisioning city life as it’s portrayed in the movies: hip, adventurous, welcoming. Not for her, it turned out.

As part of a series on the accelerating exodus from Illinois, we’re tracking down expatriates (and potential expats) and telling their stories. From millennials to retirees, their narratives follow the same thread: Illinois is losing its promise as a land of opportunity. Government debt and dysfunction contribute to a weak housing market and a stagnant jobs climate. State and local governments face enormous pension and other obligations. Taxes have risen sharply; many Illinois politicians say they must rise more.

People are fleeing. Last year’s net loss: 33,703. Among those who’ve left in recent years:

Sara Niedzwiecki, now 30, moved to the suburbs in 2010 just as millennials began to accelerate their departure. In two waves between 2011 and 2015, millennials led age groups in out-migration to other states, according to Internal Revenue Service data compiled by the Illinois Policy Institute, a right-leaning think tank. Illinois ranked second-worst in losing millennials and their dependents, behind New York.

Niedzwiecki, an accountant fresh out of college, worked in Libertyville for several years and then at a downtown location. Sure, it would have been nice to live in Lakeview or Bucktown with other 20-somethings, but she couldn’t afford it. So she endured a daily commute from the suburbs and tried to build a life.

It never happened. After years of watching her paycheck get sapped by rising rent and taxes, and after exploring options to buy a house and realizing she couldn’t afford that either, she moved back to Wisconsin. She got a better-paying job, left her $850-per-month basement apartment in the suburbs and bought a $148,000 two-bedroom condo in Madison with parking and a washer and dryer. Her property taxes are about $2,800 annually.

“I just felt like I was never going to get ahead in Illinois,” she said. “Six years of living there proved that.”

She grew up in Door County with her twin sister. Both women lived in Illinois before moving back to Wisconsin. A handful of their friends left Illinois, too, for Florida, California, Texas and Wisconsin. “I was super excited about trying something new and getting out of my small town,” she told us. “But Illinois was not feasible for me.” Instead, she has an affordable life in Madison. She hasn’t looked back.

Donald Felz, a lifelong Illinoisan who retired from a utility company in 2016, says a sinking home value and taxes drove him and his wife, Debi, out of Illinois. The Woodstock home they built in 2006 for $390,000, into which they put another $35,000, was losing value. This was to be the house where the Felzes would host grandchildren and putz in the yard. Instead, rather than put their retirement finances in further peril, they sold it in 2016 for $310,000. The property tax bill had climbed from $7,658 in 2007 to $8,340 in 2015. That’s not a huge rate of increase. But had their housing value remained at the purchase price, the taxes would have been nearly $12,500. A falling Illinois home value kept a high Illinois tax bill from rising higher.

The frustration, Felz said from his current home in Windsor, Colo., was more than taxes. It was how those dollars were spent: “If I could have seen some incremental improvement that followed the increases, then OK. I get it. I see it. But the roads were not getting fixed. The schools were still struggling. I couldn’t figure it out. The money was going somewhere.”

In Colorado, taxes on their home, valued at $510,000 and climbing, are about $4,000 a year.

Earlier this year, Felz returned to Illinois to visit his father. They spent evenings on the sofa watching TV and digesting the constant scroll of campaign ads from candidates running in the March primary election. That gave Donald Felz one more reason to appreciate his new home in Colorado: “We have term limits.”

Russia, U.S. Near Brink in a Syrian Standoff With Nuclear Risks

April 14, 2018

(Bloomberg) - Russia has spent years testing state-of-the-art products of its defense industry in Syria. Now it’s warning that some of those weapons could be turned against the U.S., as tensions between the powers reach new heights.

U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening to strike Russia’s Syrian ally in response to an alleged chemical attack -- and Russia is threatening to retaliate if its forces there suffer harm. While both sides have dialed back the brinkmanship in the last couple of days, they remain locked in what could be the most dangerous standoff between nuclear-armed countries for decades.

Tensions have erupted out of the Syrian battlefield, where the U.S. and Russia back opposing sides and forces from Iran, Turkey and Israel have also been sucked in. Delivering a somber address to an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council early Friday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres drew a Cold War parallel -- and said the threat could be even more acute now.

“The mechanisms and the safeguards to manage the risks of escalation that existed in the past no longer seem to be present,” Guterres said. “This is exactly the risk we face today -- that things spiral out of control. It is our common duty to stop it.”

Trump told Moscow on Wednesday to “get ready” for an American missile strike in Syria, after a Kremlin diplomat said that any rockets aimed toward Russian forces there -- as well as any plane or ship that fired them -- would be targeted.

Since then, hopes of averting a direct confrontation have risen. Trump put his attack on pause as he consulted allies, and a senior Russian official said the envoy’s threats had been misinterpreted. Still, Western diplomats in Moscow say the situation remains unpredictable.

Russia doesn’t expect the U.S. to abandon its proposed strikes on Syria, according to Alexander Golts, an independent defense and security expert in the Russian capital. Its threats of retaliation are part of a strategy that seeks to limit the scale of American action, and ensure that Moscow receives advance warning, he said: “Russia is raising the stakes in an effort to de-escalate on its terms.”

That’s what happened a year ago, when Trump ordered cruise-missile attacks to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for another alleged use of chemical weapons -- while forewarning the Russians so they didn’t suffer casualties.

‘Out of Control’

But there’s no guarantee of a repeat. And if the two countries do end up clashing directly, even the worst outcomes can’t be ruled out, said Golts. “Russia has what it takes to strike back at the American warships,” he said. “What would happen next is hard to say. It could fairly quickly escalate to a nuclear level.”

In Washington on Thursday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was delivering a similar warning to Congress. Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee that while it’s important to “stop the murder of innocent people,” his greatest fear about a strike on Syria is that the conflict could “escalate out of control, if you get my drift.”

President Vladimir Putin boasted last month about a new generation of “invincible” nuclear arms -- including high-speed underwater drones, and hypersonic weapons capable of dodging U.S. defenses at 10 times the speed of sound.

February 7, 2018

Police in China are Scanning Travelers with Facial Recognition Glasses

February 7, 2018

(Engadget) - Police in China are now sporting glasses equipped with facial recognition devices and they're using them to scan train riders and plane passengers for individuals who may be trying to avoid law enforcement or are using fake IDs. So far, police have caught seven people connected to major criminal cases and 26 who were using false IDs while traveling, according to People's Daily.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Beijing-based LLVision Technology Co. developed the devices. The company produces wearable video cameras as well and while it sells those to anyone, it's vetting buyers for its facial recognition devices. And, for now, it isn't selling them to consumers. LLVision says that in tests, the system was able to pick out individuals from a database of 10,000 people and it could do so in 100 milliseconds. However, CEO Wu Fei told the Wall Street Journal that in the real world, accuracy would probably drop due to "environmental noise." Additionally, aside from being portable, another difference between these devices and typical facial recognition systems is that the database used for comparing images is contained in a hand-held device rather than the cloud.

Obviously, there are privacy concerns regarding this technology and not everyone believes police should be using it. Amnesty International's William Nee told the Wall Street Journal, "The potential to give individual police officers facial recognition technology in sunglasses could eventually make China's surveillance state all the more ubiquitous." Last month, reports surfaced that China was using facial recognition to geo-fence residents of the Muslim-dominated Xinjiang region of the country, a move that has attracted criticism from a number of human rights groups. China is also working on building a facial recognition database that will contain info on all of its 1.3 billion citizens.

This time of year is one of the busiest travel periods in China as this month hosts the lunar new year. Around 389 million train trips are expected to take place during this year's Spring Festival as well as 65 million trips by air.

Turkey's President Warns US to Quit Syria's Manbij

February 6, 2018

(AFP) - President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday warned the United States to withdraw any American forces from the Syrian town of Manbij, vowing Turkish troops would expand a cross-border military operation to the key strategic hub.

Erdogan blamed Washington for the presence in Manbij of fighters from the Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) and its Democratic Union Party (PYD) political wing, which Ankara sees as terror groups.

Turkey on January 20 launched a major operation aimed at ousting YPG forces from their enclave of the northwestern town of Afrin. However moving east to Manbij -- where unlike Afrin there is a US military presence -- would mark a major escalation.

Accusing Washington of breaking past promises, Erdogan said: "They (Americans) told us they will pull out of Manbij. They said they will not stay in Manbij... Why don't you just go?"

"Who did you bring there? PYD. Who did you bring there? YPG. Who did you bring there? PKK," he said.

Turkey considers YPG as Syrian offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which has waged an insurgency since 1984 and is designated a terrorist outfit by Ankara and its Western allies.

"And then you tell us not to come to Manbij! We will come to Manbij to return it to its original owners," he added.

Turkey considers towns like Manbij to be originally Arab-majority territory whose ethnic balance was upset in favour of the Kurds during the seven-year civil war.

Turkey's Western allies, including the United States, do not classify the YPG as a terror group and have worked closely with its fighters in the battle against Islamic State jihadists.

In 2016, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance dominated by the YPG, captured Manbij from IS.

In a show of anger at Turkey's NATO ally, Erdogan asked the United States what it was doing in Syria in the first place.

"You do not have a border, you are not a neighbour (of Syria)," he said. "What's your business there? We have a 911 kilometre (566 miles) border."

Erdogan also accused US President Donald Trump and his predecessor Barack Obama of failing to tell the truth over US support for the YPG.

"They told us many things but unfortunately they did not tell the truth," Erdogan said. "Mr Obama did not tell the truth and now Mr Trump is heading down the same path."

U.S. Strikes Pro-Syrian Forces After 'Unprovoked Attack' on Partners' Base

February 7, 2018

(Reuters) - U.S. aircraft carried out rare, retaliatory strikes in Syria's Deir al-Zor province on Wednesday against forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after they attacked U.S.-backed fighters' headquarters there, U.S. officials said.

No U.S. troops embedded with the local fighters at their headquarters were believed to have been wounded or killed in the attack, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State described the attack on the headquarters as "unprovoked," but offered little information in its terse statement confirming the attack.

The coalition did not disclose whether U.S. troops had been present or involved in the retaliatory strike or offer any details on which forces attacked the Syrian Democratic Forces' headquarters. The SDF are a U.S.-backed alliance of militias in northern and eastern Syria.

"Syrian pro-regime forces initiated an unprovoked attack against well-established Syrian Democratic Forces headquarters Feb. 7," the statement said.

It said the incident took place 8 km (5 miles) east of the Euphrates River.

"In defense of coalition and partner forces, the coalition conducted strikes against attacking forces to repel the act of aggression against partners engaged in the Global Coalition's defeat-Daesh mission," the statement said, using an Arab acronym for Islamic State.

The Syrian army is backed by Iranian-backed militias and Russian forces. The U.S.-led coalition did not say whether any pro-Syrian fighters were killed in the retaliatory strike.

Netanyahu Visits Golan Heights, Near Syrian Border, and Cautions Israel's Enemies

February 6, 2018

(Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a rare visit to the occupied Golan Heights on Tuesday, peering across the nearby border into Syria and warning Israel's enemies not to "test" its resolve.

Netanyahu was accompanied to a hilltop observation point, some three kilometres (two miles) from a 1974 ceasefire line, by his security cabinet. He has been cautioning against any attempt by Iran to deepen its military foothold in Syria or construct missile factories in neighbouring Lebanon.

"We seek peace but are prepared for any scenario and I wouldn't suggest to anyone that they test us," Netanyahu said in broadcast remarks.

Pennsylvania Department of Education Sets Property Tax Limits

November 29, 2017

(TRIBUNE-REVIEW) - Pennsylvania school districts will be able to increase property taxes by at least 2.4 percent in the 2018-19 school year, though a select few in the Pittsburgh region can go as high as 3.9 percent, if they choose.

The state Department of Education set the limits.

This chart shows the tax-increase limit for each district in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties and other select districts in the TribLIVE coverage area included:

Districts can exceed their limits only with approval from voters at a referendum or through referendum exceptions from the state. Exceptions are available only for school construction debt, special education spending and retirement contributions.

The statewide base is down slightly from 2.5 percent for the 2017-18 school year. Adjusted limits for most districts went down by the same amount.

The limits are set as part of the state's Taxpayer Relief Act, Act 1 of 2006. The statewide index is based on the statewide average weekly wage and the employment cost index. It is then adjusted for each school district, with poorer districts being able to increase property taxes more than wealthier ones.

The decision to increase property taxes, if at all, is up to each district's school board.

Since 2006, the statewide base has been as low as 1.7 percent in 2013-14 and 2011-12, and as high as 4.4 percent in 2008-09.

School boards must decide by Jan. 25 if their districts will not raise taxes by more than their indexes. If not, they have to make a proposed version of a preliminary 2018-19 budget available for public inspection.

Districts seeking referendum exceptions to raise taxes higher than their indexes have to seek approval from the Department of Education by March 1.

January 21, 2018

Where Did the Towers Go? Evidence of Directed Free-energy Technology on 9/11 (by Dr. Judy Wood)

911 Overview IRREFUTABLE Classified Free Energy Technology Revealed to the World (Published by timnufc1)


The first plane hit the World Trade Center’s north tower at 8:46 AM. The south tower was hit less than 20 minutes later, at 9:03 AM. The south tower was hit last but collapsed first, at 09:59 AM. The north tower remained standing for just over 100 minutes before it fell at 10:28 AM.



Review by Jeanmarie Todd

November 6, 2013

I still haven't made it all the way through this book, but I have looked at certain photos and passages over and over. This is a stunning work, original, well documented and riveting. We all have our memories of where we were and what we were doing when the towers were "apparently" struck by airplanes on 9/11/01. The two things I'm sure of are:

1) this was a turning point in world affairs, much like JFK's assassination, and

2) Dr. Judy Wood stands alone in investigating and revealing what actually physically took place -- and what did not.

Others have looked into the who and why; Dr. Judy Wood looks at what happened to the towers. Her expertise as a mechanical engineer/materials scientist is unparalleled for the purposes of unraveling the truth about the Twin Towers -- and the other buildings that fell that day.

The many, many photographs, diagrams, and maps in the book are very helpful and strongly support the author's assertions.

My boyfriend regularly asks people to give him "five minutes for five photographs" and introduces this book to those who agree with just a few select photos, which always stun the person being shown these truths for the first time. It's interesting to see the dawning realization on people's faces as they appreciate for the first time, in many cases, how the official story is a pack of lies, and very obviously so.

I was working for Bloomberg News at the time of 9/11 and in fact was across the river in New Jersey for some training. I was staying in a hotel in Princeton, NJ, and each night when I went home I turned on the TV and watched 9/11 news without a break and generally went to sleep with it on. For the first week or so, instead of the training class I was supposed to be in, we were borrowed to assist with 9/11 research. My task was updating the list of victims by culling through local newspaper records and getting the daily government updates. I also had to call companies that had had offices in the Twin Towers to ask them about survivors and dead among their staff. It was awful, to say the least.

I never really examined those memories for the first 10 years or so, because it was so painful and I had no insight into them. It wasn't until I read Where Did the Towers Go? that I realized that the official story had been ready and waiting for an unsuspecting public (much like how the Patriot Act was prewritten, ready and waiting to be passed, unread, by both houses of Congress). Within hours of the planes apparently hitting the tours, we "knew" that Osama bin Laden was to blame, and various aspects of the official story were hammered into us over and over. Early reports about curious events in the financial markets (short sales of airline stocks ahead of time, etc.) disappeared pretty quickly. But the same images of planes hitting towers, and towers "falling" down, were repeated over, and over, and over. Now I realize this is classic mind control programming: shock and awe, with endless repetition of a predetermined storyline to guide our perceptions, memories and responses.

I would love to have every American read this marvelous book. You'll never be the same. And that's a good thing.



Review by reader805