Monday, September 11, 2017



That morning while driving to my commuter train Howard Stern announced that a plane had hit a tower of The World Trade Center and at that time it seemed a small plane had hit the tower…
It all happened so fast…
After boarding the train for NYC and while in contact with my ex-wife I was able to learn it was a passenger airliner that had struck the tower and a second one had struck the other. Stuck on the train you couldn’t tell what really was going; all I knew is what I could get from my ex and what information the other passengers were getting…
The train stopped at the Yonkers station where we stayed…but no one was getting up…

Word came the Pentagon had been struck, worried that this seemed a serious National attack, a couple of passengers and I decided to disembark and as we did we looked south toward NYC from where we looked directly at
The Twin Towers afire…

Saudi government allegedly funded a ‘dry run’ for 9/11

September 9, 2017 | 10:28am | Updated September 11, 2017 | 9:19am
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Suspicious in-flight activity by Saudis in the US two years before 9/11 is fueling a suit against the Riyadh government. Getty Images

Fresh evidence submitted in a major 9/11 lawsuit moving forward against the Saudi Arabian government reveals its embassy in Washington may have funded a "dry run" for the hijackings carried out by two Saudi employees, further reinforcing the claim that employees and agents of the kingdom directed and aided the 9/11 hijackers and plotters.

Two years before the airliner attacks, the Saudi Embassy paid for two Saudi nationals, living undercover in the US as students, to fly from Phoenix to Washington "in a dry run for the 9/11 attacks," alleges the amended complaint filed on behalf of the families of some 1,400 victims who died in the terrorist attacks 16 years ago.

The court filing provides new details that paint "a pattern of both financial and operational support" for the 9/11 conspiracy from official Saudi sources, lawyers for the plaintiffs say. In fact, the Saudi government may have been involved in underwriting the attacks from the earliest stages — including testing cockpit security.

"We've long asserted that there were longstanding and close relationships between al Qaeda and the religious components of the Saudi government," said Sean Carter, the lead attorney for the 9/11 plaintiffs. "This is further evidence of that."

Lawyers representing Saudi Arabia last month filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which may finally be headed toward trial now that Congress has cleared diplomatic-immunity hurdles. A Manhattan federal judge has asked the 9/11 plaintiffs, represented by lead law firm Cozen O'Connor, to respond to the motion by November.

Citing FBI documents, the complaint alleges that the Saudi students — Mohammed al-Qudhaeein and Hamdan al-Shalawi — were in fact members of "the Kingdom's network of agents in the US," and participated in the terrorist conspiracy.

They had trained at al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan at the same time some of the hijackers were there. And while living in Arizona, they had regular contacts with a Saudi hijacker pilot and a senior al Qaeda leader from Saudi now incarcerated at Gitmo. At least one tried to re-enter the US a month before the attacks as a possible muscle hijacker but was denied admission because he appeared on a terrorist watch list.

Qudhaeein and Shalawi both worked for and received money from the Saudi government, with Qudhaeein employed at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. Shalawi was also "a longtime employee of the Saudi government." The pair were in "frequent contact" with Saudi officials while in the US, according to the filings.

During a November 1999 America West flight to Washington, Qudhaeein and Shalawi are reported to have tried multiple times to gain access to the cockpit of the plane in an attempt to test flight-deck security in advance of the hijackings.
'The dry run reveals more of the fingerprints of the Saudi government.'
 - Kristen Breitweiser
"After they boarded the plane in Phoenix, they began asking the flight attendants technical questions about the flight that the flight attendants found suspicious," according to a summary of the FBI case files.

"When the plane was in flight, al-Qudhaeein asked where the bathroom was; one of the flight attendants pointed him to the back of the plane," it added. "Nevertheless, al-Qudhaeein went to the front of the plane and attempted on two occasions to enter the cockpit."

The pilots were so spooked by the Saudi passengers and their aggressive behavior that they made an emergency landing in Ohio. On the ground there, police handcuffed them and took them into custody. Though the FBI later questioned them, it decided not to pursue prosecution.

But after the FBI discovered that a suspect in a counterterrorism investigation in Phoenix was driving Shalawi's car, the bureau opened a counterterrorism case on Shalawi. Then, in November 2000, the FBI received reporting that Shalawi trained at terrorist camps in Afghanistan and had received explosives training to perform attacks on American targets. The bureau also suspected Qudhaeein was a Saudi intelligence agent, based on his frequent contact with Saudi officials.

More, investigators learned that the two Saudis traveled to Washington to attend a symposium hosted by the Saudi Embassy in collaboration with the Institute for Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America, which was chaired by the Saudi ambassador. Before being shut down for terrorist ties, IIASA employed the late al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki as a lecturer. Awlaki ministered to some of the hijackers and helped them obtain housing and IDs.

The FBI also confirmed that Qudhaeein's and Shalawi's airline tickets for the pre-9/11 dry run were paid for by the Saudi Embassy.

"The dry run reveals more of the fingerprints of the Saudi government," said Kristen Breitweiser, one of the New York plaintiffs, whose husband perished at the World Trade Center.

"These guys were Saudi government employees for years and were paid by the Saudi government," she added. "In fact, the Saudi Embassy paid for their plane tickets for the dry run."

After the Nov. 19, 1999, incident — which took place less than two months before the first hijackers entered the US — both Saudi men held posts as Saudi government employees at the Imam Muhammad Ibn Saudi Islamic University, the parent of IIASA — "a further indication of their longstanding ties to the Saudi government," the 9/11 complaint states.

Carter said in an interview that the allegations that the Saudi Embassy sponsored a pre-9/11 dry run — along with charges of other Saudi involvement in the 9/11 plot, from California to Florida — are based on "nearly 5,000 pages of evidence submitted of record and incorporated by reference into the complaint."

They include "every FBI report that we have been able to obtain," though hundreds of thousands of pages of government documents related to Saudi terror funding remain secret.
Attempts to reach lawyers representing the Saudi government by phone and email were unsuccessful. However, in last month's motion to dismiss the lawsuit, they argued that the plaintiffs cannot prove the kingdom or its employees directly supported the hijackers
Paul Sperry is a former Hoover Institution media fellow and author of "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington."

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Ruby Chocolate, The First Official Chocolate Type Established Since White Chocolate 80 Years Ago

by Lori Dorn at 6:29 PM on September 7, 2017

The Barry Callebaut Group, a foremost authority on the subject of chocolate in Zurich, announced on September 5, 2017, that a fourth official category was added to the three current types – dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. This pink hued chocolate named ruby is the first new type of chocolate established in the 80 years since white chocolate was accepted. This new chocolate is made from a ruby cocoa bean, which is distinctive for both its color and taste.
Ruby chocolate has an intense taste and characteristic reddish color. The Ruby bean is unique because the fresh berry-fruitiness and color precursors are naturally present. The cocoa beans are sourced from different regions of the world. …The fourth type in chocolate offers a totally new taste experience, which is not bitter, milky or sweet, but a tension between berry-fruitiness and luscious smoothness. To create Ruby chocolate no berries or berry flavor, nor color, is added.

via Bloomberg

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Republicans must fight for Trump, or conservatives will lose the country

© Getty

"Is Trump finished?" one of his savviest conservative supporters asked me recently.
In other words, will restless Republicans, unable to achieve any legislative victories, turn on the president of the United States? Abandon hope all ye who succumb to this temptation.
Turning on Trump is not the first, difficult step to GOP survival; instead, it would be a death blow to conservative resistance and revival in America. The full shock and awe fury of the Left and its media dogs has been unleashed on Trump for one reason: Trump has uncovered the specific formula for destroying progressivism.

What is this winning formula?

The first component is obvious: Trump promised to preserve American jobs for Americans by fighting illegal immigration, renegotiating trade agreements that disadvantage American workers, and getting rid of regulatory barriers that keep American industries from thriving here.

Trump's new economic message plainly rejected Mitt Romney's uninspired promise to protect "job creators" and instead focused on empowering blue collar workers. Progressives concentrate on these same constituencies, but all they are capable of offering is government largesse. The idea of self-sufficiency is a much more attractive and expansive economic message to take to the middle and working class. Trump knew this, and used it to win big league in 2016.

Progressives are frightened by Trump because they fear Trump's winning message can — and ultimately will — be extended beyond his largely white working class base to minority demographics like Hispanics and African American workers, who, whether they are conscious of it or not, are just as desperate to make America great again.

Conservatives would be foolish to run away from Trumponomics. Instead, they should build upon that message with strong cases for federalism, monetary reform, and other conservative ideas to smash the administrative state in Washington — a.k.a. the dreaded "swamp."
The second component of Trump's winning message is the least digested by GOP elites: Trump understood intuitively that embracing social conservatism is a surefire political winner, especially on the pro-life issue. Trump grasped that the very same voters who wanted him to fight economic decline also worry about social and cultural decline. And no, it is not just evangelicals; Trump's outspokenness on life and religious liberty was key to destroying the blue wall in the Rust Belt, attracting Catholic and other Reagan voters who had drifted away from the Republican brand.
There is a clear lesson here for GOP elites: Mitt Romney tried to call a truce on cultural issues,

didn't, Mitt Romney lost, and Donald Trump won. Republicans can't win without embracing social conservatism. There is also a clear lesson for social conservatives: moving forward requires us to abandon our alliance with Romney-esque corporate "conservatives," who loathe us anyway, and forge a new winning alliance between values voters and conservative economic populists

The third leg of Trump's formula for victory: He broke through the left's strategy of shaming Americans into silence. Voters saw Trump's success in refusing to be cowed by political correctness as their own success. For social conservatives, this is critical: The progressives' entire strategy depends on shaming Americans into acquiescing to strange new moral orders from Hollywood and Washington.

The left's shaming strategy tells those who disagree we must relinquish our power and be silent. For many, voting for Trump became the only means of expressing cultural resistance. Politics is thus the irreplaceable way Americans learn we are not odd or alone: our values are widely shared. We are the majority.

Understanding what Trump accomplished is critical for Christian conservatives especially: Political retreat is not an option. Investing more heavily in more direct and effective politics is pivotal to preventing elite cultural and political repression of traditional values.

But it was not just Christian conservatives who responded to Trump's refusal to cower to elite political correctness. The left's shaming is not just individual and it is not just about Christianity. The progressives' strategy is to shame America itself. That is why progressive calls to tear down confederate statues are so quickly followed by calls to tear down statues of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

The left hated Trump's unabashed pro-Americanism. Voters understood that national pride is not evidence of hatred or racism or any "ism" except Americanism, which is in fact good. Voters sided with the Trump in part because they knew Trump's unalloyed patriotism is part and parcel of his refusal to submit to the Left's moral authority.

Conservatives are beyond foolish if we fail to recognize that we are engaged in a death battle for the soul of America. Trump is an imperfect but direct counter to what has heretofore been a one-sided story of decline and impotence now on vivid display in a GOP-controlled Congress. The left is far advanced in its agenda to destroy the American constitutional system, including federalism, limited government, the rule of law, and the rights of the people to rule themselves.

If President Trump can now deliver on any form of economic renewal, pursue his pro-life agenda in a serious way, protect conscience, and continue to display a proud nationalism, he will be poised for one of the great comebacks in American history.

No president can govern effectively alone. He needs our support. Republicans have a binary choice: fight for President Trump, or die. The time to fight is now.

Frank Cannon is the president of American Principles Project, a non-profit dedicated to educating and advocating for public policy solutions that recognize the dignity of the person as the basis of the founding principles of the United States, and serves as a political strategist for the Susan B. Anthony List. He is the co-author of the 2012 Republican autopsy report "Building a Winning GOP Coalition: The Lessons of 2012″ and has worked in the public policy arena for over 30 years.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.

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Why Trump hopes the new Trump sticks

A Trump adviser says that after a tumultuous seven months in office, it had finally dawned on the president: "People really f@&@ing hate me." For someone who has spent his life lapping up adulation, however fake, it was a harsh realization. This is a man with an especially acute need for affirmation.

This week's bear hug of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer opened Trump's eyes to one solution: Stop doing things that people hate, and start striking deals.
Who knows if this will stick. But there's reason to think it might, according to Trump's friends and aides. Here's why, based on conversations Jonathan Swan and I had in the aftermath of the surprising deal:
  • He can blame Republicans for his troubles. Trump has convinced himself he was duped by GOP leaders into repealing health care and blowing his first seven months on a fool's errand. If he can strike a few deals, he can reshape history to make the party — not himself — the culprit.
  • He can please the kids and New Yorkers. With the banishment of Bannon and his allies, Trump is left with a largely moderate to Democratic staff.
  • A senior administration official said of Trump's deal with Chuck and Nancy: "He just wanted to do something popular." He's reveling in the coverage, including lavish praise from "Morning Joe."
  • He can spend money, not take it away. Trump hates complex topics and gravitates to things you can build, such as planes or new infrastructure projects.
  • Remember he told Republican senators the House healthcare bill was "one mean sonofabitch." He said he wanted the Senate version to be much more generous, with no worry about cost.
  • One senator recalled Trump saying: "We're going to have so much ... economic growth, that we'll have so much money — more than you imagine."
  • He can liberate himself. He feels boxed in inside the White House and felt handcuffed to GOP leaders. No more. He had it with McConnell — thinks he's past his prime, no longer capable of leading. Considers him low-energy. He has much more natural rapport with Schumer, a friend from the New York days.
Be smart: With the expiration of vehicles allowing simple-majority votes in the Senate, Trump achievements soon will require substantial Democratic votes. So he was going to have to pivot at some point anyway, building bridges and finding new dance partners.
  • But we can't overstate the level of despair among Republicans. One person very close to Republican leadership told us: "He accepted a shakedown when he was holding all the cards. ... This is quite literally a guy who watches 'ER' trying to perform a surgery."
Will it stick? With Trump, who the hell knows?

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