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TBR News September 18, 2018

Sep 18 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. September 18, 2018 : “Because of the growing, and serious, public discontent that had been manifested during the course of the Vietnamese War from 1950 through 1973, the American governmental establishment resolved to take steps to recognize, infiltrate and neutralize any significant future national anti-government actions.

Once the most powerful nation, the United States is rapidly losing its premier position in the international sphere while at the same time facing a potential serious anti-government political movement developing in that country. The number of unemployed in the United States today is approximately 97,000,000. Official American sources claim that employment is always improving but in fact it is not. Most official governmental releases reflect wishful thinking or are designed to placate the public

This situation is caused by the movement, by management, of manufacturing businesses to foreign labor markets. While these removals can indeed save the companies a great deal of expenditure on domestic labor, by sharply reducing their former worker bodies to a small number, the companies have reduced the number of prospective purchasers of expensive items like automobiles.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 26
  • Kavanaugh claims give vulnerable Democrats in Senate cover to oppose him
  • Putin sees chance circumstances behind downing of Russian plane in Syria
  • Yemen’s Descent into Hell
  • Time to Kill the Zombie Argument: Another Study Shows Trump Won Because of Racial Anxieties — Not Economic Distress
  • Exclusive: US police ‘using Tiger Text app to conceal evidence’
  • New Tesla killer: Audi’s all-electric crossover may devour Elon Musk’s lunch

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TBR News September 17, 2018

Sep 17 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. September 17, 2018:” Cui bono? is a Latin phrase: ‘to whom is it a benefit?’ This is an excellent guide to a study of various official lies and excuses and it covers a multitude of sins.

Why, for instance, would the Russians want to poison a man in England, and in public, when they could have removed him permanently when he was in prison in Russia?

The US Government, on the other hand, did not want the man available to be questioned about Trump’s known Russian connection by the Mueller people.

And when that Malaysian airliner was shot down over the Ukraine, why would the Russians do this?

On the other hand, it is known in Washington that the CIA was trying to blacklist the Russians. And to further this program, their friends at the New York Times ran pictures of Russian soldiers and claimed they had invaded the Ukraine.

When it turned out the pictures were clearly about ten years old, the New York Times mumbled a correction.

Another excellent concept is that of Occam’s Razor.’ Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity’

Reduce complicated issues to basic facts and truth, such as it is, will become clearly evident.

If the Statue of Liberty’s raised arm fell off, believe it the right wing would scream that the Russians, and not internal rot, had somehow done the deed.

It is a pity that Infowars Jones is now quiet or we would learn that a Russian submarine was seen in the harbor offloading troops in rubber boats just before the incident.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 25
  • The Donald in Wonderland
  • Donald Trump threatens to impose $200bn import tariffs on China in trade war
  • Trump court pick Kavanaugh issues denial; accuser willing to testify
  • Serial numbers of missile that downed MH17 show it was produced in 1986, owned by Ukraine – Russia
  • Government Can Spy on Journalists in the U.S. Using Invasive Foreign Intelligence Process

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TBR News September 16, 2018

Sep 16 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. September 16, 2018:” There is no known Planet X or 10th planet in our solar system. Scientists have been looking for about a hundred years. It was believed that such a planet was required to explain the orbital characteristics of the outer planets Uranus and Neptune. Many searches have been performed and, to date, no evidence of such a planet has emerged. In addition, better information about the masses of outer planets has also now shown that no other planets are necessary to explain the planetary orbits.

We get a number of strange communications every day and that one is typical of most. Peanut butter cures cancer, radio messages are received on dental fillings, MK-ULTRA redux, Hitler alive in Buenos Aires, Puerto Rican attack weasels destroyed the WTC and on and on.

Now we have gurus telling us about Kennedy and soon we will hear from the crystal ball set about Atlantis arising in Lake Mead, or that Russia is responsible for ingrown toenails.

There must be less intrusive forms of therapy. The revenge of the small of mind and large of ego has a certain humor value but like a very fat person sitting next to you at the movies, a little goes a very long way. Especially if it’s summer and you know that they can’t fit into any bathtub ever made. Just think of Camembert cheese and enjoy the movie.

There are many “theories” about the destruction of the WTC buildings.

The facts are simple: Commercial aircraft were hijacked by Muslim terrorists and crashed into the two buildings and another one crashed into the Pentagon. The buildings were subject to intense fires which weakened the support beams, causing the upper floors to collapse downwards, destroying both buildings.

Stories about “plasmoid clouds,” “rockets,” streets carpeted with aircraft parts that could not have come from commercial aircraft, Jewish moving van operators jumping up and down on top of their truck, US Army explosive experts rushing into the burning buildings to lay explosive charges are all interesting and very entertaining fantasies.

Not one of these “theories” has any more subjective value than a Grimm Brothers fairy tale. These stories make the round of the silly “blogs” and are augmented with “authoritative reports” of the atomic destruction of the city of Houston by evil Zionists.

All of these things are fantasy, designed to impress others with the self-importance of the reporter, have no basis in reality and are well worth a good satire.

And for high level unintended satire, read President Trump’s blogs.”

The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 24
  • ‘Impeachment is hell’: Manafort deal increases pressure on Trump
  • Donald Trump’s Russian connections
  • Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
  • The Unpardonable Heresy of Tucker Carlson
  • Cowboy to soy boy: Americans consuming more fake meat & dairy than ever
  • ‘Serial killer’: US border patrol agent charged with murder of four women
  • Trump administration to send U.S. cellphones a test alert on Thursday

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TBR News September 15, 2018

Sep 15 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. September 15, 2018:” The crisis over Iran’s nuclear program has worsened matters, giving hostility the feel of an obsession – one that their attention and considerable wealth must resolve, regardless of Western counsel and regional impact.

Support from the Gulf states seek to detach Syria from Iran thereby breaking the Shi’ite arc that extends from Iran through post-Saddam Hussein Iraq then into Syria and Hezbollah-ruled Lebanon. Their goal has far less to do with the regional push for democracy than to the struggle for mastery of the Persian Gulf. In the absence of an effective FSA to oust Assad, a bombing campaign may have to do.

The bombings may firm support for the Assad regime as the specter of Syrian cities resembling Fallujah and Baghdad begins to loom. But opposition to Assad is too widespread and deep to mute the opposition.

Turkey, Israel, the United States and the European Union see another specter: Assad’s sizable arsenal of chemical weapons and shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles falling into the hands of Iraqi militants, Salafi militants, and various merchants of dubious scruples.”

The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 24
  • Manafort cooperation could energize Mueller probe: legal experts
  • Manafort and senior Israeli official meddled in Ukraine elections, Obama foreign policy
  • Trump and ‘collusion’: what we know so far about Mueller’s Russia investigation
  • Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh denies sexual misconduct allegation
  • Puerto Rico hurricane: How was the 3,000 death toll worked out?
  • This is how the world ends: will we soon see category 6 hurricanes?
  • Russia & Germany reaffirm support for Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline – Lavrov
  • Secret dossier warns: The Israeli army is unprepared for war
  • Why John Bolton Really Hates the International Criminal Court
  • Anonymous Op-ed From Trump’s White House Shows the Dangers of America’s Imperial Presidency

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TBR NEWS September 14, 2018

Sep 14 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. September 14, 2018:” “Haven’t brilliant, fearless reporters and daring bloggers exposed the Real Truth behind the 911 disaster? What has happened to the Plasmoid Clouds? The Chinese/Bulgarian Guided Missiles? The ex-Soviet Scientists working with the CIA, Mossad and the Illuminati? What about the self-sacrificing US Army Special Forces who actually went inside the buildings, acting on orders from Laura Bush and the Freemasons,  and blew the Twin Towers, and themselves, up? And the acres of foreign rocket engine parts strewed all over New York’s streets, or huge lakes of molten steel found by unidentified rescue workers in the cellars of the WTC? God, will these disillusions never end? Here we have reassurance that all is not lost after all…. Next week, a stunning report will emerge on how Nicolas Tesla’s Z-Ray, controlled by former KGB officers stationed on Planet X,  actually brought down the two buildings,  as well as the Pentagon!”

The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 23
  • Sources say former Trump aide Manafort close to plea deal with Mueller
  • Millions of Americans still trapped in debt-logged homes ten years after crisis
  • Countrywide: Subprime Kings
  • US government accused of ‘devastating damage’ to families separated at border
  • Why the U.S. Seeks to Hem in Russia, China and Iran
  • Washington’s message is clear, do as we say or be punished – US Secretary of Energy Perry
  • U.S. import prices post largest drop in more than one-and-a-half years
  • Washington’s Influence in Syria is Nowhere to be Found

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TBR News September 12, 2018

Sep 12 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. September 12, 2018: “It is permissible in Washington to delude others but fatal to delude oneself. Although the alphabet agencies are laboring under the mistaken belief that their communications are very secret and private, in truth nothing committed to the internet system is secret if one know the methodology of penetration. And a number do. The  so-called ‘deep internet’ is one method of disbursing gleaned information that is nearly impossible for governmental sluths to penetrate and there are other methods that one does not discuss, especially on the Internet. The American spy network is like an ant farm where every move can be seen by others. This is self-delusion personified.”

The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 21
  • New polls show slump in Donald Trump’s approval rating
  • As Trump embraces more tariffs, U.S. business readies public fight
  • ‘They were laughing at us’: immigrants tell of cruelty, illness, and filth in US detention
  • Target Syria
  • Catalog of a collection of microfilmed official files now on the market
  • FBI and Blackhawk choppers: National Solar Observatory shuts over mysterious ‘security issue’
  • Hurricane Florence: ‘Life-threatening monster’ forces mass evacuation
  • Will extreme weather become even deadlier?

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TBR News September 11, 2018

Sep 11 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. September 11, 2018:” “The Benfield Hazard Research Centre claim that the western flank of the Cumbre Vieja volcano might be caused to cave in after an eruption, sending a huge mass of rock, twice the size of the Isle of Man, crashing into the sea and unleashing an immense tsunami which would fan out across the Atlantic at speeds of up to 800 kmph. After 10 minutes, the wall of water would have moved almost 250 kilometres.

The other Canaries and the West Saharan shore would be worse affected with waves of 100 metres from crest to trough. Florida and the Caribbean would be hit by waves of 50 metres some 8 to 9 hours after the landslide. Brazil would be hit by waves as high as 40 m. The Atlantic coasts of Spain, Portugal, France and Britain, would also be affected by waves as high as 10 metres. Damage would clearly be in trillions, though its true extent is unsure as this would greatly depend on the ‘inundation distance’ – the distance the waves penetrate inland.

British and U.S. scientists who have issued the warning predict that, in the worst-case scenario, the tidal wave would destroy the coasts of Florida and Brazil.

But the Western Sahara, Portugal, Spain, France and parts of the UK would also be hit.

They fear that the mega-wave — know as a tsunami — could be generated by part of a mountain twice the size of Britain’s Isle of Man crashing into the sea following an eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma, in the Canary Islands — part of the Spanish island chain off West Africa.

Travelling at speeds of up to 500mph, the tsunami would be an unstoppable force and would be the biggest-ever recorded in history.

Previous research by Dr Simon Day, of the Benfield Greig Hazard Research Centre at University College London predicted that a future eruption of Cumbre Vieja was likely to cause the western flank of the mountain to slide into the sea.

The energy released by the collapse would be equal to the electricity consumption of the entire U.S. in six months.

With Dr Steven Ward, from the University of California, Dr Day has produced a new model that predicts more accurately how big the tsunami will be and where it will strike.

Immediately after the landslide, a dome of water almost 900 metres (3,000 ft) high and tens of kilometres wide will form, only to collapse and rebound.

Its first target was expected to be the West Saharan coast of Morocco, where the wave would measure a devastating 330ft from crest to trough.

Propelled by a series of crests and troughs, the tsunami would travel a distance of almost 155 miles in just 10 minutes, the model predicts.

Racing at the speed of a jet aircraft, it would reach Florida and the Caribbean in eight or nine hours.

A wall of water 164ft high — higher than Nelson’s column in London’s Trafalgar Square — would smash into the coasts of Florida and the Caribbean islands, the forecast predicts.

The northern coast of Brazil would be hit by a wave more than 130ft high.

The wave would travel four or five miles inland, flattening everything in its path.”

 

 

 

The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 20
  • Internal ‘resistance’ to Donald Trump is scary
  • Is Trump Going Neocon in Syria?
  • After Trump
  • Trump on Twitter (Sept. 11): Russia, Rudy Giuliani, Eric Holder
  • The forgotten scandal in the Trump administration: Hurricane Maria
  • Explosive Skripal allegations may blow up in Syria – George Galloway
  • Hurricane Florence nears Carolinas, forcing westward exodus

 

Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 20

August 8, 2018

by Daniel Dale, Washington Bureau Chief

The Toronto Star, Canada

The Star is keeping track of every false claim U.S. President Donald Trump has made since his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. Why? Historians say there has never been such a constant liar in the Oval Office. We think dishonesty should be challenged. We think inaccurate information should be corrected

If Trump is a serial liar, why call this a list of “false claims,” not lies? You can read our detailed explanation here. The short answer is that we can’t be sure that each and every one was intentional. In some cases, he may have been confused or ignorant. What we know, objectively, is that he was not teling the truth.

Last updated: Aug 8, 2018

 

 

  • Jul 7, 2017

“Everyone here is talking about why John Podesta refused to give the DNC server to the FBI and the CIA. Disgraceful!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: There is no evidence that anyone other than Trump himself was talking about former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta at the G-20 meeting. Trump aides did not respond to Washington Post requests to identify anyone else who was talking about Podesta, and the Daily Beast reported that aides were baffled by the tweet — one saying, “I have no idea what he’s talking about.” Also, Podesta did not work for the DNC and was not involved in the decision to rebuff the FBI’s request for access. In addition, it was only the FBI that requested access, according to various media reports, not the CIA as well.

 

  • Jul 9, 2017

“Sanctions were not discussed at my meeting with President Putin. Nothing will be done until the Ukrainian & Syrian problems are solved!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was in the meeting, and Trump deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders both said sanctions were discussed. “I do know that it was mentioned,” Sanders said on Monday, the day after Trump’s Sunday denial on Twitter. “Specifically, when you ask about sanctions I know there is a little bit of a question there, and there were sanctions specific to election meddling that I believe were discussed, but not beyond that.”

 

“Questions were asked about why the CIA & FBI had to ask the DNC 13 times for their SERVER, and were rejected…”

Source: Twitter

in fact: The FBI, not the CIA, requested access to Democratic National Committee servers to investigate alleged Russian hacking. (It is not clear where Trump got his “13 times” figure.)

 

  • Jul 10, 2017

“When I left Conference Room for short meetings with Japan and other countries, I asked Ivanka to hold seat. Very standard.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: There is no recent precedent, perhaps any precedent, for the president asking his child to sit in for him at a meeting of world leaders. The decision would not even have been “standard” if Ivanka Trump was a mere White House advisor and not also his daughter.

 

  • Jul 12, 2017

“We have done more in five months than practically any president in history.”

Source: Interview with Reuters

in fact: Trump is not even close to the presidential record for bills signed at the six-month mark. The New York Times found that Jimmy Carter signed 70 bills, Bill Clinton 50. Trump was at 42 the week he spoke — and “about half were minor and inconsequential.”

Trump has repeated this claim 19 times

 

“Saudi Arabia put up hundreds of billions of dollars of money going into buying our planes and our military equipment and investing in our country…they spent hundreds of billions of dollars, right in front of us.”

Source: Interview with Pat Robertson

in fact: Trump was exaggerating, especially in claiming that hundreds of billions were “spent” in their presence. The White House claimed the agreements signed on Trump’s Middle East trip amounted to $350 billion, but nobody has been able to independently confirm this figure, and the State Department said the agreements amounted to $80 billion. Even then, most of them were preliminary memoranda, not final contracts — much less immediate payments.

 

“I terminated for our country the Paris accord…I terminated because it was not fair to our country, we have other countries that had much better deals than we did to put it in a very simple form.”

Source: Interview with Pat Robertson

in fact: The Paris climate deal does not impose unequal burdens on different countries: each country sets its own voluntary commitments. If Trump felt that U.S. goals were too ambitious, he could have made them less ambitious.

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

 

Q: “How many regulations have you lifted?” Trump: “Just thousands.”

Source: Interview with Pat Robertson

in fact: The Trump administration said the following week that it had “withdrawn or removed from active status” 860 regulations to date.

 

“We’ve given the farmers back their land. We’ve given the homebuilders the right to put up a house.”

Source: Interview with Pat Robertson

in fact: This is simple nonsense. With the exception of some scattered eminent domain cases, previous presidents did not take the land of farmers and homebuilders.

Trump has repeated this claim 4 times

 

“You had cases where a farm would have a little puddle someplace — a puddle — when I grew up we used to call it a puddle, you too probably, and they considered it a lake. If you touched it bad, bad things happened to you and your family.”

Source: Interview with Pat Robertson

in fact: This claim about puddles has been a common Republican talking point, but it is not accurate. The Environmental Protection Agency has specifically excluded puddles from the regulation in question; a fact sheet on its website says, “THE CLEAN WATER RULE DOES NOT REGULATE PUDDLES.”

Trump has repeated this claim 5 times

 

“If we do GDP at 1 per cent — because we’re basically, for the last year, around 1 per cent…”

Source: Interview with Pat Robertson

in fact: This is a reverse exaggeration. The U.S. GDP in 2016 was 1.6 per cent; no economic analyst would call this “basically around 1 per cent.” Talking about “the last year” — from June 2016 through June 2017, for example — GDP growth is higher: growth was 1.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, but 2.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016 and 3.5 per cent in the third quarter of 2016.

Trump has repeated this claim 4 times

 

“We have the highest taxes anywhere in the world.”

Source: Interview with Pat Robertson

in fact: The U.S. is far from the highest-taxed nation in the world. While its corporate tax rate is near the top, it is below the average of developed OECD countries when other taxes are included.

Trump has repeated this claim 28 times

 

“I’ve gotten rid of the Johnson Amendment. Now we’re going to go try to get rid of it permanently in Congress. But I signed an executive order…Ministers and preachers and rabbis and whoever it may be that can speak — you couldn’t speak politically before. Now you can.”

Source: Interview with Pat Robertson

in fact: As some Christian leaders and religion-policy experts have pointed out — and as Trump implicitly conceded in his second sentence here — Trump’s executive order in May did not get “rid of” Johnson Amendment (which prohibits churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates). The executive order merely says the Treasury Department will, “to the extent permitted by law,” not impose a tax penalty on a person or religious organization who “speaks or has spoken about moral or political issues from a religious perspective.” The government almost never imposed such penalties even before the order, and such a directive is far from complete repeal. “Trump’s Religious Liberty Order Doesn’t Answer Most Evangelicals’ Prayers; Prayer breakfast pledge to ‘totally destroy’ Johnson Amendment comes up shy,” read the headline on the website Christianity Today.

Trump has repeated this claim 4 times

 

“They (China) have an 8,000-year culture.”

Source: Discussion with reporters aboard Air Force One flight to France

in fact: Trump is adding 3,000 years to Chinese legend. Chinese leaders declare that China has a 5,000-year-old civilization.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

 

“South Korea, we protect, but we’re losing $40 billion a year with South Korea on trade. We have a trade deficit of $40 billion.”

Source: Discussion with reporters aboard Air Force One flight to France

in fact: The U.S. trade deficit with South Korea is $17 billion, according to the U.S. government. If you count trade in goods alone and exclude trade in services, the deficit is $28 billion.

 

“The (U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement) deal just came up.”

Source: Discussion with reporters aboard Air Force One flight to France

in fact: The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) did is not “up”; it has not expired in any way. The U.S. has expressed a desire to renegotiate it.

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

 

“That (the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement) was another Hillary Clinton beauty. Remember she said it was five-year deal, and now it’s an extension period.”

Source: Discussion with reporters aboard Air Force One flight to France

in fact: Hillary Clinton did not say that the deal was supposed to be a five-year deal, nor did anyone else. “KORUS was never framed as a five-year deal, certainly,” said Derek Scissors, an expert on Asia trade at the American Enterprise Institute, It is not in a special extension period; rather, it continues to function as normal.

 

“Hillary was going to cut the military.”

Source: Discussion with reporters aboard Air Force One flight to France

in fact: There is no evidence of this. Like Trump, Clinton called for an end to the “sequester” that limited military spending. “The sequester makes our country less secure. Let’s end it and get a budget deal that supports America’s military, our families and our country,” she said during the campaign.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

 

“Hey, in West Virginia I beat (Clinton) by 42 points. Remember, she went and sat with the miners and they said get the hell out of here.”

Source: Discussion with reporters aboard Air Force One flight to France

in fact: This is an exaggeration. Clinton was not received warmly in West Virginia after the gaffe in which she said she intended to put coal miners “out of work.” But nobody told her to “get the hell out of here”; at a roundtable event, one unemployed miner told her: “I just want to know how you can say you’re going to put a lot of coal miners out of, out of jobs, and then come in here and tell us how you’re going to be our friend, because those people out there don’t see you as a friend.”

 

“If Hillary got in, your energy prices right now would be double. You’d be doing no fracking. You’d be doing practically no fossil fuels.”

Source: Discussion with reporters aboard Air Force One flight to France

in fact: These statements are absurd, especially the last one. While Clinton wanted the U.S. to move toward renewable energy, she did not plan to put some sort of immediate stop to fossil-fuel extraction.

 

“The first thing I signed, the first day, was the Keystone Pipeline…That was dead. That was dead for two years. It was never going to happen. I revived it on day one. You know, you’ll check, please check it. I have to be exactly accurate. They’ll say, oh I wasn’t totally accurate.”

Source: Discussion with reporters aboard Air Force One flight to France

in fact: We checked it, again, and Trump did not revive Keystone XL on his first day. He issued his executive order on the fourth full day of his presidency.

Trump has repeated this claim 5 times

 

“When Hillary Clinton spent her ads — you know, she spent almost 100 per cent of her ads on anti-Donald Trump ads.”

Source: Discussion with reporters aboard Air Force One flight to France

in fact: Trump is right that Clinton’s campaign advertising spending was overwhelmingly devoted to anti-Trump ads, but “almost 100 per cent” is a significant exaggeration. A Wesleyan Media Project study found that 25 per cent of Clinton’s ads were focused on policy, while about two-thirds were focused on Trump.

 

“Remember, when you hear the words ‘sources say’ from the Fake Media, often times those sources are made up and do not exist.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: There is simply no evidence that this is true nor reason to suspect it is true.

Trump has repeated this claim 12 times

 

  • Jul 13, 2017

“Now, the lawyer that went to the meeting, I see that she was in the halls of Congress, also. Somebody said that her visa or her passport to come into the country was approved by Attorney General Lynch. Now, maybe that’s wrong. I just heard that a little while ago. But a little surprised to hear that. So she was here because of Lynch.”

Source: Joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron

in fact: There is no evidence that Lynch personally approved the travel of Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who participated in a controversial meeting with Donald Trump Jr. in 2016. Lynch said she had no knowledge of Veselnitskaya’s travel, and Trump’s Department of Homeland Security said the decision to allow her into the country was made by that department “in concurrence with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York,” in order to let Veselnitskaya “participate in a client’s legal proceedings.”

 

  • Jul 14, 2017

“This plan…maintains Medicaid coverage for every single elderly American, disabled American, and American child who is currently on the program.”

Source: Weekly address

in fact: The Republican health bill does not provide any special protection from cuts for people who are currently receiving Medicaid.

 

“And with these much needed, long-term reforms to strengthen the safety net for our neediest citizens, the Obamacare repeal and replace plan would significantly reduce the federal deficit.”

Source: Weekly address

in fact: The Republicans’ health reform plan does not strengthen the safety net for the neediest. Non-partisan government experts have estimated that it would deny health insurance to 15 million low-income people who would be covered by the Medicaid insurance program if Obamacare were left in place.

 

Internal ‘resistance’ to Donald Trump is scary

The new Bob Woodward book “Fear” details an internal “resistance” acting to prevent US President Trump from wreaking even more havoc.

September 10, 2018

by Michael Knigge

DW

The top economic adviser to the president swipes a letter from his boss’s desk to prevent him from exiting crucial trade agreements with other countries. The head of the Defense Department ignores the president’s order to kill the leader of a hostile foreign country. The president’s chief of staff describes his boss as “unhinged” and an “idiot” and says it is pointless to try to convince him of anything.

This does not describe events occurring in the presidential palace of some remote autocratic leader.

This is happening in the United States, “the oldest nation with a constitutional government in which the people elect their own government and representatives.”

To be fair, the White House and some of the people described in the above passages from legendary Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward’s new book contested the actions and remarks attributed to them while Woodward stood by them.

Woodward over Trump

When one stacks Woodward’s decades-long journalistic record against this White House’s record of falsehoods, obfuscations and outright lies since Inauguration Day, it is easy to pick a side. What’s more, while Woodward’s bombshell book details new instances of a dysfunctional administration and a dangerously incompetent president, similar episodes have been reported repeatedly in the past by multiple outlets and in other books.

Last week’s unprecedented New York Times op-ed in which an unnamed senior Trump administration official declared that he or she is part of an internal “resistance” serves as an additional confirmation: There really seems to be a group of people who are actively trying to prevent US President Donald Trump from carrying out ideas or policies that they feel are deeply ill-advised or outright dangerous.

But while there clearly is a compelling — if not urgent — need to counter Trump’s more reckless legislation, stealing letters from his desk, ignoring his orders and venting behind his back is not the way to do that.

Firstly, because from what one can judge from the outside, this internal “resistance” has not been very effective in curbing Trump’s worst impulses. The administration’s inhumane immigration policy that climaxed in the separation of migrant children from their parents, the undermining of the transatlantic relationship, the imposition of tariffs on key allies Canada and Europe, the nixing of the Iran nuclear deal, just to name a few — all were carried out despite the existence of this internal “resistance.”  This means either that the group is not very effective or that it actually agrees with key tenets of Trump’s “America First” approach.

Taking matters into their own hands

Secondly and more importantly, the mere existence of an internal “resistance” is deeply disconcerting. This group has become convinced that the body set up as the constitutional check on the presidency, Congress, is not capable or willing, of fulfilling its role. Therefore, these influential members of the Trump administration have concluded after working with and for him that he is so detrimental to, and dangerous for, the country and the world, that they — literally — have to take matters into their own hands.

Leaving aside the fact that it takes a certain amount of hubris for the members of the internal “resistance” to think that by engaging in acts of subterfuge they can have a more significant impact than by resigning and speaking up, this behavior is constitutionally questionable.

What does it tell Americans and the world that unelected US officials feel it is justified to engage in clandestine acts to try and prevent the elected president of the United States from doing more damage than he has already done?

It sends the message that the political situation is so dire, that the long-established constitutional mechanisms to control the executive of the world’s most powerful democracy do not work anymore. And that message may even be correct. Put differently: In his less than two years in office Donald Trump has already undermined the political norms and processes to such an extent that the normal checks against presidential excesses have failed.

Desperate act

Against that backdrop, the accounts given by Trump administration officials to Woodward and the unnamed New York Times op-ed could also be interpreted not as reassurances to the public that there are “adults in the room” who will rein Trump in, but as a plea for help.

But it is difficult to see where that help should come from. As the “resistance”, according to the op-ed rightly concluded, trying to remove President Trump via the 25th amendment is not only extremely difficult, but such a process would almost certainly tear the country even further apart. That also applies to the idea of an impeachment of Trump, and to a lesser extent to the hope that the special counsel probe into Russian election meddling will lead to the ouster of the president. All of these options are highly complex, highly unusual, highly divisive and, if used, would play out over a long time.

Restoring the faith

As the anonymous op-ed author rightly stated, the most plausible, most immediate and least divisive check on the Trump administration could come from the American voters in the upcoming election. A Democratic takeover of one, or even both chambers of congress will not end the Trump presidency. It will also not undo the harm already done and prevent future damage done by this president.

But it could at least make it much more difficult and costly for Donald Trump and his acolytes in the Republican Party to advance his pernicious agenda than the haphazard path taken by internal “resistance.” And, at least as important, it could help restore the hope that Trump can be restrained in in ways that strengthen, not weaken, the faith in America’s political system.

 

Is Trump Going Neocon in Syria?

September 11, 2018

by Patrick J. Buchanan

Is President Donald Trump about to intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war? For that is what he and his advisers seem to be signaling.

Last week, Trump said of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s campaign to recapture the last stronghold of the rebellion, Idlib province: “If it’s a slaughter, the world is going to get very, very angry. And the United States is going to get very angry, too.”

In a front-page story Monday, “Assad is Planning Chlorine Attack, U.S. Says,” The Wall Street Journal reports that, during a recent meeting, “President Trump threatened to conduct a massive attack against Mr. Assad if he carries out a massacre in Idlib.”

Idlib contains three million civilians and refugees and 70,000 rebels, 10,000 of whom are al-Qaida.

Friday, The Washington Post reported that Trump is changing U.S. policy. America will not leaving Syria any time soon.

The 2,200 U.S. troops in Syria will remain until we see “the exit of all Iranian military and proxy forces and the establishment of a stable, non-threatening government acceptable to all Syrians.”

“We are not in a hurry to go,” said James Jeffrey, the retired Foreign Service officer brought back to handle the Syria account. “The new policy is we’re no longer pulling out by the end of the year.”

President Obama had a red line against Syria’s use of poison gas, which Trump enforced with bombing runs. Now we have a new red line. Said Jeffrey, the U.S. “will not tolerate an attack. Period.”

In an editorial Friday, the Post goaded Trump, calling his response to Assad’s ruthless recapture of his country “pathetically weak.” To stand by and let the Syrian army annihilate the rebels in Idlib, said the Post, would be “another damaging abdication of U.S. leadership.”

What Trump seems to be signaling, the Post demanding, and Jeffrey suggesting, is that, rather than allow a bloody battle for the recapture of Idlib province to play out, the United States should engage Russian and Syrian forces militarily and force them to back off.

On Friday, near the U.S. garrison at Tanf in southern Syria, close to Iraq, U.S. Marines conducted a live-fire exercise. Purpose: Warn Russian forces to stay away. The Americans have declared a 35-mile zone around Tanf off-limits. The Marine exercise followed a Russian notification, and U.S. rejection, of a plan to enter the zone in pursuit of “terrorists.”

Is Trump ready to order U.S. action against Russian and Syrian forces if Assad gives his army the green light to take Idlib? For the bombing of Idlib has already begun.

What makes this more than an academic exercise is that Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, at a meeting in Tehran last Friday, told President Erdogan of Turkey that the reconquest of Idlib is going forward.

Erdogan fears that the Syrian army’s recapture of Idlib would send hundreds of thousands more refugees streaming to his border.

Turkey already hosts millions of refugees from Syria’s civil war.

Yet the massing of the Syrian army near Idlib and the Russian and Syrian bombing now begun suggest that the Assad-Putin-Rouhani coalition has decided to accept the risk of a clash with the Americans in order to bring an end to the rebellion. If so, this puts the ball in America’s court.

Words and warnings aside, is Trump prepared to take us into the Syrian civil war against the forces who, absent our intervention, will have won the war? When did Congress authorize a new war?

What vital U.S. interest is imperiled in Idlib, or in ensuring that all Iranian forces and Shiite allies are removed, or that a “non-threatening government acceptable to all Syrians and the international community” is established in Damascus?

With these conditions required before our departure, we could be there for eternity.

The Syrian civil war is arguably the worst humanitarian disaster of the decade. The sooner it is ended the better. But Assad, Russia and Iran did not start this war. Nor have Syria, Russia or Iran sought a clash with U.S. forces whose mission, we were repeatedly assured, was to crush ISIS and go home.

Trump has struck Syria twice for its use of poison gas, and U.S. officials told the Journal that Assad has now approved the use of chlorine on the rebels in Idlib. Moscow, however, is charging that a false-flag operation to unleash chlorine on civilians in Idlib is being prepared to trigger and justify U.S. intervention.

Many in this Russophobic city would welcome a confrontation with Putin’s Russia, even more a U.S. war on Iran. But that is the opposite of what candidate Trump promised.

It would represent a triumph of the never-Trumpers and President Trump’s relinquishing of his foreign policy to the interventionists and neoconservatives.

 

After Trump

The Donald in the Rearview Mirror

by Andrew J. Bacevich

Donald Trump’s tenure as the 45th U.S. president may last another few weeks, another year, or another 16 months.  However unsettling the prospect, the leaky vessel that is the S.S. Trump might even manage to stay afloat for a second term.  Nonetheless, recent headline-making revelations suggest that, like some derelict ship that’s gone aground, the Trump presidency may already have effectively run its course. What, then, does this bizarre episode in American history signify?

Let me state my own view bluntly: forget the atmospherics.  Despite the lies, insults, name calling, and dog whistles, almost nothing of substance has changed. Nor will it.

To a far greater extent than Trump’s perpetually hyperventilating critics are willing to acknowledge, the United States remains on a trajectory that does not differ appreciably from what it was prior to POTUS #45 taking office. Post-Trump America, just now beginning to come into view, is shaping up to look remarkably like pre-Trump America.

I understand that His Weirdness remains in the White House. Yet for all practical purposes, Trump has ceased to govern. True, he continues to rant and issue bizarre directives, which his subordinates implement, amend, or simply disregard as they see fit.

Except in a ceremonial sense, the office of the presidency presently lies vacant. Call it an abdication-in-place. It’s as if British King Edward VIII, having abandoned his throne for “the woman I love,” continued to hang around Buckingham Palace fuming about the lack of respect given Wallis and releasing occasional bulletins affirming his admiration for Adolf Hitler.

In Trump’s case, it’s unlikely he ever had a more serious interest in governing than Edward had in performing duties more arduous than those he was eventually assigned as Duke of Windsor. Nonetheless, the 60-plus million Americans who voted for Trump did so with at least the expectation that he was going to shake things up.

And bigly. Remember, he was going to “lock her up.”  He would “drain the swamp” and “build a wall” with Mexico volunteering to foot the bill. Without further ado, he would end “this American carnage.” Meanwhile, “America First” would form the basis for U.S. foreign policy. Once Trump took charge, things were going to be different, as he and he alone would “make America great again.”

Yet the cataclysm that Trump’s ascendency was said to signify has yet to occur. Barring a nuclear war, it won’t.

If you spend your days watching CNN or MSNBC or reading columnists employed by the New York Times and the Washington Post, you might conclude otherwise. But those are among the institutions that, on November 8, 2016, suffered a nervous breakdown from which they have yet to recover. Nor, it now seems clear, do they wish to recover as long as Donald Trump remains president. To live in a perpetual state of high dudgeon, denouncing his latest inanity and predicting the onset of fascism, is to enjoy the equivalent of a protracted psychic orgasm, one induced by mutual masturbation.

Yet if you look beyond the present to the fairly recent past, it becomes apparent that change on the scale that Trump was promising had actually occurred, even if well before he himself showed up on the scene. The consequences of that Big Change are going to persist long after he is gone. It’s those consequences that now demand our attention, not the ongoing Gong Show jointly orchestrated by the White House and journalists fancying themselves valiant defenders of Truth.

Trump himself is no more than a pimple on the face of this nation’s history. It’s time to step back from the mirror and examine the face in full. Pretty it’s not.

The Way We Were

Compare the America that welcomed young Donald Trump into the world in 1946 with the country that, some 70 years later, elected him president. As the post-World War II era was beginning, three large facts — so immense that they were simply taken for granted — defined America.

First, the United States made everything and made more of it than anyone else. In postwar America, wealth derived in large measure from the manufacture of stuff: steel, automobiles, refrigerators, shoes, socks, blouses, baseballs, you name it. “Made in the USA” was more than just a slogan. With so much of the industrialized world in ruins, the American economy dominated and defined everyday economic reality globally.

Second, back then while the mighty engine of industrial capitalism was generating impressive riches, it was also distributing the benefits on a relatively equitable basis. Postwar America was the emblematic middle-class country, the closest approximation to a genuinely classless and democratic society the world had ever seen.

Third, having had their fill of fighting from 1941 to 1945, Americans had a genuine aversion to war. They may not have been a peace-loving people, but they knew enough about war to see it as a great evil. Avoiding its further occurrence, if at all possible, was a priority, although one not fully shared by the new national security establishment just then beginning to flex its muscles in Washington.

Now, by twenty-first-century standards, many, perhaps nearly all, Americans of that era were bigots of one sort or the other. Racism, sexism, and homophobia flourished, lamented by some, promoted by others, tolerated by the vast majority. An anti-communist political hysteria, abetted by cynical politicians, also flourished. Americans worked themselves into a tizzy over the putative threat posed by small numbers of homegrown subversives. And they fouled the air, water, and soil with abandon. Add to this list violence, crime, corruption, sexual angst, and various forms of self-abuse. Taken as a whole, American society, as it existed when Trump was growing up, was anything but perfect. Yet, for all that, postwar Americans were the envy of the world. And they knew it.

By 2016, when Trump was elected president, America had become an altogether different country. Without actually disappearing, racism, sexism, and homophobia had — at least for the moment — gone underground. Attitudes toward people of color, women, and gays that a half-century earlier had been commonplace were now largely confined to a pathological fringe. Hysteria about communists had essentially disappeared, only to be replaced by hysteria over Islamic terrorists. Pollution, of course, persisted, as did violence, crime, corruption, and sexual angst. New and more imaginative forms of self-destructive behavior had made their appearance.

Yet little of that turned out to be central. What had truly changed in the decades since Trump was a babe-in-arms were those three taken-for-granted facts that had once distinguished the United States. New realities emerged to invert them.

By 2016, the U.S. was no longer by any stretch of the imagination the place that made everything, though it bought everything, often made elsewhere. It had long since become the ultimate consumer society, with Americans accustomed to acquiring and enjoying more than they produced or could afford. Accounts no longer balanced. The government lived on credit, assuming that the bills would never come due. So, too, did many citizens.

By 2016, the U.S. had long since become a deeply unequal society of haves and have-nots. Finance capitalism, the successor to industrial capitalism, was creating immense fortunes without even pretending to distribute the benefits equitably. Politicians still routinely paid tribute to the Great American Middle Class. Yet the hallmarks of postwar middle-class life — a steady job, a paycheck adequate to support a family, the prospect of a pension — were rapidly disappearing. While Americans still enjoyed freedom of a sort, many of them lacked security.

By 2016, Americans had also come to accept war as normal. Here was “global leadership” made manifest. So U.S. troops were now always out there somewhere fighting, however obscure the purpose of their exertions and however dim their prospects of achieving anything approximating victory. The 99% of Americans who were not soldiers learned to tune out those wars, content merely to “support the troops,” an obligation fulfilled by offering periodic expressions of reverence on public occasions. Thank you for your service!

The Way We Are

But note: Donald Trump played no role in creating this America or consigning the America of 1946 to oblivion. As a modern equivalent of P.T. Barnum, he did demonstrate considerable skill in exploiting the opportunities on offer as the strictures of postwar America gave way. Indeed, he parlayed those opportunities into fortune, celebrity, lots of golf, plenty of sex, and eventually the highest office in the land. Only in America, as we used to say.

In 1946, it goes without saying, he would never have been taken seriously as a would-be presidential candidate. By 2016, his narcissism, bombast, vulgarity, and talent for self-promotion nicely expressed the underside of the prevailing zeitgeist. His candidacy was simultaneously preposterous, yet strangely fitting.

By the twenty-first century, the values that Trump embodies had become as thoroughly and authentically American as any of those specified in the oracular pronouncements of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, or Franklin Roosevelt. Trump’s critics may see him as an abomination.  But he is also one of us.

And here’s the real news: the essential traits that define America today — those things that make this country so different from what it seemed to be in 1946 — will surely survive the Trump presidency. If anything, he and his cronies deserve at least some credit for sustaining just those traits.

Candidate Trump essentially promised Americans a version of 1946 redux. He would revive manufacturing and create millions of well-paying jobs for working stiffs. By cutting taxes, he would put more money in the average Joe or Jill’s pocket. He would eliminate the trade deficit and balance the federal budget. He would end our endless wars and bring the troops home where they belong. He would oblige America’s allies, portrayed as a crew of freeloaders, to shoulder their share of the burden. He would end illegal immigration. He would make the United States once more the God-fearing Christian country it was meant to be.

How seriously Trump expected any of those promises to be taken is anyone’s guess. But this much is for sure: they remain almost entirely unfulfilled.

True, domestic manufacturing has experienced a slight uptick, but globalization remains an implacable reality. Unless you’ve got a STEM degree, good jobs are still hard to come by. Ours is increasingly a “gig” economy, which might be cool enough when you’re 25, but less so when you’re in your sixties and wondering if you’ll ever be able to retire.

While Trump and a Republican Congress delivered on their promise of tax “reform,” its chief beneficiaries will be the rich, further confirmation, if it were needed, that the American economy is indeed rigged in favor of a growing class of plutocrats. Trade deficit? It’s headed for a 10-year high. Balanced budget? You’ve got to be joking. The estimated federal deficit next year will exceed a trillion dollars, boosting the national debt past $21 trillion. (Trump had promised to eliminate that debt entirely.)

And, of course, the wars haven’t ended. Here is Trump, just last month, doing his best George McGovern imitation: “I’m constantly reviewing Afghanistan and the whole Middle East,” he asserted. “We never should have been in the Middle East. It was the single greatest mistake in the history of our country.” Yet Trump has perpetuated and, in some instances, expanded America’s military misadventures in the Greater Middle East, while essentially insulating himself from personal responsibility for their continuation.

As commander-in-chief, he’s a distinctly hands-off kind of guy. Despite being unable to walk, President Franklin Roosevelt visited GIs serving in combat zones more often than Trump has. If you want to know why we are in Afghanistan and how long U.S. forces will stay there, ask Defense Secretary James Mattis or some general, but don’t, whatever you do, ask the president.

On Not Turning America’s Back on the World

And then there is the matter of Trump’s “isolationism.” Recall that when he became president, foreign policy experts across Washington warned that the United States would now turn its back on the world and abandon its self-assigned role as keeper of order and defender of democracy. Now, nearing the mid-point of Trump’s first (and hopefully last) term, the United States remains formally committed to defending the territorial integrity of each and every NATO member state, numbering 29 in all. Add to that an obligation to defend nations as varied as Japan, South Korea, and, under the terms of the Rio Pact of 1947, most of Latin America. Less formally but no less substantively, the U.S. ensures the security of Israel, Saudi Arabia, and various other Persian Gulf countries.

As for obliging those allies to pony up more for the security we have long claimed to provide, that’s clearly not going to happen any time soon. Our European allies have pocketed both Trump’s insults and his assurances that the United States will continue to defend them, offering in return the vaguest of promises that, sometime in the future, they might consider investing more in defense.

By-the-by, U.S. forces under Donald Trump’s ostensible command are today present in more than 150 countries worldwide. Urged on by the president, Congress has passed a bill that boosts the Pentagon budget to $717 billion, an $82 billion increase over the prior year. Needless to say, no adversary or plausible combination of adversaries comes anywhere close to matching that figure.

To call this isolationism is comparable to calling Trump svelte.

As for the promised barrier, that “big, fat, beautiful wall,” to seal the southern border, it has advanced no further than the display of several possible prototypes. No evidence exists to suggest that Mexico will, as Trump insisted, pay for its construction, nor that Congress will appropriate the necessary funds, estimated at somewhere north of $20 billion, even with Republicans still controlling both houses of Congress. And in truth, whether it is built or not, the U.S.-Mexico border will remain what it has been for decades: heavily patrolled but porous, a conduit for desperate people seeking safety and opportunity, but also for criminal elements trafficking in drugs or human beings.

The point of this informal midterm report card is not to argue that Donald Trump has somehow failed. It is rather to highlight his essential irrelevance.

Trump is not the disruptive force that anti-Trumpers accuse him of being. He is merely a noxious, venal, and ineffectual blowhard, who has assembled a team of associates who are themselves, with few exceptions, noxious, venal, or ineffectual.

So here’s the upshot of it all: if you were basically okay with where America was headed prior to November 2016, just take a deep breath and think of Donald Trump as the political equivalent of a kidney stone — not fun, but sooner or later, it will pass. And when it does, normalcy will return. Soon enough you’ll forget it ever happened.

If, on the other hand, you were not okay with where America was headed in 2016, it’s past time to give up the illusion that Donald Trump is going to make things right. Eventually a pimple dries up and disappears, often without leaving a trace. Such is the eventual destiny of Donald Trump as president.

In the meantime, of course, there are any number of things about Trump to raise our ire. Climate change offers a good example. And yet climate change may be the best illustration of Trump’s insignificance.

Under President Obama, the United States showed signs of mounting a belated effort to address global warming. The Trump administration wasted little time in reversing course, reverting to the science-denying position to which Republicans adhered long before Trump himself showed up.

No doubt future generations will find fault with Trump’s inaction in the face of this crisis. Yet when Miami is underwater and California wildfires rage throughout the year, Trump himself won’t be the only — or even the principal — culprit charged with culpable neglect.

The nation’s too-little, too-late response to climate change for which a succession of presidents share responsibility illustrates the great and abiding defect of contemporary American politics. When all is said and done, presidents don’t shape the country; the country shapes the presidency — or at least it defines the parameters within which presidents operate. Over the course of the last few decades, those parameters have become increasingly at odds with the collective wellbeing of the American people, not to mention of the planet as a whole.

Yet Americans have been obdurate in refusing to acknowledge that fact.

Americans today are deeply divided. There exists no greater symbol of that division than Trump himself — the wild enthusiasm he generates in some quarters and the antipathy verging on hatred he elicits in others.

The urgent need of the day is to close that divide, which is as broad as it is deep, touching on culture, the political economy, America’s role in the world, and the definition of the common good. I submit that these matters lie beyond any president’s purview, but especially this one’s.

Trump is not the problem. Think of him instead as a summons to address the real problem, which in a nation ostensibly of, by, and for the people is the collective responsibility of the people themselves. For Americans to shirk that responsibility further will almost surely pave the way for more Trumps — or someone worse — to come.

 

Trump on Twitter (Sept. 11): Russia, Rudy Giuliani, Eric Holder

September 11, 2018

Reuters

The following statements were posted to the verified personal Twitter account of U.S. President Donald Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

The opinions expressed are his own. Reuters has not edited the statements or confirmed their accuracy.

@realDonaldTrump :

– “We have found nothing to show collusion between President Trump & Russia, absolutely zero, but every day we get more documentation showing collusion between the FBI & DOJ, the Hillary campaign, foreign spies & Russians, incredible.” @SaraCarterDC @LouDobbs [0708 EDT]

– #NeverForget #September11th bit.ly/2NBrpcr [0712 EDT]

– New Strzok-Page texts reveal “Media Leak Strategy.” @FoxNews So terrible, and NOTHING is being done at DOJ or FBI – but the world is watching, and they get it completely. [0719 EDT]

– “ERIC Holder could be running the Justice Department right now and it would be behaving no differently than it is.” @LouDobbs [0741 EDT]

– Rudy Giuliani did a GREAT job as Mayor of NYC during the period of September 11th. His leadership, bravery and skill must never be forgotten. Rudy is a TRUE WARRIOR! [0759 EDT]

– Departing Washington, D.C. to attend a Flight 93 September 11th Memorial Service in Shanksville, Pennsylvania with Melania. #NeverForget [0824 EDT]

– 17 years since September 11th! [0858 EDT]

— Source link: (bit.ly/2jBh4LU)

 

The forgotten scandal in the Trump administration: Hurricane Maria

Even as the real death toll in Puerto Rico is revealed to be in the thousands, Trump insists his performance was faultless

September 11, 2018

by Richard Wolfe

The Guardian

Of all the scandals plaguing the Trump administration, there is none more serious or more forgotten than the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Several thousand Americans died. Not because of the storm itself, but because of the botched recovery. Yet until very recently, government officials dodged all accountability by clinging to the lie that just a few dozen lives were lost.

We still don’t know the true death toll in Puerto Rico. A group of Harvard researchers estimate it could be close to 5,000. Another at George Washington University say it could be almost 3,000.

It should not take a group of researchers to figure out these numbers a year after the hurricane. The only reason for dodging the truth like this is to block all the awkward questions that follow: why did all those American citizens die, and who was responsible for their deaths?

Either number makes Maria far more deadly than Katrina, when the botched response effectively ended public support for the Bush administration.

The buck stops in the Oval Office, where the current occupant insists that his performance was faultless and the people who suffered are happy about thousands of dead friends and family.

“I think we did a fantastic job in Puerto Rico. We’re still helping Puerto Rico. The governor is an excellent guy. And he is very happy with the job we’ve done,” Donald Trump told reporters after the death toll rose exponentially from 64. “But we’ve put a lot of money and a lot of effort into Puerto Rico. And I think most of the people in Puerto Rico really appreciate what we’ve done.”

The only reason the president can get away with this kind of nonsense is because he’s being protected by Republican leaders in Congress.

After almost 3,000 civilians died in the terrorist attacks on 9/11 there were multiple hearings, investigations, reports and commissions. Everything from airport security to national security changed. But after a similar number of civilians died in Puerto Rico, there have been only two hearings with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (Fema) administrator.

That’s in spite of the multiple contracting debacles by Fema that we already know about. There was the $156m food contract that went to an Atlanta contractor with a single employee, whose track record was so bad that the company was supposedly barred from getting new government cash. That contractor handed the job to a wedding caterer, who unsurprisingly couldn’t handle the work.

Fema wrote an additional $30m contract for half a million tarps to protect people from the rain, but the tarps never arrived because the two brothers running the newly-formed company had no idea how to source them. That represented a third of Fema’s spending on tarps at the time.

In one hearing, Fema administrator Brock Long said those bungled contracts were just a handful among many thousands of good ones. Perhaps he’ll use the same excuse to respond to the recent report from the Government Accountability office, that found that more than half of Fema’s employees were unqualified to do their job after Maria. The agency also couldn’t find enough Spanish speakers to help out. We don’t know how many more Fema scandals there are because the GOP leadership in Congress refuses to investigate further.

The organization tasked by Congress with leading in humanitarian disasters is actually a nonprofit: the American Red Cross. But the Red Cross somehow managed to spend less than half the money it raised to respond to Maria. By its own account, there is more than $32m leftover from the cash it received to help ease the suffering in Puerto Rico.

On a tropical island where people died from contaminated water, it is hard to understand the Red Cross spending, which included more than $6m in management fees and almost $6m in warehousing and freight costs. You can buy an entire warehouse outright in San Juan for less than half that sum.

For so many people to die, there need to be failures of leadership at every level of government and across the largest non-profits. That’s also true at the local level of the mayors, but especially true of the island’s governor, who seemed paralyzed by the scale of the disaster and the fear of upsetting the Trump administration. The electricity utility under his control inexplicably awarded a giant $300m contract to a small firm it found via LinkedIn.

The failure of local leaders should not be surprising. After Katrina, both the mayor of New Orleans and the Louisiana governor were late with their response and overwhelmed by the disaster. Only the federal government has the resources to mobilize and lead the vast response required by such catastrophes.

Of course this federal government has at its disposal the world’s most powerful military. Just don’t tell that to the commander-in-chief, who doesn’t seem to understand how his own forces can transport personnel and materiel across the planet. “Puerto Rico was actually more difficult because of the fact it’s an island,” Trump explained to reporters. “It’s much harder to get things onto the island.”

Harder, but not impossible. Not unless you don’t really care about the island: an indelible impression Trump left behind when he played golf and tweeted about the NFL through the critical days after Maria wrecked part of his own country.

Puerto Rico’s problems did not start with Trump or Maria. They are ultimately the result of the island’s status as a colony in all but name. Without full representation in Congress, it is much easier to ignore its suffering, and to cover up its scandals. Congress can cap its poverty programs such as Snap benefits (or food stamps), and crush its economy through trade deals and tax changes, or by leaving the extortionate Jones Act in place. Until Puerto Rico becomes a full state – or joins another state – it will be treated as poorly as every other colony in history.

The blame for ignoring Puerto Rico extends to the media, which rapidly lost interest in the island just as the real story began. The bulk of the deaths happened after the reporters got their videos of broken trees and flooded streets, when they moved on to the next gun massacre, the next corporate sex abuse scandal, and the next outrageous Trump tweet.

Those other stories were obviously important. We should of course be reading about mass shootings and #MeToo. We should demand to know more about all the scandals involving Russia, corruption, and illegal campaign donations.

But when it comes to this White House, we supposedly care about those stories because we want to see good government in place. And the fundamental test of good government is to keep your citizens safe.

The more we get distracted, the easier it is to hide the deaths of thousands of our fellow citizens. As the hurricane season roars back to life, it is hard to say that we are better prepared for the next disaster when we have failed to respond honestly to the last.

They say the coverup is often worse than the crime, and in political scandals that may well be true. But in the case of Puerto Rico, there is nothing that compares to the incompetence and inhumanity that led to thousands of American deaths.

 

Explosive Skripal allegations may blow up in Syria – George Galloway

September 11, 2018

RT

Explosive Skripal allegations will probably blow up in Syria’s Idlib where the US/UK axis is cocked, ready to fire. The UK media lost their collective mind over Russia but their masters have not. There is method in their madness.

Today’s latest offering is that the ‘Russians’ in the ‘mugshots’ released last week are ‘already dead’ having been ‘executed by Putin’ to stop them talking, forever. Which neatly avoids the British state asking Russia for help in identifying them. London’s failure to do so was already arousing suspicion amongst a cynical public. There is now no point, the would-be assassins are now six-feet below the permafrost of Anglo-Russian relations.

The media here have completely ignored the statement of the head of the anti-terrorist squad of Scotland Yard that he had “No” evidence of Russian state involvement in the crime in Salisbury, preferring instead the cheap barroom brawling of the British prime minister on the floor of the House of Commons cheered on by the vulgar popular press and their more refined elder sisters in the upmarket papers and on the BBC.

I prefer to listen to the police. And watch them. Their most significant act since I last wrote here on this subject has been to erect an array of tents outside the Skripal house in Salisbury which the government had been planning to purchase at way above value by British taxpayers expense. The “decontamination of the house” is the stated purpose.

But as I hope I established here last week the poisoning of Yulia and Sergei Skripal could not have been caused by “Novichok” on the doorknob.

The Skripal’s left the house before 9.15am on the fateful morning of March 4 and there is NO evidence that they ever returned to it. There is ample CCTV footage of the couple driving away from their house from 9.15am onwards but none of them driving back to it.

As the ‘Russian mugs,’ by the police’s own testimony shows, didn’t arrive in Salisbury until 11.48am, if they did paint the Skripal doorknob with the “deadliest nerve agent known to man – 8-10 times more deadly than VX” their horses had already bolted. If they did paint the doorknob they did so at around noon in broad-daylight, when the neighbours were coming home from church, doing their gardens, washing their cars and in full view of the whole street. They wore no protective clothing while doing it. And they then sauntered through the town centre, window-shopping and being caught on every town centre CCTV camera. If any neighbour, who had seen them painting the door, had called the police (and the ‘mugs’ couldn’t be sure that nobody had) they would have now been arrested rather than ‘buried under the frost’.

As it was they caught the highly unreliable Sunday service public transport route from Salisbury to Heathrow which, as a British tabloid journalist opined, “no sane Englishman with a plane to catch would ever do.”

So, if the police are now in the Skripal house in numbers and with intent, it cannot be on account of the doorknob – both for the reasons stated but also because a police officer stood right outside the Skripal house day and night for weeks after the event without even a pair of rubber dishwashing-gloves on with no ill-effect whatsoever.

This development buttresses my working hypothesis that however it got there a quantity of this “Novichok” was IN the Skripal house and not painted on its doorknob. This hypothesis is necessary also to explain the poisoning of the poor British plainclothes detective DS Bailey who seemed to have had no contact with the collapsed Skripals on the park bench but is the sole individual to be poisoned at the house. If, for the reasons I’ve stated, it was not on the doorknob then he can only have been poisoned indoors.

Another police statement roundly ignored by the British media was the answer Scotland Yard’s Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of UK counter-terrorism policing, gave to a question asked at his press conference by the BBC.

“What kind of visa did the Russians enter Britain on?”

“I don’t know” was the reply. Not that for operational reasons he didn’t want to say. But that he didn’t know.

I know the commander and have a high respect for his professional experience. I know that he cannot have failed to ask the Home Office this question. I know that the Home Office must know the answer to the question. The only logical inference therefore is that the Home Office – which will have vetted the visa applications before the consulate in Moscow could have been instructed to issue them – has refused to tell the commander in charge of investigating the crime this basic and vital piece of information.

According to the Wall St Journal, the US has concluded that the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad is about to unleash a “chemical weapons attack” on the very last stronghold of Al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) fighters in Syria. We are asked to believe that having won the war Assad seeks to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by bringing the axis powers back full-scale into the Syrian war.

Whilst no-one but the least savvy of sheep is likely to believe that casus belli it is nonetheless all that the war-party has got to justify an expected new blizzard of cruise missiles and maybe more. Behind the Syrian Army stands of course the Russian Armed Forces, the very same Russia that has already ‘started chemical weapons warfare’ on the streets of Salisbury. However explosive Mrs May’s words were in the British parliament they will soon be drowned out by the din of war in Idlib.

 

Hurricane Florence nears Carolinas, forcing westward exodus

September 11, 2018

by Anna Driver

Reuters

HOLDEN BEACH, N.C. (Reuters) – More than 1.5 million people were ordered to evacuate their homes along the U.S. southeast coast as Hurricane Florence, the most powerful to menace the Carolinas in nearly three decades, barreled closer on Tuesday.

Florence, a Category 4 storm packing winds of 130 miles per hour (210 kph), was expected to make landfall on Friday, most likely in southeastern North Carolina near the South Carolina border, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed declarations of emergency for both North Carolina and South Carolina, a step that frees up federal money and resources for storm response.

Residents boarded up their homes and stripped grocery stores bare of food, water and supplies. The South Carolina Highway Patrol sent “flush cars” eastbound on major highways to clear traffic, before reversing lanes on major roadways to speed the evacuation of the coast, state officials said on Twitter.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ordered about 1 million residents along his state’s coastline to leave starting at noon on Tuesday, when the highways will become westbound only. He evoked the memory of 1989’s Hurricane Hugo, which killed 27 people in the state, in urging people to comply.

“I’d rather be safe than sorry,” McMaster told ABC’s “Good Morning America” TV show on Tuesday. “We want people to get out and get safe.”

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued an evacuation order for about 245,000 residents in flood-prone coastal areas beginning at 8 a.m. local time.

GENERATOR, HOME REPAIR STOCKS UP

The storm was located about 950 miles (1,530 km) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, at 8 a.m. ET, according to the NHC, which warned it would be “an extremely dangerous major hurricane” through Thursday night.

In addition to flooding the coast with wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as 12 feet (3.7 m), Florence could drop 20 inches to as much as 30 inches (51 cm to 76 cm) of rain in places, posing the risk of deadly flooding miles inland, forecasters said. They warned the storm could linger for days after making landfall, drenching an already saturated landscape.

Shares of generator maker Generac Holdings Inc rose 3 percent, adding to Monday’s more than 5-percent gain, in expectation that the company will benefit from increased demand as the storm knocks out power for residents in the storm’s path.

Anticipating a rush for home protection and repair materials, investors also pushed up the shares of Home Depot Inc and Lowe’s Cos Inc for the second day.

STAY OR FLEE?

At least 250,000 more people were due to be evacuated from the northern Outer Banks in North Carolina on Tuesday after more than 50,000 people were ordered on Monday to leave Hatteras and Ocracoke, the southernmost of the state’s barrier islands.

“We haven’t plywooded our house for several years but I am for this one,” said Tom Pahl, 66, by phone from Ocracoke Island. Pahl, who serves as a Hyde County commissioner, said he had not yet made up his mind about leaving the island, which is reachable only by ferry and plane.

Retired Maryland State Police pilot Paul Jones and his wife hit the road early on Tuesday to avoid traffic from Hatteras Island to their Maryland residence.

“I will not stay for a hurricane,” Jones, 68, said. “I have had enough excitement in my life.”

Classified as a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength, Florence is the most severe storm to threaten the U.S. mainland this year.

The United States was hit with a series of high-powered hurricanes last year, including Hurricane Maria, which killed some 3,000 people in Puerto Rico, and Hurricane Harvey, which killed about 68 people and caused an estimated $1.25 billion in damage with catastrophic flooding in Houston.

Additional reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, Susan Heavey in Washington and Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Writing by Nick Zieminski; Editing by Scott Malone and Bill Rigby  

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TBR News September 10, 2018

Sep 10 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. September 10, 2018:” Trump supporters are dismissing the New Yhork Times article from a Trump insider and the Woodward book as fake news. The fact that their beloved leader lies like a dining room rug seems to have escaped their notice.Opponents of Trump were initially termed ‘deep state conspiracy’ or ‘Clinton liberals’ but with the growing objections to Trump’s erratic and destructive behavior, the field has grown considerably.

And hovering in Trump’s background is the disruptive Bolton who is obviously yearning for a war in which the United States incinerates the rest of the world while he sips tea in an underground bunker.

Like cleaves unto like so some of Trump’s most devoted followers put on in mind of the attendees at one of Adolf Hitler’s political rallies. As the bulk of the American public is not of such a mind seems to have entirely avoid contact with their perceptions.

And Trump’s meglamaniacal desire for an enormous military parade with himself standing alone, again like Hitler, on a reviewing platform while an enormous crowd cheers themselves mad with joy.

The White House has been transformed into the Mad House and one day, the public will be treated to men in white coats going into it by a side door. And exiting with a squirming and shouting bundle of strapped bed sheets.”

 The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 19
  • Fear review: Bob Woodward’s dragnet descends on Donald Trump
  • Yes, let’s wipe out Trump. But take neoliberal Democrats with him, too
  • Republican Florida governor candidate DeSantis resigns from Congress
  • Sweden faces weeks in political limbo after far right makes gains
  • Bringing democracy and freedome to the world: The CIA!
  • Homes Demolished in Israel and Palestine.
  • THE STRUCTURE OF ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE:
  • Sweden faces political impasse after inconclusive election
  • US threatens to arrest ICC judges over war crimes probe
  • Politically incorrect bumperstickers

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TBR News September 8, 2018

Sep 08 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. September 8, 2018:”Trump has antagonized so many entities, domestic and foreign, that it is a foregone conclusion that his days in the Oval Office are numbered. He has insulted the media with the result that they have swing against him and his erratic behavior and he has insulted numerous foreign governments with the result that there is a growing anti-American policy becoming more and more evident. The one positive thing about Trump’s erratic and venomous behavior is that many disparate groups are beginning to work together against what they see is a common enemy.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 17
  • Trump Shows Reporters an Article Praising Him, Then Lies About What It Says
  • ‘We’re in Crazytown’: a week of dysfunction in the Trump White House
  • Regime Change — American Style
  • Op-ed sparks high-stakes whodunit in Washington as Trump rages
  • Barack Obama returns to politics with Donald Trump take-down
  • Anonymous anti-Trump op-ed enters uncharted territory in US politics
  • James Atwood, the CIA and ex-Nazi Weapons Business
  • Why I Am NOT A Christian

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TBR News September 7, 2018

Sep 07 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. September 7, 2018:”At times, published official news reporting sounds like a script for a Disney comedy. We now read that two alleged ‘Russian intelligence’ persons were responsible for the fictional nerve gas attack on a former Russian intelligence officer and his daughter. Shock and horror! And did these evil men,no doubt personal friends of Putin, also gas the dumpster diver and his shack-up later? British intelligence, or at least they call themselves that, is firmly in the pocket of the CIA and this nonsense story is typical of the Langley crowd. If the Russians wanted to kill their former spy, the CIA scenario writers seem to have overlooked the fact that the agent, convicted of treasonable actions, had been incarcerated in a Russian jail. It would have been much easier to remove him while he was in Russia and not sitting on a park bench in England. And no one yet has connected the welfare pair that also were poisoned with the evil Russians. And another comic scenario is the very recent one about the wonderful President Trump warning the Syrians not to use poison gas in their projected attack on terrorists. No one has ever used poison gas and this seems to be a fixation with Trump. He also seems to be determined to have a Republican Congress appoint him as Emperor-for-Life It is truly amazing the amount of self-deception is engendered in official Washington.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 16
  • Point, Counter-point
  • Dear Anonymous Trump Official, There Is No Redemption in Your Cowardly Op-Ed
  • Twitter permanently bans Alex Jones and Infowars
  • Michael Moore compares Trump to Hitler in new documentary
  • The teacher revolt reshaping US politics
  • Next stop in Trump’s trade crusade: Japan
  • ‘It’s a no-go’: Trump won’t answer Mueller’s obstruction questions, Giuliani says
  • Iran, Russia and Turkey seek to stave off Idlib offensive
  • Syria war: Russia rejects Turkey’s calls for Idlib truce
  • Lebanese military warns Israel against oil exploration on borders
  • US govt blocks info release on thousands of kittens experimented & killed at Maryland lab – lawsuit

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