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TBR News August 11, 2019

Aug 11 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. August 10, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for August 11: “Trump told one of the female staff members, who was quite attractive, that he had won the Nobel Prize, had been a captain in the US Army and had been recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor. None of this is true and could easily disproved by looking at the Internet but Trump apparently does not care. He lies like an old carpet and spouts all manner of loony stories on a daily basis. This person belongs in a hospital, not the White House.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Jeffrey Epstein: How conspiracy theories spread after financier’s death
  • Democratic 2020 contenders condemn Trump for spreading Epstein conspiracy theories
  • Veracity of statements by Donald Trump
  • Between gun massacres, a routine, deadly seven days of U.S. shootings
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons

 

Jeffrey Epstein: How conspiracy theories spread after financier’s death

Just hours after the high-profile financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead on Saturday, unsubstantiated theories about his death began to gain traction online.

August 11, 2018

BBC News

Epstein, who was set to stand trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges, killed himself in his jail cell in New York. He was accused of running a “vast network” of underage girls for sex, and pleaded not guilty to the charges last month.

The 66-year-old was known to court famous friends and acquaintances. President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton, and the UK’s Prince Andrew all had ties to him. Some of his powerful associates have been embroiled in the allegations against him, which has only served to fuel the conspiracy theories and misinformation.

Many rumours have centred on what politicians may have known about Epstein’s alleged crimes and whether some may have wanted him dead. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest this was the case. And yet, the hashtag #EpsteinMurder trended worldwide on Saturday.

Joke images and memes – suggesting everything from a faked suicide to an orchestrated hit-job – were shared thousands of times throughout the day. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were rife with unfounded theories about what may have happened to the financier.

This wild speculation was not confined to a fringe minority – far from it. Politicians and high-profile journalists also stoked rampant speculation at a time when little information was publicly available. MSNBC host Joe Scarborough tweeted:

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was “way too convenient” that Epstein could no longer incriminate others.

“What a lot of us want to know is, what did he know?” he told reporters. “How many other millionaires and billionaires were part of the illegal activities that he was engaged in?”

Questions like these alluded, without evidence, to a malevolent conspiracy and fed the feverish speculation on social media.

Further rumours centred on how a man who was found semi-conscious and with injuries to his neck just weeks earlier was able to take his own life. Initial reports said Epstein was placed on suicide watch after that incident in July, which led many people to ask how he could have died while being so closely monitored.

“What does the word watch mean in the phrase suicide watch?” tweeted President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giulani. “Who was watching?” He then said it was “inconceivable” Epstein could have taken his own life under those circumstances.

But prison officials later said Epstein had actually been taken off suicide watch prior to his death. Conspiracy theories then began to focus on why this decision was made.

The speculation, as was the case throughout Saturday, appeared to shift and change with the few concrete details that were released.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was “way too convenient” that Epstein could no longer incriminate others.

“What a lot of us want to know is, what did he know?” he told reporters. “How many other millionaires and billionaires were part of the illegal activities that he was engaged in?”

Questions like these alluded, without evidence, to a malevolent conspiracy and fed the feverish speculation on social media.

Further rumours centred on how a man who was found semi-conscious and with injuries to his neck just weeks earlier was able to take his own life. Initial reports said Epstein was placed on suicide watch after that incident in July, which led many people to ask how he could have died while being so closely monitored.

“What does the word watch mean in the phrase suicide watch?” tweeted President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giulani. “Who was watching?” He then said it was “inconceivable” Epstein could have taken his own life under those circumstances.

But prison officials later said Epstein had actually been taken off suicide watch prior to his death. Conspiracy theories then began to focus on why this decision was made.

The speculation, as was the case throughout Saturday, appeared to shift and change with the few concrete details that were released.

Other theories and tidbits of misinformation have been easier to disprove.

For example, a photo that appeared to show Mr Trump kissing the head of his daughter, Ivanka, while standing next to Epstein has been exposed as a fake. “The 1993 photograph… been manipulated to include Epstein,” the Associated Press reported last month.

Similarly, after Epstein’s arrest on 6 July, some social media users shared a false claim that prosecutors had struck a secret plea deal with the financier under the administration of President Barack Obama in order to protect his fellow Democrat Mr Clinton. That theory resurfaced on Saturday.

But the deal, which allowed Epstein to plead guilty to lesser charges, was actually finalised before Mr Obama took office under the administration of President George W, Bush. Labour Secretary Alex Acosta resigned over his role in the deal last month.

Some politicians and journalists have urged people to exercise caution given the sheer quantity of misinformation online.

“The immediate rush to spread conspiracy theories about someone on the ‘other side’ of [the] partisan divide illustrates why our society is so vulnerable to foreign disinformation,” tweeted Republican Senator Marco Rubio.

CNN presenter Jim Sciutto, reflecting on his time working in the Middle East, said: “Remember this is about… partisan politics. When I was [there]… folks didn’t trust authorities so assumed a plot behind every event.”

 

Democratic 2020 contenders condemn Trump for spreading Epstein conspiracy theories

August 11, 2019

by John Whitesides

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic presidential contenders Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker slammed U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday for promoting unfounded conspiracy theories about the apparent suicide of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein in his New York jail cell.

After the death on Saturday of Epstein, a millionaire charged with sex trafficking who once counted Trump and former President Bill Clinton as friends, Trump retweeted a baseless claim from a conservative comedian that Clinton was involved in the death.

“This is another example of our president using this position of public trust to attack his political enemies with unfounded conspiracy theories,” O’Rourke, a former congressman from Texas, said on CNN’s State of the Union.

O’Rourke said Trump was trying to shift the public’s focus away from last weekend’s two deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, which have led to new calls for gun restrictions and criticism of Trump’s divisive anti-immigrant and racially charged rhetoric.

“He’s changing the conversation, and if we allow him to do that then we will never be able to focus on the true problems, of which he is a part,” O’Rourke said from his hometown of El Paso.

Booker, a U.S. senator from New Jersey, said Trump’s retweet was “just more recklessness.”

“He is giving life to not just conspiracy theories but really whipping people up into anger and worse against different people in this country,” he said on CNN.

The FBI and the Department of Justice’s Inspector General have opened investigations into the death of Epstein, who a source said had been taken off suicide watch. Last month, Epstein was found unconscious on the floor of his jail cell with marks on his neck, and officials were investigating that incident as a possible suicide or assault.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr said he was “appalled” to learn of the apparent suicide in federal custody. “Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered,” Barr said in a statement on Saturday.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic congresswoman from New York City and a leading progressive voice, tweeted: “We need answers. Lots of them.”

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said investigation of Epstein should continue despite his death.

“Jeffrey Epstein has done some very bad things over a number of years, so let’s continue to investigate that,” she said on Fox News Sunday. “I don’t think that somebody’s crimes and the accountability for that necessarily perish with them.”

More than a decade ago, Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida to state charges of solicitation of prostitution from a minor in a deal with prosecutors that has been widely criticized as too lenient.

Then in July, Epstein was indicted, federal prosecutors in New York accusing him of knowingly recruiting underage women to engage in sex acts with him, sometimes over a period of years while paying the women for each encounter. He pleaded not guilty.

O’Rourke and Booker are among two dozen candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Trump for the White House in 2020. Nearly all of those Democrats have condemned Trump’s incendiary rhetoric for inflaming racial tensions and anger.

“We’ve seen people’s lives being threatened because this president whips up hatred. This is a very dangerous president that we have now,” Booker said.

Trump had retweeted on Saturday a message from conservative comedian and commentator Terrence K. Williams, who said in part that Epstein “had information on Bill Clinton & now he’s dead.”

Clinton spokesman Angel Urena blasted Trump for making the suggestion. “Ridiculous, and of course not true – and Donald Trump knows it. Has he triggered the 25th Amendment yet?” he said, referring to the procedures for replacing the president in event of removal or incapacitation.

Trump has a history of promoting conspiracy theories about political rivals. Even before he was a presidential candidate, Trump repeatedly questioned whether former President Barack Obama was born in the United States, even after Obama produced a birth certificate proving that he was.

During the Republican presidential nomination race in 2016, Trump spread an unfounded conspiracy theory linking the father of rival U.S. Senator Ted Cruz to the assassination of former President John Kennedy, a claim Cruz denounced as a lie.

Reporting by John Whitesides; Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Mary Milliken and Grant McCool

 

Comment

Actually, the FBI believes that Epstein was killed by controllers of Planet X, which is now hovering over Washington, undetectable because of the Glingo Ray. And Scientists have proven that Epstein was about to reveal the actual presence of Atlantis off Chicago in Lake Michigan. But it is interesting to note that many prominent people visited Epstein and had sexual relations with very young girls and his death has caused many sighs of relief.

Imagine a prominent Republican Senator pleading with a judge that the girl in question had lied about her age. “She told me she was ten, your Honor and I believed her!” But if Trump had said this, at this point in time, no one would believe him.

Aside from gun loving pointy heads, no one believes the legion of blatant lies Trump spews forth on a daily basis.

 

Veracity of statements by Donald Trump

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Donald Trump has made many false or misleading statements, including thousands during his presidency. Commentators and fact-checkers have described the rate of his falsehoods as unprecedented in politics, and they have become a distinctive part of both his business and political identity. He has a pattern of making controversial statements and subsequently denying having done so. By June 2019 many news organizations had started describing some of Trump’s falsehoods as lies.

Business career

Within years of expanding his father’s property development business into Manhattan in the early 1970s, Trump attracted the attention of The New York Times for his brash and controversial style, with one real estate financier observing in 1976, “His deals are dramatic, but they haven’t come into being. So far, the chief beneficiary of his creativity has been his public image.” Der Scutt, the prominent architect who designed Trump Tower, said of Trump in 1976, “He’s extremely aggressive when he sells, maybe to the point of overselling. Like, he’ll say the convention center is the biggest in the world, when it really isn’t. He’ll exaggerate for the purpose of making a sale.”

The architect Philip Johnson said in 1984 that Trump often lied.

In 2018, journalist Jonathan Greenberg released audio recordings from 1984 in which Trump, posing as his own spokesman John Barron, made false assertions of his wealth to secure a higher ranking on the Forbes 400 list of wealthy Americans, including claiming he owned over 90 percent of his family’s business

A 1984 GQ profile of Trump quoted him stating he owned the whole block on Central Park South and Avenue of the Americas. GQ noted that the two buildings Trump owned in that area were likely less than a sixth of the block.

Alair Townsend, a former budget director and deputy mayor of New York City during the 1980s, and a former publisher of Crain’s New York Business, said “I wouldn’t believe Donald Trump if his tongue were notarized.” Leona Helmsley later used this line as her own when she spoke about Trump in her November 1990 interview in Playboy magazine.

His 1987 book Trump: The Art of the Deal stated, “I play to people’s fantasies. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.”

When the stock market crashed in October 1987, Trump told the press that he had sold all of his stock a month before and taken no losses. But SEC filings showed that he still owned large stakes in some companies. Forbes calculated that Trump had lost $19 million on his Resorts International holdings alone.

Challenging estimates of his net worth he considered too low, in 1989 Trump stated he had very little debt. Reuters reported Trump owed $4 billion to more than 70 banks at the beginning of 1990.

In 1997, Ben Berzin Jr., who had been tasked with recovering at least some of the $100 million his bank had lent Trump, said “During the time that I dealt with Mr. Trump, I was continually surprised by his mastery of situational ethics. He does not seem to be able to differentiate between fact and fiction.”

David Fahrenthold investigated the long history of Trump’s claims about his charitable giving and found little evidence the claims are true. Following Fahrenthold’s reporting, the Attorney General of New York opened an inquiry into the Donald J. Trump Foundation’s fundraising practices, and ultimately issued a “notice of violation” ordering the Foundation to stop raising money in New York. The Foundation had to admit it engaged in self-dealing practices to benefit Trump, his family, and businesses. Fahrenthold won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting for his coverage of Trump’s claimed charitable giving and casting “doubt on Donald Trump’s assertions of generosity toward charities”.

In 1996, Trump claimed he wagered $1 million on 20-to-1 odds in a Las Vegas heavyweight title boxing match between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson. The Las Vegas Sun reported that “while everyone is careful not to call Trump a liar,” no one in a position to know about such a sizable wager was aware of it.

A 1998 New York Observer article entitled “Tricky Donald Trump Beats Jerry Nadler in Game of Politics” reported that “Nadler flatly calls Mr. Trump a ‘liar’,” quoting Nadler stating, “Trump got $6 million [in federal money] in the dead of night when no one knew anything about it” by slipping a provision into a $200 billion federal transportation bill.

Promoting his Trump University after its formation in 2004, Trump asserted he would handpick all its instructors. Michael Sexton, former president of the venture, stated in a 2012 deposition that Trump selected none of the instructors.

During a 2005 deposition in a defamation lawsuit he initiated about his worth Trump stated, “My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings…and that can change rapidly from day to day.”

In The Art of the Deal

Tony Schwartz is a journalist who ghostwrote Trump: The Art of the Deal. In July 2016, Schwartz was interviewed by Jane Mayer for two articles in The New Yorker. In them he described Trump, who was running for president at the time, highly unfavorably, and described how he came to regret writing The Art of the Deal. When Schwartz wrote The Art of the Deal, he created the phrase “truthful hyperbole” as an “artful euphemism” to describe Trump’s “loose relationship with the truth”. This passage from the book provides the context, written in Trump’s voice: “I play to people’s fantasies…People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and it’s a very effective form of promotion.” He said that Trump “loved the phrase”.

Schwartz said that “deceit” is never “innocent”. He added, “‘Truthful hyperbole’ is a contradiction in terms. It’s a way of saying, ‘It’s a lie, but who cares?’ Schwartz repeated his criticism on Good Morning America and Real Time with Bill Maher, saying he “put lipstick on a pig”.

Fearing that anti-German sentiments during and after World War II would negatively affect his business, Fred Trump began claiming Swedish descent. The falsehood was repeated by Fred’s son Donald to the press and in The Art of the Deal, where he claimed that his grandfather, Friedrich Trump, “came here from Sweden as a child”. In the same book, Donald also said that his father was born in New Jersey Trump later said, “My father is German.  Right? Was German. And born in a very wonderful place in Germany, and so I have a great feeling for Germany.” Trump’s father was born in the Bronx, New York.

2016 presidential campaign

Within six months of Trump’s announcement of his presidential candidacy, FactCheck.org declared Trump the “King of Whoppers” stating, “In the 12 years of FactCheck.org’s existence, we’ve never seen his match. He stands out not only for the sheer number of his factually false claims, but also for his brazen refusals to admit error when proven wrong.”

Trump has promoted a number of conspiracy theories that have lacked substance. These have included Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories from 2011 (“birther” theories); that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. In 2011, Trump took credit for pushing the White House to release Obama’s “long-form” birth certificate, while raising doubt about its legitimacy, and in 2016 admitted that Obama was a natural-born citizen from Hawaii. He later falsely stated that Hillary Clinton started the Obama “birther” movement.

Another in 2016 was that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy; and another was that he lost the popular vote in the 2016 election only because of the “millions” of illegal voters in that election cycle.

Trump claimed repeatedly on the campaign trail in 2015 that the actual unemployment rate of around 5% “isn’t reflective [of reality]…I’ve seen numbers of 24%, I actually saw a number of 42% unemployment.” Politifact rated this claim “Pants on Fire”, its rating for the most egregious falsehoods.

Jeremy Adam Smith, writing for the Greater Good Magazine, stated that Trump’s falsehoods may be “blue lies,” which are “told on behalf of a group, that can actually strengthen the bonds among the members of that group.” As a result, he posited, Trump’s dishonesty does not cause him to lose the support of his political base, even while it “infuriates and confuses most everyone else.”

In November 2015, Buzzfeed News’ Andrew Kaczynski reported that Trump, despite having claiming to have the best memory in the world, actually has a history of “conveniently forgetting” people or organizations in ways that benefit him. In July 2016, PolitiFact’s Linda Qiu also pointed out that despite Trump’s boast for his memory, he “seems to suffer bouts of amnesia when it comes to his own statements”. Both Kaczynski and Qiu cited examples of Trump stating he did not know anything about former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke despite past statements showing that he clearly knew who Duke was.

Presidency

Fact-checking Trump

Trump’s statements as president have engaged a host of fact-checkers. Tony Burman wrote: “The falsehoods and distortions uttered by Trump and his senior officials have particularly inflamed journalists and have been challenged — resulting in a growing prominence of ‘fact-checkers’ and investigative reporting.” The situation is getting worse, as described by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ashley Parker: “President Trump seems to be saying more and more things that aren’t true.”

Glenn Kessler said in 2017 that in his job as a fact-checker for The Washington Post there was no comparison between Trump and other politicians. Kessler gave his worst rating to other politicians 15 percent to 20 percent of the time, but gave it to Trump 63 percent to 65 percent of the time. Kessler wrote that Trump was the most fact-challenged politician that he had ever encountered and lamented that “the pace and volume of the president’s misstatements means that we cannot possibly keep up.”

The Washington Post fact-checker created a new category of falsehoods in December 2018, the “Bottomless Pinocchio”, for falsehoods that have been repeated at least 20 times (so often “that there can be no question the politician is aware his or her facts are wrong”). Trump was the only politician who met the standard of the category, with 14 statements that immediately qualified for the category. According to the Washington Post, Trump has repeated some falsehoods so many times that he has effectively engaged in disinformation.

Professor Robert Prentice summarized the views of many fact-checkers:

Here’s the problem: As fact checker Glenn Kessler noted in August, whereas Clinton lies as much as the average politician, President Donald Trump’s lying is “off the charts”. No prominent politician in memory bests Trump for spouting spectacular, egregious, easily disproved lies. The birther claim. The vote fraud claim. The attendance at the inauguration claim. And on and on and on. Every fact checker — Kessler, Factcheck.org, Snopes.com, PolitiFact — finds a level of mendacity unequaled by any politician ever scrutinized. For instance, 70 percent of his campaign statements checked by PolitiFact were mostly false, totally false, or “pants on fire” false.

At the end of 2018, Kessler provided a run-down summary of Trump’s accelerating rate of false statements during the year:

Trump began 2018 on a similar pace as last year. Through May, he generally averaged about 200 to 250 false claims a month. But his rate suddenly exploded in June, when he topped 500 falsehoods, as he appeared to shift to campaign mode. He uttered almost 500 more in both July and August, almost 600 in September, more than 1,200 in October and almost 900 in November. In December, Trump drifted back to the mid-200s.

  • Several major fact-checking sites regularly fact-check Trump, including:
  • PolitiFact, which awarded Trump its “Lie of the Year” in 2015 and 2017.
  • org, which dubbed Trump the “King of Whoppers” in 2015.

The Washington Post, which said on April 29, 2019, that Trump had made more than 10,000 false or misleading claims as president an average of more than 12 such statements per day.

The Toronto Star, which said that, as of May 2019, Trump had made almost 5,000 false statements since his inauguration.

As late as summer 2018, the news media were debating whether to describe use the word “lie” to describe Trump’s falsehoods. However, by June 2019, many news organizations, including CNN, Star Tribune, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The New Yorker, and Foreign Policy, had started describing some of Trump’s false statements as lies. The Toronto Sun was one of the first outlets to use the word “lie” to describe Trump’s statements, and continues to do so frequently. Still, some organizations have continued to shy away from the term. Glenn Kessler, author of The Washington Post ‘s “Fact Checker” column, has used the word “lie” only once to describe Trump’s statements, although he has sometimes used other terminology that implies lying.

Credibility polling

According to a September 2018 CNN-SSRS poll, only 32% percent of Americans find Trump honest and trustworthy, the worst read in CNN polling history. The number was 33% on election day, November 8, 2016.

Commentary and analysis

As president, Trump has frequently made false statements in public speeches and remarks.Trump uttered “at least one false or misleading claim per day on 91 of his first 99 days” in office according to The New York Times, and 1,318 total in his first 263 days in office according to the “Fact Checker” political analysis column of The Washington Post. By the Post’s tally, it took Trump 601 days to reach 5,000 false or misleading statements and another 226 days to reach the 10,000 mark. For the seven weeks leading up to the midterm elections, it rose to an average of 30 per day from 4.9 during his first 100 days in office. The Post found that Trump averaged 15 false statements per day during 2018.

The New York Times editorial board has frequently lambasted Trump’s dishonesty. In September 2018, the board called him “a president with no clear relation to the truth”. The following month, the board published an opinion piece titled, “Donald Trump Is Lyin’ Up a Storm”.

In the journal Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Dr. Donnel B. Stern commented on Trump’s falsehoods during his presidency. Stern wrote that “Donald Trump lies so often that some have wondered whether he has poisoned the well […] We expect politicians to stretch the truth. But Trump is a whole different animal. He lies as a policy. He lies to get whatever he wants, and he clearly feels entirely justified in doing it…He will say anything to please what gets called ‘his base’ and to inflate his own sense of importance.”

Inaugural crowd

Trump’s presidency began with a series of falsehoods originated by Trump himself. The day after his inauguration, he falsely accused the media of lying about the size of the inauguration crowd. Then he exaggerated the size, and White House press secretary Sean Spicer backed up his claims. When Spicer was accused of intentionally misstating the figures, Kellyanne Conway, in an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, defended Spicer by stating that he merely presented “alternative facts”. Todd responded by saying, “Alternative facts are not facts; they’re falsehoods.”

Election results

Further information: United States presidential elections in which the winner lost the popular vote

Trump went on to claim that his electoral college victory was a landslide; that three of the states he did not win in the 2016 election had “serious voter fraud”; and that Clinton received 3 million to 5 million illegal votes. Trump made his Trump Tower wiretapping allegations in March 2017, which the Department of Justice has twice refuted.In January 2018, Trump claimed that texts between FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were tantamount to “treason”, but The Wall Street Journal reviewed them and concluded that the texts “show no evidence of a conspiracy against” Trump.

Dismissal of FBI director

On May 9, 2017, Trump dismissed James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, stating that he had accepted the recommendations of U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein to dismiss Comey. In their respective letters, neither Trump, Sessions nor Rosenstein mentioned the issue of an FBI investigation into links between Trump associates and Russian officials, with Rosenstein writing that Comey should be dismissed for his handling of the conclusion of the FBI investigation into the Hillary Clinton email controversy, while Sessions cited Rosenstein’s reasons On May 11, Trump said in a videoed interview: “…regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey…in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.” On May 31, Trump wrote on Twitter: “I never fired James Comey because of Russia!”

Personal lawyer

In 2017 and in the first half of 2018, Trump repeatedly praised his personal attorney Michael Cohen as  “a great lawyer”, “a loyal, wonderful person”, “a good man”, and someone Trump “always liked” and “respected”. In the second half of 2018, with Cohen testifying to federal investigations, Trump attacked Cohen as a “rat”, “a weak person, and not a very smart person”, and described Cohen as “a PR person who did small legal work, very small legal work…He represented me very little.”

Spygate

In May 2018, Trump developed and promoted the false Spygate conspiracy theory malleging that the Barack Obama administration planted a spy inside Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign to assist Hillary Clinton in winning the 2016 US presidential election

Special Counsel Investigation

In March 2019, Trump asserted that the special counsel investigation is “illegal”; previously in June 2018, Trump argued that “the appointment of the Special Counsel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL!” However, in August 2018, Dabney Friedrich, a Trump-appointed judge on the DC District Court ruled the appointment was constitutional, as did a unanimous three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in February 2019.

The Mueller Report asserted Trump’s family members, campaign staff, Republican backers, administration officials, and his associates lied or made false assertions, with the plurality of lies from Trump himself (mostly while he was president), whether unintentional, or not to the public, Congress, or authorities, per a CNN analysis

Also in March 2019, following the release of Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the findings of the completed special counsel investigation, Trump tweeted: “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION.” However, Barr had quoted special counsel Mueller as writing that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” on whether he had committed obstruction of justice. Barr declined to bring an obstruction of justice charge against the President. In testimony to Congress in May 2019, Barr said that he “didn’t exonerate” Trump on obstruction as that was not the role of the Justice Department.

Economy

Through his first 28 months in office, Trump repeatedly and falsely characterized the economy during his presidency as the best in American history.

As of March 2019, Trump’s most repeated falsehoods, each repeated during his presidency over 100 times, were: that a U.S. trade deficit would be a “loss” for the country; that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, passed during his term, was the largest tax cut in American history; that the American economy was the strongest ever during his administration; and that the Trump wall was already being built. He has also made 100 false claims about NATO spending, whether on the part of United States or other NATO member.

Trump claimed during the campaign that the U.S. real GDP could grow at rate of “5 or even 6” percent under his policies. During 2018, the economy grew at 2.9%, the same rate as 2015 under President Obama. Longer-term projections beyond 2019 by the CBO and Federal Reserve are for growth below 2%. President Obama’s advisers explained growth limits as “sluggish worker productivity and shrinking labor supply as baby boomers retire”.

Trump claimed in October 2017 that he would eliminate the federal debt over 8 years, even though it was $19 trillion at the time. However, the annual deficit (debt addition) in 2018 was nearly $800 billion, about 60% higher than the CBO forecast of $500 billion when Trump took office. The CBO January 2019 forecast for the 2018–2027 debt addition is now 40% higher, at $13.0 trillion rather than $9.4 trillion when Trump was inaugurated. Other forecasts place the debt addition over a decade at $16 trillion, bringing the total to around $35 trillion. Rather than a debt to GDP ratio in 2028 of 89% had Obama’s policies continued, CBO now estimates this figure at 107%, assuming Trump’s tax cuts for individuals are extended past 2025.

Trump claimed in March 2019 that Chinese exporters were bearing the burden of his tariffs. However, studies indicate consumers and purchasers of imports are bearing the cost and that tariffs are essentially a regressive tax. While Trump has argued that tariffs would reduce the trade deficit, it expanded to a record dollar level in 2018.

Family separation policy

President Trump has repeatedly and falsely said that he inherited his administration’s family separation policy from Obama, his predecessor. In November 2018, Trump said, “President Obama separated children from families, and all I did was take the same law, and then I softened the law.” In April 2019, Trump said, “President Obama separated children. They had child separation; I was the one that changed it.” In June 2019, Trump said, “President Obama had a separation policy. I didn’t have it. He had it. I brought the families together. I’m the one that put them together…I inherited separation, and I changed the plan.” Trump’s assertion was false because the Obama administration had no policy systematically separating migrant families, while the “zero tolerance” policy was only instituted by Trump’s own administration in April 2018. Politifact quoted immigration experts that family separations were “relatively rare” and at a lower scale before Trump took office.

 

Between gun massacres, a routine, deadly seven days of U.S. shootings

August 11, 2019

by Jonathan Allen and Joseph Ax

Reuters

(Reuters) – A boy accidentally killed by his father during a fishing trip in Montana. A woman dead and her husband behind bars after a single gunshot in a Dallas hotel room. A teenager cut down on his porch on a warm day in Washington state. During the week bookended by mass shootings in Gilroy, California; El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio, in which gunmen killed 34 people, hundreds of others were shot to death across 47 U.S. states, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit group that uses local news and police reports to track gun incidents.

The deaths were the sort of everyday murders, suicides and accidents that may not grab the headlines of mass shootings, but in many ways show the true toll of the gun violence endemic to the United States.

More than 36,000 people are shot to death every year on average in America, according to U.S. government data compiled by the gun-control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety. That works out to about 100 a day, or one every 14-1/2 minutes. Suicides account for more than 60 percent of those deaths. Slightly more than a third are homicides.

Here are some of the victims of deadly shootings during the week between the attack in Gilroy and the attack in Dayton:

SUNDAY, JULY 28

Soon after a gunman opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, Steven Parsons was sitting in a parked car with two other people 1,500 miles away in an alley in Kansas City, Missouri.

The 27-year-old died there along with another man, Montae Robinson, shot by a gunman who is still at large, police said. The third person in the car is being sought by police for questioning but is not a suspect.

“I have a wedding dress in my closet that I will never wear,” Marissa Tantillo said during Parsons’ funeral service on Wednesday evening at a chapel in Blue Springs, near Kansas City.

They had two daughters together and planned to marry in a few months. She urged mourners never to take their loved ones for granted. “All I want you to do is hold your husband a little closer, hold your wife a little tighter,” she said.

Tantillo recalled a romance that began when she and Parsons were barely teenagers.

“So many of us don’t believe in love anymore,” Tantillo told the gathering. “In Steven I knew I found my soul mate.”

Parsons had a sense of adventure as a boy, his father, Steve Parsons, said at the service. “We’d be cruising along in the old white van and he’d say, ‘What’s that way?’ and so we’d turn and go that way,” Parsons said.

People should remember the years his son lived, not the day he died, he said. “Do not let the last day destroy all the good days you had with him.”

MONDAY, JULY 29

Guests at the Hotel ZaZa in Dallas heard a commotion and screams from the room where Jacqueline Rose Parguian and her husband, Peter Nicholas, were staying on Monday night.

When hotel security staff knocked on the door, no one answered. Paramedics, responding to a 911 call about a woman loudly in distress and a report of a possible drug overdose, listened to the commotion outside as they waited for police to arrive, per department rules. A noisy hour passed. A gunshot rang out. The arguing stopped. Parguian was dead.

“Jackie had a passion for beauty,” an obituary published by Parguian’s family said. She pursued a degree in cosmetology and graduated from a Dallas beauty school in 2016.

She loved ‘90s pop music, especially the boy band NSYNC, and collected concert tickets in a box of memories. One of six children, she was known for checking in frequently with her younger siblings.

She was 32. Her sons are 2 and 8.

“How do we explain to those little angels that their parents are both not going to be there anymore, ya know?” Parguian’s mother said in an interview. Friends and relatives had soon pledged more than $25,000 in donations to a GoFundMe fundraiser in support of the boys’ uncertain future.

When their father, known to some Dallas music fans as DJ Pete Mash, opened the hotel room door on Monday night to police, he had blood on him and an extension cord wrapped around his neck, according to the Dallas Police Department.

Police said he seemed high on drugs and that they had to subdue him with a stun gun after he began screaming and fighting. They found a handgun in a backpack in the room near Parguian’s body.

Explaining the delayed response, police later said officers were responding to higher-priority calls that night before reports of a gunshot came through.

Nicholas, 30, was arrested and charged with his wife’s murder. He was later released on a $250,000 bond. An attorney for Nicholas did not respond to a request for comment.

“Peter is a nice young man,” Parguian’s mother, Tess Parguian, told a local ABC television affiliate. “He’s very polite, and that’s why I cannot believe he could do such a thing.”

TUESDAY, JULY 30

It was a warm day in Tacoma, Washington, and Jamone Pratt was out on a friend’s front porch when he was shot in the head. Witnesses told police they saw at least two cars speeding away. Pratt was 16 years old.

Police have made no arrests. Jamone’s mother, Kyndal Pierce, has filled her Facebook page with anguished posts, saying she’s finding it hard to go on without her eldest son, a “tall and skinny” kid the family called Junior and who was inseparable from his sister.

“He made some bad choices, you know, got involved with the wrong people,” Pierce said in an interview with a local news channel. “I don’t know what happened, but I know my baby didn’t deserve this.”

A schoolmate of Jamone’s who makes music under the name KiingCalebb recorded a rap tribute to his friend called “MonesWrld.” The lyrics include oblique references to gang rivalries.

“Thought you were going to make it to 18,” the lyrics went. “All you wanted were your dreams / but now you fly high.”

WEDNESDAY, JULY 31

Growing up in the Miami area as a black transgender woman, Kiki Fantroy faced a lot of bullying – but that never altered her natural inclination to trust and forgive other people, her mother said.

Fantroy, 21, was shot several times early in the morning after leaving a house party, becoming the 13th black transgender woman killed in the United States this year, activists say.

The killing prompted several events in her memory, including a “Take Back the Night” event held by a local transgender women’s group and a candlelight vigil.

In an interview, Fantroy’s mother, Rhonda Comer, switched back and forth between using her daughter’s preferred name, Kiki, and her birth name, Marquis, and between masculine and feminine pronouns.

Comer said she supported Fantroy’s decision to begin transitioning as a teenager.

Fantroy always had a flair for fashion, Comer said.

“He would make clothes, he would tell me what to wear, what he wanted to wear, and he would always put his twist on things,” said Comer, 44. “Kiki could take a shirt and a skirt and make it a whole different outfit; you can’t ask me her favorite color because, honey, she wore it all.”

Fantroy loved and trusted people implicitly, Comer said, a trait that sometimes worried her – especially after Fantroy was sexually assaulted and “dumped in a tomato field” at age 16 by someone she had met online.

Fantroy had just left a house party with a friend, another transgender woman, and Comer said she was convinced they were deliberately targeted. Police in Miami-Dade County have declined to call the shooting a hate crime.

Police later arrested a 17-year-old boy and charged him with murder after a witness picked him out of a lineup.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 1

Caden Lacunza, 11, had finished cleaning one fish and was just starting on the second one he had caught near Crow Creek Falls in rural Montana when he was shot in the head.

His father, Cadet, dropped the .357 revolver he had just fired, sprinted toward his fallen son and began yelling for his wife.

Hours later, he was under arrest for negligent homicide.

The details of the incident, laid out in a Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office report, indicate Cadet Lacunza didn’t intend any harm when he shot off a round in the direction of the river.

He had seen his family, including his wife, his son and his daughter, near the campfire, and decided to shoot his pistol, according to the report. While he was retrieving the gun from his pickup truck, however, Caden made his way to the river to clean the fish he had snared.

Lacunza’s lawyer, Greg Beebe, said his client was innocent of any criminal wrongdoing.

“This was just a tragic accident, and not a negligent homicide,” Beebe said. “At the center of this, we have a family who’s been devastated.”

Lacunza’s wife, Victoria, told Reuters in a Facebook message that the shooting was an accident but declined to comment further.

At the scene, officers retrieved Lacunza’s revolver, the cylinder still loaded except for a single spent round. In the river, about 10 feet from where Caden collapsed, they found a cleaned fish; the other fish was on the ground where the boy had dropped it, a small cut in its belly and a knife lying nearby.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 2

Deante Strickland came running out of his grandparents’ house in Portland, Oregon, in mid-afternoon, bleeding from the chest.

“I don’t want to die,” he said, according to a construction worker who was at a site nearby. “My sister shot me.”

Strickland, 22, died near his home despite efforts to save his life. His sister, Tamena Strickland, has been charged with his murder, as well as with wounding her grandmother and aunt.

Authorities have not offered a motive for the shooting. Tamena Strickland’s defense lawyer, Robert Crow, said it was still too early to know exactly what had happened.

“Everybody is of the belief that this isn’t who Tamena is,” he said, adding that many family members attended her initial court appearance on Monday in support of both her and her brother. Tamena Strickland has not entered a plea and remains in custody in the Multnomah County Detention Center.

Crow said neither sibling had a criminal record, and there was no outward sign of any dispute between them.

“That’s part of what makes it such a mystery to people,” he said.

Strickland was a standout basketball and football player in high school. He spent two years at a junior college in Wyoming before transferring to his hometown school Portland State University, where he played on the basketball team.

He was entering graduate school at PSU in the fall and planned to play for the football team.

Friends and teammates flooded social media with remembrances of “Strick,” praising his devotion to Portland, his near-permanent smile and his love for basketball.

In a video he filmed shortly before graduation this year, Strickland said, “My advice to you: Don’t take the time for granted. It goes by fast, so try to enjoy every moment.”

SATURDAY, AUGUST 3

It was a cheerful summer Saturday afternoon in Denise Wimberly’s house in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood.

As music filled her home, the 61-year-old mother of four relaxed on her couch with her niece as her son Calvin Seay got ready for an afternoon basketball game.

“He came back in the house to lay his clothes out because he was a neat freak,” she said. “Then he left to go down the street to show the neighbors the phone he just got.”

Moments after the 23-year-old left, police officers responded to an alert from the department’s gunshot-detection system.

They found Seay, a father of one, lying on the sidewalk steps from his home. He had been shot once in the head and once in the chest.

“My other son ran down the street, saying Calvin got shot,” Wimberly said. She jumped up and threw down her cigarette. “I almost set my couch on fire.”

“He was my baby,” she said. “They need to stop the shooting, because they are shooting people that they don’t need to be.” No suspects have been arrested.

Seay’s slaying was part of a bloody weekend in Chicago in which seven people were killed and at least 45 others were wounded, including a 5-year-old boy.

“What will it take for people to become sick and tired at the level of gun violence in this country?” Chicago Superintendent of Police Eddie Johnson asked at a news conference.

Seay, whose daughter turned 6 last week, loved to draw and play basketball and had just gotten a job with the Chicago Park District, where he was working with children at a summer camp.

“He was no person to go hang out on the street. He wasn’t like that at all,” Wimberly said. “He said that since he got the job, he was going to send me on vacation. That’s how he was.”

Less than 12 hours after Seay’s death, a gunman opened fire on the street in downtown Dayton, killing nine people.

Another week of gun violence in America was drawing to an end.

Additional reporting and writing by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City, Zachary Fagenson in Miami and Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Kari Howard

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

August 11, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks. ”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas in 1993 when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publication.

Conversation No. 46

Date: Saturday, November 16, 1996

Commenced: 9:48 AM CST

Concluded: 10:25 AM CST

RTC: Hello, Gregory. Are you getting ready to assault the turkey?

GD: Oh, no doubt. One of the few childhood practices remaining. I gave up Christmas some time ago. I haven’t sent a card out in years and last year, I got two. Times change, don’t they?

RTC: They do indeed. Christmas used to be a sort of magic time for children but now all it’s become is a chance to sell junk to frantic people.

GD: I’ve been working up the ZIPPER material and I must say, what surprises me is the extent of the plot. Half of Washington was in on it.

RTC: Actually, they weren’t. A handful of our top people, Hoover and one or two of his very close aides, a military representative here and there.

GD: The Russian report…do you have this? I can’t read Russian but I have friends who do.

RTC: No, I do not.

GD: This Driscoll fellow. Do you know him?

RTC: I did. He’s dead now. Was a specialist on the Warsaw Pact people and since I am a specialist on Russia and Russian intelligence, we met on several occasions. That’s why I got a copy of the report. Driscoll knew nothing about ZIPPER or at least my part in it.

GD: This might be a hard sell. I have tremendous competition from the nut fringe. They will rise up and smite me hip and thigh because I haven’t included their pet theories.

RTC: But that’s to be expected. We have a good in with them. At this point, there is little danger of embarrassing facts getting out but we kept our hand in. The Farrell woman is one of ours and she is a strong influence over the nutties.

GD: To accept this might be a problem.

RTC: Gregory, if you knew a half of what was actually planned, you would see that the ZIPPER business was nothing, just nothing. All right, for example, there are some interesting matters for you. I just happen to be in an expansive mood today so I can run a few of the more wild ones past you. There was the Army plan to start bubonic plague in Soviet military units in the east zone of Germany to prevent an invasion of the west. We had a German military specialist working for us on that, plus, of course, many USAF people down in San Antonio. Never went anywhere. Then…by the way, do you know why Truman really sacked MacArthur?

GD: He was defying Truman as I recall.

RTC: Yes but it was his intention to infect the Chinese and North Korean armies with the plague as well. I told you MacArthur had set the Kempeitai Doctor Ishi up in Tokyo in a chemical and medical lab, didn’t I?

GD: Yes, you did.

RTC: Well, when the war in Korea broke out and we were in serious retreat, MacArthur wanted to nuke them. We didn’t have a hell of a lot of such weapons but he was serious. Truman said no, so Mac decided to, as he said, ‘radically reduce their effective troop levels.’ For this, read the plague. I don’t know how this got back to Truman but a project like that is really hard to conceal and Mac took too long messing over the logistics of it. When Harry found out about this, he blew his top and sacked MacArthur on the spot. Mac was crazy, of course, but was such an idol here that Truman got reamed on this but it really had to be done. We hanged German and Japanese leaders after the war for far less, believe me. And then there was the Army plan to fake attacks on American soil, blame Castro and then attack him. On that project, which included blowing up a commercial aircraft with Americans on board and setting off bombs in major cities, Eisenhower was in full support. Kennedy found out about it by accident and pulled the plug. That wasn’t one of ours, by the way, and neither were the plague attacks. We were working on plans to destroy the Asian rice crop but that one was quietly put into the closet when too many people found out about it and our rice industry howled that it could easily spread over here and ruin their business. Not that they cared about the Chinese and others, just their own profits. This AIDS business was a legitimate project that got out of control but it was not planned at all. Of course, there were plans to instigate a war between the Soviet Union and China, but it proved to be too complicated and was dropped. One of our people read Malthus and went to Dulles with a plan to thin out the world’s population, after inoculating our citizens, or most of the non-colored ones. That is still in the active file somewhere. If you read of a national immunization day coming up, that will be a token sign.

GD: If the victims ever get wind of this, they might preempt you and start their own plagues and loose their own virus attackers. Müller told me that such actions were not only criminal and insane but would be bound for a certainty to come back on those who started it.

RTC: That’s the main reason why they never got started. Pragmatic, not moral.

GD: That sums it all up, doesn’t it?

RTC: In theory, Gregory, getting rid of the tired and huddled masses would not be impractical in the long view.

GD: In theory not, but I wouldn’t be happy with the practice.

RTC: We would lay the blame on some other enemy and let them worry about defending themselves.

GD: It’s one thing for your people to off the head of the UN or blow up an inconvenient head of state or two but starting plagues is nothing less than psychotic mass murder and I, for one, can’t think of any kind of an excuse for it, pragmatic or not.

RTC: You can always make such an argument, Gregory, and it is not unbecoming for you to do this but when you have been where I have been, these objections fade away very quickly. Well, enough science fiction for today. I am indeed looking forward to your visit and so is Bill.

GD: Question? Why is Kimmel sitting in?

RTC: He has his own agenda. In spite of all the assistance you have given him and his family, he still despises you. You see, Tom saw that Bill and I were doing well in the writing business and we had, and have, a certain reputation in the professions. He will probably retire and wants to find a safe berth when he does. He sees you as a potential threat and you do not treat him with the unalloyed respect that people like Tom demand as their birthright.

GD: I don’t consider myself to be any kind of a threat to him.

RTC: You exist, Gregory, and he views you as a loose cannon, his very words to Bill, and for people like Tom, a loose cannon can’t be controlled. I don’t care what positive things you’ve done for him and his family. In the final cut, you are a potential intellectual threat to him so he dislikes you. And be careful at lunch not to let fly with one of your terrible remarks. I understand them and most often agree with them, but Tom considers himself to be an establishment type and people like that don’t like people like you.

GD: My grandfather used to say that the reason some people could stand up without a spine is because their skin is so thick.

RTC:(Laughter) Ah, there you go again, Gregory. I would wager you’d say that right to Tom’s face, wouldn’t you?

GD: If I felt it was necessary.

RTC: He’d do the same thing, Gregory, but to your back, so at the table, watch yourself. Bill is neutral, but Tom is not a friend and keep that in mind all the time.

GD: Speaking of back-stabbing, have you seen my good friend Wolfe lately?

RTC: No, I haven’t been over to the Archives lately so I have been spared his most unwelcome attentions. Now we can add Critchfield to your collection of loyal friends. Jim wants back that letter he sent you. The one you read to me. He thinks it might be misunderstood and wants me to try to get it out of you just to look at and then give it back to him. I told him I would try but of course that’s not my plan. If you would follow my advice, hide it in a safe place. It would bother me if you went out of town, say to come back here in December, and remember Kimmel knows the dates of your trip, and some burglar broke in and ran off with it and any other inconvenient and accusatory paperwork you might have lying around. Just a cautionary piece of advice from a friend.

GD: I appreciate it. I could leave a little surprise in a box marked ‘secret CIA documents,’ couldn’t I?

RTC: Now, now, Gregory, not on the phone.

GD: I’ll bet someone would make quite a report.

RTC: Probably hear it five miles away. Do let’s change the subject. How is the Müller book selling?

GD: Actually, I understand quite well. After it’s been out for about two years, I expect the usual run of paid rodents to start in squealing their objections to it. It will take that long for the rays of brilliant light to penetrate the Stygian gloom that packs their collective brain cases. I do hope they get nice checks for their pains. It beats public assistance or begging in railroad stations. Which, I suspect, is how most of these twits make their living.

RTC: I think most of them work in obscure community colleges in the wilds of Massachusetts or Ohio.

GD: Yes, and I’m told they eat once a day. A piece of salt pork on a long string which can be used over and over. I’ve heard about the dog returning to his own vomit but Robert, what happens when they are the vomit?

RTC: Now, now, and so close to Sunday and Thanksgiving. And what are you going to give thanks for, Gregory?

GD: The fact that almost all of my nasty relatives have passed away, Robert. It will be a matter of some satisfaction to me to have survived them all. When I feel my time is coming, I can travel around the country and urinate on their graves. At any rate, tenderly, tenderly Jesus is calling and my dog is making it very clear that she wants to go out and relieve herself on the neighbor’s flower beds, so let me beg off. And give my best to Emily, won’t you? You know, if I ever meet her face to face, I would be the soul of civility to her.

RTC: I would certainly hope so.

(Concluded at 10:25 AM CST)

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Conversations+with+the+Crow+by+Gregory+Douglas

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Ami & Steve Sciulli

Ami and Steve Sciulli are “sacred sound healing musicians who use quartz crystal bowls and electronically enhanced world flutes to create an environment for healing, expansion, and relaxation” under the name Life in Balance. Apparently, Life in Balance “is committed to using sacred musical instruments merged with current technology to create an integrated sonic environment for transformation. They perform both Sound Healing Meditation (Inbreath) and Dance/Music Concerts using global rhythms (Outbreath).” (We sheepishly admit that we couldn’t quite get ourselves to sample their music.) The Sciullis offer energy – “sound healing energy transmission”, in fact. Moreover, if you listen to their “bio-electrical sound current” (it would perhaps be interesting to hear their definition of “bio-electrical”), then “The Sound becomes a fertile field for potential and intention to be made manifest”. It’s like The Secret, with quartz crystal singing bowls: Ami Sciulli, ostensibly “a longtime student of metaphysics” (we suspect she would be in for a shock if she enrolled in a philosophy program at an accredited institution), has “developed an ability to remain in a space of expanded expression and to transmit this frequency through pure thought and the perfect structure of quartz crystal bowls” (you’ll have a hard time falsifying that claim!), and “[u]nderstanding that there is a unifying energy that connects everything, she produces sonic wave vibrations that reach the receiver at their own level, allowing them to connect with and then resonate with the vibrations as they grow stronger.”

As one Jim Brenholts, producer of Tracks Across the Universe: Chronology of Ambient & Electronic Music, described them, “Steve and Ami have been on a mission for years promoting the holistic healing arts of music. They are at the edge and in the center, knocking on the door to the perpendicular universe!” Oh, ye poor, narrow-minded souls who are chained to the idea that words are best used to produce sentences that mean something.

Diagnosis: New Age word salads don’t come much more nebulous than in the Sciulli’s promotional materials, at least. Still, if you wish to vibrate at the doorstep of a perpendicular universe, you’ll probably not find any better option.

Billy DeMoss

Billy DeMoss is a California-based chiropractor who seems to have an unconditional love for all things pseudoscience and free of evidence, from cleansing to antivaccine conspiracies. He is, in particular, a big fan of Andrew Wakefield, going so far as to calling Wakefield his “mentor”. For that, DeMoss argues, he is targeted by Big Pharma. They are desperate to hide the truth and deliberately poisoning us (oral contraceptives, for instance, is a conspiracy to give women breast cancer), and they are out to get him, and … oh, well – let’s just let him tell us in his own words:

“… do you always believe the official story spoon fed to you by the ‘big brother’ controlled media?…I was just thinking still to this day that no one has ever shown US a video of a Boeing hitting the Pentagon?…especially with all the surveillance around the area and people’s video prowess… and I am sure a terrorist could definitely fly a jet with such precision as to not even scrape the ground at 500mph…and of course the plane evaporated on contact…Oh yes I am sure a Boeing could fit in that huge hole and what happened to building 7?…one of 3 steel framed buildings that collapsed(were actually demoed) from fire when not one steel frame building has EVER collapsed in history…so go ahead and believe that EBOLA is coming to the US just like H1N1,SARS,BERD FLU caused massive epidemics that we prevented by yet another moronic vaccine…believe the CDC that vaccines DON’T cause Autism and that vaccines REALLY make you healthier…keep chanting the mantra ‘vacines DON’T cause Autism,vaccines DON’T cause Autim,vaccines DON;T cause Autism…believe in Sandy Hoax and so many other stories that are sold as REAL news to create FEAR and sell an AGENDA for the NWO…keep vaccinating yourselves,use that fluoride for you dental health,eat GMO fake food,watch lots of TV,do as your doctor says and take your dope and NEVER change your lifestyle because ALL your problems are genetic…keep it up the agenda is working very well at dumbing you dumber!!!

Diagnosis: Let’s get up for Billy DeMoss, shall we? Thank you for playing.

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