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TBR News August 13, 2019

Aug 13 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. August 13, 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 13:”Trump is enraging both the Mexican and PRC governments with his instability and senseless attacks on their exported products. Most of the retail items for sale in America today are made in China and much in the way of food comes from Mexico. America is no longer a producing nation and the increasing bad weather patterns are severely damaging her agricultural areas. Soon enough, the American public will feel the drastic effects of Trump’s instability and hostility and throw him out of office. On the other hand, he has said he wanted the position for life and even if voted out, he would refuse to leave. No doubt he expects the Militia of Montana to lock-step back to Washington, AK-47 cocked and loaded. If Trump isn’t more circumspect, no doubt someone will be coming to Washington and he won’t like the messengers.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • The Day Jeffrey Epstein Told Me He Had Dirt on Powerful People
  • Jeffrey Epstein investigation may target new suspects after financier’s death
  • How the Power Elite deals with the unwanted.
  • Trump is ruining our markets’: Struggling farmers are losing a huge customer to the trade war — China
  • US-China trade war — The unlikely European winners
  • ‘Flashing yellow’: US facing 1 in 3 chance of recession within the year, says Bank of America
  • Predicting the next U.S. recession
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons

 

The Day Jeffrey Epstein Told Me He Had Dirt on Powerful People

August 13, 2019

by James B. Stewart

New York Times

Almost exactly a year ago, on Aug. 16, 2018, I visited Jeffrey Epstein at his cavernous Manhattan mansion.

The overriding impression I took away from our roughly 90-minute conversation was that Mr. Epstein knew an astonishing number of rich, famous and powerful people, and had photos to prove it. He also claimed to know a great deal about these people, some of it potentially damaging or embarrassing, including details about their supposed sexual proclivities and recreational drug use.

So one of my first thoughts on hearing of Mr. Epstein’s suicide was that many prominent men and at least a few women must be breathing sighs of relief that whatever Mr. Epstein knew, he has taken it with him.

During our conversation, Mr. Epstein made no secret of his own scandalous past — he’d pleaded guilty to state charges of soliciting prostitution from underage girls and was a registered sex offender — and acknowledged to me that he was a pariah in polite society. At the same time, he seemed unapologetic. His very notoriety, he said, was what made so many people willing to confide in him. Everyone, he suggested, has secrets and, he added, compared with his own, they seemed innocuous. People confided in him without feeling awkward or embarrassed, he claimed.

I’d never met Mr. Epstein before. I had contacted him because my colleagues and I had heard a rumor that he was advising Tesla’s embattled chief executive, Elon Musk, who was in trouble after announcing on Twitter that he had lined up the funding to take Tesla private.

The Securities and Exchange Commission began an investigation into Mr. Musk’s remarks, which moved markets but didn’t appear to have much basis in fact. There were calls for Mr. Musk to relinquish his position as Tesla’s chairman and for Tesla to recruit more independent directors. I’d heard that Mr. Epstein was compiling a list of candidates at Mr. Musk’s behest — and that Mr. Epstein had an email from Mr. Musk authorizing the search for a new chairman. Mr. Musk and Tesla vehemently deny this.

When I contacted Mr. Epstein, he readily agreed to an interview. The caveat was that the conversation would be “on background,” which meant I could use the information as long as I didn’t attribute it directly to him. (I consider that condition to have lapsed with his death.)

He insisted that I meet him at his house, which I’d seen referred to as the largest single-family home in Manhattan. This seems plausible: I initially walked past the building, on East 71st Street, because it looked more like an embassy or museum than a private home. Next to the imposing double doors was a polished brass plaque with the initials “J.E.” and a bell. After I rang, the door was opened by a young woman, her blond hair pulled back in a chignon, who greeted me with what sounded like an Eastern European accent.

I can’t say how old she was, but my guess would be late teens or perhaps 20. Given Mr. Epstein’s past, this struck me as far too close to the line. Why would Mr. Epstein want a reporter’s first impression to be that of a young woman opening his door?

The woman led me up a monumental staircase to a room on the second floor overlooking the Frick museum across the street. It was quiet, the lighting dim, and the air-conditioning was set very low. After a few minutes, Mr. Epstein bounded in, dressed casually in jeans and a polo shirt, shook my hand and said he was a big fan of my work. He had a big smile and warm manner. He was trim and energetic, perhaps from all the yoga he said he was practicing. He was undeniably charismatic.

Before we left the room he took me to a wall covered with framed photographs. He pointed to a full-length shot of a man in traditional Arab dress. “That’s M.B.S.,” he said, referring to Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. The crown prince had visited him many times, and they spoke often, Mr. Epstein said.

He led me to a large room at the rear of the house. There was an expansive table with about 20 chairs. Mr. Epstein took a seat at the head, and I sat to his left. He had a computer, a small blackboard and a phone to his right. He said he was doing some foreign-currency trading.

Behind him was a table covered with more photographs. I noticed one of Mr. Epstein with former President Bill Clinton, and another of him with the director Woody Allen. Displaying photos of celebrities who had been caught up in sex scandals of their own also struck me as odd.

Mr. Epstein avoided specifics about his work for Tesla. He told me that he had good reason to be cryptic: Once it became public that he was advising the company, he’d have to stop doing so, because he was “radioactive.” He predicted that everyone at Tesla would deny talking to him or being his friend.

He said this was something he’d become used to, even though it didn’t stop people from visiting him, coming to his dinner parties or asking him for money. (That was why, Mr. Epstein told me without any trace of irony, he was considering becoming a minister so that his acquaintances would be confident that their conversations would be kept confidential.)

If he was reticent about Tesla, he was more at ease discussing his interest in young women. He said that criminalizing sex with teenage girls was a cultural aberration and that at times in history it was perfectly acceptable. He pointed out that homosexuality had long been considered a crime and was still punishable by death in some parts of the world.

Mr. Epstein then meandered into a discussion of other prominent names in technology circles. He said people in Silicon Valley had a reputation for being geeky workaholics, but that was far from the truth: They were hedonistic and regular users of recreational drugs. He said he’d witnessed prominent tech figures taking drugs and arranging for sex (Mr. Epstein stressed that he never drank or used drugs of any kind).

I kept trying to steer the conversation back to Tesla, but Mr. Epstein remained evasive. He said he’d spoken to the Saudis about possibly investing in Tesla, but he wouldn’t provide any specifics or names. When I pressed him on the purported email from Mr. Musk, he said the email wasn’t from Mr. Musk himself, but from someone very close to him. He wouldn’t say who that person was. I asked him if that person would talk to me, and he said he’d ask. He later said the person declined; I doubt he asked.

Mr. Epstein then meandered into a discussion of other prominent names in technology circles. He said people in Silicon Valley had a reputation for being geeky workaholics, but that was far from the truth: They were hedonistic and regular users of recreational drugs. He said he’d witnessed prominent tech figures taking drugs and arranging for sex (Mr. Epstein stressed that he never drank or used drugs of any kind).

I kept trying to steer the conversation back to Tesla, but Mr. Epstein remained evasive. He said he’d spoken to the Saudis about possibly investing in Tesla, but he wouldn’t provide any specifics or names. When I pressed him on the purported email from Mr. Musk, he said the email wasn’t from Mr. Musk himself, but from someone very close to him. He wouldn’t say who that person was. I asked him if that person would talk to me, and he said he’d ask. He later said the person declined; I doubt he asked.

When I later reflected on our interview, I was struck by how little information Mr. Epstein had actually provided. While I can’t say anything he said was an explicit lie, much of what he said was vague or speculative and couldn’t be proved or disproved. He did have at least some ties to Mr. Musk — a widely circulated photo shows Mr. Musk with Ghislaine Maxwell, Mr. Epstein’s confidante and former companion, at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscars party. But it seemed clear Mr. Epstein had embellished his role in the Tesla situation to enhance his own importance and gain attention — something that now seems to have been a pattern.

About a week after that interview, Mr. Epstein called and asked if I’d like to have dinner that Saturday with him and Woody Allen. I said I’d be out of town. A few weeks after that, he asked me to join him for dinner with the author Michael Wolff and Donald J. Trump’s former adviser, Steve Bannon. I declined. (I don’t know if these dinners actually happened. Mr. Bannon has said he didn’t attend. Mr. Wolff and a spokeswoman for Mr. Allen didn’t respond to requests for comment on Monday.)

Several months passed. Then early this year Mr. Epstein called to ask if I’d be interested in writing his biography. He sounded almost plaintive. I sensed that what he really wanted was companionship. As his biographer, I’d have no choice but to spend hours listening to his saga. Already leery of any further ties to him, I was relieved I could say that I was already busy with another book.

That was the last I heard from him. After his arrest and suicide, I’m left to wonder: What might he have told me?

Jeffrey Epstein investigation may target new suspects after financier’s death

The billionaire’s death will not impede federal prosecutors as they look to pursue conspiracy cases against others

August 13, 2019

by Victoria Bekiempis

The Guardian

The death of Jeffrey Epstein in his New York jail cell is not going to stop authorities from further examining his alleged sex trafficking crimes – and may see the investigation widening and targeting new suspects.

In the wake of the billionaire’s apparent suicide on Saturday morning, his accusers voiced anger and regret that Epstein would no longer face them in court – and called for authorities to continue their investigation into others who might have been involved in a trafficking ring that targeted young girls for sexual abuse.

That call looks to have been taken up. Statements from authorities after Epstein’s death indicated potential co-conspirators were not off the hook.

William Barr, the US attorney general, said Monday: “Let me assure you that case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein.” He added: “Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. Victims deserve justice and will get it.”

New York authorities have echoed that sentiment.

“To those brave young women who have already come forward and to the many others who have yet to do so, let me reiterate that we remain committed to standing for you, and our investigation of the conduct charged in the indictment – which included a conspiracy count – remains ongoing,” Geoffrey Berman, the Manhattan US attorney, said in a statement.

Veteran attorneys interviewed by the Guardian said Epstein’s death would not impede federal prosecutors from pursuing conspiracy cases against others. They also said a controversial non-prosecution agreement agreed with Epstein’s legal team during a previous case was unlikely to now shield any co-conspirators from prosecution.

“The main fact that the head of the conspiracy has been lopped off or died does not negate the fact that [others] can be charged,” said the longtime criminal defense lawyer Murray Richman.

“Conspiracy is a secret agreement between two or more persons. They can focus on one person being the ringleader of that conspiracy but nevertheless, the other persons are involved in that conspiracy,” Richman explained.

“They’re all persons involved in the conspiracy and they’re all persons that can be charged – each and every one of them,” he added.

Rebecca Roiphe, a professor of law at New York Law School and former assistant district attorney in Manhattan, voiced similar sentiments.

“The fact that they brought a conspiracy charge indicates to me that they have other people in mind,” she said.

Indeed, numerous court documents point to others’ potential involvement in Epstein’s alleged crimes.

The Manhattan US attorney’s case against Epstein for alleged sexual abuse of minor girls as young as 14 includes charges of sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy. Language in the indictment alleges Epstein “worked and conspired with others, including employees and associates who facilitated his conduct” in luring girls to his Manhattan and Palm Beach homes between 2002 and 2005.

Epstein’s controversial non-prosecution agreement with the former Miami US attorney Alexander Acosta – under which he pleaded guilty to state prostitution charges rather than more serious federal crimes for allegations involving dozens of minor girls – also said “the United States also agrees that it will not institute any criminal charges against any potential co-conspirators of Epstein … ”.

The paragraph then lists the names of four women and says its agreement is “not limited to” these named parties.

Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite and media heiress romantically linked to Epstein, has also been accused in civil litigation of recruiting Epstein’s young victims – an allegation she has denied.

Exactly how these others would fit into the investigation is unclear. Some may involve witnesses who were cooperating with investigators against Epstein – and whose cooperation is thus no longer valuable after his death – or they could be separate cases.

“What we don’t know is whether or not these third parties who were involved in the conspiracy were already working with the government, or whether they are indictments that were going to be brought later,” Roiphe said.

David Weinstein, a white-collar criminal defense attorney with Hinshaw & Culbertson and a former federal prosecutor in Miami, said Epstein’s death would not affect prosecutors’ attempts to prove others participated in a conspiracy.

“It’s the same evidence, the same witnesses,” Weinstein said.

Epstein’s death could actually lessen potential issues with evidence.

“The evidence that they’ve seized from him directly – the only person who can contest the seizure [as unlawful] could be Epstein, or somebody who lived with him,” Weinstein said.

“Now that he’s dead, he can’t challenge that. All of that becomes fair game.”

As for Epstein’s plea deal in south Florida 12 years ago, those interviewed were skeptical it would protect others from prosecution, since they weren’t direct participants in this deal.

“Him being dead, the agreement is meaningless because the other parties are not party to the agreement,” Richman said. “They’re the third-party beneficiary.”

Possible co-conspirators’ defense lawyers could still try using this deal to their clients’ advantage, arguing that the protections agreed in the deal still exist and extend beyond Florida. But the success of such an argument is not guaranteed to succeed.

“In a way, it’s an interpretation of document. The thing is that, I don’t know how these particular individuals would enforce an agreement they were not signatories on,” Roiphe said.

Possible co-conspirators’ lawyers could make an argument that “under contract law, that the government is breaching a promise that it’s made and that you have an interest”.

“I think that’s a stretch,” Roiphe said, “but it’s not an impossible argument to make.”

Accusers can also pursue civil cases against Epstein despite his death. In the US, litigants can sue deceased persons’ estates in order to win compensation.

The lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents some of Epstein’s accusers, told the Guardian: “We’ll file an action to vindicate their rights within the next 10 days.”

 

How the Power Elite deals with the unwanted.

August 13, 2019

by Christian Jürs

Robert Francis “Bobby” Kennedy (November 20, 1925 – June 6, 1968), also called RFK, was one of two younger brothers of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, and served as United States Attorney General from 1961–1964. He was one of President Kennedy’s most trusted advisors and worked closely with the President during the Cuban Missile Crisis. His contribution to the African-American Civil Rights Movement is sometimes considered his greatest legacy. After his brother’s assassination in late 1963, Kennedy continued as Attorney General under President Johnson for nine months. He resigned in September, 1964 and was elected to the United States Senate from New York that November. He was assassinated shortly after delivering a speech celebrating his victory in the 1968 Democratic Presidential primary of California at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Three days later, on June 9, 1968, President Johnson declared an official Day of National Mourning in response to the public outpouring of grief following Kennedy’s death.

On June 4, 1968, Kennedy scored a major victory when he won the California primary. He addressed his supporters in the early morning hours of June 5 in a ballroom at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. He left the ballroom through a service area to greet supporters working in the hotel’s kitchen. In a crowded kitchen passageway, Sirhan B. Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian, opened fire with a .22 caliber revolver. Kennedy was shot in the head at close range. He was rushed to The Good Samaritan Hospital where he died, at the age of 42.

Powder burns on Kennedy’s clothing reveal that all three of his wounds were from a gun fired from 0 to 1-1/2 inches away. And yet, all witnesses claim that Sirhan’s gun could not possibly have done this, for not one person places Sirhan’s gun that close, and according to the general consensus Sirhan’s gun never got closer than three feet away.

– Sirhan’s gun could hold only eight bullets. And yet, seven bullets were dug out of bodies. an eighth bullet was traced through two ceilings into airspace, and two more bullets were identified as lodged in the door frame of the pantry by both LAPD and FBI personnel (the fresh bullet holes were even labeled as such on their photographs). Inexcusably, the door frames were burned, the Los Angeles Police Dept. claimed no bullets were found lodged in the “bullet holes”, and two expended bullets (inexplicably dug out of wood) were soon found in the front seat of Sirhan’s car. The LAPD then destroyed their records of the tests that had been done on the “bullet holes” in the doorframe.

– Three bullets were found in Robert F. Kennedy, and a fourth grazed his suit jacket. The upward angle of every shot was so steep as to be much closer to straight up than horizontal (80 degrees). And yet, all witnesses claim Sirhan’s gun was completely horizontal for his first two shots, after which his gun hand was repeatedly slammed against a stem table (and now so far away from Kennedy that any errant shots of such upwardness would have been twenty feet high before reaching Kennedy, as opposed to entering Kennedy’s backside as they did).

– The four bullets which touched Kennedy all hit on his back right side and were traveling forward relative to his body. Kennedy was walking towards Sirhan, his body was always facing Sirhan during the shots, and afterwards he even fell backwards before saying his last lucid words, (“Is everyone all right?”) – at each and every moment facing toward Sirhan. It is impossible for bullets out of Sirhan’s gun to have hit Kennedy’s backside and been traveling forward unless Kennedy was almost entirely turned around.

Obviously Sirhan shot at Kennedy, but it is clear someone else was firing too. And once a second assassin is established, this adds far more than just another lone individual to the murder gang (because of the way many powerful branches of government instantly swung into action to protect the second assassin). Indeed, any second assassin virtually proves that powerful branches of U.S. Government were behind the murder itself – not only because of their stiff resistance from the get go, but because of their ongoing, coldly calculated, and otherwise inexplicable manipulation of evidence for keeping Sirhan as the singular decoy/patsy.

 

 

Trump is ruining our markets’: Struggling farmers are losing a huge customer to the trade war — China

  • U.S. farmers lost their fourth largest export market after China officially cancelled all purchases of U.S. agricultural products, a retaliatory move following President Donald Trump’s pledge to slap 10% tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese imports.
  • China’s exit piles on to a devastating year for farmers, who’ve struggled through record flooding and droughts that destroyed crop yields, and trade war escalations that have lowered prices and profits this year.
  • “It’s really, really getting bad out here,” Bob Kuylen, a farmer of 35 years in North Dakota, told CNBC. “There’s no incentive to keep farming, except that I’ve invested everything I have in farming, and it’s hard to walk away.”

August 13 2019

by Emma Newburger

CNBC

U.S. farmers lost one of their biggest customers after China officially cancelled all purchases of U.S. agricultural products, a retaliatory move following President Donald Trump’s pledge to slap 10% tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese imports.

China’s exit piles on to a devastating year for farmers, who have struggled through record flooding and an extreme heat wave that destroyed crop yields, and trade war escalations that have lowered prices and profits this year.

“It’s really, really getting bad out here,” said Bob Kuylen, who’s farmed for 35 years in North Dakota.

“Trump is ruining our markets. No one is buying our product no more, and we have no markets no more.”

Agriculture exports to China dropped by more than half last year. In 2017, China imported $19.5 billion in agricultural goods, making it the second-largest buyer overall for American farmers. In 2018, that dropped to $9.2 billion as the trade war escalated, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

This year, China’s agricultural imports from the U.S are down roughly 20%, and U.S. grain, dairy and livestock farmers have seen their revenue evaporate as a result. Over the last 6 years, farm income has dropped 45% from $123.4 billion in 2013 to $63 billion last year, according to the USDA.

Kuylen, who farms roughly 1,500 acres of wheat and sunflowers, lost $70 per acre this year, despite growing good crops. Current government subsidies only cover about $15 per acre, he said.

“There’s no incentive to keep farming, except that I’ve invested everything I have in farming, and it’s hard to walk away,” he said.

Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said China’s exit is a “body blow to thousands of farmers and ranchers who are already struggling to get by.”

China’s exit will most impact U.S. grain farmers. China is the world’s top buyer of American soybeans, buying about 60% of U.S. soybean exports last year. Analysts estimate that soybean prices have dropped 9% since the beginning of the trade war. Soybean exports to China have dropped by 75% from September 2018 to May 2019, compared to the same nine-month period in 2017 and 2018, according to data from the USDA.

“It’s killing us,” said Mark Watne, a wheat and soybean farmer who is president of the North Dakota Farmers Union. Watne said he lost $3 per bushel of soybeans he planted this year.

Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said China’s exit is a “body blow to thousands of farmers and ranchers who are already struggling to get by.”

China’s exit will most impact U.S. grain farmers. China is the world’s top buyer of American soybeans, buying about 60% of U.S. soybean exports last year. Analysts estimate that soybean prices have dropped 9% since the beginning of the trade war. Soybean exports to China have dropped by 75% from September 2018 to May 2019, compared to the same nine-month period in 2017 and 2018, according to data from the USDA.

“It’s killing us,” said Mark Watne, a wheat and soybean farmer who is president of the North Dakota Farmers Union. Watne said he lost $3 per bushel of soybeans he planted this year.

The U.S. currently leverages 25% tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods, while China tariffs on U.S. imports are currently at $110 billion. China will also consider imposing tariffs on U.S. agricultural imports it has already purchased.

Trade war bailout

In May, the Trump administration rolled out a $16 billion federal aid package for farmers. On Tuesday, a day after China announced its exit from U.S. agriculture, Trump promised farmers that China’s mounting attacks on the U.S. farm sector won’t hurt them, and promised more aid in 2020 if necessary.

More than 2,300 counties that voted for Trump in 2016 have received money from the bailout program, and counties that flipped from voting for Barack Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016 were more likely to get money than counties that were red during both elections, according to Environmental Working Group data obtained by the Washington Post.

Some farmers say the billions in bailouts and rounds of subsidies they’ve received thus far have failed to cover enough of their profit losses. Many say they’d rather make a profit in the marketplace than through a government program.

“I’m happy for the $16 billion, but I’d much rather get it from the marketplace,” Watne said. “The reality is I can’t. It’s going to be too little, too late for some farmers.”

“They [the White House] should start thinking about another major bailout,” he added. “Either you let a bunch of farmers go broke or you do another payout.”

Allen Williams, who’s farmed for nearly 50 years in Illinois, said the trade war benefits no one, and that the government subsidies are an unjust expense for taxpayers. Subsidies have covered 8% of his gross receipts this year.

“I’m very grateful to get subsidies, but they won’t result in making a loss into a profit for most grain farms,” he said.

“And I don’t think it’s right for the American taxpayer to subsidize this segment of the economy just because of what I see as a mistake of a trade war,” he added.

Loyalty to Trump

Farmers are an important voting base for Trump, who is running for reelection next year. While he’s given no indication of backing off in the trade war, struggling farmers appear to remain loyal.

Trump’s overall approval rating is 79% among farmers, according to a Farm Pulse survey taken last month. And a record-high number of farmers, some 78%, said the trade war will ultimately benefit U.S. agriculture, according to a July survey from Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture. More than 75% of rural farmers voted for Trump in the 2016 election.

Mike Knipper, a grain farmer from Iowa who likes some of Trump’s policies and dislikes others, said that most farmers in his community are Trump supporters who will continue to support him through the trade war.

“It doesn’t matter who is president. People like Trump and will support him, and few will change their ideas,” he said.

Everyone’s willing to see this through, and those government subsidy checks might help them get by for another year.”

Kulyn, the North Dakota farmer who does not support Trump, said he was frustrated that many in his community were still supporting the president despite trade issues.

“A lot of farmers are in love with Trump. People say the problems have nothing to do with Trump,” he said. “Don’t complain to me how badly you’re doing, and support the person that put you there. It’s terribly frustrating.”

 

 

US-China trade war — The unlikely European winners

The imminent US tariffs on Chinese goods are expected to throw up some unexpected winners in Europe, a study shows. The gains for the European countries are only likely to increase if China’s choses to retaliate.

August 13, 2019

by Ashutosh Pandey

DW

Move over Vietnam and Taiwan. The latest round of US tariffs on Chinese goods set to kick in on September 1 would also benefit the European economies, albeit moderately, a new report showed.

The gains would only multiply, if China retaliates with further tariffs on US imports, according to economists at Munich-based ifo Institute.

US President Donald Trump has announced a 10% tariff on another $300 billion (€268 billion) worth of Chinese goods earlier this month, escalating an ongoing trade dispute between Washington and Beijing that has seen the two sides slap punitive tariffs on each other’s goods. China has threatened to retaliate to the latest round of tariffs even as it negotiates a trade deal with the US.

The trade dispute between the world’s largest economies has weighed on global growth, even stoking fears of a recession. But a handful of economies in Asia such as Vietnam and Taiwan have so far benefited from the spat as more and more firms shift production out of China and US importers look for alternatives to Chinese goods.

Trade gains

The ifo Institute report shows that even European Union economies would benefit from the trade diversion, provided the escalating trade tensions do not hurt the US and Chinese economies to an extent that they are forced to cut down on imports altogether.

The European Union is expected to see an additional income of €1.5 billion, if the US goes ahead with the 10% tariffs. Italy with €183 million would be the biggest beneficiary followed by France (€129 million) and Germany (€94 million).

If China retaliates with a further 10% tariff on US goods, the EU would see additional revenue of €1.7 billion. Germany would be the biggest gainer with €323 million in additional income. Italy (€231 million) and France (€168 million) would also significantly benefit from the Chinese retaliation.

Germany’s export-driven economy is expected to be the biggest winner if China retaliates as Chinese importers would turn to Germany — a major producer of intermediate goods such as car parts — to source intermediate goods to avoid higher tariffs.

“If the barriers are higher between China and the US, they trade less with each other. But the demand for e.g. intermediate products to produce in China (and also in the US) would remain. So, they would look for third countries to buy the products they previously bought from each other,” ifo researcher Marina Steininger told DW.

The caveats

But increased exports from the EU to the US are likely to further strain the bloc’s ties with Washington as they would enlarge its trade surplus with the US. Trump has threatened tariffs on EU goods over the trade surplus.

The report does not take into account the depreciation of the yuan or the negative effects of growing uncertainty for investors.

“The trade war will not be beneficial for anybody if it goes too far, including for the EU,” Steininger said.

 

‘Flashing yellow’: US facing 1 in 3 chance of recession within the year, says Bank of America

August 13, 2019

RT

Bank of America has warned the US economy has nearly a one-in-three chance of being plunged into a recession within the year as the trade war with China heats up and interest rate tweaks fail to soothe a troubled market.

Discarding an “official model” predicting “only” a one-in-five chance of economic doom within the coming year, Bank of America’s US economics head Michelle Meyer warned clients on Friday that the bank’s “subjective call based on the slew of data and events leads us to believe it is closer to a 1-in-3 chance.”

The resurgence of the US-China trade war, whose latest victims – American farmers – have already been devastated by a growing season plagued by flooding and droughts, and a “global economic slowdown” have set several economic indicators “flashing yellow,” Meyer said in a note to clients on Friday. Auto sales, industrial production, and total hours worked – three of the five indicators the bank uses to track business cycles – are at levels seen immediately prior to previous recessions.

Meanwhile, consumer prices surged 2.3 percent in the first six months of 2019, the fastest such rise in years – an increase retailers are blaming on the trade war. With another round of 10 percent tariffs set to be imposed on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods next month, prices are sure to keep creeping up.

Jobless claims remain low, a factor Meyer highlighted as a “bright spot,” though President Donald Trump himself has highlighted the ease with which jobs numbers can be manipulated. Americans are not counted as unemployed if they’ve given up seeking work, if they’ve never been employed, or if they’ve received payment for even an hour’s work during the reference period but lack regular employment. In 2015, when Barack Obama was touting his 5.6 percent unemployment rate, Trump declared the “real” numbers were closer to 20 percent. Now trumpeting his own administration’s 3.7 percent unemployment rate, he can safely ignore that the labor force participation rate is at its lowest since 1977, at just 62.7 percent. Unofficial calculations put the realistic unemployment rate above 13 percent.

More than 10 years after the 2008 recession, many families have not recovered, even as banks’ profits have rebounded and even surpassed their pre-crash levels. The US economy has reached rates of inequality not seen since the Great Depression – but you’d be hard-pressed to find government sources willing to admit this. US President Donald Trump has tied his presidency’s success to the stock market, which was thriving at the start of his reign even as average Americans continued to struggle. Now it, too, is starting to stumble – the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 400 points on Monday, recovering slightly to close down 1.5 percent from Friday. Bank of America’s shares themselves were down 2.5 percent

And Bank of America’s Meyer is irrationally optimistic, according to the predictions of competitor Morgan Stanley. Chetan Ahya, that firm’s chief economist, predicts a global recession within three quarters if the trade war continues to escalate. But the trade war could merely be the catalyst for a catastrophe that has been a long time in the making – former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen has warned of a coming financial crisis due to ballooning corporate debt and regulatory incompetence since December, and she is far from alone. While the US’ national debt has repeatedly reached record highs, cracking $22 trillion earlier this year, global debt has swelled sixty percent since 2007, surpassing the truly eye-popping figure of $184 trillion last year

 

Predicting the next U.S. recession

August 1, 2019

by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed

Reuters

NEW YORK A protracted trade war between China and the United States, the world’s largest economies, and a deteriorating global growth outlook has left investors apprehensive about the end to the longest expansion in American history.

The recent rise in U.S.-China trade war tensions has brought forward the next U.S. recession, according to a majority of economists polled by Reuters who now expect the Federal Reserve to cut rates again in September and once more next year.

Trade tensions have pulled corporate confidence and global growth to multi-year lows and U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement of more tariffs have raised downside risks significantly, Morgan Stanley analysts said in a recent note.

Morgan Stanley forecast that if the U.S. lifts tariffs on all imports from China to 25 percent for 4-6 months and China takes countermeasures, the U.S. would be in recession in three quarters.

Goldman Sachs Group said on Sunday that fears of the U.S.-China trade war leading to a recession are increasing and that Goldman no longer expects a trade deal between the world’s two largest economies before the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Global markets remain on edge with trade-related headlines spurring big moves in either direction. On Tuesday, U.S. stocks jumped sharply higher and safe-havens like the Japanese yen and Gold retreated after the U.S. Trade Representative said additional tariffs on some Chinese goods, including cell phones and laptops, will be delayed to Dec. 15.

Besides watching developments on the trade front economists and investors are watching for signs they hope can alert them to a coming recession.

  1. THE YIELD CURVE

The U.S. yield curve plots Treasury securities with maturities ranging from 4 weeks to 30 years. When the spread between the yield on the 3-month Treasury bill and that of the 10-year Treasury note slips below zero, as it did earlier this year, it points to investors accepting a lower yield for locking money up for a longer period of time.

As recession signals go, this so-called inversion in the yield curve has a solid track record as a predictor of recessions. But it can take as long as two years for a recession to follow a yield curve inversion.

The closely-followed yield spread between U.S. 2-year and 10-year notes has also narrowed – marking the smallest difference since at 2007 – according to Refinitiv data.

  1. UNEMPLOYMENT

The unemployment rate and initial jobless claims ticked higher just ahead or in the early days of the last two recessions before rising sharply. Currently the U.S. unemployment rate is near a 50-year low.

“Although job gains have slowed this year, they continue to signal an above-trend economy,” economists at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research said in a recent note.

Claims will be watched over the coming weeks for signs that deteriorating trade relations between the United States and China, which have dimmed the economy’s outlook and roiled financial markets, were spilling over to the labor market.

  1. GDP OUTPUT GAP

The output gap is the difference between actual and potential economic output and is used to gauge the health of the economy.

A positive output gap, like the one now, indicates that the economy is operating above its potential. Typically the economy operates furthest below its potential at the end of recessions and peaks above its potential towards the end of expansions.

However, the output gap can linger in positive territory for years before a recession hits.

  1. CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

Consumer demand is a critical driver of the U.S. economy and historically consumer confidence wanes during downturns. Currently consumer confidence is near cyclical highs.

  1. STOCK MARKETS

Falling equity markets can signal a recession is looming or has already started to take hold. Markets turned down before the 2001 recession and tumbled at the start of the 2008 recession.

The recent pullback in U.S. stocks has done its share to raise concerns about whether the economy is heading into a recession. On a 12-month rolling basis, the market has turned down ahead of the last two recessions. The 12-month rolling average percent move is now below the recent highs of January 2018 but still above higher than the lows hit in December.

  1. BOOM-BUST BAROMETER

The Boom-Bust Barometer devised by Ed Yardeni at Yardeni Research measures spot prices of industrials inputs like copper, steel and lead scrap, and divides that by initial unemployment claims. The measure fell before or during the last two recessions and has retreated from a peak hit in April.

  1. HOUSING MARKET

Housing starts and building permits have fallen ahead of some recent recessions. U.S. homebuilding fell for a second straight month in June and permits dropped to a two-year low, suggesting the housing market continued to struggle despite lower mortgage rates.

  1. MANUFACTURING

Given the manufacturing sector’s diminished role in the U.S. economy, the clout of the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing index as a predictor of U.S. GDP growth has slipped in recent years. However, it is still worth watching, especially if it shows a tendency to drop well below the 50 level for an extended period of time.

ISM said its index of national factory activity slipped to 51.2 last month, the lowest reading since August 2016, as U.S. manufacturing activity slowed to a near three-year low in July and hiring at factories shifted into lower gear, suggesting a further loss of momentum in economic growth early in the third quarter.

“The slowdown in manufacturing activity likely reflects, in part, the tariffs that went into effect over the course of last year,” economists at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research said in a note on Friday.

  1. EARNINGS

S&P 500 earnings growth dipped ahead of the last recession. Earnings estimates for S&P 500 companies have been coming down but companies are still expected to post growth for most quarters this year.

  1. HIGH-YIELD SPREADS

The gap between high-yield and U.S. government bond yields rose ahead of the 2007-2009 recession and then widened dramatically.

Credit spreads typically widen when perceived risk of default rises. Spreads have fallen from their January highs.

  1. FREIGHT SHIPMENTS

The Cass Freight Index, a barometer of the health of the shipping industry produced by data company Cass Information Systems Inc, logged a 5.3% year-over-year decline in June. That marked the index’s seventh straight month with a negative reading on a year-over-year basis.

“Whether it is a result of contagion or trade disputes, there is growing evidence from freight flows that the economy is beginning to contract,” Broughton Capital analyst Donald Broughton wrote in the June Cass Freight Index report.

  1. MISERY INDEX

The so-called Misery Index adds together the unemployment rate and the inflation rate. It typically rises during recessions and sometimes prior to downturns. It has slipped lower in 2019 and does not look very miserable.

Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

 

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

August 13, 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. 22

Date: Friday, July 5, 1996

Commenced:   1:45 PM CST

Concluded:   2:10 PM CST

GD: Did you have a safe Fourth, Robert?

RTC: Oh my, yes, Gregory. I was out in the street firing off rockets at passing police cars. And you?

GD: No, I stayed inside. Little children setting the garage on fire with Grandma tied up inside or shooting bottle rockets into gas tanker trucks on the freeway. Plastic surgeons must have loved the Glorious Fourth back when we had real firecrackers to fire off. Missing eyes, fingers and other body parts. Terrified and singed cats and dogs, not to mention grass fires and burning shake roofs. I can just see you firing off rockets into passing cop cars, Robert. With your training and previous employment, no doubt the rockets blew the occupants into bloody cat meat.

RTC: Such an outburst of rage, Gregory.

GD: I am a man of sorrows and acquainted with rage, Robert. How about the Company setting off a small A-bomb in some hitherto harmless country and blaming it on mice?

RTC: Now that’s something we never did. In fact, we prevented at least one nuclear disaster.

GD: What? A humanitarian act? Why, I am astounded, Robert. Do tell me about this.

RTC: Now, now, Gregory, sometimes we can discuss serious business. There were times when we prevented terrible catastrophes and tried to secure more peace. We had trouble, you know, with India back in the 60s when they got uppity and started work on an atomic bomb. Loud mouthed cow-lovers bragging about how clever they were and how they, too, were going to be a great power in the world. The thing is, they were getting into bed with the Russians. Of course, Pakistan was in bed with the chinks, so India had to find another bed partner. And we did not want them to have any kind of nuclear weaponry because God knows what they would have done with it. Probably strut their stuff like a Washington nigger with a brass watch. Probably nuke the Pakis. They’re all a bunch of neo-coons anyway. Oh, yes, and their head expert was fully capable of building a bomb and we knew just what he was up to. He was warned several times but what an arrogant prick that one was. Told our people to fuck off and then made it clear that no one would stop him and India from getting nuclear parity with the big boys. Loudmouths bring it all down on themselves. Do you know about any of this?

GD: Not my area of interest or expertise. Who is this joker, anyway?

RTC: Was, Gregory, let’s use the past tense, if you please. Name was Homi Bhabha.1  That one was dangerous, believe me. He had an unfortunate accident. He was flying to Vienna to stir up more trouble, when his 707 had a bomb go off in the cargo hold and they all came down on a high mountain way up in the Alps. No real evidence and the world was much safer.

GD: Was Ali Baba alone on the plane?

RTC: No it was a commercial Air India flight.

GD: How many people went down with him?

RTC: Ah, who knows and frankly, who cares?

GD: I suppose if I had a relative on the flight I would care.

RTC: Did you?

GD: No.

RTC: Then don’t worry about it. We could have blown it up over Vienna but we decided the high mountains were much better for the bits and pieces to come down on. I think a possible death or two among mountain goats is much preferable than bringing down a huge plane right over a big city.

GD: I think that there were more than goats, Robert.

RTC: Well, aren’t we being a bleeding-heart today?

GD: Now, now, it’s not an observation that is unexpected. Why not send him a box of poisoned candy? Shoot him in the street? Blow up his car? I mean, why ace a whole plane full of people?

RTC: Well, I call it as it see it. At the time, it was our best shot. And we nailed Shastri 2 as well. Another cow-loving raghead. Gregory, you say you don’t know about these people. Believe me, they were close to getting a bomb and so what if they nuked their deadly Paki enemies? So what? Too many people in both countries. Breed like rabbits and full of snake-worshipping twits. I don’t for the life of me see what the Brits wanted in India. And then threaten us? They were in the sack with the Russians, I told you. Maybe they could nuke the Panama Canal or Los Angeles. We don’t know that for sure, but it is not impossible.

GD: Who was Shastri?

RTC: A political type who started the program in the first place. Babha was a genius and he could get things done, so we aced both of them. And we let certain people there know that there was more where that came from. We should have hit the chinks, too, while we were at it, but they were a tougher target. Did I tell you about the idea to wipe out Asia’s rice crops? We developed a disease that would have wiped rice off the map there and it’s their staple diet. The fucking rice growers here got wind of it and raised such a stink we canned the whole thing. The theory was that the disease could spread around and hurt their pocketbooks. If the Mao people invade Alaska, we can tell the rice people it’s all their fault.

GD: I suppose we might make friends with them.

RTC: With the likes of them? Not at all, Gregory. The only thing the Communists understand is brute force. India was quieter after Bhabha croaked. We could never get to Mao but at one time, the Russians and we were discussing the how and when of the project. Oh yes, sometimes we do business with the other side. Probably more than you realize.

GD: Now that I know about. High level amorality. They want secrets from us and you give them some of them in return for some of their secrets, doctored, of course. That way, both agencies get credit for being clever.

RTC: Well, you’ve been in that game, so why be so holy over a bunch of dead ragheads?

GD: Were all the passengers Indian atomic scientists?

RTC: Who cares, Gregory? We got the main man and that was all that mattered. You ought not criticize when you don’t have the whole story.

GD: Well, there were too many mountain goats running around, anyway. They might have gotten their hands on some weapons from Atwood and invaded Switzerland.

RTC: You jest but there is truth in what you say. We had such a weight on us, protecting the American people, often from themselves I admit. Many of these stories can never be written, Gregory. And if you try, you had better get your wife to start your car in the morning.

GD: How about my mother-in-law, Robert? Now do you see why Kimmel doesn’t want me talking to you? It isn’t that he’s afraid you might talk to me; I think he’s afraid I might corrupt you with my evil designs.

RTC: Tom means well but he’s dumb as a post. Most of the FBI are keyhole peepers at heart and should keep the hell out of espionage. Yes, Tom thinks I am getting senile and you are persuading me to give up state secrets. I may be old and I do forget names sometimes but I am not gaga yet, not by a long shot, and I’ve done a lot more important things than Tom ever did chasing car thieves and people dragging whores over state lines to a cheap motel.

GD: I don’t think you’re crazy, Robert and, you know, I once discussed you with him. He wanted to know what you were talking about with me and I told him we were discussing stamp collecting. He was not happy with this. I know he views me as a terrible person, but I can’t help that. He said you weren’t the person you used to be and I said who was? I asked him if he was better or worse that he had been at twenty and he got mad at me. Self-righteous, Robert, self-righteous.

RTC: Well, you certainly aren’t that, Gregory.

GD: Well, you’re not crazy and I’m not wicked. I am right, aren’t I? Please tell me I’m right, Robert. I’ll cry myself to sleep if you don’t

RTC: (Laughter) You’re a truly bad person, Gregory.

GD: I know. I told Jesus that last night when we were playing poker. He keeps hiding cards in that hole in his side.

RTC: Tell that to the Pope.

GD: We don’t get along anymore since I ran over his cat.

 

(Concluded at 2:10 PM CST)

 

1 Homi Jehangir Bhabha,  October 30, 1909 – January 24, 1966 was an Indian nuclear physicist who played a major role in the development of the Indian atomic energy program and is considered to be the father of India’s nuclear program. He died when Air India Flight 101 crashed near Mont Blanc in January 1966. Strong  evidence pointed to a sabotage by the CIA intended at impeding India’s nuclear program. ,

 

2 Lal Bahadur Shrivastav   October 2, 1904 – January 11,1966 was the third Prime Minister of the Republic of India and a significant figure in the Indian independence movement. After the declaration of ceasefire, Shastri and Pakistani President Muhammad Ayub Khan attended a summit in Tashkent (former USSR, now in modern Uzbekistan), organised by Kosygin. On 10 January 1966, Shastri and Khan signed the Tashkent Declaration.The next day Shastri, died, supposedly of a heart attack, at 1:32 AM.He was the only Indian Prime Minister, and indeed probably one of the few heads of government, to have died in office overseas. Like the death of Homi Bhabha a few days later, the fatal heart attack has long been suspected as a means on the part of the Russians to remove a potential enemy armed with nuclear weapons.

 

 

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

Tamara Scott

Tamara Scott is the Iowa state director for Concerned Women for America, whose mission is to “protect and promote Biblical values among all citizens,” and member of the Republican National Committee. In addition, Scott has promulgated bigotry and delusion on radio and cable TV shows since 1998, and currently hosts the weekly online show “Tamara Scott Live”. She was also Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign co-chairperson for Bachmann’s 2012 presidential campaign, and has been involved in organizing political prayer rallies.

Anti-gay activism

Scott is, unsurprisingly, most notable for her persistent opposition to gay rights and marriage equality, and she has alleged that the legalization of gay marriage hurt Iowa’s economy: “It costs you, the taxpayer, as high as $280 billion a year for fragmented families, that’s according to the Family Research Council.” Now, the Family Research Council is hardly a reliable source for anything but hate, but even assuming their figures one might reasonably wonder how encouraging more people to marry would lead to “fragmented families”. Scott is apparently also concerned that marriage equality will pave the way for man-Eiffel Tower marriage. It is perhaps telling that she doesn’t even dimly recognize the significance of consent.

Scott has also argued that it is ironic for feminists to be in favor of gay marriage; after all, feminists want equality, and it is by banning same-sex marriage one ensures an equal number of men and women were married. “So my laugh is, why wouldn’t you want equality in a marriage?” continued Scott. We suspect that there are aspects of feminist thought (the thoughtpart, for instance) that Scott hasn’t yet quite grasped. She also said she couldn’t support civil unions either because that would lend state support of “the act” that “God has not condoned” and thus violate her religious freedom to remain unaware of gay couple having sex: “I can’t condone what he’s condemned, […] So to ask or to force American citizens to condone something that’s against their deeply held religious convictions is wrong. So whether you call it marriage or you call it a civil union, you’re still asking your fellow citizens to embrace something that goes against their First Amendment religious protections.” This is not how the First Amendment works.

Among things Scott asks listeners to ponder are questions like: “If homosexuality is something to be celebrated by the left, by Hollywood, then why does it need all of these protections? And if it needs these protections, then why do we promote it as an everyday lifestyle and a regular choice for our youth?” (she doesn’t really want you to ponder it) and “if homosexuality is truly just something that happens, then why, one, do we have to recruit it in our kindergarten through college-level educational system and, if it’s just an everyday thing, why does it need all these special protections in the civil rights?” She did make it clear for “all those haters out there” that she was just “asking the question”, though.

Religion, race and politics

Scott is in general firmly opposed to the separation of church and state (it is “nowhere” in the Constitution, according to Scott, though we have already sort of established that Scott has some difficulties understanding the Consitution). Indeed, Scott does not only think that state-sponsored school prayers should be reinstated, but that we need to repent the decision to end them in order to get back on God’s good side. Apparently, not allowing state-sponsored school prayers has led to “assault, rape, murder”. To back up her claims, Scott cites “studies” done by David Barton, a source that is systematically less reliable on matters of fact than the Deepak Chopra quote generator. (In reality, the rates of violent crime and sexual assault have plummeted over the last two decades, of course; and this is certainly not the only time Scott has relied on questionable sources.) She also suggested that instead of passing a “horrible” anti-bullying bill currently being considered in the state legislature, Iowa should just return Christian prayer to schools.

Later she doubled down on her claims, and argued that removing forced prayer from public schools decades ago led to plummeting test scores, increased violence, more parents divorcing, everything in Ferguson, riots, Antifa, and the Resistance. She then accused critics of lying by quoting her verbatim.

In 2015 she weighed in on the Charleston church shooting claiming that the tragedy was “being hijacked to a racial issue.” According to Scott, the shooting in a black church by a gunman with white supremacist views who explicitly stated his desire to start a race war wasn’t as much a “racial issue” as an attack on religion (it is “being made into more of a racial issue than it was”). Scott then accused critics of the Confederate flag of turning a symbol of “fun” into something divisive.

Scott is of course also opposed to immigration, and has pointed out that “we have no idea what’s coming through our borders, but I would say biblically it’s not a Christian nation when you entice people to do wrong;” she has apparently realized that it is good to give reasons for her claims, but has clearly not figured out how it works or what reasons are. She did, however, warn us that child refugees may be “highly trained warriors”. Elsewhere, she has claimed that lenience toward undocumented immigrants would be a betrayal of the founding fathers, because “we put blood on the line to get the liberty we have, so we can’t allow others not to do the same in their country or we bring those wars here.”

Anti-vaccine views

Given the level of density at play, it should perhaps come as little surprise that Scott is also an antivaxxer. According to Scott, antivaxxers are unfairly demonized: disease outbreaks in school do not happen because people don’t get their kids vaccinated but because the “socialist” schools make kids share pencils and have become places where students are now “facing each other”. Apparently Trump’s antivaccine views are just one more reason to vote for him, as Scott sees things.

On Trump

Scott has criticized fellow Christians for not being sufficiently supportive or forgiving of Trump: “Let’s not be judgmental ourselves. Maybe God’s called someone to a camp for various reasons;” indeed critics of Trump are being judgmental and “not very loving” when they criticize Trump, for “only God” knows the candidate’s heart “and God has allowed what has taken place this far.” This sentiment only applies to rightwing politicians of course; as Jesus taught us that forgiveness is a partisan matter. Note also, Scott points out, that Trump promised that “he’ll end the war on Christianity”; Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, “created the war on Christianity,” which is a surprising claim even for someone who stands out for their lunacy among the religious right. At one point she also suggested that Obama in 2016 was trying to bring in massive amounts of refugees to the US to help sway the election. “Am I suggesting that they’ll be voting?” said Scott. “I’m not saying that.”

Diagnosis: Even we will have to admit to being impressed by Scott’s ability to stand out from her associates; even by the standards of wingnut lunatics Scott’s level of deranged confusions are rather exceptional. She does enjoy a modicum of popularity and influence, and remember: she is a member of the RNC.

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