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TBR News August 22, 2020

Aug 22 2020

The Voice of the White House

Comments for August 22, 2020:  Here is interesting information, from a source whose son works in the Justice Department, that there are on the drawing board, plans to implement a so-called “National Security State.”

This bit of fascistic nonsense is not new but has been updated and is now waiting for the “right moment.” This moment is stated to be a response to the next serious terrorist incident within the US.A protocol of this report is available but all I have is a listing at this point in time.

This plan calls for:

1.Federal control of all domestic media, the internet, all computerized records, through overview of all domestic fax, mail and telephone conversations,

2.A national ID card, universal SS cards being mandatory,

3.Seizure and forced deportation of all illegal aliens, including millions of Mexicans and Central Americans, intensive observation and penetration of Asian groups, especially Indonesian and Chinese,

4.A reinstitution of a universal draft (mandatory service at 18 years for all male American youths…based on the German Arbeitsdienst)

  1. Closer coordination of administration views and domestic policies with various approved religious groups,
  2. An enlargement of the current “no travel” lists drawn up in the Justice Department that prevents “subversive” element from flying, (this list will include “peaceniks” and most categories of Muslims)
  3. The automatic death penalty for any proven acts of sedition,
  4. The forbidding of abortion, any use of medical marijuana,
  5. Any public approval of homosexual or lesbian behavior to include magazines, websites, political action groups and so

There are about a hundred other categories and I am stressing that these plans are not going to be implemented unless, and until, there is an overriding excuse for them at which time the public will see the need to be protected. Once the lid goes on, it will not come off voluntarily

 

The Table of Contents

  • Conmen, grifters and criminals’: why is Trump’s circle so at odds with the law?
  • Trump loses bid to delay handover of tax returns to New York prosecutor
  • S. House takes on Postal reforms seen as threat to mail-in ballots

The Voice of the Loon

  • The 38 most bizarre quotes from Donald Trump’s new ‘interview’ with Sean Hannity
  • Trump says, without proof, that FDA ‘deep state’ slowing COVID trials
  • Trump asks Supreme Court to let him block critics on Twitter
  • Whose Century Is It?
  • Why the Surge in U.S. Spy Plane Flights Near Russia?
  • The Encyclopedia of American Loons

 

.Conmen, grifters and criminals’: why is Trump’s circle so at odds with the law?

Apart from legal trouble, what Bannon, Manafort, Flynn, Cohen, Stone, Gates and Papadopoulos have in common is the president

August 21, 2020

by Tom McCarthy

The Guardian

To live outside the law, Bob Dylan sang, you must be honest. It also helps, apparently, to stay as clear as possible from Donald Trump, whose inner circle of advisers has suffered steady attrition since 2017, through a series of encounters with the criminal justice system.

On Thursday, the former White House strategist Steve Bannon became the latest Trump intimate to be taken into custody, when the Chinese-owned yacht on which he was sunburning was boarded by agents of the US Postal Service.

Bannon was accused of defrauding people who gave tens of millions to a private fund which existed, Bannon claimed, to finance the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico. The real purpose of that fund and others, federal prosecutors say, was to cover the “luxury” lifestyle expenses of Bannon and his fellow defendants.

“This entire fiasco is to stop people who want to build the wall,” Bannon declared outside a Manhattan courthouse, proclaiming his innocence.

Depending on how – and whom – you count, Bannon was the seventh former close Trump adviser to be arrested, face charges, plead guilty or to be convicted of a crime since the 45th president took office.

Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort (convicted: tax fraud, bank fraud) is in home confinement due to Covid-19; former adviser Roger Stone (convicted: obstruction, false statements) received a presidential commutation; former adviser Michael Cohen (guilty plea: campaign finance crimes, lying to Congress) is in home confinement; former national security adviser Michael Flynn (guilty plea: lying to the FBI) is awaiting a ruling on a request to dismiss charges; former adviser Rick Gates (guilty plea: lying to investigators) has completed a prison term; and former adviser George Papadopoulos (guilty plea: lying) has completed a prison term.

“I believe it unprecedented in any US administration for so many of the closest circle of persons around the president to have been shown to be conmen, grifters and base criminals,” said Patrick Cotter, a former federal prosecutor who was part of the team that convicted the Gambino family boss John Gotti, in an email.

“While previous administrations had their share of those trying to personally profit and those willing to break the law to serve the political interests of the president, what is unique about the Trump administration is the large number of people in direct contact with the president, often for years, who are revealed to be out-and-out fraudsters for whom crime is apparently part of their lifestyle and character.”

As his re-election campaign enters full swing, Trump has made an effort to brand himself as the president of “law and order”. But Trump himself has at times appeared to sail within dangerous distance of criminal legal hazards.

During impeachment proceedings that straddled the turn of this year, Democrats and the Republican senator Mitt Romney voted to remove Trump for abuse of power.

Robert Mueller detailed nearly a dozen potential instances of obstruction of justice by Trump during the Russia investigation, though the special counsel did not propose criminal charges.

Before that, Trump paid $2m in fines and closed his family’s “charity” foundation, admitting it had used donations to pay campaign and business expenses.

The prosecutors in that case, in the New York state attorney general’s office, are currently investigating Trump’s banking and tax conduct, while federal prosecutors in New York – the ones bringing charges against Bannon – are also looking at alleged graft by Trump’s inauguration committee.

The Manhattan district attorney is investigating Trump’s tax records, as are multiple congressional committees.

Trump says he is a victim of a witch-hunt by politically motivated prosecutors. His critics say that in fact the full scope of Trump’s alleged criminal conduct is unknown because he is using the power of the presidency to block details from coming to light.

Continued arrests of former associates could at some stage pose a threat to Trump himself, if one decided to cooperate with prosecutors against Trump, legal analysts have said. But past speculation about the dangers of such a “flipped” witness have not been borne out – in part perhaps because Trump has demonstrated a willingness to pardon his friends for their wrongdoing, decreasing any incentive to “flip”.

Consider Trump’s clemency for Stone; the justice department’s efforts to drop the case against Flynn, which the courts have not yet granted; attorney general William Barr’s sudden removal of prosecutors seen as threatening to Trump; and Trump’s deployment of the might of the justice department to stop his tax records being handed to state authorities and Congress, in a case that reached the supreme court.

Barr and Trump have denied using the levers of American justice to prosecute the president’s enemies and protect his friends. But evidence-heavy charging documents against figures in Trump’s orbit keep stacking up.

Why this unprecedented situation?” said Cotter, now a Chicago-based officer with the Greensfelder law firm.

“My almost 40 years working in criminal law has taught me that criminals of a particular type tend to associate with other criminals of the same type. There is a comfort level and mutual understanding in such associations.

“So when I see a swarm of conmen buzzing around one particular man, in this case Trump, my experience suggests that it is because they recognize one of their own. And in selecting them to be his confidants, the president also recognized kindred spirits.”

It just keeps happening. But it has not happened to Trump, yet.

 

Trump loses bid to delay handover of tax returns to New York prosecutor

August 21, 2020

by Jonathan Stempel and Jan Wolfe

Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Friday denied President Donald Trump’s request to delay letting Manhattan’s district attorney obtain his tax returns for a criminal investigation into his family’s real estate business while Trump pursues an appeal.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero issued his decision a day after rejecting Trump’s arguments that the grand jury subpoena from district attorney Cyrus Vance to obtain his tax returns from the accounting firm Mazars USA was “wildly overbroad.”

In refusing to delay the subpoena, Marrero said Trump had failed to show his appeal would likely succeed, or that he would be irreparably harmed absent a stay.

“Because a grand jury is under a legal obligation to keep the confidentiality of its records, the court finds that no irreparable harm will ensue from the disclosure to it of the President’s records sought here,” Marrero wrote.

Vance, a Democrat, will not obtain Trump’s tax returns immediately, after the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan scheduled oral arguments for Sept. 1 on the Republican president’s request for a stay.

Lawyers for Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for Vance declined to comment.

In Thursday’s ruling, Marrero said throwing out the subpoena would effectively give the president immunity from Vance’s criminal probe to which the U.S. Supreme Court in July declared he was not entitled.

The legal battle and grand jury secrecy rules make it unlikely the tax returns will become public before the Nov. 3 election in which Trump is seeking a second term.

Unlike other recent presidents, Trump has refused to release his tax returns.

Vance’s investigation into Trump and his Trump Organization was spurred by disclosures of hush money payments to pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who said they had sexual relationships with Trump. He has denied their claims.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York and Jan Wolfe in Boston; Editing by Alistair Bell and Will Dunham

 

 

U.S. House takes on Postal reforms seen as threat to mail-in ballots

August 22, 2020

by David Morgan

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives prepared to vote on Saturday on providing the cash-strapped Postal Service with $25 billion and block policy changes that have stirred concerns about mail-in balloting ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

The Democratic-led chamber is widely expected to pass an emergency bill dubbed the “Delivering for America Act,” at a rare Saturday session called by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the congressional August recess.

As the debate got under way, Democrats predicted that some House Republicans would vote for the bill. But it is unlikely to be taken up in the Republican-controlled Senate. The White House strongly opposes the legislation and has said it would recommend Trump veto the measure.

With mail-in voting expected to surge during the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump has alarmed Democrats by repeatedly denouncing mail-in ballots as a possible source of fraud. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy recently suspended cost-cutting measures that have slowed deliveries in recent weeks.

Democrats, who accuse Trump of trying to discourage mail-in balloting to gain an electoral advantage over Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, cast themselves in Saturday’s debate as defenders of a public that relies on the Postal Service for vital deliveries including prescription drugs.

“The American people do not want anyone messing with the Post Office. They certainly do not want it to be politicized. They just want their mail, they want their medicines and they want their mail-in ballots delivered in a timely way. And that is exactly what our bill does,” said Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney, who authored the legislation.

Maloney on Saturday released a Postal Service document showing a drop in service standards since July. The document showed a slowdown in processing of first class mail, but little impact on its last-mile delivery.

Republicans denied that the Postal Service was in any danger and criticized Democrats for moving legislation forward before DeJoy could testify at a House hearing slated for Monday.

“This is the result of a legislative process only slightly less absurd than the conspiracies, insinuations and fabrications that gave rise to the purported need for it,” said Republican Representative James Comer.

DeJoy told a Senate committee on Friday that the Postal Service would deliver ballots “securely and on time” in the November election but said bigger changes could come after that.

In fact, the House bill would prevent DeJoy from taking action until after next January or the end of the coronavirus health emergency, whichever comes later.

“Our legislation is not just about the election. It’s about – surprise, surprise, Mr. Postmaster General – the coronavirus!” Pelosi told a news conference.

Pelosi insisted that congressional action is necessary, calling DeJoy’s assurances ambiguous and unsatisfactory. “His comments are one thing. His actions will be another. And that’s why we have this legislation,” she said.

She said Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting were part of a larger effort to suppress voters that also includes his recent call for law enforcement officers to monitor voting at polling places.

Reporting by David Morgan; Additional reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Andy Sullivan, Alistair Bell and Daniel Wallis

 

The Voice of the Loon

 

The 38 most bizarre quotes from Donald Trump’s new ‘interview’ with Sean Hannity

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

July 10, 2020

Trump reveals results from alleged cognitive test

(CNN)Faced with coronavirus surges in some of the largest states in the country and a public turning dramatically against how he has responded to the crisis, President Donald Trump spent 40 minutes of his Thursday night on the phone with Fox News host Sean Hannity.

The “interview” was, as is so often the case when Hannity and Trump talk, a grievance session — as the President used Hannity’s friendly forum to paint a version of reality that doesn’t comport with, well, reality.

I went through the transcript and pulled out the lines you need to see. They’re below.

  1. “And we can’t abolish our police. They want to abolish our police.”

“No, I don’t support defunding the police.” — Joe Biden. And away we go!

  1. “I was very nice to Mayor de Blasio. I got him ventilators when he needed them. I got him hospital help when he needed it. I got him everything he needed. I got him the gowns. I got him the masks. I got him everything, the shields. I got that man everything.”
  2. “Then he throws a big Black Lives Matter sign right down in the middle of Fifth Avenue. And all merchants along Fifth Avenue are furious. They are furious. And the whole city is furious.”

It’s not clear to me where Trump got the evidence that either retailers on 5th Avenue or the “whole city” of New York is “furious” at de Blasio’s decision to paint “Black Lives Matter” on the street.

  1. “But I was so good to him and to Governor Cuomo, like nobody has ever been good. And all you end up doing out of that place is get prosecuted and have a lot of trouble.”

So, Trump seems to be suggesting that because his administration helped Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo deal with the coronavirus in their city and state that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance should not be investigating the hush money paid to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels in the run-up to the 2016 election. Or something?

  1. “So, New York is not the place that it was. Everyone’s leaving. They’re moving to Florida.”

“Everyone’s leaving.” On a related note, that quote reminds me of this one from “Spinal Tap” band manager Ian Faith: “The Boston gig has been canceled. …Yeah. I wouldn’t worry about it though, it’s not a big college town.”

  1. “I think they — you know, there is an expression, an old expression, was used badly in old time ago in politics. I think they brainwashed him. They brainwashed him. He doesn’t know where he is. He doesn’t know what he’s doing.”

OK, so the President of the United States is suggesting that his general election opponent — a former vice president of the United States — has been unwittingly brainwashed by liberals. A sort of “Manchurian” candidate. Sure! Very normal stuff!

  1. “He hasn’t taken any cognitive test, because he couldn’t pass one.”

How does Trump know that a) Biden hasn’t taken any sort of cognitive test and b) he couldn’t pass one? He doesn’t!

  1. “I actually took one when I — very recently, when I — when I was — the radical left were saying, is he all there? Is he all there? And I proved I was all there, because I got — I aced it. I aced the test.”

Wait, WHAT? We know that Trump took a 10-minute cognitive test at Walter Reed hospital in January 2018 but the White House has not disclosed any more recent testing of Trump’s mental capacity. A memo from the White House physician released last month made no mention that Trump had undergone any sort of cognitive test during his most recent physical.

  1. “I took it at Walter Reed Medical Center in front of doctors. And they were very surprised. They said, that’s an unbelievable thing. Rarely does anybody do what you just did.”

Trump always has to be the best at everything. Always. Forever.

  1. “He has been totally taken over, and I think it’s because he doesn’t understand what’s going on.”

Trump, again, questions Biden’s mental acuity. With no evidence or proof.

  1. “I think we are doing very well in the polls. I think, if you look at the different states, I think we are doing very well. We are rapidly rising.”

An ABC News-Ipsos poll released on Friday morning showed that 67% of the public disapproves of how Trump is handling the coronavirus pandemic. A look at recent national polling suggests that Trump is somewhere between 8 to 12 points behind Biden in hypothetical general election match-ups.

  1. “We have tremendous Hispanic support. We have tremendous African American support. I think we have great support, period.”

In CNN’s June poll, Trump’s job approval among people of color was 26%. Among African Americans, it was 10%. So, yeah, “tremendous.” Definitely.

  1. “Dr. Fauci is a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes, like, you don’t have to ban them coming in from very infected China. I did it anyway, and we saved hundreds of thousands of lives.”

The takeaway? Donald Trump, who is not a medical doctor, knows more about this virus and has made more right calls on it than Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has run the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease since 1984 — and served under six presidents.     Ooooooookkkk.

  1. “They have been wrong about a lot of things, including face masks. Maybe they are wrong, maybe not. But a lot of them said, don’t wear a mask, don’t wear a mask. And now they are saying, wear a mask.”

Wait. Is Trump saying that we now should be wearing masks? Or no? I don’t think he knows, honestly. He just wanted to take a shot at the so-called experts who said not to wear a mask in the early days of the coronavirus.

  1. “And we are testing and creating — it’s the greatest thing that ever happen for the opposite party, but we are doing something that nobody has ever done to the extent, and we are doing a great job.”

In which the President of the United States says, publicly, that increased testing for a global pandemic is good for his political opponents — presumably because more cases will be found? Like,           WHAT?

  1. “They — in most — most cases, in almost — I mean, literally, in most cases, they automatically cure. They automatically get better.”

People with coronavirus “automatically” get better? Uh, no.

  1. “But I think it’s fine to wear a mask, if it makes you feel comfortable.”

Also because it is BY FAR the most effective way to limit the spread of Covid-19!

  1. “I don’t think you need one you’re tested all the time, everybody around you is tested, you’re quite a distance. You talk about social distancing. You’re away.”

Donald Trump on masks — still not getting it.

  1. “And he makes a speech. And he walks onto the stage wearing this massive mask. There’s nobody on the stage. And then he takes it off. He likes to have it hang off usually the left ear. I think it makes him feel good, frankly, if you want to know the truth. And I guess that’s OK.”

Oh man! Biden wears a mask!

  1. “And I’m OK with it, if he wants to do that. He’s got the largest mask I think I have ever seen. It covers up a big proportion of his face.”

Biden is trying to protect himself and model proper public health behavior for others. HA HA HA HA HA.

  1. “Yes, I think, if I’m in the right setting, if I’m with soldiers, people that — I don’t want to spread anything.”

Wait but didn’t Trump just say that he definitely doesn’t have coronavirus? Because he gets tested all the time? So what would he be spreading by not wearing a mask during his visit to Walter Reed on Saturday?

  1. “And it’s — a lot of it is, it’s you spreading, not them spreading.”

Offered without comment.

23 .”Now, I’m usually fairly isolated, as the President, so I’m fairly isolated.”

He’s talking about his exposure to coronavirus. I think.

  1. “Well, a ship ventilation system is very much — they circularize. And they are very much under review, to be honest with you.”

[looks around room slowly]

  1. “So, I mean, they treat — the IRS treats me just like they used to treat the Tea Party, except worse. And I’m under tax audit. I have been for a long period of time.”

By my count, Trump has been saying publicly that he is under audit by the IRS since February 2016. Which, well, that’s one hell of a long audit. Also: You can release your tax returns while under audit! Richard Nixon did it!

  1. “We had a deal done. In fact, it was — I guess it was signed even. And once I ran or once I won, or somewhere back a long time ago, everything was like, well, let’s start all over again. It’s a disgrace.”

So, if I am reading this right, Trump said he had a “deal” with the IRS on his taxes before he ran for office? And that the IRS backed out of the deal after he won? That seems like something we should know more about!

  1. “Well, first of all, President Obama and Joe Biden spied on my campaign. They knew everything that was going on.”

NOPE!

  1. “I know how the White House works, I guess I can say now, better than anybody.”

Always. Has. To. Be. The. Best.

  1. “They spied on my campaign. I said it a long time ago. Nobody believed me. And now it turns out to be fact.”

Again, no.

  1. “As far as General Flynn, he’s a great hero. He’s a great gentleman. What they are doing to that man, they have destroyed that man.”

“My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel’s Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions.” — Michael Flynn

  1. “Roger Stone was treated very unfairly, unbelievably unfairly.”

Roger Stone was convicted by a jury of his peers of lying to Congress and witness tampering in relation to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. He was, in fact, found guilty on all 7 counts brought by the Justice Department.

  1. “I am always thinking. I am always thinking.”

Same.

  1. “He knew everything. He was probably in charge of it or was in charge of it. Joe Biden, you know, I don’t know if he knows where he is, but he was there. He knew everything.”

In which Trump suggests — with zero evidence — that the former President of the United States was the ringleader of a massive spying operation against him in the 2016 election. A spying campaign, I’d add, that has been debunked.

  1. “And the vets are loving Trump.”

No one goes third person like Donald Trump goes third person!

  1. “We need more judges and more justices. You see that now with the Supreme Court more than ever. And the next president — I have had two — and the next president is going to be able to pick two or three or one or whatever, but a lot of justices.”

Reminder: Of the 9 current Supreme Court Justices, five were appointed by Republican presidents — including Chief Justice John Roberts.

  1. “And we have many things we are doing and many things that we have already completed. And you can’t do more than what we have done.”

[does a series of complex mathematical calculations] Yeah, this checks out.

  1. “Well, I like his voice being heard, but he’s always going to be for us. I mean, he’s going to be for us.”

“I am taking the red hat off, with this interview.” — Kanye West, July 8

  1. “And we are not going to be Venezuela.”

This feels like a good place to end.

 

Trump says, without proof, that FDA ‘deep state’ slowing COVID trials

August 22, 2020

by Linda So

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday accused members of the “deep state” at the Food and Drug Administration, without providing evidence, of working to slow testing of COVID-19 vaccines until after the November presidential election.

In a Twitter post, Trump said the deep state “or whoever” at the FDA was making it very difficult for drug companies to enroll people in clinical trials to test vaccines and therapies for the novel coronavirus.

The comment came after Reuters exclusively reported on Thursday that a top FDA official said he would resign if the Trump administration approved a vaccine before it was shown to be safe and effective.

“Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!” Trump wrote, tagging FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn in the tweet.

Trump often uses Twitter to criticize federal agencies, sometimes accusing them of being controlled by the “deep state” in an apparent reference to long-serving staff who, in Trump’s eyes, are determined to undermine his agenda.

His tweet increases the pressure on the FDA after Peter Marks, director of its Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, last week said on a conference call with government officials, pharmaceutical executives and academics that he would resign if the agency rubber-stamped an unproven vaccine.

Scientists, public health officials and lawmakers are worried that the Trump administration will push the FDA to approve a vaccine in advance of the vote, even if data from clinical trials do not support its widespread use.

Marks, whose division regulates cutting-edge biotech treatments, vaccines and gene therapies, told Reuters he has not faced any political pressure and that the FDA would be guided by science alone. Should that change, he said on Thursday, “I would feel obligated (to resign) because in doing so, I would indicate to the American public that there’s something wrong.”

Reporting by Linda So; Editing by Daniel Wallis

 

Trump asks Supreme Court to let him block critics on Twitter
August 20, 2020

by John Kruzel

The Hill

The Trump administration on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court ruling that found President Trump violated the First Amendment by blocking his critics on Twitter.

The lawsuit arose in 2017 after Trump’s social media account blocked seven people who had tweeted criticism of the president in comment threads linked to his @realDonaldTrump Twitter handle.

Lower federal courts found that Trump’s twitter account, where he often weighs in on official matters, constitutes a public forum and that blocking his detractors violated their constitutional free speech protections.

In its Thursday petition to the Supreme Court, attorneys for the Justice Department (DOJ) urged the justices to overturn a unanimous ruling from a three-judge panel of the New York-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit against Trump.

The DOJ argued that the appeals court had erred by finding Trump’s Twitter account to be a public forum, and failed to adequately recognize that much of Trump’s social media posts constitute private rather than governmental speech.

The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the seven blocked Twitter users, urged the justices to deny Trump’s request for an appeal.

“This case stands for a principle that is fundamental to our democracy and basically synonymous with the First Amendment: government officials can’t exclude people from public forums simply because they disagree with their political views,” said Jameel Jaffer, the Knight Institute’s executive director.

“The Supreme Court should reject the White House’s petition and leave the appeals court’s careful and well-reasoned decision in place,” he said.

 

Whose Century Is It?

Don’t Ask Donald Trump

by Dilip Hiro

TomDispatch

For the Trump administration’s senior officials, it’s been open season on bashing China. If you need an example, think of the president’s blame game about “the invisible Chinese virus” as it spreads wildly across the U.S.

When it comes to China, in fact, the ever more virulent criticism never seems to stop.

Between the end of June and the end of July, four members of his cabinet vied with each other in spewing anti-Chinese rhetoric. That particular spate of China bashing started when FBI Director Christopher Wray described Chinese President Xi Jinping as the successor to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. It was capped by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s clarion call to U.S. allies to note the “bankrupt” Marxist-Leninist ideology of China’s leader and the urge to “global hegemony” that goes with it, insisting that they would have to choose “between freedom and tyranny.” (Forget which country on this planet actually claims global hegemony as its right.)

At the same time, the Pentagon deployed its aircraft carriers and other weaponry ever more threateningly in the South China Sea and elsewhere in the Pacific. The question is: What lies behind this upsurge in Trump administration China baiting? A likely answer can be found in the president’s blunt statement in a July interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News that “I’m not a good loser. I don’t like to lose.”

The reality is that, under Donald Trump, the United States is indeed losing to China in two important spheres. As the FBI’s Wray put it, “In economic and technical terms [China] is already a peer competitor of the United States… in a very different kind of [globalized] world.” In other words, China is rising and the U.S. is falling. Don’t just blame Trump and his cronies for that, however, as this moment has been a long time coming.

Facts speak for themselves. Nearly unscathed by the 2008-2009 global recession, China displaced Japan as the world’s second largest economy in August 2010. In 2012, with $3.87 trillion worth of imports and exports, it overtook the U.S. total of $3.82 trillion, elbowing it out of a position it had held for 60 years as the number one cross-border trading nation worldwide. By the end of 2014, China’s gross domestic product, as measured by purchasing power parity, was $17.6 trillion, slightly exceeding the $17.4 trillion of the United States, which had been the globe’s largest economy since 1872.

In May 2015, the Chinese government released a Made in China 2025 plan aimed at rapidly developing 10 high-tech industries, including electric cars, next-generation information technology, telecommunications, advanced robotics, and artificial intelligence. Other major sectors covered in the plan included agricultural technology, aerospace engineering, the development of new synthetic materials, the emerging field of biomedicine, and high-speed rail infrastructure. The plan was aimed at achieving 70% self-sufficiency in high-tech industries and a dominant position in such global markets by 2049, a century after the founding of the People’s Republic of China

Semiconductors are crucial to all electronic products and, in 2014, the government’s national integrated circuit industry development guidelines set a target: China was to become a global leader in semiconductors by 2030. In 2018, the local chip industry moved up from basic silicon packing and testing to higher value chip design and manufacturing. The following year, the U.S. Semiconductor Industry Association noted that, while America led the world with nearly half of global market share, China was the main threat to its position because of huge state investments in commercial manufacturing and scientific research.

By then, the U.S. had already fallen behind China in just such scientific and technological research. A study by Nanjing University’s Qingnan Xie and Harvard University’s Richard Freeman noted that between 2000 and 2016, China’s share of global publications in the physical sciences, engineering, and math quadrupled, exceeding that of the U.S.

In 2019, for the first time since figures for patents were compiled in 1978, the U.S. failed to file for the largest number of them. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, China filed applications for 58,990 patents and the United States 57,840. In addition, for the third year in a row, the Chinese high-tech corporation Huawei Technologies Company, with 4,144 patents, was well ahead of U.S.-based Qualcomm (2,127). Among educational institutions, the University of California maintained its top rank with 470 published applications, but Tsinghua University ranked second with 265. Of the top five universities in the world, three were Chinese.

The Neck-and-Neck Race in Consumer Electronics

By 2019, the leaders in consumer technology in America included Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft; in China, the leaders were Alibaba (founded by Jack Ma), Tencent (Tengxun in Chinese), Xiaomi, and Baidu. All had been launched by private citizens. Among the US companies, Microsoft was established in 1975, Apple in 1976, Amazon in 1994, and Google in September 1998. The earliest Chinese tech giant, Tencent, was established two months after Google, followed by Alibaba in 1999, Baidu in 2000, and Xiaomi, a hardware producer, in 2010. When China first entered cyberspace in 1994, its government left intact its policy of controlling information through censorship by the Ministry of Public Security.

In 1996, the country established a high-tech industrial development zone in Shenzhen, just across the Pearl River from Hong Kong, the first of what would be a number of special economic zones. From 2002 on, they would begin attracting Western multinational corporations keen to take advantage of their tax-free provisions and low-wage skilled workers. By 2008, such foreign companies accounted for 85% of China’s high-tech exports.

Shaken by an official 2005 report that found serious flaws in the country’s innovation system, the government issued a policy paper the following year listing 20 mega-projects in nanotechnology, high-end generic microchips, aircraft, biotechnology, and new drugs. It then focused on a bottom-up approach to innovation, involving small start-ups, venture capital, and cooperation between industry and universities, a strategy that would take a few years to yield positive results.

In January 2000, less than 2% of Chinese used the Internet. To cater to that market, Robin Li and Eric Xu set up Baidu in Beijing as a Chinese search engine. By 2009, in its competition with Google China, a subsidiary of Google operating under government censorship, Baidu garnered twice the market share of its American rival as Internet penetration leapt to 29%.

In the aftermath of the 2008-2009 global financial meltdown, significant numbers of Chinese engineers and entrepreneurs returned from Silicon Valley to play an important role in the mushrooming of high-tech firms in a vast Chinese market increasingly walled off from U.S. and other Western corporations because of their unwillingness to operate under government censorship.

Soon after Xi Jinping became president in March 2013, his government launched a campaign to promote “mass entrepreneurship and mass innovation” using state-backed venture capital. That was when Tencent came up with its super app WeChat, a multi-purpose platform for socializing, playing games, paying bills, booking train tickets, and so on.

After Empire by Dilip HiroJack Ma’s e-commerce behemoth Alibaba went public on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2014, raising a record $25 billion with its initial public offering. By the end of the decade, Baidu had diversified into the field of artificial intelligence, while expanding its multiple Internet-related services and products. As the search engine of choice for 90% of Chinese Internet users, more than 700 million people, the company became the fifth most visited website in cyberspace, its mobile users exceeding 1.1 billion.

Xiaomi Corporation would release its first smartphone in August 2011. By 2014, it had forged ahead of its Chinese rivals in the domestic market and developed its own mobile phone chip capabilities. In 2019, it sold 125 million mobile phones, ranking fourth globally. By the middle of 2019, China had 206 privately held start-ups valued at more than $1 billion, besting the U.S. with 203.

Among the country’s many successful entrepreneurs, the one who particularly stood out was Jack Ma, born Ma Yun in 1964. Though he failed to get a job at a newly opened Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in his home city of Hangzhou, he did finally gain entry to a local college after his third attempt, buying his first computer at the age of 31. In 1999, he founded Alibaba with a group of friends. It would become one of the most valuable tech companies in the world. On his 55th birthday, he was the second richest man in China with a net worth of $42.1 billion.

Born in the same year as Ma, his American counterpart, Jeff Bezos, gained a degree in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton University. He would found Amazon.com in 1994 to sell books online, before entering e-commerce and other fields. Amazon Web Services, a cloud computing company, would become the globe’s largest. In 2007, Amazon released a handheld reading device called the Kindle. Three years later, it ventured into making its own television shows and movies. In 2014, it launched Amazon Echo, a smart speaker with a voice assistant named Alexa that let its owner instantly play music, control a Smart home, get information, news, weather, and more. With a net worth of $145.4 billion in 2019, Bezos became the richest person on the planet.

Deploying an artificial intelligence inference chip to power features on its e-commerce sites, Alibaba categorized a billion product images uploaded by vendors to its e-commerce platform daily and prepared them for search and personalized recommendations to its customer base of 500 million. By allowing outside vendors to use its platform for a fee, Amazon increased its items for sale to 350 million — with 197 million people accessing Amazon.com each month.

China also led the world in mobile payments with America in sixth place. In 2019, such transactions in China amounted to $80.5 trillion. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the authorities encouraged customers to use mobile payment, online payment, and barcode payment to avoid the risk of infection. The projected total for mobile payments: $111.1 trillion. The corresponding figures for the United States at $130 billion look puny by comparison.

In August 2012, the founder of the Beijing-based ByteDance, 29-year-old Zhang Yiming, broke new ground in aggregating news for its users. His product, Toutiao (Today’s Headlines) tracked users’ behavior across thousands of sites to form an opinion of what would interest them most, and then recommended stories.

By 2016, it had already acquired 78 million users, 90% of them under 30.

In September 2016, ByteDance launched a short-video app in China called Douyin that gained 100 million users within a year. It would soon enter a few Asian markets as TikTok. In November 2017, for $1 billion, ByteDance would purchase Musical.ly, a Shanghai-based Chinese social network app for video creation, messaging, and live broadcasting, and set up an office in California.

Zhang merged it into TikTok in August 2018 to give his company a larger footprint in the U.S. and then spent nearly $1 billion to promote TikTok as the platform for sharing short-dance, lip-sync, comedy, and talent videos. It has been downloaded by 165 million Americans and driven the Trump administration to distraction. A Generation Z craze, in April 2020 it surpassed two billion downloads globally, eclipsing U.S. tech giants. That led President Trump (no loser he!) and his top officials to attack it and he would sign executive orders attempting to ban both TikTok and WeChat from operating in the U.S. or being used by Americans (unless sold to a U.S. tech giant). Stay tuned.

Huawei’s Octane-Powered Rise

But the biggest Chinese winner in consumer electronics and telecommunications has been Shenzhen-based Huawei Technologies Company, the country’s first global multinational. It has become a pivot point in the geopolitical battle between Beijing and Washington.

Huawei (in Chinese, it means “splendid achievement”) makes phones and the routers that facilitate communications around the world. Established in 1987, its current workforce of 194,000 operates in 170 countries. In 2019, its annual turn-over was $122.5 billion. In 2012, it outstripped its nearest rival, the 136-year-old Ericsson Telephone Corporation of Sweden, to become the world’s largest supplier of telecommunications equipment with 28% of market share globally. In 2019, it forged ahead of Apple to become the second largest phone maker after Samsung.

Several factors have contributed to Huawei’s stratospheric rise: its business model, the personality and decision-making mode of its founder Ren Zhengfei, state policies on high-tech industry, and the firm’s exclusive ownership by its employees.

Born in 1944 in Guizhou Province, Ren Zhengfei went to Chongqing University and then joined a military research institute during Mao Zedong’s chaotic Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). He was demobilized in 1983 when China cut back on its engineering corps. But the army’s slogan, “fight and survive,” stayed with him. He moved to the city of Shenzhen and worked in the country’s infant electronics sector for four years, saving enough to co-found what would become the tech giant Huawei. He focused on research and development, adapting technologies from Western firms, while his new company received small orders from the military and later substantial R&D (research and development) grants from the state to develop GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) phones and other products. Over the years, the company produced telecommunications infrastructure and commercial products for third generation (3G) and fourth generation (4G) smartphones.

As China’s high-tech industry surged, Huawei’s fortunes rose. In 2010, it hired IBM and Accenture PLC to design the means of managing networks for telecom providers. In 2011, the company hired the Boston Consulting Group to advise it on foreign acquisitions and investments.

Like many successful American entrepreneurs, Ren has given top priority to the customer and, in the absence of the usual near-term pressure to raise income and profits, his management team has invested $15 to 20 billion annually in research and development work. That helps explain how Huawei became one of the globe’s five companies in the fifth generation (5G) smartphone business, topping the list by shipping out 6.9 million phones in 2019 and capturing 36.9% of the market. On the eve of the release of 5G phones, Ren revealed that Huawei had a staggering 2,570 5G patents.

So it was unsurprising that in the global race for 5G, Huawei was the first to roll out commercial products in February 2019. One hundred times faster than its 4G predecessors, 5G tops out at 10 gigabits per second and future 5G networks are expected to link a huge array of devices from cars to washing machines to door bells.

Huawei’s exponential success has increasingly alarmed a Trump administration edging ever closer to conflict with China. Last month, Secretary of State Pompeo described Huawei as “an arm of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state that censors political dissidents and enables mass internment camps in Xinjiang.”

In May 2019, the U.S. Commerce Department banned American firms from supplying components and software to Huawei on national security grounds. A year later, it imposed a ban on Huawei buying microchips from American companies or using U.S.-designed software. The White House also launched a global campaign against the installation of the company’s 5G systems in allied nations, with mixed success.

Ren continued to deny such charges and to oppose Washington’s moves, which have so far failed to slow his company’s commercial advance. Its revenue for the first half of 2020, $65 billion, was up by 13.1% over the previous year.

From tariffs on Chinese products and that recent TikTok ban to slurs about the “kung flu” as the Covid-19 pandemic swept America, President Trump and his team have been expressing their mounting frustration over China and ramping up attacks on an inexorably rising power on the global stage. Whether they know it or not, the American century is over, which doesn’t mean that nothing can be done to improve the U.S. position in the years to come.

Setting aside Washington’s belief in the inherent superiority of America, a future administration could stop hurling insults or trying to ban enviably successful Chinese tech firms and instead emulate the Chinese example by formulating and implementing a well-planned, long-term high-tech strategy. But as the Covid-19 pandemic has made abundantly clear, the very idea of planning is not a concept available to the “very stable genius” presently in the White House.

 

Why the Surge in U.S. Spy Plane Flights Near Russia?

August 20, 2020

by Ted Galen Carpenter

Cato

On August 19, a Russian Su‐​27 fighter intercepted two U.S. surveillance planes flying near Russia’s Black Sea coast. It was the sixth such incident in that region over the past four weeks, and it followed a similar foray earlier in the day farther north off the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. The use of spy planes in that fashion is not terribly unusual to test the radar defenses and gain additional intelligence on countries that are considered U.S. adversaries. But such a flurry of flights over a short period of time is not typical, and it raises questions about the possible rationale.

As I discussed in a recent National Interest Online article, it also is a needlessly reckless practice. Following a July 30 episode over the Black Sea, U.S. officials claimed that the Russian Su‐​27 “buzzed” the American aircraft, creating a serious safety hazard. It is a frequent U.S. complaint following such encounters.

Both sides can be faulted for the provocations that arise from intrusive flights near the borders of the other country, but the United States deserves the bulk of the blame. Granted, Russian aircraft have sometimes conducted provocative aerial approaches to U.S. territory, especially near Alaska, and the frequency of that behavior seems to be growing. Nevertheless, the number of such incidents is dwarfed by the surge in U.S. military activity along Russia’s borders. In other words, most of the encounters are taking place near Russia and thousands of miles away from the American homeland.

One would think that U.S. military and political leaders would exercise greater caution. Indeed, the current crop of officials should have learned that lesson from the April 2001 crisis that erupted when a U.S. surveillance plane collided with a Chinese fighter. That incident led to a very tense confrontation between Beijing and Washington and hardliners on both sides engaged in shameless jingoism. Fortunately, more sober officials in George W. Bush’s administration prevailed and resolved the quarrel through diplomacy.

It is a safe bet, though, that given the current extent of hostility toward Russia among America’s opinion elites, hawkish types would be even more likely to magnify any crisis involving a similar incident. There would be massive political and media pressure on the White House to take an uncompromising stance against Moscow and “stand up to Vladimir Putin.”

Ratcheting‐​up the number of surveillance flights near Russia is especially unwise now, given the turbulence in neighboring Belarus as demonstrators try to unseat the country’s longtime autocratic ruler. Belarus is an important Kremlin client state, and Putin already has issued a pointed warning to Western governments not to meddle in that country’s affairs. Relations between Russia and the West, which have been deteriorating for years, are especially tense at the moment. An incident similar to the 2001 episode with China could easily escalate out of control.

It is highly unlikely that the information gathered from spy planes flying off of the Russian coast add so much to the intelligence already available from satellites and other means that it is worth the risk of an aerial collision and the dangerous diplomatic and military fallout that would ensue. The Pentagon needs to stop its provocative conduct immediately.

 

The Encyclopedia of American Loons

 

Dorothy Spaulding

 

Though she may not be among the most famous televangelists working in the US, Dorothy Spaulding, President and Founder of Watchmen Broadcasting, is certainly one of the truly whacky ones – a sort of low-budget, poor man’s version of Cindy Jacobs, if you wish – and her network show Club 36 has been dubbed “perhaps the most hilarious Christian train-wreck TV this great country has produced in … decades.”

Indeed, Spaulding’s show is probably the go-to place if you feel the need to talk about how you were attacked by 80-foot demons or rant about Satanic baby farms and want to be taken seriously. Here, for instance, you can watch Spaulding and her guest, one Henry Lewis, discuss the dangers of Pokémon; Pokémon are “oriental demons”, and the names of the Pokémon characters are apparently the real names of these oriental demons. Here is a list of names of Pokémon characters for those unfamiliar with the universe (one imagines that the practice of fundamentalist Christianity would look very different had Revelations mentioned Jigglypuff and Wigglytuff by name). There is also, in addition to wild-eyed rantings about witches and Harry Potter, some kind of attack on the theory of evolution in there, for good measure – you wouldn’t really suspect Spaulding of being anything but a young-earth creationist, would you?

She has also written a book Walk by Faith, and is apparently especially “passionate about telling the truth of what is happening in Israel” – her reaction to the 80-foot demon story doesn’t really convey much trust in her ability to distinguish truth from other things, though.

Diagnosis: Possibly worth checking out for some cheap entertainment; otherwise, a potential reminder that what goes on at the grassroots level is often even crazier than the stuff that goes on in the top echelons of American evangelism.

 

 Sam Rohrer

 

Sam Rohrer is the president of the Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network, a branch of Let Freedom Ring, Inc., and former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (128th District, 1993–2010). Rohrer is an alumnus of Bob Jones University, South Carolina’s attempt to out-madrassa the Taliban, and it shows. Indeed, Rohrer was awarded the 2013 “Alumnus of the Year” at the annual Bob Jones University Bible Conference, which he probably richly deserved.

Rohrer is the kind of person who tries to argue that a literal reading of the Bible reveals that gun rights come directly from God, and that Jesus’ teachings on non-violence should not be taken literally; it’s apparently the only part of the Bible that shouldn’t. Meanwhile, gun control is part of an Agenda 21 depopulation plot that the government – at least Obama’s government – tried to set in motion. Indeed, Rohrer is heavily into Agenda 21 conspiracies, and thinks that the nonbinding framework for sustainable development “is a control of our property, it’s a control of our legal system to the local level” (the hows matter less than the grand, paranoid narrative, apparently).

It is also a sin for the government to be compassionate, says Sam Rohrer.

Politically, Rohrer is a full-blown theocrat who claims that “God’s law must always reign supreme” over man’s law. “No court has the authority to overturn what God says and what God defines to be a matter of marriage in this case, so that’s the clearest example where man’s law counters what God has said is what something ought to be.” Purely for political reasons, he also claims to love the Constitution, of course. To back up his claims, Rohrer asserts that if you don’t do as Rohrer thinks God says (i.e. that Rohrer says) that you should do, then the nation will fall under God’s judgment, in which case  “you go nowhere but down.” Accordingly “politicians and everyone who serves in any capacity in any level of civil government is automatically also a minister of God,” and should recognize this obligation. Apparently it’s all about liberty. People like the sound of “freedom”, “liberty” and “the Constitution”, but Rohrer’s fans don’t seem to have the faintest idea what those words could possibly mean (which is why Rohrer ends up, in all earnestness, saying things like “if you put somebody in office who is an enemy of freedom, who is a practicing Muslim, as an example, or a Communist, as an example, an atheist, they will act on what they think is right, but it’s not going to be what agrees with biblical correction.”) Rohrer is apparently a fan of David Barton, whom Rohrer explicitly thinks is a pillar of honesty, which to him then means that the extensively documented dishonesty in Barton’s works can easily be dismissed as a malicious conspiracy.

Threats to his vision I: Immigrants

There are ample threats to Rohrer’s vision for America, though. Islam, for instance. Rohrer was quite shocked by the 2018 elections, when two “devout Muslim women who hold to a view of God and law and morality that is completely opposite to our Constitution” were elected. The lack of self-awareness is pretty intense, even by fundie theocrat standards. At least his stance on immigration follows the same lines of lack of reasoning; as Rohrer sees it, America has “changed the historic biblical rules” (?) regarding immigration, and “this is a reason why God must discipline our country.” As a consequence, we have now “millions of people” who “have no respect for our God, they serve primarily the god of Allah and they embrace Sharia law,” which permits them to engage in terrorism. Until the US endorses the letter and spirit of the First Amendment and realizes that it cannot tolerate “two competing Gods … we’re going to find ourselves in increasing trouble.” As a solution to the ills, Rohrer suggested that we should require immigrants to “accept the God of the Bible,” just like the Constitution prescribes. It is probably worth mentioning, in this context, that “progressive Christians” aren’t really Christians either.

Indeed, Muslim jihadists had by 2016 infiltrated the Obama administration at the highest levels, and (then-)CIA Director John Brennan is, as Rohrer sees it, a Muslim convert who is on the side of the terrorists.

When push comes to show, however, the main problem is immigrants in general, not really their religious convictions. The recent refugee caravan, for instance, is a “fight against God himself”. Rohrer’s reasoning is … weak, but it ends with concluding that those who favor immigration are on the side of the Antichrist. Of course it does.

Threats to his vision 2: The gays (of course)

Another threat is, of course, the gays. It was obvious to Rohrer gay marriage could not be legalized since judges should rule according to “moral law” established by God, and having, in fact, been legalized, it is threatening to “destroy the very fabric of our nation” and, like everything else that is not working according to Rohrer’s convictions, will “invite God’s judgment on the nation” (mass shootings, for instance, are part of said judgment). Gay marriage will apparently lead to “tyranny” as well, for good measure, and the judges responsible for legalizing it are “activist judges” and “ideological idealists” that “may have been motivated by an intentional defiance of God.” The legalization of gay marriage also means that “the moral position leadership of our country has been forfeited,” says Rohrer; apparently the new moral leader of the world – here Rohrer agrees with many religious right leaders – is Russia.

He also lamented that gay rights activists don’t realize that they, too, have lost a “great, great freedom” with the legalization of same-sex marriage. His reasoning behind the conclusion isn’t really reasoning.

Threats to his vision 3: Women

And then there are women. Apparently having women in power is a sign of God’s judgment. When making the claim, Rohrer hastened to add that “the real condemnation is not the women in office, the condemnation is the disregard and the absolute inability for male leadership to perform as God intended it,” so that he wouldn’t come across as sexist.

Miscellaneous Trumpisms

Shocked by the “lack of respect” shown by some people toward President Trump, Rohrer promptly and predictably declared that opposition to Trump “creates the circumstances … out of which will come the Antichrist,” explaining (or whatever you prefer to call it) that the “enemies of Christ” (globalists, Islam and the cultural “establishment”) are “all working together” because “they hate God, they hate the Constitution, they despise Jesus Christ, they want to destroy Israel and the United States.” And those who don’t support Trump’s immigration policies are definitely on the side of the Antichrist.

After all, as Rohrer sees it, it was God who put Trump in office, no less. Rohrer didn’t explain how God did that (without committing voter fraud).

There is a decent Sam Rohrer resource here. Rohrer is not to fond of rightwingwatch, and has said that if civil war breaks out, it will be because of groups like Rightwingwatch and others who don’t think what he thinks they should think.

Diagnosis: As deranged, confused and fanatical as they come, and unfit for any audience. He’s got one, though, and must be considered moderately dangerous.

 

Rita Roark & Sara Ebarb

 

Rita Roark used to be a science teacher at Negreet High School in Negreet, Louisiana, a position she used as a platform to teach kids that the Bible is “100 percent true”, promote young Earth creationism and tell her students that evolution was an “impossible” and “stupid theory made up by stupid people who don’t want to believe in God” – “if evolution was real, it would still be happening,” Roark allegedly said: “Apes would be turning into humans today” (a variant of this, only dumber.) Nope, not a hint of understanding of evolution or science (or the Constitution). Roark would also for instance feature Christianity-related questions on her science tests.

Her practices were, though apparently typical of the area and the school, of course unconstitutional, and Roark achieved some fame when her practices were brought to light in Lane v. Sabine Parish School Board, a case filed by the ACLU on behalf of the parents of a Buddhist student. When the student, C.C., failed to fill in the expected answers on Roark’s Christianity-related “science” questions, Roark would belittle him in front of the class, and even calling Buddhism “stupid”. When C.C.’s parents objected to the practice, the Sabine Parish superintendent Sara Ebarb told them “this is the Bible Belt”, and suggested that the family either convert to Christianity or move to another school.

Needless to say, the US district court ruled quite unequivocally against the school board, even going out of its way to explain to the defendants what the ruling implies. The school board, however, refused to admit to wrongdoing. The state, too, is apparently refusing to see the problem. Meanwhile, David Klinghoffer at the Discovery Institute was kept busy trying to spin the story as far into alternate reality as he could.

Diagnosis: Dangerous fundie who, like fundies often do, hate the Constitution and should have no business being let even near a science classroom (other than as a strikingly obtuse student). But she is pretty zealous about winning souls for Jesus, and in some Louisiana schools, that is apparently precisely what the goal of education should be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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