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TBR News August 23, 2020

Aug 23 2020

The Voice of the White House

Comments for August 23, 2020:  Interesting to note that members of trump’s immediate family are attacking him in print. Also, his frenzied attempts to prevent the court’s viewing of earlier income tax returns have been defeated. Where all this negativity will lead is not certain but might well be reflected in the November polls.

 

The Table of Contents

  • S. House votes to block Postal reforms seen as threat to mail-in ballots
  • Amid fire and pestilence, floods and storms, the personal is political: Trump must go
  • Pelosi slams Trump ‘deep state’ tweet on coronavirus vaccines – as it happened
  • Donald Trump’s sister says he’s an ‘unprincipled phoney’
  • The frantic rescue mission for Donald Trump’s indiscretions
  • Trump biography
  • Trump and the Numbers Game
  • Despite huge numbers of misconduct complaings, cops at nypd’s 75th precinct keep getting promotions
  • Top U.S. security official says he cannot send law enforcement to polling sites
  • Encyclopedia of American loons

 

 

U.S. House votes to block 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 voted on Saturday to provide 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 257-150 vote sent the legislation dubbed the “Delivering for America Act” on to the Republican-controlled Senate. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement that the Senate would “absolutely not pass” the stand-alone bill.

The White House also strongly opposes the legislation and has said it would recommend that President Donald Trump veto the measure.

But more than two-dozen House Republicans broke ranks to join Democrats in approving the bill, during a rare Saturday session called by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the middle of the congressional August recess.

With mail-in voting expected to surge during the coronavirus pandemic, 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 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 also released a Postal Service document showing an 8% slowdown in the processing of first class mail, most of it occurring after DeJoy became postmaster in June.

Republican leaders 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.

The 26 Republicans who supported the measure represented more than one in 10 House Republican members. Another 23 Republicans did not vote.

As lawmakers prepared to vote, Trump took to Twitter to accuse Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of seeking unnecessary funding for the Postal Service and trying to pull off a “Universal Mail-In Ballot Scam.”

“Vote NO to the Pelosi/Schumer money wasting HOAX which is taking place now,” the president wrote.

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 any action that would impede service 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 voting 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, Aurora Ellis and Daniel Wallis

 

Amid fire and pestilence, floods and storms, the personal is political: Trump must go

Americans face existential challenges. The president has done nothing to help and much to make things worse

August 23, 2020

by Robert Reich

The Guardian

My wife and I have been warned we may need to evacuate our cabin in the hills north of San Francisco, because of fires ravaging the Bay Area.

Climate change is largely to blame for these fires, which are growing in number and intensity every year. It’s also to blame for the increasing number and virulence of hurricanes hitting the Gulf and south-east, flash floods along the eastern seaboard, and fierce winds across middle America.

Two tropical storms are developing in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf has never before had two hurricanes at the same time. Both are moving toward Louisiana.

In early August, Illinois and Iowa were hit with winds of up to 110mph. Homes were leveled. At least 10 million acres of crops were destroyed. Many are still without power.

Trump isn’t singularly responsible for climate change, of course. But he’s done nothing to stop it. In fact, he’s done everything he can to accelerate it.

This coming week, he’ll be nominated for a second term. I doubt he or anyone else at the Republican convention will mention his abandonment of the Paris agreement, his rollback of environmental regulations or his boundless generosity to the fossil fuel industry.

Yet I’ll be thinking about all this, and in a newly personal way. So will many others, including, I suspect, some who voted for Trump last time, who reside in the Gulf states, the eastern seaboard and the Midwest.

It’s one thing to understand climate change in the abstract. It’s another to live inside it.

I recently got an email from a woman living in North Carolina whose house was destroyed in a flash flood. She describes herself as a lifelong Republican who’s now a “born-again environmentalist”. She said she’ll be voting for Joe Biden.

It’s much the same with the coronavirus. The gross numbers tell a horrible story. Last Thursday alone, the virus killed 1,090 Americans. Only five died from the virus in Canada the same day, six in the UK, 12 in France, 16 in Japan, 16 in Spain and 10 in Germany.

Yet not even these numbers hit home the way it does when you know someone who has perished or nearly perished from this disease. I know two who have died. A good friend came close. Like me, a growing number of Americans are experiencing the coronavirus personally.

Trump isn’t solely responsible. America’s public health system was never up to the task of dealing with a pandemic. But Trump’s stream of lies, denials and refusals to take responsibility have allowed the disease to ravage America.

If he mentions the pandemic at all during the Republican convention, he’ll probably blame China and claim the official numbers are exaggerated. Many of his followers will believe him. But just as with the floods and windstorms and fires, an increasing number who have experienced Covid-19 personally have become hardened against his lies.

So, too, with the economic devastation that has come in the wake of the pandemic. Tens of millions are unemployed. Many are growing desperate. Almost everyone knows someone who has lost a job, or whose wages have been cut.

There’s an old saying that “the personal is political”. People understand politics most profoundly when it’s connected to their own lived experience.

At the Republican convention, Trump and his enablers can be expected to claim Democrats want to turn America into a socialist state. They’ll issue racist dogwhistles about “rioters and looters” in American cities. They’ll conjure up “deep state” conspiracies. They’ll lie about Biden.

Some Americans will believe this drivel, but I suspect the lived experience of most others – including many who voted for Trump in 2016 – will be more convincing.

After almost four years, we’ve felt the consequences of his rotten presidency first-hand. Trump’s malfeasance is now more palpable than his fearmongering. The personal is political.

Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labor, is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few and The Common Good. His new book, The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It, is out now. He is a columnist for Guardian US

 

Pelosi slams Trump ‘deep state’ tweet on coronavirus vaccines – as it happened

August 22, 2020

by Bryan Armen Graham (now) and Tom Lutz and Martin Pengelly (earlier)

The Guardian

House speaker Nancy Pelosi described Donald Trump’s tweet accusing “the deep state, or whoever, over at” the Food and Drug Administration of deliberately slowing coronavirus vaccine and therapy development as “scary” and “beyond the pale” even for the US president.

“The FDA has a responsibility to approve drugs, judging on their safety and their efficacy, not by a declaration from the White House about speed and politicizing the FDA,” Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill.

The president’s amplification of the “deep state” conspiracy theory comes one day after Fox Business host Lou Dobbs used it to explain the arrest of former Trump campaign manager Steve Bannon.

Bannon himself is a key propagator of the theory that unknown government operatives are working against the Trump administration – but has also said the idea is “for nut cases” and should not be taken seriously.

In Deep State: Trump, the FBI and the Rule of Law by James B Stewart, published last October, Bannon said the “deep state conspiracy theory is for nut cases”, because “America isn’t Turkey or Egypt”.

Pelosi says Trump’s rush for Covid-19 vaccine is ‘very dangerous’

House speak Nancy Pelosi has pushed back on Donald Trump’s tweet from earlier today, in which he said the Food and Drug Administration was too slow in producing a Covid-19 vaccine.

“The FDA has a responsibility to approve drugs judged on their safety and efficacy, not by a declaration from the White House on speed,” said Pelosi. “This was a very dangerous statement from the president … that went beyond the pale.”

In Trump’s tweet, the president suggested the “deep state” was behind a plot to delay the vaccine and harm his chances in November’s election.

“The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics,” he wrote on Twitter. “Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!”

Peter Marks, the director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, has said in the past he would resign rather than approve a Covid-19 vaccine that had not been proven to be safe.

“I could not stand by and see something that was unsafe or ineffective that was being put through,” he told Reuters.

“You have to decide where your red line is, and that’s my red line. I would feel obligated [to resign] because in doing so, I would indicate to the American public that there’s something wrong.”

 

Donald Trump’s sister says he’s an ‘unprincipled phoney’

August 23, 2020

BBC News

US President Donald Trump’s eldest sister, a former federal judge, has said her brother is a liar who “has no principles”, secret recordings reveal.

The critical remarks by Maryanne Trump Barry were recorded by her niece, Mary Trump, who last month published a book excoriating the president.

“His goddamned tweet and lying, oh my God,” Ms Barry is heard saying. “It’s the phoniness and this cruelty.”

Mary Trump said she had taped her aunt to protect herself from litigation.

Mr Trump responded to the latest revelations in a statement issued by the White House, saying: “Every day it’s something else, who cares.”

The recordings were first reported by The Washington Post, after which the Associated Press obtained them.

‘He had somebody take the exams’

In the secret recordings, Ms Barry criticises the Trump administration’s immigration policy, which has led to children being held at migrant detention centres at the border.

“All he wants to do is appeal to his base,” she said.

One of the claims made in Mary Trump’s memoir – Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man – is that her uncle paid a friend to take a SAT test for him – a standardised exam which determines university placement.

Ms Barry refers to this in the recording, even suggesting that she remembers the name of the friend involved.

“He got into University of Pennsylvania because he had somebody take the exams,” she said.

Ms Barry has been supportive of her brother Donald and has previously said the two were close. She once told the story of how he had visited her every day she was in hospital following an operation.

“Once would have been enough – the duty call. That’s how love shows, when you go that extra yard.” She also said she “knew better even as a child than to even attempt to compete with Donald”.

A tell-all memoir written by President Donald Trump’s niece claims that he is a “narcissist” who now threatens the life of every American.

Mary Trump’s book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, describes her uncle as a fraud and a bully.

The White House rejects the claims made in the book, and the Trump family unsuccessfully sued to block it.

But it was released on 14 July after a judge sided with the publisher.

‘More than narcissism’

Ms Trump, 55, writes that for her uncle, “nothing is ever enough” and that the US president exhibits all the characteristics of a narcissist.

“This is far beyond garden-variety narcissism,” his niece, who has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, writes of Mr Trump. “Donald is not simply weak, his ego is a fragile thing that must be bolstered every moment because he knows deep down that he is nothing of what he claims to be.”

She says the president was influenced by watching his father, Fred Trump Sr, bully her father Fred Trump Jr – who died from an alcohol related illness when she was 16 years old.

Ms Trump writes that Trump Sr was extremely harsh to his oldest son, whom he wanted to take over the family real estate business. But as Ms Trump’s father drifted away from the business, Trump Sr had no choice but to turn to his second son, Donald.

It was not a happy choice, Ms Trump appears to claim. “When things turned south in the late 1980s, Fred could no longer separate himself from his son’s brutal ineptitude; the father had no choice but to stay invested,” she writes of the senior Trump’s attitude towards the future 45th US President.

“His monster had been set free.”

The White House rejected the claim that Mr Trump’s father had been abrasive and harsh, saying that the president “describes the relationship he had with his father as warm and said his father was very good to him”.

‘I had to take Donald down’

In the book, Ms Trump describes how she supplied tax documents to the New York Times, which used them to publish a 14,000 word investigative article into Mr Trump’s “dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents”.

Ms Trump said she was approached by journalists at her home in 2017 and was initially reluctant to help.

She waited for a month, watching as “Donald shredded norms, endangered alliances, and trod upon the vulnerable,” before deciding to contact the Times reporter.

After smuggling 19 boxes of legal documents out of the law firm where they were kept, she handed them over to reporters. She describes hugging them and calls the moment “the happiest I’d felt in months”.

“It wasn’t enough for me to volunteer at an organisation helping Syrian refugees,” she writes. “I had to take Donald down.”

University ‘cheater’

Ms Trump claims that her uncle paid a friend to take the SAT test for him – a standardised exam which determines university placement – because he was “worried that his grade point average, which put him far from the top of his class, would scuttle his efforts to get accepted”.

He hired “a smart kid with a reputation for being a good test taker, to take his SATs for him,” she writes, adding: “Donald, who never lacked for funds, paid his buddy well.”

Mr Trump attended Fordham University in New York City, but later transferred to the Wharton School of business at the University of Pennsylvania.

The White House denied that the president cheated on the university entrance exam.

Donald was ‘destroyed’ by his father

Ms Trump blames the Trump family patriarch, Fred Trump Sr for much of the family’s alleged dysfunction. She says Trump Sr, a New York City real estate mogul, “destroyed” Donald Trump by interfering in his “ability to develop and experience the entire spectrum of human emotion”.

“By limiting Donald’s access to his own feelings and rendering many of them unacceptable, Fred perverted his son’s perception of the world and damaged his ability to live in it,” she writes.

“Softness was unthinkable,” for Trump Sr, she writes, adding that he would grow furious whenever her father – known as Freddy – apologised for any errors.

Fred Sr, she said “would mock him. Fred wanted his oldest son to be a ‘killer.'”

Donald Trump, who is seven years younger than his late brother, “had plenty of time to learn from watching Fred humiliate” his eldest son, Ms Trump writes.

“The lesson he learned, at its simplest, was that it was wrong to be like Freddy: Fred didn’t respect his oldest son, so neither would Donald.”

A problem with women

Ms Trump writes that her uncle had asked her to ghost write a book about him, called the Art of the Comeback, and provided “an aggrieved compendium of women he had expected to date but who, having refused him, were suddenly the worst, ugliest and fattest slobs he’d ever met”.

He later had someone else fire her and never paid her for her work, she alleges.

She says Mr Trump made suggestive comments about her body when she was 29 years old, even though she is his niece and Mr Trump was married to his second wife, Marla Maples.

She says Mr Trump told his current wife Melania that his niece had dropped out of university and took drugs around the time he hired her for the book project. It is true that Ms Trump had left college, but she says she never took any drugs, and that she believes her uncle made up the story to present himself as her “saviour”.

“The story was for his benefit as much as anybody else’s,” she writes, “and by the time the doorbell rang, he probably already believed his version of events.”

Who is Mary Trump?

Mary Trump, 55, is the daughter of Fred Trump Jr, the president’s older brother, who died in 1981 at the age of 42.

He struggled with alcoholism for much of his life and his premature death was caused by a heart attack linked to his drinking.

President Trump has cited his brother’s personal problems as spurring his administration’s push for tackling the opioid addiction epidemic.

In an interview last year with the Washington Post, Mr Trump said he regretted pressuring his older brother to join the family real estate business.

Mary Trump has largely avoided the limelight since her uncle became president, though she has been critical of him in the past.

After Mr Trump won the election in 2016, she described the experience as the “worst night of my life,” according to the Washington Post.

“We should be judged harshly,” she tweeted. “I grieve for our country.”

 

The frantic rescue mission for Donald Trump’s indiscretions

On 4 March 2018, it is alleged that Sergei Viktorovich Skripal, a former Russian intelligence officer who secretly worked for, and was well paid by, British intelligence, and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in Salisbury, England, allegedly with a “Novichok nerve agent.”

It was reported that the pair were observed on a public park bench, acting very ill and were taken to the Salisbury District Hospital and put into an intensive care unit.

No one was allowed to visit them but a British official claimed they had done so and assured the media they had been seen.

There have no medical bulletins concerning the Skripals since then.

Immediately, it was officially claimed that somehow the Russians were responsible and the British Prime Minister and their buffoon of a Foreign Minister made endless accusative public comments about Russian guilt.

The British Prime Minister May’s claim that the “novichok” formula allegedly used was a deep secret, known only to the Russians is, like the rest of the drama, entirely false.

There are currently a number of countries who have been carrying out intense research on the substances from the so-called ‘Novichok’ program since the end of the 1990s to the present: the UK, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the United States and Sweden.

Russia is not one of them.

The near universal belief among chemical weapons experts, and the official position of the OPCW, was that “Novichoks” were at most a theoretical research program which the Russians had never succeeded in actually synthesizing and manufacturing. That is why they are not on the OPCW list of banned chemical weapons.

It should be noted that in England, where the alleged attack occurred, is home to the Porton Down facility

Porton Down, a secret British facility that works with, among other products, nerve gasses, is located northeast of the village of Porton near Salisbury, in Wiltshire, England.

It is home to UK Government facilities: a site of the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)

Work carried out at Porton Down on usable nerve gasses has, to date, remained secret

Between 1963 and 1975 the MRE carried out trials in Lyme Bay in which live bacteria were sprayed from a ship to be carried ashore by the wind to simulate an anthrax attack.

That to one side, there exists a secret CIA report that gives the lie to the allegations of Russian poisoning.

Origins of the purported nerve gas attack

Michael Richard Pompeo is an American politician and businessman who has been serving as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency since January 23, 2017, following his nomination by President Donald Trump.

Previously, he was the member of the United States House of Representatives for Kansas’s 4th congressional district (2011–2017).

He is a member of the radical right wing Tea Party movement within the Republican Party. He was a Kansas representative on the Republican National Committee and member of the Italian American Congressional Delegation.

Pompeo is also an Evangelical Christian.

In August of 2017, Pompeo took direct command of the Counterintelligence Mission Center, the department which helped to launch an investigation into possible links between Trump associates and Russian officials.

Former CIA directors expressed concern since Pompeo is known to be an ally of Donald Trump

William Evanina is currently the head of NCIX, which is the executive officer of the United States Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (ONCIX), and who is also the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center.

The London branch of this secret organization is located at 33 Nine Elms Ln. London SW11 7.

Formerly, it was headquartered at Caversham Park.

A supposedly secret communication from Evanina’s office in question is marked USA/GBR/ EYES ONLY and addressed to M. Aubineau in the UK office of ONCIX (detailed information from Booth)

Part of the document reads:

Necessary to remove Skripal from any possibility of allowing him to be interviewed via Judicial Assistance Request, by on-going U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump/Russian working agreements. If possible try to make this look like some kind of a negative Russian intelligence operation, thus killing two birds with one stone. Note that Skripal is of considerable value to UK intel so termination with extreme prejudice not suggested.”

And further in the same document:

“President Trump does not tolerate anything that he views as opposed to his will. For that reason, he has developed a very strong dislike for the Justice Department’s FBI because of their ongoing investigation of his extensive contact with Russian entities. He has been contemplating abolishing the FBI and turning its domestic intelligence programs over to the CIA, creating one massive surveillance entity that he can easily control.”

The British agency involved in the purported “nerve gas attack” scenario is the National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit (NDEDIU)

In May 2013, the NDEDIU was split into two units:

a )Protest and Disorder Intelligence Unit. This unit collates and provides strategic analysis relating to protest and disorder across the UK; and b) Domestic Extremism Intelligence Unit. This unit provides strategic analysis of domestic extremism intelligence within the UK and overseas.

The NDEU had been created in 2011 following a merger of the three domestic extremism units under the National Coordinator for Domestic Extremism – the National Domestic Extremism Team, National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU).

The quid pro quo for Pompeo’s cooperation in keeping devastating information about Trump’s clandestine political deals with Russia away from hostile investigators is evident.

On March 13, 2018, Trump announced his intention to nominate Pompeo as the new United States Secretary of State, on March 31, 2018, succeeding Rex Tillerson who had the audacity to disagree with Trump.

There is absolutely no question whatsoever that Russian intelligence was able, by the offering of large amounts of money for rigged hotel business deals as well as securing his interest through the activities of very attractive women, to get Trump to work with them closely in the event he was able to secure election to the American presidency.

U.S. Congressional committees also have been investigating Russia and the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

It is now known that the Trump people hired the Facebook people to influence the election and it is also known, but only in top intelligence circles, that the WikiLeaks organization that released damning emails about the Clinton organization is entirely owned by Russian intelligence.

Trump, therefore, bought support with cash from Facebook and promises of cooperation from Russian top level sources.

 

Persona involved

 

  • Sergei Viktorovich Skripal is a former Russian military intelligence officer who acted as a double agent for the UK’s intelligence services during the 1990s and early 2000s. In December 2004, he was arrested by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and later tried, convicted of high treason, and sentenced to 13 years in prison. He settled in the UK in 2010 following the Illegals Program spy swap and became a British subject.
  • Christopher David Steele is a former British intelligence officer with the Secret Intelligence Service MI6 from 1987 until his retirement in 2009. He is also the founding director of Orbis Business Intelligence, a London-based private intelligence firm

Steele later went to for work for Fusion GPS a commercial research and strategic intelligence firm based in Washington, D.C.

The firm was subsequently hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee through their shared attorney at Perkins Coie, Marc Elias. The purpose was to create a document that could be used to accuse Trump of having improper contact with the Russians.

Fusion GPS then hired Steele to investigate Trump’s Russia-related activities. According to CNN, Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee took over the financing of the inquiry into Donald Trump and produced what became known as the Trump dossier.

According to an official British analysis, Steele was in contact with Skripal and claimed he used much of Skripal’s information for his Trump report.

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Russian influencing the 2016 U.S. election, and potential collusion in this by Trump aides. Russia has denied U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusion that it meddled in the election and Trump has said there was no collusion between his campaign and Moscow officials.

Mueller has indicted several Trump associates and more than a dozen Russians.

When it was learned in Washington that Steele was on Mr. Mueller’s prime list to interrogate, fears that Skripal, an associate, who was known to give information to anyone willing to pay for it, was also considered a subject for interrogation under oath, a form of panic arose in the White House and the CIA spoke with their opposite numbers in England.

The thrust of this intended contact was that American intelligence and political entities did not want Skripal to be deposed.

Steele has been privately warned about speaking out of turn but Skripal was considered to be a “loose cannon.”

The concocted story about “nerve gas attacks” served to hide Skripal and his daughter in a safe house and prevent him from further revelations that could well spell the end of Trump’s presidency.

Trump biography
Donald John Trump (June 14, 1946)

He is of German/Scottish origin. One of his German relatives was an Arnold Trumpf, b, 27 October 1892 in Gifhorn and died 7, January 1985 in Garmish-Partenkirchen. Trumpf was a member of the Nazi party number 389 920 from 1 December 1930. He was a member of the SS Race and Settlement Office as an SS-Oberführer

Trump was born and grew up in New York City. He received a degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Trump took over running his family’s real estate business in 1971, renamed it The Trump Organization, and expanded it to involve constructing and renovating skyscrapers, hotels, casinos, and golf courses. He also started various side ventures, including branding and licensing his name for real estate and luxury consumer products.

He managed the company until his 2017 inauguration as President of the United States.

Trump also gained prominence in the media and entertainment fields. He co-authored several books, and from 2003 to 2015 he was a producer and the host of The Apprentice, a reality television game show.

Trump owned the Miss Universe and Miss USA beauty pageants from 1996 to 2015. According to the American financial Forbes magazine, he was the world’s 544th richest person as of May 2017, with an estimated net worth of $3.5 billion.

In 1977, Trump married his first wife, Czech model Ivana Zelníčková. They had three children: Donald Jr. (b. 1977), Ivanka (b. 1981), and Eric (b. 1984). Ivana became a naturalized United States citizen in 1988. The couple divorced in 1992, following Trump’s affair with actress Marla Maples.

In October 1993, Maples gave birth to Trump’s daughter, who was named Tiffany after the upper-class Tiffany & Company. Maples and Trump were married two months later in December 1993. They divorced in 1999, and Tiffany was raised by Marla in California.

In 2005, Trump married his third wife, Slovenian model Melania Knauss, at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Palm Beach, Florida. Her original name was Melanija Knavs, born on April 26, 1970 at Novo Mesto, SR Slovenia, SFR Yugoslavia

In 2006, Melania became a United States citizen and gave birth to a son, March 20, 2006, Barron William Trump. Melania and Barron moved to the White House on June 11, 2017,

Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy, but his hotel and casino businesses were declared bankrupt six times between 1991 and 2009 in order to re-negotiate debt with banks and owners of stock and bonds. Because the businesses used Chapter 11 bankruptcy, they were allowed to operate while negotiations proceeded.

Mr. Trump was quoted by Newsweek magazine in 2011 saying, “I do play with the bankruptcy laws – they’re very good for me” as a tool for trimming debt.

The six bankruptcies were the result of over-leveraged hotel and casino businesses in Atlantic City and New York: Trump Taj Mahal (1991), Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino (1992), Plaza Hotel (1992), Trump Castle Hotel and Casino (1992), Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts (2004), and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009).

As president, Trump has frequently made false statements in public speeches and remarks. Trump uttered “at least one false or misleading claim per day on 91 of his first 99 days” in office according to The New York Times, and 1,318 total in his first 263 days in office. The Washington Post, also wrote, “President Trump is the most fact-challenged politician that The Fact Checker has ever encountered… the pace and volume of the president’s misstatements means that we cannot possibly keep up.”

Mr. Trump has a history of making racially-charged statements and taking actions perceived as racially motivated.

In 1975, Mr. Trump settled a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice in 1973 alleging housing discrimination against black renters. In 1989, he was accused of racism for insisting that a group of black and Latino teenagers were guilty of raping a white woman in the Central Park jogger case even after they were exonerated by DNA evidence.

He continued to maintain this position as late as 2016.

Mr.Trump launched his 2016 presidential campaign with a speech in which he described Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists.

One of Mr.Trump’s campaign managers, Paul Manafort, had worked for several years to help pro-Russian politician Viktor Yanukovich win the Ukrainian presidency.

Other Trump associates, including former National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn and political consultant Roger Stone, have been connected to Russian officials. Russian agents were overheard during the campaign saying they could use Manafort and Flynn to influence Trump.

Members of Mr.Trump’s campaign and later his White House staff, particularly Flynn, were in contact with Russian officials both before and after the November election In a December 29, 2016 conversation, Flynn and Kislyak discussed the recently imposed sanctions against Russia; Mr.Trump later fired Flynn for falsely claiming he had not discussed the sanctions.

Donald Trump has pursued business deals in Russia since 1987, and has sometimes traveled there to explore potential business opportunities. In 1996, Trump trademark applications were submitted for potential Russian real estate development deals. Mr.Trump’s partners and children have repeatedly visited Moscow, connecting with developers and government officials to explore joint venture opportunities. Mr.Trump was never able to successfully conclude any real estate deals in Russia. However, individual Russians have invested heavily in Trump properties, and following Mr.Trump’s bankruptcies in the 1990s he borrowed money from Russian sources. In 2008 his son Donald Trump Jr. said that Russia was an important source of money for the Trump businesses.

In 1996 Mr.Trump partnered with Liggett-Ducat, a small company, and planned to build an upscale residential development on a Liggett-Ducat property in Moscow. Trump commissioned New York architect Ted Liebman, who did the sketches.

In 1987 Mr.Trump visited Russia to investigate developing a hotel

In Russia, Mr.Trump promoted the proposal and acclaimed the Russian economic market. At a news conference reported by The Moscow Times, Mr.Trump said he hadn’t been “as impressed with the potential of a city as I have been with Moscow” in contrast to other cities had visited “all over the world.

By this time, Mr.Trump made known his desire to build in Moscow to government officials for almost ten years ranging from the Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev (they first met in Washington in 1987) to the military figure Alexander Lebed.

Moscow’s mayor, Yuri M. Luzhkov, showed Trump plans for a very large shopping mall to be located underground in the vicinity of the Kremlin. The mayor complimented Mr.Trump’s suggestion that this mall should have access to the Moscow Metro, and it was eventually connected to the Okhotny Ryad station. Although the 1996 residential development did not happen, Mr.Trump was by this time well known in Russia.

Between 2000–2010, Mr.Trump entered into a partnership with a development company headquartered in New York represented by a Russian immigrant, Felix Sater. During this period, they partnered for an assortment of deals that included building Trump towers internationally and Russia was included. For example, in 2005 Slater acted as an agent for building a Trump tower alongside Moscow River with letters of intent in hand and “square footage was being analyzed.”

In 2006, Mr.Trump’s children Donald Jr. and Ivanka stayed in the Hotel National, Moscow for several days, across from the Kremlin, to interview prospective partners, with the intention of formulating real estate development projects.

Sater had also traveled to Moscow with Mr. Trump, his wife Ivanka and son Donald Jr.

Mr. Trump was associated with Tevfik Arif, formerly a Soviet commerce official and founder of a development company called the Bayrock Group, of which Sater was also a partner.

Bayrock searched for deals in Russia while Trump Towers company were attempting to further expand in the United States. Mr. Sater said, “We looked at some very, very large properties in Russia,” on the scale of “…a large Vegas high-rise.”

In 2007, Bayrock organized a potential deal in Moscow between Trump International Hotel and Russian investors

During 2006–2008 Mr.Trump’s company applied for a number of trademarks in Russia with the goal of real estate developments. These trademark applications include: Trump, Trump Tower, Trump International Hotel and Tower, and Trump Home.

In 2008, Mr. Trump spoke at a Manhattan real estate conference, stating that he really prefered Moscow over all cities in the world and that within 18 months he had been in Russia a half-dozen times.

Mr.Trump had received large and undisclosed payments over 10 years from Russians for hotel rooms, rounds of golf, or Trump-licensed products such as wine, ties, or mattresses, which would not have been identified as coming from Russian sources in the tax returns

A secret KGB memo under date of February 1, 1984 concerned the necessity of making an expanded use of the facilities of cooperating foreign intelligence services—for example, Czechoslovakian or East German intelligence networks.

The most revealing section concerned kompromat.

The document specifically requested any compromising information about Donald Trump, including illegal acts in financial and commercial affairs, intrigues, speculation, bribes, graft … and exploitation of his position to enrich himself. Plus any other information that would compromise the subject (Trump) to his country’s authorities and the general public. Naturally the information could be used to cause him serious problems in his country if exposed.

Finally, the report mentioned that his attitude towards women was also of interest. The point of interest would be if he was the habit of having affairs with women.

Mr. Trumps’ first trip to Moscow came after he found himself seated next to the Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin in 1986. His original position was Soviet ambassador to the U.N. Dubinin’s mission as ambassador was to make contact with America’s business elite.

There was a luncheon held by Leonard Lauder, the son of Estée Lauder. Mr. Trump was invited to meet the Ambassador. Ambassador Dubinin spoke fluent English and during the course of the luncheon Trump spoke at length with the Ambassador who proposed that Trump build a large luxury hotel, directly across from the Kremlin, in association with the Soviet government.

Mr.Trump at once became interested in the project and expressed his willingness to cooperate on such a project.

By January 1987, Mr.Trump had become a “prominent person” status and therefore Ambassador Dubinin deemed Mr.Trump interesting enough to arrange his trip to Moscow. U.S.-based Soviet diplomat, Vitaly Churkin—the future U.N. ambassador—was of assistance in this project.

Trump and the Numbers Game

There were 56.5 million Hispanics in the United States in 2015, accounting for 17.6% of the total U.S. population.

The Hispanic Mexican population of the United States is projected to grow to 107 million by 2065.

The share of the U.S. population that is Hispanic has been steadily rising over the past half century. In 2015, Hispanics made up 17.6% of the total U.S. population, up from 3.5% in 1960, the origins of the nation’s Hispanic population have diversified as growing numbers of immigrants from other Latin American nations and Puerto Rico settled in the U.S.

For example, between 1930 and 1980, Hispanics from places other than Mexico nearly doubled their representation among U.S. Hispanics, from 22.4% to 40.6%. But with the arrival of large numbers of Mexican immigrants in the 1980s and 1990s, the Mexican share among Hispanics grew, rising to a recent peak of 65.7%.

California has the largest legal poplation of Mexicans, 14,013,719. And  California is also home to almost 25% of the country’s undocumented population. California is followed by Texas where 31.14%,(8,500,000) are Mexican, Florida has 4,223,806 Mexicans, Illinois 2,153,000, Arizona,1,895,149, Colorado, 1,136,000 Georgia, 923,000, North Carolina, 890,000, and Washington, 858,000 Mexicans.

Given the fact that President Trump has strong personal dislikes for both Blacks and Latinos, manifest in his recent vicious treatment of Mexican immigrants in their legal attempts to immigrate to the United States, the sheer number of Mexicans now resident in the United States ought to give him, and his far-right Republican Congressional supporters serious pause in their denial of entrance for legal immigrant attempts and the subsequent brutal maltreatment of small children of these immigrants.

If the Mexican voting population of the United States were to organize, like the recent organizing of the black voting population of Alabma in opposition to the fanatical Judge Moore, the results in the November elections could well prove to be a stunning disaster for both Trump and the Republicans.

Numbers certainly count but Trump is obviously unaware of their potential danger, both to him and his right-wing radical supporters.

 

 

 

Despite huge numbers of misconduct complaings, cops at nypd’s 75th precinct keep getting promotions

There has been little to no accountability for the staggering number of lawsuits and substantiated civilian complaints against the troubled precinct.

August 23, 2020

by Tana Ganeva

The Intercept

On a cloudy in mid-December 2015, Justin McClarin was asleep in his basement apartment when New York Police Department Officers David Grieco and Michael Ardolino broke into his room. Grieco and Ardolino put McClarin in painfully tight handcuffs. When McClarin complained, the officers ignored him. Instead, they took McClarin outside and slammed him down on the pavement so hard that his shoulder became dislocated. The officers had neither an arrest nor search warrant. In a pending lawsuit from which this account is gathered, McClarin claims that they refused to give him a reason for his arrest.

Instead of taking McClarin to the hospital to treat his dislocated shoulder, Grieco and Ardolino took him to the NYPD’s notorious 75th Precinct. While he was restrained, officers at the 75th allegedly shot McClarin with a BB gun five times. The lawsuit also claims that the two officers knowingly lied to the district attorney, accusing McClarin of committing an undisclosed felony, leading to charges that were ultimately dropped. McClarin was released, but not before he spent six days in police custody.

McClarin’s lawsuit is seeking to hold New York City responsible for the alleged constitutional violations in part because of a pattern of the failure to hold police officers — in particular, the cops involved in McClarin’s case — to account. According to a database that tracks lawsuits, between 2015 and 2018, Ardolino was sued seven times, with one case settled, three pending, and three with unknown outcomes. The same data set lists 32 lawsuits that name Grieco, with 15 settled with cash from the city, nine pending, six with unknown outcomes, one verdict in Grieco’s favor, and one case dismissed with prejudice. The officer with the second-highest number of cases in the precinct has been sued 15 times. The suits have been costly for the city: The resolved cases against Grieco alone have resulted in more than $400,000 in payouts from the city to plaintiffs. (The NYPD declined to comment about the McClarin case and the officers’ records of lawsuits.)

Officers like Grieco and Ardolino have brought notoriety to the 75th Precinct. Based in East New York, a Brooklyn neighborhood stricken by poverty and a troubling history of racist neglect by the authorities, the 75th was the most sued precinct of New York City cops from 2015 to 2018, according to CAPstat, a website created by public defenders that tracks federal civil rights lawsuits against New York police. (CAPstat’s organizers emphasize that the website “is a demonstration project and does not represent the universe of data of police misconduct in New York City.”) The city has had to defend itself in 90 lawsuits brought against the 75th during that period, while the next most-sued precinct had 40 cases brought against it.

The lawsuits, though, are only part of the story. An Intercept analysis of newly available records from the files of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, known as the CCRB, shows that, in addition to the lawsuits, the 75th Precinct also leads the city in complaints of misconduct by the public. When it comes to serious allegations about police misconduct, the 75th Precinct has the worst record in New York. And the officers involved in the encounters rarely face consequences. Instead, in the years following substantiated complaints against them, officers in the 75th Precinct routinely got raises and promotions.

1,364 Complaints

There have been 1,364 allegations of misconduct against the 75th Precinct logged with the CCRB. In contrast, the neighboring 73rd Precinct has 688; the 69th, also adjacent, has 418. The 104th and 102th Precincts have 170 and 182 complaints, respectively. Many other precincts have under 50. The 78th Precinct, which covers the tony neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn, has only 46.

The records give a granular picture of allegations about police misconduct at the 75th Precinct — The Intercept found multiple cases in which officers from the 75th were accused of knowingly fabricating evidence, making a false arrest, or brutalizing residents — and the nearly complete lack of any accountability. The most severe disciplinary measures taken against police named in the complaints were docked vacation days, even when the CCRB recommended termination or suspension without pay.

Defense attorneys are well-aware of the 75th Precinct’s reputation. “In my practice, the 75th Precinct, covering East New York in Brooklyn, was not only one of the most prolific in terms of quantity of arrests, but also in violence, misconduct in all its forms, and routine constitutional violations,” Scott Hechinger, senior staff attorney and director of policy at Brooklyn Defender Services, a public defense group, told The Intercept. He added that despite the 75th Precinct’s notorious history, prosecutors continue to work with officers and the city continues to defend them in expensive lawsuits: “The cloak of absolute protection for cops is reinforced by all system actors.”

Grieco, one of the officers at the center of the McClarin lawsuit, appears to be uniquely prolific in racking up CCRB complaints. In addition to all the lawsuits, Grieco has also had 49 allegations made against him through the CCRB. In only 11 of those cases did the board exonerate him of any wrongdoing. In comparison, 41 percent of current NYPD service members have never had any complaints lodged against them, according to the CCRB’s 2018 annual report. Twenty-one percent have had only one complaint, 3 percent have had five, and only 9 percent have had six or more.

Like other cops in the 75th Precinct, all the lawsuits and CCRB complaints appear to have had little impediment to Grieco’s career. In the fiscal year 2017, after 11 years on the job and two years after the incident with McClarin, Grieco was promoted to detective third grade. His salary increased $10,000. A year later, in the 2018 fiscal year, Grieco was again promoted, this time to sergeant, and got another raise for $20,000 more.

An Intercept analysis cross-referencing CAPstat salary data with CCRB complaints shows that this was a widespread pattern at the 75th Precinct. Rather than being punished when civilian complaints of misconduct against them were substantiated, police at the 75th routinely got promotions and raises.

No Discipline

It took the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police — and the global protest movement the killing sparked — for even a limited accounting of the CCRB records to become public. In the wake of the protests, New York repealed a controversial law known as 50-a, which allowed police to keep misconduct records secret.

With the law off the books, public-interest advocates, including the press, sought to make the misconduct records public through public records requests and, subsequently, in court — where police unions sued to suppress the information and a judge blocked the release of police disciplinary records until August 18.  Eventually, the investigative news organization ProPublica released an incomplete set of CCRB data, which The Intercept used for its investigation. The ProPublica data set omitted both ongoing prosecutions — some of the worst cases — as well as those in which the board was unable to reach the complainant or secure their cooperation. (On Thursday, the New York Civil Liberties Union released a slightly broader data set with higher search functionality.)

Repealing 50-a was one of the few meaningful reforms backed by New York politicians who have long been averse to reforming the police. The recent widespread calls for the police’s funding to be drastically reduced gained little traction.

The newly released misconduct complaint records, however, when cross-referenced with pay and promotion data from CAPstat, starkly illustrate the limits of police accountability within the existing institutions. “We’ve tried reforms in the past, but the NYPD won’t follow the Constitution and aren’t deterred by criminal laws, let alone their own patrol guide,” said Hechinger of the Brooklyn Defenders.

In its analysis of CCRB data and lawsuits, cross-checking the information with officers’ pay history, The Intercept limited the data to cases in which the CCRB found the allegation against the officer to be substantiated and the misconduct extreme enough to recommend disciplinary charges — cases in which the cop in question faced termination, suspension without pay, docked vacation days, or “admonishment.” (Substantiated complaints with no disciplinary charges can lead to docked vacation days or more training, but the penalty applied is at the discretion of the police commissioner.)

The CCRB data paints a damning picture of the 75th. Fifty-five active police officers at the precinct have at least one complaint that was “substantiated with charges” on their record. Not only were none of these officers terminated, but, since 2000, police commissioners have not even applied the CCRB’s less harsh recommendation of temporary suspension without pay. Not a single one of the officers clocked fewer hours after the CCRB’s conclusion, according to CAPstat.

The NYPD declined to comment on The Intercept’s analysis of lawsuits and CCRB data on the 75th Precinct. Instead, Sgt. Jessica McRorie, a police spokesperson, pointed to years of reforms and trainings instituted for officers. “For years, the New York City Police Department has worked to refine its internal disciplinary system. Last year, an independent outside panel of former prosecutors and judges reviewed the system and found it to be fair and effective,” McRorie wrote in an email, adding that the department had also implemented further reforms recommended by the panel. “All of this advances the NYPD’s priority to make its internal disciplinary system as fair, effective, and transparent as it can for an agency privileged to manage a vast number of interactions with the public.”

Andrew Case, a former CCRB spokesperson, said suspensions are exceedingly rare. He once oversaw a complaint by a man who was beaten from behind by an officer with a baton with so much force, it ruptured his spleen. The officer barely faced consequences. “He got 10 vacation days docked,” Case said. “That’s their idea of what discipline should be.”

Not only did officers in the 75th Precinct with substantiated charges go undisciplined, but they also continued to make more and more money — both from raises and by harnessing NYPD’s infamous use of overtime pay. (As an example of overtime bloat, cops collectively raked in some $115 million in overtime pay in the first two weeks of the George Floyd protests.)

Every officer from the 75th Precinct who had complaints that were “substantiated with charges” got multiple raises in the years following the conclusion of their CCRB investigations, according to The Intercept’s analysis. More than half got raises the same year the CCRB substantiated complaints against them. Almost all of the officers in question also racked up thousands of dollars more in overtime pay than they had earned the year before complaints against them.

Take Grieco, who is known by the nickname “Bullethead.” In 2014, the year after the most serious CCRB complaint against him was substantiated, Grieco made $50,279 in overtime, up from $24,706 the year before. In 2015, he made $74,125 in overtime, nearly doubling his income over his salary of $78,026. Then came the promotions.

The Long History of the 75th

Today’s troubled 75th Precinct is not a historical aberration; the precinct has a long and sordid history of abuse, misconduct, and even criminal activity. In the 1980s, a group of detectives collaborated with drug cartels, taking bribes, running crack and cocaine, and robbing cartel rivals. One former officer, who helped plot to murder the wife of a rival drug dealer, served 13 years in prison and another detective served eight. Other officers who were involved served no time. The case prompted the formation of the Mollen Commission to study police corruption and misconduct — with damning results about corruption and abuse, in particular everyday brutality against the people of East New York.

Yet police in the 75th have carried on the patten of abuse at alarming rates. And, unlike the cartel case, many officers faced no consequences for their criminal activity. In 1992, two men were arrested for the murder of a 16-year-old girl, despite the absence of any physical evidence that they were involved. The two men, Everton Wagstaffe and Reginald Connor didn’t face murder charges, but were convicted of kidnapping in the case and served 23 and 15 years in prison, respectively.

In 2015, Wagstaffe and Connor were fully exonerated after DNA evidence cleared them. The state Appellate Division found that cops had withheld critical evidence — and then lied about it. Wagstaffe and Connor sued the city on the basis that they had been framed for murder by the cops. Eventually, they settled for a $25 million payout at the public’s expense.

The city never admitted any wrongdoing. Of the four officers named in the suit, two remain on the police force, one has since passed, and the fourth retired and is celebrated among NYPD for being featured in the book “The Making of a Detective.” None of the police officers ever faced any consequences.

“What I think police officers did to Reggie is tragic,” Conners’s lawyer, Emma Freudenberger, told The Intercept. “And there are how many Reggie Connors who are sitting in prison because police aren’t held accountable for following the rules?”

Given this decadeslong history and the absence of consequences for the police involved, advocates have little faith in the reforms championed by powerful New York politicians like Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. While de Blasio doesn’t have the authority to discipline rogue cops, Case, the former CCRB spokesperson, said, he does have the ability to hold the police commissioner accountable — but that’s unlikely to happen. “The police commissioner serves at the pleasure of the mayor. If the mayor wanted to replace him, he could,” Case said. “I don’t think de Blasio wants to do that. He’s trying to please the cops, but they never liked him.”

Hechinger agrees that the incremental reforms being proposed by politicians are unlikely to work. “If we don’t take decisive action knowing what we know now,” he said, “we will send the loud and clear message of continued impunity to the 75th and all precincts through the city.”

 

 

Top U.S. security official says he cannot send law enforcement to polling sites

August 23, 2020

by Ted Hesson

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s top homeland security official said on Sunday that his department does not have the authority to send law enforcement to polling sites during the November election despite Trump’s suggestion that federal officers could be deployed to guard against election fraud.

“That’s not what we do at the Department of Homeland Security,” Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said on CNN’S “State of the Union.” “We have express authorities authorized by Congress and this is not one of them,” he added.

Trump has said repeatedly and without evidence that a shift to universal mail-in voting – something most states have not proposed doing – will lead to fraud in the Nov. 3 election. The Republican president is running against Democratic challenger Joe Biden, who currently holds a substantial lead in public opinion polls.

Trump told Fox News on Thursday that law enforcement, including sheriffs and U.S. attorneys, would be deployed to polling stations around the country to stop fraud.

Civil liberties groups said sending police to polling sites could be viewed as voter intimidation, which is prohibited under federal and state laws. Several states bar police presence at polling sites, according to New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, a non-partisan public policy institute.

Law enforcement personnel with the Department of Homeland Security were deployed to Portland, Oregon, in July to respond to protests against racial injustice. This caused tensions with state and local officials but Wolf defended the move.

Wolf also said on Sunday that he had seen no evidence that countries such as Russia and China were planning to forge mail-in ballots to influence the U.S. election, another Trump claim.

Wolf said the department was focused on cybersecurity threats, such as campaigns by other nations to spread false information online.

Reporting by Ted Hesson; Editing by Mary Milliken and Chizu Nomiyama

 

Encyclopedia of American loons

 

Terry England

 

Christina England is one of the looniest conspiracy theorists in the anti-vaccine movement (a hero at whale.to), but also British – just thought we should mention her anyways just in case anyone ever runs into her.

Terry England is not related to Christina (as far as we know), and is admittedly not anywhere as dangerously insane. Change the contrast class to normally bright people, however, and Terry England is still quite staggeringly lunatic. England is a state representative in Georgia, and most famous on a national level for defending a bill that would outlaw all abortions after 20 weeks … of fetuses already dead or so congenitally deformed that it had no hope of living after birth. Well, we can have a debate about whether abortion is the taking of a life or deprivation of a future or whatever, but what could possibly have been the rationale behind England’s bill? Going through labor and giving birth to a corpse is a life experience for the woman, according to England. Right. England has worked on a farm, and cows and pigs don’t get the benefit of a medical procedure to remove dead calves and piglets; they just have to buck up and deliver it. So it follows that human breeder sows have to do the same, doesn’t it? Also, some guy he met was willing to give up all the chickens he used for chicken fights (!) if only abortions were banned, and England found that really moving.

And if you’re thinking that “well, one foolish comment should not suffice to qualify as a loon,” rest assured. England is also a hardcore climate change denialist. “[W]hen I see sound science that points to climate change and global warming as something that man is causing and that is not something happening naturally, then I will consider [enacting environmental regulations aimed at reducing the effects of climate change].” Of course, given England’s unwillingness to look and ability to evaluate evidence, you can rest assured that this will never happen.

Diagnosis: Oh, relatively stock example of a village idiot elected state legislator, and Georgia has an impressive clown car’s worth of them

 

 William Engdahl

 

There are (at least) three strategies available to the science denialist. First, you can try to pretend that science supports your position by cherry-picking the scientific literature or quote-mining; second, you can try to argue that the science “isn’t settled yet”, usually by finding a crazy loner with questionably relevant credentials who disagree with the overwhelming consensus; or – the most common one – you can fall back on conspiracies: Scientists know or suspect the truth, but are either too afraid of their reputations to investigate radical alternatives (since nothing will bar you from fame and recognition or a Nobel prize more effectively than discovering something new) or simply paid to hide it from the general public.

William Engdahl is not afraid to appeal to conspiracies when science doesn’t yield the results he wants, and has made a bit of a career out of it as a freelance journalist and an “independent” historian, researcher and author of books like Myths, Lies and Oil Wars and Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order. Engdahl is a long-time associate of the LaRouche movement and has, in fact, written many articles for their publications.

Many of his writings concern oil and international politics and economics relating to oil. To assess the value of his output, one should probably notice that Engdahl is a “peak oil denialist”. In fact, Engdahl is a proponent of abiotic oil, the idea that petroleum is not biological in origin and hence that peak oil is a politically motivated conspiracy to … well, you know, some vague gestures about controlling people. Conveniently enough, Engdahl is also a global warming denialist; according to Engdahl, global warming, like peak oil, is merely a “scare” and a “thinly veiled attempt to misuse climate to argue for a new Malthusian reduction of living standards for the majority of the world while a tiny elite gains more power.” GMOs, on the other hand, are dangerous, and the fact that science is in pretty much agreement to the contrary can easily be explained away by appeals to corporation-driven conspiracies (he doesn’t hesitate to cite the few studies that point in a direction he has already determined that studies ought to point in – we’re talking experienced denialism here). He’s even written a book on the topic, Seeds of Destruction. The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, which does precisely what you think it does: Start with the conclusion Engdahl wants to defend in the face of scientific consensus; cherrypick and selectively quote studies that can conceivably be used to serve his agenda, and dismiss the rest by appeals to conspiracy theories, where the evidence for a conspiracy consist precisely of the fact that the vast majority of scientists disagree with Engdahl (who, again, has no relevant expertise on the issues in question).

In a 2011 interview with Russia Today Engdahl stated that the 2011 Egyptian Revolution was orchestrated by the Pentagon to facilitate Barack Obama’s Middle East foreign policy: “The ultimate goal of the US is to take the resources of Africa and Middle East under military control to block economic growth in China and Russia, thus taking the whole of Eurasia under control.” And the Arab Spring was a plan “(…) first announced by George W. Bush at a G8 meeting in 2003 and it was called ‘The Greater Middle East Project’.” Don’t let details, evidence and reason get in the way of a good conspiracy theory, shall we?

Diagnosis: The kind of guy Jerome Corsi and Tom Bethell turn to for information. A total joke, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t possess some influence over the weak of mind or the seriously misinformed.

 

 

 Rick Emmer

 

Skimming through the entries in our Encyclopedia, at least one group of truly American loons seems to be strikingly underrepresented: the bigfooters. Oh, yes, we’ve covered Mark Russell Bell, who is pushing an updated version of the Bible that also includes information on bigfoot and UFOs, and the good Arthur David Horn had some ventures into that territory before he discovered Zechariah Sitchin and David Icke. But when it comes to real, serious bigfoot researchers, we haven’t got much.

Give a warm welcome, therefore, to Rick Emmer. Emmer is the author of Bigfoot: Fact or Fiction, and apparently hasn’t quite mastered the distinction suggested in his title. As with a lot of Bigfoot hunters, Emmer claims that bigfoot was first discovered by Leif Eiriksson during his discovery of Newfoundland – there is no textual evidence for such claims, of course, but that doesn’t prevent Emmer from quoting … something (almost certainly Peter Byrne, another bigfoot crackpot and the author of The Search for Big Foot: Monster, Myth or Man? since Emmer, like Byrne, claims that Eiriksson called the native population “skellrings”, when they would have used “skrælings” or “skrellings”, a typo that would have been obvious if Emmer had gone to a primary source or translation done by a real historian instead of crackpot rantings by a fellow lunatic). The real sagas contain no trace of any encounter that can be interpreted as even remotely “bigfooty”, but why go to the primary sources when mining your own deranged imagination is so much more fun? The rest of the scholarship of the book is of comparable quality.

As a matter of fact, Emmer might not quite fit the bill as a bigfoot fanatic. It turns out that he has actually written a whole series of cryptozoology books with the title “X: Fact or Fiction”, where “X” is “kraken”, “megalodon”, “giant anaconda” and – but of course – “the Loch Ness monster” If he had applied a minimum of rigorous scholarship and intellectual honesty, these would all have been very short books consisting mostly of the word “no” (without bothering to double check I assume that the megalodon in question is supposed to be a currently existing megalodon, an idea famous from several Discovery Channel docufrauds).

Diagnosis: Oh, well. We suspect that Emmer isn’t much of a loon when push comes to show. But his fans clearly are, and if you weigh Emmer’s contributions to humanity he’ll be found sorely wanting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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