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TBR News August 24, 2019

Aug 24 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. August 24, 2019:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Commentary for August 24:” The Internet is a wonderful thing; a highway for information and a great source of reference material. It is also, obviously, a breeding ground for eccentrics and outright lunatics of every stripe. The so-called blogs are little better than private group therapy sessions for the frustrated, lonely and self-important and much of the alleged news being disseminated by them belongs, clearly, in a psychiatric journal or on a public lavatory wall, not a public forum.

This sort of idiocy is redolent of stories that the World Trade Center was destroyed by Soviet-inspired plasmoid clouds or that the Lost Continent of Atlantis is about to emerge from the depths of Lake Erie.

In 1979, the United States military actually created a secret ‘First Earth Battalion’ intended to form warrior monks, soldiers capable of walking through walls, becoming invisible, reading minds and even killing a goat simply by staring at it. This include a general who was troubled by not being able to walk through his wall: Add to this the lunatic CIA MK-ULTRA program or the Remote Viewing CIA nonsense, and we can see that very often, the inmates are running the asylum. They are certainly running the Republican Party. into the ground.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Factbox: From phone makers to farmers, the toll of Trump’s trade wars
  • ‘I hereby order’: Trump mocked for highly formal, meaningless decree
  • S. Chamber of Commerce rejects Trump call on business with China
  • Enraged Trump likens Fed chief to ‘enemy’ China
  • Stocks close with steep losses as Trump, China escalate trade war
  • What Is the US Role in the Hong Kong Protests?
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The Delight of the Right: Fake Nazi Relics

 

Factbox: From phone makers to farmers, the toll of Trump’s trade wars

August 23, 2019

Reuters

(Reuters) – The world’s two largest economies, China and the United States, on Friday exchanged blows in the latest escalation in their trade war that has roiled supply chains and whipsawed financial markets.

China said it would slap retaliatory tariffs on about $75 billion worth of U.S. goods, while President Donald Trump announced a 5 percentage-point hike in tariffs already in place and others set to take effect next month.

Trump also demanded that U.S. companies take steps to exit China, throwing a new twist into a bitter trade war now in its second year, although Trump cannot legally compel U.S. companies to abandon China immediately.

Beijing’s planned tariffs will add as much as 10% on top of existing rates after Trump said he would impose tariffs on another $300 billion worth of Chinese products.

Washington has long pressed Beijing for wide-ranging economic reforms, including better protection for American intellectual property, ending subsidies that favor Chinese state-owned enterprises, and improving access to China’s markets for U.S. companies.The United States has already imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese imports. Trump has said bad trade deals with China and others have cost millions of American jobs.

Below are some of the costs of Trump’s push to rewrite the terms of global trade with China and other top trade partners:

GLOBAL ECONOMY

Fitch Ratings has estimated that extending tariffs to cover another $300 billion in Chinese goods would chop 0.4% from world economic output.

The International Monetary Fund said last month that global trade in the first quarter of 2019 was the slowest since 2012, noting big downside risks for world growth if more tariffs are imposed.

Trump has said China pays the tariffs he has imposed on Chinese goods, but tariffs are paid by U.S.-registered firms when the products enter the United States. Importers often pass the cost onto consumers via higher prices

FARMING & ENERGY

American farmers have been among the hardest hit so far. China is the top market for many of their biggest crops and has hit them with retaliatory tariffs, aiming at U.S. farmers because they helped vote Trump into power.

The trade war has hurt sales of many agricultural products, including fruit, meat and grains. Soybeans are the single biggest U.S. agricultural export, most of which went to China before the trade war.

U.S. soybean exports to China were at their lowest level since 2002 in the January-June period, according to U.S. government data. Pork exports are at a nine-year low, and shipments of U.S. sorghum are down 96% from a 2015 peak.

Corn and soybean futures prices tumbled in response to Beijing’s announcement.

To compensate for lost sales to China, the U.S. government has offered $28 billion in aid to U.S. farmers, of which about $8.6 billion had been doled out as of the end of June.

U.S. crude was also on the list of new Chinese tariffs, causing oil prices to drop on Friday. U.S. crude fell 3.47% to $53.40 per barrel and Brent was last at $58.56, down 2.27%.

TECH

Tech companies were the among the hardest hit on Friday, with tech stocks on the S&P 500 index closing down 3.2% close. The tariff-sensitive Philadelphia chip index .SOX slid 4.4%. Shares of chip manufacturer Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O) lost 5.3% and Apple Inc (AAPL.O) fell 4.6%.

Tariffs are costing the U.S. tech sector $1.3 billion a month, the Consumer Technology Association said in a statement to the United States trade representative in June. The U.S. plan for more tariffs would raise the retail price of cellphones by an average of $70, laptop computers by $120 and video game consoles by $56, the association has said.

Apple’s AirPod, Apple Watch and HomePod, which have helped the company offset waning sales of its bestselling iPhone this year, will face a 15% levy on Sept 1. MacBooks and iPhones will face 15% tariffs on Dec. 15.

The company said in June that the new round of U.S. tariffs would reduce its contributions to the U.S. economy and hurt its global competitiveness.

RETAIL WOES

U.S. retailers say consumers will be hit especially hard by the tariffs due to take effect in two stages, on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association estimates that 77% of U.S. imports of apparel, footwear and home textiles from China – or about $39 billion worth of goods – will be hit when the new 15% tariffs kick in on Sept. 1.

The tariffs already imposed on China are estimated to cost the average American household $600 per year, according to a report by JPMorgan Chase. That will rise to $1,000 if the tariffs on another $300 billion of U.S. imports take place, the bank added.

VEHICLES, EQUIPMENT

Carmakers would be risking significant sales if they abandoned China.

General Motors Co (GM.N) last year sold more than 3.64 million vehicles in China, accounting for more than 43 percent of unit sales globally. Ford Motor Co (F.N) last year reported revenue in Asia Pacific of $12.4 billion. Ford does not break out China revenue, but the country accounted for the majority of its

Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs have added billions of dollars to the cost of assembling U.S. vehicles, and tariffs on Chinese-made parts have also hiked costs.

Motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson (HOG.N) was hit by retaliatory tariffs from the European Union for the metals tariffs. The company calculates spending $100 million on tariff costs in 2019.

Motor home maker Winnebago Industries Inc (WGO.N) said it expected at least $10 million in added cost pressures in fiscal 2020 from the latest tariffs and proposed duties.

Equipment manufacturer Deere & Co (DE.N) last week trimmed its full-year earnings forecast for the second time in three months, citing the U.S.-China trade war and bad weather, and said it will cut production at its facilities in Illinois and Iowa in the second half of 2019.

Deere and rival Case New Holland CNHCN.UL have passed on higher costs from metals tariffs to customers, further lifting farm costs.

OTHER RISING COSTS

Steel and aluminum tariffs were among the first to be levied by the United States in early 2018 and included imports from almost the entire world. The move benefited U.S. steel producers, but not the manufacturers that process the metal.

The tariff burden on U.S. steel and aluminum buyers was almost $5 billion last year, according to the American Action Forum.

Reporting by Jonas Ekblom in Washington and Chris Prentice in New York; Additional reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit and David Shepardson and Andrea Shalal in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler

 

‘I hereby order’: Trump mocked for highly formal, meaningless decree

Trump’s demand that US companies boycott China, which he doesn’t have the power to enforce, inspired responses on Twitter

August 23, 2019

by Luke O’Neil

The Guardian

Leaning further into a burgeoning economic war with China of his own design, Donald Trump on Friday levied a series of bizarre demands of American companies who do business in the country.

They included an order for American firms to cease production in China.

“Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.”

The proclamation, which the president does not have the power to enforce, might have been expected to unleash a wave of panic and terror among America’s mostly capitalist citizenry – such state-mandated orders are, after all, the stuff of planned-economy communist countries.

But instead, America’s Twitter-sphere resorted mainly to mocking Trump and his rhetorical flourishes. Soon “I hereby order” was taking on a life of its own: from top politicians down to the man-in-the-street Twitter inhabitant.

Adam Schiff

   @RepAdamSchiff 

As long as we are claiming constitutional powers we don’t have, I hereby order the President to stop tweeting.

Congressman Adam Schiff, a frequent critic of Trump, was among the many on Twitter to make light of the concept of issuing decrees via tweet as if one were an all powerful wizard (or monarch).

Congressman Eric Swalwell pointed out the irony of a president so adamantly against socialism using his executive power to dictate how businesses operate by the whims of his desires when that is how people like him often falsely characterize it.

Rep. Eric Swalwell

   @RepSwalwell 

Fun fact: #iherebyorder is socialism.

13K 

1:02 PM – Aug 23, 2019

Like others, he also took the opportunity to shift the focus to the state of Trump’s deteriorating mental health.

Curiously, but perhaps unsurprisingly considering this is the internet, more than a few people used the developing meme as a chance to post pictures and videos of dogs.

In short, it was simply another weird day under the Trump administration, during a week in which he has already called himself “The Chosen One” and picked a fight with Denmark because of its refusal to consider selling him Greenland.

 

U.S. Chamber of Commerce rejects Trump call on business with China

August 23, 2019

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce rebuffed President Donald Trump’s call Friday that U.S. businesses begin immediately looking for alternatives for operations in China after China said it was imposing new retaliatory tariffs.

“While we share the president’s frustration, we believe that continued, constructive engagement is the right way forward,” said Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of international Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce in a statement, urging both sides to quickly reach a trade deal. “Time is of the essence. We do not want to see a further deterioration of US-China relations.”

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

 

Enraged Trump likens Fed chief to ‘enemy’ China

August 23, 2019

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump reacted furiously on Friday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell linked the trade war with China to risks to the U.S. economy, asking whether the man he handpicked to run the U.S. central bank was a greater “enemy” than Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

“As usual, the Fed did NOTHING! It is incredible that they can ‘speak’ without knowing or asking what I am doing, which will be announced shortly,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “We have a very strong dollar and a very weak Fed. I will work ‘brilliantly’ with both, and the U.S. will do great.”

“My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?”

It was unclear what Trump meant when he said he would work “brilliantly” with both, and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Trump has repeatedly accused the Fed of keeping monetary policy too tight, which he says has boosted the value of the dollar and undercut economic growth.

The president said in a subsequent Twitter post that he would respond later on Friday to China’s announcement on Friday that it would impose additional tariffs on U.S. products, the latest salvo in the U.S.-China trade war.

Trump has been pressuring the Fed to lower interest rates aggressively, arguing that the dollar’s strength is undermining the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers.

With some signs of growing recession risks in the United States, Trump administration officials have discussed actions to prevent a downturn before the November 2020 presidential election, according to media reports.

Those have included the imposition of a currency transaction tax to weaken the dollar and a rotation of Fed governors to try to undercut Powell’s influence, the Washington Post reported, moves that would likely require congressional action.

Powell, in a speech earlier on Friday, stopped short of committing to further rate cuts. He characterized the U.S. economy as in a “favorable place” but facing “significant” risks, especially from what Fed officials have described as the harmful effects of the White House’s trade war with China.

Before Powell spoke, a senior Trump adviser urged the Fed chief to lower rates. “America, we have your back. That’s all he has to say,” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said in an interview with Fox Business Network.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Paul Simao

 

Stocks close with steep losses as Trump, China escalate trade war

August 23, 2019

by Sylvan Lane

The Hill

Stocks closed with steep losses Friday after President Trump pledged to retaliate against a new round of Chinese tariffs on U.S. goods.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed with a loss of 2.4 percent, a 623-point drop, while the Nasdaq composite and S&P 500 ended Friday down 3 percent and 2.6 percent respectively.

Markets were on track for solid gains Friday morning until China announced it would impose tariffs of 5 percent to 10 percent on $75 billion in imports from the U.S. The new tariffs follow Trump’s decision earlier this month to levy a 10-percent import tax on more than $300 billion in Chinese goods.

Trump responded to Beijing’s new tariffs in a series of tweets by teasing another round of retaliation and ordering U.S. businesses to seek alternatives to operating and manufacturing products in China.

“The vast amounts of money made and stolen by China from the United States, year after year, for decades, will and must STOP. Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing … your companies HOME and making your products in the USA,” Trump tweeted, though it is dubious if he has the power to command such a move.

“I will be responding to China’s Tariffs this afternoon. This is a GREAT opportunity for the United States,” he tweeted.

Trump also pressed FedEx, UPS, Amazon and the U.S. Postal Service to boost their efforts to identify and halt shipments of the opioid fentanyl from China. The president’s tweets sunk shares of FedEx, UPS and Amazon, along with major tech companies and other firms with business in China.

While Friday stock selloff was driven largely by Trump’s escalating trade war, the president joked on Twitter that the decline was due to the departure of Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) from the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

“The Dow is down 573 points perhaps on the news that Representative Seth Moulton, whoever that may be, has dropped out of the 2020 Presidential Race!” Trump tweeted less than an hour before the closing bell.

The Dow fell another 50 points after Trump’s tweet before trading ended at 4 p.m.

 

What Is the US Role in the Hong Kong Protests?

August 24, 2019

by Reese Erlich

AntiWar

I first met Jason Lee when he was promoting jazz concerts in his hometown of Hong Kong. More recently, he has been sending me Facebook messages about the Hong Kong protests. You would think that a relatively prosperous, 43-year-old Hong Konger would support the demonstrations that have rocked that city since June. Well, you may be surprised by his views.

Lee, who spends time in both Hong Kong and mainland China, says protesters’ attacks on police and government buildings “are going too far.” Referring to how they recently closed the Hong Kong airport, he asks, “Would the USA let JFK airport be occupied for one day?”

Protesters carrying British flags and spray painting anti-communist slogans on legislative offices don’t understand the region’s colonial history when British troops brutally occupied Hong Kong, Lee tells me in a phone interview.

“I’m Chinese from Hong Kong,” says Lee. “I love my country, China.”

The protest movement began in opposition to a proposed extradition law, which demonstrators claimed would allow political dissidents to be extradited to China. Hong Kong officials said the law wouldn’t be used for political repression but later withdrew it.

Some Hong Kongers, Lee included, think the protesters’ calls for “democracy” are really demands for independence from China, even a return to British colonial rule.

“They want the movement to go on and on by raising new demands,” Lee says. “And then they claim the government isn’t responding.”

Sharp class divisions

One major factor driving the protests is economic inequality. For many years, Hong Kong was a key financial and commercial outpost for the People’s Republic of China (PRC). But, as the PRC’s economy expanded, it didn’t need Hong Kong as a middle man and the territory’s economy declined relative to China’s.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong billionaires made huge profits leading to one of the world’s highest rates of income inequality.

Housing is now in short supply and Hong Kong rents are the highest in the world. Many young adults still live with their parents or crowd into small, subdivided apartments.

“My apartment is 350 square feet,” Sean Starrs, a Hong Kong professor, told the Real News Network. “My students say, well what do you do with all that space?”

And, as always, Washington is happy to take advantage of those complaints for its own odious purposes.

In the old days, the CIA would slip wads of cash to dissidents in order to promote anti-government riots and install pro-U.S. regimes. That method worked for Iran in 1953 and Chile in 1973.

Nowadays, the United States uses the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to spread propaganda to accomplish the same goals. The NED is supposed to build democracy but in reality promotes dissidents who favor U.S. style capitalism, and it funds aspiring autocrats.

I don’t think the CIA initiated the demonstrations, but the events bear a strong resemblance to other U.S.-manipulated “color” revolutions.

Color revolutions vs. genuine uprisings

With the collapse of the USSR in 1991, several former Soviet republics faced a series of elections, mass demonstrations and coups. In Georgia the uprising was called a “rose revolution.” In Ukraine, it was orange. During the 2013 Maidan revolt in Ukraine, the US role in manipulating the mass movement and selecting the country’s new president was revealed publicly.

On the other hand, popular, mass uprisings in 2011 overthrew dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt. So how do you tell the difference between genuine uprisings and the color revolts?

The key questions are who is leading the protests and what would happen if they took power? Would the country go in a progressive direction or join the reactionary camp led by the United States? While no one party or recognized coalition leads the Hong Kong protests, there are identifiable political trends.

Political trends in Hong Kong

The pan-democratic forces call for universal suffrage and direct elections of Hong Kong officials. Critics say those calls for democracy cover up their close alliance with US policy and their rejection of eventual unity with China. The pan-democrats suffered surprising losses in last year’s legislative council elections.

The umbrella protests of 2014 accelerated the rise of another trend, the localists, a xenophobic rightwing movement that calls for “self determination” (independence) from Beijing.

“They think Hong Kongers are better than Chinese,” says Elvin Ho, a retired business consultant living in Hong Kong. Native Hong Kongers mostly speak Cantonese, he explains in a phone interview. “Localists will pick a fight with random targets during the riot, who speak Mandarin, and bully them.”

Imagine for a moment that the PRC ceased to exist. Would Hong Kong transform itself into a democratic society? I think some combination of localists and pan-democratic forces would come to power and then violently repress those who supported the PRC and the previous Hong Kong government.

Sound farfetched? That’s what has happened when the pro-western forces came back to power in Ukraine and Hungary.

But the PRC does exist, and it’s not about to allow Hong Kong independence. China has massed paramilitary police along the Hong Kong border as a clear threat against the protesters. Many Hong Kongers are getting tired of the constant disruptions and violence on both sides.

So far the Hong Kong government has bided its time, hoping the public will tire of the constant turmoil. We can only hope the current crisis ends without further violence.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

August 24, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Conversation No. 42

Date: Monday, October 14, 1996

Commenced: 9:45 AM CST

Concluded: 10:21 AM CST

 

GD: Robert.

RTC: Good morning, Gregory.

GD: Have you heard anything more from Critchfield?

RTC: Yes, I have. He’s calmed down some and is now blaming me for blindsiding him.

GD: Well, actually you did. Telling him I was one of his boys.

RTC: I implied, Gregory. Only implied. And Jim is trying to dig up more information for his stupid book and he went for it. It worked out fine, but he cursed at me and said I got him in over his head.

GD: Pompous asshole. One of these days, I’ll get out the story about him and Atwood selling Russian atomic shells to the Pakis. You know Jim was the arms dealer and Critchfield was building a retirement nest egg so they went ahead with this. Jim’s people had been supplying the Afghan rebels with weapons to use against the Russians and the connections are there. Just think, Robert. They sold thirty shells to potential lunatic enemies. Oh, they might be thankful we helped them but in the end, they are religious fanatics and they will prove to be a real crown of thorns to us. Just an opinion, of course.

RTC: Well, Jim would like to find some way to shut you up, short of killing you. He’s not in power anymore so maybe he’ll bribe you.

GD: In my experience, Robert, those people never bribe anyone. They threaten them and yell at them, but never resort to an actual bribe. Unless, of course, they are bribing a Russian military person to get them some atomic shells. Then, they bribe.

RTC: Not to offend you, Gregory, but would you take a bribe?

GD: Depends on how much and what the issue is. Generally, people don’t try to bribe me. Threaten me, of course, or insult me, certainly, but no bribes. I wonder what would happen to Critchfield’s precious image if it ever came out? Atwood is known as a piece of worthless shit and he has no reputation to lose.

RTC: Jim is very incensed about Atwood at this point.

GD: Remember, we have a bet.

RTC: Not a real bet.

GD: I have been reading over some of this ZIPPER business, Robert. Very interesting to say the least.

RTC: Now, Gregory, we are not specific on the phone.

GD: No, no, I’m aware of that. You know, what with all the strange stories about that incident, I might have an uphill fight to get the book accepted.

RTC: Ah yes, the nut fringe. Highly entertaining material.

GD: Yes, but rather misleading.

RTC: Oh that’s why we support them, Gregory. Muddy the waters. Keep the public eye elsewhere. Away from dangerous subjects. The public loves conspiracies so we supply them. A real conspiracy is difficult to conceal, Gregory. Too many people, too many chances for leaks. Joe gets drunk and tells his brother and so on. Sometimes, we’ve had to remove people like that, but not very often. Johnson was in the know but I doubt if he’d tell Lady Bird, let alone a reporter. And officially, don’t forget that Hoover was also on board. His people can shut you down very quickly. They’ll find a machine gun under the front seat of your car and off you go, screaming innocence all the way to the big house.

GD: But what happens if an FBI man says something?

RTC: Well, they aren’t bulletproof. Bill Sullivan found that out.

GD: Oh yes, I saw the name in the ZIPPER papers.

RTC: He was Hoover’s man in that. And other projects as well. Bill and Hoover had a falling out and Hoover sacked him. Not only did he sack him, Hoover began to threaten him. I guess Bill got terminated finally because he had begun to grumble too much and to the wrong people.

GD: What happened? A car accident?

RTC: No, he went out for a walk one morning and some young hunter thought he was a deer and shot him in the head.

GD: Oh my, what a tragedy.

RTC: Bill thought that because J. Edgar was dead, he could mouth off. He was a bitter man, Gregory, and then he was a dead one. With all his baggage, Bill should have stayed in New Hampshire and enjoyed his retirement.

GD: Baggage?

RTC: You don’t know any of this, of course, but Sullivan was up to his neck in business that would have put him away for life if it ever came out. He was top man in the Bureau and Hoover’s hatchet man. Besides being involved up to his neck in the ZIPPER business, Bill also took out King and Bobby Kennedy.

GD: Jesus H. Christ, Robert.

RTC: Well, we get the blame for all kinds of shit and it’s comforting to spread it around. Certainly. Old Hoover hated both King and Bobby. Why? Hoover has been suspected of being a high yellow…

GD: What?

RTC: Part black. True or not, it’d gotten around and he knew about it. Hoover also was probably a queer but again, not proven. He had his areas of great sensitivity, let’s say. No, he hated King because J. Edgar hated blacks. I mean really hated them. Wouldn’t let them in the Bureau and persecuted any black leaders he could. Like Marcus Garvey.

GD: And King.

RTC: Hoover was outraged that King had a white girlfriend and did everything he and his Bureau did to slam him. Finally, as he got older, Hoover got nuttier and decided to have him killed. Sullivan ran that operation. First they tried to tap his phones and plant stories about him and when that didn’t work, they offed him.

GD: What about James Earl Ray?

RTC: Another Oswald. You see, the Bureau has a very small group of miscreants who do jobs on people. Sullivan ran them for Hoover. Ray was a very minor and very low class crook. A smash and grab type. Bust a window in an appliance store and run off with an iron or a toaster. Break into a laundromat, jimmy open the coin boxes on the machines, steal the coins and then cut his bare feet on the broken glass he left breaking the window. Hardly sophisticated enough to shoot King, escape to Canada, get a fake Canadian passport in the name of a Montreal police officer and flee to England. Not likely, Gregory. If Ray knew who put him up to being a front, they would have killed him just like they shot Oswald. Ray didn’t know, although he probably guessed at one point, and off he went for the rest of his life. He can scream innocent until he dies and no one will listen.

GD: And Bobby?

RTC: Bobby was a nasty piece of shit who made enemies whenever he went for a walk. He was his brother’s hit man, in a figurative sense, his pimp. He was the AG, put in there by Joe so Joe could get back his confiscated Farben stock and also go after the mob. Back in Prohibition, I can tell you, Joe was a partner of Capone’s and Joe was stupid enough to rip Al off. Al put out a contract on Joe and Joe had to pay Al to cancel it. And from then on, Joe was out to get anyone in the Mob. Pathological shit, Joe was.

GD: My grandfather told me all about him.

RTC: Well, when Bobby got to be AG, he harassed old Hoover, trying to make him quit. Not a very good idea, but then Bobby thought he was safe. His father was very rich, his brother was President and he thought he couldn’t be touched. For example, Hoover used to take a nap on his office couch every day and Bobby would bang into his office and wake him up. And worse, Bobby would tell his friends, at parties where there were many ears, that Hoover was an old faggot.

GD: Some people seem to have a death wish. This reminds me of the street freak who climbed over the wall at the San Francisco zoo once, climbed right into the outdoor tiger rest area, walked up to a sleeping male tiger and kicked him in the balls. Tiger was very angry, got up in a rage, smacked the intruder, killed him and was eating him, right in front of the horrified zoo visitors. That kind of a thing, right?

RTC: A good analogy. You grasp the situation, Hoover stayed in power because he had files on all the men in power, to include JFK and his father. Not a man to antagonize is it?

GD: I would think not.

RTC: Johnson was terrified of Hoover and kissed his ass on every occasion, but Bobby was running for president and it looked like he might make it. That’s when Hoover talked to Sullivan and we know the rest. Just some background here. This Arab….

GD: Sirhan.

RTC: Yes. Note that Kennedy had come down from his suite in the Ambassador Hotel to give a victory speech. Came into the hall from the front door with all his happy staff. Big crowd. One of his aides, Lowenstein, I believe, told him they should go out through the kitchen exit. And there was what’s-his-name waiting. But he shot at Kennedy without question, with a dinky .22 but never got to within five feet of him. The official autopsy report said Kennedy was shot behind the ear at a distance of two inches. Now that sounded to me like a very inside job. They steered him into an area where an assassin was known to be waiting and made sure he bought the farm. In all the screaming and confusion, just a little bit of work by a trusted aide or bodyguard and Bobby was fatally shot. That was the second one of Hoover’s pet hates. The first one reminded him of the nigger relationship and the other had called him a faggot. Hoover had his moments but if you stepped on his toes, off came your head. But Hoover was afraid of Sullivan so he left him alone.

GD: Then…

RTC: We decided that Sullivan, freed of the spirit of Hoover, who had died some years before, Sullivan began to talk just a little. We didn’t care about the King or the Bobby business but if he talked about ZIPPER, we would be in the soup, so Sullivan had to go.

GD: Someone persuaded him to put on a deer suit?

RTC: No, he was walking in the woods and some kid, armed with a rifle and a telescopic sight, blew him away. Terribly remorseful. Severe punishment for him. Lost his hunting license for a year. Think of that, Gregory. For a whole year. A terrible tragedy and that was the end of that.

GD: Can I use that?

RTC: If you want. It’s partially public record. If you can dig it out on your own…

GD: I’ll try. Thanks for the road map.

RTC: Why, think nothing of it.

GD: But back to the ZIPPER thesis. I was saying about the proliferation of conspiracy books that I would have trouble.

RTC: Of course, Gregory. We paid most of those people to put out nut stuff. Why the Farrell woman, one of the conspiracy theme people, is one of ours. We have others. We have a stable of well-paid writers whose sole orders are to produce pieces that excite the public and keep them away from uncomfortable truths. I imagine if and when you publish, an army of these finks will roar like your angry tiger and we won’t have to pay them a dime. They’ve carved out a territory and if you don’t agree with them, they will shit all over you. I wish you luck, Gregory. And I can guarantee that the press will either keep very, very quiet about you or will make a fool out of you. We still do control the press and if we say to trash an enemy, they will do it. And if the editor won’t, we always talk to the publishers. Or, more effective, one of my business friends threatens to pull advertising from the rag. That’s their Achilles heel, Gregory. No paper can survive on subscription income alone. The ads keep it going. In the old days, a word from me about ad-pulling made even the most righteous editor back down in a heartbeat. We bribe the reporters and terrify their bosses. They talk about the free press who know nothing about the realities.

GD: Nicely put, Robert.

RTC: We should have you come back here one of these days for a sit-down. Bill wants to do this. Are you game?

GD: Will men in black suits meet me at the airport?

RTC: I don’t think so, Gregory.

GD: Maybe one of them will hit me with their purse.

RTC: Now, Gregory, that isn’t kind.

GD: I’m sure Hoover wouldn’t have thought so.

 

(Concluded at 10:21 AM CST)

 

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

 

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Dave Miller

Dave Miller is the Executive Director of Apologetics Press, a creationist organization locked in ferocious war with the world of science, evidence and facts, and trying to publish various interpretations of the world that could hopefully serve as alternative narratives to those who don’t look too hard and don’t care too much about evidence. Miller assumed his role after the longterm director of the press, Bert Thompson, was fired amid allegations of sexual misconduct. (More on the organization and the Thompson incident here.)

When taking over the organization Miller stated that he intended to continue the fight against science “undaunted by Satan,” thanking Thompson [they tend to refer to each other as “Dr.”, though their degrees are of course junk bestowed upon them for money by intellectually bankrupt Bible colleges] for his “longstanding warfare against the sinister doctrine of evolution, with his eloquent affirmation of the biblical account of Creation.” This is a battle of good versus evil, you understand, where science is not on the good side. “Truth is truth, even if those who defend it eventually succumb to personal sin,” writes Miller. Except if the truth does not conform to what Miller wants it to be, of course. Then it’s different.

Miller has written numerous articles and books, including The Quran Unveiled, Sexual Anarchy, Piloting the Strait, The Silencing of God, Christ and the Continental Congress, Why People Suffer, and a series of books ostensibly to teach children how to read (avoid!). Otherwise, he is a staple on various tv shows and an active speaker offering to rant and rave about a range of topics from a fundamentalist, theocratic point of view. Titles for his talks include “The Silencing of God: The Dismantling of America’s Christian Heritage”, “Can We Know that God Exists?” and “The End Times”. You’ve probably heard most of the relevant arguments and claims before, in one form or another.

Miller was also for instance involved in the admittedly obscure “Campaign: Capitol Hill”, organized by one Jake Sutton, which sought to bring “pastors from Churches of Christ to preach at the nation’s capital” against secularism, tolerance and facts.

Diagnosis: Theocratic, lunatic moron, and what’s truly scary is that Miller and people like him actually wield a bit of influence. Frightening stuff.

 

Matt Miles & Mark Crawford

Matt and Theresa Miles are missionaries affiliated with the Church’s Youth. They are also affiliated with Creation Truth Foundation, an Oklahoma creationist group trying as best they can to prevent kids from being brainwashed with facts, truth, reason and evidence. Matt is the CTF ministry’s Student Worldview Director, in the group’s “in-house program called SWAT (Student Worldview Advanced Training),” where he has apparently developed a program in “Biblical Astronomy”, which has much to do with Bible and preciously little to do with astronomy as a scientific discipline. Miles has no qualifications related to astronomy.

Miles and his group received some attention when they were invited to speak at several events on school property, including public gatherings in the evenings and assemblies during the day, in the 1,100-student Hugoton school district in Kansas. Miles said that creationism would be discussed only during events conducted outside the school day; during the school assemblies, students would be shown pictures and fossils. “We’re going to come in and talk about dinosaurs, so nothing Biblical,” said Miles. Right. Though the ACLU was understandably unimpressed, school district Superintendent Mark Crawford wouldn’t buckle: “I agree with the ACLU, in that, if a mandatory all-school assembly where creationist truths or creationist beliefs were expressed, that would be inappropriate public-school content, and that is not the case,” said Crawford. One might wonder why Crawford would want a creationist missionary and minister with no background in anything remotely relevant to paleontology to come and speak about dinosaurs rather than, you know, a real paleontologist. Perhaps that has something to do with the “creationist truths” formulation in the above quote?

Diagnosis: Mark Crawford is completely unfit for a job remotely related to education, but some places and people apparently don’t care as long as he adheres to the right religious dogmas. Miles, on the other hand, is your typical creationist ultracrepidarian: outreach is everything, and you gotta get ‘em early, since if they know too much it’ll be much harder to make them firm and dogmatic denialists.

Harry Mihet

Liberty Counsel (LC) is an organization created (ostensibly) to defend religious freedom. In reality, they do no such thing, of course. Instead, LC is an extremist, at least borderline dominionist hate group for whom “religious freedom” means the freedom of fundamentalist, radical wingnuts to suppress other people’s religious freedom. Its most prominent members are Mat Staver and Matt Barber, but those are not the only deranged lunatics associated with the group. Harry Mihet, for instance, is the current vice president of legal affairs and chief litigation counsel for LC, and his confusion regarding what constitutes religious oppression and freedom is telling.

For instance, Mihet thinks that gay rights is the same as communist oppression. Indeed, in 2017 Mihet brought anti-gay hero and wingnut welfare recipient Kim Davis on a tour to Romania to spread their message that “same-sex ‘marriage’ and freedom of conscience are mutually exclusive, because those who promote the former have zero tolerance for the latter.” (Davis and Mihet, of course, wouldn’t dream of promoting either.) Mihet said that Davis gave a “powerful” message about the need to define marriage in the Constitution in a way that prevents the kind of “devastating” impact on people of faith experienced in the United States because of “judicial activism and judicial overreach,” where “judicial activism” means that a court issued a decision Mihet didn’t like. Davis didn’t choose to become a celebrity, said Mihet (she sort of did), who has also compared Davis to MLK, but because of her courage: “God gave her a tremendous platform for liberty.”

In 2014, the Church of Satan in Oklahoma sought to arrange a black mass in a public civic center in Oklahoma City (since other religious groups were allowed to). Mihet, of course, argued that Oklahoma City should not allow its public facilities to be “used by a satanic group for the sole purpose of mocking, insulting and offending other faiths through a lewd and lascivious ceremony. The perverted sexual deviance characteristic of a ‘black mass’ ought to remain in the dark tombs and catacombs where it originated, and should not see the light of day in a civilized society, much less on public property.” I.e. religious practices should be banned if they offend people of other faiths, but only if those practices are not his practices, of course. The reason an organization puts “Liberty” in its name is that no one would ever think that what they were doing had anything to do with liberty just based on looking at what they are, in fact, doing.

As you’d expect, Mihet is miffed about the fact that subjects such as evolution are allowed to be taught in schools but creationism is not. This is completely unfair, since atheism and humanism are religions, too, and if “public schools decide to teach the tenets of those religions while excluding the tenets of other theistic religions, then that is discriminatory treatment in and of itself.” It’s instructive to note how the distinction between a religious tenet and a scientific result is lost on Harry Mihet, and it is something to keep in mind when Mihet elsewhere might happen to say anything about what science shows or says.

When New Jersey banned the practice of ex-gay therapy on minors in 2013, the LC filed a lawsuit to block the law, with Mihet claiming that the law is really an attack on Christianity, mostly because everything Mihet doesn’t like is an attack on God. He also warned then-governor Chris Christie that he would beat him up his friend would come beat him up he’d risk divine punishment for having “declared war” on the Gospel and for assisting the “power of darkness” (the ban is part of an “intense and coordinated effort to silence people of faith when it comes to the subject of homosexuality”). The LC didn’t win the court case.

Apparently God will also punish America in general for gay marriage, presumably by sending tornadoes to areas of the US where gay marriage is unpopular (as He seems to have a tendency to do). Mihet has also claimed that good Christians in the near future may well have to go to jail for their opposition to gay marriage, once again just “like Martin Luther King did”. As usual, the predictions are based solely on Mihet’s febrile imagination, just like it is when he claims that the “destruction of marriage has been [marriage equality proponents’] goal all along,” since obviously you’d only want to enable couples to get married if you hate marriage, and therefore marriage equality is really motivated by a hatred of God. According to Mihet, marriage equality proponents are not even trying to hide the fact that this is their goal, since he can easily see that it is through his powers of intuition.

Apparently anyone who disagrees with him is intent to put Christians in jail; those who oppose ENDA, for instance, will soon be charged with crimes against humanity, according to Mihet, presumably because that’s how he would treat those who disagree with him if he could. As usual, Mihet’s claim tells you little about proponents of ENDA but quite a bit about the workings of the deranged mind of Harry Mihet.

Diagnosis: Pure insanity. Mihet’s level of bigotry is arguably only matched by his level of critical thinking skills and his paranoia. The LC as an organization, however, is not without power and influence.

The Delight of the Right: Fake Nazi Relics

August 24, 2019

by Christian Jürs

Murder is murder, Voltaire once said, and punishible with execution….unless it is carried out in large numbers and to the sound ot trumpets.

In the main, fraud, counterfeiting and deceit are certrainly immoral  and very often felonious but in some instances, the essential ludicrous nature of some frauds manages to overcome the gravity.

Such is the case of the enormous industry devoted to the creation, manufacture and sale of faked items of German militaria from the Third Reich period.

Fraud and deceit are certainly not limited to this area and the marketplace in fine art is awash in a sea of swindlers but at least an art forger is not apt to paint a medieval prince wearing a modern baseball hat and standing in front of a McDonalds’ restaurant.

There is an abiding fascination with the trapping of the Third Reich but the number of actual relics is much smaller than a burgeoning demand. Nature abhors a vacuum and if original pieces are no longer available, the vacuum is filled with creations to satisfy the demand.

Not only are legitimate pieces of German militaria copied and marketed, a number of outrageous fantasy pieces have also been created and merchandised like the Reverend Ernie’s Holy Healing Cloths on Christian television stations.

There is an interesting parallel here between the manufacture and sale of Nazi relics and the manufacture or misidentification of relics of the Catholic Church.

In the latter we can find the knuckle bones of a pig being passed off as having once been a part of Saint Rosa of Compostella or the ever-popular St. Nicholas. Expert study has proven that the notorious Shroud of Turin is a 13th Century fake and it has been said that there are enough pieces of the True Cross around to build a small hotel.

Fraud and chicanery are the hallmarks of any marketplace, be it Wall Street, Carnaby Street or the Intenet auctions. The information in this study did not come to the author second-handed. It reflects, in small measure, his own personal experiences.It has been a long and very profitable experience. Perpetrating massive frauds on defrauders can be very entertaining. The pomposity of most of these individuals is matched only by their colossal stupidity and it is amazing that so many of these creatures are able to find either end of themselves in a dark room or, as the author’s sainted Granny used to say, ‘Too lazy to work, too stupid to steal and completely unable to walk and chew gum at the same time.”

The easiest person to defraud is a crook. It has been said that you cannot cheat an honest man and this may well be true. Never having met any such individuals during a long and successful career, the validity of this statement is unproved to the author.

The hallmark of the German military collectors is, in the main, a fascination with a period they are constantly reminded is the very essence of terrible evil. In spite of countless reams of utter nonsense produced about German wickedness (as opposed to American, British or Russian asocial behavior) German items are far more in demand that anything else and of all the items most sought after and commanding the highest prices are relics of the awful SS.

So much for failed propaganda which has only made its sworn enemy so attractive.

One dealer bought the iron gates of the Auschwitz concentration camp from a Polish scrap dealer and tried to sell them to the American Holocaust Museum. They were most eager to obtain this dubious relic but on principle (or perhaps because of a lack of it) absolutely refused to pay for the massive entrance to the netherworld. A tax-free gift would be much more to their liking but the greedy and uncharitable  dealer merely cut the gates into small pieces and sold these off like souvenirs of  the Berlin Wall (or fragments of the True Cross).

Eventually, the prices on Third Reich relics will reach such a level that frustrated collectors will turn to such relatively worthless items as American uniforms or East German NVA items. This is called bottom-feeding in the trade. If one American army jacket costs ten dollars with all insignia, think of how happy the collector will be when he informs his collector friends that he now has seventy five ten dollar tunics, eighteen American army helmets at twenty dollar apiece and over two hundred pairs of old boots that a used clothing dealer gave him to keep the rats from nesting in them.

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