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TBR News August 27, 2019

Aug 27 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. August 27, 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 27:”There are strong rumors floating around the White House that the CIA is behind the uproar in Hong Kong and that they are acting specifically on orders from President Trump. Without even trying Trump will turn everyone against the United States and very possibly cause an economic war that will wreck America’s already fragile economy. I wonder if someone put Trump up to this or is all of this the result of an unhinged mind?’

 

The Table of Contents

  • Trump and Putin: The Prospering of Treason
  • CIA fuels Hong Kong riots – report
  • CIA Intervention in Ukraine Has Been Taking Place for Decades
  • In Taking Crimea, Putin Gains a Sea of Fuel Reserve
  • The Media’s Russian Radiation Story Implodes Upon Scrutiny
  • E-cigarette Basics
  • Johnson & Johnson opioid ruling explained – the key points
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons

 

Trump and Putin: The Prospering of Treason

‘Cui bono’ is a Latin phrase meaning ‘who benefits?’        

In the matter of the accusations at a high level that President Trump has worked, does work, for the Russians, the application of this phrase is quite important.

  • Who benefits from Trump’s economically restrictive tariffs?
  • Who benefits from Trump’s undeclared war on Latin Americans?
  • Who benefits from Trump’s harassment of China?
  • Who benefits from Trump’s divisive attacks on sections of the American public such as the black community and the latino?
  • Who benefits from Trump’s very ill-advised and illogical actions in the Middle East?

American interests, economic and social?

No, they not only do not benefit but they are seriously injured and impaired.

Who, then, benefits from these actions?

Simple logic and an application of Occam ’s Razor show with great clarity that only one entity benefits from Trumps belligerent actions and that is Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

The recent allegations that Trump worked for the Russians; had been gotten at by them earlier on is the only clear and logical answer to the question ‘cui bono.’

And for the leader of a country to deliberately work against the interests of his country for another is an act of treason and should be treated accordingly.

 

 

CIA fuels Hong Kong riots – report

August 20, 2019

by GLOBAL TIMES

A Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-backed American foundation has been colluding with the heads of the recent Hong Kong riots with financial and strategic support, actions that Chinese experts said show the US’ intention of “Americanization” which is endangering Hong Kong.

Sentaku, a Japanese monthly magazine, revealed in August how the foreign forces represented by the US, manipulate the Hong Kong chaos.

The magazine said that Hong Kong extremists received significant funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which it called “a CIA soft-power cutout that has played a critical role in innumerable US regime-change operations.”

Under the Reagan administration in 1983, the NED was founded to “support democracy in other countries.”

The NED’s website shows that it granted $155,000 to the Solidarity Center and $200,000 to National Democratic Institute (NDI) for International Affairs for work in Hong Kong and $90,000 to the Hong Kong Justice Center in 2018. NDI received $650,000 from 2016 to 2017, and SC received $459,865 from 2015 to 2017

“US foundations like the NED have been promoting ‘Americanization’ around the world,” Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University’s Institute of International Relations in Beijing, told the Global Times.

Under the Reagan administration in 1983, the NED was founded to “support democracy in other countries.”

The NED’s website shows that it granted $155,000 to the Solidarity Center and $200,000 to National Democratic Institute (NDI) for International Affairs for work in Hong Kong and $90,000 to the Hong Kong Justice Center in 2018. NDI received $650,000 from 2016 to 2017, and SC received $459,865 from 2015 to 2017.

“US foundations like the NED have been promoting ‘Americanization’ around the world,” Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University’s Institute of International Relations in Beijing, told the Global Times.

According to Li, the foundation conducts “transformation” in various regions around the world tangibly and intangibly, but in fact it is a behind the scenes player for color revolutions. It is also the US’ way of violating the internal affairs of other countries.

“This is a tradition of US diplomacy,” Li noted. “The US does not even try to cover its goal of promoting ‘Americanized’ governance, which has now been proven a failure and is ridiculous.”

Western forces have been directly or indirectly involved in the Hong Kong riots, Shi Yinhong, director of Renmin University of China’s Center for American Studies in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday.

He noted that the interference also includes media promotion, which aims to encourage the protests to follow the desired direction. “The intention is obvious — to endanger Hong Kong and endanger China.”

Leung Chun-ying, former chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, in 2014 warned that foreign forces had been involved in Hong Kong affairs, including the Occupy Central movement.

 

CIA Intervention in Ukraine Has Been Taking Place for Decades

“The most powerful form of lie is the omission…” — George Orwell

Of all the aspects of the current crisis over the NATO/Russia standoff in Ukraine, the determined intervention into Ukrainian political affairs by the United States has been the least reported, at least until recently. While new reports have appeared concerning CIA Director John Brennan’s mid-April trip to Kiev, and CIA/FBI sending “dozens” of advisers to the Ukrainian security services, very few reports mention that U.S. intervention in Ukraine affairs goes back to the end of World War II. It has hardly let up since then.

The fact of such intervention is not hard to find. Indeed, it’s hard to know where to start in documenting all this, there is so much out there if one is willing to look for it. But the mainstream U.S. press, and their blogger shadows, are ignoring this for the most part. Some exceptions at the larger alternative websites include Jeffrey St. Clair’s Counterpunch and Robert Perry’s Consortium News.

Even these latter outlets have almost nothing to say about the approximately 70 year history of U.S. intervention in Ukraine. The liberals and progressives avoid the subject because otherwise one would have to address the full reality of the intensive U.S. Cold War against the Soviet Union, and the covert and overt crimes and operations conducted by the U.S. against the USSR. Because the liberals share an anti-communist consensus, not far removed from Ronald Reagan’s view of the USSR as an “Evil Empire,” they have little to no interest in addressing the full history of the period.

But the current crisis in Ukraine, which pits a U.S.-backed coalition, which includes neo-Nazis, in Ukraine against Russian-speaking separatists in the eastern regions of the country, threatens to turn into a hot war between not just Ukraine and Russia, but between two nuclear-armed foes, NATO and Russia. Indeed, in the past six months, besides Brennan’s visit,  the U.S. Vice-President and the head of NATO have all visited and consulted in Kiev with the current Ukrainian regime.

And now, the U.S. has announced it is sending military “advisers” to Ukraine, as the current government there prosecutes a major military operation against separatists in the East, which human rights groups say has included indiscriminate shelling, killing of civilians, torture, and kidnappings on both sides. The bulk of indiscriminate shelling, according to Human Rights Watch, has come from the U.S.-backed government forces. Amnesty International has documented that human rights violations and war crimes are committed by even a member of the Ukrainian parliament with total impunity.

Return of the Repressed: Recruiting Fascists as Anti-Soviet Allies

Back on March 28, The Nation and Foreign Policy in Focus published jointly an excellent article pulling up some of the relevant history, “Seven Decades of Nazi Collaboration: America’s Dirty Little Ukraine Secret.” The article does a good job showing how the right-wing, fascistic Svoboda Party in Ukraine has its roots in the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists [OUN], which was one of a number of East Europe parties that allied at various points with the Nazis, and had their own racist, ethnic, nationalist doctrines.

After WWII, the U.S. made a pact with many of these leaders, ostensibly recruiting them as allies against the Soviets in the Cold War. Indeed, in the early years after World War II, the U.S. and the British hired Ukrainian nationalists, many of them associated with fascism, to parachute and conduct guerrilla war in Ukraine and the USSR. When doing so, they turned a blind eye to many of these leaders’ war crimes, including participation in the Holocaust. When these links were revealed years later, beginning in the 1980s, the CIA and State Department worked assiduously to deny these links to Congress and the press.

Almost all of these men were rounded up and shot. When the Soviets offered an amnesty to members of the Ukrainian Insurgents Army (UPA) in January 1950, 8,000 anti-Soviet guerrillas still fighting within Ukraine turned in their arms. The U.S./CIA operation to use Ukraine as a base for war against Russia and the bulk of the Soviet Union ran out of steam. (See Stephen Dorril’s MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, The Free Press, 2000, pp. 242-243.)

It has taken many years, and the dedicated work of people like John Loftus, former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, Linda Hunt, Christopher Simpson, Tom Bower, and many, many others who fought governmental inertia and lies to get out the truth. Much of that truth still needs to get out, but slowly, surely, it is trying to find its way into the public’s consciousness, as this Daily Beast article on Operation Paperclip taken from Annie Jacobsen’s new book on the same subject demonstrates so well.

One important article, by Joe Conason in the Village Voice in 1986, examined the role OUN leader Mykola Lebed played for U.S. intelligence. I’m going to take up the controversy about the VV in the near future, looking at how the CIA continued to operate to protect its Ukrainian intelligence assets, even into the early years of the Clinton administration (and likely beyond). Such protection included lying to politicians, consulting with those under investigation for war crimes how best to deal with the political fallout, and in general falsifying history to protect their covert anti-Soviet program.

Yet can the truth stand up to the daily drumbeat of lies and anti-Russian propaganda coming at a feverish pace out of the White House? The U.S. has stepped up its overt intervention in Ukraine, and it would do well for everyone to know as much as possible the lead-up to this moment, as the pending NATO/US/Russia confrontation could threaten the very world we live in, that we all live in. The U.S. is clearly ratcheting up the political and military pressure against both Russia and China, and more than even what is happening in the Middle East, it is this renewed aggressive stance towards those two countries that will dominate the news and our lives in the coming decade.

U.S. National Archives Documents U.S. Collaboration with Fascist Ukrainian Nationalists

In a remarkable book published by the United States National Archives a few years ago, historians Richard Breitman and Norman J.W. Goda have examined recent declassified documents and put together an initial history of Army and CIA collaboration with some of the most important Ukrainian fascist leaders after World War II. Hitler’s Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, U.S. Intelligence, and the Cold War (PDF) attempts to document “the Allied protection or use of Nazi war criminals; and documents about the postwar political activities of war criminals.”

Hitler’s Shadow was preceded by the 2005 publication, U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis, a Cambridge University Press book based on the earliest examination of new documents released as part of the 1998 Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act. While the history of Ukrainian nationalism shows that nationalist movements were squeezed between the policies — and sometimes invasions — of foreign states, the book makes clear that today’s EuroMaidan heroes of yesteryear were in fact trained by the Gestapo and took part in the Holocaust.

Chapter Five of Hitler’s Shadow, “Collaborators: Allied Intelligence and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists,” examines recently declassified documents in regards to how US intelligence agencies recruited, paid, protected and used war criminals who collaborated with the Nazis. In particular, it looks at the careers Stepan Bandera and Mykola Lebed, two WWII “heroes” of the Ukrainian nationalist movement.

These Ukrainian fascists — Lebed turned “democratic” once in U.S. hands after the war — had their careers rehabilitated by former Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko. When Putin points to the pro-fascist tendencies and Nazis within Ukraine, he is referring at least to this kind of evidence.

However, Putin cannot really address the full history of the U.S. and CIA campaign because 1) the crimes of the Stalin government is not something the Russians like to talk about, and 2) the long history of U.S intervention in Ukraine is tied up with the decades-long Cold War against Soviet communism. Putin and his allies are antagonistic to Communism, and ambivalent, at best, about the Soviet period (even if many of them were in fact former Communists or Soviet officials themselves).

Like the dilemma of the U.S. liberals mentioned above, to fully embrace a history of U.S. Cold War intervention against the Soviet Union would mean assessing what the role of the Soviet Union was, and in this, Putin and his anti-Soviet allies within Russia (like the oligarchs in Ukraine and other former Soviet states), who got rich off the corpse of the USSR de-nationalization, are not interested in dredging up Cold War history. They all shared an animus against the Communists that matched that of the CIA.

Breitman and Goda describe how the CIA’s Ukrainian operation, codenamed “Aerodynamic,” worked (this is taken from a National Archives government document and the extensive quote is not subject to copyright restrictions):

AERODYNAMIC’s first phase involved infiltration into Ukraine and then ex-filtration of CIA-trained Ukrainian agents. By January 1950 the CIA’s arm for the collection of secret intelligence (Office of Special Operations, OSO) and its arm for covert operations (Office of Policy Coordination, OPC) participated. Operations in that year revealed “a well established and secure underground movement” in the Ukraine that was even “larger and more fully developed than previous reports had indicated.” Washington was especially pleased with the high level of UPA training in the Ukraine and its potential for further guerrilla actions, and with “the extraordinary news that… active resistance to the Soviet regime was spreading steadily eastward, out of the former Polish, Greek Catholic provinces.”97

The CIA decided to expand its operations for “the support, development, and exploitation of the Ukrainian underground movement for resistance and intelligence purposes.” “In view of the extent and activity of the resistance movement in the Ukraine,” said OPC Chief Frank Wisner, “we consider this to be a top priority project.”98 The CIA learned of UPA activities in various Ukrainian districts; the Soviet commitment of police troops to destroy the UPA; the UPA’s resonance with Ukrainians; and the UPA’s potential to expand to 100,000 fighters in wartime. The work was not without hazards. Individual members of teams from 1949 to 1953 were captured and killed. By 1954 Lebed’s group lost all contact with UHVR. By that time the Soviets subdued both the UHVR and UPA, and the CIA ended the aggressive phase of AERODYNAMIC.99

Beginning in 1953 AERODYNAMIC began to operate through a Ukrainian study group under Lebed’s leadership in New York under CIA auspices, which collected Ukrainian literature and history and produced Ukrainian nationalist newspapers, bulletins, radio programming, and books for distribution in the Ukraine. In 1956 this group was formally incorporated as the non-profit Prolog Research and Publishing Association [CIA cryptonym: QRPOOL]. It allowed the CIA to funnel funds as ostensible private donations without taxable footprints.100 To avoid nosey New York State authorities, the CIA turned Prolog into a for-profit enterprise called Prolog Research Corporation, which ostensibly received private contracts. Under Hrinioch, Prolog maintained a Munich office named the Ukrainische-Gesellschaft fu?r Auslandsstudien, EV. Most publications were created here.101

…. Beginning in 1955, leaflets were dropped over the Ukraine by air and radio broadcasts titled Nova Ukraina were aired in Athens for Ukrainian consumption. These activities gave way to systematic mailing campaigns to Ukraine through Ukrainian contacts in Poland and émigré contacts in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Spain, Sweden, and elsewhere. The newspaper Suchasna Ukrainia (Ukraine Today), information bulletins, a Ukrainian language journal for intellectuals called Suchasnist (The Present), and other publications were sent to libraries, cultural institutions, administrative offices and private individuals in Ukraine. These activities encouraged Ukrainian nationalism, strengthened Ukrainian resistance, and provided an alternative to Soviet media.103

In 1957 alone, with CIA support, Prolog broadcast 1,200 radio programs totaling 70 hours per month and distributed 200,000 newspapers and 5,000 pamphlets. In the years following, Prolog distributed books by Ukrainian writers and poets. One CIA analyst judged that, “some form of nationalist feeling continues to exist [in the Ukraine] and … there is an obligation to support it as a cold war weapon.” The distribution of literature in the Soviet Ukraine continued to the end of the Cold War.104

Prolog also garnered intelligence after Soviet travel restrictions eased somewhat in the late 1950s. It supported the travel of émigré Ukrainian students and scholars to academic conferences, international youth festivals, musical and dance performances, the Rome Olympics and the like, where they could speak with residents of the Soviet Ukraine in order to learn about living conditions there as well as the mood of Ukrainians toward the Soviet regime. Prolog’s leaders and agents debriefed travelers on their return and shared information with the CIA. In 1966 alone Prolog personnel had contacts with 227 Soviet citizens. [pp. 88-89]

This is the first in a series of articles examining the history of U.S. and CIA intervention in Ukraine, from World War II to today.

 

In Taking Crimea, Putin Gains a Sea of Fuel Reserves

May 17, 2014

by William J. Broad

New York Times

When Russia seized Crimea in March, it acquired not just the Crimean landmass but also a maritime zone more than three times its size with the rights to underwater resources potentially worth trillions of dollars.

Russia portrayed the takeover as reclamation of its rightful territory, drawing no attention to the oil and gas rush that had recently been heating up in the Black Sea. But the move also extended Russia’s maritime boundaries, quietly giving Russia dominion over vast oil and gas reserves while dealing a crippling blow to Ukraine’s hopes for energy independence.

Russia did so under an international accord that gives nations sovereignty over areas up to 230 miles from their shorelines. It had tried, unsuccessfully, to gain access to energy resources in the same territory in a pact with Ukraine less than two years earlier.

“It’s a big deal,” said Carol R. Saivetz, a Eurasian expert in the Security Studies Program of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It deprives Ukraine of the possibility of developing these resources and gives them to Russia. It makes Ukraine more vulnerable to Russian pressure.”

Gilles Lericolais, the director of European and international affairs at France’s state oceanographic group, called Russia’s annexation of Crimea “so obvious” as a play for offshore riches.

In Moscow, a spokesman for President Vladimir V. Putin said there was “no connection” between the annexation and energy resources, adding that Russia did not even care about the oil and gas. “Compared to all the potential Russia has got, there was no interest there,” the spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Saturday.

Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and other major oil companies have already explored the Black Sea, and some petroleum analysts say its potential may rival that of the North Sea. That rush, which began in the 1970s, lifted the economies of Britain, Norway and other European countries.

William B. F. Ryan, a marine geologist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, said Russia’s Black Sea acquisition gave it what are potentially “the best” of that body’s deep oil reserves.

Oil analysts said that mounting economic sanctions could slow Russia’s exploitation of its Black and Azov Sea annexations by reducing access to Western financing and technology. But they noted that Russia had already taken over the Crimean arm of Ukraine’s national gas company, instantly giving Russia exploratory gear on the Black Sea.

“Russia’s in a mood to behave aggressively,” said Vladimir Socor, a senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, a research group in Washington that follows Eurasian affairs. “It’s already seized two drilling rigs.”

The global hunt for fossil fuels has increasingly gone offshore, to places like the Atlantic Ocean off Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico and the South China Sea. Hundreds of oil rigs dot the Caspian, a few hundred miles east of the Black Sea.

Nations divide up the world’s potentially lucrative waters according to guidelines set forth by the 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty. The agreement lets coastal nations claim what are known as exclusive economic zones that can extend up to 200 nautical miles (or 230 statute miles) from their shores. Inside these zones, countries can explore, exploit, conserve and manage deep natural resources, living and nonliving.

The countries with shores along the Black Sea have long seen its floor as a potential energy source, mainly because of modest oil successes in shallow waters.

Just over two years ago, the prospects for huge payoffs soared when a giant ship drilling through deep bedrock off Romania found a large gas field in waters more than half a mile deep.

Russia moved fast.

In April 2012, Mr. Putin, then Russia’s prime minister, presided over the signing of an accord with Eni, the Italian energy giant, to explore Russia’s economic zone in the northeastern Black Sea. Dr. Ryan of Columbia estimated that the size of the zone before the Crimean annexation was roughly 26,000 square miles, about the size of Lithuania.

“I want to assure you that the Russian government will do everything to support projects of this kind,” Mr. Putin said at the signing, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency.

A month later, oil exploration specialists at a European petroleum conference made a lengthy presentation, the title of which asked: “Is the Black Sea the Next North Sea?” The paper cited geological studies that judged the waters off Ukraine as having “tremendous exploration potential” but saw the Russian zone as less attractive.

In August 2012, Ukraine announced an accord with an Exxon-led group to extract oil and gas from the depths of Ukraine’s Black Sea waters. The Exxon team had outbid Lukoil, a Russian company. Ukraine’s state geology bureau said development of the field would cost up to $12 billion.

“The Black Sea Hots Up,” read a 2013 headline in GEO ExPro, an industry magazine published in Britain. “Elevated levels of activity have become apparent throughout the Black Sea region,” the article said, “particularly in deepwater.

When Russia seized the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine on March 18, it issued a treaty of annexation between the newly declared Republic of Crimea and the Russian Federation. Buried in the document — in Article 4, Section 3 — a single bland sentence said international law would govern the drawing of boundaries through the adjacent Black and Azov Seas.

Dr. Ryan estimates that the newly claimed maritime zone around Crimea added about 36,000 square miles to Russia’s existing holdings. The addition is more than three times the size of the Crimean landmass, and about the size of Maine.

At the time, few observers noted Russia’s annexation of Crimea in those terms. An exception was Romania, whose Black Sea zone had been adjacent to Ukraine’s before Russia stepped in.

“Romania and Russia will be neighbors,” Romania Libera, a newspaper in Bucharest, observed on March 24. The article’s headline said the new maritime border could become a “potential source of conflict.”

Many nations have challenged Russia’s seizing of Crimea and thus the legality of its Black and Azov Sea claims. But the Romanian newspaper quoted analysts as judging that the other countries bordering the Black Sea — Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania — would tacitly recognize the annexation “in order to avoid an open conflict.”

Most immediately, analysts say, Russia’s seizing may alter the route along which the South Stream pipeline would be built, saving Russia money, time and engineering challenges. The planned pipeline, meant to run through the deepest parts of the Black Sea, is to pump Russian gas to Europe.

Originally, to avoid Ukraine’s maritime zone, Russia drew the route for the costly pipeline in a circuitous jog southward through Turkey’s waters. But now it can take a far more direct path through its newly acquired Black Sea territory, if the project moves forward. The Ukraine crisis has thrown its future into doubt.

As for oil extraction in the newly claimed maritime zones, companies say their old deals with Ukraine are in limbo, and analysts say new contracts are unlikely to be signed anytime soon, given the continuing turmoil in the region and the United States’ efforts to ratchet up pressure on Russia.

“There are huge issues at stake,” noted Dr. Saivetz of M.I.T. “I can’t see them jumping into new deals right now.”

The United States is using its wherewithal to block Russian moves in the maritime zones. Last month, it imposed trade restrictions on Chernomorneftegaz, the breakaway Crimean arm of Ukraine’s national gas company.

Eric L. Hirschhorn, the United States under secretary of commerce for industry and security, said sanctions against the Crimean business would send “a strong message” of condemnation for Russia’s “incursion into Ukraine and expropriation of Ukrainian assets.”

Alexandra Odynova contributed reporting from Moscow.

 

The Media’s Russian Radiation Story Implodes Upon Scrutiny

What really happened at Nenoska was less explosive than everyone, including Trump, wanted you to believe.

August 26, 2019

by Scott Ritter

The American Conservative

How the mainstream media reported an August 8 accident at a top-secret missile test facility in northern Russia should serve as a cautionary tale regarding the dangers of rushed judgments via institutional bias.

In the days following the initial report of the accident, the media exploded with speculation over both the nature of the device being tested at the Nenoksa State Central Marine Test Site and the Russian government’s muted response. Typical of the hysteria was the analysis of Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program for the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and editor of the blog “Arms Control Wonk.”

Lewis and his collaborators penned a breathless article for Foreign Policy that asked, “What Really Happened?” According to Lewis, the answer was clear: “The reference to radiation was striking—tests of missile engines don’t involve radiation. Well, with one exception: Last year, Russia announced it had tested a cruise missile powered by a nuclear reactor. It calls this missile the 9M730 Burevestnik. NATO calls it the SSC-X-9 Skyfall.”

Lewis’s assessment was joined by President Trump’s, who tweeted, “The United States is learning much from the failed missile explosion in Russia…. The Russian ‘Skyfall’ explosion has people worried about the air around the facility, and far beyond. Not good!” Trump’s tweet appeared to conform with the assessments of the intelligence community, which, according to The New York Times, also attributed the accident to a failed test of the Skyfall missile.

Former Obama administration national security analyst Samantha Vinograd tweeted: “Possibly the worst nuclear accident in the region since Chernobyl + possibly a new kind of Russian missile = this is a big deal.”

The Washington Post editorial board joined Vinograd in invoking the imagery of Chernobyl: “If this slow dribble of facts sounds familiar, it is — the same parade of misdirection happened during the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.”

They’re all wrong. Here’s the real story of what actually happened at Nenoksa.

Liquid-fuel ballistic missiles are tricky things. Most Russian liquid-fueled missiles make use of hypergolic fuels, consisting of a fuel (in most cases asymmetrical dimethylhydrazine, or heptyl) and an oxidizer (nitrogen tetroxide), which, when combined, spontaneously combust. For this to happen efficiently, the fuel and oxidizer need to be maintained at “room temperature,” generally accepted as around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. For missiles stored in launch silos, or in launch canisters aboard submarines, temperature control is regulated by systems powered by the host—either a generator, if in a silo, or the submarine’s own power supply, if in a canister.

Likewise, the various valves, switches, and other components critical to the successful operation of a liquid-fuel ballistic missile, including onboard electronics and guidance and control systems, must be maintained in an equilibrium, or steady state, until launch. The electrical power required to accomplish this is not considerable, but it must be constant. Loss of power will disrupt the equilibrium of the missile system, detrimentally impacting its transient response at time of launch and leading to failure.

Russia has long been pursuing so-called “autonomous” weapons that can be decoupled from conventional means of delivery—a missile silo or a submarine—and instead installed in canisters that protect them from the environment. They would then be deployed on the floor of the ocean, lying in wait until remotely activated. One of the major obstacles confronting the Russians is the need for system equilibrium, including the onboard communications equipment, prior to activation. The power supply for any system must be constant, reliable, and capable of operating for extended periods of time without the prospect of fuel replenishment.

The solution for this power supply problem is found in so-called “nuclear batteries,” or radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG). An RTG generates electricity using thermocouples that convert the heat released by the decay of radioactive material. RTGs have long been used in support of operations in space. The Russians have long used them to provide power to remote unmanned facilities in the arctic and in mountainous terrain. Cesium-137, a byproduct of the fission of U-235, is considered an ideal radioisotope for military application RTGs.

On August 8, a joint team from the Ministry of Defense and the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics, subordinated to the State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM), conducted a test of a liquid-fueled rocket engine, in which electric power from Cesium-137 “nuclear batteries” maintained its equilibrium state. The test was conducted at the Nenoksa State Central Marine Test Site (GTsMP), a secret Russian naval facility known as Military Unit 09703. It took place in the waters of the White Sea, off the coast of the Nenoksa facility, onboard a pair of pontoon platforms.

The test had been in the making for approximately a year. What exactly was being tested and why remain a secret, but the evaluation went on for approximately an hour. It did not involve the actual firing of the engine, but rather the non-destructive testing of the RTG power supply to the engine.

The test may have been a final system check—the Russian deputy defense minister, Pavel Popov, monitored events from the Nenoksa military base. Meanwhile, the deputy head of research and testing at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics, Vyasheslav Yanovsky, considered to be one of Russia’s most senior nuclear scientists, monitored events onboard the off-shore platform. Joining Yanovsky were seven other specialists from the institute, including Vyacheslav Lipshev, the head of the research and development team. They accompanied representatives from the Ministry of Defense, along with specialists from the design bureau responsible for the liquid-fuel engine.

When the actual testing finished, something went very wrong. According to a sailor from the nearby Severdvinsk naval base, the hypergolic fuels contained in the liquid engine (their presence suggests that temperature control was one of the functions being tested) somehow combined. This created an explosion that destroyed the liquid engine, sending an unknown amount of fuel and oxidizer into the water. At least one, and perhaps more, of the Cesium-137 RTGs burst open, contaminating equipment and personnel alike.

Four men—two Ministry of Defense personnel and two ROSATOM scientists—were killed immediately. Those who remained on the damaged platform were taken to the Nenoksa base and decontaminated, before being transported to a local military clinic that specializes in nuclear-related emergencies. Here, doctors in full protective gear oversaw their treatment and additional decontamination. All of them survived.

Three of the ROSATOM scientists were thrown by the explosion into the waters of the White Sea and were rescued only after a lengthy search. These men were transported to the Arkhangelsk hospital. Neither the paramedics who attended to the injured scientists, nor the hospital staff who received them, were informed that the victims had been exposed to Cesium-137, leading to the cross-contamination of the hospital staff and its premises.

The next day, all the personnel injured during the test were transported to Moscow for treatment at a facility that specializes in radiation exposure; two of the victims pulled from the water died en route. Medical personnel involved in treating the victims were likewise dispatched to Moscow for evaluation; one doctor was found to be contaminated with Cesium-137.

The classified nature of the test resulted in the Russian government taking precautions to control information concerning the accident. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) seized all the medical records associated with the treatment of accident victims and had the doctors and medical personnel sign non-disclosure agreements.

The Russian Meteorological Service (Roshydromet) operates what’s known as the Automatic Radiation Monitoring System (ASKRO) in the city of Severdvinsk. ASKRO detected two “surges” in radiation, one involving Gamma particles, the other Beta particles. This is a pattern consistent with the characteristics of Cesium-137, which releases Gamma rays as it decays, creating Barium-137m, which is a Beta generator. The initial detection was reported on the Roshydromet website, though it was subsequently taken offline.

Specialized hazardous material teams scoured the region around Nenoksa, Archangesk, and Severdvinsk, taking air and environmental samples. All these tested normal, confirming that the contamination created by the destruction of the Cesium-137 batteries was limited to the area surrounding the accident. Due to the large amount of missile fuel that was spilled, special restrictions concerning fishing and swimming were imposed in the region’s waters — at least until the fuel was neutralized by the waters of the White Sea. The damage had been contained, and the threat was over.

The reality of what happened at Nenoksa is tragic. Seven men lost their lives and scores of others were injured. But there was no explosion of a “nuclear cruise missile,” and it wasn’t the second coming of Chernobyl. America’s intelligence community and the so-called experts got it wrong — again. The root cause of their error is their institutional bias against Russia, which leads them to view that country in the worst possible light, regardless of the facts.

At a time when the level of mutual mistrust between our two nuclear-armed nations is at an all-time high, this kind of irresponsible rush to judgement must be avoided at all costs.

 

E-cigarette Basics      

Office of the U.S Surgeon General and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health.

E-cigarettes are devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol that the user inhales. The liquid usually has nicotine and flavoring in it, and other additives. The nicotine in e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes is addictive. E-cigarettes are considered tobacco products because most of them contain nicotine, which comes from tobacco.

Besides nicotine, e-cigarettes can contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients, including:

◾ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs

◾flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease

◾volatile organic compounds

◾heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead

E-cigarettes and Youth Don’t Mix

Adolescent years are times of important brain development. Brain development begins during the growth of the fetus in the womb and continues through childhood and to about age 25. Nicotine exposure during adolescence and young adulthood can cause addiction and harm the developing brain.

Trends

E-cigarettes are very popular with young people. Their use has grown dramatically in the last five years. Today, more high school students use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. The use of e-cigarettes is higher among high school students than adults.

E-cigarettes Are Unsafe for Young People

No matter how it’s delivered, nicotine is harmful for youth and young adults. E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine as well as other chemicals that are known to damage health. For example, users risk exposing their respiratory systems to potentially harmful chemicals in e-cigarettes.

 

Johnson & Johnson opioid ruling explained – the key points     

An Oklahoma judge has ordered the company to pay $572m for its role in creating the state’s opioid epidemic

August 26, 2019

by Chris McGreal in Washington

The Guardian

An Oklahoma judge has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $572m for its role in driving Oklahoma’s opioid epidemic. The landmark ruling will have wide-ranging consequences for the other opioid makers, distributors and pharmacy chains facing thousands of lawsuits across the country.

Judge Thad Balkman determined that Johnson & Johnson ran a “false and dangerous” sales campaign that led to addiction and death in the state, as well as helping to fuel the worst drug epidemic in US history. These are the key points from his damning 42-page decision.

“The Defendants, acting in concert with others, embarked on a major campaign in which they used branded and unbranded marketing to disseminate the messages that pain was under-treated and ‘there was a low risk of abuse and a low danger’ of prescribing opioids”.

This is the core of the judge’s finding. By “branded” he means efforts by Johnson & Johnson’s sales reps to sell its own drugs, often by persuading doctors to prescribe them with claims that they carried little risk of addiction and were effective for long term treatment of chronic pain. The judge said these claims were “unsupported by any high quality evidence”. Alongside this was the hugely successful “unbranded” campaign in concert with other drug makers to influence medical practice and government regulators to escalate opioid prescribing, and therefore sales, in general.

“A key element in Defendants’ opioid marketing strategy to overcome barriers to liberal opioid prescribing was its promotion of the concept that chronic pain was under-treated (creating a problem) and increased opioid prescribing was the solution.”

The judge said this contributed to an oversupply of opioids because of increased prescribing, which caused addiction and deaths.”

The judge found that Johnson & Johnson took distorted or discredited claims of a very low addiction rate from opioid painkillers and presented them to doctors as proof of the drugs’ safety.

“In 2001, Defendants were advised by Defendants’ own hired scientific advisory board that many of the primary marketing messages Defendants used to promote opioids in general, and Duragesic [the company’s high-strength drug] specifically, were misleading and should not be disseminated.”

The court found that Johnson & Johnson was repeatedly warned that its sales materials for its high-strength drug Duragesic were misleading at best. The warnings came not only from its own advisory board but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The company adapted some of the materials but maintained the central thrust of its sales pitch: that its opioids were effective, safe and could be widely prescribed without significant risk of addiction.

“Defendants made substantial payments of money to a variety of different pain advocacy groups and organizations that influences prescribing physicians and other health care professionals.”

Johnson & Johnson, with other drug makers, funded professional organisations such as the American Pain Society to reassure doctors that opioids were safe and effective. These organisations played a leading role in the promotion of “pain as the fifth vital sign” which led to regulations that caused hospitals and clinics to emphasise pain treatment and resulted in the use of opioids as the default medication.

“Defendants additionally executed their strategy of targeting high-opioid-prescribing physicians in Oklahoma, including doctors who ultimately faced disciplinary proceedings or criminal prosecution.”

Johnson & Johnson representatives focussed their sales efforts on doctors already prescribing opioids, particularly OxyContin manufactured by rival Purdue Pharma.

“Defendants did not train their sales representatives regarding red flags that could indicate a ‘pill mill’, including, for example, pain clinics with patients lined up out the door or patients passed out in the waiting room.”

Although Johnson & Johnson representatives were trained to pressure doctors to increase opioid prescribing by allaying their concerns about addiction, the company’s sales force was not trained to spot doctors or clinics where unusually large numbers of opioids were prescribed.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

August 27, 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. 37

Date:  Tuesday, September 17, 1996

Commenced: 11:35 AM CST

Concluded: 11:55 AM CST

 

GD: Good afternoon to you, Robert.

RTC: The same, Gregory. How is your son?

GD: Hiding out from his last girlfriend. Apparently, he was careless and now she’s in a family way, as they used to say. This is a constantly recurring theme here.

RTC: Children are either a great pleasure or a great trial.

GD: Yes, I know. My oldest son is the former and my younger one is the latter. Knocked-up brainless females whimpering on the front porch while he hides in the loo or bill collectors sending death threats. I pay his for his car payment, he spends it and then wants more.

RTC: It’s none of my business, Gregory, but do you give it to him?

GD: Usually.

RTC: And the women?

GD: Well, I don’t give it to them. He’s already beaten me to it. He prefers them to be single mothers, desperate, rather ugly and always very stupid. One was deaf, one had an idiot child and another one used drugs. He wouldn’t dare bring them home so I know nothing about the latest one until she turns up on the porch, whining. I do feel sorry for them but I refuse to pay for abortions because I am opposed to abortions. They weep and he whines. I told him that we needed to fix him to stop this but nothing will stop the lies, stories, and spending of my money. He makes plenty of money of his own but always seems to run out of it. The oldest one runs a huge computer service in Germany and always wants to send me money instead of the other way around. Three lovely grandchildren. I would hate to see what the youngest one would produce. Swift would have been in transports of delight and the Yahoos would have been replaced.

RTC: How ever do you deal with pregnant and abandoned girl friends?

GD: With patience, Robert, with patience. I convince them that they would not have been happy with him. I imply he is gay or that he really liked to boff sheep. Things like that. I convince them that they could do better trolling a homeless shelter. I do not let them in the house, ever. Fortunately, all of them are well over twenty-one so I don’t have to worry about a visit from the police and DNA tests. He seems to like single mothers pushing thirty and  very desperate. Oh, yes, and he loves to take them to look at houses and visit furniture stores. Builds up the hopes and then into the sack, unprotected and eager. He hates children and they tell me how much little this or that just loves him. Cruel to both of them.  When my father died, we found a thick stack of high-quality credit cards hidden in his shaving kit. My God, nearly a hundred thousands of dollars on them. His wife was in a nursing home and before that, was very rich. He died before he could get to them but I wasn’t so unfortunate. My God, he went crazy. Of course I had to sign them but off we went to Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean and everywhere but Canada. They would arrest me over that counterfeiting business if they caught me in Canada. And clothes. Jesus, he has enough in his closets to clothe the homeless of three states.

RTC: And yourself? Not that I mean to pry….

GD: No, I am aware. I have a huge library, a great collection of classical music and some nice china, silver and other things. He goes for what he can eat, drink or screw but I have other goals.

RTC: Ah, when we get old…

GD: No, it isn’t that. I never was one for whoring around. Long after the memories of that messy night in the phone booth or the drunken dinner at some Mexican bistro, I have some Lully to come back to or perhaps return to Gibbons. Well, some day, he’ll find someone more vicious and desperate than he is and legions of the gulled will have their revenge.

RTC: Any grandchildren by him?

GD: No, thank God. He always manages to find money for an abortion. You know, I do get rather tired of the tear jerkers on the porch but I really do feel sorry for them. Frankly, he was the last chance before gravity takes hold of their chubby bodies and the best they can do is to chase after the plumbers or the gardeners. I feel sorry for the children, Robert, I really do, but I dare not get too involved with his messes. I told him once that God would punish him but he only laughed, A good vasectomy can cure a lot of evils but maybe they should start at one ear and run around to the other. Ah well, his mother doesn’t want him back but the dog likes him.

RTC: Why don’t you marry him off to some vicious little Filipino bitch and she’ll make his life hell. A friend of mine was in the Navy and made that error.

GD: The Pubic Bay Beauties? Oh yes. I used to live in San Francisco and saw some of them, purple eye shadow and green nail polish and all, right up close. As angry as I get with him, I don’t think I would wish that fate on him. You know, one of those sluts winds up and you can hear her ten blocks away with the window closed. Wants to move all the family in with you and starts looking like a reject from Mustang Ranch. Well, if I’m lucky, he’ll meet up with one with a well-muscled brother.

RTC: Is he gay?

GD: No, I meant a brother that would beat the crap out of him. Of course, he might like that but then I’d have to pay to have his back stitched up. You can’t win, Robert. We all have our crosses to bear but why is mine made of concrete? By the way, do you know what Jesus’ companion at the crucifixion said to him?

RTC: No but perhaps you’ll enlighten me.

GD: ‘Hey, Jesus, I can see your house from up here!’

RTC: Not nice, Gregory,  But entertaining.  How’s your girl friend?

GD: I sent you pictures, didn’t I? Very well. My son hates her. She’s makes his punchboards look like the south end of north bound horses and she’s much smarter than he is. I intend to put her through college and then I suppose she’ll find something better to do but hanging around me won’t do her any good. Of course I told her about some of my little games and she howled with laughter. Someone in town saw us walking along and later told me that my daughter was a real looker. I said it was my granddaughter. Of course that’s closer to the truth. If youth knew, Robert but if age could.

RTC: Very cruel.

GD: Yes, today I am cruel. I’ll put some cayenne pepper is someone’s eye drops and tell them its acid.

RTC: My God.

GD: Well, I had some jerk stealing my really good brandy so I emptied out a bottle of the best, filled it with Old Mr. Boston swill and a good dose of croton oil.

RTC: Pardon?

GD: Croton oil. The strongest laxative known to man. One drop will move a man for a week.

RTC: How much did you spike it with?

GD: A tablespoon.

RTC: You could have killed them.

GD: No, but they had to carry around one of those little round life rings for months. They had a prolapsed rectum and other problems but they never touched any of my brandy again. I told the police that I never drank and the mark used to hang around the playground down the street, eyeing the tender tinies. Enough of that. It was a lot better than rat poison.

RTC: Probably.  I take it he did not pass on?

GD: No, he didn’t. He walked with care for a long time, however Looked like Hopalong Cassidy after a very long ride.

 

(Concluded at 11:55 CST)

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

 

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Ami & Steve Sciulli

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

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

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

Rob Schwarzwalder

Rob Schwarzwalder is currently Senior Lecturer at Regent University, Pat Robertson’s mockery of educational institutions. And prior to that, Schwarzwalder was vice president of the fundamentalist hate group the Family Research Council. In that capacity, Schwarzwalder would for instance call for boycotts of Starbucks, warning that the company may be endangering the country’s economic health by supporting marriage equality. How, you might ask? Well, because “[b]y supporting a movement that would further vitiate the already weakened family unit, [Starbucks CEO Howard] Schultz is tacitly but actively advocating the continued erosion of the institution – the two-parent, heterosexual, traditional and complementary family unit – without which no economy or society generally can thrive.” How recognizing same-sex marriage would lead to erosion of the family unit is not entirely clear (unless Schwarzwalder believes that gay people, if denied same-sex marriage, would instead opt into stable, loving heterosexual marriages), but this really has nothing to do with reason or evidence, of course. Apparently it has something to do with supporting gay rights being a matter of  “show[ing] a lack of love” and sexual intimacy outside of heterosexual marriage leading to “the withering of the soul and the erosion of society.” President Obama thus got it all wrong, since “there is no love in affirming something God declares wrong and harmful, whether it relates to human sexuality or thievery or malice or deception or anything.” Schwarzwalder has also suggested that legalizing gay marriage might lead to civil war.

To change it up a little, Schwarzwalder claimed in 2016 that defending trans rights is “fascistic” and “the banning of dissent”. Apparently legal or political decisions Schwarzwalder don’t agree with are violations of his First Amendment rights and thus contrary to democracy. And indeed, Schwarzwalder is much concerned about First Amendment rights, in particular religious freedom; he has little idea what religious freedom involves, though. “Everyone should be free to agree with me” is not quitethe correct interpretation.

Schwarzwalder has weighed in on other issues, too. He has for instance argued that conservative Christians do not “cherry pick” the Bible when they claim that the Bible’s command to stone rebellious children doesn’t really mean what it says. The guiding principle to reading the Bible is apparently that you should adhere to the Biblical commands Schwarzwalder favors the way he interprets them, and that principe should be applied universally and without exception. He is also a creationist and climate change denialist, of course.

Diagnosis: Precisely what you’d expect from someone in Schwarzwalder’s position: complete rubbish.

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