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TBR News December 23, 2019

Dec 22 2019

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. December 22, 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.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.
Commentary for December 23:”Trump, now celebrating His Own Birthday at his tasteless Florida escape hole, has said that God has sent him to rule America; that he believes in Big Foot’s existance; that he recently wanted the FBI to arrest Nancy Pelosi for treason; that the US Army should take domestic control in America as soon as possible and that he is contemplating a sudden military attack on the PRC. All of this comes from a garnering of White House gossip and will (hopefully) not happen but it indicates what a flat nut is in the Oval Office.”

The Table of Contents
• Battle lines harden over Trump impeachment trial witnesses
• 7 Wild Conspiracy Theories That’ll Make You Say ‘What?!’
• The Second Coming of Christ
• Encyclopedia of Americn Loons
• The Season of Evil

Battle lines harden over Trump impeachment trial witnesses
December 22, 2019
by Nandita Bose and Humeyra Pamuk
Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Sunday signaled comfort with plans by Senate Republicans to avoid new witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, while a top Democrat seized on a newly released email on the withholding of U.S. aid to Ukraine to press his case for testimony.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives approved two impeachment charges against Trump on Wednesday over his pressuring of Ukraine to investigate a political rival. There is little chance he will be convicted and removed from office through a trial in a Senate controlled by fellow Republicans.
Democrats are pushing to call top Trump aides to testify, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants the Senate to consider the case without hearing from new witnesses.
The Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, told reporters in New York that an email made public on Saturday about military assistance to Kiev underscored the need for witnesses.
The email, obtained by the Center for Public Integrity through a court order in a Freedom of Information Act case, showed senior White House budget official Michael Duffey directing the Pentagon to withhold the aid just 91 minutes after Trump concluded a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
In testimony to Congress last month, however, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland said he was first informed on July 18 that the White House was withholding security aid to Ukraine. “I was never able to obtain a clear answer regarding the specific reason for the hold,” he added.
The aid and the Trump-Zelinskiy call are at the heart of the impeachment case put together by Democrats, and Duffey is one of the four witnesses Schumer has proposed calling.
“If there was ever an argument that we need Mr. Duffey to come and testify, this is that information,” Schumer said.
While Trump had indicated an interest in calling separate witnesses in his defense, he has also said he would go along with whatever decision McConnell and other Senate Republican leaders make.
In remarks on Sunday talk shows, Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, indicated the White House was on board with McConnell’s goal of a speedy trial.
“The American people are tired of this sham,” Short said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“To the extent that there’s a prolonged trial, we’re not anxious about that,” he said. “Our administration is anxious to get back to working for the American people … We’ve had a lot of witnesses already.”
Lawmakers left Washington for a holiday break on Friday at loggerheads over how to proceed.
To ramp up pressure on McConnell to permit new testimony, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – the top Democrat in Congress – has postponed sending the impeachment charges to the Senate.
Republicans have suggested Democrats want witnesses because the case they have assembled is so weak, while Democrats portray Republicans as scared about what new testimony might reveal.
“If her case is so air tight … why does she need more witnesses?” Short said on “Fox News Sunday.”
REPUBLICAN MODERATES
Trump is only the third U.S. president to be impeached. The others were Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 as he faced the threat of impeachment.
The House charged Trump with abusing his power by holding back $391 million in security aid to Ukraine in an effort to get Kiev to announce a corruption investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the November 2020 election.
Trump was also charged with obstructing Congress by directing administration officials and agencies not to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. He says he did nothing wrong and has dismissed his impeachment as a partisan bid to undo his 2016 election win.
“The American people and the United States Senate deserve to have a full, fair and complete trial and that means witnesses, it means documents,” Democratic Senator Doug Jones told ABC’s “This Week.”
Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and Democrats are hoping a few moderate Republicans will support their bid for further testimony and force McConnell’s hand.
“The leverage is our hope that four Republican senators will stand up … and say this is much bigger than our current political squabbles,” Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“If four Republican senators step up, it can make a big difference,” he said.
Reporting by Nandita Bose, Humeyra Pamuk and Tim Ahmann in Washington; Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Paul Simao and Diane Craft

7 Wild Conspiracy Theories That’ll Make You Say ‘What?!’
According to these theories, the portal to hell is either in Switzerland or under the Denver International Airport.
November 10, 2019
by Daisy Hernandez
Popular Mechanics
You’ve heard about the Moon landing being faked, that JFK’s assassination was an inside job, and that a group of reptilian elite rule the world. But have you heard about the theory surrounding why Disney decided to go with “frozen” as the name for their massively successful children’s movie? Or about the portal to hell that resides on the French/Swiss border?
We present you with some of the most interesting (and wild) conspiracy theories about Bigfoot, glitches in the matrix, and not-so-secret portals to hell.
1. Denver Airport is a Hub for the Illuminati
And the New World Order (NWO). And also acts as a gateway to hell. Who knew?
Conspiracy theorists posit that the Denver International Airport (DIA) is a hub for the lizard people who run the government and much of the world.
Some believe that DIA is the home base of the Illuminati, while others believe that it’s actually a portal to hell, with Blucifer (the giant blue horse sculpture—which killed the artist who made it—with demonic, glowing red eyes) guarding the gateway.
There’s the weird murals on the walls depicting Nazi imagery and a commemoration capstone plaque that mentions the New World Airport Commission (an organization which does not exist). Between that, the gargoyles in Jeppesen terminal, and the interactive gargoyle that welcomed travelers to the “Illuminati Headquarters” before correcting himself and welcoming the masses to “Denver International Airport.”
DIA is either poking fun at all the conspiracies surrounding the facility, or they’re hiding in plain sight.
2. Frozen: The Movie or Cryogenics?
What if we told you that The Walt Disney Company created the movie Frozen to alter Google’s search algorithm so that when people looked up some variation of ‘Disney Frozen,’ information about the movie—and not about Disney being cryogenically frozen—would come up?
Screen Rant notes that cigarettes used to be cropped out of Walt Disney’s hands in an attempt to keep up with their family-friendly branding, so while creating a hit movie to mess with an internet algorithm sounds nutty, it kind of also makes sense.
And if it was intentional, the team over at The Walt Disney Company are geniuses.
3. CERN Created a Portal to Hell
The gateway to hell is either under the Denver International Airport or along the French/Swiss border in Switzerland.
People believe that the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is planning to use the Hadron Collider to open a portal to hell. Or, that at the very least, the Collider is one of the seven seals of the apocalypse (which will also unleash hell on Earth).
CERN—who discovered the Higgs Boson, also known as the God Particle—is actually the French acronym for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire.
The acronym, in addition to a Shiva statue outside the facility, has led people to speculate that the scientists at CERN are actually trying to summon a God: either the Indian deity Shiva or Cernunnos, a Celtic deity who watches over the underworld (because his name starts with Cern).
There are other theories that say CERN is actually trying to access different timelines, experiment with time travel, and even open a black hole.
4. Hollow Earth
There’s a conspiracy theory that says the Earth is hollow and that there might even be a whole other civilization of advanced beings living in it.
The theory is rooted back in the 17th century when Edmond Halley—who has a comet named after him—proposed that the Earth must be hollow because of changing magnetism.
In 2014, scientists found “a reservoir of water three times the volume of all the oceans” deep within the Earth. The water, however, isn’t just sloshing around within the Earth, it’s inside of ringwoodite, a rock, which is 435 miles deep beneath the Earth’s surface. For some, this bolstered the theory that the Earth was hollow since the water was solidified in rock form.
So, how do you access this secret world within a world? Via secret entrance at either the North or South Pole.
5. Bigfoot Is Real
Apparently, if Bigfoot does exist, the creature probably resides in Washington state. There have been 2,032 reported sightings as of May and there’s even a list of the top 8 states where you might catch a glimpse of Bigfoot.
Then again, you might catch the fabled beast in Oregon, Pennsylvania, or Texas, since those states also have a high volume of reported sightings. Plus, Bigfoot has its own FBI file, so there’s a good chance that something or several somethings are out there.
6. We’re Living in the Matrix
Some conspiracy theorists believe that we live in a giant simulation, like in The Matrix. There’s also a subreddit dedicated to glitches in the matrix where people share their weird experiences.
The stories are crazy and range from people seeing the same “background character” across large spans of time, in random locations, who never seems to age to people losing chunks and track of time.
Some respected thinkers believe that living in a simulation might be possible, but so far, it’s just a far-fetched theory.
7. The Moon Doesn’t Exist
We’re not really sure where this theory came from but it’s pretty wild, considering, you know, the moon is right there if you just look up.
Some people, like Dave Marsh—who is also a flat Earther—say that the moon is a projection.
“The moon is a projection, put there for a reason, which we could study for a thousand more years and never understand,” Marsh told The Guardian.
In order to come to this conclusion, Marsh followed the path of the moon in the sky in order to compare his findings to official records. Because his findings were not the same, Marsh concluded that the moon was a scam.
Another theory about why the moon’s existence is a giant hoax is that it was created to distract the general masses from the existence of Nibiru, a rogue planet that will cause the apocalypse.
Do with this information what you will.

The Second Coming of Christ
The Moody Bible Institute
We believe in the second coming of Christ. His return from heaven will be personal, visible and glorious, a blessed hope for which we should constantly watch and pray.
Before He establishes His kingdom on earth, Jesus will come for His Church, an event commonly referred to as the “Rapture.” At that time the dead in Christ will be raised and living Christians will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and be with Him forever. In this resurrection, those who have died in Christ will have their redeemed souls and spirits united with a body similar to Christ’s glorified body. Christians living at the time of this event will not die, but will be changed to be like Christ. This expectation is a motivation for holy living, as well as a source of comfort. No man knows the day or the hour when this will take place.
After the Rapture of the Church, Christians will be brought before the judgment seat of Christ. He will reward them on the basis of the works they have accomplished. This is not a judgment to determine their salvation but a reward for labor on Christ’s behalf. The Rapture will also inaugurate a period that the Bible characterizes as the “great day of His wrath,” “the great tribulation” and the “time of Jacob’s trouble.” This time of unprecedented difficulty will affect Israel and all nations. Its purpose will be to prepare Israel for her Messiah.
At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus Christ will return with the hosts of heaven as well as the Church to establish the Messianic Kingdom on earth. His Kingdom will last for a thousand years. At this Second Coming, the Antichrist will be cast into the Lake of Fire and Satan will be bound for a thousand years. The nations and their representatives will be judged. Israel will be restored to her land, never more to be removed.14 Christ will reign with firmness and equity. His kingdom will be marked by material and spiritual blessing, since the curse upon the earth will be removed.
The Messianic kingdom will close with apostasy and rebellion. God will crush this uprising in the last battle of the ages and Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire. All those who rejected the Word of God will be resurrected. They will be judged by Christ and cast into the lake of fire, the place where they will suffer final and everlasting punishment.
After this judgment there will be a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness is the norm. There will be a new Jerusalem and the everlasting presence of God among all the redeemed.

ARKANSAS CITY (AP) — A Little Rock woman was killed yesterday after leaping through her moving car’s sun roof during an incident best described as “a mistaken rapture” by dozens of eye witnesses.
Thirteen other people were injured after a twenty-car pile up resulted from people trying to avoid hitting the woman who was apparently convinced that the rapture was occurring when she saw twelve people floating up into the air, and then passed a man on the side of the road who she claimed was Jesus.
“She started screaming “He’s back, He’s back” and climbed right out of the sunroof and jumped off the roof of the car,” said Everet Williams, husband of 28-year-old Georgann Williams who was pronounced dead at the scene.
She had been run over by several vehicles, including a long-distance truck.
“I was slowing down but she wouldn’t wait till I stopped,” Williams said. “She thought the rapture was happening and was convinced that Jesus was gonna lift her up into the sky,” he went on to say. “This is the strangest thing I’ve seen since I’ve been on the force,” said Paul Madison, first officer on the scene.
Madison questioned the man who looked like Jesus and discovered that he was dressed up as Jesus and was on his way to a toga costume party when the tarp covering the bed of his pickup truck came loose and released twelve blowup dolls filled with helium which floated up into the air.
Ernie Jenkins, 32, of Fort Smith, who’s been told by several of his friends that he looks like Jesus, pulled over and lifted his arms into the air in frustration, and said “Come back here,” just as the Williams’ car passed him.
Mrs. Williams was sure that it was Jesus lifting people up into the sky as they passed by him, according to her husband, who says his wife loved Jesus more than anything else. When asked for comments about the twelve dolls, Jenkins replied “This is all just too weird for me. I never expected anything like this to happen.”
Ed.This event is probably the most illustrative of all the great compendiums of Prophesy.

Encyclopedia of Americn Loons
Glenn Stankis

Glenn Stankis is a local village idiot in Magalia, California, who has for a long time been tirelessly fronting a campaign to get religion and “love of country” back into public schools. He has alternately pestered and run for the local school board for years, on a platform of “Christian Beliefs”, but has so far failed to gain much traction, presumably in part because he is angry, crazy, obsessed and wrong. He has also tried and failed to implement an Elective class on the Bible at Paradise high school, tried to get the Bible on the curriculum in history (and literature) classes, and set up a number of road signs in support of his campaign. “This is a Christian nation the courts have actually ruled that and the district wants to be secular in their outlook,” said Stankis. He did not cite a particular ruling, for rather obvious reasons.
Diagnosis: Yeah, the world is full of them, and they do admittedly add some color; we’ll oblige and give them some attention. And let us not forget that to their targets people like Stankis are annoying at best.

Jill Stanek

Jill Stanek is a radical anti-abortion activist and nurse, national campaign chair of the anti-abortion organization the Susan B. Anthony List, and currently affiliated with Newsbusters and regular columnist for the WND. Yeah, “columnist for the WND” should really tell you all you need to know. As for her anti-abortion campaigning, Stanek is the kind of person who compares abortion to the Vietnam War, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the atrocities of the Taliban and says that she won’t be mourning the death of Nelson Mandela because, according to her, Mandela’s pro-choice record means he “engaged in mass genocide of his own innocent people” and “has the blood of preborn children on his hands.” But OK: we are willing to write those claims up as a matter of consistent application of some deranged moral principles.
What secures Stanek an entry in our Encyclopedia, however, is her relentless pushing of pseudoscience in the name of ideology. Stanek is for instance one of the main promoters of the utterly discredited idea that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer. She does cite studies when she claims that there is a link, though from places like the pseudojournal JPANDS and with complete disregard for the quality of those studes or the fact that good studies on the link overwhelmingly show no link.
And just for the record: Stanek isn’t merely opposed to abortion; she also “opposes contraception, not only because some of its forms may cause abortions, but also – moreso – because the thinking behind contraception makes it the forerunner to abortion.” She bases her reasoning “on several Biblical concepts,” the foremost being “that God is always described in Scripture as the sole procreative decision-maker. To my knowledge, every incident in Scripture describing pregnancy or barrenness gives God complete credit. If that premise is true, who has the right to say no to God? Who can say they have a better grip on timing than God?” Just imagine where parallel reasoning would get you on virtually any other topic (she also fails to notice that if her premises were correct, contraception or not really shouldn’t matter either). She has also claimed that legalizing the purchase of Plan B emergency contraception over the counter would lead to more pedophilia because, well, she perceived the claim to be rhetorically effective, mostly. Stanek has, moreover, designated June 7 as “The Pill Kills Day” in honor of the Supreme Court’s Griswold v. Connecticut decision: According to Stanek, birth control pills can cause chemical abortions (another common myth from Stanek) but “radical pro-aborts don’t want you to know.” The information has been suppressed because “if women knew, some would feel morally obligated to refuse that contraceptive option. And that would mess up lucrative birth control pill sales, which nets pro-aborts hundreds of millions of dollars a year, as well as abortion sales from failed birth control pills.” This is, if nothing else, a good illustration of deranged conspiracy theorizing in action.
Stanek has also at least expressed sympathy with the anti-vaccine movement, having apparently bought into the “aborted fetal tissue” claim – it is nonsensical, of course, but Stanek predictably buys it: in her post “Vaccines made with fetal cells causing autism?” (Yes, Betteridge’s law at work, but Stanek isn’t really asking a question) she claims, based purely on meaningless speculation, that “aborted fetal tissue” in vaccines are a likely cause of autism and asserts that “[t]he conspiracy theorist in me wonders if the same sort of ideological culprits we see covering up the abortion-breast cancer link are also involved here.” The comparison is actually rather apt, but not in the way Stanek thinks, of course.
Diagnosis: Yes, this is the kind of mockery of reasoning that the term “wingnut science” is supposed to describe. Completely unable to distinguish facts and evidence from what she wishes were facts and evidence to support her agenda. And Stanek is a significant voice in certain wingnut circles.

Timothy Standish

Timothy Standish is one of the mainstays of the Intelligent Design Creationist movement, and has given numerous talks and contributed numerous articles to creationist publications, such as a chapter in the 2006 anthology Darwin’s Nemesis, a series of essays in honor of Phillip Johnson. Standish’s creationism is of the young-earth variety, and he is affiliated with the Geoscience Research Institute, a Seventh Day Adventist front organization. He is, of course, also a signatory to the Discovery Institute’s embarrassingly self-undermining petition A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism as well as on the CMI List of Scientists Alive Today Who Accept the Biblical Account of Creation.
Standish ostensibly does “research” in molecular biology, though his “research” seems to be mostly limited to writing articles for Origins (the Geoscience Research Institute magazine) and similar creationist publications – he has, for instance, contributed to propaganda at Answers in Genesis.
As Standish sees it “[E]volution survives as a paradigm only as long as the evidence is picked and chosen and the great pool of data that is accumulating on life is ignored.” This observation is of course based on Standish himself ignoring the data real scientists actually have, and misrepresenting and misunderstanding the rest. Standish is rather well known for using misrepresentations and misunderstandings to draw whatever conclusions he wants to draw.
Diagnosis: Now, Standish does have some credentials, and he seems to honestly believe he is a scientist who engages with science with something resembling intellectual honesty. It’s actually rather sad.

Leanna Standish

Leanna Standish, “N.D., Ph.D., Dipl.Ac.” (and more recently also “LAc, FABNO”), is one of the movers and shakers in the movement to legitimize and popularize quackery, woo and nonsense in the US. A “licensed naturopathic physician and acupuncturist”, Standish is also former Director of the Bastyr University Research Institute from 1987 to 2001 and, as naturopathic cargo cult science practictioners see it, a “Senior Research Scientist” in “experimental neuroscience with numerous publications.” Her “clinical practice specializes in cancer, AIDS, Hepatitis C and neurological diseases”. Apparently she also directed “the Breast Cancer Research Program at Bastyr University” at one point and was a member of the Advisory Council for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (currently NCCIH) from 1999 to 2001; she has also served on the NCI Cancer Advisory Panel for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the NCI Institute of Medicine’s committee to investigate the “Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by the American Public”, discussed here, together with luminaries like Jeanne Drisko.
Standish has been principal investigator on several NIH/NCCAM funded research projects in the areas of HIV/AIDS and basic neurophysiological research on mind/body interaction, and has published extensively in questionable journals such as Integrative Cancer Therapy (which has also published e.g. Stanislaw Burzynski’s stuff) and the Journal of Natural Medicines. Still a faculty member at Bastyr, her classes include e.g. a course, “within the Spirituality, Health and Medicine program”, on “scientific evidence from physicians and biology that addresses some of the propositions emerging out of modern spiritual disciples [sic]”. It is safe to say that the investigative method used to connect science with “spiritual disciples” is, shall we say, of the more associative kind.
Currently her research is focused on things like functional brain imaging in the treatment of brain cancer and integrative oncology outcomes (they’ve received extensive funding for the latter, apparently, and her study is completely pointless) – we’re talking $3 million to do an observational study with no control; there is a good discussion of integrative oncology here – and developing research programs on the use of IV Resveratrol and IV Curcumin to treat cancer. She is also e.g. “co-principal investigator for the Bastyr/UW Oncomycology [oh, yes] Translational Research Center”. Standish has also tried to demonstrate, in a splendid illustration of tooth fairy science, that one person’s brain can influence the EEG findings of a person who is about 45 feet away, apparently believing that “distant healing” is possible through brain-to-brain “neural energy transmission.” There is a long tradition in naturopathic circles for such investigations. The “research” was apparently NCCAM-funded. (This discussion is useful for context.)
Of course, some of Standish’s credentials might look impressive to the uninformed or those who cannot be bothered to take a deeper look. Naturopathy, of course, is bullshit, and Standish’s list of publications e.g. on her speciality HIV/AIDS include the 20-page chapter on HIV/AIDS in the 199) edition of the Textbook of Natural Medicine (naturopathy’s leading textbook), in which recommended treatment includes large doses of beta carotene; vitamin C (see also this) and vitamin E 400; cod liver oil; multivitamin and mineral supplement twice a day; colloidal silver; and a long list of other nonsensical and potentally harmful products, including dozens of worthless homeopathic products such as “homeopathic marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, LSD, heroin, amyl nitrate, etc.” (the chapter does note that there is no evidence that naturopathic care has any beneficial effect for HIV positive people, but that doesn’t prevent Standish from promptly providing a long and detailed list of recommendations based on neither plausibility nor evidence).
Diagnosis: Yes, not only has she wasted her life, career and efforts on nonsense – and the worthless pseudoeducation offered by her institution is hardly free either – Standish is also a serial recipient of public funding. Millions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted on Leanna Standish and co. to support quackery by superficially science-sounding motivated reasoning. It’s really a multilayered tragedy.

Erick Stakelbeck

Yet another rightwing commentator whose only recognizable qualifications are anger and paranoia, Erick Stakelbeck is a former sports reporter who has become recognized by some wingnuts (e.g. Pat Robertson) as a “terror expert” because he says stupid things they happen to agree with. Stakelbeck has no credentials or expertise in anything resembling such fields, but you won’t find anyone who does who are also willing to say the stuff Stakelbeck says, so there you are. So, according to Stakelbeck, Obama was a “revolutionary Marxist” trying to destroy “Judeo-Christian western civilization.” He seems to have no clear idea what any of those words mean.
Probably the main threat to the US at present, as Stakelbeck sees things, is anyways the Left. And Islam. Which are more or less the same – according to Stakelbeck the “Left sees Islam as an ally and Western Civilization and the Judeo-Christian tradition is the enemy” because they “have a shared hatred for this country.” Apparently gays are in cahoots with radical Islam/the Left as well, and they hate not only America but Jesus himself, too. Stakelbeck is pretty adamant that facts don’t matter here.
In his capacity as a terrorism expert, Stakelbeck has also offered “expert analysis” of the Syrian civil war, complete with biblical prophecy. On Marcus and Joni Lamb’s show Celebration in 2012 he revealed that the war will end with the destruction of Damascus because “the Bible says it’s going to happen, and it’s going to happen.” He also claimed that Islamic terrorists have infiltrated cities all over the United States (though the media doesn’t cover it because of political correctness), including Dearborn, Michigan, which is a “radical Islamic enclave” – he called it “Dearbornistan” – presumably to the surprise of the people of Dearborn, only a minority of whom are Muslim. Apparently Brooklyn and Chicago are other examples of radical Islamist enclaves. At least he answered any concerns with respect to his claims to expertise that might have arisen from realizing his complete lack of credentials: while he was in Israel God spoke to him and told him to defend Israel; therefore, Stakelbeck, said, “I know why I’m here on this earth.” After all, how could expertise gained from reading, carefully analyzing and understanding compete with the word of God
But the Muslims are everywhere. Stakelbeck has pointed out for instance that Grover Norquist, Huma Abedin and André Carson are all part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “fox in the henhouse strategy” to perpetrate “stealth jihad” hidden behind “suits and ties,” “fluent English,” and “eloquent tones, at least in public.” And with fellow conspiracy theorist Rick Wiles, Stakelbeck wondered why John McCain and Lindsey Graham have “sided” with the Muslim Brotherhood. Worst of all, perhaps, is Obama (of course), or “Imam Obama”, as Stakelbeck calls him, who is “empowering and emboldening the Muslim Brotherhood;” and don’t you forget Benghazi.
Stakelbeck is of course vehemently opposed to the First Amendment, at least when it is used to allow people he doesn’t like to say or do things he disagrees with.
Diagnosis: Moron. He has no credentials, no expertise, no understanding of anything. But he does say what other morons want to hear, and has therefore achieved a position of authority in certain groups.

Mike Stahl

Pastor Mike Stahl of the Living Water internet church is one of many raging fundies polluting the Internet. Stahl has apparently “been seriously considering forming a ( Christian ) grassroots type of organization to be named ‘The Christian National Registry of Atheists’ or something similar.” After all, there are “already National Registrys for convicted sex offenders, ex-convicts, terrorist cells, hate groups like the KKK, skinheads, radical Islamists, etc. [there actually isn’t],” so why not a similar registry for atheists? The registry, he rushes to affirm, “would merely be for information purposes. To inform the public of KNOWN (i.e., self-admitted) atheists” and not contain personal information or the person’s physical address (“though, perhaps a photo could be”). Now, why would we need such a registry? Well, “[d]uhhh, Mr. Atheist, for the same purpose many States put the names and photos of convicted sex offenders and other ex-felons on the I-Net – to INFORM the public!” Who wouldn’t see the obviousness of that comparison? And a list like that would give Stahl and likeminded people the opportunity to “begin to witness to them and warn them of the dangers of atheism. Or perhaps they are radical atheists, whose hearts are as hard as Pharaoh’s, in that case, if they are business owners, we would encourage all our Christian friends, as well as the various churches and their congregations NOT to patronize them as we would only be ‘feeding’ Satan”. In his wisdom, Stahl cannot even see “why anyone would oppose this idea – including the atheists themselves (unless of course, they’re actually ashamed of their atheist religion, and would prefer to stay in the ‘closet’”). Presumably being lectured to and told about the dangers of atheism is something any atheist would desire.
After receiving some attention for his suggestion, Stahl promptly made his blog private. It was surely not because he didn’t enjoy the public exposure, was it? (A year later he apparently still thought the registry was a good idea).
Diagnosis: Genuinely stupid. (Unless he is evil. The options are not mutually exclusive.)

Carol Spooner

As a result of intense lobbying, naturopaths have become licensed in several American states. Now, naturopathy is bullshit through and through, and being a licensed naturopath doesn’t come with any duties toward truth, efficacy or accountability. That, of course, has never been the point. Naturopaths’ goal of pushing for licensing is rather a matter of protecting their turf from other, competing woo peddlers, those who for instance haven’t attended the same pseudo-educational institutions as themselves.
In Arizona, licensed naturopathic doctors must have a degree from a naturopathic college – which is fancier and costlier than getting your diploma from a link in a spam email but about as deserving of trust when it comes to the safety and efficacy of the advice provided – but that gives them green light to administer intravenous nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and even to prescribe and administer some drugs. Accordingly, people like Carol Spooner, who is a licensed Arizona naturopath, can offer IV “nutrient bags” of vitamins and minerals for flu prevention – and because the nutrients go straight to the bloodstream the benefits are almost immediate, according Spooner. Of course, there are no benefits, but to the inattentive the procedure looks professional and, not the least, comes with the state of Arizona’s sign of approval. According to Spooner, however, “for anybody, regardless of whether they’ve had flu shots or not, these IV nutrients work very well.” The bags will cost you an impressive $100 to $200 apiece and will take up to an hour to administer – Spooner says that one bag carries a healthy person through the flu season while “others may need a few more” (note the escape hatch) – which is a pretty hefty price for something that does nothing at all for you.
Diagnosis: Just one example among many to remind you what kind of practitioners it is that wish to be licensed in all 50 states. It’s truly scary.

Chuck & Lency Spezzano

Psychology of Vision (POV) is, allegedly, a “transpersonal model of healing that employs cutting edge psychological tools and methodology with the miracle power of grace.” Yes, it’s New Age bullshit, and there is some entropy principle at work here to the effect that for any word in a sentence on a New Age website beyond the tenth, the probably increases exponentially that it will devolve into a word salad. And as New Age bullshit POV is, of course, as nonsensical and hollow as you get it, and the movement seems mostly to be some kind of New Age personality cult revolving around Charles L. “Chuck” and Lency Spezzano.
At some point Chuck Spezzano marketed himself as “one of the world’s leading psychologists” and “experts on relationships and personal growth therapy”, though there is apparently a 2004 court decision in Hawaii that promises him more than a slap on the wrist if he or his minions falsely market him as a professional “psychologist” (Spezzano is not a psychologist and has never been licensed as a psychologist) – his minions (such as POV trainer Avril Woodward) still seem to forget themselves so frequently that it is hard to explain it as honest mistakes. Lency Spezzano, on the other hand, is “pioneering POV’s mystical path through her joining method, which utilizes the feminine, direct access to divine love, resulting in the release of emotional pain from the body/mind and the experience of miracles of forgiveness and grace.” That seems, frankly, to be a rather more illustrative description of what they are actually doing. It would be interesting (or not) to hear Lency Spezzano try to define “method”. What they jointly promote seems to be something closely resembling the Law of attraction, which seems to have become the fundamental common tenet on the New Age self-help circuit. There are also vibrations, of course (“29 of February, 2016 is an extremely high vibrational day, so it is essential to focus on remaining grounded, centered and balanced to absorb and fully integrate the energies”), and numerology: “In numerology (2+9=11) and (2+2+1+6=11) equates to 11:11. According to numerology the number 11 has the energy and the qualities of patience, honesty, spirituality, sensitivity, intuition and is idealistic and compassionate” – more or less like all the other numbers according to numerology, in other words. You’d probably encounter some difficulties trying to explain the use–mention distinction or what a category mistake is to these people.
Chuck Spezzano has apparently “authored over 40 books and card decks [!]” and his “greatest inspirations come from A Course in Miracles.” You have, in other words, to be pretty lost to confuse him with a psychologist. His New Age rantings have, however, garnered what seems to be something of a following in the US and Europe, to whom he apparently comes across as something of a guru – indeed, the last few years Spezzano seems to have owned that role completely, even adopting the title “Master Chuck”.
There is a lot of information about POV, the Spezzanos and the international cult they have somewhat successfully built up here.
Diagnosis: To be honest, it is hard to shake the feeling that the Spezzanos know exactly what they are doing, but if they don’t they must count as being among the most nonsense-dense specimens in the New Age circus currently enjoying even a modicum of success in their cult-building efforts. You wouldn’t think they’d be particularly dangerous, but cults are strange beasts. Caution is recommended.

Dorothy Spaulding

Though she may not be among the most famous televangelists working in the US, Dorothy Spaulding, President and Founder of Watchmen Broadcasting, is certainly one of the truly whacky ones – a sort of low-budget, poor man’s version of Cindy Jacobs, if you wish – and her network show Club 36 has been dubbed “perhaps the most hilarious Christian train-wreck TV this great country has produced in … decades.”
Indeed, Spaulding’s show is probably the go-to place if you feel the need to talk about how you were attacked by 80-foot demons or rant about Satanic baby farms and want to be taken seriously. Here, for instance, you can watch Spaulding and her guest, one Henry Lewis, discuss the dangers of Pokémon; Pokémon are “oriental demons”, and the names of the Pokémon characters are apparently the real names of these oriental demons. Here is a list of names of Pokémon characters for those unfamiliar with the universe (one imagines that the practice of fundamentalist Christianity would look very different had Revelations mentioned Jigglypuff and Wigglytuff by name). There is also, in addition to wild-eyed rantings about witches and Harry Potter, some kind of attack on the theory of evolution in there, for good measure – you wouldn’t really suspect Spaulding of being anything but a young-earth creationist, would you
She has also written a book Walk by Faith, and is apparently especially “passionate about telling the truth of what is happening in Israel” – her reaction to the 80-foot demon story doesn’t really convey much trust in her ability to distinguish truth from other things, though.
Diagnosis: Possibly worth checking out for some cheap entertainment; otherwise, a potential reminder that what goes on at the grassroots level is often even crazier than the stuff that goes on in the top echelons of American evangelism.

Ryan Sorba

Ryan Sorba is the Chairman of the Young Conservatives of California and a tireless anti-gay activist. Indeed, at a 2011 conference at the cargo cult version of an educational institution Liberty University, Sorba claimed that “‘gay’ is a left-wing socio-political construct designed to create grounds for fundamental rights [based on] whimsical capricious desires,” and that “gay identity does not exist.” (There is an illuminating conversation between Sorba and Alex Knepper, an openly gay conservative, recounted here). Accordingly, he urged people to stop using the word ‘gay’; instead, he suggested using “same-sex attraction”, “same-sex intercourse”, “sodomy”, “unnatural vice” and, for good measure, “anti-Christian”. He also blamed Republicans for losing what he apparently thinks of as a “war” promulgated by the homosexual lobby: “Our movement decided to abandon the real issue of homosexual behavior … with our major focus around protecting the word marriage,” said Sorba. He is also on record displaying a complete and utter lack of understanding of what a right is (or “truth”): “A civil right that conflicts with natural right is no right at all;” said Sorba: “The behavior is immoral. It divides you from truth and what’s the meaning of life. If you don’t have truth, you have nothing but fake.” As Sorba sees it, homosexuality is more like a hobby akin to playing basketball and surfing. Bryan Fischer and the AFA defended him. That should have given ordinary reasonable people pause.
Sorba is also the author of The Born Gay Hoax, which must count as poorly researched even by the standards of Sorba’s particular genre – the motivation for his “research methodology” is interesting, however. He has, moreover, been a regular at the religious right’s Awakening conference and an instructor at Peter LaBarbera’s “3 days of truth” conference.
Diagnosis: Though he received some 15 minutes of fame for his CPAC rant in 2011, Sorba seems to be, ultimately, a rather minor figure on the losing side of tahe culture war. He is rather aggressive and angry about his cause, however, so it is probably recommended to maintain a safe distance.

Edward Sopcak

CanCell, also known as Entelev or Cantron, is one of many utterly useless purported cancer cures. Ostensibly CanCell is “an assembly of synthetic chemicals” – they are secret, though the assembly has apparently also changed over the years – that react with the body “electrically” rather than “chemically”, and the fact that it doesn’t work doesn’t prevent people with poor moral compasses and/or poor critical thinking skills from promoting it. Indeed, in addition to cancer, CanCell is promoted for a variety of diseases, including AIDS, cystic fibrosis, MS, emphysema, Parkinson’s disease, hemophilia, and mental illness (except schizophrenia). Its inventor, James Sheridan, claimed that the formula was revealed to him by God in a dream in 1936, and that he therefore cannot charge people for using it, but instead established the Eden Foundation, a nonprofit corporation, through which people could pay him instead. Edward Sopcak, another promoter, was less worried about personal gain, and continued to promote the “remedy” at least until 1992, when the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan found him to be in contempt of a January 1990 decree to stop manufacturing and distributing the product. (Two associates, Diane Petrosky and Bonnie Sue Miller, were also warned to cease their violative activities.) Sopcak had then been promoting CanCell as a cure for a range of diseases, claiming for instance that all symptoms of AIDS disappear will in 28 days with CanCell. They would, needless to say, not.
According to Sopcak (here he departs from Sheridan’s teachings) there is only one type of cancer, which is caused by a mutated anaerobic cell: an improper diet will cause electrical and chemical damage and open the way for the microbe Progenitor cryptocides (an imaginary cancer-causing germ invented by the late Virginia Livingston-Wheeler), and CanCell ostensibly acts by changing the vibrational frequency and energy of cancer cells, thereby “reducing their voltage,” until they reach the “primitive” state described by Sheridan. Sopcak also claims to “tune” the liquid to correct vibrational frequency in some secret fashion. He seems, in other words, to have tried to be careful to avoid phrases that are actually medically meaningful, which would be required for saying anything demonstrably false and therefore legally actionable. Evidence? Well, according to promoters, human and animal studies have in fact been done proving CanCell’s efficacy – the FDA did a “secret and illegal” study resulting in 80–85% cure rates, for instance – but you won’t find any trace of those studies since they have been suppressed by “the establishment”. In other words: none. So it goes
Sopcak has also claimed that he believes all medicine in the future will ultimately be practiced by adjusting vibrational frequencies, and has even made forays into homeopathy, with a homeopathic version of CanCell called … “CanCell”, no less. Which could potentially be a source of confusion. Fortunately, the homeopathic version is probably no less efficacious than the standard version, and probably less prone to cause harm.
The product has certainly not gone away – woo rarely does, given that it was never a matter of evidence anyways – but is sold in bottles claiming that “Cantron® is an amazing bio-electrical wellness formulation [a meaningless phrase, and thus potentially not legally actionable]. It provides astonishing health benefits like no other substance on Earth. It is the world’s most potent antioxidant [it isn’t, and it wouldn’t necessarily be a good thing if it were, but “antioxidant” sounds like “health” to the intended target audience] and scavenger of abnormal proteins [nonsense] which accumulate in the blood, tissues, organs and joints. Cantron is known to dramatically aid the body’s own natural defenses [yes: it “boosts the immune system”]. Since 1984, it has received rave reviews from those who have taken it. One customer summed it up perfectly on an Internet chat site when she emphatically stated: ‘How blessed we are to know about Cantron.’” There is an informative article on the product here.
Diagnosis: Admittedly, we haven’t heard from Sopcak for a while, and aren’t completely sure he’s still around. But the product certainly is, and deserves to be covered, and since we do entries by name, Sopcak’s seemed as good as any. A real threat to health and well-being.

Jon Rappoport

Jon Rappoport is a deliriously insane “independent researcher” and blogger. According to his bio, he “has lectured extensively all over the US on the question: Who runs the world and what can we do about it?” For the last decade, however, he has “operated largely away from the mainstream” because, as he puts it, “[m]y research was not friendly to the conventional media.” Indeed. His independent research encompasses “deep politics, conspiracies, alternative health, the potential of the human imagination, mind control, the medical cartel, symbology, and solutions to the takeover of the planet by hidden elites.”
He is, for instance, a germ theory denialist, and in his post “Germ theory and depopulation” (discussed here) he argues that “[i]n general, so-called contagious diseases are caused, not by germs, but by IMMUNE SYSTEMS THAT ARE TOO WEAK TO FIGHT OFF THOSE GERMS” (yes, the capitalization is in the original). Indeed, “GERMS ARE A COVER STORY. What do they cover up? The fact that immune systems are the more basic target for depopulation and debilitation of populations.” The main tool is of course vaccines, which are weapons the nefarious powers that be use to kill off, well, it is a bit hard to see, partially because Rappoport’s post is mostly all-caps from there. At least HIV is a cover story as well.
He has a similar screed on flu vaccines on whale.to if that’s the kind of stuff you fancy reading. It is barely grammatical, but at least he gets his enthusiastic anger across rather well.
Currently Rappoport seems to write on various topics for InfoWars. Recently, for instance, Rappoport and InfoWars dubbed Rep. Tim Murphy’s bill seeking to reform the way the government addresses mental health services a “diabolical legislative package,” since Rappoport thought the legislation would require almost all children to take “psychiatric meds,” and that the bill will ultimately give the federal government “a monopoly of the mind.” Yeah, that’s the way he rolls.
Diagnosis: Hysterically crazy; and his influence is probably not quite as limited as his level of crazy should suggest.

The Season of Evil
by Gregory Douglas

Preface
This is in essence a work of fiction, but the usual disclaimers notwithstanding, many of the horrific incidents related herein are based entirely on factual occurrences.
None of the characters or the events in this telling are invented and at the same time, none are real. And certainly, none of the participants could be considered by any stretch of the imagination to be either noble, self-sacrificing, honest, pure of motive or in any way socially acceptable to anything other than a hungry crocodile, a professional politician or a tax collector.
In fact, the main characters are complex, very often unpleasant, destructive and occasionally, very entertaining.
To those who would say that the majority of humanity has nothing in common with the characters depicted herein, the response is that mirrors only depict the ugly, evil and deformed things that peer into them
There are no heroes here, only different shapes and degrees of villains and if there is a moral to this tale it might well be found in a sentence by Jonathan Swift, a brilliant and misanthropic Irish cleric who wrote in his ‘Gulliver’s Travels,”
“I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most odious race of little pernicious vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”
Swift was often unkind in his observations but certainly not inaccurate.

Frienze, Italy
July 2018-August 2019

Chapter 36

Chuck was not frightened by the percussive effects of the wind and the occasional muted crash of a tree in the neighboring woods merely lent some spice to the dinner.
When everyone else tensed at the crashing, he would say,
“More kindling wood, children. Have more of the Coquille, won’t you? It doesn’t do well reheated.”
The storm seemed to be losing some of its power and the anemometer in the main hall showed the wind decreasing from seventy to fifty miles per hour. The regular power was still out, the telephone was still dead and all that could be seen on television were interesting abstract patterns.
After dinner there was talk about card games. When the dinner remains had been cleared off the kitchen area table, a new deck of Bicycle cards that Chuck had taken on the trip was broken out.
“I think,” Gwen said in a small, sweet voice, “that we ought to play poker.”
“No,” said Chuck, “you will thrash both of us and my male pride does not allow me to be beaten by women.”
“But not with a whip, dear, not with a whip.”
“What kind of stakes?” Lars asked. He had no money in his pocket and little confidence in his skill with poker.
“Why not play strip poker?”
Chuck glared at her.
“Jesus, Gwen, get your mind out of the gutter! Why not just plain poker?”
“My mind is not in the gutter, Chuck. We have nothing else to do except watch some of those tapes Lars won’t let anyone else look at, the television doesn’t work and I really don’t want to sit around baking cookies or darning your underwear. Why not strip poker? Lars, you wouldn’t mind playing, would you?”
Lars grinned.
“Why I certainly would not mind that, Gwen. Maybe Chuck is embarrassed to take off his clothes. Are you modest, Chuck?”
“Lars, go fix a clock or something useful. I am not modest but I am not like you, either. I don’t walk around in front of people in the nude.”
Gwen smiled.
“Chuck, if you’ve got it, show it, as my mother used to say.”
Chuck turned to her and said in a snide aside,
“What else did your mother have to say about the male anatomy, Gwen?”
“Well, I remember her saying that you shouldn’t ever trust a man whose ass is wider than his shoulders. I don’t think either of you studs qualify on that one.”
Chuck began to laugh.
“Goddam you, Gwen, your mother probably never said anything like that. Could she talk? I know Lars’ mother can’t stop talking.”
“Babbling, dear, she babbles. No, I just made that up. My mother was usually so stoned that all she could do was to make noises and point at things she wanted.”
“Like what? The bedpan?”
“No, the…Chuck, that’s nasty!”
“From what you tell me, love, so is your mother. Maybe the dykes turned her out in jail and she’s running around now with a brush cut and tattoos on her arms.”
Lars began to snicker.
“Gwen, your mother and my mother ought to get together. Maybe your mother can get my mother stoned and they’ll both run out on the freeway and get flattened by a semi.”
“Driven by Carl, the billiards king of Hibbing, Minnesota.” said Chuck.
There was a brief conversation that concerned various parents. Chuck’s were both dead but he cheerfully entered the lists with his own views.
“Lars, why don’t we get together and snuff each other’s moms and pops?” Gwen asked very seriously.
“Well, my father is dead so why don’t you let me get your people and you can do my mother? That makes more work for me but I don’t mind.”
“Lars,” Chuck said, “you aren’t capable of killing anyone and as for Gwen, I doubt if she would know how.”
“Oh my, Chuck, don’t be so sure of yourself. My dad got into a number of deals where people got killed and I certainly know how to pull a trigger. He used to teach me how to shoot, out in the desert and I could outshoot him any time. I never killed a person but I have nailed a few buzzards, two Gila monsters, ten rattlesnakes and I think that once I got a border jumper. I’m not sure about that one because he ran off but I’ll bet he fell down somewhere and got eaten by the buzzards.”
“Such a sweetie. Now what kind of a game do you want to play, Annie Oakley?”
“Strip poker, buddy. If you’re scared you’ll lose, Lars and I can play by ourselves but just think of what you’re missing.”
“That’s the problem.”
Lars pointed to one of the chairs at the kitchen table.
“Hey, just sit down and play. You act like an old lady sometimes, Chuck.”
“Listen, creep, just for that, I’ll sit in. Gwen and I will beat the shit out of you and you’ll end up broken open like a shotgun, screaming for help from old Ma.”
“Do we have a game?” Gwen asked, shuffling the cards in an alarmingly professional manner.
There was general agreement that there was and the game began.
Lars immediately lost both shoes and his belt while Chuck did much better with only one shoe and his watch.
Gwen finally lost both shoes but recouped when she managed to get Chuck’s shirt.
The storm and the game continued, one diminishing and the other increasing.
There was very little conversation that could be considered polite. Chuck won back his shoe but in the next hand, lost the shoe and both socks while Lars was now left with his just his slacks and a determined look on his face.
As the evening progressed, Gwen finally lost her slacks and blouse as her opponents began a joint attack on her.
When her bra ended up on Chuck’s pile, Chuck pointed to her.
“You see, Lars, I told you she would blossom one of these days. I guess you won’t have much interest in her any more.”
“Why, Chuck?”
“Her lung warts are actually growing, boy. No more wee tots fantasies for you.”
“She’s still looks good to me but come to think of it, I like your chest better.”
“Jesus, that’s enough of that, pervert!”
Eventually, they were all naked with the exception of Lars who managed to hold on to one sock which he pulled down over his private parts like a codpiece.
“Now what?” Chuck asked.
“I don’t know. I never got this far before. I think…”
Chuck stood up and began to retrieve his scattered clothes.
“And I think we all ought to go to bed. In our own beds. It’s almost midnight and it’s getting very cold sitting here. Now you’ve had your fun, Gwen and you’ve gotten to see both of us naked at the same time. Are you pleased?”
“No, I’m excited, Chuck. And I can see that Lars is too, or is that a zucchini in his sock?”
“It’s his Norwegian love pole, hot lips, and I’m going to bed. Thank you all for a nice evening and obviously, looking at Lars, a really stimulating one.”
And he walked off with some dignity, considering his unclothed condition and the cold rooms.
When he had left, Gwen shuffled the cards again.
“Another hand, lover?”
“I don’t have anything left, Gwen, except my sock and you don’t have anything at all.”
“That’s not true, Lars, we have our bodies.”
“You know, Chuck is right. It’s getting awfully cold down here. We could go upstairs and finish the game, couldn’t we?”
“We sure could and I have a really great idea.”
“What?”
“Come on up and I’ll show you. Chuck ought to be in his beddie-bye by now and we can pay him a visit.”
“I don’t think he will like that.”
“Not in the beginning but I’ll bet he’ll change his mind later.”
The storm was still in noisy progress and although the central heating was now entirely cleansed of corruption and working, the bedrooms were not warm.
Chuck put on his bathrobe, dumped his clothes onto a chair and began to stack wood in the fireplace. The coals from an earlier fire soon caused tendrils of white smoke to snake upwards into the chimney and soon enough, yellow flames began to lick at the logs.
It would take some time for the room temperature to rise and he pulled back the down comforter and slid down reluctantly onto the cold sheets.

(Continued)

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