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TBR News February 16, 2020

Feb 16 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. February 16, 2020:“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 February 16: “An article has appeared, postulating the belief that the new flu virus is part of a plot to attack the Chinese. I knew we would be seeing articles like this.
Whenever there is a problem, trust me, out from under the damp rocks the Jones people come.
The rural Chinese population is not sanitary. Pigs in the back yard, chickens in the house. Diseases start among the animals, spread to humans. Happens in China on a regular basis.
This corona business is a huge joke.
It is a relatively low-key flu, soon over.
The standard seasonal flu that breaks out every year in the United States kills about 50,000 a year.
The public is not told about this but one can easily discover it on Google.
This new Chinese flu has killed dozens so far.
The dimwitted press is hopping up and down, banging their collective knuckles on the cage floor and hooting like chimpanzees at feeding time.
What is even more entertaining is the bleating and stampeding of the increasing legions of brainless sheep that infest the planet.
But soon enough, the national aggregation of dimbulbs will find something else to entertain them and in Washington, Fat Donald is trying on specially tailored SS uniforms and dreaming of his coronation day at the Washington cathedral.”

“Trump aches from his head to his toes
His sphincters have gone where who knows
And his love life has ended
By a paunch so distended
That all he can use is his nose”

The Table of Contents
Dark Towers review: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump and a must-read mystery
• An Analysis of Trump’s economic history
• In his assault on justice, Trump has out-Nixoned Nixon
• US to Supply Mercenary “Contractors” with Deadly Laser Weapons: “Zap…You’re Blind Buddy.”
• Was Jesus Gay?
• White House Exploring ‘Rapture’ Contingency Plans
• The Season of Evil
• The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Dark Towers review: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump and a must-read mystery
David Enrich delivers a master class in financial sleuthing but much about bank and billionaire remains unknown
February 16, 2020
by Lloyd Green
The Guardian
Steve Bannon, the brains behind Donald Trump’s upset election victory, saw the danger posed by the cash cravings of the First Family. In Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff chronicled Bannon drawing a direct line between purported dark doings at Deutsche Bank and Jared Kushner’s brushes with the Mueller investigation: “This is all about money laundering … It goes through Deutsche Bank and all the Kushner shit.”
But that’s only half the story. Late last year, a federal appeals court sustained subpoenas issued by congressional committees to the German bank for Trump’s financial records. Come June, the supreme court will probably rule on the enforceability of those demands together with other cases concerning Trump’s tax returns – just in time for political convention season. In other words, Deutsche remains relevant to the 2020 elections.
In Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction, David Enrich delivers a master class in financial sleuthing. The New York Times’ financial editor follows the money, plows through paper and talks to dozens of people in the bank’s ecosystem. There are names, places and computer files. This is a first-rate read.
Dark Towers traces the bank’s arc from founding through the second world war to the present, excavates and analyzes Trump’s relationship with his lender of last resort, and lays out the ties that bind Justin Kennedy, son of retired supreme court justice Anthony Kennedy, to the Trump family. In case anyone forgot, Brett Kavanaugh clerked for Kennedy père, who interceded with Trump on Kavanaugh’s behalf.
Like a discordant melody that haunts disturbing lyrics, Dark Towers is woven with the life and the 2014 suicide of Bill Broeksmit, a former Deutsche executive. Broeksmit witnessed the bank’s growth, decline and brushes with the law. His death imparts to Enrich’s book an air of mystery, crystalizing Deutsche’s descent and woes. The bank weighed on Broeksmit to the end.
Going back in time, Deutsche was formed in 1870. It financed German industry. Think regional, not global. Along the way, it found the time to bankroll the Nazis and provide construction finance for Auschwitz.
With the fall of the Soviet Union it looked east – as would the 45th president – for new markets and opportunities. Among other things, the nexus between Deutsche, Trump and VTB, a Kremlin-favored bank, left House Democrats and Enrich puzzled. The author posits: “Perhaps this was more than a coincidence.”
According to the Mueller report, in the midst of Trump’s bid for the Republican nomination Felix Sater, a Trump crony and former convict, repeatedly attempted to arrange for Michael Cohen, Trump’s now-imprisoned personal lawyer, and “candidate Trump, as representatives of the Trump Organization, to travel to Russia to meet with Russian government officials and possible financing partners”.
In a 19 December 2015 email, Sater wrote: “Invitations & Visas will be issued this week by VTB Bank to discuss financing for Trump Tower Moscow. Politically neither Putin’s office nor Ministry of Foreign Affairs [can] issue invite, so they are inviting commercially/business.”
Dark Towers provides no conclusive evidence that Trump’s funding originated in Russia. Executives denied such ties, Trump Moscow was not built and the redacted Mueller report lacks any mention of Deutsche even as it contains multiple references to VTB. Then again, in December 2017, after learning that the special counsel had subpoenaed Deutsche’s records, Trump reportedly wanted Mueller fired.
It would be generous to say that when it comes to Trump, where the truth lies is a mystery. Throughout the impeachment proceedings, Trump denied he had dispatched Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to dig for dirt on the Biden family. After acquittal by the Senate, the president admitted it to Geraldo Rivera.
As for Trump’s bet on Kennedy and Kavanaugh, it appears to have paid off. In last summer’s much-awaited census case, Kavanaugh voted that the commerce department decision to add a “citizenship” question was subject to only minimal judicial review. The fact that the government had been less than forthcoming failed to sway either of Trump’s appointees to the highest court.
With the Deutsche Bank subpoena headed for resolution in a matter of months, we may see history repeat itself. Regardless, Dark Towers is an excellent primer for what may well await.

An Analysis of Trump’s economic history
Trump is not an honest man by any stretch of imagination. He has a long record of bankruptcies, business failures, very dubious business practices and extraordinarily negative behavior to staff and other employees. To catalogue the full sweep of a flood of patently dishonest business allegations against Donald Trump would require thousands of words and lump together the trivial, the blatently criminal with the truly scandalous.
Certainly, the psychological personal profile of Donald Trump could hardly be better tailored to being easily turned by a hostile intelligence agency.
The concept of Trump taking bribes from the Russians (or the PRC) is completely understandable if one applies the concept of Occam’s Razor to the tumult and disruption he is deliberately causing both domestically and in foreign areas.
Russian intelligence agencies are known to have highly compromising and often bizarre sexual material on him going back more than 30 years and they have used Trump and his elaborate network of business entites as a funnel for laundering dirty money from the Russian mafia and from post-Soviet oligarchs. The Russians are well-known to have more than enough compromising material on Trump to bend him to their will.
Trump has constantly been engaged in bribings and manipulations and does this through second parties such as Cohen his former lawyer or Manafort, his recently convicted campaign manager during the election.
Following Mr.Trump’s bankruptcies in the 1990s he borrowed very large sums of operating capital from Russian sources. He also obtained large loans from the Deutsche Bank (over 640 million dollars)
Other big banks, domestic and foreign, have long refused to lend to him, coining the term “the Donald risk” to refer to his repeated bankruptcies and failures to repay loans. However, Deutsche Bank, whose real-estate division continued to lend him hundreds of millions of dollars to finance his projects, seemed to have a greater risk appetite. There is a solid connection and on-going business between this bank and two Russian-based banks.
1,300 Trump condominiums have been sold to Russian-connected buyers. Even a cheap Trump condo costs over a million dollars, so there over 1,300 condos that meet all the criteria for what is normally called money laundering. Russian intelligence is using Trump real estate to launder money
In 2008 his son, Donald Trump Jr., said that Russia was an important source of money for the Trump businesses.
Trump and his entourage have made a significant number of trips to Russia in the past (a list of these along with Russian personages he was in contact with can easily be found on Google), seeking financing and permission to build luxury hotels in that country
Russian intelligence owns Wikileaks entirely and released the damning, and authentic, ‘Podesta papers’ concurrent with Hillary Clinton’s campaign in coordinated agreement with the Trump people. This did serious damage to her campaign and was a major contributory factor to her narrow defeat and Trump’s election to the presidency.
Trump’s actions, as President, are deliberate efforts to alienate both the putative allies of the US such as Germany, France, and Canada and, to a lesser degree, Mexico. Also, the tariffs suggested by Trump against China would result in retaliation by that country and many retail outlets in the United States would be forced to close because they would be unable to purchase Chinese-made goods, the bulk of their stock.
Trump has deliberately launched pointless, and destructive, attacks against Mexican and Muslim immigrants, as well as Canadian, Chinese and German imports. All this has done is to create a highly negative image of his persona primarily and secondarily, the global image of the United States. This is only to the benefit of Putin’s Russia, not the United States.
Trump’s tariffs, and threats of tariffs, have engendered counter-tariffs that will, when implemented, create serious economic problems for American businessmen and, eventually, the American public.
Trump’s politically foolish but calculated support of the Israeli far right has done, and is doing, serious damage to the US image in the Middle East. It should be noted that Russian influence in the Shiite areas of the Middle East, is growing. Also note that Iran, and parts of Iraq, both Shiite, have extensive oil reserves and that Saudi Arabia, a Sunni state, once America’s primary source of badly-need oil, is running dry. Further, his aggressive support of Israel is resulting in increasing antisemitism in the United States.
The Middle East areas where Russia now has growing influence, have oil and if Russia sets itself up as major oil merchandising source, this will give them tremendous economic leverage vis a vis the United States which is the world’s largest consumer of oil and its by-products.
By alienating America’s allies and disrupting that country’s social structure, Trump benefits only Russia and its interests.
When he is caught at this, and it is common knowledge that the FBI was deeply interested in his Russian connections long before he ran for President, either the American public will have to deal with another Dallas or Trump will suffer a fatal heart attack. Vice-President Pence, a Christian fanatic, would then have to be told to mind his manners or suffer similar terminal problems.
Trump is very well aware of the ongoing and growing official investigation into his denied but completely genuine Russian connections and is certainly also well aware of what they can find, and probably have already uncovered, so he initially fired the head of the FBI and even now, according to a very reliable source, is determined to replace the FBI with the cooperative CIA (their former head, Pompeo, is now Secretary of State) as the sole foreign and domestic intelligence agency. He, and his Russian intelligence handlers, want to nip any FBI revelations in the bud so that Trump can continue on his course of castrating the United States as a global power to the benefit of Putin’s Russia.
There was a full page ad that he took out in the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Washington Post in 1988, putting forth foreign policy points that could have been dictated by Vladimir Putin. It was an assault against NATO, and the European Union, both anathema to Russia
In 2015, Western European intelligence agencies in France and Germany began picking up solid evidence of communications between the Russian government and people in Donald Trump’s orbit. In April 2016, one of the Baltic States shared with then–CIA director John Brennan an audio recording of Russians discussing funneling money to the Trump campaign. In the summer of 2016, Robert Hannigan, head of the U.K. intelligence agency GCHQ, flew to Washington to brief Brennan on intercepted communications between the Trump campaign and Russia.
During the Soviet era, Russian intelligence cast a wide net to gain leverage over influential figures abroad. (The practice continues to this day.) The Russians would lure or entrap not only prominent politicians and cultural leaders, but also people whom they saw as having the potential for gaining prominence in the future. In 1986, Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin met Trump in New York, flattered him with praise for his building exploits, and invited him to discuss a building in Moscow. Trump visited Moscow in July 1987. He stayed at the National Hotel, in the Lenin Suite, which certainly was known to be bugged
Throughout his career, Trump has always felt comfortable operating at or beyond the ethical boundaries that constrain typical businesses. In the 1980s, he worked with La Cosa Nostra, which controlled the New York cement trade, and later employed Michael Cohen and Felix Sater, both of whom have links to the Russian Mafia. Trump habitually refused to pay his counter parties, and if the people he burned (or any journalists) got in his way, he bullied them with threats. He also used LLCs which he created for the purpose of swindling firm who, for example, laid new carpet in one of his hotels. The vendor billed the LLC which promptly went bankrupt. This has been a favorite gambit of Trump.
Trump continually acts like a man with a great deal to hide: declining to testify to anything under oath, dangling Presidential pardons to keep potential witnesses and former employees from incriminating him, publicly chastising his attorney general for not quashing the whole Russian investigation, and endorsing Russia’s claims that it had nothing to do with the election. (“Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!” he tweeted last month, contradicting the conclusion of every U.S. intelligence and counter-intelligence agency.) Trump’s behavior toward Russia looks exactly like that of an accessory after the fact.
When, and not if, it becomes public knowledge that the President of the US is an agent of a foreign power, it would be the worst scandal in American history, far surpassing Tea Pot Dome or Watergate.
In conclusion, it is clearly obvious that President Trump was jobbed into his office with the full cooperation of Russian intelligence and that he is currently engaged in efforts to carry out their political global programs which, if allowed to continue, will wreak economic and political havoc on the American government, business community and public.
And consider that the United States has been harassing Vladimir Putin’s Russia economically and causing considerable problems for that country. Mr. Putin’s reactive countermeasures aganst the United States are certainly in response to these actions and in the long view, far more effective than sanctions and hysterical threats.

In his assault on justice, Trump has out-Nixoned Nixon
After Watergate, we worked for impartiality. Trump, Roger Stone and William Barr have dragged us back to the swamp
February 16, 2020
by Robert Reich
The Guardian
“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it sometimes rhymes,” Mark Twain is supposed to have said.
My first job after law school was as an attorney at the Department of Justice (DoJ). I reported for work September 1974, weeks after Richard Nixon resigned.
In the years leading up to his resignation, Nixon turned the justice department and FBI into his personal fiefdom, enlisting his appointees to reward his friends and penalize his enemies. He brought conspiracy charges against critics of the Vietnam war, for example, and ordered the department to drop an antitrust case against ITT after the conglomerate donated money for the 1972 Republican convention.
During the Senate Watergate investigation, Nixon’s stooges kept him informed. Reports about how compromised the justice department had become generated enough public outrage to force the appointment of the first Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox.
Before Nixon’s mayhem was over, his first two attorneys general were deep in legal trouble – John Mitchell eventually served 19 months in prison – and his third resigned rather than carry out the demand to fire Cox.
Watergate also ushered into politics a young man named Roger Stone – who, as it happens, also graduated from my small rural high school in Lewisboro, New York, although I didn’t know him. Stone’s first job was on Nixon’s 1972 campaign, working for the Committee to Re-elect the President, known then, and forevermore, as Creep. Stone joined some two dozen dirty tricksters hired to lie about, harass and dig up dirt on Democrats.
After Nixon resigned, the entire slimy mess of Watergate spawned a series of reforms designed to insulate the administration of justice from politics.
During the years I worked at the justice department, officials teamed up with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders with the goal of making justice the most independent part of the executive branch.
“Our law is not an instrument of partisan purpose,” said Edward Levi, Gerald Ford’s attorney general.
Griffin Bell, appointed by Jimmy Carter, described the department as “a neutral zone in the government, because the law has to be neutral”.
Regulations were put into place to insulate the FBI and DoJ from political interference. The FBI director was given a 10-year term. A protocol allowed for the appointment of outside prosecutors. US attorneys were to be independent.
White House officials and justice department lawyers weren’t supposed to exchange information about ongoing criminal investigations or civil enforcement actions. A 2007 memorandum allowed the department to advise the White House of criminal or civil enforcement matters “only where it is important for the performance of the president’s duties and where appropriate from a law enforcement perspective”.
Now we’re back to where we were 50 years ago. Trump seems determined to finish Nixon’s agenda of rigging elections and making the justice department a cesspool of partisanship. In Trump’s 2016 campaign, even Stone was back to his old dirty tricks of issuing lies and conspiracy theories, and seeking dirt on a Democratic opponent.
Trump has out-Nixoned Nixon: firing FBI director James Comey after asking him to “let go” of an inquiry into former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s interactions with Russian officials; repeatedly calling the Russian inquiry a politically motivated “witch-hunt”; urging the firing of the FBI’s No 2 official because of alleged Democratic allegiances; launching an assault on special counsel Robert Mueller’s own investigation; and appointing a lapdog attorney general, William Barr, to do whatever the president wishes.
Barr has out-Nixoned Nixon’s attorney general, John Mitchell: whitewashing Mueller’s conclusions; defending Trump’s phone call to the president of Ukraine seeking dirt on Joe Biden; defending Trump during the House impeachment; refusing to enforce congressional subpoenas; opening an “intake process” for dirt Rudy Giuliani dredges up on Trump’s political opponents; and continuing to respond to Trump’s every whim including, this week, suggesting Stone should get a milder sentence than the one career prosecutors recommended.
In November, Stone was convicted of obstructing Congress and seeking to intimidate witnesses. This week, prosecutors recommended Stone be sentenced to between seven and nine years in prison. Applying federal sentencing guidelines, they reasoned that Stone deserved it because he had threatened to harm a witness – to whom he sent the message “prepare to die” – and his conduct had resulted in “substantial interference in the administration of justice”.
“This is a horrible and very unfair situation,” Trump tweeted, early the next morning. “The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!”
Hours later, Barr decided to seek a more lenient sentence.
“The department finds the recommendation extreme and excessive and disproportionate to Stone’s offenses,” a spokesman said.
In response, the career prosecutors filed notices in court of their intention to leave the case. One wrote that he was resigning as an assistant US attorney and leaving government altogether.
The incident caused such an uproar that on Thursday Barr was forced to declare in a TV interview that he wouldn’t be “bullied” and that Trump’s tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job”.
But anyone who has watched Barr repeatedly roll over for Trump saw this as a minimal face-saving gesture. As if to underscore Barr’s subordinate role, on Friday Trump tweeted that he has the “legal right” to meddle in cases handled by the DoJ.
Trump’s view is that he has ultimate power – an “absolute right” – to control the justice department.
That’s as wrongheaded now as it was when Nixon held the same view. If a president can punish enemies and reward friends through the administration of justice, there can be no justice. Justice requires impartial and equal treatment under the law. Partiality or inequality in deciding whom to prosecute and how to punish invites tyranny.
A half-century ago, I witnessed the near dissolution of justice under Nixon and the enablers then drawn to him, such as Roger Stone. I served in the justice department when it and Congress resolved that what had occurred would never happen again.
But what occurred under Nixon is happening again. Trump neither understands nor cares about justice. He cares about nothing but himself. Like Nixon, he has usurped the independence of the Department of Justice for his own ends.
Unlike Nixon, Trump won’t resign. He has too many enablers – not just a shameful attorney general but also shameless congressional Republicans – who place a lower priority on justice than on satisfying the most vindictive and paranoid occupant of the White House since Richard Milhous Nixon.
Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labor, is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few and The Common Good. His next book, The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It, will be out in March. He is a columnist for Guardian US

US to Supply Mercenary “Contractors” with Deadly Laser Weapons: “Zap…You’re Blind Buddy.”
by Brendon Shallat
Sources inside the Pentagon have confirmed that LDS or Laser Dazzle Sight weapons, now under manufacture in New Hampshire and Florida, have been shipped to Iraq for exclusive use by the mercenary units of Blackwater, Inc. a South Carolina-based private militia now under contract to the American government.
These weapons are designed solely to permanently blind opponents by destroying their optic nerves. First developed by the British in 1990 by the British Ministry of Defense, Royal Signals and Radar Establishment (RSRE) in conjunction with the Admiralty Research Establishment, these weapons were initially installed on ships of the Royal Navy.
They are called ‘Low energy laser weapons with an anti-eye capability,’
The United States military worked on a similar program in 1982 identified in military reports as a “battlefield antisensor close-combat laser assault weapon” called C-CLAW. This was a combination of two lasers which could operate together at three different wavelengths. )ne of the lasers was a 1-kilowatt pulsed CO2 device using a high pulse repetition frequency and a wavelength of 10,600 nanometers. The other was a Nd:YAG laser that could be used either at 1,060 nanometers or frequency doubled at 530 nanometers.
This program was officially cancelled in 1983 because of the high costs and excessive weight of the weapon. Information on this project had leaked to the media and the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army officially dropped the project as a result of public objections.
This project was restarted under the title STINGRAY which is an optical and electro-optical LEL weapon designed to blind the enemy forces facing it and was designed for mounting on the Bradley MW Infantry Fighting Vehicle but also was intended for mounting on attack helicopters.
The STINGRAY program is sponsored by the U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command (CECOM) and is contracted by Martin Marietta Electronics Systems in Orlando, Florida.
An evaluation by the Department of Defense in 2003 states that “when the power level is increased and beam is narrowed to concentrate its energy on an enemy soldier it can do tremendous damage, and has the potential to damage, permanently, the eyes of enemy soldiers, both temporarily and permanently. It is estimated that many, if not all, of the targets can be injured in such a way that will render them legally blind for the rest of their lives.”
The U.S. Army also has another STINGRAY-related LEL designed for attack helicopters called the CAMEO BLUEJAY. This is a lighter version of STINGRAY and is designed to be mounted on an Apache attack helicopter.
Another U.S. Army laser weapon is called DAZER and is a frequency-agile LEL portable anti-eye laser weapon that uses an alexandrite laser designed as “a man-portable laser device for use by infantry to provide a soft kill against personnel.” This system is under the control of U.S. Army’s Missile Command (MICOM) and is built by the Allied Corporation’s Military Laser Products Division of Westlake, California.
Because of public knowledge, albeit highly restricted in scope, of these laser-blinding weapons, serious questions of violations of international law have arisen and the Clinton Administration officially banned their use. The weapons continued to be built and the present Administration has permitted their release for use against what are now termed “massive and dangerous armed mobs of Islamic fanatics” in occupied Iraq.
Because of potential international objections to the use of these weapons and probable legal objections, it has been determined, according to Pentagon sources, that these weapons would be issued, or “loaned pending return” to U.S. Army custody and control, to the mercenary units of the Blackwater Company now performing both guard duty for top American officials in Iraq as well as “off-the-books” search and destroy missions directed against Iraqi civilian personnel.
The phrase ‘plausible deniability’ is now being used by Pentagon sources concerning the use by mercenary units of these weapons. Members of these units who might be identified as participating in these “off-the-books” actions can be officially distanced and returned to the United States and not identified.

Was Jesus Gay?
by Christian Jürs

Jesus was not a Nazerene but an Alexandrian Jew. His family moved to Judea when Jesus and his two brothers were very young. Jesus’ elder brother was a member of the agricultural Essene cult and Jesus joined this group.
During the Procuratorship of Antonius Felix (52 to 58 CE) Jesus amassed a mob of about 30,000 Palestinian Jewish dissidents, planning to attack Jerusalem and drive out the Roman garrison. One of Jesus’s Essene associates, a man named Judas, informed Felix of the impending raid and it was stopped by Roman troops with a heavy loss of life for the rebels. Many were taken prisoner, tried and crucified for rebellion against the Roman government but the period records show, very clearly, that the leader, Jesus from Alexandria, escaped and vanished into the desert. This man came out of the desert with a force of 30,000 and went up the Mount of Olives in order to fall on the city of Jerusalem, expel the Roman garrison and become ruler. Felix engaged the Egyptian in battle and dispersed his followers. The leader himself succeeded in escaping.
Jesus was an Essene, and Christianity as we know it today evolved from this sect of Judaism, with which it shared many ideas and symbols
The Essenes were a religious sect of Judaism that flourished from the 2nd century BCE to the the ist Century CE in Qumran, a plateau in the Judean desert along the Dead Sea. The origin of the name Essene is debated. Some credible possibilities are either a version of the Greek word for “holy,” or an Aramaic dialect term for “pious.” In their writings, they refer to themselves as the “Sons of Light”. Many scholars today believe there were a number of separate but related groups that had in common mystic, eschatological, messianic, and ascetic beliefs that were referred to as the “Essenes.”
The Essenes rejected all contact with women.
Josephus says in the eighth chapter of the second book of his history of the Jewish War, from which these quotations on the Essenes have been taken. But in the eighteenth book of his Jewish Antiquities, chapter one, he says on the same question :
“They do not take wives and hold no slaves. They hold that the latter is unjust, and the first would give rise to disputes.”
“They reject marriage, but adopt strange children while they are still young and teachable, consider them as their own children and instruct them in their ways and customs. It is not that they would do away with or forbid marriage or the reproduction of the species. But they say that the unchastity of women must be guarded against, since none of them is satisfied with one man alone.”
Josephus knew the Essenes from his own observations. He had been successively with the Sadducees. Essenes and Pharisees until he stayed finally with the latter.
Thus Josephus is in an excellent position to tell us the basis of the Essenes’ hostility to marriage. He does not discuss the obvious homosexual orientation of the Essenes or, more likely, any reference to this has been censored by Christian archivists.

White House Exploring ‘Rapture’ Contingency Plans

• The White House is reportedly exploring contingency plans in the event that President Trump and other prominent Christians are ‘raptured.’ But succession plans are complicated by the fact that Vice President Pence will be summoned to heaven along with millions of other Christians.
• Party leaders address presidential succession, security needs in event that President Trump and, other True Believers are summoned to heaven.
WASHINGTON, DC—What if the rapture, the much-anticipated event in which God summons his faithful followers out of this world, happened on Donald Trump’s watch? Until recently this seemingly far-fetched question was the stuff of Christian message boards. But with the White House well known for putting faith front and center, officials are reportedly at work on a contingency plan spelling out how to run the country in the event that President Trump and other top-ranking Christians are ‘raptured.’
White House officials are said to be concerned by a recent up-tick in the Rapture Ready Index, a self-proclaimed prophetic speedometer of end-time activity that monitors such seemingly disparate factors as the crime rate, unemployment, wild weather and the “mark of the Beast,” evidence of activity related to the antichrist. The Rapture Ready Index recently reached 157, a high for 2019, pushed upwards by a new CUNY study showing that the number of Pagans in the US has skyrocketed of late. The “mark of the Beast” category was also upgraded as a result of a nation-wide push to replace bar codes product labels with radio tags.
Who will rule?
For the White House, the possibility that the dramatic events described in Thessalonians 4:13-18, in which “the dead in Christ will rise, then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord,” presents an obvious dilemma: if President Trump is summoned to meet his maker, who among the “left behind” can govern the country? According to the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, if the president is incapacitated, dies, resigns, is for any reason unable to hold his office, or is removed from office, he is to be succeeded by his vice president, in this case Pence. But top White House officials have expressed concern that Pence’s health may make such a transition impossible, especially after the shock of witnessing his boss disappear through the ceiling of the Oval Office.
Security vs. tribulation
But Republican Party officials are already expressing concern that Pence may not be up to the task of seeing the US through the turbulent years of Tribulation, a seven-year long period in which the antichrist takes advantage of the Christians’ absence, and makes a treaty with the Jews, enabling them to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and to reestablish their ancient liturgical system of animal-sacrifices. “We’re preparing for tough times ahead,” said an administration official. “We don’t know what’s going to happen or what to expect.” He notes that the White House is being helped in its efforts to plan for the post-rapture period by Professor Lee Clarke, a Rutgers University sociologist and the author of Mission Improbable: Using Fantasy Documents to Tame Disaster.
A number of senators have also expressed misgivings over the possibility that Senator McConnel may use the confusion of the Tribulation period to divert excessive discretionary spending, known as pork, to his home state.
Ready or not, here he comes
Of course there is always the possibility that the rapture won’t happen during President Trump’s term, if at all. But millions of Christians, including many of those who recently expect to vote to give the president a second term, are convinced that the rapture isn’t just coming, but coming soon.
In a recent poll of Christians conducted on leftbehind.com, the online counterpart to the popular Left Behind series by Reverend Tim LeHaye, more than 50 percent of respondents said that they expected the rapture to happen any day. Nearly 3 in 10 either had unfinished business or didn’t want to end their earthly good times just yet.
Many Republicans are probably feeling the same way these days.

The Season of Evil
by Gregory Douglas

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 inaccuratre.

Frienze, Italy
July 2018-August 2019

Chapter 88

Alex was standing in the hall, wrapped in a short terrycloth robe, his wet hair still plastered to his head. He was smiling.
“Alex, go back to your room!” Chuck shouted.
“No, Chuck, I don’t think so. Tell them Claude. Tell them just what happened. You think Claude went and shot those people and got me to go with him on a fake fishing trip, don’t you. Claudie used poor Alex as a front. I know that’s what you think.
Hey, Chuck, leave him alone. I can tell you right now that Claude never shot anyone and I mean anyone. Claude did not trick me into going on a trip and he for sure did not use me as a front.”
“Alex, don’t lie to me!”
“Chuck, I don’t lie to you and you know it. I tell you again, Claude never shot anybody because I did.”
Gwen shrieked, “What!?”
Alex smiled again and walked over to Claude’s chair, putting his hands on Claude’s shoulders.
“You heard me. You ain’t fucking deaf, are you? I said real clearly that Claude didn’t get me to do anything and he never shot anybody. I got him to go with me. I took the gun from the attic and I shot your uncle and the President. Claude did not.”
There was complete, strangled silence and Claude looked up at Alex and grinned.
“Thanks, kid. I told you I wouldn’t snitch on you, didn’t I?”
“Yeah, you did but I could hear the racket and you aren’t taking anything for me. I did it and that’s it. You going to call the Feds, Chuck? Gwen?”
They both stared at Alex in total disbelief.
Gwen broke the silence.
“Why did you take Claude with you, Alex?”
“That’s simple honey. Because I can’t legally drive a car, that’s why.”
Suddenly, the tension vanished and all of them began to laugh loudly.
“Oh how wonderful!” Chuck said, slapping his thighs, “Just wonderful Alex. Oh no, too young to drive a car and no driver’s license. My, we must be legal, mustn’t we? No, no, can’t drive a car because we’re too young but certainly not too young to kill the President of the United States. Oh my, no!”
And he laughed so hard he began to cry and had to sit down on the floor.
Even Gwen began to snicker and finally laugh.
“My poor little Alex! Such a sweet, tender, loving boy! Oh, Jesus! We’ll have to get you a nice car and help you with your license just as soon as you’re sixteen. Next month, isn’t it? We don’t want to break any more laws, do we?”
Chuck began to recover himself.
“Alex, why did you shoot the President? What did you have against him?”
Alex ran his hands through his wet hair and rubbed them on the robe.
“Against him? Nothing at all. See, when I got them in my sight, I could see that they were both sort of overlapping each other and I thought to myself just before I pulled the trigger that if I only shot your uncle then people would wonder why him. And someone might wonder who would profit from his being shot. And your name came up so I decided to shoot both of them real quick. That way I figured that everyone would think the shooter missed on one shot and got the Prez with the second. Make sense?”
It was generally agreed that it did. Claude pointed a thumb at Alex who was still leaning over the back of his chair.
“This kid is really something else, dudes. It was all his idea from the start. He said he tried to talk you out of the project because he didn’t want you to get caught. Why? He said you gave him a new life and he was going to pay you back for it. Good kid, folks, a good kid. But as tough as a railroad spike, that one is. I tried to talk him out of it about ten times but I might as well have been farting into a hurricane. He went down there saying he was going to get your uncle and by Saint Agnes of the rosy nipples, he fucking well did.”
They had left their camping place three days before the ceremony. The car was hidden off the road and it was piled around with freshly cut tree branches and brush. It was completely invisible three feet away to any accidental visitor. The tent and all the camping equipment was packed in the car when Claude and Alex descended down the heavily wooded hills towards the bluffs along the Ohio River.
All they carried was a ground sheet, the binoculars, a pair of coveralls, a packet of sandwiches, dried jerky and two bottles of water. And, of course, the aluminum gun case.
The first day they spent scouting the immediate area of the ceremony. The Secret Service had not arrived but carpenters and electricians were working on the platform.
There was a long ridge of sandstone between the swampland and the opposite side. Remembering what Chuck had told them about his childhood explorations, they searched the back side of the ridge until Claude found the narrow entrance to one of the tunnels. Alex stripped off his clothes and wriggled inside the constricting darkness, moving forward by using his elbows and legs until he saw light ahead of him.
On the reverse side of the slope, the one facing the new platform, were a number of small bushes growing in cracks in the soft stone and one of them was directly in front of the tunnel opening. Alex reached out and carefully parted the branches and then had a perfect view of the target area only a hundred yards in front of him. It was, he thought, a perfect place for a shooting blind. If he pulled off a few branches here and there, he could shoot from back inside the tunnel and the sound would be greatly muffled.
The next step was to slowly back out of the tunnel, get the gun case and push it ahead of him to the place he intended to shoot from.
After that, he backed out again and had a brief conference with Claude in the thick underbrush below the cliff.
Alex kept his voice to a whisper.
“It’s perfect, Claude. And you couldn’t get into the tunnel because your shoulders are too fucking wide so don’t bug me. There’s a deep creek bed just across the road there….I know, we came down it. We can spend the night there and tomorrow and then I’ll get up in place the next day. When it’s over, I’ll come right down here and you wait for me across the road. And then we’ll get the sweet fuck out of here.”
Claude slept badly but Alex fell into a deep sleep as soon as it got dark and didn’t wake up until noon the next day. They could hear vehicles moving up and down the road, all of which were either unmarked official cars or the local police but no one apparently had any intentions of combing the vicinity of the Presidential visit.
Alex moved to the side of the deep ravine and watched the ridge in front of him with his binoculars. When the Secret Service arrived, he saw two men with rifles set up a position almost directly above the camouflaged tunnel entrance but they were a hundred feet higher and could not see the base of the ridge or even the road behind it.
On the day of the ceremony, Alex took a mouthful of water, rinsed out his dry mouth, urinated into the bushes and shook hands with Claude.
“OK, here we go. The sun comes up in about an hour and I’m going to get into position now. Wish me luck?”
Claude suddenly hugged him.
“Sure kid. God bless. Oh, and don’t miss. I’ll be waiting for you right here. OK?”
“OK.” and Alex, wearing a set of green speckled camouflage, vanished quietly into the brush.

The agents had left their position on the top of the bluff the night before but returned to it about nine in the morning. They looked around through their glasses, seeing nothing but lush spring greenery and in the distance, through a gap in the trees, the shining gray surface of the Ohio River.
Support people began arriving at ten and the sound technicians were testing the microphones by ten thirty. Local dignitaries, several State officials and one of the Senators from Illinois arrived at eleven along with the press.
As befitting his elevated position, the Secretary of the Interior and his staff arrived just before the President’s party and Charles Rush’s helicopter deposited the dumpy press lord on the road ten minutes after the arrival of the President.
Alex watched the filling platform with interest, using the telescopic lens to aid him in identifying his target. He recognized the President immediately, had no knowledge of the Secretary and then, happily, saw Charles Rush moving through the crowd towards the President.
There was much civility evident with handshaking and smiles enough for an Irish wedding and then exactly at noon, the Governor of the state stepped to the microphone and introduced the Secretary of the Interior.
It was just as he was about to finish his speech that Alex gently squeezed the trigger twice. He could witness the carnage through the scope and in spite of the turmoil in front of him, he very carefully dismantled the gun, put it back into its fitted case and dragged it behind him as he wormed his way backwards towards safety.
Holding the case in one hand, he moved the cut branches carefully aside at the other end of the tunnel and looked around.
He saw and heard very little other than the noises from the other side of the ridge and he waited for a moment before breaking cover, running across the road and down into the safety of the ravine.
Claude was waiting, nervously chewing on his fingers and when he saw Alex, he hugged him again.
Alex stripped off the coveralls and stuffed them under a rotting fallen tree but he hung onto the gun case. As they ran back up the ravine, Claude kept trying to pull the case out of Alex’s grip.
“Kid, get rid of the gun! If they catch us with it, we’re finished!”
Alex shook his head as he splashed through the shallow pools.
“No, not here, Claude, not here. Just keep on going.”
It took them all of two hours to move back up the hills, first through the safety of the ravine’s cover and then the heavy undergrowth. Once, Alex stopped and used his binoculars while he looked back at the area they had left. He saw a helicopter rise up and circle in the distance but it remained where it was and they continued to move towards their car.
By the time they reached it, they were exhausted and very thirsty but Alex would not stop until the car was ready to go and the gun case hidden back in the trunk.
Then he put on the cleanest clothes he could find, stuck his beach hat on his sweating head and got back into the front seat while Claude was dragging away the last of the wilting camouflage.
They started up and drove out onto the road. Alex put on his sunglasses and lowered his window because of the day’s heat. Claude kept watching the road behind them fully expecting to see flashing emergency lights while Alex watched ahead, certain that there would be roadblocks.
They saw one helicopter several miles away flying in an opposite direction and there were no roadblocks on any of the dusty, narrow county roads. As the distance between them and the atrocity widened, their confidence slowly returned to the point where Alex was making terrible jokes about the slaughter at the bird preserve.
Claude had always been sympathetic to the abused Alex and had grown to genuinely like him but at this point in their relationship, he was afraid of this casual youth who had just done something that he himself would never have even considered.
Alex put a CD into the player and leaned back comfortably while he listened to the Gould rendition of Bach’s Goldberg variations. To Claude, the short piano pieces were merely noise. He had an incredible knowledge of art but Claude was also tone deaf and the noise sounded like a Chinese opera to him.
Eventually, they emerged from the woodland and drove on better roads, heading for the Mississippi river and the highway to Duluth. In the middle of the bridge, Alex told Claude to stop. He got out, opened the trunk and took out the gun case. A truck passed them but the driver paid no attention other than to honk his annoyance at having to drive around them. The bridge was empty when Alex opened the case and dropped the gun down into the swift river below. The open case followed a moment later and he watched the twin splashes and the rapidly vanishing bubbles.
“See Claude,” Alex said as they drove across the bridge into another state,
“That’s the best place for the gun. If we left it somewhere, someone might find it and who knows what would happen then?”
What would have happened is that had the assassination weapon been found and turned over to the competent governmental agencies, it would have been destroyed. After all, the real assassination weapon was in Washington and another one would merely have confused the public.


This is also an e-book, available from Amazon:

The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Kimberlie Struiksma

Kimberlie Struiksma is a Washington-based wingnut. Now, we don’t know much else about her, but in 2009 she proposed an initiative to be voted on by referendum in that state, namely the Washington State Defense of Liberty and the Existence of a Higher Power Act. Though Struiksma has apparently heard about the First Amendment, her suggested act reveals, well, we’ll give you the text itself: “Respecting no establishment of religion, yet with respect to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, whose existence has been declared in the preamble to the Constitution of the state of Washington, the state shall make no appropriation for nor apply any public moneys or property in support of anything, specifically including but not limited to, any display, exercise, instruction, scientific endeavor, circulated document, or research project which denies or attempts to refute the existence of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.” Or, in short, though government should respect no establishment of religion, if we allow contradictions, it still could, and we could then effectively prevent religion from being criticized. The whole proposal is here. By “scientific endeavor”, Struiksma “means any act, idea, theory, intervention, conference, organization, or individual having to do with science.” In short, no university would be allowed to pay a salary to, say, any employee who criticized or questioned religion, or engaged in scientific investigations that could be used to question aspects of religion.
Diagnosis: Of course, Struiksma enjoyed little success with her proposal, and both it and her have apparently receded from view after 2009. Still.

Roger Patterson

Roger Patterson is one of the creation “scientists” affiliated with Answers in Genesis. Patterson has no background in science, of course – otherwise he would not have had that job – but he knows how to swamp his writings with Bible quotes, and that is what matters.
Indeed, it is, for Patterson and the AiG, explicitlyall that matters. It is instructive to look at how Patterson and the AiG think critical thinking works. As he states in his writeup of how to do critical thinking, AiG-style: “To really determine what is true and what is false requires that you test everything in light of the only source of ultimate truth – God’s Word.” Indeed, “[w]hen we look to God’s Word as the standard for understanding truth, we have a solid foundtion from which to begin applying critical thinking to claims we hear. Further, God does not leave us alone in this endeavor. He has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us and other believers to support us. Working together with the body of Christ from a biblical framework and empowered by the Holy Spirit, you can discern truth from lies, even in areas where you may not be an expert, by asking the right critical thinking questions.” The questions are:
– What is this person’s Authority to make such a claim?
– From what Starting point is this person looking at the world?
– How do they Know what they claim to know?
And the answer to the questions should be Scripture, of course. To determine whether someone has the relevant authority, look at whether they have a Biblical worldview. And the starting pointshould be the Word of God (“Ultimately, these are the only two options – you either trust God or you trust man. Although humanistic philosophy must borrow ideas from a Christian worldview in order to make logical arguments, it is very dangerous to make human reasoning the absolute standard.”) As for the how do they know, “the knowledge claim must be compared to the truth of God’s Word. If the truth claim disagrees with a clear meaning of Scripture, it must be rejected.” In short, critical thinking AiG style involves neither criticalnor thinking. But it is probably in this light you should understand creationists’ argument that creationism should be taught in science class alongside evolution to promote critical thinking.
Here is Patterson discussing creationist debate tactics and how you should try to subvert a discussion of science to give you an opportunity to talk about God, essentially by pointing out that science doesn’t yield absolute certainty but God’s word does. With evolution and the origin of the universe, you see, we have no eyewitness testimony, and to Patterson it is incomprehensible how we can know anything without someone observing it directly. In short, he fully and completely reject using scientific methods to figure stuff out and seem unaware of the idea – science – of testing hypotheses about the unobserved by its observable consequences. It’s telling.
Nevertheless, Patterson wrote a Chapter on “What is Science?” for his AiG’s online creationist resource Evolution Exposed – Biology. It is, needless to say, a thoroughly confused document. To write The Evolution Exposed series, Patterson “got copies of the three major biology textbooks used in most public school systems across America,” then “carefully went through each of them and noted every place where there’s a reference to millions of years and evolution, […] researched the evolutionary claims [using AiG-approved resources, presumably], and then read hundreds of articles and contacted experts in their fields [remember, from above, Patterson’s point about authority] to ensure he’d write the best rebuttals possible.” The series is marketed as “your evolution answer-book for the classroom;” that is, the point is that students using any of the most popular textbooks can now go online and get AiG’s responses to the most unbiblical passages.
Together with one Joseph Paturi, Patterson is also the author of AiG’s guide to World Religions and Cults Volume 2, What Is Hinduism and Hare Krishna?(“they are ultimately pursuing salvation through vain means – denying Jesus as the Savior and only source of salvation for fallen men” – Patterson has a curious fondness for the word “ultimately”), which is typical of their guides to World Religions.
The point is that using science to get billions of years is hard; using the Bible to get 6000 is easy. Therefore 6000 is correct. Moreover, scientific calculations depend on “assumptions [that are] unreliable and totally disagrees with the Bible. We are talking about thousands versus billions – that’s more than a rounding error.” Indeed it is.
The Roger Patterson in question is presumably not identical to (apparently long deceased) Roger Patterson, one of the originators of the modern Bigfoot myth.
Diagnosis: A very typical example of his ilk, really, and a fine illustration of the standard creationist combo – completely failing to understand the basics of science makes science look to them like a form of witchcraft, which they promptly fear and hate.

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