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TBR News February 18, 2020

Feb 18 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. February 18, 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 18: Sadly, a person seeking information on, let us say, current events, cannot find any accurate input in the American media.
This nonsensical “coronavirus” is an excellent example.
The sickness is nothing more sinister, or dangerous, that mild flu and the hype and hysteria in the media is, to many, a huge joke.
And media coverage of the beginnings of the elections is another joke.
The candidate, Pete Buttigieg,is openly gay and even though he very intelligent and is a capable person, the far right and the religious nuts hate gays even though historically their hero, Jesus, was apparently gay.
The media are owned by individuals or groups and they reflect the wishes of their owners.
There is no such thing in America as a ‘free press.’
It is fairly obvious that Trump bought the election and that Bloomberg is trying to do the same thing.
Is America for sale? Apparently so.
Bloomberg is a successful and obviously competent businessman while Trump is emotionally disturbed and far from an honest man.
If Bloomberg gets the Democratic nomination, it will be entertaining to watch the fight he will have with Trump.”

The Table of Contents
John Bolton breaks his silence after Trump impeachment: ‘I knew what I was getting into’
• In Taking Crimea, Putin Gains a Sea of Fuel Reserves
• Annexation of Crimea: A masterclass in political manipulation
• Ukraine loses 80% of oil and gas deposits in Black Sea due to annexation of Crimea
• US Upgrades Ukrainian Ports To Fit American Warships
• Israel is arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine
• The Season of Evil
• The Encyclopedia of American Loons

John Bolton breaks his silence after Trump impeachment: ‘I knew what I was getting into’
Former national security adviser scant on details about Ukraine, but says he worries ‘effort to write history’ will be censored
February 17, 2020
by Miranda Bryant
The Guardian
John Bolton celebrated Presidents’ Day by breaking his silence for the first time since Donald Trump’s impeachment trial – speaking of his frustrations and teasing the content of his forthcoming book.
But when it came to his former boss, the president’s former national security adviser was scant on details, hinting that he is restricted in what he can say.
Bolton, who left the White House in September following foreign policy disagreements, was interviewed on stage on Monday night at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
It was his first public speech since Trump’s impeachment trial where – despite repeated appeals by Democrats for him to testify, and Bolton’s stated willingness to do so if subpoenaed – he did not speak to Congress.
But following the leak of a draft of his unpublished forthcoming memoir, which reportedly described how Trump told him he wanted to delay US military aid to Ukraine until its government agreed to investigate Democrats, including presidential hopeful Joe Biden, his shadow loomed large over proceedings – which ended in Trump’s acquittal.
Duke did not allow audio recording or livestreaming at the main event. Interviewer Peter Feaver, a professor of political science and public policy at the university, is understood to have told the audience that the restrictions were due to Bolton’s contract.
But journalists present at the event live tweeted Bolton’s comments as the pair spoke on stage.
Asked about Trump’s tweets about him, Bolton is reported to have said he could not comment, pending a White House review of the manuscript for his forthcoming book. “He tweets, but I can’t talk about it. How fair is that?” he said, according to one reporter present.
When asked on Monday what it was like to staff Trump’s 2018 meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Bolton reportedly said: “To pursue the right policies for America, I was willing to put up with a lot.”
“I’m not asking for martyrdom,” he added. “I knew, I think I knew, what I was getting into.”
According to CNN, Bolton and his lawyers have been battling with the White House about the book, scheduled to be published under the title The Room Where it Happened next month.
The Trump administration is reportedly concerned about the inclusion of classified information protected by executive privilege. CNN reports that the White House records management is reviewing the book.
During Monday’s talk, he appeared to repeatedly trail the memoir.
On the subject of Helsinki, he also replied – reportedly to audience groans: “I could read a chapter from my book here and give you the answer to that question.”
After a question about whether he agreed with Trump that his 25 July call was “perfect”, he said: “You will love chapter 14”.
He also reportedly referred to “censorship” of the manuscript. “This is an effort to write history … We’ll see what happens with the censorship,” he said.
Outside the venue, dozens of protesters gathered for a “The People v John Bolton Rally”. A Facebook page promoting the event described Bolton as “architect of the Iraq war, Islamophobe and war criminal” and criticised Duke for hosting him as an “esteemed speaker”.
His Duke visit is the first of two university appearances this week. On Wednesday he is due to speak with Barack Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice at Vanderbilt University in Nashville on the subject of “defining US global leadership”.

In Taking Crimea, Putin Gains a Sea of Fuel Reserves
May 17, 2014
by William J. Broad
New York Times
When Russia seized Crimea in March, it acquired not just the Crimean landmass but also a maritime zone more than three times its size with the rights to underwater resources potentially worth trillions of dollars.
Russia portrayed the takeover as reclamation of its rightful territory, drawing no attention to the oil and gas rush that had recently been heating up in the Black Sea. But the move also extended Russia’s maritime boundaries, quietly giving Russia dominion over vast oil and gas reserves while dealing a crippling blow to Ukraine’s hopes for energy independence.
Russia did so under an international accord that gives nations sovereignty over areas up to 230 miles from their shorelines. It had tried, unsuccessfully, to gain access to energy resources in the same territory in a pact with Ukraine less than two years earlier.
“It’s a big deal,” said Carol R. Saivetz, a Eurasian expert in the Security Studies Program of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It deprives Ukraine of the possibility of developing these resources and gives them to Russia. It makes Ukraine more vulnerable to Russian pressure.”
Gilles Lericolais, the director of European and international affairs at France’s state oceanographic group, called Russia’s annexation of Crimea “so obvious” as a play for offshore riches.
In Moscow, a spokesman for President Vladimir V. Putin said there was “no connection” between the annexation and energy resources, adding that Russia did not even care about the oil and gas. “Compared to all the potential Russia has got, there was no interest there,” the spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Saturday.
Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and other major oil companies have already explored the Black Sea, and some petroleum analysts say its potential may rival that of the North Sea. That rush, which began in the 1970s, lifted the economies of Britain, Norway and other European countries.
William B. F. Ryan, a marine geologist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, said Russia’s Black Sea acquisition gave it what are potentially “the best” of that body’s deep oil reserves.
Oil analysts said that mounting economic sanctions could slow Russia’s exploitation of its Black and Azov Sea annexations by reducing access to Western financing and technology. But they noted that Russia had already taken over the Crimean arm of Ukraine’s national gas company, instantly giving Russia exploratory gear on the Black Sea.
“Russia’s in a mood to behave aggressively,” said Vladimir Socor, a senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, a research group in Washington that follows Eurasian affairs. “It’s already seized two drilling rigs.”
The global hunt for fossil fuels has increasingly gone offshore, to places like the Atlantic Ocean off Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico and the South China Sea. Hundreds of oil rigs dot the Caspian, a few hundred miles east of the Black Sea.
Nations divide up the world’s potentially lucrative waters according to guidelines set forth by the 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty. The agreement lets coastal nations claim what are known as exclusive economic zones that can extend up to 200 nautical miles (or 230 statute miles) from their shores. Inside these zones, countries can explore, exploit, conserve and manage deep natural resources, living and nonliving.
The countries with shores along the Black Sea have long seen its floor as a potential energy source, mainly because of modest oil successes in shallow waters.
Just over two years ago, the prospects for huge payoffs soared when a giant ship drilling through deep bedrock off Romania found a large gas field in waters more than half a mile deep.
Russia moved fast.
In April 2012, Mr. Putin, then Russia’s prime minister, presided over the signing of an accord with Eni, the Italian energy giant, to explore Russia’s economic zone in the northeastern Black Sea. Dr. Ryan of Columbia estimated that the size of the zone before the Crimean annexation was roughly 26,000 square miles, about the size of Lithuania.
“I want to assure you that the Russian government will do everything to support projects of this kind,” Mr. Putin said at the signing, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency.
A month later, oil exploration specialists at a European petroleum conference made a lengthy presentation, the title of which asked: “Is the Black Sea the Next North Sea?” The paper cited geological studies that judged the waters off Ukraine as having “tremendous exploration potential” but saw the Russian zone as less attractive.
In August 2012, Ukraine announced an accord with an Exxon-led group to extract oil and gas from the depths of Ukraine’s Black Sea waters. The Exxon team had outbid Lukoil, a Russian company. Ukraine’s state geology bureau said development of the field would cost up to $12 billion.
“The Black Sea Hots Up,” read a 2013 headline in GEO ExPro, an industry magazine published in Britain. “Elevated levels of activity have become apparent throughout the Black Sea region,” the article said, “particularly in deepwater.
When Russia seized the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine on March 18, it issued a treaty of annexation between the newly declared Republic of Crimea and the Russian Federation. Buried in the document — in Article 4, Section 3 — a single bland sentence said international law would govern the drawing of boundaries through the adjacent Black and Azov Seas.
Dr. Ryan estimates that the newly claimed maritime zone around Crimea added about 36,000 square miles to Russia’s existing holdings. The addition is more than three times the size of the Crimean landmass, and about the size of Maine.
At the time, few observers noted Russia’s annexation of Crimea in those terms. An exception was Romania, whose Black Sea zone had been adjacent to Ukraine’s before Russia stepped in.
“Romania and Russia will be neighbors,” Romania Libera, a newspaper in Bucharest, observed on March 24. The article’s headline said the new maritime border could become a “potential source of conflict.”
Many nations have challenged Russia’s seizing of Crimea and thus the legality of its Black and Azov Sea claims. But the Romanian newspaper quoted analysts as judging that the other countries bordering the Black Sea — Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania — would tacitly recognize the annexation “in order to avoid an open conflict.”
Most immediately, analysts say, Russia’s seizing may alter the route along which the South Stream pipeline would be built, saving Russia money, time and engineering challenges. The planned pipeline, meant to run through the deepest parts of the Black Sea, is to pump Russian gas to Europe.
Originally, to avoid Ukraine’s maritime zone, Russia drew the route for the costly pipeline in a circuitous jog southward through Turkey’s waters. But now it can take a far more direct path through its newly acquired Black Sea territory, if the project moves forward. The Ukraine crisis has thrown its future into doubt.
As for oil extraction in the newly claimed maritime zones, companies say their old deals with Ukraine are in limbo, and analysts say new contracts are unlikely to be signed anytime soon, given the continuing turmoil in the region and the United States’ efforts to ratchet up pressure on Russia.
“There are huge issues at stake,” noted Dr. Saivetz of M.I.T. “I can’t see them jumping into new deals right now.”
The United States is using its wherewithal to block Russian moves in the maritime zones. Last month, it imposed trade restrictions on Chernomorneftegaz, the breakaway Crimean arm of Ukraine’s national gas company.
Eric L. Hirschhorn, the United States under secretary of commerce for industry and security, said sanctions against the Crimean business would send “a strong message” of condemnation for Russia’s “incursion into Ukraine and expropriation of Ukrainian assets.”
Alexandra Odynova contributed reporting from Moscow.

Annexation of Crimea: A masterclass in political manipulation
Ukraine’s revolution had the potential to dig Putin’s political grave, but he managed to turn the situation on its head.
March 16, 2019
by Leonid Ragozin
Al Jazeerea
The annexation of Crimea was a triumph of political manipulation over national interests and common sense. This is why old-school geopolitics alone cannot explain what really happened between Russia and Ukraine in March 2014.
What usually debilitates the analysis of this episode, at least in the West, is the tale of an inherently violent alien Russian race intent on conquering the world. An identical twin of Kremlin’s myth about the West plotting to destroy Russia, it is peddled by hawks who live in symbiosis with their Russian counterparts and grow in strength by pushing polarising agendas. Of course, the image they are trying to sell can’t be more different from the complicated reality of the relatively modernised post-Soviet mafia state with its mild authoritarianism, deep integration into the Western cultural and financial realm, and – critically for the Crimean story – extreme psychological dependence on feedback in the form of opinion polls and approval ratings. The latter serves as a substitute for electoral democracy, which has been squashed by Putin’s majoritarianism in Russia.
To make sure the all-important feedback remains positive, Kremlin’s highly professional and media savvy spin doctors play on people’s emotions – their dignity, their sense of injustice, their fear of strife and war – while controlling the flows of information delivered via what remains the most important medium, television. In the spring of 2014, stars aligned in such a way that Crimea became an ideal object for such manipulations.
Selling the annexation as an act of salvation
The political cycle that led to Russia’s invasion of Crimea began in the fall of 2011, when Vladimir Putin announced his decision to run in presidential elections instead of allowing his ally, Dmitry Medvedev, to stay in the role for another term.
Their swap, followed by a rigged Duma election, sparked the Bolotnaya protests in Moscow, which caught Russian leadership off guard. These anti-government protests, which continued intermittently months, sent the Kremlin in a state of panic, triggering its deep-rooted fears of a coloured revolution. The Russian president eventually got his act together and unleashed a campaign of repression against the opposition, bringing an end to the protest movement. However, Putin’s anxieties about alleged revolution plots by Russia’s opposition were soon replaced with a more urgent sense of fear as a real revolution broke out in neighbouring Ukraine.
What came to be known as the “Revolution of Dignity” had every chance to dig Putin’s political grave. A country connected to Russia by a myriad of not just cultural and economic, but also family links (a 2011 poll showed that 49 percent of Ukrainians have relatives in Russia), Ukraine could have become a successful role model for Russians unhappy with the status-quo and eventually pull both countries towards freer society and greater integration with the EU. But Putin succeeded in turning the situation on its head.
The Kremlin immediately launched a political manipulation campaign, making sure negative news about Ukraine’s revolution dominated Russian-language media at all times. In no time, news items on Ukraine became such a prominent feature of Russian television that it felt as if what was going on there was more important for Russian audiences than what was going on in Russia itself. News bulletins would sometimes have five items on Ukraine, with all events depicted in the most pessimistic and alarmist way possible, and only one light-hearted report about Putin meeting with milkmaids or cosmonauts. The latter would provide the desired contrast between Ukraine’s “hell” and Russia’s “normality”.
The whole purpose of it was to show Russians how precious the relative stability in their own country is and what will happen to them, if – like the Ukrainians – they chose a revolutionary path.
Putin also used Ukraine’s Russian and Russian-speaking population’s negative perception of the country’s revolution, based on an historic sense of injustice and contemporary fears, to his advantage.
Transferred by the Soviet leadership from Russia to Ukraine in 1954, Crimea is a region populated by Russian-speakers who were genuinely frightened by the prospect of finding themselves living under the rule of extreme nationalists. They have been lukewarm about Ukraine’s independence since the very beginning, and perhaps more importantly, had long been consuming the same Kremlin propaganda as Russians on their TV screens. Moreover, Ukraine’s revolution may have been a genuine popular uprising against a corrupt government that rejected greater integration with the EU, but it also had an ultra-nationalist component which was displayed in full view for all Russians and Crimeans to see – Right Sector ultra-nationalists occupied a whole floor in the revolutionary HQ and flags and symbols associated with Ukrainian Nazi collaborators in the World War II were ubiquitous in Maidan square. This was naturally perceived as an existential threat by Crimeans and helped them turn their back to Ukraine and its revolution and embrace Putin as their saviour.
Not a role model but a cautionary tale
Kremlin’s gamble on Ukraine’s inability to become a beacon of progress in the post-Soviet space has paid off. Today’s Ukraine – dogged by war, still largely unreformed and ruled by essentially the same corrupt elite as before the revolution – is not a role model, but a cautionary tale for Russians who might have otherwise been eyeing the possibility of joining mass protests against Putin’s regime. In the end, Putin succeeded in using a revolution that could have spelt the end of his regime to his advantage by forcing Russia’s entire population into binge watching daily episodes of an endless series about Ukraine burning in hellfire.
Much of that could have been avoided if instead of turning Ukraine’s uprising into a farcical version of a grand Cold War-style confrontation with Russia, the West focused on steering Maidan revolutionaries away from polarising and self-defeating ethnonationalism while applying pressure on the post-revolution government to dismantle the cabal of corrupt judges, prosecutors, detectives and rich lobbyists that guaranteed Ukraine remains a mafia state.
Putin framed the invasion and eventual annexation of Crimea as an act of salvation rather than a clear violation of international law and turned a revolution which could have marked the end of his rule into a much-needed popularity booster – the wave of chauvinism triggered by the annexation of Crimea sent Putin’s approval ratings to an unbelievable 89 percent, while sidelining the opposition and giving him another five years of relatively trouble-free time at home.
But today, on the fifth anniversary of the hastily organised “referendum” on the status of Crimea, which hasn’t been recognised as a legitimate vote even by Russia’s ex-Soviet allies, not to mention the rest of the world, the Russian leader’s winning streak seems to be over. His approval ratings are back at where they were before the annexation and continuing to fall, while the opposition, led by a charismatic leader, Alexei Navalny, is slowly maturing and enlarging its support base.
Putin’s trouble is, this time around there is no flawed revolution or ripe propaganda opportunity like Crimea that can help him solve his popularity problem. His supporters are still expecting him to pull off another trick, but it appears, at least for now, that there is nothing left up his sleeve.

Ukraine loses 80% of oil and gas deposits in Black Sea due to annexation of Crimea
February 20, 2019
Ukraine has lost 80% of oil and gas deposits in the Black Sea, a significant part of the port infrastructure and 13 state-owned enterprises of the military-industrial complex due to the annexation of Crimea.
“Ukraine has lost 80% of oil and gas deposits in the Black Sea and a significant part of the port infrastructure due to the annexation of Crimea. The negative impact caused by the loss of ports is now being aggravated by Russia’s obstruction of the vessels in the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. Up to now, 115 out of 150 coal mines are located in the temporarily occupied territories. The defense industry suffered nearly the biggest losses. We lost 13 state-owned enterprises in the annexed Crimea and ten enterprises in the temporarily occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” First Vice Prime Minister – Economic Development and Trade Minister of Ukraine Stepan Kubiv said at the Cabinet’s meeting, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
In addition, he said, the traditional sales market for the Ukrainian defense industry was lost as it had been focused mainly on the CIS countries.
“The hybrid aggression of the Russian Federation triggered the crisis in 2014, but Ukraine managed to defend its independence thanks to the decisive actions of real patriots and statespeople,” Kubiv stressed.
As the First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine noted, the Revolution of Dignity brought Ukraine back to the epicenter of world politics five years ago.

US Upgrades Ukrainian Ports To Fit American Warships
July 3, 2019
by Paul McLeary
Breaking Defense
WASHINGTON: As tensions rise between Russia and Ukraine on the Black Sea, the US is upgrading several Ukrainian naval bases to give American and NATO warships the ability to dock just miles from Russia-controlled Crimea.
Centered at the Ochakiv Naval Base and the military facility at Mykolaiv — 40 miles east of Odessa and less than 100 northwest of Crimea — the American-funded effort includes reinforcing and upgrading existing piers and adding a new floating dock, security fencing around the bases, ship repair facilities, and a pair of brand-new Maritime Operations Centers from which Ukrainian and NATO forces can direct exercises and coordinate activities.
The upgrades come after last November’s incident where Russian warships fired on and seized three Ukrainian navy vessels in the Kerch Strait between Russia and Ukraine. Russia is still holding the crews.
While Ukraine isn’t a NATO member, it does receive training from NATO forces and is currently hosting the annual Sea Breeze exercise that includes US and allied warships and several hundred Marines.
The exercise and the US support comes in direct response to Russia’s military buildup in Crimea. Since taking it by force in 2014, Moscow has sent some of its most advanced military kit to the peninsula, including five S-400 anti-aircraft battalions, ten warships, six Kilo-class submarines, and new fighter aircraft, thereby allowing Moscow to project power across the Black Sea.
Romania, which sits just 150 miles across the water from Crimea, is buying the Patriot air defense system from the US, and Romanian and American forces recently held a series of air defense drills in the Black Sea that simulated shooting down drones.
Russia’s moves haven’t gone unnoticed in the rest of Europe.
While visiting Washington earlier this year, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance was discussing “what more we can do to enhance our security in the Black Sea region,” adding the allies had already agreed on “a package of measures to improve our situational awareness, and to step up our support for both Georgia and Ukraine.” The focus will be on training of maritime forces and coast guards, along with increased port visits and exercises.
A majority of the effort is taking place at the Ochakiv, which has seen a series of visits from US Navy construction teams over the past few years. The work at Ochakiv won’t be wrapped up until August, Lt. Spencer Bull, operations officer for Underwater Construction Team 1 currently in Ukraine assessing the piers, told me. “The intent is to be able to use it for US and allied exercises,” he said, adding that his team of divers will work to reinforce existing piers, map out the seafloor to make sure bigger ships can dock there, and discuss where to place the planned floating dock.
All of this is happening in conjunction with the annual Sea Breeze exercise in Ukraine and the Black Sea. Over the past week, guided missile destroyer USS Carney and expeditionary fast transport USNS Yuma entered the waterway, transits which will no doubt be followed keenly by Russian forces operating nearby.
The arrival of Carney marks the fifth US ship to visit the Black Sea in 2019, and the first since the guided missile destroyer USS Ross was there in April. While there, the Ross participated in three interoperability exercises with the Bulgarian Navy, Georgian Coast Guard, and Turkish Navy.
As part of Sea Breeze, the US Navy has also deployed a contingent of Marines, Navy divers, and a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. They’ll work with warships from Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, all of which are part of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two.
The ongoing NATO maritime exercises with Ukrainian forces in the Black Sea “seek to build combined capability and capacity in order to improve regional security and stability,” Lt. Cdr. Amelia Umayam, a 6th Fleet spokeswoman, told me in an email. “Our exercises in the Black Sea serve as a venue to work side-by-side with allies and partners to deter aggression and enhance our ability to work together.”
The size of the US presence in the Black Sea will always be limited to the confines of the Montreux Convention, which limits the ship size and length of stay in the waterway of any warships from non-Black Sea nations. The aggregate tonnage of all non-Black Sea warships in the Black Sea must not exceed 30,000 tons and can only stay up to twenty-one days.
While there are limits to the American presence in the waterway, having new port facilities in Ukraine will allow US and NATO warships to sail, and dock, closer to Crimea than ever before, however. And the dual Maritime Operations Centers will give the Ukrainians the ability to track Russian activities while putting some US observers in the seat while American ships operate in the Black Sea.
The USS Carney’s visit to the Black Sea “reaffirms the US Navy’s commitment to this vital region,” Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander of U.S. 6th Fleet, said in a statement. “In this dynamic security environment, our naval forces throughout Europe remain steadfast and continue to operate routinely with our allies and partners in the Black Sea.”

Israel is arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine
July 4, 2018
by Asa Winstanley
The Electronic Intifada
Israeli arms are being sent to a heavily armed neo-Nazi militia in Ukraine, The Electronic Intifada has learned.
Azov Battalion online propaganda shows Israeli-licensed Tavor rifles in the fascist group’s hands, while Israeli human rights activists have protested arms sales to Ukraine on the basis that weapons might end up with anti-Semitic militias.
In a letter “about licenses for Ukraine” obtained by The Electronic Intifada, the Israeli defense ministry’s arms export agency says they are “careful to grant licenses” to arms exporters “in full coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government entities.”
The 26 June letter was sent in reply to Israeli lawyer Eitay Mack who had written a detailed request demanding Israel end all military aid to the country.
Azov’s official status in the Ukrainian armed forces means it cannot be verified that “Israeli weapons and training” are not being used “by anti-Semitic or neo-Nazi soldiers,” Mack and 35 other human rights activists wrote.
They had written that Ukrainian armed forces use rifles made in Israel “and are trained by Israelis,” according to reports in the country.
The head of the Israeli arms export agency declined to deny the reports, or to even discuss cancellation of the weapons licenses, citing “security” concerns.
But Racheli Chen, the head of the agency, confirmed to Mack she had “carefully read your letter,” which detailed the fascist nature of Azov and the reports of Israeli arms and training.
Israeli rifles in Ukraine
The fact that Israeli arms are going to Ukrainian neo-Nazis is supported by Azov’s own online propaganda.
On its YouTube channel, Azov posted a video “review” of locally produced copies of two Israeli Tavor rifles
The rifles are produced under licence from Israel Weapon Industries, and as such would have been authorized by the Israeli government.
IWI markets the Tavor as the “primary weapon” of the Israeli special forces.
It has been used in recent massacres of unarmed Palestinians taking part in Great March of Return protests in Gaza.
Fort, the Ukrainian state-owned arms company that produces the rifles under license, has a page about the Tavor on its website.
The Israel Weapon Industries logo also appears on its website, including on the “Our Partners” page.
Starting as a gang of fascist street thugs, the Azov Battalion is one of several far-right militias that have now been integrated as units of Ukraine’s National Guard.
Staunchly anti-Russian, Azov fought riot police during the 2013 US and EU-supported “Euromaidan” protests in the capital Kiev.
The protests and riots laid the ground for the 2014 coup which removed the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych
When the civil war began in eastern Ukraine against Russian-backed separatists, the new western-backed government began to arm Azov. The militia soon fell under the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian interior ministry, and saw some of the most intense frontline combat against the separatists.
The group stands accused in United Nations and Human Rights Watch reports of committing war crimes against pro-Russian separatists during the ongoing civil war in the eastern Donbass region, including torture, sexual violence and targeting of civilian homes.
Today, Azov is run by Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s interior minister. According to the BBC, he pays its fighters, and has appointed one of its military commanders, Vadym Troyan, as his deputy – with control over the police.
Avakov last year met with the Israeli interior minister Aryeh Deri to discuss “fruitful cooperation.”
Azov’s young founder and first military commander Andriy Biletsky is today a lawmaker in the Ukrainian parliament.
As journalist Max Blumenthal explained on The Real News in February, Biletsky has “pledged to restore the honor of the white race” and has advanced laws forbidding “race mixing.”
According to The Telegraph, Biletsky in 2014 wrote that “the historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the white races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led untermenschen.”
At a military training camp for children last year, The Guardian noticed that several Azov instructors had Nazi and other racist tattoos, including a swastika, the SS skull symbol and one that read “White Pride.”
One Azov soldier explained to The Guardian that he fights Russia because “Putin’s a Jew.”
Speaking to The Telegraph, another praised Adolf Hitler, said homosexuality is a “mental illness” and that the scale of the Holocaust “is a big question.”
An Azov drill sergeant once told USA Today “with a laugh” that “no more than half his comrades are fellow Nazis.”
An Azov spokesperson played that down, claiming that “only 10-20 percent” of the group’s members were Nazis.
Nonetheless, the sergeant “vowed that when the war ends, his comrades will march on the capital, Kiev, to oust a government they consider corrupt.”
After Azov’s founder Andriy Biletsky entered parliament, he threatened to dissolve it. “Take my word for it,” he said, “we have gathered here to begin the fight for power.”
Those promises were made in 2014, but there are early signs of them being fulfilled today.
This year the battalion has founded a new “National Militia” to bring the war home.
This well-organized gang is at the forefront of a growing wave of racist and anti-Semitic violence in Ukraine.
Led by its military veterans, it specializes in pogroms and thuggish enforcement of its political agenda.
Earlier this month, clad in balaclavas and wielding axes and baseball bats, members of the group destroyed a Romany camp in Kiev. In a YouTube video, apparently shot by the Azov thugs themselves, police turn up towards the end of the camp’s destruction.
They look on doing nothing, while the thugs cry, “Glory to the nation! Death to enemies!”
Israel’s military aid to Ukraine and its neo-Nazis emulates similar programs by the United States and other NATO countries including the UK and Canada.
So obsessed are they with defeating a perceived threat from Russia that they seem happy to aid even openly Nazi militias – as long as they fight on their side.
This is also a throwback to the early Cold War, when the CIA supported fascists and Hitlerites to infiltrate from Austria into Hungary in 1956, where they began slaughtering Hungarian communist Jews and Hungarian Jews as “communists.”
Recent postings on Azov websites document a June meeting with the Canadian military attaché, Colonel Brian Irwin.
According to Azov, the Canadians concluded the briefing by expressing “their hopes for further fruitful cooperation.”
Irwin acknowledged receipt of an email from The Electronic Intifada, but did not answer questions about his meeting with the fascist militia.
A spokesperson for the Canadian defense department later sent a statement claiming that their “training of Ukrainian Armed Forces through Operation Unifier incorporates strong human rights elements.”
They said Canada is “strongly opposed to the glorification of Nazism and all forms of racism” but that “every country must come to grips with difficult periods in its past.”
The spokesperson, who did not provide a name, wrote that Canadian training “includes ongoing dialogue on the development of a diverse, and inclusive Ukraine.”
The statement said nothing about how alleged Canadian diversity training goes down with the Azov Battalion.
Also part of Colonel Irwin’s meeting was the head of Azov’s officer training academy, an institution named after right-wing Ukrainian nationalist Yevhen Konovalets.
Konovalets is one of the group’s idols, whose portrait frequently adorns its military iconography.
Konovalets was the founder of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), which later allied itself to Nazi Germany during its invasion of the Soviet Union.
The OUN took part in the notorious 1941 Lviv massacre, when the Nazis invaded Soviet territory.
During the pogrom, thousands of Jews were massacred in the now-Ukrainian city.
US aid to Nazis
Canada is of course not the only NATO “ally” to be sending arms to Ukraine.
As Max Blumenthal has extensively reported, US weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, and training have been provided to Azov.
Under pressure from the Pentagon, a clause in the annually renewed defense bill banning US aid to Ukraine from going to the Azov Battalion was repeatedly stripped out.
This went on for three straight years before Democratic lawmaker Ro Khanna and others pushed it through earlier this year.
For his trouble Khanna was smeared in Washington as a “K Street sellout” who was “holding Putin’s dirty laundry.”
Despite the ban finally passing, Azov’s status as an official unit of the Ukrainian armed forces leaves it unclear how US aid can be separated out.
In 2014, the Israel lobby groups ADL and the Simon Wiesenthal Center refused to help a previous attempt to bar US aid to neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine.
Attempts by some in Congress to bar US military aid to Nazis in Ukraine may explain military aid from Israel.
Israel’s “deepening military-technical cooperation” with Ukraine and its fascist militias is likely a way to help its partner in the White House, and is another facet of the growing Zionist-White Supremacist alliance.
Israel has historically acted as a useful route through which US presidents and the CIA can circumvent congressional restrictions on aid to various unsavory groups and governments around the world.
In 1980s Latin America, these included the Contras, who were fighting a war against the left-wing revolutionary government of Nicaragua, as well as a host of other Latin American fascist death squads and military dictatorships.
It also included the South African apartheid regime, which Israeli governments of both the “Zionist left” and Likudnik right armed for decades.
As quoted in Andrew and Leslie Cockburn’s book Dangerous Liaison, one former member of the Israeli parliament, General Mattityahu Peled, put it succinctly: “In Central America, Israel is the ‘dirty work’ contractor for the US administration. Israel is acting as an accomplice and an arm of the United States.”
Amid an alarming rise in anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism, Israel now appears to be reprising this role in eastern Europe.

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 90

At six, Lars backed the van out of the garage, stuffed with luggage, boxes of wine, the portable keyboard and boxes of CDs, a set of barbells, the Della Robbia in its wooden crate and a small plant that Gwen was fond of.
Chuck sat in front and the others squeezed in the back with luggage and boxes.
As the gate closed, Alex looked back at the house, the windows reflecting the early morning sun.
“Are we ever coming back here, Chuck?”
“Probably in the summer, that is if Lars here hasn’t turned it into a tiny tot’s bordello.”
“Chuck! That is not a nice thing to say to me. I would never do that here.”
“I’m just kidding you, Lars. But as a little private comment, please don’t take it into your squirt head to drive up into Canada. Understood?”
“Oh yes, Chuck, I will never drive to Canada.”
“Why not?” Alex asked.
“Because Lars has many traffic tickets there and they might put him in jail. And Alex, why don’t you mind your own business for a change? Try counting all the squashed squirrels on the road, why don’t you? Lars just ran over two, didn’t you Lars?”
“Three. But one might have been a chipmunk come to think.”
The sun was well up and the day was warming when they arrived at the Duluth International Airport at fifteen minutes to eight. The instructions were to wait at the Administration building until the aircraft arrived and they sat on hard benches, luggage piled in front of them while Chuck prowled the area, watching incoming aircraft through the windows.
At five minutes to eight, a small, sleek private jet swooped down onto the runway and taxied out of sight.
“That’s our plane, folks and it looks rather small. We may have to leave some of the luggage behind and get it later.”
A moment later, a large commercial plane took off across the field and another, even larger plane landed on a different runway.
Shortly after eight, a blonde young man wearing a neat gray suit with brass buttons came into the lobby.
“Mr. Rush?” he called in an accented voice. Chuck waved his hand and the man came over.
“Mr. Rush, I am Victor Orlov. I am the head steward on your aircraft. I am sorry we are a few minutes late but Chicago is overcast and we had a slight problem taking off. Please, this is all your baggage?”
“It is. I don’t think you can fit it all into the plane so some might have to go back.”
“Oh, sir, I am certain all of this will fit. Over here!”
And two more men, who had come into the lobby, walked purposefully towards them. There was a brief conversation in Russian and the bags were put onto a small cart.
“Mr. Rush, sir. Would you and your party be kind enough to come with me? We are cleared for immediate takeoff by the tower so we must go.”
Everyone got up and as the rest of his group followed the luggage, Chuck turned to Lars.
“Now you be good here, understand? I’ll have money up for you as soon as I can and there will be someone to help you. I have your phone number and as soon as I get settled in, I will call you and give you mine. You’re certain you don’t want to come with us?”
“No, Chuck, I really want to stay here. Are you coming back?”
“Later, we will all be back. It gets hot in Chicago and this place is wonderful in late summer. You take care now.”
And they hugged each other briefly and Chuck ran across the lobby because someone was holding the door open for him.
He walked towards the small jet.
“Oh no, sir, please, we are over there!”
Over there was the large jet that had landed just after the smaller one.
“That’s our plane?”
“Oh yes sir,” said the Russian with a wide grin, “it was just finished for Mr. Charles but he never even saw it. I am sure all your luggage will fit very comfortably in it. Please, sir, come along now because we are going to take off very soon.”
They climbed the ladder, entering the large jet at the front.
The entire plane had been decorated in various shades of gray. The thick-piled carpet was almost a charcoal, the heavily upholstered chairs in the front cabin were in a medium gray, the wall and ceiling coverings were in light gray suede and the dividers between the compartments were in a bluish-gray marble veneer.
The others were inspecting the furnishings with some awe and as they entered the cabin, Chuck was met by the cockpit crew, dressed like the Russian major domo in gray uniforms with silver trim.
“Mr. Rush,” said the captain, shaking his hand, “It’s a pleasure to have you on board, sir. We have a short flight today and I hope you find it satisfactory. I have flown your late uncle for a number of years and I look forward to performing the same duties for you.”
“How long is the flight?”
“Approximately an hour and forty minutes, sir. There is heavy overcast at O’Hare now which delayed our takeoff and there is the possibility that we might be put in a holding pattern which could delay our landing but I would hope that we will be on time.”
“Thank you, captain.”
Orlov touched Chuck on the elbow.
‘The luggage is being put on board sir, and if you like, I will give you and your party a tour of the plane. However, I am told that we have clearance to take off at once so if I might suggest that you and the others be seated and please to put on your seat belts. The belts are underneath the seat cushions…”
On the bulkhead separating the cabin from the flight deck, Chuck saw a highly idealized oil portrait of his uncle. The cabin doors were still open so he crossed the carpet, pulled the picture down from the wall and in one deft gesture, sailed it out of the plane.
It landed on a corner, the frame broke and a motorized maintenance cart ran over it. Chuck nodded with great satisfaction.
“’For he cometh in with vanity,
and departeth in darkness,
And his name will be covered with darkness.’”
Orlov smiled again.
“Ecclesiastes sir, Chapter 6, Verse 4.”
“Are you a student of religion, Mr. Orlov?”
“No sir, I have a good memory. If you would be seated, sir, we can close the doors and prepare for takeoff.”


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

The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Jesse Lee Peterson

Jesse Lee Peterson is a right-wing pundit, minister, author (e.g. SCAM: How the Black Leadership Exploits Black America), and media personality – host of The Jesse Lee Peterson Show and The Fallen State TV web series – as well as president and founder of BOND (Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny), which is ostensibly dedicated to “rebuilding the family by rebuilding the man.” He is also a friend of Sean Hannity, and often appears on the latter’s show, as well as a national advisory board member of Accuracy in Media, former board member of the California Christian Coalition and self-appointed personal nemesis of Jesse Jackson. Peterson is, basically, a representative of all that is sad and bad, evil, delusional and insane in the world today.
Civil Rights and welfare
In 2005 Peterson penned a column for WND claiming that the majority of the African-American people stranded in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina were “welfare-pampered”, “lazy” and “immoral”, and therefore presumably got what they deserved. Elsewhere Peterson has claimed that he would like to see black people put “back on the plantation so they would understand the ethic of working… They need a good hard education on what it is to work.”
Yes, Peterson thinks slavery was a good thing, and is on record thanking “God and white people” for the institution of slavery. After all, Peterson pointed out, were it not for the slave trade, blacks might have never made it to the United State. Then he described traveling on slave ships as akin to “being on a crowded airplane”. Traveling on slave ships was not akin to being on a crowded airplane. At least, as Peterson sees it, picking cotton “makes a man out of you”.
Now, Peterson has indeed recognized that racism is a big problem. In 2009, for instance, he told Hannity that he thought 96 percent of black voters were racist toward whites and that “I think we all agree that Barack Obama was elected by, mostly by black racists and white guilty people.” Weighing in on the Trayvon Martin case, Peterson declared that the outrage over his death was not about justice but rather “about getting even with whites and gaining political power”: “This is black hatred of white people and a result of more than fifty years of brainwashing by racist civil-rights leaders” by demonic aggressors like MLK, as Peterson sees it. Of course, officially Peterson is a fan of MLK, but it is unclear what he associates with him: For the commemoration of 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, for instance, which called for “a national minimum wage act” and “a massive federal program to train and place all unemployed workers” in jobs, Peterson accused Obama and everyone else of twisting the message of the original march to spread anti-white racism and socialism by “call[ing] for a minimum wage increase” and pushing “socialist ideas.” “[T]he 50th anniversary commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic march and speech looked like a Ku Klux Klan rally!”, said Peterson, and “an outright attempt to rewrite history – and use King’s name to advance an anti-American political agenda.” He did not try to explain what he thought the original march was about.
It’s a general pattern of course. Together with Oprah, President Obama is “encouraging these blacks to attack whites” and inflaming “black thugs [to] attack unsuspecting whites” through “racial demagoguery” and “race baiting” to “encourage division and hatred between races;” they are therefore to blame for the much-hyped “knockout game.” It’s all, in fact, a conspiracy. The 2015 Baltimore protests, for instance? Well, Peterson saw through it and found Obama standing behind it all: Obama was intentionally fomenting unrest as part of his secret evil plot to take over all the nation’s police forces and redistribute wealth. As for Black Lives Matter, Peterson has characterized the movement as “evil,” “wicked,” and “worse than the KKK”; the movement is “led by white anarchists, communists, black homosexuals and lesbians. They hate families and God – two things blacks need most”.
In 2015, Peterson linked, in a column titled “Dear White People: Your Days Are Numbered”, protests over the treatment of students of color at the University of Missouri to the Paris terrorist attacks. While “Europe has been in the process of handing their continent over to Muslims … white Americans are handing over their country to black malcontents – and Muslims,” said Peterson; “[s]omewhere along the way, whites in Europe and America have lost their connection to God and have decided to give up defending their communities and freedoms,” and it is accordingly “time for whites in America, and in Europe, to stop the madness.” (“[t]he greatest civilizations in the world are being destroyed by the godless” and the gays concluded Peterson after a diatribe blaming Muslims, who seem to the untrained eye to be neither godless nor particularly gay.
But what about racism against people of color? In 2015, Peterson said that “[m]y hope is that we are able to dispel the idea of racism being real. It is an illusion. Racism does not exist. It has never existed. It’s a lie.” This sentiment – which he has repeated and expanded upon on several occasions, including his book The Antidote: Healing America From The Poison of Hate, Blame and Victimhood– probably partially explains why, in a 2016 interview on a white supremacist show, he cited the 1954 desegregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education as evidence that “liberalism is evil” and that “[t]he people who are liberals are children of the lie, their father is Satan,” reminding his listeners that “the battle is a spiritual battle between good and evil, right versus wrong, so liberals are children of the darkness, and we need to understand that they are doing exactly what their father’s nature is, and that is to destroy good.” We know we should be careful about labeling anyone an Uncle Tom, but it is hard to find a more suitable candidate for the title than Jesse Lee Peterson; here is another illuminating exchange (Peterson explaining that African American voters didn’t support Ben Carson’s presidential bid because they’re in an “evil state” and “prefer evil over good”). Here is Peterson declaring that white people, as a group, “represent the goodness of America”. And here is Peterson claiming that Nelson Mandela was evil and South Africa better off under apartheid. Indeed, he “can’t think of one thing” that “black people have gone into and made better.”
Of course, Peterson is dimly aware that some people disagree with him, and has published an open letter to (then) Attorney General Eric Holder that advocates the arrest of such people.
In a 2012 video Peterson asserted his belief that “one of the greatest mistakes America made was to allow women the opportunity to vote,” ostensibly because many women disagree with him and democracy doesn’t work if people keep voting differently than he wants them to vote: “We should’ve never turned this over to women. And these women are voting in the wrong people. They’re voting in people who are evil who agrees with them who’re gonna take us down this pathway of destruction […] And this probably was the reason they didn’t allow women to vote when men were men. Because men in the good old days understood the nature of the woman.” Explaining further, Peterson stated that women simply can’t handle “anything” and that – in his experience – “you walk up to them with a issue, they freak out right away. They go nuts. They get mad. They get upset, just like that. They have no patience because it’s not in their nature. They don’t have love. They don’t have love.” Which might tell you quite a bit more about Peterson and his behavior than he seems to realize. Also, women are whores: “I don’t know if you noticed or not, but the liberal Democrat womens are calling themselves whores [Peterson is referring to advocating contraception coverage]. They came out with their so called group of women who are within the Democrat party, and they are admitting that they’re whores and they are saying that they are proud of it.”
After claiming that women are whores who shouldn’t have the right to vote, Peterson complained that “liberal women” and feminists are “destroying our nation day by day” because they’re “fascists in pantsuits.” He did not attempt to define “fascist”. (It means “people I don’t like and therefore you shouldn’t like them either,” of course.)
A rather radical MRA activist, Peterson has called for “the end of one-sided defense,” and for men to re-take the right to physically strike women: “While I certainly do not sanction men attacking women, neither is it right for men to allow themselves to be beaten by a woman,” he wrote. “It’s time for men to re-assert their right to self defense.” Here is a fascinating segment in which Peterson asks a clinical psychologist whether the man should be the head of the wife; the psychologist says that no, they should be partners, whereupon Peterson asserted that the word “partner” is gay and any man who is not the “head of the wife” is “weak.”
As expected, Peterson is a vehement critic of Planned Parenthood, alleging that Planned Parenthood is responsible for killing “over 1,500 black babies” every day.
As Peterson sees it, the only reason for people to have sex is if they are “trying to make a baby,” and he insists that any man who has sex before marriage will eventually cheat on his wife. “I just want to make that point … What’s the need for having sex if you’re not trying to make a baby?” said Peterson, a question that might conceivably explain some of the frustration Peterson expresses elsewhere.
It probably comes as little surprise that Peterson is no fan of homosexuals. Having seen a man (Michael Sam) kiss another man on TV, Peterson claimed that it would destroy free speech and turn other men gay and cause the end of America. “In America today,” said Peterson, “good is mocked and evil is rewarded. People who speak out against the immorality in the culture are accused of being hateful and judgmental” just because they are being hateful and judgmental (“We expect this kind of assault on individual freedom in communist North Korea, not in the United States!” said Peterson). And of course there is a conspiracy: “GLADD and other LGBT homosexual groups are using Michael Sam’s race and his sexuality to force black Americans and, by extension, all Americans to accept an abnormal lifestyle. This is not about tolerance or diversity – it’s an attack on masculinity and the traditional family.” So, not only are LGBT rights destroying America; they’re doing so deliberately.
And if you ever wondered whether one can be born gay, Peterson is ready to explain: “if the mother was mad while being pregnant, that can happen yes, because she can pass that spiritual to her children while in the womb.”
Now, LGBT groups complain about discrimination, but Peterson sees right through the ploy (“Discrimination: noun discrim·ina·tion: The ability to recognize the difference between things that are of good quality and those that are not – Merriam Webster Dictionary,” offers Peterson in an unusually feeble attempt to achieve a gotcha moment): “LGBT groups have been effective in linking their immoral cause to the noble civil rights movement [it would be interesting to hear what Peterson thinks is noble about the civil rights movement given that he supports apartheid]. In reality, gays never wanted equality. They wanted society to accept their sinful lifestyle, or else. LGBT groups – to be blunt – act like fascists. Just like militant Islam demands Shariah law, homosexual pressure groups demand ‘sodomy law.’” Apparently this is what counts as “insightful enough to be worth sharing” in Peterson’s mind. It’s sad, really.
Meanwhile, people who remarry after getting a divorce “deserve to suffer”. Except for people who agree with Peterson on politics, of course.
Theology and politics
Entirely unsurprisingly, Peterson is “certain without a doubt that Barack Hussein Obama is NOT a Christian,” which says more about Peterson cognitive abilities than it does about Obama. And Obama’s election in 2008 was the work of Satan and the result of Satan’s own candidate selection, a move in a “spiritual war” in which “Satan is targeting the U.S.” As evidence, Peterson pointed out that Obama is “evil” and “an American-hating Socialist” who is “more in harmony with Muhammad than he is with Christ.” Satan’s primary selection criterion was, however, race: “Evil understands that most white Christians have been intimidated and are too afraid to stand up to it,” said Peterson. Perhaps it was a perceived failure of his revelation to gain traction that made Peterson go one step further in 2014 and declared that “I can’t say that [Obama] is Satan, but I definitely am convinced he is the son of Satan.” Then he said that Obama is probably Satan. And if Obama is not the Antichrist, Peterson said, he is, at most, “one step away” from being the Antichrist. Here is further evidence that Obama “hates Christianity”.
A recurring them when Peterson talked about Obama was, unsurprisingly and as mentioned above, the idea that Obama is “racist” against white people (he wants to “replace the white man” with “some black person that agrees with him”), ostensibly partially because his mother “hated being white.” In a 2012 speech to the John Birch Society Peterson said that President Obama and his “angry black female” wife want to “take power away from the white man and give it to people who [want] handouts, with socialism mentalities.” As for Michelle Obama: “We have an angry black female in control and if you want to know what an angry black female can do to you, go to the Post Office.” One could imagine some reasons why Peterson might end up experiencing anger a lot of places.
In 2016 he summed up Obama’s presidency: “America has been hell” and “a nightmare” under President Obama, who has turned the country “into a ghetto,” said Peterson. The reason is apparently that Obama, as a black man, “lacks character” and “has a ghetto personality” that makes him want to destroy things (“the sould is dead, he is an evil man”).
Meanwhile, President Trump is pretty much Jesus (or “a strong example of Christ on Earth”): “as Christians, we are supposed to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. We are to be ‘cunning as serpents and innocent as doves.’ President Trump appears to be a living example of this;” if you didn’t vote for him, then “Satan is your father”. Peterson was, in fact, an early Trump supporter: “we already have” a race war that’s “happening to white folks by so-called people of color and especially black people,” said Peterson in 2016, asserting that a real Republican like Trump would be the only one able to stop it. Moreover, Trump is “uniquely able to unite America” because “this is a man’s game. The other Republicans are playing it like women – and losing,” and “the only politician who truly loves the people, including black people.” More recently, Peterson has been fond of calling Trump the “great white hope”. Now, Trump was, at one point, accused of sexual assault, but Peterson warned us against focusing on that, since “generation after generation of young girls have been taught” to falsely accuse men of assault and “Trump’s ‘Sexual Assault’ Accusers Are Literally Satan’s Daughters” (the text to an image on his show accompanying a picture of Bill Cosby). That leftists don’t fancy Trump is no wonder: “The left hates God, and it hates real men who display Godly authority. For leftist males, the contrast between President Trump’s strength and their weakness is just too painful. For leftist females, the president represents the masculine force that limits their irrational excesses, such as their hell-bent desire to kill unborn children.”
That Democrats are not of God but the children of Satan is not an empirical claim but treated axiomatically by Peterson; that is, as an assumption through which other events ought to be understood. Naturally, this yields some interestingly bizarre results.
Peterson has actually said that critical thinking is a tool of the devil; not that he has the faintest idea what critical thinking might involve. Accordingly, he has little love for intellectuals: “I notice that the people who are really into the intellect are nutcases. Absolute nutcases” said Peterson. And that is no coincidence: using intellect leads to Satan and homosexuality: “Because of this intellectual thing taking over and the people rule us, we now have so-called same-sex marriage. That wouldn’t happen if we weren’t into the intellect. Common sense would dictate that is not going to happen and common sense wouldn’t care what you thought about it because we would know that that’s wrong.”
Peterson failing coherence while arguing that the American dream is “fading” because pro-immigration elected officials are “trying to stay in power, so they’re trying to appease the Hispanics” and also arguing that undocumented immigrants (he claims to know some) don’t even want citizenship. The argument could perhaps seem to make more sense when you remember that Peterson hates reason and use of the intellect, but it doesn’t really.
Diagnosis: A good candidate for the title “most deranged person alive”.

Rand Paul

He probably needs no introduction, but Rand Paul is in any case the junior United States Senator from Kentucky, serving since 2011. Son of Ron, Rand Paul’s main qualification for an entry here is the fact that he is one of DC’s most prominent antivaccine apologists (after Congressman Bill Posey). NowPaul is in fact arguably an MD (ophthalmologist), but he is also a member of the deranged crank organization the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which sort of negates any credentials he might (perhaps) have on paper.
With regard to vaccines, Paul has bought heavily into the antivaccine propaganda, claiming in 2011 that “I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.” There is, of course, no link between vaccines and “profound mental disorders”. In fact, Paul clarified his comment a few days later, saying that “I did not say vaccines caused disorders, just that they were temporally related … I support vaccines, I receive them myself and I had all of my children vaccinated.” Indeed, for all we know, Paul may, in fact, not believe that vaccines cause “profound mental disorders” (though the evidence is at best inconclusive and may have made the first comment just to appease the conspiracy theorists that tend to flock his events; it doesn’t matter – the mere willingness to cater to the antivaccine crowd in this manner makes you a serious loon. (In fact, the “temporal relation” claim is dubious, too.) In any case, Paul subsequently tried to frame his point, in typical antivaccine fashion, as a “health freedom” issue – what he opposes is really state- og government-mandated vaccines: “I think the parent should have some input. The state doesn’t own the children. Parents own the children.” Parents do not own their children. More recently, Paul has come out in support of conspiracy theorist and antivaxxer Michael Snyder’s run for Congress.
An opponent of rights to health care, Paul has stated that a right to health care equals slavery for health care workers, since you would in that case “have a right to come to my house and conscript me” and “have a right to beat down my door with the police, escort me away and force me to take care of you.” This is not how having a right to something works, but the description may be instructive when it comes to understanding how Paul conceives of e.g. constitutionally enshrined rights. He seems to have some serious difficulties with ownership-slavery relations, to the extent that normal people should be a bit concerned about putting him in any position of power.
As you’d expect Paul has also voiced support for a number of crank wingnut conspiracy theories related to the North American Union, such as the NAFTA Superhighway and the Amero. He has also toyed with religiously motivated historical revisionism, including claiming that the US is a Christian nation whose laws must be based on the Bible; in fact, we wouldn’t need laws if everyone were Christian, said Paul, which is demonstrably idiotic unless intended – we suspect it is – as a no-true-Scotsman gambit. Like David Barton’s books, Paul’s books are riddled with fake “quotes” by the founding fathers to support his agenda.
On climate change, Paul’s position is that “while I do think that man may have a role in our climate, I think nature also has a role,” which is such a feeble attempt at waffling that it justifies chalking him up as a denialist. In 2011, Paul chastised President Obama – not BP – for BP’s handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill; apparently Obama’s criticism was “anti-business” and “un-American”. Then he thought that people should stop playing the blame game because shit just happens.
Diagnosis: Conspiracy theorist and, more significantly, conspiracy theorist enabler. And Paul has a significant following (even though he seems to lack his father’s charisma) and as such quite a bit of power to realize the deranged aims of such conspiracy theorists. Extremely dangerous.

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