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TBR News February 20, 2020

Feb 20 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. February 20, 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 20: ‘Now that the unbalanced Roger Stone, close friend of Trump, has been sentenced to a Federal jail, watch Trump pardon him.
It’s too bad Charlie Manson is not still alive or Trump would pardon him as well
Trump is the most corrupt President in the history of the United States but he seems to glory in it.
He is incapable of telling the truth and has been involved in so many corrupt and criminal activities in his useless life that it is difficult to know where to begin any critique.
The shame of the Republicans in the Senate is that even though they are fully aware of Trump’s constant and shameless violations of the law, they still support him.
Like, I suppose, cleaves unto like.
I suppose that if he is voted out of office in November, he will refuse to leave the White House and they will have to haul him out in a straight jacket and lodge him in one of the back wards of St. Elizabeths’ Home for Unhappy People.”

The Table of Contents
Judge calls Trump adviser Stone’s threats intolerable as lawyer asks for mercy
• Roger Stone sentenced to 40 months in prison despite request for new trial
• U.S. agency that handles Trump’s secure communication suffered data breach
• Trump Is Going to Cheat
• Mike Pompeo’s Latest Delusion
• The Season of Evil
• The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Judge calls Trump adviser Stone’s threats intolerable as lawyer asks for mercy
February 20, 2020
by Sarah N. Lynch, Jan Wolfe
Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. judge said on Thursday President Donald Trump’s long-time adviser Roger Stone engaged in intolerable intimidating conduct toward her but his lawyer asked that he get no prison time as he awaited sentencing on charges that include lying to lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson told a hearing that Stone “knew exactly what he was doing” when he posted an image on social media last year that positioned a gun’s cross-hairs over her head.
“The defendant engaged in threatening and intimidating conduct toward the court,” Jackson said.
“This is intolerable to the administration of justice,” she added.
The initial sentencing memo by the original prosecutors in the case that called for seven to nine years in prison – later reversed by the Justice Department after Trump complained publicly – was thorough and well researched, the judge said, but added that such a sentence would be “unnecessary” for Stone.
Stone, who still has a sealed pending motion requesting a new trial, declined to speak at his sentencing hearing.
Stone’s attorney, Seth Ginsberg, said Stone’s career as a self-described “dirty trickster” overshadowed other aspects of a spiritual man with no prior criminal record who has served as a mentor, loves animals and is devoted to his family.
“Mr. Stone is, in fact, not simply that public persona, but a human being,” he said.
Jackson also said she would not discount tougher sentencing guidelines that apply to witness tampering and obstruction, which were among the seven criminal counts on which Stone was convicted in November.
The judge noted that Stone was not charged with or convicted of having any role in conspiring with Russia. But the judge said Stone’s effort to obstruct a congressional investigation into Russian election meddling “was deliberate, planned – not one isolated incident.” The investigators were not some “secret anti-Trump cabal,” the judge said, but members of Congress from both parties at the time when the committee was controlled by the president’s fellow Republicans.
Stone, whose career as a Republican operative has stretched from the Watergate scandal era of the early 1970s to Trump’s campaign four years ago, is in court to be sentenced in a case that has drawn Trump’s ire.
Wearing sunglasses and a dark fedora, Stone was surrounded by an entourage of family, friends and lawyers as he arrived at the courthouse. He strode past a giant inflatable rat dressed as Trump with a red tie and yellow hair – a common prop in street protests – and a sign calling for his pardon.
One onlooker shouted: “Traitor!”
Stone, known for his elegant attire, was clad in a dark gray pinstripe suit with a polka dot handkerchief in the pocket.
A jury of nine women and three men convicted Stone, 67, on Nov. 15 on all seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering. The charges stemmed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that detailed Russian meddling in the 2016 election to boost Trump’s candidacy. Stone was one of several Trump associates charged in Mueller’s inquiry.
The witness who Stone was convicted of tampering with was a radio personality named Randy Credico who had been summoned to testify before Congress and speak with the FBI about Russian election interference. In emails and texts, Stone told Credico among other things: “Prepare to die,” “You’re a rat. A stoolie,” and “Stonewall it.”
Ginsberg, Stone’s lawyer, said his client did not deserve the tougher sentences for some of the charges against him specified by federal sentencing guidelines. But Jackson said the enhanced guidelines would apply.
“The defendant’s memorandum refers to this as ‘banter’ which it hardly is,” Jackson said.
TRUMP POSTS ON TWITTER DURING HEARING
As the hearing got underway, Trump complained on Twitter that the Justice Department should have prosecuted the former head of the FBI, James Comey, and his former deputy, Andrew McCabe, for what the president said was lying. The Justice Department investigated but opted not to prosecute both men.
“FAIRNESS?” Trump asked on Twitter.
Trump, who on Tuesday granted clemency to prominent convicted white-collar criminals including financier Michael Milken and former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, has sidestepped questions about whether he will pardon Stone. “We’re going to see what happens,” Trump said on Tuesday.
Prosecutors said Stone lied to the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee about his attempts to contact WikiLeaks, the website that released damaging emails about Trump’s Democratic election rival Hillary Clinton that U.S. intelligence officials have concluded were stolen by Russian hackers.
Trump, emboldened after his Senate acquittal in his impeachment trial, has attacked the prosecutors, jurors and judge in the case. After prosecutors last week recommended that the judge sentence Stone to serve seven to nine years in prison, Trump blasted them as “corrupt” and railed against this “miscarriage of justice.”
U.S. Attorney General William Barr then intervened and the Justice Department overruled the sentencing recommendation, prompting the four prosecutors to resign from the case. Congressional Democrats have accused Trump and Barr of politicizing the U.S. criminal justice system and threatening the rule of law.
Jackson pointed out that the Justice Department had not actually withdrawn the prosecutors’ initial recommendation, and had sharp words for John Crabb, the prosecutor newly installed on the case.
“I fear you know less about the case … than just about every other person in this courtroom apart from the defense attorney who just joined this team,” Jackson told him.
Crabb declined to say whether he wrote the court filing that reversed the original sentencing recommendation.
Trump kept up his attacks even after Barr said in an ABC News interview that Trump’s comments “make it impossible for me to do my job.” Barr has considered stepping down, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Stone, who has labeled himself a “dirty trickster” and “agent provocateur” and famously has the face of former President Richard Nixon tattooed on his back, was arrested in January 2019 in a pre-dawn FBI raid on his Florida home.
He repeatedly pushed the boundaries set by Jackson. He violated her orders not to talk about the case or post on social media, and the judge accused him of “middle school” behavior.
Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Jan Wolfe; Additional reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Andy Sullivan, Will Dunham and David Gregorio

Roger Stone sentenced to 40 months in prison despite request for new trial
Judge hands down sentence that was less than originally asked for by prosecutors, following Trump’s claim the conviction ‘should be thrown out’
February 20, 2020
by Lauren Gambino in Washington
The Guardian
Roger Stone, a longtime ally of Donald Trump and a self-described political dirty trickster, was sentenced on Thursday to 40 months in prison for his attempts to sabotage a congressional investigation that posed a political threat to the president.
In handing down the sentence judge Amy Berman Jackson of the US district court for the District of Columbia lambasted Stone for his actions, even as she handed out a spell in jail that was less than originally asked for by prosecutors.
She argued Stone’s disregard for the truth should worry all those who care about American democracy and accused him of covering up for Trump. “The dismay and disgust at the defendant’s belligerence should transcend party,” Jackson said.
She added: “The truth still exists. The truth still matters.”
The sentencing went ahead despite an 11th-hour request by Stone’s defense team for a new trial following Trump’s claim that the conviction “should be thrown out”.
Jackson has not yet ruled definitively on that motion, but determined that postponing the sentencing would not be “a prudent thing to do given all the circumstances”.
Stone, 67, a flamboyant Republican operative who began his political career as a junior staffer on Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign in 1972, was convicted in November on seven felony charges, including lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia in the 2016 presidential election. Stone had denied wrongdoing.
His sentencing hearing followed an extraordinary series of events in which justice department officials overruled a sentencing recommendation by the prosecutors of between seven and nine years in federal prison, a punishment Trump assailed on Twitter as “horrible and very unfair”.
After the president assailed the prosecutors directly and decried a “miscarriage of justice”, the attorney general, William Barr, intervened and sought a more lenient punishment. His intervention prompted the entire prosecution team to resign, including one member who left the justice department altogether.
Barr – a close ally of the president – also publicly reproached Trump, saying the president’s online commentary about politically sensitive investigations makes it “impossible” for him to do his job.
Trump eventually said on Twitter that he had not asked the attorney general to “do anything in a criminal case”, but argued that, as president, he had “the legal right to do so” and had “so far chosen not to!”
Despite Barr’s rebuke, Trump continued to weigh in on the case on Twitter. On Tuesday, he quoted the Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano who claimed that the jury harbored biases against the president and that “almost any judge in the country” would throw out the conviction.
“Everything having to do with this fraudulent investigation is badly tainted and, in my opinion, should be thrown out,” Trump wrote in another tweet.
Since Trump was acquitted by the Senate of charges that he abused power and obstructed Congress, he has embarked on a campaign of retribution against his perceived political enemies while intervening to protect allies who have been loyal. His defense of Stone came just days after the conclusion of the Senate impeachment trial. Trump has not ruled out pardoning his longtime friend.
On Thursday he appeared to raise that possibility again. The president tweeted out a clip of Fox News host Tucker Carlson saying Stone should be pardoned and also pinned it to the top of his feed.
Stone’s convictions stem from the former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
During the course of the week-long trial, the jury heard from Steve Bannon, the president’s former campaign chairman, that Stone was the campaign’s “access point” to WikiLeaks, which published a trove of stolen Democratic emails in the final weeks of the last presidential campaign.
Among the other government witnesses was the comedian and radio personality Randy Credico, who Stone said was his “back channel” to WikiLeaks. Prosecutors accused Stone of trying to prevent Credico from contradicting his testimony before a House committee and encouraging him to lie or avoid speaking to congressional investigators or the FBI.
Credico testified during the trial that Stone encouraged him to “do a ‘Frank Pentangeli’”, a reference to a character in The Godfather: Part II who lies before Congress. Prosecutors also presented evidence that Stone had threatened Credico’s beloved dog, Bianca.

U.S. agency that handles Trump’s secure communication suffered data breach
February 20, 2020
by Christopher Bing
Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. defense agency responsible for secure White House communications said Social Security numbers and other personal data in its network may have been compromised, according to a letter seen by Reuters on Thursday that was sent to people possibly affected.
The letter, dated Feb. 11, 2020, says that between May and July 2019, personal data may have been compromised “in a data breach” of a system hosted by the Defense Information Systems Agency.
The agency provides direct telecommunications and IT support for President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, their staff, and the U.S. Secret Service, according to its website.
It also provides direct support to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other senior members of the armed forces, and its field offices support U.S. military commanders abroad.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The letter gave few further details. For example, it did not say what part of DISA’s network had been breached, nor identify which individuals may have had their data compromised.
The term data breach can have many meanings, from hackers penetrating a network to a supposedly secure server being accidentally exposed to the internet.
The agency’s letter said it had no evidence any personal data possibly taken was misused, but that it was required to notify individuals who may have had data taken.
Pentagon spokesman Chuck Prichard said individuals possibly affected were being offered “information about actions that can be taken to mitigate possible negative impacts” of the breach, as well as free credit monitoring.
DISA, headquartered at Fort Meade in Maryland, employs about 8,000 military and civilians, according to its website. Prichard did not say how many people could have been affected by the breach, saying only that DISA had investigated the incident “and taken appropriate measures to secure the network.”
Reporting by Christopher Bing; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Howard Goller and Daniel Wallis

Trump Is Going to Cheat
How should Democrats fight against a president who has no moral or legal compass?
February 18, 2020
by Sarada Peri- Former senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama
The Atlantic
Democratic primary voters care deeply about electability. What most want is simple: a candidate who can beat President Donald Trump in November. So they worry about whether former Vice President Joe Biden will inspire young people, and about whether Senator Bernie Sanders will scare away old people. They debate whether a political revolution is necessary to energize the base, or whether the revolution will dissuade independents. Will the historic candidacy of a woman or a gay man take off or implode?
But these concerns about policy and broad cultural appeal are secondary to the true “electability” crisis facing whichever Democrat wins the nomination: He or she will need to run against a president seemingly prepared, and empowered, to lie and cheat his way to reelection.
Factually, Trump’s position is rather weak. A stronger candidate would be flying higher, given the economic recovery that began (and yielded greater success) under President Barack Obama’s watch. While Trump remains an untouchable, vengeful god within the Republican Party and is competitive in crucial battleground states, he is relentlessly divisive. He must win back the suburban voters who handed the House of Representatives to Democrats in 2018—an especially difficult task now that he’s released an Achilles’ heel of a budget that would cut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps, and a host of other popular programs.
But—and this must be said out loud—the facts may not matter.
If past is prologue, Trump will say absolutely anything necessary to attract and maintain support, including patent untruths. His pathological lying has been well documented and yet never ceases to stun. By one count, he has told more than 15,000 lies since taking office. A small sampling: After falsely declaring that Hurricane Dorian was headed toward Alabama, he displayed a doctored map to cover his tracks, and his chief of staff made the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration release a statement defending his lie. Trump also recently claimed that he rescued health coverage for people with preexisting conditions—even though he has gutted the Affordable Care Act and is suing to overturn it. One day after tweeting, “We will not be touching your Social Security or Medicare in Fiscal 2021 Budget,” his budget revealed cuts to both.
How can Democrats run against a candidate who will simply deny his unpopular positions and make up nonexistent accomplishments? No amount of fact-checking can counter his constant stream of mendacity, which has become white noise in our political culture.
Lying, of course, is only one challenge. The Democratic nominee will also have to contend with cheating. After the 2016 election, the journalist Katy Tur offered an applicable analogy. She said that what made covering Trump as a reporter and running against him as a candidate so difficult was the way that scandals stuck—or didn’t stick—to him. Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state was like a stain on her shirt that people couldn’t get past, because it was the only mark on an otherwise clean shirt. But Trump had so many stains that “you couldn’t tell if it was a stained shirt or if it was just supposed to be that way.”
The many ways Trump pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable political behavior, breaking norms and maybe even laws along the way to get what he wants, are so varied and numerous as to be blinding.
Sometimes his cheating is obvious, the equivalent of the kid in math class who leans over and copies your answers to the test. For example, he was impeached for tying aid to Ukraine to that country’s investigation of the Biden family—that is, for trying to hurt his then-likely rival in the 2020 election. He was nonetheless acquitted by a Senate Republican majority.
Vindicated, Trump will only get worse. He and the whole Republican Party seem intent on using the power of government to assist in the president’s reelection. Republican senators have already announced that they plan to look into the Biden family’s dealings in Ukraine, despite absolutely no evidence that Hunter Biden committed a crime or that the former vice president did anything but carry out U.S. foreign policy. Anyone who thinks these investigations are sincere should note that there is no comparable probe planned into the blatant corruption of sitting president Trump and his children.
Trump and members of the White House staff, meanwhile, are violating with impunity the Hatch Act, which prohibits executive-branch employees from using their position to influence an election. The president uses his personal Twitter account both for official business and as an arm of his political campaign; nobody bats an eye. The Office of Special Counsel recommended that senior adviser Kellyanne Conway be booted from federal service because she’s violated the Hatch Act so many times. Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and one of his senior advisers, tweeted a campaign photo, and Sarah Sanders tweeted the campaign slogan (while she was still the White House press secretary). This White House believes—correctly, it seems—that it is entirely above the law.
These transgressions mark a dramatic departure from the norm. When I worked in the White House, there was a Halloween tradition of decorating the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where most staff worked, for their trick-or-treating children. In 2016, one of my speechwriting colleagues covered our office door with orange paper and glued on letters cut out of black and white construction paper that read, “Don’t Boo. Vote.”
It was a clever nod to President Obama’s oft-quoted line on the campaign trail urging people to make themselves heard at the ballot. However, the ethics lawyers in the White House counsel’s office demanded that the decoration be taken down, arguing (incredulously, in our view) that it violated the Hatch Act.
Perhaps the most troubling form of cheating is the most diffuse, and therefore the hardest to grasp. Trump’s reelection campaign, abetted by right-wing media and companies like Facebook that have absolved themselves of any democratic responsibility, is waging a disinformation war modeled on the efforts of dictators and unprecedented in its scale. As reported by this magazine, the campaign is prepared to spend $1 billion to harness digital media to the president’s advantage, including bot attacks, viral conspiracy theories, doctored videos, and microtargeted ads that distort reality.
The Trump campaign’s efforts are also bolstered by foreign actors. We know, and a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report confirmed, that Russian hackers meddled in the 2016 election, and cybersecurity experts say that we should expect more and worse attacks in 2020. They could be as subtle as social-media accounts that stoke partisan differences or as blunt as software attacks on voter databases.
While Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not bring charges of conspiracy with Russia against Trump, he explicitly did not exonerate him. Unbowed, Trump openly repeated the very offense that got him impeached in the first place, inviting—in front of cameras—foreign actors like China to look into the Bidens.
At the same time, his campaign is fomenting distrust in the very system he is undermining. Using guerrilla tactics, his supporters jammed up the Iowa Democratic Party hotline on caucus night to sow chaos. Then, when the results indeed yielded chaos, Republican trolls, including Don Jr., tweeted out conspiracy theories about a rigged election. Worst of all, congressional Republicans are shamelessly blocking election-security bills, including two that would specifically fight foreign interference in Amer
Should the lying and cheating fail—should the Democrat manage to win the 2020 election—Trump will have one more trick up his sleeve. Before the 2016 election, he suggested that he might not accept a defeat. So who’s to say that he will accept one in 2020? You don’t have to squint hard to see the clues: He retweeted Jerry Falwell Jr.’s suggestion that he ought to have two years added to his term and “joked” about staying in office longer than eight years. If he loses in November, the litigious showman might claim that the election was rigged against him and theatrically contest the results in court.
The cumulative effect of Trump’s efforts, of all the stains on his shirt, is to disorient the media and the electorate. Democrats, meanwhile, are fighting about how aggressive to get on climate change or whether debt-free college should be means-tested—bless their hearts. These are worthy questions, but not the question of the moment: How should they fight against a president who has no moral or legal compass, and who will use the full might of the executive branch to win?
Electability, ultimately, cannot rest on the shoulders of whomever the party nominates, talented though that person may be. Electability does not depend, simply, on the nominee’s ability to earn the votes of a wide array of Americans in a few battleground states. It depends on all Americans’ willingness to demand an election that is, indeed, free and fair.

Mike Pompeo’s Latest Delusion
The U.S. secretary of state’s “West is Winning” speech in Munich last weekend was delusional.
February 18, 2020
by Patrick Lawrence
Consortium News
Even by his highly delusional standards, Mike Pompeo came forth with a doozy at the Munich Security Conference last weekend. “The West is winning,” saith the most dangerous secretary of state to serve at Foggy Bottom since Henry Kissinger’s murderous tenure during the Nixon administration. “We are collectively winning,” the oafish evangelical added. “We’re doing it together.”
Each of these three assertions is baldly, boldly false. The West is losing where there is genuine competition for power, as in the Middle East. It is losing by its own hand when it conjures animosity and competition where there is none, as with Russia and China. And there is no “we” to speak of, given the administration Pompeo serves has done more than any other in my lifetime to pull apart the trans–Atlantic alliance. It is now a shambles — which, in numerous respects, is a very fine thing.
The theme in Munich this year was remarkable in its own right. The annual report published for the conference is titled “Westlessness.” However reluctantly, the industrial post-democracies are at last beginning to grasp one of the 21stcentury’s most essential imperatives: The world’s progress toward parity between West and non–West is evident already and advances as we speak. No number of blustering declamations from illiterate parochials such as Pompeo will alter this fact.
One can applaud this turn in awareness, but guardedly. Among the more sensible commentators in Munich was Frank–Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s president and previously a thoughtful Social Democratic foreign minister in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s rainbow coalition. Steinmeier had the honesty to cite the “destructive dynamics” implicit in the kind of policies Pompeo misses no chance to impose upon the world, while noting that it was time for Europe to look after Europe instead of carrying water for Washington.
But the conclusions drawn in Munich in the matter of Westlessness are by and large upside down, as one might have expected. Were it not for a rising tide of obnoxious nationalism, the annual report explains, the Western post-democracies could get on with the business of neoliberal interventionism and all others would continue in their rightfully obsequious envy of the Atlantic world’s superiority in all things. This is a perverse teleology if ever there was one. The nationalist sentiment evident across the planet is in no small measure a consequence of the West’s clunky, nostalgic claim to global leadership. And no one, of course, is as flatfootedly lost in the past as Americans.
Given how frequently Pompeo bloviates on matters he self-evidently does not understand, it is not difficult to discern the essence of his rhetorical strategy. It has two parts — more and he wouldn’t be able to keep track. First, repeat a fallacy often enough and it will miraculously come true. When it doesn’t, pretend it does. Second, assume no one in the audience has any grasp of the facts, so claiming license to lie and mislead at will. This holds all too frequently among Americans, but beyond our shores, where it matters most, our top diplomat comes over as that most odious of U.S. officials — arrogant and ignorant all at once.
Let us consider how Pompeo’s faux-oracular outline of the winning, in-this-together West holds up.
To begin at the beginning, the West as a unanimous entity with the U.S. its leader is done for, in my view. It is common knowledge that there are rifts in the postwar alliance; these are routinely remarked upon at this point. But the just-as-common assumption that good leaders will bridge the widening gulf does not hold. Good leaders will do just the opposite. The Atlantic world is entering a new era, and they will grasp this. Europe, gutless as its leaders have so often proven over the past 70 years, is finding an independent voice of its own — and in some cases more than one. This was Steinmeier’s point. The thought is salutary.
The three policy questions taken up in Munich — toward Russia, China, and in the Middle East — now lend this emergent shift urgency and velocity. This is not surprising. All three cases involve the non–Western bloc, so challenging the West’s unity and core identity. In all three cases we find American foreign policy, Pompeo very much the master of ceremonies, at its stupidest and most capricious.
Wedges Dividing the West
Europe’s desire to advance beyond the new Cold War Washington has conjured with Russia, long incipient, is now unmistakable. Steinmeier opened the Munich conference stating the U.S. under President Donald Trump repudiates “even the idea of an international community” and instead pursues policies “at the expense of neighbors and partners.” As he did last year, Emmanuel Macron again proved the Continent’s standard-bearer on the Russia question, this time calling upon Europe to “re-engage in strategic dialogue” and cajoling the Continent to reject its assigned role as “the United States’ junior partner.” The French president added: “I’m impatient for Europeans solutions.” Aren’t we all.
China represents a variation on the theme, another wedge dividing the West. As with Russia, Europeans recognize that conjuring “threats” in relations that should be fundamentally cooperative is a waste of time, a drastic waste of money, and results primarily in a shameful list of lost opportunities. Mark Esper, defense secretary and Pompeo’s technocratic sidekick, delivered a predictably Strangelovian indictment of China’s “manipulation of the long-standing international rules-based order.” (Always be wary of those citing the “rules-based order.” They usually think violent interventions in contravention of international law a perfectly good thing.) Esper’s specific intent was to warn Europe away from its commitment to 5–G telecoms technology made by Huawei, the Chinese market leader the U.S. paints as a security risk because American companies simply cannot compete with it.
One truly must marvel as to how a figure such as Esper can manage to be so stunningly tone-deaf as to speak to others in so imperious a fashion two decades into the new century. To a one, European nations are more or less ignoring American entreaties and coercions.
Munich Turning Point
In this, Munich 2020 may mark a turning point: Both Pompeo and Esper appear to have broken their picks on the Russia and China questions. There is simply too much at stake for Europeans — efficient energy supplies, profitable export markets, 5–G competitiveness, China-led infrastructure projects, the potential benefits of Beijing’s Belt and Road project as it nears European borders — for the Continent to do more than humor the U.S. in its idiotic denunciations of the Rrrrrrussians and its 21stcentury rendering of the old “yellow peril.”
There is, finally, the Middle East, where the U.S. now faces multiple setbacks, all of its own making. The Pompeo policy has “regime change” in Iran as its core objective. A more hopelessly fanciful proposition one cannot think of. In pursuit of it, losses galore accumulate. The Europeans, needless to say, are on for none of it. Pompeo has assiduously cultivated a grand coalition of Sunni Arab nations and Israel as an anti–Iranian front. But with the exception of Israel, the others now show signs of preferring a regional security settlement with Tehran. That is what Qassem Soleimani, the top Iranian commander, was working on when Pompeo ordered his murder.
Less West in Middle East
If there is a region that may enjoy the benefits of Westlessness before any other, the Middle East is likely to prove to be it.
Since the wanton drone assassination of Soleimani in Iraq last month, the Pentagon has thoroughly alienated the Iraqis and can look forward to a new level of local hostility even if it defies Baghdad’s demand — and there are no reports it has been retracted — to withdraw its troops. Late last week the K1 base in Kirkuk province, the object of provocative rocket attacks in late December, came under fire again for the first time since those earlier barrages.
We now have a report in The National Interest that Trump administration hawks are reviving the long-running, long-failed “regime change” operation in Syria as a new front in Pompeo’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. This is a remarkable combination of miscalculation and daydream. The Russians now signal frequently that their commitment to stabilizing the Assad government is non-negotiable. Someday, somehow, the government-supervised New York Times will trouble to note that Russian forces operate in Syria at Damascus’s invitation and that the U.S. presence, even in its diminished state, is a breach of international law. While this may prove disputatious, no U.S. soldier on Syrian soil deserves anyone’s sympathy or support.
As to the maximum pressure campaign, it is now generally acknowledged —outside Pompeo’s seventh-floor office, this is to say — that the layers upon layers of sanctions imposed on Iran since the U.S. repudiated the 2015 nuclear accord have failed. When a radical rag such as Foreign Affairs calls Pompeo’s pet policy a flop, you know things have not gone to plan.
In this connection, the Times ran a revealing piece about the Iranian economy late last week. Let there be no question, the U.S. sanctions regime is nothing more than economic terrorism and has cut deeply into the lives of ordinary Iranians. But it has also brought benefits. As a matter of necessity Iranian companies have begun to replace formerly imported items with products made domestically. Strikingly, the Tehran share market was the world’s top performer last year.
Something of the same occurred many years ago, when white-ruled Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) made its unilateral declaration of independence from Britain. As London piled on the sanctions, Rhodesians learned to make their own bicycles, machinery, car parts, whiskey, and what have you. By way of a home-grown manufacturing sector, they developed an import-substitution economy. This is what we witness in Iran today. They are making lemonade out of a lemon — leaving the hallucinatory Pompeo with one of his greatest lemons.
In the city of great beers, Pompeo opened his speech last weekend offering to show the attending grandees the best Bierhallen in Munich. This was his most sensible idea. He should have led the tour and left it at that. Global politics would now be a smidge better off.

The Season of Evil
by Gregory Douglas

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

Frienze, Italy
July 2018-August 2019

Chapter 92

The brilliant, white cloud cover over Chicago turned to translucent haze as the jet descended through it and then emerged to give the passengers a view of a cold, gray and seemingly endless display of suburbs, clogged freeways and in the distance, a leaden Lake Michigan.
Then the airport was beneath them and the runways rushed up to meet them, ending in a very gentle touchdown. Alex watched the progress across the maze of concrete lanes, past other aircraft taking off, waiting or landing and finally, in a distant part of the huge airport, the large jet slowed to a stop by a fenced hangar.
Alex saw at least a dozen uniformed police standing by two black stretch limousines and there were parked motorcycles and black and white police cars on the other side of the limousines.
“Hey Chuck! There are cops out there!”
Chuck leaned across him and peered at the group.
“Nothing to worry about, Alex. That’s only a reception committee. Claude, do you recognize anyone?”
There were now three of them trying to look out of the same window.
“Oh yeah, Chuck. The guy in the overcoat is Lupin and I don’t know who the broad with him is. I guess the police are there to protect us. How funny! Or maybe they want to play darts with Alex here.”
“That’s enough, Claude. Well, friends, shall we leave the comforts of this wonderful plane for the winds of Chicago?”
Before they got off, Chuck shook hands with the entire flight crew, moving down the line like a member of a royal family visiting a hospital for mongoloids. Smiling and nodding, he walked through the door and onto the wheeled platform.
As they emerged, the man in the overcoat smiled and moved forward, a well-tailored woman with an immense leather briefcase immediately behind him. The police merely watched with bored faces.
“Mr. Rush! I am Edward Lupin and this is my assistant, Miss LaFleur. I trust you and your associates had a most pleasant trip?”
They shook hands warmly and Lupin nodded warmly at Claude.
“Mr. Duplessis! What a pleasure to see you again. And this must be….”
“My fiancée, and this handsome young man is my son.”
Gwen shook hands tentatively and Alex gripped Lupin’s large, well-manicured hand, looked him squarely in the eyes and smiled.
“How do you do, sir? It was a beautiful ride, sir, and we all appreciate your consideration.”
They mutually bowed their heads like Japanese businessmen and Lupin pointed towards the cars. By the first one, a liveried chauffeur was standing by the near rear door, waiting for the party to approach.
“Mr. Rush, I have a great deal to discuss with you. I suggest perhaps that you and I take the first car and my secretary and your party take the second.”
“I’d like my son with me, sir, if you don’t mind.”
“Of course not, sir, of course not.”
“He knows everything I do and I prefer it that way.”
“I do understand.”
The chauffeur opened the door and the three of them climbed into the rear of the long car.
Chuck and Alex sat in the rear seat and Lupin sat opposite. His secretary handed him his briefcase as he got into the car and left for the second vehicle.
The door was closed and Chuck watched through the tinted glass as the uniformed motorcycle officers climbed onto their machines.
“I took the liberty, Mr. Rush, of getting a bit of logistical support from friends of mine in the local police to get us through the traffic. We have an early appointment with Judge Torkelson to take care of our legal problems and the freeways can be such a nuisance. If you will look over these papers I have drawn up for you…”
He opened his briefcase and pulled out a file of legal papers.
“You will note at the end of each document are areas marked with a cross. If you would be good enough to sign them for me….”
There were papers for an adoption, a backdated marriage license, all properly filled out except for signatures, a thick file concerning the estate and finally, instructions concerning the funeral and burial of one Charles Rush.
Chuck read through each document as the heavy traffic on the freeway parted before the flashing red lights and wailing sirens of their escort like the waters of the Red Sea before Moses.
Shortly before the cavalcade drove down into the basement of the courthouse, Chuck borrowed Lupin’s gold ink pen and signed everything.
Handing them back to the lawyer, Chuck smiled.
“Such an efficient person, sir. By the way, my uncle will not be buried in the family vault. I made a correction on the paper. Where you plant him is of no concern to me but he will not be buried on the property. And I assume there will be no problem about the estate?”
“Oh no, sir, none at all. I might point out, Mr. Rush, that Judge Torkelson is planning to run for reelection this year. I would recommend a suitable contribution to his campaign fund. He has, after all, been most cooperative in all of this.”
“How much?”
“Under the circumstances, sir, I would recommend a hundred thousand.”
“Done. Justice is expensive.”
“Especially in Chicago, I am afraid. But all things considered, I think a hundred thousand is an absolute bargain.”
Alex managed to look both interested and serious in spite of his baggy sweater and shorts and he followed the conversations with various nods and serious facial expressions.
All he knew was that he was soon to be the heir to what he assumed was a very large amount of money and, hopefully, a new piano and, even more hopefully, a new car.
In the garage, the cars stopped by an elevator and within minutes they were in the chambers of Judge Ronald Allison Torkelson, Judge of the Superior Court for the County of Cook.
The office was tastefully furnished in copies of Colonial furniture and the Judge himself rose from his desk to greet them, hand extended. He was a short, thin man, balding, with rimless glasses and large, protruding ears.
“Mr. Rush! Please accept my condolences upon the untimely death of your uncle. He will be sorely missed, let me tell you. Mr. Lupin, I have looked over your drafts and if you have the originals, properly signed, we can get these matters out of the way. I have to be in court in twenty minutes.”
He looked at his watch and then took the documents Lupin handed him.
In short order, Chuck and Gwen were legally married, Alex had a new family, Claude was bored and the tailored secretary hovered.
In essence, there were no problems for Chuck. He was legally married, even if an altered marriage certificate was involved, he now had a legal son and heir, his uncle would not be buried in the family vault and, with certain time constraints, he was the unchallenged heir to an enormous and very wealthy empire.
In the anteroom of the judge’s chambers, Chuck and Lupin had a lengthy conversation.
“Thank you, Mr. Lupin, for your services. Claude was right when he said you were an excellent attorney…for my needs at least. Question. Would you consider being my personal attorney in the future?”
Lupin was delighted but masked this with a solemn expression.
“I am a very busy man, sir, but I would be most happy to accommodate you.”
“Could you also take over the legal business for the Rush estate?”
“Oh no, sir, I could not do that. You see, there is now a large firm of attorneys in Chicago, Carstairs, Rumpler and Mitnik who spend all of their time overseeing the legal business of your holdings. The firm is basically run by a man named Mitnik, the original partners having retired. It would be an impossibility for me to undertake such an increase in work, Mr. Rush. However, if you would like my input…”
“Of course.”
“If I were selecting a proper firm, and please do not misunderstand me, I am not imputing dishonesty to the current firm, I would personally engage the services of McGowan, Thrush and Bennington to represent your interests. I have never worked with any of them but they have a splendid reputation, not only in Chicago but also throughout the country. If you like, I can approach one of the senior partners and see if they would be interested.”
“By all means, Mr. Lupin, let’s see what kind of an offer they make. Oh yes,”
Chuck said, noticing Alex’s bare legs, “could you please call a first class men’s clothing store here in town and have them come up to the house in Glencoe with a salesman, a tailor and a good selection of clothes for my son? He has shot up like a weed and had basically outgrown everything. I will need a dozen suits, a tuxedo, a full formal, overcoats, underwear, socks, shoes, shirts, sports jackets, slacks and whatever informal gear the boy wants. He is about five foot seven, weighs about a hundred and forty pounds and has a twenty-eight inch waist. Is that right, Alex?”
“What, Daddy?”
“I was giving Mr. Lupin your general dimensions. We need more clothes for you.”
Chuck was an inch off the height (Alex was five foot six) and ten pounds off in the weight. (He was a hundred and thirty pounds)

Earlier in the morning, Lupin had called the butler at the estate and informed him of the imminent arrival of his new employer, spoken to the authorities at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church to advise them that the funeral of Charles Rush on the following day would proceed as planned but that the late Mr. Rush would be buried in a cemetery of their choice, not in the family vault and made certain that his police friends knew the way to the Rush estate.
Before his new client left the courthouse, Lupin spoke briefly about the funeral and its aftermath.
“I gave you a schedule for the funeral tomorrow, Mr. Rush. If I might make a suggestion, sir?”
“Certainly.”
“All of the top leadership of the various enterprises under your family control will be in attendance. Perhaps it might be a good idea if you were to hold a reception for them at your home on the day following the funeral. It would give everyone the opportunity of meeting you and your charming family and I feel it might be most beneficial. Do you agree? Also, there will be government figures…no doubt some Cabinet members, a few other persons of great self-importance and so on…at the services so I have also taken the liberty of supplying you with a list of all the attendees with a red check besides the names that I think are particularly noteworthy. Of course you are at liberty to exercise your own judgment in the choice of guests….”
There was another fifteen minutes of conversation before they left the courthouse, Lupin to return to his office and the others to reap the rewards of Alex’s marksmanship.
As they were getting into the elevator, a harassed, brittle woman exited from another elevator, a television cameraman in tow. She looked around the lobby intently and pulled Alex by his sweater sleeve.
“Hey, kid, did you see any expensive looking people around here?”
Alex shrugged.
“Like who?”
“Like some people named Rush. We had a tip that there was something going on up here and I want footage and an interview. Have you seen anybody at all?”
“Just me and my dad here. My grandpa just died and we have to see about evicting my grandmother from the nursing home. Dad says it costs too much money to keep her there and he figures she would make a really good bag lady.”
The reporter gave him a terrible look and ran off in the direction of Torkelson’s chambers.
As the elevator door closed, Rush began to roar with laughter.
“Alex, what a wonderful thing to say to the press! You should have told them that we were going to get Granny into a trick suit and take her around in a wheel chair with a hole in the seat to the nursing homes for some action. Of course it might take some time for the old geezers to get it up but then with…”
Gwen punched him in the ribs.
“Shut up, Chuck! I swear to God, sometimes I don’t know which of you is worse.”
“I have a better vocabulary, dear.”
Alex, who was carrying an armful of legal papers, smacked Chuck on the shoulder with a thick computer printout of Rush holdings.
“Don’t make fun of me, Dad. I’m learning new words every day. Big words like ‘cat’ and ‘testicles.’ Or how about ‘ondometer’ or ‘harmonic progression’? I got that off the back of a milk carton. I like milk cartons, Chuck. You get to see all the really ugly kids there that disappear off the face of the earth. Why do people kidnap ugly kids? You never see good-looking kids on milk cartons. If people kidnap and kill ugly kids, shouldn’t they be encouraged? After all, Daddy, it might improve the gene pool.”
Claude slapped Alex on the back of the head.
“Alex, shut the fuck up! What a nasty shit you are. Ugly kids deserve as much compassion as good looking ones.”
“Don’t bullshit me, Claudie. Us good lookers have it made and you know it. It’s the ugly ones that end up in the landfill and on the back of milk cartons.”
“Jesus, what an arrogant prick, Alex.” Claude said.
“I’m not arrogant, Claudie, I’m just being honest, that’s all. Dad, Claude’s being cruel to me. Make him stop.”

(Continued)

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

The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Steven Myers

Deranged, home-made theories defended with motivated reasoning by “independent scholars” are a dime a dozen, and the Giza pyramid is a common target. Edward J. Kunkel, for instance, argued – in his book The Pharaoh’s Pump – that the great pyramid in the desert at Giza was a water pump. The idea is silly for an impressive range of reasons, but silliness hasn’t stopped independent scholars before and probably won’t in the foreseeable future.
Now, Kunkel is long dead, but his ideas are still ardently promoted by one Steven Myers, who runs a website and a foundation devoted to the idea, The Pharaoh’s Pump Foundation, which, Myers claims, is going to build a pump using ancient Egyptian technology. It’s been going for a while, but we haven’t seen much by way of goal accomplishments. Now, whywould Myers want to build a pyramid pump, you may wonder? Apparently because the “ancient pumping technology is nonpolluting and does not require fossil fuels or electricity to operate.”And now you may wonder precisely how they did operate. Well, according to Myers, the pyramid pump was fueled by fire. It must be a novel type of non-polluting fire, then, presumably fed by the renewable, lush and fertile forests of the Giza area. There seem to be some gaps still in the Kunkel-Myers hypothesis.
Perhaps he has given up on it. Apparently the project was motivated in part by the doomsday rants of Richard Noone, and the pumps ostensibly needed to be built with some urgency to pump away the water from melting polar ice caps following the cataclysmic events of May 5, 2000, when Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn were aligned with Earth, a date that came and passed with no notable weather events (or pumps).
Of course, Myers is not without his critics. Christopher Dunn, for instance, has argued that the Giza pyramid is a power plant working “by responding harmonically with the seismic energy contained within the Earth.” As Lakatos pointed out, competing research programs are important to good scientific progress.
Diagnosis: At least he’s harmless. Which is more than can be said of many of the loons covered here recently.

William J. Murray

William J. Murray III is the son of atheist activist Madalyn Murray O’Hair, and was involved in Murray O’Hair’s famous effort to end mandatory prayers in public schools in 1963. Murray later turned Baptist minister and wingnut lobbyist (his 2016 book Utopian Road to Hell: Enslaving America and the World With Central Planning was published by WND Books, no less), and is currently chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition, which understands “religious freedom” not as religious freedom but as the freedom of religious majorities to force religious minorities to follow their religious whims. In 1995, for instance, Murray published Let Us Pray: A Plea for Prayer in Our Schools. His reasoning is predictably silly and hyperbolic: “Fifty years after the removal of prayer from America’s public schools […] there is virtually no safe place in America for children of any age, not in their schools, not even in their homes,” says Murray in his 2013 follow-up book, and that’s just dumb, but according to Murray a main cause of “schools plagued by drugs, violence and sex that need to be protected by armed guards” (he blamed the Sandy Hook massacre on the lack of prayers in school, for instance). Moreover, “[i]f rights come from God they cannot be taken away, but if they come from government, a simple majority vote can void those rights,” says Murray, but doesn’t explain exactly how the origin of rights is relevant to whether a government is able to vote them away. Instead, schools need to ensure that children are “surrendering to the authority of God.” It was never really about their rights, was it?
Well, part of the line of thought here apparently also involves the observation that Islam is not a religion, and therefore cannot be encompassed by religious freedom rights.
The Gays
But of course.
Murray doesn’t like homosexuality, and accordingly blames an imaginative range of ills, disasters and problems on the gays. For instance, when a Metrolink commuter train collided with a Union Pacific Corp. freight train in LA, Murray claimed that the crash was caused by the fact that the engineer was gay, and lamented how the media consistently would fail to report on such things (meaning, of course, that there is a conspiracy): “virtually no gay crime is reported,” complained Murray.
He has also blamed problems in the Middle East on gays, in particular the fact (established exclusively by his own feverish imagination) that most US diplomats to the Middle East are homosexual elitists; Libya Ambassador Christopher Stevens “was probably a homosexual,” for instance. And since they “are homosexuals,” they are unable to understand the violent nature of Islam since they end up only dealing “with people on an elite level that aren’t really truly Muslims.” (You see, Muslims who don’t engage in violence and terrorism – those who diplomats tend to end up talking to – are actually “apostates”, since all faithful Muslims are violent; American diplomats, intellectuals and politicians don’t realize that – and unless the U.S. changes its views on Islam “there is no way we can survive … without tremendous losses.”) The standard formula, in other words: Make up a couple of claims without the remotest relation to reality, infer disaster, and then propel yourself into frenzied fury.
So according to Murray, although gays are “the most violent of the abusers of children in our society,” they “are treated as a protected class” and have – with the help of the civil rights movement in the 1960s – helped usher in America’s “moral decline.” He also blamed Social Security and Medicare for society’s ills and declared that Obamacare is “the final blow” to the American family through not entirely clear but definitely entirely imaginary political mechanisms. Indeed, according to Murray, Social Security and Medicare cause gayness (that link there, by the way, will give you one of the craziest rants on the whole of Internet, by the way.)
Miscellaneous politics
Murray is also head of the Government Is Not God PAC (GING-PAC). (The name is a bit confusing, since Murray evidently doesn’t want there to be a distinction between government and God.) In 2013, GING-PAC warned that if the Supreme Court was to strike down Proposition 8 and DOMA and allow “so-called ‘gay’ couples” to marry, then “religious freedom, freedom of speech and the First Amendment will die.” Not that, as thoroughly demonstrated above, Murray cares much for the First Amendment. Moreover, disagreement “will be punishable by suppression, fines, or even jail sentences.” Methinks GING-PAC mistakes what reasonable people will do with what they themselves would like to do with those who disagree with them if they could. (And yeah: Murray’s and GING-PAC’s focus always end up on homosexuality, regardless of what topic they started out discussing.)
GING-PAC has also charged gay rights activists with plotting to destroy the Bill of Rights and urged Senator Rob Portman to send his openly gay son to ex-gay therapy so he won’t die of AIDS.
Before the 2012 election (GING-PAC supported Santorum), Murray warned that President Obama “is not only the most viciously anti-religious president in history, but he’s turning out to be the most racially divisive one as well”; Obama is, in fact, “the most dangerous racist, pro-abortion, pro-gay, pro-Islam and anti-capitalist president who has ever occupied the White House – and he’ll try any dirty trick in the book to win this November’s election. That’s why he’s got Attorney General Eric Holder suing states that are trying to implement voter ID laws. Obama and Holder want voter fraud so they can stay in power.” According to Murray “Barack Hussein Obama and Hillary Clinton love the Muslim Brotherhood;” and not only that: “Obama is carrying on what amounts to a Jihad against non-Islamic religious groups – both Jews and Christians” as well as “waging a war on religious liberty,” even while “he’s stopped waging a war on Islamic terrorism here and around the globe.” During the Obama administration the US obviously never dropped a single bomb on any Muslim country. Murray also warned that Obama will force chaplains to perform same-sex marriages and bring Sharia law and the Muslim Brotherhood into government. When you have committed yourself to making stuff up from thin air, you may just as well walk the whole distance.
Since Murray disagrees with Obama, Obama is a “tyrant” and should have been “removed from office” for his “socialist, Islamist and pro-homosexual agendas.” So much for Constitutions and rights.
Obama, who is channeling Hitler and creating “unholy alliances with evil”, is apparently also a “modern-day Manasseh” who “seems to love the death of others” – something that apparently suggests to Murray that Obama is a Muslim, since only in Islam do people ask God “to assist in murder.”
And the ideal for the US? That would be Russia. Murray has claimed that “spiritually, Russia today is the nation America was in the 1950s,” citing Russia’s harsh anti-abortion laws, ban on gays in the military, the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church in government, and – historical accuracy be damned – flat tax. Indeed, Murray is apparently under the delusion that Americans today are fleeing the “godless collectivism” of the West to Russia. He doesn’t give any names.
In 2015, Murray blamed the Paris terrorist attacks on selfish European women who aren’t having enough children. “They don’t believe that the propagation of the species is the most important thing that they’re here for,” said Murray.
Meanwhile, GING-PAC has promoted the Seth Rich conspiracy theory.
Miscellaneous
Murray is an intelligent design creationist, and has even contributed to Uncommon Descent, lamenting how mean and illogical and difficult to debate “Darwinists” are. You see, according to Murray, “a lot of us don’t realize we’re in a war, a war where reason, truth, religion and spirituality is under direct assault by the post-modern equivalent of barbarians,” and Darwinists have no compunctions about lying and cheating in trying to achieve their goal – they are following “Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals” – which according to Murray is “to destroy theism.” (Evidently scientists must as such be lying about what their goal is, and Murray – as shown by his invocation of Alinsky – thinks there is a conspiracy.) “There is no common ground between the universal post-modern acid of materialist Darwinism [when materialism became a tenet of post-modernism is anyone’s guess – Murray, of course, understands neither expression and treats them as synonyms for “boogeyman”] and virtually any modern theism. There is no common ground between Orwellian statism-as-God and individual libertarianism with freedom of (not “from”) religion. There is only war.” As such, because their opponents do (according to Murray’s deranged imagination), it may apparently be advisable, thinks Murray, to employ the same tactics. No, he doesn’t have the faintest trace of understanding of what the theory of evolution is, and apparently forgot, along the way, that Intelligent Design was supposed to be all about science, not religion.
Diagnosis: Completely unhinged, perhaps even by the standards of the lunatics he usually associates with. But Murray is also a powerful force among the religious right, and his influence should not be underestimated.

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