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TBR News February 26, 2020

Feb 26 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. February 26, 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 it4
Commentary for February 26 :”The coronavirus fraud is gaining altitude throughout the world. A relatively harmless flu is being touted by the media as a terrifying event hovering over the entire civilized world.
Here is an example of scare articles being offered by Reuters:
• Trump returns as country warily eyes spread of coronavirus
• U.S. health officials urge Americans to prepare for spread of coronavirus
• San Francisco declares emergency over coronavirus
• As coronavirus looms over Olympics, Japan PM urges two-week curbs on sports events
• Coronavirus: Ireland v Italy Six Nations games postponed amid European rise in cases – live updates
• More than 80,000 cases worldwide as World Health Organisation says virus now spreading faster outside China than in it
• Full story: Ireland v Italy in Six Nations postponed due to coronavirus
• Zara Phillips will not self-isolate after Italy trip
• Coronavirus: is it safe to travel and should children be kept home? – The Guardian
And from the New York Times these cries of fear:
• The virus threatens Europe’s economy: It’s “not just an Italian problem.”
• Coronavirus Weakens China’s Powerful Propaganda Machine
• Coronavirus pushes across Europe and Middle East, while U.S. prepares for outbreak.
• Brazil confirms coronavirus infection, the first in Latin America.
• As new cases soar in South Korea, a U.S. soldier there tests positive.
• European officials struggle to present a unified response. – The New York Times

Once this joke disappears in the smoke of the past, what will follow?
A giant asteroid bearing down on Cleveland?
A volcanic eruption anticipated in downtown Dallas?
An outbreak of Chinese Fall-Apart sickness in Oregon?
Trump’s Coronation as King threatened by militant Lesbians? “

Trump Approval Rating
source                                 date                approve disapprove
_____________________________________________________________________
American Research Group Feb. 24, 2020        37%     59%

The Table of Contents
Top general: More closures at US bases in Europe possible as coronavirus spreads
• Coronavirus paranoia is outpacing its actual danger
• Lies, Missile Strikes and a Whole Lot of History
• How To Stay Out of the Military
• These Countries Are the Most at Risk From a Water Crisis
• The Season of Evil
• The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Top general: More closures at US bases in Europe possible as coronavirus spreads
February 25, 20
by Rebecca Kheel
The Hill
The top U.S. general in Europe said Tuesday that closures at military bases in Italy could be extended and measures could be taken at bases in Germany as outbreaks of the coronavirus spread in Europe.
U.S. European Command chief Gen. Tod Wolters’s comments to the Senate Armed Services Committee come as Italy is experiencing the largest outbreak of coronavirus outside of Asia at 238 confirmed cases.
In Vicenza, where the United States has 6,000 to 7,000 troops plus thousands of troops’ family members, the Army has closed on-base schools, child care centers, gyms and churches as a precautionary measure as the disease spreads across Italy.
The closures are scheduled to end March 1, but Wolters said Tuesday there is a “50-50” chance they could be extended.
The Army has also restricted nonessential travel to areas of Italy where cases of coronavirus have clustered, including Vo’ Euganeo and the Lombardy region. No coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the city of Vicenza.
Asked by Sen. Tom Cotton(R-Ark.) whether U.S. troops in Italy and their families are “mostly just sitting at home right now trying to avoid the coronavirus,” Wolters said a “fair amount” are doing so.
Meanwhile, in Germany, there have been 16 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Wolters said military officials “anticipate the need may arise” for travel restrictions in Germany, “but that is still to be determined.”
“We are anticipating an increase in the number of cases reported in Germany, and we’re prepared to execute,” Wolters added when asked about potential closures at military bases there.
Germany is home to the largest U.S. military presence in Europe at more than 33,000 troops.
The novel coronavirus originated in China, and its spread throughout the globe has raised fears of a pandemic. On Tuesday, a top U.S. health official warned the spread of coronavirus in America appears to be inevitable and that the disruptions could be “severe.”

Coronavirus paranoia is outpacing its actual danger
The fear of viruses, just like the price of shares, often has less to do with reality than with irrational expectations. The latest coronavirus epidemic will taper off, just like those before it,
January 28, 2020
by Fabian Schmidt
DW
No doubt, the news of an impending epidemic is scary, and the novel coronavirus (nCoV) appears to be spreading rapidly with the number of deaths rising continuously. China, where the virus emerged, has implemented drastic measures and placed no fewer than 43 million citizens under quarantine. These steps will surely be effective in stopping the nCoV outbreak.
And if the Chinese government actually succeeds in maintaining the quarantine over Hubei province and other affected regions for several weeks, the epidemic might end sooner than expected.
Infected with fear
But the fear of viruses, just like the price of shares, often has less to do with reality than with irrational expectations. Face masks, worn by those hoping it will protect them from an infection, are manifestations of an irrational gut feeling. Those wearing them have, in other words, become infected by fear.
What is clear is that the Chinese government’s determined steps to stop the nCoV outbreak are proving effective. And around the world, fear of the new coronavirus is far outpacing its actual dispersion.
Let’s take a deep breath
Maybe we should all put aside the face masks, take a deep breath and look at the facts: coronaviruses have been considered relatively harmless pathogens that tend to cause common colds.
But coronaviruses are also very adaptable and can mutate into highly dangerous pathogens, as we witnessed in the twenty-first century. The SARS and MERS epidemics — each caused by coronaviruses transmitted from animals to humans — changed the public perception of these pathogens.
Admittedly, both strands were rather dangerous. SARS killed one in ten individuals infected by the virus who went into hospital care. And the MERS virus, transmitted from camels, killed one in three infected individuals who were treated in hospital.
Take official figures with a pinch of salt
It later transpired, however, that many more people on the Arabian Peninsula had become infected with the MERS virus without ever developing particularly serious symptoms or requiring medical treatment. China’s nCoV epidemic could well prove similar.
Currently, the number of nCoV patients and fatalities is rising rapidly. The virus is spreading fast. Yet like all epidemics, the infection rate will eventually taper off because those infected by it will have become immune. And, judging by official figures, only one in 40 nCoV cases has so far been fatal.
It also needs to be said that many Wuhan residents infected with nCoV are simply staying at home to recover, as so far no effective drug treatment exists. So while there are individuals seeking hospital care due to serious nCoV symptoms, many more unreported nCoV cases presumably exist as well, which do not show up in the official stats.

Lies, Missile Strikes and a Whole Lot of History
February 26, 2020
by Ted Snider
AntiWar
Recently, two stories have been in the news – though not enough in the news.They have been in the news because they are both stories of American missile strikes that importantly changed events and because they are both stories of missile strikes that were justified by lies. They have been not enough in the news because the foreign policy pattern that they reveal has gone unremarked upon. They reveal a foreign policy that is not based on truth, a foreign policy that does not respond to situations but that creates situations. They reveal a foreign policy that is not measured to events but events that are fabricated to justify a foreign policy.
On January 2, 2020, Donald Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Suleimani. Though the reason for that likely illegal killing has been in a Protean process of evolution that finally ended with Trump’s declaration that “it doesn’t really matter,” the cycle of events that led to the assassination of Suleimani began on December 27, 2019 with an attack on the Iraqi K-1 military base near Kirkuk in Iraq. K-1 is also used by American forces, and an American contractor, Nawres Waeed Hamid, was killed. The U.S. immediately blamed Khataib Hezbollah, a militia that works as part of the Iraqi military with the support of Iran and that has been intimately involved in the fight against ISIS. So, in answer to the attack, the US hit five Khataib bases, escalating the conflict, and killing around fifty members of Khataib Hezbollah. That disproportionate escalation led to Iraqi protests at the US embassy in Baghdad. The US answer to that was the killing of Qassem Suleimani.
But the event that began the cycle that led to the assassination was a lie.It was not the Iranian supported Iraqi militia that launched the strike that killed the American contractor. It was ISIS. The US used that lie to justify escalating its aggression on Iran.
Brigadier General Ahmed Adnan, the chief of intelligence of the Iraqi police at the K-1 base insists that “All indications are that it was Daesh [ISIS].”According to reporting by the New York Times, while Khataib Hezbollah has not had a presence in Kirkuk since the early days of the fight against ISIS in 2014, and while the region the rocket swere launched from is a Sunni area that would have been hostile to the presence of the Shiite militia, the area had become “notorious for attacks by the Islamic State.” In the past year, ISIS had become more and more active in the area. In the ten days leading up to the attack, ISIS had executed three attacks in close proximity to the K-1 base. Iraqi intelligence had even warned the US on multiple occasions that ISIS was planning to attack the K-1 base.Iraq’s National Security Council informed the US that “ISIS terrorists have endeavored to target K-1 base.”
So, the narrative that set the scene for the assassination of the Iranian general was a lie.
Across the border in Syria, another lie was being told. On April 7, 2018, an alleged chemical attack on the Syrian suburb of Douma was quickly blamed on the Assad government. One week later, Trump ordered the launch of 126 cruise missiles from an American warship. The problem in Syria, though, as in Iraq,was that the US strike was based on lie.
Only days before the missile strikes, Defense Secretary James Mattis said that the US lacked the intelligence that Assad was responsible for the alleged chemical weapons attack. They lacked the intelligence because there was none. Russian chemical weapons specialists who were at the site found no trace of chemical weapon use. Neither did Red Crescent doctors who treated people. According to Robert Fisk, who was the first reporter into Douma, local doctors insisted that no chemical attack had even happened. Instead, Fisk reported, the people seen in videos distributed by the rebel-affiliated and western financed White Helmets were suffering from oxygen starvation. Huge wind and dust clouds that night choked the tunnels and basements in which people were hiding from conventional shelling. They were struggling, not from chemical exposure, but from hypoxia.
When Russia brought seventeen witnesses from Douma to the Hague to testify before the OPCW, the US, U.K., and France not only did not listen to the evidence, they did not show up. The witnesses from Douma supported the story that Robert Fisk had heard when he was in Douma. Each witness was either a victim of that night’s events or a doctor who treated them. Some of the victim witnesses even show up in the White Helmet videos. They all said that there had been no chemical attack: they were sucking in dust, not gas.
But the lying gets even worse. In its March 2019 report, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) concluded that a chlorine gas attack had likely occurred in Douma and the blame was pinned on Assad. But Ian Henderson,an OPCW inspection team leader who analyzed the chlorine cylinders, says that his conclusion contradicted the published report and that his engineering assessment was suppressed. Henderson says that his team “had serious misgivings that a chemical attack had occurred.” He says that his engineering and ballistics studies of the cylinders “support . . . the view that there had been no chemical attack.”
Other members of the OPCW report that the levels of chlorine found at the scene were too low for the source to be a military attack: levels “were no higher than you would expect in any household environment.” Toxicology reports also testify that “the experts were conclusive in their statements that there was no correlation between symptoms and chlorine exposure.”
Henderson’s testimony, and that of the other OPCW officials, supports the claim that the chemical attack that triggered the cruise missile strike on Syria wasa lie, that the OPCW cooperated in covering up a false flag chemical attack.Other OPCW officials have said that important findings were manipulated and suppressed and that the cover-up occurred under external American pressure and threats. One member of the OPCWfact finding mission reports that a US delegation came to OPCW headquarters and applied “unacceptable pressure” on the inspectors to endorse the conclusion that Assad was responsible for the chemical attacks.
As in Iraq, a crucial American missile strike was justified by a lie. The foreign policy pattern that reveals America’s willingness to fabricate an event that is then used to justify a predesired military strike is not new: it is, unfortunately,a much bigger and older pattern than just these two recent events reveal.
The most famous fabrication is the Golf of Tonkin lie that helped justify the war in Vietnam. In 1964, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara would mislead President Johnson in an attempt to pressure him into war in Vietnam. McNamara would use the story of an attack by North Vietnamese boats on US warships in the Gulf of Tonkin to pressure Johnson into retaliating by bombing the North Vietnamese and to pressure congress into passing the Tonkin Gulf Resolution.But McNamara knew that John Herrick, the US task force commander in the Gulf,had come to doubt the attack and wanted “a complete evaluation before any further action taken.” He knew too that, based on those doubts, Admiral Sharp, the US Commander, told McNamara to hold off on the retaliatory bombing. But McNamarama intained the lie so that a fabrication could be used to justify an American attack.
Thought the most famous, the Golf of Tonkin is not the first. The first goes all the way back to one of America’s first foreign wars. President Polk would justify war by claiming to congress that Mexico had attacked a US army detachmenton American soil. In 1848, a congressman named Abraham Lincoln would make one of his first appearances in history by standing up on the floor to demand that Polk reveal to the House the exact spot at which the attack took place. Polk refused to answer. And a lie led to a war.
Exactly half a century later, in 1898, the US battleship Maine would sink to the bottom of Havana harbor in a dramatic explosion. 268 men were killed and public support was whipped up for war with Spain. No evidence was ever provided to implicate the Spanish. But the claim was made that the American ship had been treacherously sunk “by an enemy’s secret infernal machine” and the treachery was attributed to Spain. The real cause was a mystery, but the attribution ofblame was fabricated to justify war against the country America already wanted to go to war against.
During the same period, a false narrative of an attack would be used in a parallel way. The Treaty of Paris would give the Philippines to the United States against the wishes of the people of the Philippines. But the treaty required ratification by the US senate, and the senate was torn over the question of ratification and foreign expansion. Just then, Filipino insurgents attacked American soldiers in Manila. But what was not reported to the senate at the time was that the insurgents only entered the skirmish after an American soldier had fired first.The fabricated unprovoked attack on Americans led the senate to protect American soldiers abroad and ratify the treaty. This second fictitious assault made the Philippines, along with Puerto Rico, Guam and Cuba, American possessions.
A century later, the fiction department would go to work in Korea. The officialAmerican transcript of the Korean War states clearly that on June 25, 1950,the North Korean army swarmed across the 38th parallel in a surprise invasion of South Korea. This account was read into the record on June 26 in the Security Council. This official account is repeated everywhere in the West and remains uncontested. North Korea was never permitted to provide its account to the U.N.Though the starting date is convenient, battles had been taking place across the dividing line for years, and, as The New York Times admitted on June 26, 1950, “The warlike talk strangely has almost all come from South Korean leaders.” South Korean leader Syngman Rhee had repeatedly and publicly threatened to reunify the Korean peninsula by force. And though the American lie has North Korea invading South Korea onJune 25 and South Korea retaliating on the morning of June 26, the real chronologyreveals that the South Korean “retaliation” occurred the day before on the 25th prior to the North Korean “invasion.” And event that isn’t the real starting point, since two days of South Korean bombing ofthe North preceded the South Korean attack. In Killing Hope, William Blum reports that an American military status report confirms the Southern incursion on June 25 and adds that Western press reports at the time confirmed the South Korean attack. Another lie; another war.
More recently, the US led military intervention in Libya was justified on the dangerous ground of military humanism. The US argued that the intervention was justified because of the need to protect Libyan civilians from an imminent bloodbath and slaughter. But that was a lie. The US fabricated evidence of an imminent bloodbath to justify a predesired war. Max Blumenthal reports in The Managementof Savagery that Gaddafi’s forces “recaptured most Libyan cities at a cost of about 1,000 dead,” and included in that 1,000 are hundreds of Libyan soldiers, bringing the civilian death toll the US was worried about even lower. In his study of the Libyan intervention, Harvard’s Alan Kuperman concludes that “Qaddafi did not perpetrate a ‘bloodbath’ in any of the cities that his forces recaptured from rebels prior to the NATO intervention . . . so there was virtually no risk of such an outcome if he had been permitted to recapture the last rebel stronghold of Benghazi.” Similarly, a September 2016 British House of Commons committee concluded that “the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence.”
The recent events in Syria and Iraq fit neatly into a disturbing pattern that reveals an American foreign policy unmoored from the truth, an American foreign policy that does not address factual events but, instead, fabricates events to justify foreign policy.

How To Stay Out of the Military
(Primer on Draft Resistance)
by David Wiggins

The legal requirement to register for the draft demands a decision: give up your freedom and your conscience, or conscientiously resist. All the good reasons that would prevent a free man from volunteering for military service, also apply to resisting the draft. How in a “free country” can the first requirement of a young man, when he comes of age, be to sign up to accept orders to kill for the state in an organized way? There is never a need to compel a free man to take up a cause that is both necessary and just; but a man who is drafted is never free, and thus his cause can never be assumed to be either necessary or just.
The draft is not simply an academic interest. There is not enough military manpower to sustain the commitments the President has already undertaken. We constantly hear that our troops are “stretched too thin.” To assist the United States, both the President and Secretary of State have made serious requests for significant military manpower contributions from other nations. These requests have largely fallen on deaf ears. The President has repeatedly stated he will not “back down” meaning, we must assume, that the military forces will continue to be “thinly stretched.” Where will they find relief? It appears they are looking at young Americans who are free to volunteer for military duty, but in good conscience, choose not to do so.
With certain exceptions, all men residing in the United States are required to register for the draft within 30 days of their 18th birthday. The obligation of a man to register is imposed by the Military Selective Service Act, which establishes and governs the operations of the Selective Service System.
In addition to the Military Selective Service Act, the “Health Care Personnel Delivery System” was authorized by Congress in 1987 to deal with large-scale casualties that outstripped the active-duty military’s ability to handle them. If implemented, the bill would require a mass registration of male and female health care workers between the ages of 20 and 45. At this time; however, the Selective Service has no statutory authority to draft medical personnel. That authorization would be provided by legislation to be introduced and passed in Congress at the time of a national defense mobilization. That “M-Day” legislative package has not been made available for public comment or congressional debate. See the Center on Conscience and War’s “Health Care Professionals and the Draft” for details regarding the Health Care Personnel Delivery System.
The Pentagon is considering other “special skills” drafts, to include military linguists, computer experts, or engineers, which could arise from other immediate needs. “We’re going to elevate that kind of draft to be a priority,” said Lewis Brodsky, acting director of the Selective Service System.
A bill before the House Armed Services Committee would require the induction of young men into the military “to receive basic military training and education for a period of up to one year.” Representatives Nick Smith and Curt Weldon sponsored the bill, called the “Universal Military Training and Service Act,” introduced last fall. The measure is currently before the Armed Services Committee. Youth & Militarism Magazine, published by the American Friends Service Committee, contains an excellent article, “It’s Not Your Father’s Draft,” describing this proposed draft.
Deciding What To Do
Deciding what to do when faced with Registration or the Draft can be a difficult and life-altering decision. If you choose to resist, it is helpful to keep two things in mind:
First, if you stand by your convictions, you cannot lose, and the government cannot win. The government may handcuff you or lock you up, but they cannot make you fight. If you give up any freedom, it is completely on your terms. In contrast, if you allow yourself to be coerced into military duties you risk death, disease, and disability, all for a cause you do not believe in.
Second, if you choose to resist, you will be treated as an adversary by the government. The government is no longer your friend – if it ever was. You can expect the Selective Service to use every legal method and argument at their disposal to get you to abandon your convictions and to follow orders.
Keep records carefully, and make your own file of every transaction with the Selective Service, including phone calls. Do not rely on oral promises from Selective Service officials. Put things in writing, and attach receipts and even envelopes to the correspondence in your file. A second set of those records should be in the custody of someone you can rely on to forward copies as needed. When you make a record of a transaction with Selective Service, you should send a copy to Selective Service for inclusion in your file with the Area Office. When local boards become operational, you can see and copy information in your file. You can authorize others to do so on your behalf. Send your letters and claims to Selective Service by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested. Observe all deadlines scrupulously. Be sure to include your Selective Service number. Sign and date all papers submitted.
Get help. Check out how the counselor you are consulting was trained. Most attorneys know nothing about Selective Service law; ask their qualifications. Draft counselors will tend to know about qualified attorneys. There are two qualified national counseling organizations: The Center on Conscience & War (CCW), and the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO).
Choosing To Not Register
On a percentage basis, not registering is the most likely way to prevent you from being drafted. The book Chance and Circumstance states that between 250,000 and 2 million males did not register for the draft during the Vietnam War. According to reports from the Selective Service System, forty percent of the men who are required to register for the draft don’t register in the sixty-day time period required by law. At least one or two percent still haven’t registered by the time they are twenty. At age 26 they are no longer allowed to register. Thus, the number of permanent non-registrants increases daily. There is a known minimum of at least 300,000 people, perhaps a million, who are becoming permanent non-registrants.
If you refuse to register with Selective Service, you’ll receive threatening letters, at first politely reminding you to register, then threatening prosecution, finally informing you that your name has been turned over to the Department of Justice for possible prosecution. These sound scary, but they’re mostly bluff. No one has been formally charged since 1986.
In the early 1980s, 21 men were indicted for refusal to register: 19 of those 21 were public resisters. Wherever there were trials, the rates of registration actually went down. This resistance halted prosecutions
Penalties for Failure to Register
The penalty for failing to register can be up to five years in jail and/or a fine of up to $250,000. In peacetime, with registration only, the regular maximum penalties are four months and/or $2500. If you don’t register, you become ineligible for federal student aid, federal job training or civil service employment. Below, is a summary of the penalties you will face:
STUDENT FINANCIAL AID
Men, born after December 31, 1959, who aren’t registered with Selective Service won’t qualify for Federal student loans or grant programs. This includes Pell Grants, College Work Study, Guaranteed Student/Plus Loans, and National Direct Student Loans.
CITIZENSHIP
The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) makes registration with Selective Service a condition for U.S. citizenship if the man first arrived in the U.S. before his 26th birthday.
FEDERAL JOB TRAINING
The Workforce Investment Act (formerly called the Job Training Partnership Act – JTPA) offers programs that can train young men for jobs in auto mechanics and other skills. This program is only open to those men who register with Selective Service. This applies only to men born after December 31, 1959.
FEDERAL JOBS
A man must be registered to be eligible for jobs in the Executive Branch of the Federal government and the U.S. Postal Service. This applies only to men born after December 31, 1959.
Some states have added additional penalties for those who fail to register. See State Legislation.
A tactic used by many states is to require driver license applicant’s to register. These states require a consent statement on all applications or renewals for driver’s permits, licenses, and identification cards. The statement tells the applicant that by submitting the application he is consenting to his registration with the Selective Service if so required by Federal law. Transmission of applicant data to the Selective Service is accomplished electronically through an existing arrangement each state has with the data sharing system of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.
As of August 28, 2003, 32 states, 2 territories, and the District of Columbia have enacted driver’s license laws supporting SSS registration. They are: (1) Enacted and Implemented – Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia; (2) Enacted But Not Yet Implemented – Arizona, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wisconsin
Aid for Those Who Do Not Register
The good news is that there are alternative funds for financial aid for those who cannot register for war because they believe registration is wrong. A few colleges will provide scholarships to make up for the government money denied. Mennonites, the Church of the Brethren, Quakers, Presbyterians and Lutherans have such limited assistance funds to support non-registrants in their own groups. There is a general fund, the Fund for Education and Training (FEAT), which supports those who do not qualify for the other programs. FEAT also would aid those who are denied job-training programs for refusing to register for the draft.
Appealing the Penalties for Failure to Register
A non-registrant may not be denied any benefit if he can “show by a preponderance of evidence” that his failure to register was not knowing and willful. You will have to describe, in detail, the circumstances you believe prevented you from registering and provide copies of documents showing any periods when you were hospitalized, institutionalized, or incarcerated occurring between your 18th and 26th birthdays. If you are a non-citizen, you may be required to provide documents that show when you entered the United States
The benefit agency official handling your case, not the Selective Service, will determine whether you have shown that your failure to register was not a knowing and willful failure to register. The final decision regarding your eligibility for the benefit that you seek will be made by that same agency, (for example, for student financial aid, this would be the Department of Education.) With some agencies, an appeals process is available.
Registering Late, Change of Address
Legally, at any moment until your twenty-sixth birthday, Selective Service must accept your draft registration card. Some young men delay registration until the year in which they turn 21, or even until just before turning 26. This method takes advantage of the way the draft lottery works.
A lottery based on birthdays determines the order in which registered men are called up by Selective Service. The first to be called, in a sequence determined by the lottery, will be men whose 20th birthday falls during that year, followed, if needed, by those aged 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25. In other words, under present law, which might change with a new draft, Selective Service would first select randomly among those who turned 20 in the calendar year of the call-up. In practice, while it’s possible that a draft could move beyond the age-20 selection group, the odds are against it.
It is important to remember that, once registered, even if it is the day before your 26th birthday, you are once again eligible for federal and state assistance.
Change of Address
Registrants are required to notify Selective Service within ten days of any changes to any of the information provided on the registration card, such as a change of address. According to the Center on Conscience and War, very few registrants are doing so. A registrant must report changes until January 1 of the year he turns 26. To notify Selective Service, mark your change(s) on the Change Information Form attached to the Registration acknowledgment Card and mail it to Selective Service, or complete a Change of Information Form, SSS Form 2, which you can obtain at any U.S. Post Office or U.S. Embassy or Consulate office. You may also notify Selective Service of any change by letter, but be sure to include your full name, Social Security Account Number, Selective Service Number, and date of birth, as well as your new mailing address
If the registrant forgets to notify the Selective Service of any address changes, or if the Selective Service loses that notification, the Selective Service may have difficulty finding and notifying the registrant of induction in case of a draft.
If you don’t register before you turn 26, you will not be allowed to register, even if you change your mind. You’d then be permanently barred from such benefits, unless Congress or the courts act to change the law. A person who fails to register by age 26 may use the same appeals process as described above, under the section “Choosing To Not Register.”
Registering But Resisting Induction
If you decide to register:
• Find a post office for your registration that has an accessible photocopier.
• Print in legible black ink across the middle of the registration form: I AM A CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR TO WAR IN ANY FORM. This is not a classification, but it may help you later to document your position as a CO. Selective Service makes no record of this declaration in its computer files, but they do make a microfilm record of the registration card. You should make a copy of your card for your file.
• Make a photocopy of your registration form for your own records. Date it, fold and seal it, and mail it to yourself. The postmark confirms the date.
• Put a complete statement of your conscientious objector beliefs on file with your religious body, the CCW, the CCCO, or any other counseling agency.
After registration, Selective Service will send a “registration acknowledgement” letter, which repeats the information the registrant gave on the form and supplies a Selective Service Number. If any of the information is incorrect, the registrant may return the accompanying Form 3B to correct any mistakes. The registrant can retain this letter, Form 3A, as proof of his registration.
Before anyone can be drafted, Congress and the President would have to enact legislation authorizing new draft calls. If this happens, one can apply for various postponements and reclassifications to delay induction, or to avoid it entirely.
Filing for postponement or reclassification
Selective Service regulations are filled with loopholes, postponements, and reclassifications for those who will not or cannot be drafted. A registrant can file a claim only after receipt of an order to report for induction and before the day he is scheduled to report (this means within 10 days). If you were called up, you would receive an induction notice requiring you to report on a certain date not less than 10 days from the date of the notice, to a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) unless you filed a claim for exemption or deferment. Filing a claim involves no more than checking a box on a form, and submitting it to the Selective Service.
After the Selective Service receives the claim, they will send you more forms to complete. You must apply for any and all exemptions for which you think you may qualify, and/or for classification as a conscientious objector. A registrant automatically gets his induction delayed if he files a claim for reclassification. He is also entitled to file for a postponement if he is a student or if he has an emergency beyond his control, such as a serious illness or death in his immediate family. The induction date will be postponed until the draft board evaluates the validity of the claim. The Selective Service publishes a booklet titled “Information for Registrants” which lists each category of claim for postponement of induction into the armed forces and each type of reclassification to become exempt from the draft. Under each heading (accessible by the web) is a detailed description of the qualifications and requirements for each category. The major headings are listed below.
Postponements
1. Student Postponements
2. Emergency Postponements
3. Religious Holiday Postponements
4. Other Postponements
-State or National Examination Scheduled
-Military Academy Acceptance
-Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Applicant
-Acceptance for Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Program
Reclassifications
1. Members of the Armed Forces of the United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or the Public Health Service (Class 1-C)
2. Deferment of Certain Members of a Reserve Component or Students Taking Military Training (Class 1-D-D)
3. Exemption of Certain Members of a Reserve Component or Student Taking Military Training (Class 1-D-E)
4. Conscientious Objectors Available for Noncombatant Military Service Only (Class 1-A-O)
5. Conscientious Objectors to All Military Service (Class 1-O)
6. Conscientious Objectors to All Military Service (Separated from Military Service) (Class 1-O-S)
7. Registrant Deferred Because of Study Preparing for the Ministry (Class 2-D)
8. Registrant Deferred Because of Hardship to Dependents (Class 3-A)
9. Registrant Deferred Because of Hardship to Dependents (Separated from Military Service) (Class 3-A-S)
10. Registrant Who Has Completed Military Service (Class 4-A)
11. Registrant Who Has Performed Military Service for a Foreign Nation (Class 4-A-A)
12. Official Deferred by Law (Class 4-B)
13. Alien or Dual National (Class 4-C)
14. Treaty Alien (Class 4-T)
15. Minister of Religion (Class 4-D)
16. Registrant Exempted from Service Because of the Death of His Parent or Sibling While Serving in the Armed Forces or Whose Parent or Sibling is in a Captured or Missing in Action Status (Class 4-G)
17. Registrant Not Acceptable for Military Service (Class 4-F)
For a hard copy of the above information, write to Consumer Information Center, Pueblo, CO 81009, and ask for “Information for Registrants.” Enclose $1 for processing, payable to Superintendent of Documents. The CCCO, CCW and other counseling agencies will probably also have copies of this document available.
Conscientious Objectors
Conscientious Objection is the category of reclassification of most interest to the majority of draft resisters. In fact, every draft resister is a conscientious objector in his own way. According to the Selective Service, a conscientious objector is one who is opposed to serving in the armed forces and/or bearing arms on the grounds of moral or religious principles. Beliefs which qualify a registrant for CO status may be religious in nature, but don’t have to be. Beliefs may be moral or ethical, but according to the Selective Service, a man’s reasons for not wanting to participate in a war must not be based on politics, expediency, or self-interest. In general, the man’s lifestyle prior to making his claim must reflect his current claims.
Be aware that, while similar, regulations regarding Conscientious Objection differ for members of the military forces. For more information on claiming Conscientious Objector status while a member of the Armed Forces, see “Advice For Conscientious Objectors in the Armed Forces” by Robert Seeley on the CCCO website.
Conscientious objectors should begin to document their claims well in advance of being drafted since otherwise, their time will be very limited. COs should have prepared in advance a file which documents their beliefs. At the minimum, this file should include the photocopy of the registration card, a comprehensive statement of beliefs, and letters of support for this statement. The CCW website has articles with detailed instructions on how to prepare your statement of beliefs and letters of support. There, you may also sign on to the Conscientious Objector Affirmation. Such evidence can be presented to the local board that will hear the claim for a CO classification. Compiling this file should be done with supervision from a qualified draft counselor or agency such as CCW or CCCO.
If you have one, get on record with your religious organization, especially if there is an official registrar. File a provisional version of your claim with them and/or with the CCW or CCCO. Request an analysis of your claim with your counselor. Arrange for letters of support (signed and dated) and documentation of your belief and a life-style consistent with your claim. Arrange for witnesses and an advisor in advance of your hearing.
If you don’t have legal advice, get it. Keep your own file about your beliefs about war and the draft. Keep records of all transactions with the Selective Service System. Many local peace centers have information. The Center on Conscience & Warfare (CCW) provides a counseling service by mail and phone, and publishes aids for thinking out what you believe and what to do. So does the CCCO, the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors.
Be sure to learn the procedure for obtaining conscientious objection status.
In general, once a man gets a notice that he has been found qualified for military service (i.e., receives an induction letter), he has the opportunity to make a claim for classification as a conscientious objector (CO). If a registrant believes he can qualify for Class 1-O, he should complete the Claim Documentation Form, Conscientious Objector (SSS Form 22), provided by his Area Office and return the form to the Area Office with documents and written statements to support his claim. Form 22 asks the applicant to answer three questions.
1. Describe your beliefs that are the reasons for your claiming conscientious objection to combatant military training and service or to all military training and service.
2. Describe how and when you acquired these beliefs
3. Explain what most clearly shows that your beliefs are deeply held. You may wish to include a description of how your beliefs affect the way you live.
You should begin preparing answers to these questions as soon as you decide to claim Conscientious Objector status. The Center on Conscience and War provides an excellent worksheet to help you.
A registrant making a claim for Conscientious Objection is required to appear before his local board to explain his beliefs. Claimants for hardship or ministerial classification may also request a personal appearance. At a personal appearance you will have at least twenty minutes, and may present up to three witnesses. You may be accompanied by an advisor, and may request that the meeting be open. You cannot use a recorder at the meeting; but you can submit your own summary within five days after the hearing.
If a claim of conscientious objector status is granted, Selective Service regulations state that the registrant must perform alternative service. Of course, one may also choose to resist or refuse alternative service for reasons of conscience. Likely Alternative Service jobs are in the fields of conservation, caring for the very young or very old, education, or health care. Length of service in the program will equal the amount of time a man would have been assigned to the military.
Appealing a Claim That Is Denied
The local board will decide whether to grant or deny a CO classification based on the evidence a registrant has presented. If your claim is rejected, you will receive a new induction date. The CCCO, CCW, and others can help you find lawyers and/or counselors to help you through the lengthy appeals process. The board must give reasons for rejection of your claim. You may appeal a Local Board’s decision to a Selective Service District Appeal Board. If the Appeal Board also denies your claim, but the vote is not unanimous, you may further appeal the decision to the National Appeal Board
Refusing Induction
You do, in good conscience, object to Registration and the Draft. This does not change simply because the Selective Service denies your claim. Since there is currently no draft, there are no rules governing those who refuse induction. Historically, draft resisters have been prosecuted and penalized in some manner. You can expect the same. If you choose to refuse induction or were successful using one of the methods described above, you will join a long line of conscientious objectors proud to have defended their freedom to make their own conscientious decisions, and your freedom to do the same. For their stories, check out one of the many books currently available on conscientious objectors and conscientious objection. If you let your conscience be your guide, not your fear or doubt or uncertainty, you will always make a good decision, you will always be free, and you will never regret it.
Contact Information
• Center on Conscience & War (NISBCO)
1830 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20009
202-483-2220
800-379-2679
Fax: 202-483-1246
nisbco@nisbco.org
• Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO)
1515 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102
215-563-8787
Fax 215-567-2096
info@objector.org
• CCCO West
630 20th Street Oakland, CA 94612
510-465-1617
Fax 510-465-2459
info@objector.org
References
Organizations
• The Selective Service System
• The Center on Conscience & War (CCW)
• The Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO)
• The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
Articles
• “Medical Workers Face Military Draft” WorldNet Daily
• “It’s Not Your Father’s Draft” Youth & Militarism Magazine
Appendix 1: SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
Here is a brief overview of what would occur if the United States returned to a draft:
1. CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT AUTHORIZE A DRAFT
A crisis occurs which requires more troops than the volunteer military can supply. Congress passes and the President signs legislation that starts a draft.
2. THE LOTTERY
The lottery would establish the priority of call based on the birth dates of registrants. The first men drafted would be those turning age 20 during the calendar year of the lottery. For example, if a draft were held in 1998, those men born in 1978 would be considered first. If a young man turns 21 in the year of the draft, he would be in the second priority, in turning 22 he would be in the third priority, and so forth until the year in which he turns 26 at which time he is over the age of liability. Younger men would not be called in that year until men in the 20–25 age group are called
3. ALL PARTS OF SELECTIVE SERVICE ARE ACTIVATED
The Agency activates and orders its State Directors and Reserve Forces Officers to report for duty. See also Agency Structure.
4. PHYSICAL, MENTAL, AND MORAL EVALUATION OF REGISTRANTS
Registrants with low lottery numbers are ordered to report for a physical, mental, and moral evaluation at a Military Entrance Processing Station to determine whether they are fit for military service. Once he is notified of the results of the evaluation, a registrant will be given 10 days to file a claim for exemption, postponement, or deferment. See also Classifications.
5. LOCAL AND APPEAL BOARDS ACTIVATED AND INDUCTION NOTICES SENT
Local and Appeal Boards will process registrant claims. Those who pass the military evaluation will receive induction orders. An inductee will have 10 days to report to a local Military Entrance Processing Station for induction.
The registrant appeal process begins when a registrant is dissatisfied with his Local Board’s decision about his reclassification request and initiates an appeal. The first line of appeal is to the District Appeal Board. In the case of non-unanimous decisions of the District Appeal Board, the registrant may appeal to the President through the National Appeal Board.
6. FIRST DRAFTEES ARE INDUCTED
According to current plans, Selective Service must deliver the first inductees to the military within 193 days from the onset of a crisis.

These Countries Are the Most at Risk From a Water Crisis
August 6, 20194 h
by Hannah Dormido
Bloomberg
Nearly 1.8 billion people in seventeen countries, or a quarter of the world’s population, appear to be veering towards a water crisis—with the potential of severe shortages in the next few years.
Of the 17 nations, 12 are in the Middle East and North Africa, according to an analysis released on Tuesday by Washington D.C.-based World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas. Two countries–India and Pakistan¬¬–are in Asia. The remaining hotspots are San Marino in Europe, Botswana in Africa and Turkmenistan in Central Asia.
High and Dry
17 countries, mostly in the Middle East, face the risk of extremely high water stress
While the Middle East and North Africa region is hot and water supply can be low to begin with, rising demand has pushed countries into extreme stress, according to WRI. Qatar, the most at risk from water scarcity, depends heavily on seawater desalination systems to supply drinking water to people and industries.
The economic impact of severe water shortages came to the fore earlier this year in the south Indian city of Chennai, home to 7.1 million people. Heat waves and a monsoon delay in the summer months saw some of Chennai’s freshwater lakes dry up, triggering protests and violence, as well as business interruptions, with tech companies asking employees to work from home.
Countries facing extremely high water stress are using up to 80% of the available surface and ground water supply in an average year, and even small dry shocks, which are poised to increase due to climate change, can have severe effects, according to WRI.
India, which is ranked 13th on the list of countries with extremely high water risk, has more than three times the population of the other 16 countries in this category combined.
India’s Water Woes
Of all the water-stressed countries, India has the highest population at risk
The problem in India is not isolated to the southern states. Northern India, according to the Aqueduct analysis which now includes groundwater analysis, is facing extreme groundwater depletion.
“We have a very high dependence on groundwater to meet our demands,” said Paul Reig, who leads Aqueduct and WRI’s corporate engagement on water said on a call with reporters. And because groundwater isn’t seen “we manage it very poorly,” he said.

1 Qatar – Extremely High
2 Israel – Extremely High
3 Lebanon- Extremely High
4 Iran- Extremely High
5 Jordan- Extremely High
6 Libya -Extremely High
7 Kuwait – Extremely High
8 Saudi Arabia- Extremely High
9 Eritrea- Extremely High
10 United Arab Emirates- Extremely High
11 San Marino Extremely- High
12 Bahrain -Extremely High
13 India- Extremely High
14 Pakistan -Extremely High
15 Turkmenistan- Extremely High
16 Oman -Extremely High
17 Botswana- Extremely High
18 Chile- High
19 Cyprus- High
20 Yemen- High
21 Andorra -High
22 Morocco -High
23Belgium- High
24 Mexico -High
25 Uzbekistan-High
26 Greece- High
27 Afghanistan -High
28 Spain -High
29 Algeria -High
30 Tunisia -High
31 Syria -High
32 Turkey -High
33Albania -High
34 Armenia- High
35 Burkina Faso -High
36 Djibouti -High
37 Namibia- High
38 Kyrgyzstan -High
39 Niger- High
40 Nepal -High
41 Portugal -High
42 Iraq -High
43 Egypt -High
44 Italy -High
45 Thailand- Medium-High
46 Azerbaijan- Medium-High
47 Sudan- Medium-High
48 South Africa- Medium-High
49 Luxembourg- Medium-High
50 Australia- Medium-High
51 Tajikistan -Medium-High
52 Macedonia -Medium-High
53 South Korea – Medium-High
54 Bulgaria -Medium-High
55 Mongolia- Medium-High
56 China- Medium-High
57 Guatemala- Medium-High
58 Estonia- Medium-High
59 France- Medium-High
60 Kazakhstan -Medium-High
61 Mauritania- Medium-High
62 Germany -Medium-High
63 Lesotho- Medium-High
64 Denmark- Medium-High
65 Indonesia -Medium-High
66 Peru- Medium-High
67 Venezuela- Medium-High
68 Cuba -Medium-High
69 North Korea -Low-Medium
70 Romania- Low-Medium
71 United States- Low-Medium
72 Zimbabwe- Low-Medium
73 Dominican Republic-Low-Medium
74 Haiti- Low-Medium
75 Japan -Low-Medium
76 Angola -Low-Medium
77 Sri Lanka -Low-Medium
78 El Salvado-r Low-Medium
79 Tanzania- Low-Medium
80 Netherlands -Low-Medium
81 Ecuador- Low-Medium
82 Lithuania -Low-Medium
83 Philippines -Low-Medium
84 South Sudan -Low-Medium
85 Ukraine- Low-Medium
86 Poland -Low-Medium
87 Chad -Low-Medium
88 Senegal -Low-Medium
89 United Kingdom- Low-Medium
90 Georgia -Low-Medium
91 Nigeria- Low-Medium
92 Argentina- Low-Medium
93 Czech Republic- Low-Medium
94 Russia- Low-Medium
95 Bolivia -Low-Medium
96 Ethiopia- Low-Medium
97 Bosnia and Herzegovina- Low-Medium
98 Swaziland -Low-Medium
99 Moldova -Low-Medium
100 Somalia- Low-Medium
101 Rwanda- Low
102 Liechtenstein- Low
103 Guinea-Bissau -Low
104 Mozambique – Low
105 Vietnam- Low
106 Kenya- Low
107 Costa Rica- Low
108 Canada- Low
109 Serbia -Low
110 Zambia -Low
111 Switzerland- Low
112 Brazil-Low
113 Hungary -Low
114 Ghana- Low
115 Belarus- Low
116 Madagascar- Low
117 Slovenia- Low
118 Colombia- Low
119 Myanmar- Low
120 Belize- Low
121 Montenegro- Low
122 Malawi -Low
123 Mali -Low
124 Finland- Low
125 Slovakia- Low
126 Ireland -Low
127 Sweden- Low
128 Bangladesh- Low
129 Cambodia -Low
130 Burundi -Low
131 Latvia-Low
132 Malaysia -Low
133 Honduras -Low
134 Austria -Low
135 Uganda- Low
136 Panama-Low
137 Nicaragua- Low
138 Guinea -Low
139 Benin- Low
140 Croatia- Low
141 Papua New Guinea -Low
142 New Zealand- Low
143 Democratic Republic of the Congo- Low
144 Côte d’Ivoire- Low
145 Cameroon -Low
146 Gambia -Low
147 Laos- Low
148 Central African Republic- Low
149 Sierra Leone- Low
150 Paraguay- Low

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 98

Everyone was wearing dark clothes and Chuck had spent a half an hour instructing everyone in the proper protocol for high-level funerals. Alex, as usual, made a number of sarcastic remarks and Gwen was bored but otherwise, Chuck decided, there would be no disasters.
He had spoken several times to the officials at the church and it had been decided that the remains of his late uncle would be buried in a simple plot in the Holy Sepulcher cemetery about ten miles away. He would attend the funeral, sit in the family pew and deliver the eulogy, something he genuinely looked forward to. Afterwards, the headless corpse would be driven off in state with as many of the mourners as wished to accompany it and Chuck would go home and take a very hot bath
St. Mark’s Episcopal church had been built largely with large donations from Arthur Rush who had started out in life as a Lutheran and ended up as an Episcopalian because he preferred the pomp and ceremony of the latter.
The building was of gray cut stone with a tall bell tower on one side and a blue-gray slate roof. The stained glass windows were of exceptional quality and the carving on the oak pews and fittings was magnificent.
There were long lines of parked stretch limousines along the cobbled drive that led to the front entrance and on one side of the circle in front of the door stood two hearses and another limousine with a limp flag for the Vice President-designate on the front fender and an official seal on the door.
Uniformed chauffeurs, Secret Service agents and members of the media stood on the neatly-trimmed lawns and as the vehicle carrying the family of the badly truncated press mogul pulled up in front of the church, there was a general movement on the part of the onlookers towards the arrivals.
Edward Lupin, wearing a beautifully tailored black suit, was waiting by the steps along with what later turned out to be the funeral director and the head of the Vice Presidential bodyguards.
There were solemn handshakes and the noise of snapping shrubbery as the television media trampled the neatly trimmed small hedges along the edges of the drive.
Chuck paid no attention to the pointing cameras but Alex watched the jostling newsmen with great curiosity, never having seen them in action before. He grinned at everyone in sight and later to his great satisfaction, ended up on the evening news.
The back door of one of the hearses was opened and a bronze casket covered with a drape of fragrant gardenias was rolled out and onto a wheeled cart. Employees of the mortuary moved it up the ramp into the church and Chuck and his new family fell in behind it.

The large building was filled to capacity and as the remains of the late Charles Rush were wheeled down the long, red-carpeted main aisle, the occupants of the pews all turned their heads to stare at the new head of the Rush family. Chuck simply managed to look very dignified and Gwen, whose left arm rested on his right, looked straight ahead and tried to ignore the stares. Alex, who took some humor from the fact that he was only a few feet from the man whose head he had destroyed, looked to both sides as he walked behind Chuck and Gwen. There were large numbers of well-dressed men and women along with a scattering of dress military uniforms, on both sides of the aisles and Alex recognized a number of faces from having seen them in the newspapers. At the front of the church he recognized one member of the Cabinet and seated next to him, a thin man with a red silk skullcap and robes that he rightly assumed was a senior member of a religious organization. It was, in fact, Cardinal Tardini, the Papal Nuncio and the Cabinet member was John Scribner, Secretary of the Treasury in the former regime and slated to be Secretary of State in the new.
There was a choir loft high up behind them and Alex heard an echoing choral piece by Purcell, funeral music for Queen Anne, that was performed with muted dignity and, he thought, excellent phrasing.
His only previous experience with churches had been in a cramped Pentecostal church in Duluth that his mother attended because she was having an affair with the minister. He decided that the present house of worship was a tremendous aesthetical improvement.
The casket was wheeled up to the front and the family sat in the front pew, joined by Lupin. There was motion behind them and Alex turned to observe a bishop in full canonicals with miter and crosier proceeding up the aisle behind a young man in white surplice and holding a large gilt crucifix in front of him like a bearing sword.
The bishop turned and nodded to Chuck and then commenced the highly formalized services.
The entire front of the church was banked with a large number of very expensive wreathes and the entire building smelt like a cross between a floral hot house and a cheap Mexican bordello.
One very large wreath in the shape of an American flag sported a wide blue ribbon with the seal of the President and there were other floral tributes that would soon be decaying quickly above the grave of Charles Rush while he himself was slowly decaying below. Since what was left of his head was badly shattered, it had proved nearly impossible to embalm him properly and it was fortunate, in the heat of that week, that the casket was hermetically sealed.
The new Vice President, who recently had been Governor of Illinois, sat in the front row on the other side of the main aisle from the family pew and at the prompting of an aide, turned and nodded to Chuck who smiled and inclined his head.
The service was lengthy, old and elaborate and finally the moment came when the new head of the House of Rush had to climb up into the pulpit and eulogize the uncle who had murdered most of his family and tried repeatedly to murder him. It will be, he thought as he put his hands on the edge of the raised pulpit and looked down at the expectant, upturned faces, the most enjoyable act he had performed in years. He glanced at the beflowered casket, cleared his throat and began.
“Little did I think that we would be gathered here to mourn the passing of my uncle so soon but Destiny has a way of proving that certainty is indeed illusion. Charles Rush had suffered much tragedy in his lifetime. The loss of his parents, his brother and sister and finally, the loss of his beloved son weighed heavily on him and in some ways, I feel that he was only waiting for the time when he would join his beloved family in Paradise.”
There was a muffled sound from Mark Mitnik but his neighbors assumed it was another expression of genuine grief and, because the attorney lost his large income, it was.
Having embarked on a course of outrageous hypocrisy, he continued in a similar vein but he nearly lost his composure when he glanced down and saw that Alex, sitting between Claude and Lupin, was mugging him with expressions of grotesque grief. There would be conversations afterwards and Chuck only hoped that Alex would have the decency to look properly solemn before someone like the attending Bishop saw him. In fact the Bishop did see him and not being privy to the facts of Charles Rush’s death, genuinely believed the handsome young man was truly deeply moved.
“A pitiless Destiny has snatched Charles Rush from our midst and we shall not see his like again.”
Too lazy to work and too stupid to steal, there he lies, again and again and probably with less brains now than he had before.
“Those who remain behind after such a loss are indeed the true sufferers and those of us who mourn his passing do so with deep and genuine feelings of sadness and compassion.”
Chuck recognized very few of the congregation but Lupin had drawn up lists for those of real importance who would attend his reception tomorrow and he would leave the sorting to the attorney.
There were more platitudes and finally he finished by quoting from Hamlet:
“’May flights of angles sing him to his rest.’”
(Continued)

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

The Encyclopedia of American Loons
Murray Susser

The Alliance for Natural Health USA, formerly the American Association for Health Freedom, is a lobbying organization founded by Julian Whitaker whose goal is to convince government of the validity of various types of quackery and dubious health claims through political influence (“health freedom”) rather than science. In particular, the group has lobbied energetically for passing the serially defeated federal Access to Medical Treatment act, which would allow quacks to prey freely on consumers, in particular people in difficult or desperate situations, and they have prepared several statements in favor of free marketing of fraudulent health products and methods, including emergency petitions to block the FDA from regulating or supporting regulations of dietary supplements (e.g. arguing against regulations of ephedra products such as ma huang, which contain dangerous drugs and have been associated with thousands of adverse events, including many deaths). The organization has also filed an amicus curiae brief supporting a California lawsuit in which parents of a child with brain cancer sought damages from an oncologist because he failed to recommend antineoplastons, Stanislaw Burzynski’s alternative cancer treatment supported by neither biology nor experimental evidence. Sponsors and contributors to the organization’s efforts, meanwhile, are primarily dietary supplement companies and commercial labs that market fraudulent tests such as hair analysis. The group’s board of directors include (or at least has included) such characters as Woodson Merrell, Jonathan Wright, Shari Lieberman, Al Czap, Bernie Siegel, John Robbins and Robert Rowen; none other than Sherri Tenpenny has been its vice president.
The main target of the present entry, however, is the organization’s former president, Murray Susser. Now Susser is – or at least used to be – an MD. He also used to be chairman of the medical advisory board of Gero Vita International, an infamous supplement company whose claims were subject to a series of investigations by an impressive range of government bodies, including congressional hearings. His own practice, the Longevity Medical Center in Los Angeles, claimed to use “use Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Nutrition, Chelation Therapy, Heavy Metal Detoxification, Physical Therapy, Stress Management, Weight Management, Oxidative Therapies, and Detoxification Therapy.” Moreover, Susser’s ads more than suggest that he is a keeper of the secrets to halting the aging process and that he has “solved the mystery of chronic fatigue syndrome.” His website does not mention the fact that he has been disciplined several times by the California state medical board (1997 – Susser had e.g. failed to diagnose gallstones in one patient and colon cancer in two others, and had instead ordered inappropriate tests, failed to order appropriate tests, and prescribed vitamins and other inappropriate treatments – 2000, 2005, 2010, 2016, 2017 and 2018) e.g. for “unprofessional conduct, gross negligence, incompetence, repeated negligent acts, and excessive use of diagnostic procedures” and for “negligence and improper prescribing”, as well as by the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine and the New York Board for Professional Misconduct. Indeed, Susser seems to have finally lost his license in 2018. It is unclear whether that will stop him. (After all, he surrendered his New York license back in 1997, and that did not stop him.)
Susser’s primary target victims are (or were) people with complex or diffuse conditions – his website mentions “[l]yme disease, chronic fatigue” in particular – that will allow him to prescribe a number of expensive and completely ineffective treatment regimes and unsupported (and unsupportable) diagnoses.
Susser is also a past-president of the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM), the primary promoter of chelation therapy (which, given that it is as dangerous as it is useless, is a particular concern of medical boards). He has also been associated with the pseudoscience group ILADS.
Diagnosis: What is really instructive about Murray Susser is the position of authority he has managed to retain on the altmed scene, despite his obvious dishonesty (or incompetence). Hopefully neutralized, but you never know with this kind of people.

Lowell Hubbs

A.k.a. “TruthStorm”
A.k.a. “TruthEducation”
A.k.a. “Anti Vax Warrior”

Small fish, but worth a mention. Lowell Hubbs is an online troll whose mission is to spread FUD about vaccines and vaccine safety. Hubbs has no education or experience in any relevant field, but tends to repeat standard antivaxx tropes and conspiracy theories, claiming for instance that all vaccines are unsafe and ineffective (that better sanitation and nutrition, not vaccines, account for the decline in vaccine-preventable diseases, which is almost as delusionally ridiculous as flat-out denying gravity); instead, vaccines apparently lead to autism, asthma and SIDS. To hold those views, you also need some serious conspiracy theories, and Hubbs is not afraid to go there (“I like whale.to, its a great site containing more real history than I know you can actually deal with,” says Hubbs; whale.to is a frequent source of his information, apparently): In 2011 Hubbs even concluded that his site, lowellsfacts.com, had been taken down by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. It wasn’t.
Of course, Hubbs thinks that his claims are backed up by science, but seems genuinely not to understand the difference between a scientific study and a blogpost on a conspiracy website. He does complain, though, that his critics seem not to bother to review his work. His ridiculous nine vaccine questions addressed to non-loons are addressed here. Many of his antics are covered here.
Diagnosis: Hubbs is really not anything but a trivial troll, but he is a rather active one and his impact on civilization, if not major, is certainly not beneficial.

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