Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/tbrnew5/public_html/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

TBR News February 7, 2020

Feb 07 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. February 7 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 7: “This virus is touted to be a terrible global disaster by the simple-minded media when in fact it is certainly not.
The media is screeching like a fat woman who sits on a hot wood stove with cries of doom and death pouring out daily.
What the media somehow forgets to trumpet is that this year alone, regular flu has killed 25,000 in the United States. Most of this is standard but the numbers have increased because the lunatic fringe is involved with the totally invented “anti-vaccine” movement and refuses to get flu shots.
173 million Americans had flu shots this year and those who haven’t due to manufactured terror, will get sick and many will die.
We are waiting for the Blessed Donald (sent by God Himself!) to blame flu on Nancy Pelosi and other Evil Democrats in one of his illiterate Twitter rants.”

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

The Table of Contents
• Anti Vaccine nonsense
• Coronavirus facts
• Fake Shock and Horror Headlines in the media
• The Government-Approved Rip-Off
• CIA Control of the Internet -Official Study
• Trump Is No Friend to Workers, But That Doesn’t Mean He Won’t Lie About It
• Antarctica records continent’s hottest temperature ever
• Faked Conspiracy Photos
• The Season of Evil
• The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Anti Vaccine nonsense
Wikipedia
Andrew Jeremy Wakefield (born 1957) is a discredited British ex-physician who became an anti-vaccine activist. As a gastroenterologist at the Royal Free Hospital in London, he published a 1998 paper in The Lancet claiming a link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. Other researchers were unable to reproduce Wakefield’s findings, and a 2004 investigation by Sunday Times reporter Brian Deer identified undisclosed financial conflicts of interest on Wakefield’s part. Most of Wakefield’s co-authors then withdrew their support for the study’s interpretations.
The British General Medical Council (GMC) conducted an inquiry into allegations of misconduct against Wakefield and two former colleagues, focusing on Deer’s findings.In 2010, the GMC found that Wakefield had been dishonest in his research, had acted against his patients’ best interests and mistreated developmentally delayed children, and had “failed in his duties as a responsible consultant”. The Lancet fully retracted Wakefield’s 1998 publication on the basis of the GMC’s findings, noting that elements of the manuscript had been falsified and that the journal had been “deceived” by Wakefield. Three months later, Wakefield was struck off the UK medical register, due in part to his deliberate falsification of research published in The Lancet, and was barred from practising medicine in the UK. In a related legal decision, a British court held that “[t]here is now no respectable body of opinion which supports [Dr. Wakefield’s] hypothesis, that MMR vaccine and autism/enterocolitis are causally linked”.
The British Medical Journal described Wakefield’s work as an “elaborate fraud”.Subsequent reporting by Deer revealed that Wakefield had planned to capitalize on the MMR vaccination scare provoked by his paper by forming a corporation that would profit from “litigation-driven testing”. Wakefield’s study and his claim that the MMR vaccine might cause autism led to a decline in vaccination rates in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, and a corresponding rise in measles and mumps infections, resulting in serious illness and deaths. His continued claims that the vaccine is harmful have contributed to a climate of distrust of all vaccines and the reemergence of other previously-controlled diseases. Wakefield has continued to defend his research and conclusions, saying there was no fraud, hoax or profit motive.Wakefield spread fear that the MMR vaccine might lead to autism, even though he knew that his own laboratory had carried out tests whose results dramatically contradicted his claims in that the measles virus had not been found in a single one of the children concerned in his study and he knew or ought to have known that there was absolutely no basis at all for his belief that the MMR should be broken up into single vaccines.
(ii) In spreading such fear, acted dishonestly and for mercenary motives in that, although he improperly failed to disclose the fact, he planned a rival vaccine and products (such as a diagnostic kit based on his theory) that could have made his fortune
(iii) Gravely abused the children under his care by unethically carrying out extensive invasive procedures (on occasions requiring three people to hold a child down), thereby driving nurses to leave and causing his medical colleagues serious concern and unhappiness
(iv) Improperly and/or dishonestly failed to disclose to his colleagues and to the public that his research on autistic children had begun with a contract with solicitors who were trying to sue the manufacturers of the MMR vaccine
(v) Improperly or dishonestly lent his reputation to the International Child Development Resource Centre, which promoted to very vulnerable parents expensive products for whose efficacy (as he knew or should have known) there was no scientific evidence

Coronavirus facts
January 22, 2020
by Brunilda Nazario, MD
WebMD
A coronavirus is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat. Most coronaviruses are not dangerous.
Some types of coronaviruses are serious, though. About 858 people have died from Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which first appeared in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and then in other countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. In April 2014, the first American was hospitalized for MERS in Indiana and another case was reported in Florida. Both had just returned from Saudi Arabia. In May 2015, there was an outbreak of MERS in Korea, which was the largest outbreak outside of the Arabian Peninsula. In 2003, 774 people died from a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak. As of 2015, there were no further reports of cases of SARS.
But In early 2020, following a December 2019 outbreak in China, the World Health Organization identified a new type, 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
Often a coronavirus causes upper respiratory infection symptoms like a stuffy nose, cough, and sore throat. You can treat them with rest and over-the-counter medication. The coronavirus can also cause middle ear infections in children.
What Is a Coronavirus?
Common Symptoms of Coronavirus
The symptoms of most coronaviruses are similar to any other upper respiratory infection, including runny nose, coughing, sore throat, and sometimes a fever. In most cases, you won’t know whether you have a coronavirus or a different cold-causing virus, such as rhinovirus.
This virus is touted to be a terrible global disaster by the simple-minded media when in fact it is certainly not.
The media is screeching like a fat woman who sits on a hot wood stove with cries of doom and death pouring out daily.
What the media somehow forgets to trumpet is that this year alone, regular flu has killed 25,000 in the United States. Most of this is standard but the numbers have increased because the lunatic fringe is involved with the totally invented “anti-vaccine” movement and refuses to get flu shots.
173 million Americans had flu shots this year and those who haven’t due to manufactured terror, will get sick and many will die.
We are waiting for the Blessed Donald (sent by God Himself!) to blame flu on Nancy Pelosi and other Evil Democrats in one of his illiterate Twitter rants.

 

• Lifeblood of Amazon merchants threatened as coronavirus infects Chinese workers
• Scientists identify pangolin as possible host
• Commuting through China’s deserted capital
• A deadly virus spreads around the world leaving a mounting death toll and threatening the global economy- All from Reuters
• Coronavirus infections TRIPLE on cruise liner quarantined in Japan with thousands of passengers stuck in ‘floating prison’ .Russia Today
• Coronavirus Live Updates: Trump Praises China’s Response to Outbreak as Death Toll Passes 600- New York Times
• Is Coronavirus the great plague of 2020? – Western Courier
• China’s Deadly Coronavirus Cover-Up Is Getting Worse as First Case Hits U.S.- Daily Beast
• Coronavirus: Sporting events in China under threat as virus spreads- Deutsche Welle
• Coronavirus latest: More than 30,000 infected in China-Deutsche Welle
• Coronavirus: public buying protective suits causing shortages for emergency services – latest news- the Guardian
• Pentagon to provide military installations near 11 major airports for coronavirus quarantine- The Hill

The Government-Approved Rip-Off
This is rapidly becoming a decade of official deceit and public disillusion.
The issue under discussion here is MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System).
MERS, set up by the government in 1995, now claims to be a privately-held company and their official function is stated to be ‘keeping track of a confidential electronic registry of mortgages and the modifications to servicing rights and ownership of the loans.’
MERS is actually a U.S. government initiated organization like Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac and its current shareholders include AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, WaMu, CitiMortgage, Countrywide, GMAC, Guaranty Bank, and Merrill Lynch.
All of these entities have been intimately, and disastrously, involved with the so-called “housing bubble,” and were subsequently quickly bailed out by the then-supportive Bush administration
In addition to its publicly stated purpose of simplifying mortgage registration MERS was also set up to assist in the creation of so-called ‘Collateralized debt obligations (CDOs)’ and ‘’Structured investment Vehicles (SIV).’
The CDOs is a type of structured asset-backed security (ABS) whose value and payments are derived from a portfolio of fixed-income underlying assets. CDOs securities are split into different risk classes, or tranches, which permits these entities to be minced into tiny tranches and sold off by the big investment banks to pensions, foreign investors and retail investors who in turn have discounted and resold them over and over.
It is well-known inside the American banking institutions that these highly questionable, potentially unsafe investment packages were deliberately marketed to countries, such as China and Saudi Arabia, that are not in favor with elements of the American government and banking industry and were, and are, marketed with full knowledge of their fragility.
A number of countries, including Germany, through the American-controlled Deutsche Bank, are involved.
MERS, set up by the U.S. government in 1995, now claims to be a privately-held company and their official function is stated to be ‘keeping track of a confidential electronic registry of mortgages and the modifications to servicing rights and ownership of the loans.’
MERS is actually a U.S. government initiated organization like Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac and its current shareholders include AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, WaMu, CitiMortgage, Countrywide, GMAC, Guaranty Bank, and Merrill Lynch. All of these entities have been intimately, and disastrously, involved with the so-called “housing bubble,” and were subsequently quickly bailed out by the supportive Bush administration
In addition to its publicly stated purpose of simplifying mortgage registration MERS was also set up to assist in the creation of so-called ‘ Collateralized’ debt obligations (CDOs) and Structured investment Vehicles (SIV). The CDOs is a type of structured asset-backed security (ABS) whose value and payments are derived from a portfolio of fixed-income underlying assets. CDOs securities are split into different risk classes, or tranches, which permits these entities to be minced into tiny tranches and sold off by the big investment banks to pensions, foreign investors and retail investors, who in turn have discounted and resold them over and over.
It is well-known inside the American banking institutions that these highly questionable, potentially unsafe investment packages were deliberately marketed to countries, such as China, Germany and Saudi Arabia, that are not in favor with elements of the American government and banking industry and were, and are, marketed with full knowledge of their fragility.
The basic problem with this MERS system that while it does organize the mortgage market, it also knowingly permits fiscal sausage-making whereby a huge number of American domestic and business mortgages, (75 million by conservative estimate) are sliced up, put into the aforesaid “investment packages” and sold to customers both domestic and foreign.
This results in the frightening fact that the holders of mortgages, so chopped and packed, are not possible to identify by MERS or anyone else, at any time and by any agency. This means that any property holder, be they a domestic home owner or a business owner, is paying their monthly fees for property they can never own. Because of the diversity of the packaging, it is totally and completely impossible to ascertain what person or organization owns a specific mortgage and as a result, a clear title to MERS-controlled property is impossible to get at any time, even if a mortgage is fully paid. No person or entity, has been, or never can be, identified who can come forward and legally release the lien on the property once the loan is paid.
In short, MERS conceals this fact from the public with the not-unreasonable assumption that by the time the owner of the home or business discovers that they have only been paying rent on property they can never get clear title to, all the primary parties; the banks, the government agencies, the mortgage companies, or the title companies, will be dead and gone. MERS is set up to guarantee this fact but, gradually, little by little, mostly by word of mouth, the public is beginning to realize that their American dream of owning a house is nothing but a sham and a delusion.
The basic problem with this MERS system that while it does organize the mortgage market, it also knowingly permits fiscal sausage-making whereby a huge number of American domestic and business mortgages, (59 million by conservative estimate) are sliced up, put into the aforesaid “investment packages” and sold to customers both domestic and foreign.
This results in the frightening fact that the holders of mortgages, so chopped and packed, are not possible to identify by MERS or anyone else, at any time and by any agency. This means that any property holder, be they a domestic home owner or a business owner, is paying their monthly fees for property they can never own. Because of the diversity of the packaging, it is totally and completely impossible to ascertain what person or organization owns a specific mortgage and as a result, a clear title to MERS-controlled property is impossible to get at any time, even if a mortgage is fully paid. No person or entity, has been, or never can be, identified who can come forward and legally release the lien on the property once the loan is paid.
In short, MERS conceals this fact from the public with the not-unreasonable assumption that by the time the owner of the home or business discovers that they have only been paying rent on property they can never get clear title to, all the primary parties; the banks, the government agencies, the mortgage companies, or the title companies, will be dead and gone. MERS is set up to guarantee this fact but, gradually, little by little, mostly by word of mouth, the public is beginning to realize that their American dream of owning a house is nothing but a sham and a delusion.
The solution to this is quite simple. If a home or business American mortgage payer, goes to the property offices in their county and looks at their registered property, they can clearly see if MERS is the purported holder of the mortgage. This is fraudulent – MERS has never advanced any funds in the transaction and owns nothing. It is merely a registry. If MERS is the listed holder, the mortgage payers will never, ever, get clear title to their property.
In this case, the property occupier has two choices: They can either turn the matter over to a real estate attorney or simply continue pouring good money after bad.
And is there relief?
Indeed there is. In case after case (95% by record) if the matter is brought to the attention of a court of law, Federal or state, the courts rule that if the actual owner of the mortgage cannot be located after a reasonable period of time, the owner receives a clear title from the court and does not need to make any further payments to an unidentified creditor!
It will stop any MERS based foreclosure mid process and further, any person who was fraudulently foreclosed by MERS, which never held their mortgage, and forced from their home can sue MERS and, through the courts, regain their lost homes.

CIA Control of the Internet -Official Study

1 Internet access can be controlled or its use directed according to the server configuration, thus creating an excellent disinformation weapon. In previous times, a national media report that was deemed to be offensive or problematical to the government could be censored, or removed at governmental request. Now, however, the government cannot control the present Internet in the same manner in which it has previously controlled the public media. The Internet permits uncensored and unfiltered versions of events, personalities and actions to be disseminated worldwide in seconds and the so-called “blogs,” chat rooms and websites are almost completely uncontrolled and uncontrollable. This unfortunate situation permits versions of events to find a far wider and far more instantaneous audience than the standard print and, to a lesser degree, the television mediums ever could.
2. The Internet can be used to send coded messages that cannot be interdicted by any government or law-enforcement agency. If man has devised a code or protection program that is supposed to be unbreakable, it is axiomatic that another man can break it. Even the DoD’s algorithmic field codes were easily broken by the Russian GRU during the initial stages of the Iraqi war and it is now known that CIA/USIA codes were also broken, allowing hostile entities to read Top Secret messages. In unfortunately many cases, individual computer experts are more skilled than their counterparts in the government and while, indeed, their encryptions can be broken, they can only be done so by exerting a great deal of effort and when this happens, new encryptions and firewalls can be almost instantly re-erected.
3.The Internet can be utilized to steal and disseminate highly damaging, sensitive government or business data. Although highly sensitive official websites are routinely put under strict control, it seems that intruders always seem to succeed in breaking into them. Once this has happened, highly sensitive, and even damaging, information can, and has, been removed and put out on the Internet without any form of control
4.The Internet permits anti-government groups or individuals with few resources to offset the efforts of far larger, and far better funded, government and its national media sources. This is known as the ‘David and Goliath’ syndrome and is a subject of constant concern to all government agencies. Hitherto secure systems can be broken into, information can be extracted or the site (s) can be infected with malicious viruses and destroyed. All it takes to do this is a relatively inexpensive computer, programs that unfortunately are available to individuals seeking them. The best and most effective manner to deal with this kind of threat is the dummy site, designed to lure potential dissidents into joining with it. Skillful questioning of new members has been known to develop important leads to be followed up by conventional law enforcement methods.
5.The Internet can be used to create serious disruptions of governmental agencies and the business communities. It is known that certain dissidents, either as individuals or as groups, have developed devastating computer viruses. These viruses, which are capable of destroying large banks of computer information, both governmental or business. These rumors are very persistent and it is strongly believed that they exist as a dormant entity that can lie concealed in a target system until activated by some kind of a trigger mechanism.
6. The Internet can serve as an excellent tool for organizing groups of anti-government individuals. (Redacted)
7. The Internet can be used to expose government actions and military operations in advance of said actions. The immense proliferation of Internet sites has made it possible for adverse elements to break into hitherto secure systems, extract highly sensitive information and either supply it to foreign intelligence agencies such as the Russian SVR or the Israeli Mossad or simply to either publish it or mail it out. A discussion of foreign-based official U.S. computer hacking can be found elsewhere and this study deals solely with ad hoc domestic dissidents.
8. The Internet is capable of hiding the identities of those launching attacks on the actions and personnel of various government agencies. (Redacted)
9.The Internet can materially assist an underfunded, anti-government group to raise money for continued operations. The use of such firms as PayPal facilitate the relatively secure transfer of money. Again, although it is possible to pressure such firms officially, if one agrees to cooperate, it is only a matter of time that this information will be leaked. We have once had excellent cooperation from SBC, ATT and AOL in conducting overview of millions of system users but lawsuits and Internet activists have published this information, rendering this valuable cooperation null and void.
10.The Internet can be utilized to locate and publicize the personnel of government agencies. It is routine practice in the CIA to have the DoS Passport Division issue official U.S. passports to our operatives working outside the country in names other than their own. The discovery of the real names of the passport holders could result in this material being maliciously posted on the Internet and this could not only subject the agent to serious compromise in the country they are operating in but can also subject them to local exposure and often contempt and harassment.
11. The Internet is capable of limiting the risk of identification of the members of anti-government groups. The FBI, which is responsible for overview and action against counter-terrorism inside the United States. With the advent of the Internet, identification and penetration of anti-government groups has proven to be nearly impossible. The main cause of this failure is due almost entirely to the Internet which has proven a haven for dissidents of all kinds. Given that all domestic telephone calls and all Internet email is readily available to various domestic law enforcement agencies, it is still a monumental task to track and identify possible activists and other anti-government individuals or groups. We have assisted in setting up dummy anti-government sites, peopled them with professionals and provided them with almost-believable information to post for the purpose of establishing importance and also in disseminating disinformation. Persons viewing these sites can readily be identified and tracked, Further, we have an ongoing relationship with several information sites, such as Google, and whenever any viewer seeks information on subjects we deem as potentially negative, this information is automatically forwarded to the concerned agency.
12. The Internet, while impossible to control, is also an excellent recruiting ground for sympathetic or easily-convinced “bloggers” who will quickly disseminate official dissemination for pay or public acclaim. It is invaluable to distract the public from questioning various governmental actions, both domestic and foreign. For this reason, our organization, and others, have “disinformation” centers that prepare information of a sensational nature which is then released to paid sources who, in turn, disseminate it onto the Internet. The purpose of this is to create a cloaking movement that will point the curious into innocuous areas. As a case in point, it was imperative to prevent the public sector from looking too deeply into the origins of the 9/11 attacks. To prevent exposure of the actions of members of the top levels of government in this attack, many stories were released, over a long period, to the public through wholly-controlled sites. Claims of devious plots, mystery methodologies, and often laughable conclusions have proven to be extraordinarily effective in constructive diversion. The collapse of the WTC buildings have been attributed to Thermite bombs, clouds of plasmoid gas and other nonsense but a very gullible American public has easily swallowed all of the fictions. As another example, the DoD has always under-declared its casualty rates in Iraq and Afghanistan because a full accounting could easily lead to public discomfiture and resulting action.
13.The Internet can be utilized to create an atmosphere of fear or of compliancy in furtherance of official policy. This is a particular ploy that worked very effectively during the two Bush administrations. A constant, on-going threat of vague “terrorist” actions inside the United States was material in gaining, and keeping, public support for the actions of the aforesaid administration. However, it must be noted, that threats must occasionally be proven to be true or too many “duds” tend to dull the public sense and, if continued, will lead to disillusion and anger.

Trump Is No Friend to Workers, But That Doesn’t Mean He Won’t Lie About It
Trump is counting on the working class he’s betraying most aggressively. Can the left get out of affluent suburbia and back to its roots?
February 6, 2020
by Peter Certo
Common Dreams
There’s an image burned into my brain from childhood: the graffitied train tracks along the intersection of Fifth and Patterson in downtown Dayton, Ohio.
It’s a slightly shabby landscape dotted by warehouses, churches, fast food restaurants, and — at the margins — an old arthouse theater. If you look closely, you can see the building where I went to kindergarten, and maybe even the dive bar where my wife and I had our first date.
A photo of this familiar landscape greeted me recently in an unfamiliar place: at the top of a New York Times feature headlined, “How the G.O.P. Became the Party of the Left Behind.”
It followed an out of work union teamster in nearby Moraine who’d voted Democratic for years, only to shift to Republicans in the wake of plant closures that left him adrift. In 2016, the story goes, Dayton’s Montgomery County — population 530,000 — swung narrowly for Trump. It was the first time the county had gone red in nearly 30 years.
We’ve met these voters in countless articles since 2016. And they’re exactly who President Trump was pitching in his recent State of the Union address, where he boasted of “a great American comeback” and a “blue collar boom,” crediting himself generously.
First, let’s be clear: There’s no “great American comeback.”
Low overall unemployment means little when half of Americans now work low-wage jobs. Manufacturing remains in decline, farm bankruptcies are spiraling, and union membership just hit an all-time low. Even as 140 million Americans are poor or low-income, the administration is working relentlessly to shred Medicaid, Social Security, and the food stamp system.
Trump has little to offer this class but half-truths about the economy and hateful lies about immigrants. Still, he’s only accelerated a partisan realignment along class lines for white voters.
In the 1990s, the Times story observed, Republicans “received roughly the same share of the vote in richer and poorer counties.” Yet by 2016, the GOP “won almost twice the share of votes in the nation’s most destitute counties… than it won in the richest.”
And the Democrats? After their sweeping midterm victories, GoBankingRates.com reported, they found themselves in control of each of the 10 wealthiest U.S. congressional districts — and 41 of the top 50.
Democrats still outperform Republicans among voters making under $50,000 a year, while Republicans still dominate the $100,000-plus crowd. Yet the gaps have narrowed since 2012, as Democrats have seemingly traded many white working class voters for more affluent ones.
It speaks to the power of Trump’s nativist scapegoating that he’s accomplished this working class coup even as the GOP has embraced its most overtly plutocratic agenda ever.
Thanks to Trump and the GOP, those blue collar Moraine workers now pay higher tax rates than Trump and his fellow billionaires. Republican lawmakers made millions off the corporate tax cuts they passed, while companies like GM took their tax cuts and laid off tens of thousands of workers anyway.
These are huge vulnerabilities. Yet to date, the most visible Democratic case against Trump has focused on comparatively arcane subjects like abusing aid packages to Ukraine — an issue that plays better in affluent suburbia than in lagging Montgomery County.
As Trump made clear in his speech, he will almost certainly try to get the Democrats’ left on trade and jobs — and cover his tracks with nativist nonsense — if they let him. They shouldn’t. With the Ukraine mess ignobly disposed of in a sham Senate trial, what progressives need is a multiracial, working class-led case against the administration’s policies.
That would be a “blue collar boom” to be proud of.

Antarctica records continent’s hottest temperature ever
An Argentine research base has measured the highest temperature on Antarctica on record. Rising temperatures are accelerating melt-off from glaciers and ice sheets, threatening island nations and coastal towns.
February 7, 2020
DW
Antarctica recorded its hottest day on Thursday since readings began, Argentina’s National Meteorological Service announced.
Thursday saw temperatures peak at 18.3 degrees Celsius (64.9 degrees Fahrenheit) at the Esperanza research station. According to the meteorological service, it was the highest temperature on record since 1961.
The previous record was 17.5 degrees on March 24, 2015.
UN examines record temperatures
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said Friday it would verify whether the readings would amount to a new record.
Clare Nullis, a spokesperson for the UN weather agency, said that if the figures from the research base are confirmed, they could be a record high for Antarctica.
“Everything we have seen thus far indicates a likely legitimate record but we will, of course, begin a formal evaluation of the record once we have full data from SMN [Argentina’s weather service] and on the meteorological conditions surrounding the event,” said Randal Cerveny from WMO’s Weather and Climate Extremes.
“The record appears to be likely associated (in the short term) with what we call a regional `foehn’ event over the area,” Cerveny added, referring to the quick warm air that comes down a mountain or slope.
Argentina, a signatory of the 1961 Antarctic Treaty, has several scientific research bases in Antarctica. The country has had a presence on the continent for the past 114 years.
Rapidly melting glaciers
Rising temperatures are causing glaciers and ice sheets in Antarctica to melt at an accelerated speed. Sea-levels are on the rise, threatening small island nations and cities along coastlines.
According to the WMO, the Antarctic Peninsula, located on the icy continent’s northwest tip close to South America, is among the most rapidly warming regions on the planet, at nearly 3 degrees Celsius over the last half-century.
Approximately 87% of glaciers along the peninsula’s west coast have shown “an accelerated retreat” over the last 12 years, WMO reported.

Faked Conspiracy Photos
by Robert D. Fiete
ITT Industries
Introduction
Like it or not, fake images are everywhere and have become a part of today’s culture. Thanks to the popularity of digital cameras and the availability of desktop imaging software that allows users to easily manipulate images, fake images have become commonplace, especially on the Internet. We see many images that defy common sense and it is natural for us to question the authenticity of these images. Most of have seen images that are obvious fakes, such as the 80-foot grasshopper climbing the Empire State Building, but we naturally assume that these images are fake and know that they were created simply for our amusement. Unfortunately there are too many times when a fake image has been created but it is advertised as real, challenging us to decide for ourselves whether the image is real of fake.
A fake image can be defined as an image of an object or scene that wasn’t captured as the image would imply. In general, fake images are created to generate a deception, but not all fake images are bad. The motivation may be simply for harmless entertainment, which accounts for most fake images generated today. Fake images can be generated for research and development purposes, e.g. to understand image quality issues with different camera designs. The fake images that concern us most are those that are created to perpetuate a lie. Some people will generate fake images for profit, such as a picture of an alien, a ghost, or an alien ghost of Elvis that they can then sell to a tabloid. Probably the most dangerous motive for generating fake images is to alter the public’s perception of truth for political reasons. It would be nice a reliable method existed for determining if an image is real or fake, but unfortunately none exists. We can hope to catch most of the fake images, however, if we understand how fake image are made and what characteristics to look for.
Creating Fake Images
Although generating fake images historically originated with darkroom tricks, today almost every fake image is made using a computer. Even though it is getting more difficult to discern a real image from a fake image as image processing software improves, image analysis can still be used to detect traits that can expose many of them as fakes. To understand how fake images can be detected we must first understand how they can be made on computers. The two most common methods today for generating fake images are to “paint” a new image outright or to alter an existing image that has been captured by a camera.
A digital image is essentially a grid of numbers, where each number represents the brightness of each picture element, or pixel, in the image (An 8-bit image can have 28=256 gray-level values, with a value of 0 representing black and a value of 255 representing white. A color image is made by combining a red image, a green image, and a blue image. Adding together different gray-level values from the red, green, and blue image produces the various color values.
Since a digital image is simply a grid of numbers, it is conceivable for an artist to create a computer-generated image by “painting” a grid of numbers to represent any object or scene that could be captured with a digital camera. For a 24-bit color image composed of an 8-bit red, green, and blue image, there are almost 17 million possible colors for each pixel. A 4″x6″ image at 300 dpi (dots per inch) will have over 2 million pixels, thus there are over 36 thousand billion numbers that can be considered to make the color digital image. Realistically all of the possible numbers do not need to be considered by the artist, but serious thought does need to be put into the values that will be used, especially when illumination and edges are considered. If the computer generated image is to look like a real photograph, then the image must be consistent with all of the laws of physics applicable to generating a real image.
Many of the classic painters, such as Leonardo Da Vinci, had an amazing talent to incorporate the proper shading, texture, tone, and color into their paintings that were consistent with the real world thus adding an amazing amount of realism to their work. However, their paintings do not look like modern photographs because they do not contain sufficient detail to match all of the physical properties associated with photographic imaging. (Actually, most artists probably would have been quite unhappy if their works of art looked like a modern photograph.)
In order to create a digital image that looks like a real photograph, the correct brightness values must be determined on a pixel-by-pixel basis to match the physical imaging properties, which could take months to years, depending on the image size, without the aid of computer software to perform the calculation. This problem was solved with the development of computer graphics software, designed to generate images of 3D objects with realistic illumination conditions. A rendering operation adds lighting, shading, colors, and texture to a mesh form of the object that is created by the artist. Ray tracing models produce the best quality by projecting many rays of light and modeling all of the physical qualities between the light and the objects in the scene, including reflection, refraction, transmission, scattering, absorption, and diffraction. The artist must simulate enough rays of light to cover every pixel in the image, which can be very time consuming if many rays of light are used. We have all seen the impressive results of computer animation in many feature films, creating dinosaurs or aliens that come to life on the screen. However, generating impressive detail in fake images using computer graphics, especially in a movie sequence, is still very difficult due to the complex calculations that need to be performed and the software is not accessible to the average PC user.
The most common method of generating a fake image, due to its simplicity, is to alter an existing image that was captured by a camera. The image can be altered by changing the context of the image, such as claiming that an actual image of a lampshade is actually an image of alien spaceship, or the image can be altered by changing the content of the image, such as superimposing an image of a cow onto an image of the moon
Creating a fake image by altering the context of an image has historically been the preferred method for creating hoaxes because it requires no alterations and the image is an actual image captured by a camera; hence the image, and the film negative if it exists, will pass the scrutiny of scientific tests. A famous example of a faked image by altering the context is the “Surgeon’s Photo” taken in 1934 by Robert Wilson who claimed it was a photograph of the Loch Ness Monster The image fooled many experts until an accomplice confessed in 1994 that the monster was nothing more than a toy submarine with the model of a serpent head attached.
The Cottingley Hoax is another example of fake images created by altering the context In 1917 16-year-old Elsie Wright and her 10-year-old cousin Frances Griffiths took photographs of winged fairies near their home in England. Inspection of the images showed no alterations and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, famous for creating the master sleuth Sherlock Holmes, deemed them authentic. Sixty years later the girls admitted that the fairies were paper cutouts held in place with hat pins.
Altering the content of an existing image most likely originated when early photographers were compelled to touch up the photographs of their paying customers to remove wrinkles and blemishes. Many people in the 19th century were accustomed to having flattering portraits painted of them and were not very tolerant at seeing the way they looked to the camera, which could not tell a lie. As dark room processes advanced, adding and removing people from images became a standard trick. When photographers were unable to get an entire family together for a family portrait, they would set up the subjects such that the missing individuals could be added at a later time (see Figure 5). Altering images became routine for many political regimes in the 20th century, especially for propaganda. It was not uncommon for some governments to remove people from historic photographs when these people fell out of favor with the ruling party.
Today, altering the content of an image does not require dark room tricks but merely a PC with image editing software. Desktop software is readily available and easy to use, allowing anyone to quickly and creatively alter images. The easiest approach is to simply cut a section from one image and embed it into another image (see Figure 6). The desktop software allows the creator to modify the extracted image to the appropriate size and rotation. The software on the market today is so easy to use that that pre-school children have little difficulty creating impressive altered images.
Identifying Fake Images
If an image is deemed suspicious, then we can first look for clues by visual inspection and then proceed with scientific inspection if necessary. The first line of defense for detecting a possible fake image is our own perception. We have a keen ability to sense that something is wrong with an image and trusting our common sense works most of the time. If an image looks unbelievable, then it probably is unbelievable and is a fake If an image looks real and similar images are easily obtained, then it probably is real since there would be no motive to warrant the time and effort to create the fake image. Unfortunately life isn’t that simple. There are examples of fake images that we believe are real because they do not draw suspicion (see Figure 8) and there are examples of unbelievable images that are in fact real images. These real but unbelievable images are the ones that fascinate us but also make it harder to discount the images that we suspect are fake. Images that we believe to be real but are in fact fake are bothersome because they unfairly manipulate our sense of truth.
Using computer animation software to create a fake image works well in movies but generally does not fool the public when used to pass off a fake image as real. Our perception is very sensitive to subtle details in the composure and texture of objects in an image, especially when viewing images of people. Most computer-generated scenes, especially those involving people or animals, have a “cartoon look” about them when scrutinized. People generally look like mannequins and subtle details are missing. Images that circulated on the Internet claiming to be actual satellite images of the space shuttle Columbia exploding in space could easily be recognized as the work of computer animation when viewed closely (see Figure 9). The ability to generate realistic computer generated people is improving dramatically over time as software technology and mathematical models progress.
A fake image created by altering the context is the hardest to positively identify as fake since the image is real and will pass scientific tests on the validity of the image itself. Most fake UFO images cannot be immediately discounted as fake because they are indeed real photographs of objects that the viewer cannot properly identify, leaving the image subject to interpretation. The key to identifying a fake image when the context is altered is to identify aspects of the image that are inconsistent with the image description, i.e. catch the perpetrator in a lie. For example, the time and date claimed may be inconsistent with the sun’s position or the known weather conditions for that date.
Photographs published in 1932 reportedly showing scenes from WWI dogfights were amazing due to their sharpness and clarity But the amazing clarity was a clue that the images were probably fake because they appeared too sharp given the relatively long exposures required from cameras at the time and the amount of motion and vibration on the airplane. The images were not proven to be fakes until 1984 when the model airplanes used in the images were discovered.
When the image content has been altered, we focus on the aspect of the image that makes the image unbelievable. Images that have had their content altered will usually have physical inconsistencies in the image that may be apparent under visual inspection. Unfortunately, these inconsistencies are not always apparent in the image and the image may not be proven to be fake until the original unaltered image is discovered
The physical traits of the image that can be assessed include the illumination conditions, edge sharpness, resolution, tone, relative scale, and noise characteristics. Many of the computer animated scenes created for movies and electronic games do not adhere to the laws of physics, but this is usually intentional to save cost and to make the scenes more entertaining.
A common inconsistency found when the image content is altered is the mismatch of radiometric or illumination conditions between the altered part and the rest of the image. The altered part of the image may have shadowing that is not consistent; indicating that is was illuminated under different conditions from rest of the image. This is commonly seen when an object captured at one time of the day is added to an image that was captured at a different time of the day. Also, the light illuminating the altered part may not be consistent with the diffuse or specular light illuminating the rest of the scene. This effect is commonly seen when an object captured with a photographic flash is added to an image that was acquired with outdoor or studio lighting. Color, contrast, and tone will also vary for different illumination conditions, thus creating a mismatch of these characteristics between different images
An image claiming to be a satellite image of the Northeast blackout in 2003 circulated on the Internet shortly after the blackout occurred The image was quickly identified as a fake because the blackout area is pure black compared to the other areas with no light sources. Other clues to this deception include the false satellite name, the unlikely lack of clouds anywhere over North and Central America, and the fact that the blackout was not total over the Northeast. The original image is a composite of many DMSP satellite images acquired between 1994 and 1995
One must be very careful when analyzing the illumination characteristics of the scene. The shadows and illumination conditions can be misleading, especially if the three-dimensional aspects of the scene are not taken into account. The Apollo 11 moon landing images appear to contain “anomalies” that some people use to argue that the moon landing was staged in a studio. These “anomalies” include shadows on the lunar surface that are not parallel and objects that appear illuminated even though they are in the shadows, both suggesting that there were light sources other than the sun, as well as the lack of stars in the black sky, suggesting that a black back-drop was used on a studio set. Of course, all of these so-called anomalies are exactly what we expect to see in the images if we truly understand the imaging conditions on the lunar surface. The shadows are not parallel as seen in the images because the lunar surface is not flat and the objects are not necessarily parallel to one another in height, the shadows are illuminated from the light scattering off of the lunar surface, and the stars do not appear in the images because the camera exposure was set for the brightness of the lunar surface.
Creators of fake images usually ignore the known physical properties of creating an image with a camera. The most significant camera effects are edge sharpness, influenced by the lens diffraction, focus, and motion blur; perspective geometry; and noise properties, usually from the detector and compression. Computer animated images are usually created without any camera effects since this will degrade the image quality and make the images less appealing to the audience. This, however, results in images that are physically impossible to capture with a camera in the real world.
When an object is added or deleted from an image, an edge is usually created that has a sharpness that is inconsistent with the rest of the image. Even an in-focus image will exhibit some blurring due to the diffraction of light from the camera aperture. The behavior of the blurring in the image is well understood and can be mathematically modeled if the camera design is known. Even if the camera design is not known, measurements within the image can produce a relatively accurate mathematical model of the camera that can provide reasonable predictions. Cutting an object from one image and inserting it into another image will create a sharp edge at the boundary of the inserted object that is sharper than physically possible. This sharpness is easily seen and creates an obvious sign that the image has been altered, so smudging tools in image processing software are usually used to reduce the visibility of these edges This smudging, however, will usually produce blurred edges around the object that are inconsistent with the rest of the image.
Most images will exhibit some amount of noise, primarily from the detector or from the image compression that was applied. The noise characteristics of an altered portion of an image can be inconsistent with the rest of the image. Magnifying digital images will generally exhibit graininess due to the detector noise and artifacts from the compression algorithm, depending on the level of compression. When images have been altered, the creator usually blurs the edges or other portions of the image to blend in the object, but this changes the noise characteristics, allowing the alteration to be detected
Finally, an understanding of how image processing alters the image characteristics can lead to signs of alteration. For example, when the image contrast is enhanced, the resulting gray-level histogram of the image will usually display “holes” or gray-level values that contain are no longer present in the image. An object from one image that is inserted into a second image may exhibit a different histogram that will indicate that it was not originally part of the second image. However, if an image has been enhanced using an adaptive processing algorithm, then the image characteristics, such as the gray-level histogram or the edge sharpness, can change locally even though no other alteration have been made. Adaptive processing should not be used on real images if the integrity of the image is to be preserved. Unfortunately, if the image is processed after the alteration has been made, such as compressing the image, then the holes in the histogram may be filled in and the histogram will no longer look suspicious
The Difficulty of Detecting Fake Images
Most of the people generating fake images know little or nothing about the physics of the image chain, yet lots of fake images fool us because they seem to have properties that are consistent with real images. How is this possible? Images with altered context are actual images; hence image analysis will not show that the image itself is inconsistent with physics, only that the perpetrator is being untruthful. Images with altered content will usually show signs of alteration if the image is created quickly and carelessly. The anomalies created in an altered image can be reduced by having an understanding of the imaging chain properties and taking the time and effort to ensure that the entire image is consistent at the pixel level, but this is rarely performed due to the knowledge and time required.
The simplest method to reduce the detection of the anomalies in an altered image is to degrade the quality of the image of the alteration. The most common methods are blurring the edges, adding random noise, reducing the size of the image, or compressing the image, all of which will cover up telltale signs of the manipulation. Many fake images have such poor quality that accurate measurements cannot be made to determine if inconsistencies exist. Admittedly, most creators of fake images do not reduce the quality with the intent of making image analysis more difficult, but instead reduce the quality by resizing and compressing the image simply to reduce the file size. However, reducing the image quality to hide the inconsistencies may reduce the impact that the creator of the altered image had hoped for. For example, inconsistent edge blurring can be reduced in altered images if the image is sub-sampled to a smaller size, but this could lead to unsatisfactory aliasing artifacts.
Image steganography offers a method for embedding hidden information into an image. Information pertaining to the unaltered image can be encoded and embedded into the image such that it is not visible. The information can also be encrypted, requiring a key to decode the embedded information so that unauthorized users cannot alter the information. The embedded information can withstand most alterations and processing such as scale, rotation, compression, and cropping. As an example, an edge map of the image can be created, encoded, and embedded into the image itself. If an image is suspected of being altered, then the embedded information can be extracted using the key and compared to the image. Any differences between the edge map of the current image and the edge map embedded in the image can prove if the image was altered
Although image analysis tools can help detect many fake images, currently there is no way to stop somebody from spending the time and resources to make a fake image that is not detectible. All one can do is hope that an inconsistency can be found, thus indicating that the image is fake. Methods currently being developed, such as image stenography and control coding in printers, can aid in the prevention and detection of altered images that are passed off as real images. Two great references for checking the authenticity of images being distributed on the Internet are The Museum of Hoaxes and Urban Legends Reference Pages. For further reading on fake images, a good reference is Photo Fakery, by Dino Brugioni.

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 79

Admiral Lord Nelson was about to commence the battle of the Nile and Chuck decided to go into the kitchen and make a small snack. He told Gwen to check with the weather channel in about three minutes and take note of any possible snow for their area.
While he was making up a small tray for himself, he suddenly heard Gwen emit a loud shriek.
“Chuck! Get in here right now!”
Perhaps the bears had returned and were trying to climb in the windows so he ran back into the living room, tray in one hand and cup of tea in the other.
Gwen had tried to find the weather channel but stopped when she saw the evening news on a Chicago channel..
“What is it?”
Claude pointed at the screen.
“You better sit down Chuck so you don’t drop your food. What it is, is that we don’t have to go to Chicago after all.”
“Snow?”
“Oh, much better than that. God does exist, buddy. Sit and watch.”
There was a shot of an announcer from a Chicago television station speaking with a mixture of gravity and excitement with an expensive apartment building in the background.
Chuck set his tray down on the floor.
“My God, what happened?”
Gwen perched on the edge of her chair, turned up the sound.
“There was a killing in Chicago this afternoon, Chuck. I just found this station by accident. I think you ought to just listen. You know that…”
Claude laughed and held up his hand, silencing her.
“Be quiet, dear, let Chuck see all of this rerun material for himself.”
The announcer was now interviewing someone and they both appeared to be standing on a street corner, probably in Chicago from the logo displayed on the screen.
“Is there any news about the killer or his possible motives, Inspector?”
The next comment caused an uproar in the house.
“We just don’t know, Tom. Inspector Bob Collins was a very good friend of mine as you know but so far, we have no possible motives or any suspect in his murder.”
Claude jumped up, put his foot right on Chuck’s tray and lifted him bodily out of his chair, dragging him around the room in a wild dance.
“Oh, Chuck! Oh, yes, the shit is dead! Someone nailed that asshole!”
Chuck broke loose and shook Claude by the shoulders.
“Just calm down, Frenchy. Be cool, OK? If Collins is dead, my uncle will have to find someone else to nail us. Or me at least. You’re off the hook, Claude because Collins did not know who you were when you screwed up his plans, but Uncle Charles will find another hit man for me, believe it.”
Claude went into a crouch, snapping his long fingers as he did so. Chuck thought he looked like a chicken about to mate but did not say so.
“You’re right, Charley Tuna. I had a lawyer friend of mine in Chicago pass along some information about Collins and his gang of burglars to the FBI so I probably put him out of business in that field but Collins also dealt in drugs and contracted for hits for the right people and money. No one will miss him and yes, your uncle will try to find another hit man. That means he’s still in play but we don’t have to travel right now. You know, if we look for the person who has the most to gain by this blessed removal, the finger would point right at you.”
“Lenin used to say the same thing. But I had nothing to do with it. You all know that. Killing Collins is nothing. He’s a crooked cop in Chicago, one among many, and none of us will probably ever know who did him or why. It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with us so we can just thank God and unpack our bags.”
Chuck picked up the remnants of his trampled sandwich and put it on the tray along with the smashed plate. He forgave Claude his footwork because of the occasion and was pleased that he hadn’t used the good china.
The television showed a shot of two stretchers, heavily draped, being taken out of the underground garage and the remains were placed in a waiting Coroner’s ambulance.
“This picture was taken several hours ago as the bodies of Inspector Collins and his police driver were being removed from the crime scene. And now to weather central for a look at the new storm that is snarling area traffic…”
Senior Montez; sitting in the first class lounge at the International Terminal at O’Hare, watched the television coverage along with a crowd of waiting passengers.
The fact that he had nearly been responsible for the death of the President was causing him a serious case of spastic colon and he was now frantically awaiting the takeoff of the next flight to Mexico City which was scheduled in forty minutes. He had made a call to his temporary employer, the late Collins’ drug supplier who was furious at the murder of his good friend and sales manager. The assassin brushed aside comments about great losses and said a number very unkind things to him, telling him that he was going to keep half of the blood money for his trouble and suggesting that the man who nearly tricked him into such an outrage be dealt with in a terminal manner. When he was informed that the customer had just been murdered, Montez hung up and went over to wait at the gate.
Collins intended victim was very much alive and certainly in a festive mood in his circle of friends. Gwen was upset because she had wanted to display her marksmanship to her friends and Alex, who had wandered into the living room while investigating the sounds of heartless merriment, was delighted that Chuck was not going to Chicago after all.
Lars heard the racket below and came downstairs and peered about with some curiosity. When told that Collins had been killed, he shrugged and went into the kitchen for a late evening snack.
In any case, person or persons unknown had done Chuck an enormous favor.

(Continued)

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

The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Sue McIntosh

Medical Voices is a pseudoscience & conspiracy webpage with a particular focus on promoting anti-vaccine material. It is not a good place for information, but notable for soliciting material from some of the most widely recognized quacks and crackpots on the Internet, such as Joe Mercola and Suzanne Humphries, and for really trying to make their posts look like serious studies, which they are not by any measure of imagination.
Sue McIntosh is an MD, but not one to trust for advice remotely medical (nor probably anything else). McIntosh is a rabid conspiracy theorist and anti-vaccine activist, roughly on the lizard-people-are-eating-Arkansas trajectory, and as such a good match for Medical Voices. Her views are nicely laid out in her article “Stop All Vaccines!”, in which she complains that children are being protected from more and more dangerous diseases by vaccines she labels “toxic”, and laments how delusional conspiracy theories about vaccines are not taken seriously and are even ridiculed just because they are ridiculous. Ridiculing ridiculous conspiracy theories can, as McIntosh sees it, only be a result of – wait for it – corruption and conspiracy. Therefore, McIntosh concludes, doctors and scientists are motivated only by profit, to create illness rather than health … and the purpose, apparently, is population control (for which getting rid of vaccines altogether would of course be a far more effective means – perhaps we ought to speculate about McIntosh’s own motivations for trying to get people to stop getting them?).
Diagnosis: The word “toxic” is sort of a dog whistle – it clearly displays to informed readers that the author using it has no clue about basic chemistry and is the victim of a severe case of Dunning-Kruger. McIntosh is a moron and – despite her formal qualifications – obviously completely unfit to offer health advice.

Daniel McGivern

Expeditions to find Noah’s Ark are a dime a dozen, and they tend to end with delusional religious fanatics proudly proclaiming that they have found it, since if you’re delusional enough to engage on a project like this to begin with (other than for the laughs), you are usually not the kind of person who has the faintest trace of a clue about how to assess any evidence you may come across. Ron Wyatt found it; Bob Cornuke found it in 2006; a Chinese team found it in 2010 (though that was probably a hoax rather than a matter of delusion); and in 2011 a team of “scientists” led by Daniel McGivern discovered two large sections of Noah’s ark resting just below the surface atop Mount Ararat in Turkey – it was Pat Roberston’s Christian Broadcasting Network that used the term “scientists”, by the way. Apparently the team used military satellite imagery and ground penetrating radar technology to locate the ruins, which they promptly believed were wooden. “The evidence is overwhelming,” McGivern added. “This is the large piece from Noah’s ark.” Methinks McGivern has a poor grasp of the meaning of the word “overwhelming”. Other people who saw the satellite images maintained that the structure in question looked suspiciously like rocks.
The discovery would apparently have been “the greatest event since the resurrection of Christ,” though McGivern curiously seemed to have had no plans to actually excavate it. He did plan an expedition, however, led by a local guy who have apparently been involved in Noah’s Ark hoaxes before, but apparently that expedition came to nought. Even the WND appears to have been skeptical.
Diagnosis: Ok, so we’re not entirely sure McGivern is actually a loon. But anyone who listens to him certainly is, and apparently some people did.

Tom McClusky

The Family Research Council is a rightwing fundamentalist advocacy group justly classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center – and despite its name, none of the activities they are engaged in qualifies as “research” by any stretch of the imagination. Tom McClusky is its vice-president, and a fine example of the kind of hatred, bigotry and imperviousness to reason, evidence and decency that characterizes the organization as a whole. McClusky claims, for instance, that marriage equality may lead to society’s collapse (“Societies that try to do away with marriage, they crumble, they fall apart,” claims McClusky, deliberately pretending not to realize that fighting for the right of gays to marry is, you know, the opposite of trying to do away with marriage), laments the fact that the issue is virtually a dead one even among most conservative politicians, and has warned said politicians of their imprudence given the vast opposition to marriage equality among Americans – polls consistently showing majority support for marriage equality are “skewed”, according to McClusky, since that’s what he chooses to believe. Supporting the family, to McClusky, does not mean supporting families, but rather making life hard for families not organized according to McClusky’s blueprint for how families should be organized. He has also called for “civil disobedience” against marriage equality, though it is not entirely clear what that implies – that he will refrain from marrying a man?
And make no mistake: Tom McClusky is the victim here. Anti-bullying policies in public schools, for instance, are really “bullying by the federal government and by a homosexual agenda that seeks to make children hide their Christianity and their religion in the closet and to silence those who would speak out against what they don’t believe.” That’s right: Support marriage equality, and you’re bullying Tom McClusky. To remedy the situation and combat bullying, McClusky has been active in efforts to purge gays from positions of power in the Republican Party. Apparently, Uganda’s famously draconian anti-gay bill is a good anti-bullying measure, too.
Like many anti-gay activists McClusky succeeded in tying himself into some interesting rhetorical knots after Obama invoked the Golden Rule to endorse marriage equality (Patrick Wooden, for instance, complained that Obama was “quoting Scripture to debunk Scripture”). McClusky explained that using the Golden Rule is a reason to support the freedom to marry for gays and lesbians, is just like using the Golden Rule to condone suicide (you shouldn’t support the right of same-sex couples to wed just as you shouldn’t help a depressed neighbor commit suicide, claimed McClusky). That parallel doesn’t really work, Tom.
McClusky’s activities aren’t limited to anti-gay efforts, however. He is also a champion of defunding Planned Parenthood, has been involved in efforts to stop the creation of a National Women’s History Museum, and is a vocal opponent of the Violence Against Women Act.
Diagnosis: Stop bullying McClusky by disagreeing with him, supporting decency and criticizing violence against women, will you? McClusky is an evil person, and accordingly a victim of people who criticizes him for trying to act out his evil way.

No responses yet

Leave a Reply