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TBR News January 12, 2020

Jan 11 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. January 12, 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.
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
Commentary for January 12: “There are, in absolute fact, 96 million Americans age 16 and older who are not in the labor force. Of this, just 5.4 million, are seeking employment while the balance are either retired, chronically ill, physically disabled, running a household or currently in the educational system . The difference between those looking for employment and those not is important to note. But there are still 96 million Americans without a job–they are all unemployed.
And on another subject, I have had the unpleasant experience of encountering a horde of evengelicals who swarm in the White House like maggots on a dead cow.
I personally find these deranged twits extrodinarily obnoxious and take some (private) pleasure in the knowledge that the New Testament is a huge joke, written as it was 200 years after the events it purports to portray and by people who were following the orders of their superiors.
And if one reads the dimly perceived, purported, preachings of Jesus (‘Christ’ means ‘Messiah’ in Greek. It is not a family name) one can very, very clearly see that these are the Essene dogmas.
Very clearly see.
The Essenes were a period Jewish agricultural cult, communistic in nature and completely homosexual in performance.
Ergo, if Jesus were an Essene, Jesus was gay.
How absolutely entertaining to note that the obviously deranged evangelicals who loathe all homosexuals and want to burn them at the stake, have as their spiritual leader, another homosexual! ”
And here is an entertaining bit of input someone sent me. The sender neglected to identify the creator but perhaps I will be forgiven.
‘Dear Dr. Dobson:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to follow them:
a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They say the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15: 19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?
g) Leviticus 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die?
i) I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev.24:10-16) Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.
Your devoted disciple and adoring fan ….’”

The Table of Contents
• Merkel in Moscow: As Trump pushes his weight around, Russia-Germany relations defrost
• Interesting Background
• The imperfect vessel: why white evangelicals see Trump as King Cyrus
• One Word
• What do Pentecostals believe about the “End Days?”
• Judge denies Trump request to dismiss lawsuit from rape accuser E Jean Carroll
• How to dump Trump: Rick Wilson on Running Against the Devil
• The Encyclopedia of American Loons
• The Season of Evil

Merkel in Moscow: As Trump pushes his weight around, Russia-Germany relations defrost
January 11, 2020
by Bryan MacDonald
DW
Angela Merkel’s visit to Moscow is far from a courtesy call. Germany and Russia’s political relations are thawing. It’s good news for all Europeans.
As Iran and the United States seemingly limbered up for war, Russia and Germany, as the continent’s two most powerful countries, have a special responsibility to protect it from any fallout.
Merkel’s decision to travel to the Russian capital may be conceived as a signal to Washington that:
a) Berlin remains capable of mounting an independent foreign policy, if pushed,
b) the Germans won’t be cowed by sanctions the US has placed on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which further connects their country directly to Russia’s gas supply network, and
c) Merkel wants the US leadership to know she agrees with Moscow about Donald Trump’s order to murder Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. Russia has labeled it “reckless” and the Germans have questioned the legality of the killing.
Especially given that she was already due to visit Moscow in May, for the 75th anniversary of Soviet Russia’s victory over the Nazis.
Washington’s move to sanction the pipeline amounted to straight-up racketeering, right out of the mafia playbook. It’s trying to force Germany, a supposed ally, to buy liquefied gas from US companies, which is more expensive than the product it gets from long-time supplier Russia.
Peas in a pod
Germany and Russia need each other. They are Europe’s most powerful economies, measured by purchasing power parity. And together, they are home to around a third of its population. Moscow relies on revenue from its exports to the German market and Berlin would be in serious bother without access to Russian resources.
Geopolitically, they also complement each other, in many ways. From all points west of the Poland-Belarus border, Berlin is the most influential player. But east of that, and south of the Black Sea, Moscow is in the driving seat. The Germans will be eager to see how Moscow’s influence in the Middle East can be leveraged – a region where they have little, or no, clout.
On Saturday, there is much to discuss, with Libya, Syria, Iran and Ukraine top of the agenda. Just this week, Iran and the US clashed in Iraq and Tehran gave up on an international nuclear deal, which both Berlin and Moscow have championed, although Donald Trump had already rendered it essentially useless last year. Meanwhile, Turkey, which both Merkel and Putin view as an important player, sent soldiers to Libya.
Long goodbye
Ukraine itself is another important issue for the two leaders, given that it has driven a wedge between Germany and Russia for well over half a decade now. Put plainly, Moscow believes that the EU over-reached by attempting to bring Kiev into its sphere of influence in 2013, although it accepts the heavy lifting was done by pro-US/NATO elements in Brussels, and is aware Berlin was never super keen on EU membership for the Ukrainians.
The Germans think Russia was overly aggressive in its response to the 2014 ‘Euromaidan.’ Berlin rejects Moscow’s re-absorption of Crimea, believing it to be a dangerous ‘precedent’ in redrawing European borders (which, of course, ignores Germany’s own role in the collapse of Yugoslavia). And it also holds Russia responsible for fueling the Donbass conflict, through its support for the self-declared republics.
When it comes to Libya, Putin and Merkel are basically on the same page – they both want an end to the fighting.
They’ve never been especially personally friendly, but Putin will miss Merkel when she finally steps down. The German chancellor is the last remaining Western leader who featured in both his stretches as Russian president.
This year will be pivotal in terms of what sort of Germany-Russia relationship she leaves behind. The countdown begins on Saturday.

Interesting Background
January 11. 2020
by Christian Jürs
During his trip to Moscow on November 9-11, 2013 for the Miss Universe pageant, Mr. Trump surrounded himself with business people and those necessary to sign a deal which would bring a Trump Tower project to Moscow. These were: Aras Agalarov, Emin Agalarov, Yulya (Yulia) Alferova,Herman Gref, Artem Klyushin, Vladimir Kozhin, Chuck LaBella, Rotem Rosen, Phil Ruffin, Alex Sapir, Keith Schiller, Roustam Tariko and Bob Van Ronkel.
At first, President Putin, who had planned on meeting Mr. Trump at the pageant, sent numerous individuals tied to the Russian construction sector to the event to discuss potential lucrative building plans and to ascertain Mr. Trump’s attitudes.
President Putin to establish a distance, stated he was unable to attend the pagent because of a last-minute visit from the King of the Netherlands.
Previous to this meeting, there had been no positive positions on the possibility that Mr. Trump, with Russian assistance and financing, might construct a luxury hotel in Moscow. Trump made several tweets thanking individuals in Moscow and bragging about his future plans. Then on November 12th, 2013 Trump posted a link to the Moscow Times, remarking that his organization was working on building a luxury hotel in Moscow “@AgalarovAras I had a great weekend with you and your family. You have done a FANTASTIC job. TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next. EMIN was WOW!”
This hotel deal was finalized during Trump’s weekend stay in Moscow for his Miss Universe pageant.
At the Four Seasons Hotel at Ulitsa Okhotnyy Ryad, 2, a private meeting was held between Mr. Trump and President Putin.
As the President is fluent in English, no other person was present.
President Putin praised the business abilities of Mr. Trump and said that he would be a “refreshing person” as President of the United States. President Putin said that his people would be pleased to support Mr. Trump and that if this support was deemed material in achieving a victory, President Putin had one request to make of Mr. Trump.
President Putin said his best wish was to establish “friendly and cooperative attitudes” by both parties, firmer business contacts and an abandonment of the policy of threats to the Russian Republic. President Putin stressed that certain very right-wing groups in America had been constantly agitating against him and against the Russian Republic and he hoped that Mr. Trump, if elected, could ignore these few people and work with, not against the Russian Republic.
Mr. Trump repeatedly assured the President that he would be most eager to do just that and he agreed to work with various people in the United States who were friendly towards, and had connections with, the Russian Republic.
This most important conversation was recorded as a form of kompromat. And it is certain that a direct quid pro quo took place in November of 2013 between President Putin and Mr. Trump.
On June 16, 2015, Mr. Trump announced his candidacy for President

The imperfect vessel: why white evangelicals see Trump as King Cyrus
The president is about as far from a model of Christian piety as it is possible to imagine but religious supporters have reached for a biblical parallel to justify their backing
January 11, 2020
by Adam Gabbatt
The Guardian
Before the end of 2016 there was little in Donald Trump’s life, or frequently offensive political campaign, to suggest that as president he would be hailed as God’s appointee on Earth, be beloved by born-again Christians, or compared to a biblical king.
Yet that is exactly what has happened in the three years since Trump took office, as he has surrounded himself with a God-fearing cabinet and struck up an unlikely but extremely beneficial relationship with white evangelical supporters.
t’s a relationship that, for Trump, has ensured unwavering support from a key voter base and for his religious supporters, seen a conservative takeover of the courts and an assault on reproductive and LGBTQ rights.
It’s also a relationship that is raising concerns about what another four years of Trump governance could achieve when it comes to fulfilling the policy ambitions of his evangelical backers.
“It’s incredibly troubling,” said Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United, a non-partisan organization dedicated to the separation of church and state.
“Trump is conferring unparalleled privilege on one narrow slice of religion,” Laser said. “He confers privilege in exchange for constant loyalty at the ballot box, no matter what he does.”
The unlikely alliance between those nominally following biblical interpretations of right and wrong, and a thrice-married man who has been credibly accused of sexual assault and infamously paid off a pornographic actor, has thrown up a rich – and bizarre – cast of characters.
A sustained effort by influential Christian voices to justify Trump’s personal misdeeds and political cruelty has led to the frequent portrayal of Trump as a flawed vessel for God’s will. In particular, Trump has been compared to King Cyrus, who, according to the Bible, liberated the Jews from Babylonian captivity, despite himself being a Persian ruler.
One of the first to make the Trump-Cyrus connection is Lance Wallnau. Wallnau, a business consultant who styles himself as a doctor – his LinkedIn page credits Phoenix University of Theology as his alma mater, but the university had its 501c3 status revoked by the Internal Revenue Service in 2017 and its campus appears to be a PO Box in Arizona – claims the “the Lord spoke” to him during the election period.
According to Wallnau God said, specifically: “Donald Trump is a wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness.”
Wallnau is not alone on this. Mike Evans, an evangelical leader who was invited to speak in front of Trump at a White House faith dinner, is also onboard with the Cyrus analogy. He explained the idea to the Christian Broadcasting Network in 2017.
“[Cyrus] was used as an instrument of God for deliverance in the Bible, and God has used this imperfect vessel, this flawed human being like you or I, this imperfect vessel, and he’s using him in an incredible, amazing way to fulfill his plans and purposes,” Evans said.
At a campaign rally in Florida last week to launch a push for evangelical support Trump was introduced on stage by the Miami mega-church pastor Guillermo Maldonado as Cyrus. “Father, we give you the praise and honor and we ask you that he can be the Cyrus to bring reaffirmation, to bring change into this nation, and all the nations of the Earth will say America is the greatest nation of the Earth,” Maldonado said.
Rank-and-file evangelicals have also embraced the imperfect vessel concept, and Wallnau is now selling Trump-Cyrus “prayer coins” – the king is in the background, a brooding profile of Trump is in the foreground – for $45 a coin.
“If you’re a faith community and you make a political deal with the president, and sell your soul, you stretch to come up with a theological justification, and this seems to be the go-to, this idea,” Laser said.
The concept has since gone international, with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, making the comparison in March 2018.
Cheered on by these, and other, prominent figures – the televangelist Paula White, who claims Trump has been “raised up by God” and was appointed to lead Trump’s Faith and Opportunity Initiative in November is among them – white evangelical Christians have continued to support Trump.
In return, they have been rewarded with attacks on reproductive rights and the freedoms of LGBTQ people, and the appointment of scores of conservative judges.
They have also watched people with the same evangelical beliefs appointed to key government positions, as Trump has stacked his cabinet with devout Christians, some of whom have been explicit about how their faith influences their approach to government.
“Many of Trump’s political appointees have, as their primary qualification, the fact that they are committed to a very distinct, conservative religious agenda,” said Katherine Stewart, author of an upcoming book The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism.
“Absent the Trump administration, many of them would never have been seen near the halls of power, and so they owe everything to Trump and his people.”
Among them is Mike Pompeo, Trump’s secretary of state, who was criticized in October for promoting his own speech “Being a Christian Leader”, where he opined on how he asks God for direction in his work, on the state department website. In 2015 Pompeo also confirmed he believes in the Rapture, the concept of an end of days event – usually some sort of catastrophe – whereby Jesus Christ will return to Earth and escort qualified believers into heaven.
Other committed evangelicals include Vice-President Mike Pence, who as governor of Indiana signed a law which allowed businesses to refuse service to LGBTQ people, citing religious freedom.
Some of the people Trump has appointed are already making a difference. Ben Carson, who has been in charge of housing and urban development since 2017. Under Carson’s leadership, Laser pointed out, Hud has proposed legislation which would allow federally funded homeless shelters to discriminate against transgender people, on religious grounds.
Meanwhile, the concept of Trump channelling God’s will has gained credence at the highest levels of the US government.
Rick Perry, another evangelical member of Trump’s cabinet who serves as energy secretary, echoed the theory of an imperfect biblical figure in November – albeit choosing different examples from Cyrus.
“God’s used imperfect people all through history. King David wasn’t perfect. Saul wasn’t perfect. Solomon wasn’t perfect,” Perry told Fox News in November, during an interview which was nominally about the impeachment hearing. Perry added that God had chosen Trump for the presidency.
There are signs that the alliance will continue to remain strong. In March 2019 Pew Research found that “white evangelical Protestants” continued to overwhelmingly support Trump, where most other religious groups were as divided as the American people as a whole.
It is that support that Trump, the imperfect vessel, will be counting on in November 2020.

One Word
by Benjamin Dova DD
Christian Journals /January 2020 edition
In the great push by the American President and his eager Administration to launch a brutal military attack on Iran, the reasons speculated for this almost hysterical hawkish behavior are varied and uncertain.
Some attribute this unilateral example of naked military aggression to a desire for control of mid-east oil both in the vast oil fields of Iraq and Iran. This is certainly a believable goal for the President’s controlling Neo-Con/Evangelical Christian Brain Trust.
Others firmly believe that blind support for the state of Israel is the primary motive for the pending invasion and certain massive loss of life.
It is reasoned that because Israel is afraid of Iran’s potential to attack them with rockets, American support is vital to protect Israeli lives and property.
It does not matter, of course, how many Americans might die in this process or what kind of domestic terror might be unleashed against the continental United States as long as Israel is made safe.
All of these postulations contain a great deal of logic and, no doubt, truth, but the real reason for the Trump savagery is based upon one word and one word only.
That word is not ‘oil’ or ‘Israel’ but ‘Parousia’.
Parousia refers to the Second Coming of Christ as understood by the Christian Pentecostal sect to which President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo and very influential numbers of his personal suite belong.
This second coming assumes a first coming (here, the facts are not in evidence) but the fixation on bringing about the latter appearance is intense and determined.
It is the belief of Pentecostals that when certain conditions are met, Jesus Christ will return to earth, take his elect (the Pentecostals) physically to Paradise in an event known as Rapture. Those not belonging to the Pentecostal elect will have to remain behind for Satan to deal with.
When Parousia happens, there will be a great battle fought at Armageddon between the forces of Jesus and the Devil and his antichrist, and Jesus, quite naturally, will be triumphant.
All of this, the Pentecostals assure their membership, can be found in the book of Revelation.
Unfortunately for this interesting thesis, the struggle between good and evil at Armageddon is not found in the book of Revelations. Revelations 16:16 only mentions the name of the long-forgotten town but there is nothing about an epic struggle mentioned anywhere else other than twisted interpretations in cult literature.
This strange book was allegedly written by St. John the Devine, a disciple of Jesus when, in fact is believed by most reputable Biblical scholars to have been written by a certain John of Patmos who lived many years after the period ascribed to Jesus’s ministry.
John of Patmos was a hermit/monk on the Greek island of Patmos and contemporary historical reference briefly dismisses him as a lunatic. Patmos island was, at the time, a Roman lunatic asylum to which the disruptive luntics of their society were banished. No one has been able to understand a word of what he wrote, and his confused and mystic writings easily lends themselves to all manner of interpretations by various dimwitted and obsessed religious fanatics.
When Martin Luther prepared the Protestant Bible, he discarded Revelations, and other books then found in the Bible, as being ‘unworthy and filled with nonsense.’
The Second Coming has as one of its primary requirements that a Jewish nation must be reestablished in Palestine (which it was in 1948) and, even more important, that the great Jewish temple of Solomon must be rebuilt before Christ can return to earth and elevate his elect.
The first temple of Solomon was destroyed by the Babylonians and the more elegant second construction, by the Romans when they crushed the Jewish revolt in the first century.
Unfortunately for the Pentecostals, the former site of this temple is now occupied by the much-revered Muslim Dome of the Rock mosque.
The Jewish temple cannot be rebuilt, therefore, as long as the Muslim mosque occupies its space and therefore, it would be necessary to destroy this very holy building and replace it with a new edifice of another religion.
However, if this lunatic act were consummated, there would be an immediate and terrible rising in the Muslim world and a savage religious war would burst forth on an already-ravaged Middle East.
The Pentecostals are, by their very nature, uncaring and fierce fanatics and such a war would, to them, be a fulfillment of the spurious prophecy of the manic Revelation’s non-existent Battle of Armageddon.
Already we can hear comments from prominent Pentecostals that the Muslims are the forces of the anti-Christ and must therefore be engaged by the forces of Jesus in a final hecatomb of blood and destruction. This pending bloodbath means nothing to Pentecostals because, according to their beliefs, they will be safe in Paradise and those left behind are of no consequence
These God-intoxicated fanatics have managed to capture the White House and place their people in high official positions within the Trump Administration.
In the face of all reason and logic, they are pushing a suicidal, hidden agenda that will have terrible consequences for everyone concerned.
In light of this, perhaps it is now far easier to understand what really stands behind the Administration’s apparent fierce determination to invade countries of the Middle East while studiously ignoring a very real danger from North Korea’s declared intentions of building nuclear weapons.
After all, North Korea is not mentioned in Pentecostal dogma and there would be no Parousia because of a terrible nuclear war launched by that country.
In spite of the large amount of learned dissertations on the underlying motives for the Trump Administration’s war hysteria, one should note that the simplest answer to a complex problem is always the correct one.
Trump and his religious fanatics have committed the supreme error of making their personal religious beliefs a matter of state policy, horrifying as it may seem, and instead of elevating their numbers to a mythic paradise, they will most certainly create a wilderness of death and destruction for no sane justifying reason.
Jesus is quoted as saying that he did not come to “bring Peace but a Sword,” and this seems to be the real motivation of his more deranged followers.

What do Pentecostals believe about the “End Days?”
January 11, 2020
by Michael Hunt DD
The Antichrist is described by Pentecostals as the “son of perdition” and the “beast”!
They claim that this interesting creature will have great charisma & speaking ability, “a mouth speaking great things”.
The Antichrist, they allege, will rise to power on a wave of world euphoria, as he temporarily saves the world from its desperate economic, military and political problems with a brilliant seven year plan for world peace, economic stability and religious freedom.
The Antichrist could well rise out of the current chaos in the former Soviet Union. The prophet Ezekiel names him as the ruler of “Magog”, a name that Biblical scholars agree denotes a country or region of peoples to the north of Israel. Many have interpreted this to mean modern day Russia. It could also be Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, perhaps one of the Baltic States or even the lewd and dissolute Socialist Sweden.
His power base will include the leading nations of Europe, whose leaders, the Bible says, will “give their power and strength unto the beast.”
The Bible even gives some clues about his personal characteristics. The prophet Daniel wrote that the Antichrist “does not regard the desire of women.” This could imply that he is either celibate or a homosexual. Daniel also tells us that he will have a “fierce countenance” or stern look, and will be “more stout than his fellows”–more proud and boastful.
Unfortunately, the so-called Book of Daniel was written during the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero, not many decades earlier as its proponents claim, and has been extensively modified by early Christian writers to predict the arrival of their personal Messiah, or Christ, on the Judean scene. The so-called “wonderful” prophetic statements put into the mouth of Daniel are absolutely and wondrously accurate…up to the reign of Nero and then fall as flat as a shaken soufflé afterwards
It is well known that Pentecostals loathe homosexuals, among many other groups not pleasing to them, and would like nothing better than to shove them into a bottomless pit filled with Catholics, rock and roll fans, teenaged mothers, Communists, gun control advocates, Tarot card readers, Christian Scientists, abortionists, Wayne Newton fans, Asians, African-Americans and Latino Surnamed Hispanics.
The 7-year peace-pact (or covenant) that is engineered by the Antichrist is spoken of a number of times in the Bible, and may even have already been signed in secret. The historic peace agreement signed between Israel and the PLO at the White House on September 13, 1993, vividly illustrates how dramatically events in the Middle East are presently moving in this direction.
Under the final terms of the Covenant, Jerusalem will likely be declared an international city to which Judaism, Islam and Christianity will have equal rights. Scripture indicates that the Jews will be permitted to rebuild their Temple on Mt. Moriah, where they revive their ancient rituals of animal sacrifice.
According to prophecy the Antichrist will not only be a master of political intrigue, but also a military genius. Daniel describes several major wars that he fights during his 7-year reign, apparently against the U.S. and Israel, who will oppose him during the second half of his reign.
For awhile, most of the world is going to think the Antichrist is wonderful, as he will seem to have solved so many of the world’s problems. But, three-and-a-half years into his seven year reign he will break the covenant and invade Israel from the North.
At this time he will make Jerusalem his world capitol and outlaw all religions, except the worship of himself and his image. The Bible says that the Antichrist will sit in the Jewish Temple exalting himself as God and demanding to be worshipped.
It is at this time that the Antichrist imposes his infamous “666” one-world credit system
It must be said that the Antichrist does, in point of fact exist. He can be seen on a daily basis on the walls of the Cathedral at Orvieto, Italy in the marvelous frescos of Lucca Signorelli. He looks somewhat like a Byzantine depiction of Christ with either a vicious wife or bad indigestion.
Pentecostals strongly believe that U.S. public schools “departed from the faith” when in 1963 the Bible and prayer were officially banned. Now, Pentecostals believe with horror, thousands of these same schools are teaching credited courses in “the doctrines of devils”–the occult and Satanism.
Even a cursory check of curriculum of a number of American public school districts does not support this claim but then the Pentecostals have stated repeatedly that they represent 45% of all Protestants in America. The actual number, excluding the Baptists, is more like 4%.
What they lack in actual numbers they more than compensate for by their loud and irrational views so that at times it sounds like the roar of a great multitude when in truth, it is only a small dwarf with a bullhorn, trumpeting, naked, in the underbrush.
Frantic Pentecostals estimated that according to their private Census for Christ there are over 200,000 practicing witches (!) in the United States and allege there are literally millions of Americans who dabble in some form of the occult, psychic phenomena, spiritualism, demonology and black magic. Their statistics claim that occult book sales have doubled in the last four years.
What is seen by terrified Pentecostals as The Occult today is no longer the stuff of small underground cults. They believe that many rock videos are an open worship of Satan and hell that comes complete with the symbols, liturgies, and rituals of Satanism, and the Pentecostals firmly and loudly proclaim to anyone interested in listening, that “millions of young people” have been caught in their evil sway.
Popular music is termed “sounds of horror and torment” that Pentecostals firmly believe is literally “driving young people insane and seducing them into a life of drugs, suicide, perversion and hell.” It is forgotten now but the same thing was once said about ragtime and later, jazz. If this had been true, perhaps the real reason behind the First World War, the 1929 market crash, the rise of Franklin Roosevelt and the lewd hula hoop can be attributed to Scott Joplin and Ella Fitzgerald.
It is also to be noted that the immensely popular Harry Potter series of children’s books are loudly proclaimed as ‘Satanic books’ designed to lure unsuspecting children into the clutches of the Evil One. Any sane person who has read these delightful fantasy books will certainly not agree with these hysterical strictures. In point of fact, it would be exceedingly difficult to locate any person possessing even a modicum of sanity who would believe any of the weird fulminations of the Pentecostals.
Outraged Pentecostals now firmly state that in the beginning years of the Twenty First Century, “even the most shameless acts of blasphemy and desecration are socially acceptable.”
“Acts of blasphemy and desecration” sound like human sacrifices carried out at bus stops during the noontime rush hour or lewd acts with crucifixes performed by drug-maddened transvestites on commercial airlines.
In his weird Book of Revelation, the lunatic John of Patmos claimed he foresaw that in the last days the world would turn away from God in order to worship and follow Satan.
Such a prophecy would have seemed unbelievable to previous generations, but not so in our day. Hard-core Satanism has been called “the fastest-growing subculture among America’s teens”, and the revival of witchcraft and the occult is one of the “World’s fastest growing religions!”
Comment: From Wikipedia we learn;
“Ted Arthur Haggard (born June 27, 1956) is an American evangelical pastor. Haggard is the founder and former pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado and is a founder of the Association of Life-Giving Churches. He served as President of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) from 2003 until November 2006.
Haggard made national headlines in November 2006 when male prostitute and masseur Mike Jones alleged that Haggard, who had advocated against the legalization of same-sex marriage, had paid him for sex for three years and had also purchased and used crystal methamphetamine. After initially denying the allegations, Haggard claimed to have purchased methamphetamine and thrown it away without using it. Haggard resigned his post at New Life Church and his other leadership roles shortly after the allegations became public. Later, Haggard admitted to having used drugs, participated in some sexual activity with Jones, and engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a young man who attended New Life Church.
In 2010, Haggard and his wife, Gayle, founded St. James Church in Colorado Springs; as of September 2018, Haggard continues to serve as founding pastor at St. James Church.”
Nice to know that. When attending his church, be careful not to wear tight pants and most especially, do not stuff an ear of corn in the crotch.

Judge denies Trump request to dismiss lawsuit from rape accuser E Jean Carroll
Judge said argument by Trump lawyer that New York court shouldn’t handle the case wasn’t properly backed up
January 10, 2020
AP
Donald Trump has lost a bid to block an advice columnist’s lawsuit over his remarks that she lied in accusing him of rape.
In a decision this week, a Manhattan judge declined to order a hearing on the president’s request to dismiss E Jean Carroll’s defamation suit and to put evidence-gathering on hold in the meantime.
A lawyer for Trump, Lawrence Rosen, had argued the New York court shouldn’t handle the case, saying that the president’s statements weren’t made in the state and that Trump currently lives in Washington, not New York, his longtime home.
Judge Doris Ling-Cohan said the argument wasn’t properly backed up.
“There is not even a tweet, much less an affidavit by defendant Trump in support,“ Ling-Cohan wrote in a decision provided to lawyers in the case Thursday. An affidavit is an out-of-court statement under oath.
A request for comment on the decision was sent to Rosen.
Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, said she was pleased with the ruling.
“We look forward to moving ahead in this case and proving that Donald Trump lied when he told the world that he did not rape our client and had not even met her,” Kaplan said in a statement.
Carroll alleges in the suit that Trump smeared her and harmed her career. Many readers of her longtime Elle magazine column stopped writing to her for advice, according to the suit. It seeks unspecified damages and a retraction of Trump’s statements.
Carroll accused Trump last summer of raping her in a Manhattan luxury department store dressing room in the mid-1990s.
In a New York magazine article and a subsequent book, Carroll said the two ran into each other, bantered and went to the lingerie department for Trump to pick out a gift for an unidentified woman. Then, she said, Trump grabbed her arm, maneuvered her into a fitting room and assaulted her.
Trump said in June that Carroll was “totally lying”, calling the accusation “fake news”. He said they had never met, though a 1987 photo shows them and their then spouses at a social event. Trump dismissed the picture, saying he was just “standing with my coat on in a line”.

How to dump Trump: Rick Wilson on Running Against the Devil
He was a Republican ad man but now he’s a bestselling author out to bring down a president. He says Democrats must listen
January 11, 2020
by Martin Pengelly
The Guardian
Democratic voters should read Rick Wilson’s new book, he says, and heed his advice about how to beat Donald Trump.
Why? “Unless your candidate is a generational superstar like Barack Obama or Bill Clinton” – and it’s not a push to say there is no such Democrat this year – “we know all the tricks to beating them and we’ve used them over and over again.”
By “we” he means the Republican party. Wilson is a top Republican strategist with 30 years’ experience. He has made myriad attack ads, notorious among them efforts in support of Rudy Giuliani in New York in 1998 and against Obama 10 years later.
But Wilson’s first book, a bestseller released in 2018, was called Everything Trump Touches Dies. The sequel, out next week, is Running Against the Devil. The GOP enjoyed success after success but it has fallen under the sway of Trump. Wilson wants no more.
“We control 38 state legislatures right now and there’s a reason for that: it’s because of guys like me,” he says, on the phone from Florida. “I helped to build some of the tools in the toolbox for how you go out and exploit the cultural divisions in the country, and the political divisions, to win for Republicans in blue and purple areas. On paper it looks hard but we worked hard and recognised that the way to win is sometimes to not tell people who you really are.”
Wilson’s new book is a guide to how he thinks Trump can be beaten. The chief way to do it, he says, is to make the election a referendum on the president. He thinks impeachment and the Iran crisis, which happened after he went to press, only help prove Trump isn’t fit for office.
He thinks Democrats are making a huge mistake in the campaign so far – by telling voters who they really are. The main candidates are veering too far left, he thinks, away from the disaffected Trump voters they will have to turn. Among progressives, the Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren is praised for her detailed policy plans. But to Wilson, Democratic “policy is the enemy”, whether it concerns Medicare for All, gun control or women’s right to choose.
Guys like me who still work on the Trump side of the fence can always turn it into something that is a millstone around their neck. It’s not even that hard. Elizabeth Warren produces a 600-page healthcare plan and my research geeks can’t find, I don’t know, 30 things in there that I can’t demagogue the hell out of? Because I can. Or the guys that are me now can.”
Away from the coasts and the college towns, Wilson contends, America is still a conservative place. Accordingly, Running Against the Devil contains a lot of what its author calls “tough love”, telling harsh truths and demanding Democrats put party purity aside. After all, the general election against Trump is going to be dirty as hell.
“Democrats tend to believe the country is completely homogenous politically,” Wilson says. “No matter how meritorious their position may be on gun control, for example, or not, it just kills them in rural areas. It just destroys them.
“No matter how much they want to talk about choice and reproductive rights, when you go into Catholic communities it is still a burden on them and they don’t have this ability to say, ‘Maybe rural Michigan isn’t the same thing as San Jose, California.’”
Prodding a sore, Wilson insists Trump’s defeat in the popular vote in 2016 – by nearly 3 million votes to Hillary Clinton – didn’t matter. Nor will it matter if Trump wins in the electoral college again. Them’s the rules, they ain’t changing soon and if a state doesn’t help paint the college blue, no Democrat should visit it for anything other than dollars.
“You’ve got to run where the game is played and fight where the fight is, which is these 15 electoral college swing states, and those states are not as woke and liberal as other parts of the country.”
He means places like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where Trump won, and Nevada and Colorado and his home state, Florida.
“This isn’t rocket science. How did we Republicans elect guys in Wisconsin and Vermont and other places in recent years? We did it because we weren’t running them as national Republican figures. We helped elect a Republican governor in Vermont, four times. And you’re thinking, ‘Wow, Vermont, super liberal, how did that happen?’ Well, our guy was out there saying the Bush administration was wrong on climate change.
“Try a Democrat in rural Pennsylvania, say, who comes out and says, ‘Yes, I want to seize all automatic weapons, I want to make third trimester abortions fully taxpayer funded. That may work, that may provoke hosannas in San Francisco or Los Angeles. But out there? Not as much. They’re like … ‘Wait, what?’”
Wilson is as blunt and funny as he is on the page or Twitter, relentlessly irreverent and breathtakingly brutal.
From Buchanan to Bernie
Take Bernie Sanders. Wilson doesn’t just say he thinks the democratic socialist from Vermont would be the opponent of Trump’s dreams, “the easiest person in the world to turn into the comic opera villain Republicans love to hate, the Castro sympathiser, the socialist, the Marxist, the guy who wants to put the aristos in the tumbril as they cart them off to the guillotine”.
He also hits Sanders for echoing Trump in harking back to an America that never was – “only with more unions” – and pillories him for his reaction to defeat in 2016. In Wilson’s view, Sanders damaged Clinton at the polls and then, after she “beat him fair and square, he took his ball and went home”, failing to support her in November. Wilson contrasts that starkly with Republican support for Trump.
The president has the “awesome” advantage of incumbency and money but also “a completely unified party apparatus. There’s no sniping in the background; there’s no Bernie out there after the nomination is done, like in the old days with George HW Bush and Pat Buchanan.”
It’s provocative to compare Sanders the socialist to the paleo-conservative proto-Trump who played spoiler in 92. But there’s always the happy distraction of listening to Wilson turn his guns on Trump.
Running Against the Devil is pugnacious and profane. Before a break so Wilson can take a call from a “tech billionaire” he’s sadly reluctant to name, he calls the president “a liar and a corrupt asshole and a scumbag”. He marvels at Trump’s graft, at the way a billionaire who claimed to be un-buyable turned out to be so cheap. He does seem to think Trump is the devil. But then, the devil gets the best lines and “plenty of smart, evil guys” are working on his re-election push.
Asked which Democrat is best suited for the fight, Wilson admits to being impressed by Warren’s willingness to work hard and how she champions the little guy. But he still goes for Joe Biden.
“I think it will be Biden because name ID is very powerful,” he says of the former senator and vice-president. “He is the one candidate who has shown the most ability to contrast with Trump in terms of a broader, bigger picture that isn’t just locked into what’s the hot flavor of Democratic messaging this year.
“He’s talking about that big American sense of unity and reconciliation and saying we’ve got to work with Republicans too.”
It’s true you don’t get much policy detail at a Biden rally, but you do see plenty of slightly hokey appeals to the better angels of America’s nature.
“There’s nothing in Joe Biden that scans as evil or dark or weird or out of touch,” Wilson says. “He can be a little goofy but that’s not bad, not the worst thing in the world right now.
“I think neither Warren nor Sanders and certainly not Pete Buttigieg have ever had a breakthrough with African American voters sufficient to eliminate Biden’s advantage. And also, Biden’s got the secret weapon.
“If Barack Obama is free to get out there and do the campaigning that only he can do in American political life, I think that would be a meaningful lift for the Democrats.”
‘You sometimes need hard men’
Wilson may not favor Obama ideologically but Obama beat his man twice and his respect for the 44th president is clear. Even more so, No 16.
Wilson is a co-founder of the Lincoln Project, a Super Pac named for the party’s greatest leader and meant to persuade loyalists away from a man many consider its worst. Steve Bannon, the Trump whisperer, has noted that if the project achieves even slight success in key electoral college states, it could prove fatal. Wilson, the proudly ruthless ad man, cheerfully admits turning the lethal amorality of his craft to a distinctly moral end.
“You sometimes need hard men and hard women to do tough things,” he says. In that sense, the name of his project is fitting. Lincoln saved the union and ended slavery with all the guile and will of the most ruthless, when necessary the most dirty politician.
“That’s where we’re at. We are people who unsentimentally love this country and who recognise that it is fabulously resilient and powerful as an idea and a nation but that it is also fragile, and can be taken away if we are not very careful.”
Given that, what would Wilson say to a Guardian reader who asked why she should listen to the guy who attacked Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor, or shamelessly but successfully linked Max Cleland, a popular senator who lost three limbs in Vietnam, to Osama bin Laden.
“You don’t have to like me. You don’t have to think I’m the guy you want to have over for a beer. But when it comes to being somebody who will tell you where to go, how to do it, even if you have to hold your nose to do it, I’ll tell you how to get there.”
He means it, his tone growing stern, the words rapped out.
“And this time I am putting my ideological priors and my preferences aside, because I think that Donald Trump is an existential threat to the Republic. I’ll do anything I can to help ensure that he is not president for another four years.”

Encyclopedia of American Loons
Cindy Schneider
Cindy Schneider is – apparently –medical advisor for the antivaccine group SafeMinds. Schneider is very much concerned with mercury in flu vaccines (that would be thimerosal and ehtylmercury, but SafeMinds has never been particularly concerned with details of chemistry), and was for instance the zombie-like narrator of a 2011 propaganda video targeting ob-gyns about the dangers of vaccines. Among the false and misleading claims in the video were the assertion that some vaccines contain up to 250x the levels of mercury identified by the EPA as HAZARDOUS WASTE. The EPA, of course, does not classify hazardous waste by levels at all, but consistency in its details has, of course, never mattered to groups like SafeMinds. Elsewhere, the video mostly lies and misrepresents the science (e.g. this one), for instance concerning the safety levels for, well, methylmercury, in fact – which is chemically very different from ethylmercury, but again: those would be details and facts, not anything SafeMinds’s target audience would or should be concerned with. They also provide a fine example of selection bias when they list a number of famously bad and discredited “studies” on the dangers of vaccines – these studies, on the other hand, would obviously not interest the target audience. Schneider is, of course, by her own assertion not antivaccine but pro-safe-vaccine.
Otherwise, Schneider is Medical Director of CARE, the Center for Autism Research and Education, and runs an integrative medical practice (forget the contradiction) offering treatments for “the immune, gastrointestinal, and metabolic aspects of autism and the identification of environmental toxins contributing to the autism epidemic”. Needless to say, no one with autism should be subjected to quackery based on such myths – including the myth of the “autism epidemic”. And apparently Schneider “takes a functional medical approach” to illness and conditions like autism; her center also offers e.g. hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and she claims that “any genetic weaknesses can be overcome with lifestyle changes and high quality nutritional supplements.” This is false, and as an MD, it is hard to believe that Schneider doesn’t know better. And yes, her website does indeed feature a prominent link to a store (Aperture International, a company that sells supplements, founded and run by … Schneider, of course).
Diagnosis: There is no way around it: Cindy Schneider is corrupt to the core. A ghastly excuse for a human. And for those in doubt, here is a decent piece of advice: Never ever take medical advice from a website with a store tab.

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 inaccurate.

Frienze, Italy
July 2018-August 2019

Chapter 55

Charles Rush was not a particularly intelligent man. His father’s intellect, drive and ruthless had passed over him as such things often do, and his nephew had more of Arthur Rush in him that he did. He was dimly aware of this but it was a subject that he did not care to explore. His precious son, fine physical specimen that he had been, had been ignored by his father in favor of his scrawny and sarcastic nephew, another painful memory that needed badly to be expunged.
His plans for the nature preserve, while certainly viable, contained within them the seeds of his own destruction but Charles was so busy scheming to destroy those who would much rather be left alone that he saw only the mote in the eye of others and not the beam in his own.
Tyler had no problem with the expedition because he would have the chance of meeting a sitting President and perhaps manage to impress him as he had his relative. By all accounts, the man was almost as mindless as Rush but nowhere near as rich. Perhaps an offer of a Cabinet post could come from all this stupid bird marsh business.
Tyler actually believed that he was a man of great physical attraction and brilliant personality. He was not quite ugly but his sunken eyes, and badly dyed hair coupled with his constant manic conversations gave him the general appearance of someone best left to himself at social gatherings.
When he was fifteen, he had poured a container of lighter fluid over a neighbor’s cat and set a match to it. The ensuring uproar resulted in Tyler spending the next two years in a special school that dealt severely with manic cat assassins and while he was there, he learned how to make truly impressive wastebaskets out of wicker and it was said that his finger-painting was epic. This was a part of his life that Tyler never discussed with anyone and his father was so delighted to have him out of the house that he maintained a discreet silence whenever he was permitted into the Rush presence.
The only reason he was ever invited to elite social functions in Chicago was his connection with Charles Rush. If this connection had not existed, Tyler would have found his social life restricted to his club and his home. His wife generally ignored him which was not difficult because Tyler was never home. He spent most of his time, when he was not sucking up to Rush, at his club, annoying everyone in the bar with his loud conversations about his importance in national politics, the upper levels of the business world and his excellence on the squash court.
As an athlete, Tyler was devoid of coordination and had a difficult time finding squash partners because he rarely bathed and smelt very much like decaying shellfish.
One of his few friends used to say, in defense of his persona, that Tyler would give you the shirt off his back but the usual rejoinder was that no one would have wanted it.
The drunker he got, and he drank a good deal and often, the louder he got and eventually passed out either at the bar or in the steam room of the club gym. It was the permanent duty of the club doorman to carry the snoring, drooling Tyler upstairs and deposit him on a bed in one of the club bedrooms.
The maintenance staff of the club loathed him because he generally vomited in quiet, dark places like closets, the telephone booth in the club lobby or down the dumbwaiter shafts and the day after one of his usual binges, maids made the rounds of the club looking for puddles of drying McKnight puke.
The only reason the club tolerated him was because Charles Rush had put him up for membership and paid his yearly dues.
His thoughts about a possible Cabinet post were sincere but misguided. As mindless as many of the current Cabinet members were, all of them were pillars of sanity and probity compared with Tyler McKnight..
He did not realize that the only reason that Charles Rush tolerated him, aside from his tale bearing and sycophancy, was for the same reason that a whore keeps a pimp in her entourage.
It gives her someone to look down on.

The Christmas Day dinner of Virginia ham and assorted side dishes, lasted for over an hour, much of it taken up with various discussions about the new storm, the eventual disposal of the frozen remains of LeBec, the excellence of the food and running throughout the entire dinner were a series of conversations about the killing of Messers Collins and Rush.
All across America and in many foreign countries, others were having their Christmas repasts but it is doubtful if their conversations consisted of anything more bloodthirsty than complaints about the type of presents received, the cost of the food, or complaints from elderly relatives that their portions were too small or too difficult to cut with the table cutlery.
And no one in the Viking palace had any worries about problems with false teeth or dignity pants.
Gwen had to be dissuaded from wearing her new sable to dinner and in compensation, everyone present told her how beautiful she looked in one of the dresses from Saks Fifth Avenue and how the new amber ring certainly complimented her eyes.
These pleasant remarks in no way modified her pleasantly ferocious views about the removal of Chuck’s dangerous enemies. Some of her ideas were considered to be exceptionally ferocious by Claude who himself was inclined to very creative, if very savage, forms of personal revenge.
Lars was the only member of the company who had no interest in assassinations and was more concerned with getting away from the table and listening to his new CDs.
It was not that he felt murder to be immoral but his music was much more important and immediate.
After the dinner was over and the table cleared, everyone went into the main hall where, after some minimal persuasion, Chuck regaled them with a number of Christmas carols.
Most of these were nineteenth century English, such as ‘Angels from the Realms of Glory’ and he carefully avoided more modern pieces about reindeers with inflamed noses or children viewing Santa Claus kissing their mothers.
The room was large, the acoustics excellent and Chuck always sang better with a few drinks in him. He had an excellent voice but he was not used to singing to an audience and the wine smoothed the way while not inhibiting the performance.
When he had finished with the traditional songs, he sang a number of arias from Haendel’s ‘Messiah’ and finally concluded with a hilarious rendition of ‘Green Christmas’, a pleasant satire on the profitable aspects of the Holy Season.
There was no discussion of family or previous Yuletide events. Claude’s mother was literally toast and his long-absent father a black hole in his memory, Lars’ father was one with the insects, thanks to a cheap coffin, and his mother ought to be, Chuck’s parents were both dead, his mother only recently, and Gwen’s were both in different California jails, eating their Christmas dinner from tin trays. As far as Gwen was concerned, they could remain where they were until the Second Coming, which in more practical concepts, meant forever.
Every day, she compared her present lifestyle with her earlier one, giving some truth to the old belief that comparisons were odious.
In the current storm, at least, the power had stayed on and the wind was far less ferocious. The heavy drapes on the windows facing to the north had been left open and the light from inside the rooms illuminated brief flurries of snow as it blew across the front of the house. There was a great sense of physical comfort shared by everyone and not too long after dinner, certainly no later than nine, everyone began to gravitate towards their rooms, reappraisal of their takings and eventual comfortable sleep.
Chuck was sitting up in his large bed, reading George Stewart’s classic chronicle of the sufferings of the Donner Party when there was a short knock on his door.
“Come.”
It was Claude with a sketchpad under one arm.
“Bothering you?”
“No, come in.”
The curtains were open and the snow columns whirled past the windows on their earthward journey in distant, soothing spirals. There was a fire on the hearth and the large master bedroom was warm and comfortable. Chuck pointed to an armchair next to the fireplace.
“Sit and be easy. What brings you up here? Antacid?”
“No, nothing like that. I don’t have stomach problems.”
“No, but you probably give them to people. Especially collectors of fine art. On that subject, I can’t thank you enough for the present. I never get presents, you see, and when it rains, it pours. That’s not a fair trade, a watch and some sweaters for a masterpiece.”
“I didn’t pay for it.”
“Well, I didn’t pay for the watch, either. You could sell the watch but I have the strange feeling that I ought not to sell the terra cotta.”
“No, I wouldn’t do that. I could always sell it but you couldn’t…not without serious problems.”
There was silence punctuated by shifting logs in the grate.
“What brings you up here, Claude? Not that I mind your company. Are you drawing things now?”
“You sing, I draw. No, I was working on a sketch of the yacht harbor in Chicago. This will show you Collins’ boat and the vicinity….”
He walked over to the bed and handed Chuck the open pad.
There was a very neat, precise rendering of a portion of the marina that showed a pier and a large cabin cruiser tied up to it. The drawing was exceptionally well done and Chuck leafed through the rest of the book. Claude reached out but Chuck pulled it away.
“Don’t be modest. This is first class work, lad. Did you ever…my God, that’s one of me! Do I look like that? You made me look like a….bird of prey.”
Chuck took the pad and closed it.
“You mustn’t poke around, Charlie. Yes, that’s you. I did it when you were playing the piano a few days ago. You didn’t even notice me.”
“Very nice. Can I have the picture?”
“Why not?” He tore it out of the pad and put it down on a table under the window.
“Thank you. Well, I sing, you draw. And no comparisons. Do you want to go over the boat business now?”
“Certainly. What better day to discuss murder than Christmas?”
“What about Easter? That’s the day that the Celestial Easter Bunny leaves his tomb and the sleeping guards and, basket of eggs in hand, ascends with shining nimbus to heaven, there to act as divine telephone operator, passing on requests for bicycles, larger breasts, longer dicks and lots of undeserved money to the CEO.”
At this, Claude began to laugh so hard he started to choke.
“Oh, you certainly must be Catholic, Chuck,” he said when he got his breath back.
“No, Episcopalian. Catholic without the guilt.”
“If it feels good, it must be bad.”
“Screwing is bad but child birth, toothaches, terminal cancer and being burned at the stake must be good because all of them feel bad. Did you know, my friend, that I have discovered something really important? Something that will revolutionize the way we look at our religion?”
“Oh crap, no more jokes?”
“You have chapped lips? You fear the fires of hell?”
“No, I ate too much and I don’t want to throw up.”
“Fine. This is serious business, Claude, not funny. OK?”
“OK. Go on.”
“As a Catholic, you will understand the gravity of what I am going to say. And note that I would only bring this up on Christmas or Easter. If the Virgin Mary is the mother of God and God is father of us all, Mary must be the mother of her own father. What do you think of that bit of profundity?”
Claude started to laugh again. He had been force-fed so much dogma as a child that he loathed it in any form.
“I wish Father Benedict were here to pick up on that.”
“Who dat?”
“A priest at the orphanage. He used to feel me up when I was an altar boy.”
“That’s pretty awful, Claude.”
“Actually, it wasn’t all that bad. It felt good and I got an extra sandwich and ice cream on Sunday. It didn’t improve my opinion of the ministry but it sure beat scrubbing the dormitory floors on Sunday afternoon.”
“How far did you go in school?”
“I left when I was thirteen. Never went back but did audit several courses at Harvard in art history and a follow-up at Northwestern. I’m just a poor, molested orphan who don’t got no education, Chuck. Not a society gentleman like yourself who probably has three degrees in Mayan philosophy and a minor in theology. I hate to say this because this is Christmas and you’ll get mad. Maybe I shouldn’t go on…”
“I left school when I was eighteen, I have no degrees and please go on.”
“No offense?”
“No offense in front.”
Claude grinned.
“Father Benedict would really have liked you. You have great legs and a first class ass.”
“You son of a bitch!”
And he threw his paperback book at Claude who caught it in mid-air and looked at the title page.
“Any pussy stories in here? I told you you’d be mad. Merry Christmas to you, too.”
Chuck shook his head.
“Am I the only person of pure thought and deed here? You disappoint me, Claude. Here I thought you were a really interesting person of some character and come to find out you’re just as bad as my other friends. We all ought to get naked, rub each other with baby oil and screw each other raw. Does that appeal to you? Or did the good Father have a more refined approach?”
“Oh he did everything the hard way, believe me.”
“I don’t want to. Sex the hard way? I’ll bite.”
“Jesus, don’t do that. Yes, the hard way. Would you believe standing up on a water bed?”
And Chuck laughed so hard he began to cry.
“Claude, keep in mind that this is Christmas. First, you want to discuss blowing up a police official. Then you shift over to the more enlightened area of sexual perversion and glory in your own delinquencies.”
“And you mock the very fundament of my religious beliefs.”
“Fundament. There you go again, discussing what you sit on. Let’s return to the more interesting subject of murder, shall we?”
(Continued)
This is also an e-book, available from Amazon:

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