TBR News January 6, 2019

Jan 07 2019

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. January 7 2019:” Prior to the event of printed, and later television, media, it was not difficult for the world’s power elites and the governments they controlled, to see that unwelcome and potentially dangerous information never reached the masses of people under their control. Most of the general public in more distant times were completely illiterate and received their news from their local priest or from occasional gossip from travellers. The admixture of kings, princes and clergy had an iron control over what their subject could, or could not hear. During the Middle Ages and even into the more liberal Renaissance, universities were viewed with suspicion and those who taught, or otherwise expressed, concepts that were anathama to the concept of feudalism were either killed outright in public or permanently banished. Too-liberal priests were silenced by similar methods. If Papal orders for silence were not followed, priests could, and were, put to the torch as an example for others to note.

However, with the advent of the printing press and a growing literacy in the piopulation, the question of informational control was less certain and with the growing movements in Europe and the American colonies for less restriction and more public expression, the power elites found it necessary to find the means to prevent unpleasant information from being proclaimed throughout their lands and unto all the inhabitants thereof.

The power elites realized that if they could not entirely prevent inconvenient and often dangerous facts to emerge and threaten their authority, their best course was not censorship but to find and develop the means to control the presentation and publication of that they wished to keep entirely secret.

The first method was to block or prevent the release of dangerous material by claiming that such material was a matter of important state security and as such, strictly controlled. This, they said, was not only for their own protection but also the somewhat vague but frightening concept of the security of their people.

The second method was, and has been, to put forth disinformation that so distorts and confuses actual facts as to befuddle a public they see as easily controlled, naïve and gullible.

The mainstream American media which theoretically was a balance against governmental corruption and abuses of power, quickly became little more than a mouthpiece for the same government they were supposed to report on. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, most American newspapers were little better than Rupert Mudoch’s modern tabloids, full of sound and fury, and signifying nothing but during the First World War, President Wilson used the American entry into the First World War as an excuse for setting up controls over the American public. Aside from setting up government control over food distribution, the railroads, much industry involved in war production, he also established a powerful propganda machine coupled with a national informant system that guaranteed his personal control. In 1918, citing national security, Wilson arrested and imprisoned critical news reporters and threatened to shut down their papers.

Wilson was a wartime president and set clear precidents that resonated very loudely with those who read history and understood its realities.

During the Second World War, Franklin Roosevelt, another wartime leader, was not as arrogant or highhanded as Wilson (whose empire fell apart after the end of the war that supported it) but he set up informational controls that exist to the present time. And after Roosevelt, and the war, passed into history, the government in the United States created a so-called cold war with Soviet Russia, instead of Hitler’s Germany, as the chief enemy. Control of the American media then fell into the hands of the newly-formed Central Intelligence Agency who eventually possessed an enormous, all-encompassing machine that clamped down firmly on the national print, and later television media, with an iron hand in a velvet glove. Media outlets that proved to be cooperative with CIA propaganda officials were rewarded for their loyalty and cooperation with valuable, and safe, news and the implication was that enemies of the state would either be subject to scorn and derision and that supporters of the state and its policies would receive praise and adulation.

The methodology of a controlled media has a number of aspects which, once clearly understood, renders its techniques and goals far less effective.

Mainstream media sources (especially newspapers) are notorious for reporting flagrantly dishonest and unsupported news stories on the front page, then quietly retracting those stories on the very back page when they are caught. In this case, the point is to railroad the lie into the collective consciousness. Once the lie is finally exposed, it is already too late, and a large portion of the population will not notice or care when the truth comes out.”


The Table of Contents

  • 815 false claims: The staggering scale of Donald Trump’s pre-midterm dishonesty No 8
  • Fact Check: Did the U.S. catch 4,000 terrorists at the southern border in 2018?
  • Trump aides may be in legal jeopardy as Democrats give evidence to Mueller
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • White House has secret 5-story-deep doomsday bunker: Book
  • Trump threatens national emergency in ‘next few days’ over wall and shutdown
  • France’s Macron reeling as tough stance against ‘yellow vests’ backfires
  • France: ‘Yellow vest’ protesters storm ministry in Paris



815 false claims: The staggering scale of Donald Trump’s pre-midterm dishonesty No 8

November 15, 2018

by Daniel Dale Washington Bureau Chief

Toronto Star

WASHINGTON—It took Donald Trump until the 286th day of his presidency to make 815 false claims.

He just made another 815 false claims in a month.

In the 31 days leading up to the midterm elections on Nov. 6, Trump went on a lying spree like we have never seen before even from him — an outrageous barrage of serial dishonesty in which he obliterated all of his old records.

How bad have these recent weeks been?

  • Trump made 664 false claims in October. That was double his previous record for a calendar month, 320 in August.
  • Trump averaged 26.3 false claims per day in the month leading up to the midterm on Nov. 6. In 2017, he averaged 2.9 per day.
  • Trump made more false claims in the two months leading up to the midterms (1,176), than he did in all of 2017 (1,011).
  • The three most dishonest single days of Trump’s presidency were the three days leading up to the midterms: 74 on election eve, Nov. 5; 58 on Nov. 3; 54 on Nov. 4.

As always, Trump was being more frequently dishonest in part because he was simply speaking more. He had three campaign rallies on Nov. 5, the day before he set the record, and eight more rallies over the previous five days.

But it was not only quantity. Trump packed his rally speeches with big new lies, repeatedly reciting wildly inaccurate claims about migrants, Democrats’ views on immigration and health care, and his own record. Unlike many of his lies, lots of these ones were written into the text of his speeches.

Trump is now up to 3,749 false claims for the first 661 days of his presidency, an average of 4.4 per day.

If Trump is a serial liar, why call this a list of “false claims,” not lies? You can read our detailed explanation here. The short answer is that we can’t be sure that each and every one was intentional. In some cases, he may have been confused or ignorant. What we know, objectively, is that he was not telling the truth.

Oct 18, 2018

“Jon Tester says one thing to voters and does the EXACT OPPOSITE in Washington. Tester takes his orders form Pelosi & Schumer. Tester wants to raise your taxes, take away your 2A, open your borders, and deliver MOB RULE.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Tester, the Democratic Montana senator, does not want to do any of these things. Democrats do not support open borders.


“Can you believe this, and what Democrats are allowing to be done to our Country?”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Trump posted a video of migrants in Guatemala, part of the caravan heading to the United States, receiving small sums of money. A Guatemalan journalist said the money had been collected by local merchants. There was no evidence Democrats had anything to do with the money or with the caravan itself.

“Also, Democrats will destroy your Medicare, and I will keep it healthy and well!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Democrats’ “Medicare for all” proposals tend to be vague, but they would not destroy Medicare or take Medicare health insurance away from seniors. Rather, they would extend similar government-provided health insurance to younger people as well, and they would give current Medicare recipients additional coverage for things like vision and dental services.

“All Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions, and if they don’t, they will after I speak to them. I am in total support.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: This claim is belied by Republicans’ actions. The party has tried repeatedly during Trump’s presidency to replace Obamacare with a law that would give insurers more freedom to discriminate against people with pre-existing health conditions. As part of a Republican lawsuit to try to get Obamacare struck down, Trump’s administration is formally arguing that the law’s protections for pre-existing conditions are unconstitutional and should be voided. Trump has not said what he would like to replace these protections with.


“I am watching the Democrat Party led (because they want Open Borders and existing weak laws) assault on our country by Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, whose leaders are doing little to stop this large flow of people, INCLUDING MANY CRIMINALS, from entering Mexico to U.S…..”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Democrats do not want “open borders.” They are not leading any influx of unauthorized immigrants or asylum seekers.

“We had the votes to repeal and replace (Obamacare), and somebody disappointed us a little bit.”

Source: Campaign rally in Missoula, Montana

in fact: Trump never had the votes to repeal and replace Obamacare. (That “somebody” was the late senator John McCain, who never agreed to support Trump’s plan. McCain had campaigned for years on repealing and replacing Obamacare, but that is not the same thing as agreeing to support a particular replacement policy.)

“I got rid of the individual mandate, which is the worst thing in Obamacare. And we’re running the remnants of Obamacare before it expires completely…”

Source: Campaign rally in Missoula, Montana

in fact: While Trump did get rid of the individual mandate, he did not eliminate Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicaid insurance program for low-income people, the federal and state Obamacare marketplaces that allow other uninsured people to buy insurance, or the subsidies that help many of them make the purchases. These elements are not scheduled to “expire.”

“And how about Pocahontas, Elizabeth Warren? You know, the one good thing about her test is that there was so little she had less than the average American. I used to say I have more Indian blood in me than she does and I have none. I used to say that. And I was right. But the only good thing she did, I think she probably disqualified, because she made a fool out of herself. But I think the only good thing she did, I can’t call her Pocahontas anymore. Right? I came up with the name Pocahontas, and they once said you must apologize for that. I said, why? Well, it’s not nice what you’re doing. I said, OK, I’d like to apologize to the real Pocahontas. But not to the fake — not to the fake Pocahontas. Not to the fake Pocahontas. But it’s true, she has so little Indian blood. She has none, that I cannot call her Pocahontas anymore. But if you don’t mind, I’ll continue.”

Source: Campaign rally in Missoula, Montana

in fact: A Stanford University professor who conducted a DNA test on Warren concluded that “the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor” six to 10 generations in the past. The analysis found that almost all of Warren’s ancestors were European, and many Native Americans reject the suggestion that a distant Native ancestor can qualify a person as any part Native. But it is not true that “she has none.”

“Do you think she leaked? She leaked. She leaked. Remember that? No, I didn’t leak, remember? Remember? Senator John Cornyn, great guy from Texas. He asked a question. ‘Did you leak?’ She was startled, because she was unprepared. ‘No — no — did — what? Did I leak? No, no, we didn’t leak, no. No, we didn’t leak.’ That was the worst body language I think I’ve ever seen. Remember? Remember Jon Lovitz, the liar, remember Jon Lovitz? ‘Yeah, yeah, I’m a businessman, that’s right. I went to — yeah, yeah, I went to Harvard. Yeah, that’s right. I went to Harvard. I’m a businessman.’ That was, like, a female version of Jon Lovitz.”

Source: Campaign rally in Missoula, Montana

in fact: Trump did not accurately recount the answer Feinstein gave when Republican Sen. John Cornyn pressed her, at a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on the leaking of Christine Blasey Ford’s letter accusing judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Feinstein didn’t say “Well, what, what, what? No, I didn’t do it. Did we leak? Did we leak? No. No. No, we didn’t.” She vehemently said she did not leak the letter; asked if her staff leaked it, she said, “Oh, I don’t believe my staff would leak it. I have not asked that question directly, but I do not believe they would.” When Cornyn followed up, she said, “The answer is no. The staff said they did not.”

“Jon Tester joined the shameful Democrat mob. They were calling it a mob. Now, a lot of people are calling — these people are starting to think of it as a mob. And voted against Kavanaugh, voted against — I guessed, I didn’t even know — did he vote against Justice Gorsuch? He did. How do you vote against him? Right? Top student at Harvard. Top student at Columbia. Top student at Oxford. Oxford. And they vote against him? How do you do that? And he’s just, like, led an impeccable life. Justice Kavanaugh, number one in his class at Yale, I mean, these are extraordinary people.”

Source: Campaign rally in Missoula, Montana

in fact: As a Yale undergraduate, Kavanaugh graduated cum laude, which means he was not first in his class; other students graduated summa cum laude and magna cum laude. Yale Law School’s grading system does not allow the calculation of class rankings at all. (Gorsuch, too, was not number one in his class at Harvard or Oxford, as Trump has repeatedly claimed, but Trump was a big vaguer in this case, simply saying “top student” rather than “number one in his class.”)

“…we have a massive trade deficit with Japan. We have a massive trade deficit with everybody. But we’re changing it.”

Source: Campaign rally in Missoula, Montana

in fact: The U.S. does not have a trade deficit with “everybody.” While the U.S. has a substantial overall trade deficit — $566 billion in 2017 — it had surpluses in 2017 with more than half of its trading partners, according to data from the U.S. government’s own International Trade Commission, including Hong Kong, Brazil, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Australia, Chile, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Kuwait and dozens more countries and territories. And while Trump is free to claim his actions will eventually reduce deficits, they have not done so yet: the overall 2017 deficit was the largest for any year since 2008.

“Japan, I was speaking to Prime Minister Abe the other day. They’re opening up new car factories and plants in Michigan, in Ohio, in Pennsylvania, in Kentucky.”

Source: Campaign rally in Missoula, Montana

in fact: There are no automotive assembly factories in Pennsylvania, and Japanese firms do not appear to be planning to open any. (We will update this item if additional information emerges.)

“How about this guy in California? I have to say, look, I’m sure he’s a nice guy, nice guy, young guy, they say, oh, someday he wants to be president. Oh, please let him run. But how about this guy? Running for governor, California. He wants open borders, and he wants to take care of everyone’s health care, everyone’s medical costs, right? He wants to put more gas taxes on, where they just have a lot. But he wants to take care of everybody. So open borders, the whole world is going to go to California. And they owe about 15 zillion dollars. They owe more money than anybody knows, it’s not even possible for them. And he’s asking everybody in the world, just come on in. Open borders, we’re going to take care of your health care. We’re going to take care of your schools. We’re going to take care of everything. I mean, I mean, give me a break. Right? No, I saw this platform the other day.”

Source: Campaign rally in Missoula, Montana

in fact: Democratic California governor candidate Gavin Newsom has indeed endorsed the idea of providing health insurance to illegal immigrants. He has not, however, endorsed “open borders.” Newsom is not even among the Democrats who have called for abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement; he has instead called for “fundamental reforms” to the agency.

“Any miners in the audience, please? How are you guys? Happy, right? Better believe it. It’s coming back. Clean coal. I say beautiful, clean coal. And we have more of it than anybody.”

Source: Campaign rally in Missoula, Montana

in fact: The term “clean coal” is false in itself. Even if one were to believe that there is indeed “clean coal,” a term that is the creation of industry spin, the term is not meant to be applied to all coal from a country or state, which is how Trump uses it. The phrase, the New York Times reported, “is often understood to mean coal plants that capture the carbon dioxide emitted from smokestacks and bury it underground as a way of limiting global warming.” As the Washington Post wrote: “Saying that the United States exported clean coal is like saying that the United States is shipping bathrobes overseas each time a shipping container full of cotton leaves an American port. Maybe it will be a bathrobe, but that’s not what we’re sending.”

“And, by the way, if this scene — if this scene of people pouring up — if that doesn’t make people want to build — you know, in 2006, all these people — just about all them — they wanted a wall… But they just don’t want to give us the victory. I know for a fact, they said, you know what, we can’t let them have the wall because that would be another campaign promise fulfilled.”

Source: Campaign rally in Missoula, Montana

in fact: Some Democrats, not all, voted for the Secure Fence Act in 2006. As the name suggests, it was a law for border fencing, not the kind of giant concrete wall Trump is proposing.

“She opposes the wall, which we’ve started and we’ve done a lot of work on it, but I’d like to get it done quickly. Give us the money and we’ll do it fast, but we’ve started it. We got $1.6 billion, $1.6 billion, and $1.6 billion. And I want to get it finished.” And: “But — but we’ve started the wall.”

Source: Campaign rally in Missoula, Montana

in fact: Construction on Trump’s border wall has not started, and Trump has not secured $4.8 billion for the wall. When Trump has claimed in the past that wall construction has begun, he has appeared to be referring to projects in which existing fencing is being replaced. The $1.6 billion Congress allocated to border projects in 2018 is not for the type of giant concrete wall Trump has proposed: spending on that kind of wall is expressly prohibited in the legislation, and much of the congressional allocation is for replacement and reinforcement projects rather than new construction. Trump has requested another $1.6 billion for the 2019 fiscal year, but this has not yet been approved, much less spent. In these comments, Trump also added a third “$1.6 billion” that does not exist.

“Kathleen Williams supports open borders.”

Source: Campaign rally in Missoula, Montana

in fact: Williams, a Democratic congressional candidate in Montana, does not support open borders. She said in May: “We need secure borders that foster (legal) trade, including our northern and southern borders, our ports and air transit hubs. I am concerned about a physical border wall: it is impractical, will aggravate wildlife issues, and it sends the wrong signal to the rest of the world. I am more interested in proposals introduced by border-state legislators that would use modern technology to strengthen our borders in a cost-effective and practical way.”

“But Nancy Pelosi, crying Chuck Schumer, and the radical Democrats, they want to raise your taxes, they want to impose socialism on our incredible nation, make it Venezuela, because that’s what’s going to happen…They want to take away your health care, because you won’t be able to have it. Our country won’t be able to afford it.”

Source: Campaign rally in Missoula, Montana

in fact: Democratic leaders do not want to impose Venezuela-style socialism, and they do not want to “take away your health care.”

“Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, he was in there at the beginning. Remember he got up and he said, ‘I don’t know what you guys are wasting your time for. Nobody is going to beat Trump. Why are you doing this? You can’t beat him.’ In fact, do you remember, he said, ‘In fact, I just went out and bought a Trump tie and I’m dropping out after this debate, but none of you guys are going to beat Trump.’ That was Mike Huckabee. That was pretty cool. That was pretty cool. It was very good for my ego. In fact that might have been my worst debate because I was so impressed with what he said, I didn’t think about anything. No, Mike is great.”

Source: Campaign rally in Missoula, Montana

in fact: Mike Huckabee did not say in a debate that “nobody’s gonna beat Trump.” During the Republican primary debate in which Huckabee announced he was wearing a Trump tie, he also called Trump a “good man” and said, “Donald Trump would be a better president every day of the week and twice on Sunday rather than Hillary.” He did not predict a Trump victory.

“A subpoena from the United States Congress. She (Hillary Clinton) gets it. Then she deletes 33,000 e-mails. And she acid-washes — she acid-washes — this way, it’s a very expensive process, never used, it’s never used, because it costs so much. It’s called acid-washing. It’s called bleach — it’s called five different names. But I like acid-washing, because that really says it. She acid-washes 33,000, so that nobody can ever find — but they’re around someplace.”

Source: Campaign rally in Missoula, Montana

in fact: Clinton’s team deleted emails using a free software program that happened to be called BleachBit. There was no “acid-washing.”

“You ever see their signs? ‘Resist.’ They say, ‘What are you going to resist?’ ‘I don’t know.’ Do you ever see when the fake news interviews them? And then they try and cut it, but they — they’ll go to a person holding a sign who gets paid by Soros or somebody, right? That’s what happens. Well, did you see with — with now Justice Kavanaugh, did you see — and, by the way, also, with Justice Neil Gorsuch. How good is he? That’s a great two people. But did you see the signs? They’re brand-new. They’re beautiful, the black-and-white signs. Everybody has the same size, right from the finest printer in Washington. Do you think the people — those are not signs made in the basement. They were all identical. And I pointed that out, and the next day everybody had signs that looked like they were made in the basement.”

Source: Campaign rally in Missoula, Montana

in fact: People protesting Brett Kavanaugh did not change their signs to make them look more homemade after Trump began suggesting their signs were suspiciously professional. There is no evidence that television stations have tried to “cut” evidence that anti-Trump “resistance” protesters do not know what they are resisting. And there is no evidence that the anti-Kavanaugh protesters were “paid by Soros or somebody.” Both sides of the fight had paid professional organizers helping to organize average people passionate about the cause, but these average people were not paid. The slight factual basis for Trump’s allegation was that Ana Maria Archila, one of the sexual assault survivors who confronted Sen. Jeff Flake in an elevator, is the co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy, a group that has received significant donations from Soros’s Open Society Foundations. Jennifer Flynn Walker, director of advocacy and mobilization for the Center, told the Washington Post that it was not paying protesters and that Soros was not involved in its efforts to fight Kavanaugh.


“We have the worst laws anywhere in the world. We have the dumbest laws anywhere in the world. Somebody comes in and we say, excuse me, a foot hits the ground. You know, if a foot hits the ground, we’re not allowed to say, hey, go back. Every other country in the world, they say go back. Can’t come in. Sorry. A foot hits the ground, we have to by law, with these horrible people that are making their own rulings, having nothing to do with our Constitution, we have to take those people in, even if they’re criminals, and we have hardened criminals coming in.”

Source: Campaign rally in Missoula, Montana

in fact: The U.S. is not the only country that allows people to claim asylum and signs them up for legal proceedings rather than immediately deporting them. “This statement is patently false,” James Hathaway, a Canadian law professor and director of the refugee and asylum law program at the University of Michigan, said in an email after Trump made a similar claim. “It is completely routine in other countries that, like the U.S., have signed the UN refugee treaties for asylum-seekers to have access to the domestic legal system to make a protection claim (and to be allowed in while the claim is pending). If anything, the U.S. is aberrational in the opposite direction: U.S. domestic law falsely treats the granting of protection to refugees as a matter of discretion, whereas international law *requires* a grant of protection to anyone who meets the refugee definition. This doesn’t mean that refugees have a right to stay in the U.S. or anywhere else forever — but they *do* have a right to stay for the duration of the persecutory risk, unless another safe country that has also signed the refugee treaties agrees to take them in.”

“All because of the illegal immigration onslaught brought by the Democrats, because they refuse to acknowledge or to change the laws. They like it. They also figure everybody coming in is going to vote Democrat. You know. Hey, they’re not so stupid, when you think about it, right? But they are crazy. And the crazy Democrats refuse to support any form of border security legislation to fix our absolutely horrible, old-fashioned, loophole-ridden immigration laws.”

Source: Campaign rally in Missoula, Montana

in fact: There is no evidence that the current level of illegal immigration was “brought by the Democrats.” (The number of apprehensions at the southwest border, traditionally used as a proxy for how many people are trying to illegally cross the border, was higher under Republican presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush than it was under Democrat Barack Obama.) Contrary to Trump’s suggestion, illegal immigrants cannot vote. (They would be allowed to vote only if they were eventually granted an official path to citizenship, which they do not currently have.) And it is not true that Democrats “refuse to support any form of border security legislation”; they have simply demanded something in return. For example, Democratic leaders said they would agree to give Trump $25 billion for his border wall in exchange for a path to citizenship for the “DREAMers,” unauthorized immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children; Trump refused.

“Fake news. But a lot of money has been passing to people to come up and try and get to the border by Election Day, because they think that’s a negative for us.”

Source: Campaign rally in Missoula, Montana

in fact: There is no evidence that anyone paid members of the caravan of migrants in an attempt to get them to the border “by Election Day”; given their pace, there was no chance they would indeed arrive by Election Day. Contrary to Trump’s repeated suggestions, they would not be able to vote even if they did.


Fact Check: Did the U.S. catch 4,000 terrorists at the southern border in 2018?

Said one ex-official, “Terrorists trying to infiltrate the U.S. across our southern border was more of a theoretical vulnerability than an actual one.”

Janury 4, 2019

by Julia Ainsley

NBC News

WASHINGTON — White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday that Customs and Border Protection picked up nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists last year “that came across our southern border.”

But in fact, the figure she seems to be citing is based on 2017 data, not 2018, and refers to stops made by Department of Homeland Security across the globe, mainly at airports.

In fiscal 2017, the latest year for which data is available, according to agency data and the White House’s own briefing sheet, the Department of Homeland Security prevented nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists from “traveling to or entering the United States.”

According to Justice Department public records and two former counterterrorism officials, no immigrant has been arrested at the southwest border on terrorism charges in recent years.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment about Sanders’ statement.

Ahead of President Donald Trump’s meeting Friday afternoon with Congressional leaders to negotiate the end of the government shutdown, the White House issued briefing materials that stated “3,775 known or suspected terrorists [were] prevented from traveling or entering the U.S. by DHS” in fiscal year 2017. Nowhere did the briefing materials state the known or suspected terrorists were stopped at the southern border.

Ned Price, who served on President Barack Obama’s National Security Council, said many of those 3,775 were stopped simply because their name matches that of someone on a terrorist watch list, which have grown in recent years, and not because they pose a threat.

“So-called terrorist watchlists are an important tool in our national security arsenal, but they are far from fool-proof in large part because of their sheer size. The number of people on such lists ballooned in the years after 9/11, with some reports indicating that more than one million names had been associated with suspected terrorist activity. That’s why false-positives, including in the case of crossings at our southern border, are commonplace. Even the late Ted Kennedy was registered on one such list when attempting to fly, presumably because of the commonality of his name,” Price said.

Nick Rasmussen, the former director of the National Counterterrorism Center from December 2014 through December 2017 said, “During my tenure, the threat of terrorists trying to infiltrate the United States across our southern border was much more of a theoretical vulnerability than an actual one. It simply isn’t the case that terrorist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda see the southern border as the optimal the way to get would-be terrorists into the country.”

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said at a press conference at the White House Friday afternoon that more than 3,000 immigrants have been stopped at the southwest border, over an unspecified period, because they are special interest aliens. DHS classifies nearly all immigrants crossing the border who is a national of a country outside of the Western Hemisphere as a Special Interest Alien, according to DHS reports.

A spokeswoman for the National Counterterrorism Center did not respond to a request for comment


Trump aides may be in legal jeopardy as Democrats give evidence to Mueller

Adam Schiff says he will hand over transcripts of interviews withheld by Republicans when they controlled committee

January 6, 2019

by David Taylor in New York

The Guardian

Donald Trump Jr and long-term Trump aide Roger Stone face a heightened threat of criminal charges as Democrats on Capitol Hill prepare to hand evidence to Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

They could be charged with perjury if there is evidence that they lied to Congress during interviews behind closed doors with the House intelligence committee.

The California Democrat Adam Schiff will take over leadership of the committee now that his party has control of the House, following victory in the midterm elections.

Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Schiff made clear he would be handing over transcripts which had been withheld from Mueller’s investigation by Republicans when they controlled the panel.

The committee staged 73 interviews with dozens of witnesses, including Jared Kushner, Trump Jr and Stone. Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, has already pleaded guilty to perjury for lying to Congress over attempts to make a deal to construct a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Schiff said he was “trying to deconflict” with special counsel Mueller’s investigation because over the last two years the committee, under Republican leadership, had actively tried to make the special counsel’s work more difficult.

Schiff said he planned “as one of our first acts to make the transcripts of our witnesses fully available to special counsel for any purpose, including the bringing of perjury charges”.

Trump Jr is in peril because he orchestrated the now infamous Trump Tower meeting with a group of Russians after being promised “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. He would face problems if he told Congress that his father was unaware of the meeting but Mueller has obtained evidence to contradict that.

Stone has been under scrutiny over whether he joined the Russian conspiracy to hack Democratic party emails and whether he had prior knowledge of their publication by WikiLeaks.

Kushner, Trump’s son in law and senior adviser, has faced questions over his contacts with Russian officials during the transition period between the November 2016 election and the start of the Trump administration in January 2017.

Mueller’s investigation has had access to emails and other records which can be used to test whether witnesses were honest in their evidence to Congress.

Schiff did not name any individuals, but said: “There’s no reason to protect these witnesses. There’s every reason to validate Congress’s interest in not having people come before it and lie.

“I think people felt that they had some kind of immunity when the GOP majority at the time because they would often intervene and tell witnesses, ‘You don’t have to answer that question.’”

Schiff also underlined that his committee will start to investigate the Trump Organization and any possible connections to Russian money.

He said last month he wanted to investigate finances of the Trump Organization, naming Deutsche Bank, which has a history of laundering Russian money and which for a time was the only lender willing to do business with Trump.

On Sunday, Schiff said his committee had gone to work seeking records from private institutions.

Trump has consistently claimed the Mueller investigation into Russian election interference and possible collusion with the Trump campaign is a hoax and a witch-hunt.

On Friday, it was confirmed that judge Beryl Howell, chief judge of US district court in Washington DC, had granted a six-month extension to the grand jury which has been reviewing evidence and recommending or rejecting charges in connection with the Mueller investigation.

Under federal rules, a grand jury can serve no longer than 18 months unless the chief judge extends its service by a period of six months or less, “upon determination that such extension is in the public interest”.

So far, 33 people and three Russian organisations have been charged, convicted or have pleaded guilty in connection with Mueller’s investigation.

Schiff said it was premature to talk about the possible impeachment of Trump, saying “we need to see what Bob Mueller has to say”.

He said impeachment was a theoretical possibility, but could only go ahead if it was a bipartisan process with Senate Republicans in support.


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

January 6, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney


On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks,”: Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas  in 1993  when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publications.

Conversation No. 43

Date: Friday, October 25, 1996

Commenced: 3:45 PM CST

Concluded: 4:15 PM CST

GD: Good afternoon, Robert. Everything going well for you? How was your doctor’s appointment?

RTC: Well, no results but I am resigned to being old, Gregory. When you get to my age, you’ll count the day as wonderful if you can open your eyes in the morning. How is it with you?

GD: It goes. Moving to Illinois was not the best of ideas but my son left me little choice. It was move or else.

RTC: Or else what?

GD: He would leave and I would be stuck with a huge rent for a big house with a swimming pool that he insisted we have but he only used once. I used it all the time but I had to clean it and with all the trees and the occasional drowned squirrel, it was a wonderful addition that I would never want again unless I was rich enough to afford a weekly pool service. Of course the scumbag neighbors wanted their filthy kids to use it but I said that was not possible. I told them my insurance forbade it but actually, who wants an army of screaming little assholes using the pool as their private toilet?

RTC: Sounds like you put your Scrooge hat on this morning.

GD: Actually, I like kids. If you barbecue the small ones, they go well with a pitcher of Jack Daniels.

RTC: For God’s sake, don’t ever say that around a Jew or you’ll go stone deaf from the screaming.

GD: Oh, I know you’re right about that one. It’s a little like saying that you’re looking for a chink in someone’s armor and Asian-Americans start shouting. And never call a spade, a spade.

RTC: Yes. We live in an artificial society, Gregory. Our primitive selves still heft the vanished club with which to smite other cave-dwellers.

GD: In the Mueller book, I made reference to the fact that we now have nice-nice titles for people. I said we call janitors ‘sanitary engineers’ and that Mongoloids are now called ‘differently abled.’ And some reader wrote a nasty letter to my publisher about this which he forwarded for my comment. She said she was horrified and repulsed by the use of the Mongoloid idiot implication. Her little Timmy was the sweetest child on earth and I ought to be thrashed for calling him this terrible, forbidden name.

RTC: Did you reply?

GD: Oh yes. I wrote to her that having read her letter with sorrow because she was stuck with a retard, I suggested, very pointedly, that she ought to put some chlorine in her gene pool.

RTC: (Laughter) Gregory, you didn’t.

GD: Why not? Hell, the Greeks knew something about genes and they left their retards out on the mountainside to either die slowly or more quickly when the animals got them. Keeps the race clean if you follow me. Now, we let the innates breed and they are filling what passes for civilization with all kinds of lopsided mongrels. Malthus doesn’t mention eugenics but I feel that the herd should be thinned and the best breeding stock put in a separate pen to avoid two legged goats or chickens covered with fur.

RTC: You sound like a Nazi. As I recall, we had that Dr. Mengele on the payroll. Down in South America where we wanted him to do work on breeding superior people.

GD: Jesus H. Christ, Robert, talk about infuriating the Jews. If they ever found out about that delightful fact, all their newspapers, magazines and television stations would do terrible damage to the CIA. My grandfather was a Nazi but I am not.

RTC: Over there?

GD: No, here. A member of the AO in good standing.

RTC: Pardon?

GD: The Auslands Organization. Party members residing outside Germany. He was a banker with close connections to the Schreoder people in Cologne. Party member since 1923.

RTC: Well, the CIA is now full of Jews so if they find that out, they will do more than keep your books out of the bookstores.

GD: I suppose if I turned my back on them, I might have some trouble. They don’t like confrontation and love to work in the dark or through surrogates. They hate the Mueller books, not because Mueller was anti-Semitic but because he is presented as a human being. To professional Jews, all Germans are evil. Little children of eight were trained to visit the concentration camp in their neighborhood and toss screaming Jewish babies into the giant bonfires that burned day and night.

RTC: Now I know you’re joking.

GD: Of course but that sort of silly crap is very close to what they do.

RTC: Of course it’s to make money and gain moral superiority. ‘Oh Mr. Salesman, my whole family died in the gas chambers. Terrible. Can you give a poor survivor 50% off on that couch?’

GD: Robert, that’s very unkind. True but unkind.

RTC: I remember when they attacked the Liberty and were killing Americans. Deliberate of course and the Navy sent aircraft to wipe them out. Johnson found out about this and stopped the flight. Why? He didn’t want to offend Israel.

GD: What about dead Americans?

RTC: Pales into insignificance when balanced against the vital needs of precious Israel. At the time, they were murdering captured Etyptian soldiers and they didn’t want us listening in so the tried to sink the ship.

GD: And Pollard…

RTC: Oh my, yes and even now they want us to liberate him. They made him an honorary member of the Knesset and put big bucks away for him in a private account. And this for an American who was stealing important secrets and giving them to what was supposed to be an ally.

GD: Did you ever read the Bunche report?

RTC: Ralph Bunche. The UN man?

GD: Yes. After the Jews murdered Folke Bernadotte, head of the Swedish Red Cross and one of their royal family, solely because he refused to allow them to butcher Arab farmers, they killed him and Bunche, who was on Cypress dealing with refugees, was given his job. The UN prepared a chronology of violence in Palestine from ’44 until ’48…day by day. A wonderful chronicle of arson, murder, kidnapping, poisoning and God alone knows what atrocities. Blowing up hotels full of people and so on. I got a copy from an Army friend and if you like, I can send you a photo copy.

RTC: That I would like to see although there’s nothing I can do about it now.

GD: And when you were in the CIA?

RTC: I never liked dealing with those people. Jim Angleton loved them and kissed their asses but I never trusted any of them.

GD: Especially our allies?

RTC: Oh no, they are not our allies. If it weren’t for the fact that Jews have lots of money and own almost all the newspapers and TV stations, we wouldn’t be so eager to kiss their hairy asses, believe me.

GD: Well, the wheel turns, Robert, and one day there will be a reckoning of sorts. I don’t forsee enormous gas chambers being built in Detroit but the public can get very unpleasant when it gets angry.

RTC: But without the papers and TV and with political correctness in full swing, I can’t see mobs in the street burning down kosher meat stores.

GD: Who knows the way the wheel turns?

RTC: But don’t put any of this into future books, Gregory. Not a good idea. You will be accused of masterminding the assassination of Lincoln.

GD: Well, they may have the newspapers but there are other avenues. I remember once when I was giving a lecture, some old bitch came up to me afterwards and began telling me how her whole family had been turned into lampshades and soap at Auschwutz. She dared me to respond but I did.

RTC: And? God help us all, what did you say?

GD: Why, I said my uncle had died at Auischwitz during the war. She blinked and asked me if he were a Jew.

GD: I told her no, he was not. I said he got drunk on the Fuehrer’s birthday, fell out of a guard tower and broke his neck.

RTC: My God, you have balls, Gregory. What did she do?

GD: I think she swallowed her false teeth. However, everyone around us started laughing so not everyone was mad at me. She waddled off before I could tell her about the new German pizza oven that seated four.

RTC: Gregory, do let us change the subject. Suppose some Jewish FBI agents were listening to this?

GD: I would offer a special bargain on hand soap. I could set up a booth at a fair with hand soap in piles and a sign saying ‘Find a Relative!’ over it. Probably not a good idea. They would ask me for a 50% discount. Oh, by the way, to change the subject…

RTC: Thank God…

GD: Yes. Did you know that the British Prince Consort, Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, was a German, not a Greek. He also had been a uniformed member of several Nazi organizations before he joined the Royal Navy. His brother had been a member of the SS and his sister had been a German nurse so they never got invited to the royal wedding. His uncle was Prince Phillip of Hesse who lived in Italy where he married their Crown Princess. He was Hitler’s art dealer in Italy. Phillip is related to the last Empress of Russia, the German Kaiser  and others. His uncle was a general in the SA. I have a snapshot of him in his Hitler Youth uniform, dagger and all, with a friend of mine when both were at a Hitler Youth rally. I would imagine the IRA would love to buy that one.

RTC: I had heard something about this. Phil is a nasty piece of arrogant work. Anthony Blunt…

GD: I know all about his going to Germany and hiding references to Phillp’s Nazi past. That’s why he never got arrested when he was exposed as a Russian spy.

RTC: You do get around, Gregory.

GD: If we got together, I could tell you lots of interesting facts, Robert. Well, enough evil for the moment. My dog is making go outside noises so I had best leave you. I will call you later, OK?

RTC: Salud.


(Concluded at 4:15 Pm CST)


White House has secret 5-story-deep doomsday bunker: Book

April 2, 2018

by Steven Nelson

The Washington Examiner

The bunker, built during former President Barack Obama’s administration, was toured by members of President Trump’s staff last year.

A new book says the White House has a massive secret bunker beneath its north lawn for doomsday scenarios, while staffers battle a more immediate menace — insects — with pressurized salt guns.

The bunker, built during former President Barack Obama’s administration, was toured by members of President Trump’s staff last year, author Ronald Kessler wrote in The Trump White House: Changing the Rules of the Game, which was released Monday.

Kessler, a former Washington Post reporter and author of several books on the Secret Service and national security, wrote that the facility is large enough to fit the White House workforce indefinitely.

A large north-lawn construction project began in 2010, officially to improve White House electrical wiring and air conditioning, though journalists long suspected the $376 million project involved a bunker.

The White House already had a bunker, under the East Wing, called the Presidential Emergency Operations Center, where Vice President Dick Cheney and other senior officials hid during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The new facility is much larger, Kessler wrote.

“At least five stories deep, the bunker, which was completed near the end of Obama’s tenure, can house the staff of the entire West Wing indefinitely in the event of a weapons of mass destruction attack,” Kessler wrote. “After Trump became president, top staffers toured the bunker, whose existence is classified.”

A spokesperson for the Secret Service declined to comment on the bunker’s existence, or Kessler’s reporting that the Secret Service is actively surveiling approximately 100 people deemed to have uttered serious “Class III” threats against Trump.

Kessler wrote that Trump has received about as many threats each day — between six and eight — as did Presidents Obama and George W. Bush.

Most threats are deemed “Class II” — made by incarcerated or institutionalized people without the means to make good on their threats — or less-serious “Class I” threats, which may be uttered drunkenly or otherwise without intended action.

“For operational security purposes the Secret Service does not comment on specific White House security measures or protective intelligence matters,” said Secret Service spokesman Mason Brayman.

Kessler interviewed Trump, members of his family, and many current and former White House officials for his book, which also reports that the president himself often is an anonymous quotes “senior White House official” in news reports.

Although prepared for a nuclear winter, Kessler wrote that White House staff struggle with a more pressing fight, against flies, with salt-powered guns.

Kessler wrote that a widely reported news story last year about Trump ordering then-chief of staff Reince Priebus to swat a fly was untrue.

“The story had its origin in the fact that the West Wing, built on a swamp, is beset by flies. Trump hates flies. Staffers use air-pressured salt guns called Bug-a-Salt to kill them. Priebus was attacking an especially annoying fly in the Oval Office when Trump said jokingly, ‘Kill it! Kill it!’”



Trump threatens national emergency in ‘next few days’ over wall and shutdown

  • President heads for Camp David as talks drag on in Washington
  • Star-spangled shutdown: how nationalism warped US politics

January 6, 2018

by David Taylor and Martin Pengelly in New York

The Guardian

Donald Trump claimed on Sunday he may declare a national emergency over immigration, to allow him to build a wall on America’s southern border.

As the government shutdown triggered by the president entered its 16th day, Trump threatened to take extraordinary action to bypass Congress, where Democrats refuse to pass a spending bill that would give him $5.6bn to build his wall. New House speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the wall “an immorality” and refused to fund Trump’s signature election campaign pledge.

By declaring a state of national emergency, the White House thinks it will be able to unlock money from other sources without congressional approval, although it has given no specific details of the move.

Adam Schiff, a Democratic leader on Capitol Hill, declared the idea “a non-starter”.

Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, the California representative said: “If Harry Truman couldn’t nationalise the steel industry during wartime, this president doesn’t have the power to declare an emergency and build a multi-billion dollar wall on the border. So that’s a non-starter.”

The 1976 National Emergencies Act grants a president powers to take unilateral acts in times of crisis. But it also outlines congressional checks and with Democrats controlling the House, an attempt to make such a move would be fiercely contested, potentially pitching the US into constitutional crisis.

Leaving the White House for Camp David on Sunday morning, Trump claimed that many of the 800,000 federal staff who are either working without pay or have been told to stay at home “agree 100% with what I’m doing”.

“I may decide a national emergency depending on what happens over the next few days,” he said, insisting: “I have tremendous support within the Republican party.”

Vice-president Mike Pence was set to take part in talks on Sunday afternoon, although the meeting was due to include congressional aides rather than leaders and it is not clear that Pence has authority to offer any deal.

As he boarded Marine One, Trump cited human trafficking and claimed “there has never been a time when our country was so infested with so many different drugs”.

“Everybody’s playing games but I’ll tell you this, I think the Democrats want to make a deal,” he said. “This shutdown could end tomorrow or it also could go on for a long time.”

Trump said on Friday the shutdown could go on for years. The president’s language over the nature of the wall also continues to shift.

“The barrier or the wall can be of steel instead of concrete if that works better,” he said. “I intend to call the head of United States Steel and a couple of other steel companies to have them come up with a plate or a design … we’ll use that as our barrier.”

He claimed the wall “will pay for itself many times”.

On Fox News Sunday, asked if an emergency order was really viable, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said: “Whatever action he takes will certainly be lawful and we’re looking at every option we can. This is something the president takes incredibly seriously, is very passionate about, and is not going to stop until he figures out the best way to make sure we’re doing everything we can to make America safer and more secure.”

On CNN’s State of the Union, Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff since 1 January, said he was “heavily involved” in talking to all government departments “to try to find money we can legally use to defend the southern border”.

Mulvaney also sought to present Trump’s shift to steel for his wall, from concrete, as a significant concession.

“It came up the other day,” he told NBC’s Meet the Press, “in the private meeting with the ‘big eight’, as they’re called, the leaders of the House, the Senate, the Republicans, the Democrats. It was that he was willing to agree, and he mentioned this at the Rose Garden press conference, to take a concrete wall off the table.”

That meeting went nowhere, though, and however the White House describes Trump’s demand, Democratic opposition is unlikely to weaken. The House this week oversaw the passage of two funding bills without wall money. Public polling shows majorities against a wall.

By any measure, Trump’s fixation with a wall has boxed him into a corner. The New York Times reported on Saturday that it all began in 2014, when advisers needed a way to make the undisciplined speaker remember his key promises.

“How do we get him to continue to talk about immigration?” Sam Nunberg, one such adviser, told the Times he asked another, Roger Stone. “We’re going to get him to talk about he’s going to build a wall.”

Trump duly did, promising Mexico would pay for it, another vow now seemingly dropped although the president claims an as yet unratified trade deal with Mexico and Canada will provide savings that will pay for the wall. Factcheckers dispute that.

Trump is aware of his predicament: as long ago as January 2017, a leaked transcript of a call with the Mexican president showed him saying he was in a “political bind, because I have to have Mexico pay for the wall – I have to. I’ve been talking about it for a two-year period.”

On NBC on Sunday, Mulvaney said of the switch to steel: “What’s driving this is the president’s desire to change the conditions at the border. And if he has to give up a concrete wall and replace it with a steel fence in order to do that, so that Democrats can say, ‘See, he’s not building a wall anymore,’ that should help us move forward.”

On Twitter and in public, however, Trump has relentlessly demanded a wall, using the word repeatedly, on Saturday as part of an attempted Game of Thrones meme, over a picture of a fence. Mulvaney’s NBC interview took a similar turn towards the bizarre when, asked if the president no longer wanted a wall but wanted a fence, he said: “The president is going to secure the border with a barrier …

“I think he said [on Friday] he was going to secure the border with a 30ft-high barrier. I think he actually tweeted a picture out of it two weeks ago. We told the Democrats about it two weeks ago: ‘This is what we want to build. Do you think this is a wall?’

“Actually, under the way the law is written right now, technically it’s not a wall. If that’s not evidence of the president’s desire to try and resolve this, I don’t know what is.”

While such talk continued, around 800,000 Americans remained without pay. Key government services including E-Verify, which allows employers to check the immigration status of employees, are either down or, like the food stamps system that helps 38 million people, facing cuts.

Courts and airports are feeling the strain, national parks are short-staffed, museums and galleries are closed. It was however reported that one federally maintained attraction was still manned: the clock tower at the building which houses Trump’s Washington hotel.


France’s Macron reeling as tough stance against ‘yellow vests’ backfires

January 6, 2019

by Richard Lough and Caroline Pailliez


PARIS (Reuters) – Emmanuel Macron intended to start the new year on the offensive against the ‘yellow vest’ protesters. Instead, the French president is reeling from more violent street demonstrations

What began as a grassroots rebellion against diesel taxes and the high cost of living has morphed into something more perilous for Macron – an assault on his presidency and French institutions.

The anti-government protesters on Saturday used a forklift truck to force their way into a government ministry compound, torched cars near the Champs Elysees and in one violent skirmish on a bridge over the Seine punched and kicked riot police officers to the ground.

The French authorities’ struggle to maintain order during the weekend protests raises questions not just over policing tactics but also over how Macron responds, as he prepares to bring in stricter rules for unemployment benefits and cut thousands of public sector jobs.

On Sunday evening, Macron wrote on Twitter: “Once again, the Republic was attacked with extreme violence – its guardians, its representatives, its symbols.”

His administration had hardened its stance against the yellow vests after the protest movement appeared to have lost momentum over the Christmas holidays.

The government would not relent in its pursuit of reforms to reshape the economy, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said on Friday, branding the remaining protesters agitators seeking to overthrow the government.

Twenty-four hours later, he was fleeing his office out of a back door as protesters invaded the courtyard and smashed up several cars. “It wasn’t me who was attacked,” he later said. “It was the Republic.”

Driving the unrest is anger, particularly among low-paid workers, over a squeeze on household incomes and a belief that Macron is indifferent to citizens’ needs as he enacts reforms seen as pro-business and favoring the wealthy.

Macron’s government has been shaken by the unrest, caught off-guard when in November the yellow vests began blocking roads, occupying highway tollbooths and staging violent invasions of Paris and other cities on weekends.

Two months on, it has not found a way to soothe the yellow vests’ anger and meet their demands, which include a higher minimum wage, a more participative democracy and Macron’s resignation.

With no clear leader, negotiating with the group is hard.


Macron sought to head off the rebellion in December with a promise of tax cuts for pensioners, wage rises for the poorest workers and a reversal of planned fuel tax hikes, while pledging a national debate on key policy issues. He fell short.

The price tag for those concessions: 10 billion euros ($11.39 billion), enough to send French borrowing costs higher as investors fretted about debt levels and Macron’s ability to reform the euro zone’s second largest economy.

Laurent Berger, head of the reform-minded CFDT trade union, France’s largest by members, on Sunday accused Macron’s government of going it alone at a time it needed to reach out.

“We’re at an impasse. We have on the one side a violent movement … and on the other a government which thinks it can find the answers all on its own,” Berger told France Inter.

Some 50,000 protesters marched through cities and towns across France, including Paris, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Rennes and Marseille.

In Paris, the street marches began peacefully but degenerated when some protesters threw punches at baton-wielding officers, torched electric scooters and garbage bins along the Left Bank’s upscale Boulevard Saint Germain and set cars ablaze near the Champs Elysees. Clashes erupted in other cities too.

Both yellow vests and “casseurs”, hooded youths from anti-capitalist or anarchist groups, appeared to be involved.

Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud said the prolonged unrest was hurting foreign investment.

Opposition lawmakers demanded the government put forward concrete proposals to address the yellow vests’ demands, but government ministers dismissed caving in to a minority of troublemakers.

“We need to stop being a country that listens to those who cry the loudest,” Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told LCI news channel.

Reporting by Richard Lough and Caroline Pailliez; Editing by Janet Lawrence


France: ‘Yellow vest’ protesters storm ministry in Paris

Protests involving 50,000 turn violent in French cities as demonstrators smash into ministry with a forklift in Paris.

January 6, 2019

Al Jazeera

“Yellow vest” protesters clashed with police in several French cities, smashing their way into a government ministry in Paris with a forklift.

Benjamin Griveaux – a government spokesman evacuated from his ministry in central Paris on Saturday when a handful of protesters in high-visibility vests smashed down the large wooden door to the ministry compound – denounced the break-in as an “unacceptable attack on the Republic”.

“Some yellow vest protesters and other people dressed in black … got hold of a construction vehicle which was in the street nearby and smashed open the entrance gate to the ministry,” he told the AFP news agency.

They briefly entered the courtyard where they smashed up two cars, broke some windows and then escaped, Griveaux added, saying police were trying to identify them from security footage.

The Interior Ministry put the number of protesters who took to the streets across France at 50,000, compared with 32,000 on December 29 when the movement appeared to be weakening after holding a series of weekly Saturday protests since mid-November.

French President Emmanuel Macron did not specifically refer to the forklift incident, but tweeted his condemnation of the “extreme violence” against “the Republic, its guardians, its representatives and its symbols”.

Police said about 3,500 demonstrators turned up on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Saturday morning.

Some then made their way south of the river to the wealthy area around Boulevard St Germain, where they set light to a car and several motorbikes and set up burning barricades, prompting police to fire tear gas to try and disperse them.

Police said 35 people were arrested.

Nationwide protests

As many as 2,000 people were in Rouen, northwest of Paris, where some set up burning barricades. One protester was injured and at least two others were arrested, police said.

About 4,600 protesters hit the streets of the southwestern city of Bordeaux, with some hurling stones at police who answered with tear gas and water cannon.

Five police were hurt and 11 people arrested, local authorities said, adding several cars were torched and shop windows broken.

Further south in Toulouse, 22 people were arrested following clashes that erupted after 2,000 people turned out to demonstrate.

And in the central-eastern city of Lyon, several thousand took to the streets, blocking access to the A7 motorway and causing traffic jams for those returning from Christmas holidays in the mountains.

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