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TBR News July 10, 2019

Jul 10 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. July 10 2019:

“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.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for July 10: “When Trump was born, the doctor got the placenta gathered up and airmailed it to a friend in London. Thus we have Boris Johnson, a Trump if ever there was one, panting and drooling at the possibility he might become Prime Minister. Bombastic, nasty and foul-mouthed, it is no wonder Trump thinks so highly of him. Like cleaves unto like and the Golddust Twins intend to rule the world. They are amazing proof that horse fecal matter can be piled high enough to wear a hat.”

Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump and the battle for the American nation
  • Has humanity reached ‘peak intelligence’?
  • Rattling Cages in the Propaganda War
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Trump’s spat with the UK reveals the bottomless depths of his insecurities

 

Donald Trump and the battle for the American nation

The dispute about one of the questions in the upcoming census reveals an old conflict over the nature of the American nation. The debate is far from over

July 10, 2019

by Alexander Görlach

DW

The upcoming census has caused turmoil in the US since President Trump requested a question be added to the questionnaire about the nationality of those surveyed. At first glance, it seems legitimate. After all, in Germany we also want to know where the people who live here and have residence status come from.

The Trump Administration, however, is concerned with something else. The distribution of tax revenues and government grants in the United States is regulated according to population figures. States like New York have a significantly higher number of migrants, both legal and illegal, so it would suit Donald Trump well if less money was transferred to these states in future. That would financially drain those parts of the country that have traditionally voted neither for the Republicans, nor specifically for him, and — more importantly — will vote again next year.

The early days of the US — a federation, not a nation

But this question about citizenship, which was brought to the Supreme Court, goes deeper: The United States has had a chequered history, in which it first had to define itself as a nation and then, determine who belonged to that nation. The 13 British colonies that declared independence in 1776 initially saw themselves not as a nation, but as a federation. Each colony became a state, and together they formed a confederation of states. This explains why, to this day, the states remain skeptical of Washington: The central government represents the concept “nation.” And the federal level of government represents the illegitimate interference into state matters. This became particularly clear in dealing with the question of slavery, which could not be resolved at a federal level because the states had stipulated that they were ultimately responsible for this question.

Today there still exist two vastly different understandings of the American nation. There is one that sees the US as an ethnically homogeneous, Christian, white nation, and another that emphasizes the cosmopolitan nature of American society. Both go back to the early days of the United States. US President Trump glorifies white America, Barack Obama the cosmopolitan. The question of a person’s origin, which Trump wants to ask again now, is therefore only the latest manifestation of a centuries-old dispute about what the US actually wants to be and who should belong there. Up to now the prevailing narrative has been that the US is a sanctuary for the troubled and persecuted of the world. This is also what is written at the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York. By instructing the US Citizen and Immigration Services to remove the addition “a nation of immigrants” from its mission statement, Donald Trump has set about reinvigorating the narrative of a white America.

The current dispute is not about being able to ascertain statistically who lives in the country. It is much more about making the country inaccessible to future generations of immigrants. In this sense, Donald Trump has already attacked the concept of “jus soli,” or “right of the soil,” which is birthright citizenship: Anyone born in the US is automatically a citizen. Donald Trump wants to abolish this, and in doing so, take away from children born to immigrants not only the ability to feel at home in the US, but also to be US Americans. In fact, this has so far distinguished the US from its European partners. In Europe, even the children of third-generation immigrants are asked where they “really” come from, whereas in the US everyone who professes to be American is considered American. This is not possible anywhere in Europe. And this is exactly what has been so appealing and created the pull that made America “great.”

Abolition of the nation

By wanting to abolish citizenship by birth, the president is now setting about abolishing the nation. At the end of this process — and he prefers it this way — America will be a parceled-out patch of land again, in which rather than the rule of law, the law of the jungle, with the strongest ruling the weaker, will apply. With this in mind, in response to the mass shootings in American schools, Donald Trump is also in favor of recommending that everyone carry more weapons, instead of introducing legislative for better gun control.

The US remains divided on this issue, as it has been for two centuries. Future presidential elections, although perhaps not the next in 2020, will show whether this trend is solidifying. It is already apparent that people aged 40 and below incline toward ideas branded as “socialist” by older generations. Eighty-five percent of these younger voters are opposed to the border wall to Mexico, one of Donald Trump’s central campaign promises. The US remains a country of immigration and optimism, at least when it comes to the majority of the younger generation.

 

Has humanity reached ‘peak intelligence’?

Are our IQs set to increase forever, or are we on the cusp of decline? David Robson explores the past, present and future of intelligence.

July 10, 2019

by David Robson

BBC News

You may not have noticed, but we are living in an intellectual golden age.

Since the intelligence test was invented more than 100 years ago, our IQ scores have been steadily increasing. Even the average person today would have been considered a genius compared to someone born in 1919 – a phenomenon known as the Flynn effect.

We may have to enjoy it while we can. The most recent evidence suggests that this trend may now be slowing. It may even be reversing, meaning that we have already passed the summit of human intellectual potential.

Can we have really reached peak intelligence? And if that is the case, what can the subsequent decline mean for the future of humanity?

Let’s begin by exploring the ancient origins of human intelligence, from the moment our ancestors began to walk upright more than three million years ago. Scans of fossil skulls suggest that the brains of the first bipedal apes, Australopithecus, were about 400 cubic centimetres – just a third the size of modern humans’.

That comes at a serious cost. The brains of modern humans consume around 20% of the body’s energy, so our bigger brains must have offered some serious benefits to make up for those excess calories.

There are many potential reasons for this brain boost, but according to one leading theory, it was a response to the increasing cognitive demands of group living.

From Australopithecus onwards, human ancestors began to congregate in bigger and bigger groups – perhaps, initially, as a protection against predators, which would have been a serious risk once they began sleeping on the ground rather than the trees. It would also allow individuals to pool resources – helping to spread out some of the risks of living in a changeable environment – and provide shared childcare.

But as many of us know from our own social circles, living with other people can be hard work: you need to keep track of each person’s personalities, their likes and dislikes, and whether or not they can be trusted with gossip. And if you are working on a group activity, like hunting, you need to be able to follow what each member is doing as you coordinate your activities. For humans today, a lack of social understanding causes embarrassment; for our ancestors, it was a matter of life or death.

Besides presenting those immediate challenges, the larger social groups would have allowed members to share ideas and build on each other’s inventions, resulting in new technological and cultural innovations, such as tools that could improve the efficiency of hunting. And for that to work, you need to have the intelligence to observe and learn from others – providing another push for greater brainpower.

By around 400,000 years ago, the brain of Homo heidelbergensis had reached around 1,200 cubic centimetres – just a shade smaller than the brains of modern humans, which are around 1,300 cubic centimetres. When our ancestors left Africa around 70,000 years ago, they were smart enough to adapt to life in almost every corner of the planet. The astonishing cave art suggests they were fully capable of thinking about huge cosmological questions – including, perhaps, their own origins.

Few experts would argue that the more recent changes to IQ are the product of this kind of genetic evolution – the timescales are simply too short.

It was only 100 years ago, after all, that scientists first invented the “intelligence quotient” to measure someone’s intellectual potential. Their success relies on the fact that many cognitive abilities are correlated. So your ability to perform spatial reasoning or pattern recognition is linked to your maths ability and your verbal prowess, and so on. For this reason, IQ is thought to reflect a “general intelligence” – a kind of underlying brainpower.

Although IQ tests are often criticised, a vast body of research shows that their scores can be useful indicators of your performance on many tasks. They are especially good at predicting academic success (which is not surprising, considering that they were initially designed to be used in schools) but also predict how quickly you pick up new skills in the workplace. They are not a perfect measure, by any means – and many other factors will also shape your success – but in general they do show a meaningful difference in people’s capacity to learn and process complex information.

The rise in IQs seems to have started in the early 20th Century, but it’s only relatively recently that psychologists have started taking much notice of the phenomenon. That’s because IQ scores are “standardised” – meaning that after people take the test, their raw scores are transformed to ensure that the median of the population is always remains 100. This allows you to compare people who took different forms of the IQ test, but unless you look at sources of the data, it means you would not notice differences between generations.

When the researcher James Flynn looked at scores over the past century, he discovered a steady increase – the equivalent of around three points a decade. Today, that has amounted to 30 points in some countries.

Although the cause of the Flynn effect is still a matter of debate, it must be due to multiple environmental factors rather than a genetic shift.

Perhaps the best comparison is our change in height: we are 11cm (around 5 inches) taller today than in the 19th Century, for instance – but that doesn’t mean our genes have changed; it just means our overall health has changed.

Indeed, some of the same factors may underlie both shifts. Improved medicine, reducing the prevalence of childhood infections, and more nutritious diets, should have helped our bodies to grow taller and our brains to grow smarter, for instance. Some have posited that the increase in IQ might also be due to a reduction of the lead in petrol, which may have stunted cognitive development in the past. The cleaner our fuels, the smarter we became.

This is unlikely to be the complete picture, however, since our societies have also seen enormous shifts in our intellectual environment, which may now train abstract thinking and reasoning from a young age. In education, for instance, most children are taught to think in terms of abstract categories (whether animals are mammals or reptiles, for instance). We also lean on increasingly abstract thinking to cope with modern technology. Just think about a computer and all the symbols you have to recognise and manipulate to do even the simplest task. Growing up immersed in this kind of thinking should allow everyone to cultivate the skills needed to perform well in an IQ test.

Whatever the cause of the Flynn effect, there is evidence that we may have already reached the end of this era – with the rise in IQs stalling and even reversing. If you look at Finland, Norway and Denmark, for instance, the turning point appears to have occurred in the mid-90s, after which average IQs dropped by around 0.2 points a year. That would amount to a seven-point difference between generations.

Partly because they have emerged so recently, these trends are even harder to explain than the original Flynn effect. One possibility is that education has become slightly less stimulating than it once was – or at least, has not targeted the same skills. Some of the IQ tests used have assessed people’s mental arithmetic, for instance – but as Ole Rogeberg at the University of Oslo points out to me, students are probably more used to using calculators.

For now, it seems clear that our culture can shape our minds in mysterious ways.

While scientists continue to untangle the causes of those trends, it’s worth questioning what these changes in IQ actually mean for society at large. Has the IQ boost of the Flynn effect brought us the dividends we might have hoped? And if not, why not?

A special issue of the Journal of Intelligence recently raised that specific question, and in the accompanying editorial, Robert Sternberg, a psychologist at Cornell University, wrote:

People are probably better at figuring out complex cell phones and other technological innovations than they would have been at the turn of the 20th Century. But in terms of our behaviour as a society, are you impressed with what 30 points has brought us? The 2016 US presidential election was probably about as puerile as any in our history… Moreover, higher IQs have not brought with them solutions to any of the world’s or the country’s major problems – rising income disparities, widespread poverty, climate change, pollution, violence, deaths by opioid poisoning, among others.

Sternberg may be a little too pessimistic here. Medicine has made huge strides in reducing problems like infant mortality, for example, and while extreme poverty is by no means solved, it has declined globally. That’s not to mention the enormous benefits of scientific technological advances that have, of course, relied on an intelligent workforce.

He is not alone in questioning whether the Flynn effect really represented a profound improvement in our intellectual capacity, however. James Flynn himself has argued that it is probably confined to some specific reasoning skills. In the same way that different physical exercises may build different muscles – without increasing overall “fitness” – we have been exercising certain kinds of abstract thinking, but that hasn’t necessarily improved all cognitive skills equally. And some of those other, less well-cultivated, abilities could be essential for improving the world in the future.

Take creativity. When researchers such as Sternberg discuss creativity, they are not just talking about artistic expression, but more grounded skills. How easily can you generate novel solutions to a problem? And how good is your “counterfactual thinking” – the ability to consider hypothetical scenarios that haven’t yet come to pass.

Intelligence should certainly help us to be more creative, but we do not see a rise in some measures of individual creative thinking over time, as our IQs increased. Whatever caused the Flynn effect, it hasn’t also encouraged us each to think in new and original ways.

Take creativity. When researchers such as Sternberg discuss creativity, they are not just talking about artistic expression, but more grounded skills. How easily can you generate novel solutions to a problem? And how good is your “counterfactual thinking” – the ability to consider hypothetical scenarios that haven’t yet come to pass.

Intelligence should certainly help us to be more creative, but we do not see a rise in some measures of individual creative thinking over time, as our IQs increased. Whatever caused the Flynn effect, it hasn’t also encouraged us each to think in new and original ways.

Considering the sweep of human history to date, then, we can see how our brains grew to live in increasingly complex societies. And modern life, while allowing us to think more abstractly, does not appear to have corrected our irrational tendencies. We have assumed that smart people naturally absorb good decision making as they go through life – but it is now clear that is not the case.

Looking to the future, the “reverse Flynn effect” and the potential drop in IQs should certainly cause us to take stock of the ways we are using our brains, and preventing any further decline should undoubtedly be a priority for the future. But we might also make a more concerted and deliberate effort to improve those other essential skills too that do not necessarily come with a higher IQ.

We now know that this kind of thinking can be taught – but it needs deliberate and careful instruction. Promising studies of doctors’ decision making, for instance, suggest that common cognitive errors can be avoided if they are taught to be more reflective about their thinking. That could save countless lives.

But why not teach these skills in early education? Wandi Bruine de Bruin, now based at Leeds University Business School, and colleagues have shown that discussions of decision making errors can be incorporated in the history curriculum of high school students, for instance. Not only did it improve their performance of a subsequent test of rationality; it also boosted their learning of the historical facts too.

Others have attempted to revitalise the teaching of critical thinking in schools and universities – for instance, a discussion of common conspiracy theories teaches students the principles of good reasoning, such as how to identify common logical fallacies and how to weigh up evidence. Having taken those lessons, the students appear to be more sceptical of misinformation in general – including fake news.

These successes are just a small indication of what can be done, if rationality and critical thinking are given the same kind of respect we have traditionally afforded our other cognitive abilities.

Ideally, we might then start to see a steep rise in rationality – and even wisdom – in tandem with the Flynn effect. If so, the temporary blip in our IQ scores need not represent the end of an intellectual golden age – but its beginning.

 

Rattling Cages in the Propaganda War

July 8, 2019

by Mike Maharrey

Tenth Amendment Center

It appears I have rattled some cages.

I recently appeared on RT to talk about how the United States weaponizes the dollar and wields it like a billy club to advance U.S. foreign policy objectives. I specifically mentioned how the U.S. can use the dollar-denominated SWIFT payment system as a tool and the threat that this kind of economic warfare poses to the U.S. domestic economy.

A couple of days after the interview, I got a somewhat contentious email from Voice of America asking for my comment because they are “fact-checking” the web story RT published based on my interview. VoA is a U.S. government-funded and operated media outlet.

The fact-checking arm of VoA (polygraph.info), asked if RT quoted me accurately. (They did.) The Polygraph reporter then stated, “We suspected there might be some inaccuracy because any expert on SWIFT would surely know that while the US has sought to influence it, it is primarily a European and European-based institution, which would of course limit the US’ ability  to ‘use’ it as a weapon as the article states.”

SWIFT  stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. The system enables financial institutions to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardized environment. Since the dollar serves as the world reserve currency, SWIFT facilitates the international dollar system.

SWIFT and dollar dominance give the U.S. a great deal of leverage over other countries.

I didn’t respond to the Polygraph request because it’s clear that I am going to be cast in a bad light and my statements questioned. And I can tell you before they publish their article at least one fact they will present. They will tell you, “A U.S Treasury Department official confirmed to Polygraph.info that the U.S. does not control who SWIFT removes from its system.”

I know VoA will say this because it already has. I pulled that line from a 2017 VoA fact-check on a story relating to SWIFT locking a Russian bank out of the payment system.

It is undeniable that SWIFT has been used to support U.S. economic sanctions. A March 2019 article by Reuters reported on plans by Russian banks to “retain at least short-term access to the global financial system in the event that they are hit by fresh U.S. sanctions.”

“The two biggest threats to the banking sector in Russia are being cut off from the SWIFT banking messaging system and losing access to foreign currency, which they usually get from U.S. banks via correspondent accounts.”

A Bloomberg article in November 2018 reported on SWIFT blocking access to Iranian banks and the fear that the same policy could be used against other countries. Bloomberg cites SWIFT officials indicating that the U.S. government put pressure on the payment system.

“The U.S. has ramped up sanctions targeting Iran’s energy and banking sectors as part of the Trump administration’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against the Islamic Republic. Swift has said its move is in the interest of keeping the global financial system stable after senior U.S. officials said that it could be penalized if it authorizes payments between sanctioned entities.” [Emphasis added]

Eurasia Review elaborated on the story, quoting U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin who told reporters that SWIFT is no different than any other financial institution.

“We have advised SWIFT that it must disconnect any Iranian financial institutions that we designate as soon as technologically feasible to avoid sanctions exposure.”

So, despite what VoA and the Treasury Department claim, the U.S. government clearly pressures SWIFT to serve as a foreign policy tool. It may be technically accurate to say the U.S. government does not “control” SWIFT. But the U.S. clearly applies political pressure on the institution and that pressure yields results. There is enough worry about this in other countries, including Russia and China, that there are verifiable and concerted efforts to find alternative outside of the dollar-denominated system.

The Treasury Department’s statement to VoA about its control over SWIFT feels a little like claims of Federal Reserve “independence” we get from government officials and central bankers pretending the Fed operates outside and above any kind of political pressure or influence. We all know that’s utter bullshit.

What about this assertion that SWIFT is primarily a European and European-based institution and that shields it from any kind of U.S. influence?

It is true that the Belgium-based organization operates under EU law. But as the Eurasia Review article points out, SWIFT’s board includes executives from U.S. banks subject to U.S. laws, “allowing the administration to act against banks and regulators across the globe.”

“Washington’s pressure has pushed Brussels to look at creating a SWIFT alternative. In August, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called on the European Union to set up an independent equivalent of the system.”

If the EU maintained significant control over the SWIFT system, why did it feel the need to create a payment alternative to SWIFT in order to bypass U.S. sanctions on Iran? Why didn’t the EU assert its influence on this “European-based” institution and insist that it allow transactions with Iran to continue unhindered?

The new payment system called INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) will allow France, Britain and Germany, along with other EU nations, to continue trade with Iran outside of the dollar-based SWIFT payment system. When EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini announced the plan, she said the new payment channel would allow companies to preserve oil and other business deals with Iran despite U.S. sanctions.

The creation of an EU alternative to SWIFT gives you a pretty strong indication about who holds the biggest sway over SWIFT.

RT receives funding from the Russian government and there’s no question it has an editorial bias slanted toward Russian interests. But every major media organization has its bias. If you don’t think U.S. corporate media like Fox News, CNN and the New York Times have an agenda heavily influenced by U.S. “interests,” you live in a fantasyland.

The fact the VoA feels the need to “fact-check” the RT article based on my interview indicates that I have stumbled over a narrative the U.S. government doesn’t want getting into the mainstream. That doesn’t make the narrative untrue.

The fact is the U.S. uses the dollar as a foreign policy weapon. End of story.

Not only that, debt monetization by the Federal Reserve makes American interventionist wars possible. U.S. wars since 2001 have cost each American taxpayer $23,000. if they had actually had to write a $1352.94 check to the Pentagon every year for the last 17 years, the foreign wars would have ended long ago. Thanks to the Fed, they don’t have to.

This economics of war and intervention undermine the U.S. economy and makes it vulnerable. The U.S. government has already run up more than $22 trillion in debt and counting. There is a limit to the amount of debt it can take on, and the central bank’s ability to effectively print money. At some point, the economic house of cards will collapse.

You may think the intervention and aggressive U.S. foreign policy is necessary. Regardless, you need to count the cost. But the government doesn’t even want you to know a cost exists

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Bert Schlossberg

Bert Schlossberg is an internet crank and conspiracy theorist, primarily (well, exclusively) associated with conspiracies surrounding the 1983 Korean Air Lines Flight 007 incident. Schlossberg describes himself as “[t]he son-in-law of one of the passengers of the ill-fated Korean Air Lines Flight 007, shot down by a Russian air-to-air missile in 1983” and director of The International Committee for the Rescue of KAL 007 Survivors, Inc. He has even written a self-published book detailing his views on the matter and is principal author of Conservapedia’s rather substantial article – including 16 supplemental articles – on the issue (he is also a Wikipedia editor, but appears to have received less acceptance for his views there – a separate article on “Wikipedia prejudice on KAL 007” has more recently popped up on Conservapedia). Wingnut conspiracy outlets, such as Accuracy in Media and the magazine of the John Birch Society, have covered Schlossberg’s views.

According to Schlossberg KAL 007, having been missed by one of the missiles, managed to land with the passengers and crew surviving; these were then abducted and put into prison camps by the Soviet authorities; this, of course, is why his organization works to free them. Supplementally, he suggests that KAL 007 might have been used as “bait” by the US to test Soviet response to a flight intrusion into their borders, or that it was a targeted assassination of John Birch Society president Larry McDonald, who was a passenger on the flight (why anyone would bother with that is an open question). University of Georgia Law Professor Donald Wilkes considers Schlossberg’s theory to be “even more preposterous” than Michel Brun’s theory of a Japanese locale for the shootdown and an air battle having taken place between Soviet and American aircrafts.

Diagnosis: Ok, so in themselves Schlossberg’s conspiracy theories are presumably innocuous, but he also makes his own small contributions to polluting the internet with conspiracy nonsense, and deserves a brief mention.

Joseph Pizzorno 

Not as market-aggressive as Joe Mercola or as high-profile as Andrew Weil, Joseph Pizzorno is nevertheless one of the most influential pseudoscientists affiliated with the world of woo (and associated conspiracy mongering) working today. Pizzorno is the founding President and currently President Emeritus of Bastyr University, arguably the most influential “schools” of naturopathic “medicine” in North America, and is still involved in the institution where he, right from the beginning and until 2000, was running its day-to-day operations. Now, Pizzorno’s style is a far cry from the paranoia-driven delusions of someone like, say, Mike Adams – he did, for instance, recognize Hulda Clark’s quackery for what it was (not exactly a major cognitive feat, though) – but his own brand of naturopathy is hardly more evidence-based or health-promoting; it just sounds less deranged to the uninitiated. Bastyr embraces homeopathy without criticism, for instance; indeed, Bastyr’s students are required to study homeopathy together with all the other nonsense suggested to be beneficial by naturopaths, from myofascial analysis and vega testing to traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda and even distant healing and germ theory denialism. Make no mistake; Pizzorno, his university, and naturopathy in general, are anti-science to the core.

Pizzorno is the co-author of the Textbook of Natural Medicine(with Michael T. Murray, who is also former faculty at Bastyr University and currently on its Board of Regents), which is widely used even in accredited education programs – despite being demonstrably a piece of unscientific junk. The book is described in some detail here. It is advertised as “the gold standard in natural medicine,” and as a scientific presentation that “includes the science behind concepts and treatments, and discusses Western medical treatments and how they can work with natural medicine in a comprehensive treatment plan;” more than “10,000 research literature citations show that the content is based on science rather than opinions or anecdotes.” It is interesting that they felt the need to point it out. Of course, as most critics would also point out, more important than what they included is what they did not include (i.e. all the well-designed tests, real scientific literature, and the parts of the texts they cited that do not support the conclusions they wish to draw); besides, the authors are fully prepared to drop any pretense of scientific support when it suits them, and the chapters on therapeutic modalitis baldly admits that “[a]lthough this textbook is strongly oriented to the scientific method and the use of the peer-review literature for documentation of the efficacy of a therapy, these modalities’ widespread clinical use and long history of patient satisfaction demand that they be given a place here even though the mechanisms of action of several have yet to be elicited.” Or in short: when scientific evidence shows that what they wish would work doesn’t work, disregard the science and rely on anecdotes and appeals to popularity or tradition instead. Among the most obvious and damning things that should strike anyone opening the book is naturopathy’s wholesale endorsement of medieval-style and thoroughly refuted vitalism; Pizzorno and Murray are unfazed by refutation, however, and claim against all evidence, knowledge and reality that homeostasis, entropy, and even evolution require vitalistic rather than mechanistic explanations. This is, of course, not simply false but a testament to the authors’ poor judgment and equally poor understanding of science. T

Pizzorno is also co-editor of The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods and The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, the Bible of Woo, in which more or less every piece of quackery is described as efficacious and studies that might seem to support those types of quackery if you don’t look closely enough to see the flaws, are carefully selected to provide a sheen of legitimacy while the many high-quality studies that don’t “fit the narrative” are just not mentioned. Like the textbook, the Encyclopedia (e.g.) recommends a range of questionable dietary measures, vitamins, minerals, and/or herbs for more than 70 health problems ranging from acne to AIDS – in many cases daily administration of ten or more products is recommended, often in dosages high enough to cause toxicity.

Pizzorno is also the author of Total Wellness: Improve Your Health By Understanding Your Body’s Healing Systems, which even contains a chapter titled “Strengthen Your Immune System” arguing (assuming) that “immune suppression” as an underlying cause of most disease. Total Wellness book is also antivaccine, of course. “Quackery” simply isn’t strong enough to describe the nature of Pizzorno’s advice. And things are barely better in his How to Prevent and Treat Cancer with Natural Medicine (with Murray, Tim Birdsall, and Paul Riley), one of many cancer quack books providing a whole “arsenal” of advice that range from the admittedly sensible to the useless, and since the latter is hard to distinguish from the former in the authors’ presentation, the book is one to avoid completely and with prejudice if you ever need information about cancer.

From the very founding of Bastyr, Pizzorno’s main concern seems to have been how to make naturopathic quackery look respectable. An important part of that process was of course to get their naturopathic program accredited, and to achieve this goal, Pizzorno helped write the CNME standards for naturopathic programs that would eventually be used to accredit Bastyr’s naturopathic program in 1987. Yes, accredidation is a mess; what Pizzorno and his allies achieved, was establishing a separate accrediting agency for naturopathic schools, effectively shielding them from effective oversight of their pseudoscience-filled curricula. Pizzorno is also on the board of AAFP’s Board on Functional Medicine; “functional medicine” being one of the ultimate misnomers in the world of woo.

Pizzorno has worked tirelessly to achieve more widespread acceptance of quackery through other venues as well, including offering courses for the American Council for Continuing Medical Education, where he for instance teaches about “Detoxification” and “Assessing Body Burden” – the latter presumably related to his Encyclopedia’s nonsensical claim that 25% of the US population suffers from heavy metal poisoning, which can ostensibly be assessed by provoked urine testing. That is a myth, of course, but tests almost ensuring false positives are useful for people pushing fraudulent detox regimes – you won’t have toxic levels of heavy metals in your body after completing the detox regimes, of course, and what more do you want? More on his efforts here.

As for his own background, Pizzorno has a B.S. in Chemistry and an N.D. (Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine) degree in 1975 from National College of Naturopathic Medicine. He does, in other words, not have a background in medicine.

Diagnosis: Quackery galore. But Pizzorno isn’t just a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist with a website, and his efforts to give naturopathy a sheen of legitimacy – marketing is everything, since most people don’t have the resources or background knowledge to assess the contents – have proved scarily successful. Definitely one of the most dangerous loons alive today.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

July 10, 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 publication.

 

Conversation No. 57

Date: Tuesday, January 7, 1997

Commenced:  9:34 AM CST

Concluded:  10:07 AM CST

RTC: Good morning, Gregory. I take it you have survived the holidays intact?

GD: Yes. Christmas is a non-event and as far as New Years Eve is concerned, all I can say about that is that I could hear the fireworks and the guns going off for about an hour. It sounded like the Battle of Bull Run for a while. And the next day I heard on the news that people were indeed shooting guns up into the air and the spent shells were pattering down on their neighbors and strangers. What they should do, is to stick the muzzle in their mouths and then pull the triggers. Make work for the ambulance people, the medical examiners and, of course, the unfortunate ones who have to clean the brains off the ceilings.

RTC: So graphic. Reminds me of Frank Wisner’s end. Polly complained that the ceiling was a mess and it took two weeks and much paint to cover up the evidence of Frank’s end. He used a shotgun.

GD: That will do it. How did his black boyfriend take it?

RTC: That’s a closed chapter.

GD: Well, I wonder how Costello’s equally black boyfriend took the news of his lover’s sudden demise in the lonely sky over the Atlantic?

RTC: I was not privy to that. I do understand his brother, who was in the RN, refused to accept the body.

GD: Infection. If they cremated him, perhaps his boyfriend could come over and claim him. At least John would get his ashes hauled for the last time.

RTC: (Laughter) You are not very nice, Gregory.

GD: God, I would hope not.

RTC: How is the second Müller book coming along?

GD: Quite well. Now that I have Kronthal’s name and more input, it will be a worthwhile venture.

RTC: I have been asked, repeatedly, if you have mentioned a second volume, but I always pretend not to hear the question. Being an old man has its advantages sometimes. No, you have stirred up a very vicious hornet’s nest, Gregory, and they won’t give up until they have either run you into the ground or bought off your publisher.

GD: They wouldn’t have any luck trashing me because I trash right back, and while they are conventional in their character assassinations, I am very unorthodox. They don’t have the intelligence to deviate from the usual badmouthing and I don’t have the patience to put up with their crap. You now, about a week ago, I rang up Raul Hilberg, the historian. He’s teaching up in Vermont and writes about the Holocaust. Still, he’s a competent and relatively honest historian. He told me a funny story about Bob Wolfe. Seems Wolfe sent him a copy of the Müller book with a enclosed note hoping Hilberg would trash the work in print. Hilberg told me he read it through and while he found parts of it very disturbing, he couldn’t oblige Wolfe because, from a historical point at least, it was very accurate. He said Wolfe said I was threatening national security with my writings. Hilberg said that the fact that your organization hired carloads of Gestapo and SS men who were wanted for anti-Jewish activities was not national security.

RTC: They are absolutely terrified that if this thesis gains popular belief, they will be unable to cope with the uproar. Critchfield has been pushing them to have you shot and from my occasional, unpleasant, meetings with Wolfe, he is desperate to ruin your reputation. But I don’t think national security has any part of this.

GD: What do you think?

RTC; Wolfe is a typical Beltway boy. He has carved out a niche for himself as an outstanding expert on the Third Reich.

GD: Nonsense. Wolfe is most certainly not a real expert. He pretends to be, but he is not. Imagine what more I could learn if I were in his place.

RTC: He’s afraid you will start talking and show him up as a fraud.

GD: Aren’t they all?

RTC: Tell me, does Kimmel know Wolfe?

GD: Oh yes, he does. We’ve all had dinner together at the Cosmos Club.

RTC: Well, that explains much. I should tell you that you are viewed here in the FBI and CIA nests as a real loose cannon. No one knows what you’ll come out with next and the idea is to get your confidence and then try to find something on you to discredit you. Kimmel is part and parcel of this game and they are using Wolfe as the resident expert, hoping he can trip you up.

GD: Robert, that won’t happen. If Wolfe is their front man, they’re all in bad company. Hilberg said Wolfe was an envious phony who was jealous of everyone and the only reason he had occasional dealings with him was because Wolfe was an outrageous suckass who had very good access to the official records. Tell me about that. Wolfe got into the prohibited files and sent me an Army General Staff document listing all the top Nazis brought into this country in 1948 and to include Müller and far more. This had been sealed by Presidential order but Wolfe made a copy of it and sent it off to me, hoping frantically that I would trust him and finally tell him what persona Heini Müller used while he was living here.

RTC: Of course, they don’t know the name. He was under deep cover and I doubt if more than eight or nine people knew who he really was and what his former job had been.

GD: Truman knew, and Beetle Smith did for certain and, of course, Critchfield was the CIA man who hired him. Other than that, I don’t know who here really knew his given name.

RTC: And you can add my name to the short list. Can you imagine the frenzy to find out what name he used so they could purify their files? The burn bags would be piled up by the furnace doors, believe me. And then they could say very smugly that they had searched their files and never found anyone with that name.

GD: That’s why Wolfe has been so friendly with me.

RTC: Oh yes, he has. But he hates you, Gregory, not because our leadership there hates you but because he’s afraid you will show him up as a fraud and, more important, he will fail in his mission. He does so want to get in with the Naftali CIA crowd and he wants your head on a platter to please them.

GD: He’s too eager, too treacherous and too obvious to be of any use to them.

RTC: Don’t forget, Gregory, this is the Beltway and they’re all the same. They are a bunch of gross incompetents who are prepared to pay homage to another Beltway boys self-serving lies about their importance, if you will, in turn for other Beltway boys paying attention to theirs. You know and they don’t, and they don’t want someone outside their circle who is more intelligent than they are to rock their boats.

GD: They must be afraid the Jews will get after them for daring to hire their enemies.

RTC: Well, that’s true, but only up to a point. The Jews know when to shut up and they can use this to pry more money out of the government to assuage their wounded spirits.

GD: Well, in the next book, I will have some interesting things to say. The loose cannon rolls around the deck of the warship in a storm, battering holes in the sides of the ship. If I’m lucky, maybe they’ll all sink in shark-infested waters. But thinking about this, Robert, I’m sure there are things that even a shark wouldn’t eat. Yes, I do know more than they ever will. I know this sounds egocentric, but it is true. I really enjoy encountering all the experts and observing them trying to find out what I know so they can pick my brains on the one hand, and trying to get me to turn my back so they can stab me in it on the other. Why are these despicable types attracted to government work?

RTC: Where else would they get a job?

GD: Mopping up after the elderly in a nursing home or doing vital work at the sewage treatment plants of America.

RTC: I have some interesting news for you. I have just had Greg ship you off a long list of Nazis who worked for us, plus their new names and addresses here. Could you use that?

GD: Oh yes, how wonderful. What a wonderful Christmas present. Anyone I know?

RTC: That’s for you to decide.

GD: If I have the original names, I have the files that will let me check on them. Müller gave me a list of Gestapo agents, and more important, the V-Leute or German stool pigeons for the Gestapo. I wonder how many of them are working for Langley?

RTC: And don’t forget the Army got its share.

GD: Not at all. Müller gave me his old Army uniform, medals and all. It’s in my closet in a bag. The same uniform he was wearing in the Signal Corps picture of him in the White House with Truman and Smith.

RTC: Oh, do publish that.

GD: I will save that for the last. I’ll wait until Wolfe and the Inner Sanctum Hebrews are in full cry against me and then put out a number of things. It would be like throwing table salt on garden slugs and snails. Lots of yellow foam and a painful death.

RTC: Couldn’t happen to nicer people. You remember that Roosevelt/Churchill intercept I gave you? Kimmel had it checked out and once they decided it was original, he suddenly forgot all about it. Of course, it would go far to exonerate his grandfather, but he will never, never use it because it came from you and you are the spawn of Satan.

GD: Isn’t it funny. Robert? Instead of asking you, politely, of course, to help them, they band together like frightened rats in a burning barn, shrieking how terrible you are. Besides their own stupidity, are they hiding anything?

RTC: I doubt it. My impression is that the intelligence community does not tolerate talent.

GD: The enshrinement of mindless mediocrity. Burial at Arlington and a star on the Langley wall.

RTC: And don’t forget a tree planted in the Holy Land.

GD: Their Holy Land, Robert, not mine.

 

(Concluded at10:07 AM CST)

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Conversations+with+the+Crow+by+Gregory+Douglas

 

Trump’s spat with the UK reveals the bottomless depths of his insecurities

The leaking of Ambassador Darroch’s emails are embarrassing. But not nearly as embarrassing as president who can’t distinguish his friends from his foes

July 9, 2019

by Richard Wolffe

The Guardian

‘Inept’ and ‘dysfunctional’ are two of the more diplomatic words you could choose to describe the Trump administration.

Colossally moronic and self-defeating might be more accurate, but would surely count as a tad unvarnished.

So it is more than a little ironic that the British ambassador to Planet Trump should have turned into the diplomatic equivalent of the walking dead for saying what the entire world (outside the Oval Office) knows to be true about the 45th president of the United States.

If there were lifetime Oscars for stating the blindingly obvious, Sir Kim Darroch would surely need to prepare his acceptance speech for reporting that Donald Trump was “radiating insecurity.”

Trump radiates insecurity much like the Chernobyl reactor scatters gamma rays: obviously and without regard to anyone’s safety.

If there were any dispute about Darroch’s statements of fact, Trump himself – God bless his colossally moronic and self-defeating nature – confirmed them with a couple of tweets.

Yes, tweets: that most statesmanlike forum in which to rebuke the rowdy rabble of rejects, losers and lowly ambassadors.

“I do not know the Ambassador but he is not liked or well thought of in the US,” tweeted the commander-in-chief. “We will no longer deal with him.”

Admit it: you don’t even notice this mindless stream of consciousness any more. It’s like the sight of a garbage truck crushing a street’s worth of kitchen waste. You have chosen to avert your gaze.

For good measure, and to complete the historical record, Trump explained his Cyrano de Bergerac-style insults with some context about British leadership.

“I have been very critical about the way the UK and Prime Minister Theresa May handled Brexit,” the presidential thumbs typed for our pleasure. “What a mess she and her representatives have created. I told her how it should be done, but she decided to go another way.”

Sorry to break this to you, Mr President, but you’re not the only one to be struck with this precious insight. There are pub bores in Birmingham that could have told you this some time ago.

“While I thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent State Visit last month,” Trump concluded, “it was the Queen who I was most impressed with!”

You and the rest of Britain. From the surviving Sex Pistols to the intellectuals who want to end the monarchy. It’s a low bar right now, but they’re hoping it’s temporary.

In the real world that exists beyond the sofas on the set of Fox and Friends, the British ambassador is nothing if not a world-class diplomat.

For years Darroch has blended into the background with a blandness as forgettable as Theresa May’s keynote speeches. Until the last few days, he left no footprint visible to future historians.

He entertained a scrupulously bipartisan crowd on mind-numbingly frequent occasions, just like all his predecessors. He organized a state visit that was most memorable for the set of ill-fitting tails Trump obviously snatched from the nearest thrift store.

If he was not liked or well thought of, it is a mystery why Trump’s own staffers enjoyed all the free drinks and food offered at Darroch’s residence for the last couple of years.

Of course the leaking of Darroch’s emails are embarrassing. But not nearly as embarrassing as president who can’t distinguish his friends from his foes.

Is there a loyal American ally left in the world who has been treated with as much love and affection as the Stalinist tyrant of North Korea? And no, the bone saw-wielding Saudis don’t count.

Even in normal times, diplomacy is surely one of the least diplomatic jobs in the world. Behind a veneer of insincerity lie the cold realities of powerful countries abusing their inferiors – or worse, ignoring them altogether. It doesn’t have to be this way, but it mostly is.

In the old days, the diplomats themselves could compensate for all the simmering resentment and ritual abuse by sharing precious intelligence with the bosses back home. But that was before the bosses could read The New York Times online or read all the tweets from an unhinged foreign leader.

Back in the days of the bromance between Bush and Blair, London’s instructions to its Washington ambassador could not have been more clear. “We want you to get up the arse of the White House and stay there,” said the prime minister’s chief of staff.

This isn’t exactly what the British like to call the special relationship between the two old allies. It’s not what most people would consider much of a relationship at all.

But it has been the reality of the transatlantic alliance since World War Two. The Brits used to balance this sycophancy with some pro-European blather and a bloody-minded sense of cultural superiority.

At least that’s the basis for the only half-stirring moment of joy in the otherwise abominable Love Actually: that cathartic point when a British prime minister tells an American president to get his dirty hands off his love interest, actually. It’s all so very Rule Britannia.

Back in the fantasy world that is Trump’s so-called diplomacy, the Brits are now faced with two miserable options, much like its choices of how to leave the EU.

Either London admits its impotence and forces Darroch out of his job early. Or it leaves him in place with a president who treats him like he ought to treat a bone saw-wielding Saudi or an email-hacking Russian.

Naturally Trump has already chosen Darroch’s successor, as well as May’s for that matter. He long ago suggested Nigel Farage should be his British ambassador to himself, and Boris Johnson to be his Churchill.

If that doesn’t work out, he can always carve up Europe, Yalta-style, with his best friend in Moscow. That should teach the unpopular ambassador a thing or two about diplomacy.

 

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