TBR News July 5, 2018

Jul 05 2018

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

Washington, D.C. July 5, 2018: “The international communities with large Muslim populations have been secretly meeting to agree upon corrective steps to deal with this problem.

The commission is called ‘Energy Control Commission’ and its members are: The United States, India, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy.

This commission has been meeting on a monthly basis in Copenhagen since July of 2006. Its sole purpose is to address the flood of potentially dangerous Muslims into Western countries. A good deal of intelligence material has surfaced in which telephone and internet communications between various Muslim activist groups point very clearly to deliberate infiltration of non-Muslim countries with the double goal of overwhelming the native populations with numbers and threats of physical violence, Muslim groups are strongly anti-Christian and are most especially vindictive towards any country that has engaged in military action against any Muslim country.

The United States is considered a prime target for infiltration and domestic terrorism while Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden and France are also high on activist terrorist lists.

The general agreement between all parties is that Muslims cannot remain in basically Christian countries because of their often-stated desire to not only take over these countries by population increase but also by the on-going threat of terrorism. At this time, the Commission is awaiting what is felt to be the imminent change of government in Libya.

When this event occurs, either naturally of from outside implementation, Libya will then be opened up as a designated ‘Country of Welcome’ and when this happens, mass deportations of Europe, and America’s, Muslims will begin.

This Islamic Diaspora will be implemented by a joint team of multi-national military personnel using aircraft and shipping that has already been allotted.”


The Table of Contents


  • Trade war could hurt these economies far more than U.S., China
  • Escalation of trade war will hurt US most, Mark Carney tells Donald Trump
  • US tariffs on Chinese goods to come into effect
  • Tariffs? Time for a Plan B: ‘Gobble Up Every Bit of Material That I Can’
  • Israel begins demolishing Bedouin homes outside Jerusalem — ‘Trump’s July 4th gift to Netanyahu’
  • Trump repeatedly suggested Venezuela invasion, stunning top aides – report
  • Venezuela’s Maduro tells military to stay alert after Trump ‘invasion’ report
  • U.S. Navy says will protect commerce in face of Iran oil threat
  • Strait of Hormuz: the world’s most important oil artery
  • Trump’s Psychopathology Is Getting Worse
  • An American Century of Brutal Overseas Conquest Began at Guantánamo Bay
  • Novichok strikes (but doesn’t kill) again, and all the old questions re-emerge
  • The Birth of Propaganda


Trade war could hurt these economies far more than U.S., China

July 5, 2018

by Ritvik Carvalho


LONDON (Reuters) – Investors watching the trade tit-for-tat between the United States and China may well have reason to fear the havoc a full blown conflict between the world’s two biggest economies could wreak on the global economy.

A model by economists at Pictet Asset Management in London reckons a 10 percent tariff on U.S. trade fully passed on to the consumer could tip the global economy into a state of stagflation and knock 2 and a half percent off corporate earnings.

But equally likely to be affected from the fallout of a full blown trade war are the economies of a number of countries that are tightly integrated into the global value chain – which companies increasingly use to fragment production of their goods.

Taiwan, for instance, is a hub for the technology and semi-conductor industry and is home to large electronic contract manufacturers such as Foxconn (601138.SS), which manufactures Apple’s iPhone, among several other major devices. Electronic integrated circuits accounted for 40 percent of Taiwan’s total exports.

Hungary, whose biggest trading partner outside the EU is the United States, enjoys large investment inflows thanks to a large manufacturing base, particularly in the auto sector. Cars and motor vehicle parts were Hungary’s two biggest exports in 2016, accounting for 15 percent of the country’s total.

(This story has been refiled to change wording of paragraph 6 to “It reveals economies…”)

Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; Editing by Peter Graff


Escalation of trade war will hurt US most, Mark Carney tells Donald Trump

Bank of England governor says tariffs announced so far have already slowed global economy

July 5, 2018

by Richard Partington Economics correspondent

The Guardian

The governor of the Bank of England has warned Donald Trump that further escalation of US trade disputes around the world would damage the America the most, as the world’s largest economy and China prepare to launch the opening salvos of a trade war on Friday.

Speaking hours before the world’s top two economies prepare to launch tariffs on one another’s imports, Mark Carney said further escalation would have serious and damaging consequences for global GDP. He cautioned that US growth could be hit by as much as 5%, compared with a slowdown for the rest of the world of up to half that amount.

The intervention from the head of a G7 central bank against another member of the club of wealthy nations marks one of the boldest criticisms levelled against the US president so far.

Speaking in Newcastle on Thursday, Carney said the current round of import tariffs from the US and retaliatory measures against the country, including spats with the EU, had already slowed the global economy.

Carney believes any additional measures would have a significantly more damaging impact. He said: “At the moment, protectionism is largely just talk (and tweets). But what if rhetoric becomes reality?”

He revealed forecasts made by Threadneedle Street showing the American economy would suffer a 2.5% drop in GDP as a result of falling trade volumes alone over three years, should the White House increase US import tariffs by about 10 percentage points on all of its trading partners.

The world economy would take a hit to GDP of just over 1%, while there would be a smaller impact on the EU and the UK.

The fallout from the scenario – akin to a full-scale trade war – would, however, be exacerbated by weaker levels of business investment and higher borrowing costs for companies as central banks raised interest rates, meaning the hit for growth could be doubled.

“There is a growing possibility that trade uncertainty could crystallise the longstanding risks of a snap back in long-term interest rates, increased risk aversion and a general tightening in global financial conditions,” Carney said.

Barring any last minute developments, the US and China will carry through their threats to impose $34bn (£25.7bn) of import tariffs on Friday, from as early as one minute past midnight in Washington. The US tariffs will apply to a range of Chinese goods including nuclear reactors, boats and aircraft. The targets of tit-for-tat Chinese measures include soya beans, meat and cars. The anti-Chinese tariffs follow taxes imposed by the White House on steel and aluminium imports from the EU and other countries including Canada and Mexico.

Brussels has hit back with tariffs on American consumer goods including whisky, Levi’s jeans and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Trump has said the US could go one step further by imposing tariffs on European cars, which economists fear would do far greater damage than any of the existing measures.

Carney said the impact from the president’s use of import tariffs against major trading partners including the EU and China, alongside their retaliatory measures, was already being seen through measures of global exports and manufacturing in recent weeks.

“There are some tentative signs that this more hostile and uncertain trading environment may be dampening activity,” he said.

Surveys of factory output in the US and the eurozone earlier this week showed firms were facing higher prices as a consequence of the import tariffs, as well as American manufacturers having the longest delivery delays on record.

Alongside the threat of higher taxes on European cars, Carney said the US would have the highest import tariff regime for more than half a century. He said the impact of higher taxes and uncertainty over how the president will react next may have an adverse impact for business investment.

Comparing the situation to a slowdown for firms ploughing money into the UK as Britain leaves the EU, he said: “The experience of Brexit underscores that the impact of global trade war will be greater the more business confidence is affected, the more financial conditions tighten and – most fundamentally – the more permanent the loss of openness is expected to be.”

China accused the US on Thursday of “opening fire” on the world as both nations prepare to use import tariffs amid a long-running dispute over trade. Trump has previously accused the Asian country of using “unfair” trade practices, including anticompetitive support for the Chinese steel industry and the alleged theft of US firms’ intellectual property.

Trump has threatened to escalate the trade conflict between the two countries with tariffs worth as much as $450bn if China retaliates.


US tariffs on Chinese goods to come into effect

For months, talk of a trade war between the United States and China has been rampant. That talk will become reality at midnight on Thursday when major US tariffs against Chinese goods come into effect.

July 5, 2018


US tariffs on a range of Chinese goods will come into effect at midnight on Thursday in what could turn out to be the first fusillade in a trade war between the world’s two largest export nations.

From July 6, the US government will levy tariffs of 25 percent on 818 different Chinese product lines, valued at around $34 billion (€29 billion) worth of imports. The tariffs target “industrially significant technologies” according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, many of those related to China’s ‘Made in China 2025’ industrial policy.

Everything from passenger vehicles to aircraft parts, computer hard drives to knitting needles are included in the wide-ranging list.

The imposition of tariffs is expected to prompt an immediate response from China, with the Chinese government expected to target US imports valued at roughly the same amount as those aimed at by the Trump administration.

‘The US is opening fire on the whole world’

“The US has provoked this trade war, we do not want to fight it, but in order to safeguard the interests of the country and the people, we have no choice but to fight,” Chinese commerce ministry spokesperson Gao Feng said on Thursday.

Mr Gao said the US tariffs were not so much targetting China as they were the entire global supply chain, as many of the products on the list published by the US government are made by US and international companies within China.

“On the US’s so-called list of $34 billion in taxable products, about $20 billion or 59 percent of them, are made by foreign invested enterprises, with American companies representing a significant portion,” he said.

The US’s measures are essentially attacking the global supply and value chain. Simply put, the US is opening fire on the whole world, and also firing at itself.”

China has vowed to respond immediately with tariffs of similar values, with more of a focus on agricultural rather than industrial products. “China will not bow in the face of threats and blackmail,” added Mr Gao.

On the brink

Economists and various experts have warned for months of the risks to the global ecomony posed by a trade war between the United States and China. Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said recently that a tit-for-tat cycle of retaliation would create “losers on both sides”.

However, US President Donald Trump has consistently made global trade one of the central themes of his presidency, repeatedly vowing to correct what he sees as imbalances in the United States’ trading relationships with several nations.

While China has consistently bore the brunt of threats on trade and tariffs, the US administration has also come into conflict recently with other major trade partners such as Germany and the wider EU, Japan, Mexico and Canada.

Trump continues to point towards strong US economic data in defence of his policies, particularly the low unemployment rate and the continuing strong performance of US stocks, and has shown little sign of backing down. Indeed, the US is currently reviewing the possible adding of more tariffs to a further 284 Chinese goods worth around $16 billion.

Yet the warnings continue to come. This week, the US Chamber of Commerce urged Trump to reconsider his actions, saying the possibility of counter-tariffs from China could affect  $75 billion worth of US exports and endanger US jobs.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) also spoke out strongly this week against increasing trade restrictions around the world.


Tariffs? Time for a Plan B: ‘Gobble Up Every Bit of Material That I Can’

July 5, 2018

by Patricia Cohen

New York Times

With tariffs driving up the price of stainless steel, the precision-part manufacturer Accu-Swiss in Oakdale, Calif., came up with a plan to save money: turn off the lights but keep the machines on.

“We are being hurt because of the cost increase,” said Sohel Sareshwala, the company’s owner and president. To squeeze more output from existing equipment, he is “running the machines in a lights-out operation.” After his regular 10-person staff leaves for the day at 6 p.m., Mr. Sareshwala said, the plant is experimenting with slowing down the machines and letting them run unattended for four more hours.

As every business school student learns, developing plans to deal with disruptions — from a hurricane to a rail strike — is as much a part of managing a company as billing or making payroll. The gathering storm of trade sanctions and retaliatory moves is forcing executives to put those lessons to use.

The 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum that President Trump first threatened in March and put into effect in June precipitated a string of retaliatory tariffs from trading partners like China, Germany, Mexico and Canada. On Friday, the administration is placing tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese products, many of them used in American manufacturing, and China has threatened to respond with sanctions of its own.

The escalating trade war is forcing importers and exporters across the country, including apple growers in Washington, hog farmers in Minnesota and Harley-Davidson in Wisconsin, to depart from business as usual — either on the fly or according to a contingency blueprint.

Last week, the potential impact on American companies was thrust into sharp relief when General Motors warned that a new wave of tariffs under consideration by the administration could lead to “less investment, fewer jobs and lower wages” at G.M. While the company has not drafted specific contingency plans for job reductions, a spokeswoman said, such a move is “something that could happen.”

For Mr. Sareshwala at Accu-Swiss, Plan B is already the new normal.

In his 19 years at the company, which produces parts for devices and machines used in the biomedical, food and semiconductor industries, he has dealt with a few unanticipated events, from the dot-com bust to the Great Recession. But until recently, it probably would have made more sense for him to plan for an earthquake at his San Joaquin Valley plant than a hefty tariff on his primary raw material.

“It is very ironic to prepare for this kind of contingency in the United States,” he said.

Accu-Swiss doesn’t use imported steel, but the tariffs have ratcheted up the demand for domestic steel, making it harder to find and afford. So far, Mr. Sareshwala said, his priority is delivering orders on time, regardless of the cost.

I use a lot of stainless steel, so I’m still trying to gobble up every bit of material that I can and not worry about the dollars and cents,” he said. That strategy may wipe out his single-digit profit margin or even bring on a loss, he said, but in the short term he would rather lose money than customers.

At the plant, in addition to the lights-out operation, Mr. Sareshwala has begun to stagger the starts of daytime shifts to stretch out the time in which operators are tending the machines.

Since the 2016 election, the president’s declarations about his readiness to wage a trade war have prompted heavy users of steel — foreign and domestic — to look into alternative supply lines. But some businesses said their contingency plans had not anticipated the extent of the shortages and rapidity of price increases, which started months ago.

“In a few days, domestic companies raised prices on stainless steel anywhere from 15 to 25 percent,” said Joe Carlson, president of Lakeside Manufacturing, a medical and food service equipment maker in Milwaukee with 175 employees. He is also president of the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers, which represents more than 550 companies.

“I’ve been in this business 24 years, and I’ve seen price increases and tariffs,” Mr. Carlson said, “but haven’t seen this combination before.”

Edward Farrer, director of purchasing at Principal Manufacturing in Broadview, Ill., which produces automobile parts, has felt the same effect. His company, which employs 330 people and has $50 million in annual sales, is a purchaser of imported steel and has not been able to find a domestic alternative.

Even if one emerges, he said, “the tariffs have been a springboard for domestic producers to increase their price” — and those higher costs will put American companies like his at a disadvantage compared with foreign manufacturers. Moreover, he said, any change in Principal’s suppliers would require customer approval, an exhaustive process that would cause significant delays.

Like thousands of others, his company has filed with the federal government for an exclusion from the tariffs, but has not yet heard back.

Principal — whose customers include automotive suppliers and other major companies in the United States and abroad — accounts for contingencies like unexpected price swings in its contracts. “We have agreement for the ups and downs of markets,” Mr. Farrer said, “but the increases are so significant now, customers are pushing back. Some discussions are contentious.”

“Delivery dates are not changing, and product must be on time,” he said. “We are caught in the middle between politics, customers and steel producers.”

John Ferriola, president of Nucor, the largest American steel maker, said growing demand — driven by tax cuts and a rollback in federal regulation — was primarily responsible for the price increases.

“Tariffs will result in some long-term price increases as excess, artificially low-cost foreign material is taken out of the market,” he said, “but as steel buyers adjust to new supply chains and new domestic production comes online, we expect prices will normalize.”

Mr. Trump has promised that the tariffs will protect jobs in the steel and aluminum industries (as well as safeguard national security). Several manufacturers, however, said they were skeptical that domestic steel and aluminum makers had the capacity to meet the increased demand any time soon, and worried that prices would continue to rise — and even threaten jobs at their own companies. Mr. Farrer has halted all hiring, leaving about 30 positions unfilled, and has canceled, at least for now, a major capital purchase, two large machine tools.

Mark Vaughn has similarly put a brake on hiring at his metal stamping plant in Nashville. As the year started, he planned to add five or six new machinists in $28-an-hour jobs. His tax bill was going down, he had a fat backlog of orders, and one of his biggest clients, the Swedish appliance manufacturer Electrolux, was planning to invest $250 million to modernize its nearby Springfield plant.

But when the administration dangled the prospect of tariffs, Electrolux announced that it was postponing the upgrade, citing concerns about rising steel prices. “This is a message to the administration,” the company said in a statement.

Vaughn Manufacturing’s backlog has dwindled, and Mr. Vaughn said he would probably have to revise price quotes he promised six months ago. Instead of expanding his work force, which he described as “very highly skilled,” he is thinking of cutting five to 10 jobs out of his 50-person staff.

The first rule in his contingency plan, he said, is to “take care of what you got and not overexpand.”

“We were probably in line for $2 million to $3 million worth of work” making cooktops for Electrolux, he explained. And as for the new tax cuts, he pointed out, “Tariffs are a tax, so they took that advantage right back out of there.”

In Milwaukee, Mr. Carlson of Lakeside Manufacturing said he had contracts to get steel through the summer, but was worried about the fall. All the steel distributors, including his own, want to take care of their biggest customers first, he said. At the same time, the largest companies are hoarding as much steel as they can, making it tougher for smaller businesses to find alternatives.

Before the tariff threats, steel orders took six to eight weeks. Once the announcement was made in March, the wait time grew to eight to 12 weeks. “Now we don’t know when we’re going to get our orders filled,” Mr. Carlson said. “We’re hand-to-mouth.”

Claire Ballentine contributed reporting.

Correction: July 5, 2018An earlier version of this article misstated the corporate title of Edward Farrer of Principal Manufacturing. He is director of purchasing, not president


Israel begins demolishing Bedouin homes outside Jerusalem — ‘Trump’s July 4th gift to Netanyahu’

July 4, 2018

by Allison Deger


Israel/Palestine Israel forces arrived this morning to two Palestinian-Bedouin villages and began razing buildings in preparation for taking over the land, alarming human rights groups who say such a move would effectively cut the West Bank into two.

The villages Khan al-Ahmar, and Abu Nuwar are home to just around 2,000 Bedouins, but the impact of their removal would be lasting, making a Palestinian state no longer possible, advocates of the two-state solution warned.

Today, bulldozers demolished nine homes and three farm buildings in Abu Nuwar and clashed with Bedouin residents in Khan al-Ahmar. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society Israeli police injured 35, of whom 4 were hospitalized. Founder of Rabbis for Human Rights, Rabbi Arik Ascherman posted a video of the encounter on social media, writing, “You can see some of the violence at the end of this video. My battery died, and I didn’t get the worst of it. The police were swinging wildly and kicking viciously, until their commanding officer got ahold of them.”

Activists on the ground say they fear the demolitions of the towns will be completed overnight, in darkness and after media and European consular officials, who were on site today, head home.

Angela Godfrey-Goldstein who heads the group Jahalin Solidarity told Mondoweiss, “This demolition is Trump’s gift to Netanyahu for July Fourth.  But it has backfired. I don’t think Trump understands what he has set in motion, which is why it’s so dangerous.” She warned the eviction would move Israel onto a path of “full fledged apartheid statehood, with no sustainable future ahead. So it’s suicidal.”

Also this morning Israeli authorities were spotted at Jabal West with construction materials. Jabal West is a proposed relocation site outfitted with an apartment building and buffered by a city dump. Spokesperson for the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem Amit Gilutz said in a statement that demolishing the Bedouin towns and then moving them to another location constitutes forcible transfer, a violation of international law.

“No military order or court ruling can make the transfer of these residents lawful or moral. Forcible transfer of Palestinian communities is a war crime, and all who are involved in approving or implementing it bear personal liability,” Gilutz said.

While demolitions were on-going today the UK’s Parliament met for an emergency discussion on the demolitions. Lawmakers from Britain’s Labour party called for a decisive response, weighing recognizing Palestinian statehood and banning trade with Israeli companies that operate in the settlements.

Labour party parliamentarian Richard Burden said, “Speaking plainly, it is state sponsored theft. A theft that will cut the West Bank into two, making a continuous Palestinian state near impossible and the prospects of a two state solution so more remote.”

Bedouins Khan al-Ahmar and Abu Nuwar are from the Jahalin tribe, Palestinian herders and shepherds who lived in lands that became southern Israel until the 1950s. At that time Israel’s military government transferred them to the hilltops outside of Jerusalem, where they live today.

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement today that the demolitions are taking place because Israel aims to evict the Bedouins and move Israeli settlers onto the land.

“Words of warning to Israel are not enough. If there is no serious intervention from the international community towards the Israeli government and its belligerent military occupation, other villages will be next, and more Palestinian men, women and children will be displaced for another 70 years to come,” she said.


Trump repeatedly suggested Venezuela invasion, stunning top aides – report

The administration officials are said to have taken turns in trying to talk the president out of the idea in August of last year

July 5, 2018

by Julian Borger in Washington DC

The Guardian

Donald Trump repeatedly raised the possibility of invading Venezuela in talks with his top aides at the White House, according to a new report.

Trump brought up the subject of an invasion in public in August last year, saying: “We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary.” But the president’s musings about the possibility of a US invasion were more extensive and persistent than that public declaration, according to the Associated Press.

The previous day Trump reportedly took his top officials by surprise in an Oval Office meeting, asking why the US could not intervene to remove the government of Nicolás Maduro on the grounds that Venezuela’s political and economic unraveling represented a threat to the region.

Quoting an unnamed senior administration official, the AP report said the suggestion stunned those present at the meeting, which included the then national security adviser, HR McMaster, and secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. Both have since left the administration.

The administration officials are said to have taken turns in trying to talk him out of the idea, pointing out that any such military action would alienate Latin American allies who had supported the US policy of punitive sanctions on the Maduro regime.

Their arguments do not seem to have dissuaded the president.

A grim-faced Tillerson stood alongside Trump the next day at his New Jersey golf course at Bedminster as the president warmed to his theme.

“We have many options for Venezuela, this is our neighbour,” Trump said.

“We’re all over the world and we have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away, Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering and dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary.”

The White House announced later it had refused to take a call from Maduro. The Venezuelan defence minister, Vladimir Padrino, described Trump’s threat as an “act of craziness” and “supreme extremism”.

In the weeks that followed, Trump remained preoccupied with the idea of an invasion, according to AP. Shortly after the Bedminister remarks, he raised the issue with the Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, and then brought it up again at that year’s UN general assembly in September, at a private dinner with allied Latin American states.

At that dinner, Trump made clear he was ignoring the advice of his aides.

“My staff told me not to say this,” Trump said and then asked the other leaders at the table in turn, if they were sure they didn’t want a military solution.

McMaster finally succeeding in persuading Trump of the dangers of an invasion, the report said, and the president’s interest in the notion subsided.

Trump’s approach to military intervention has been erratic. He has been insistent on bringing troops back from Syria, and his administration is pushing to draw down troops in Europe. But Venezuela is not the only country he has threatened directly. Last year, he warned North Korea of impending “fire and fury” and total destruction if the country threatened the US with its nuclear weapons and missiles. After his summit with Kim Jong-un last month in Singapore, however, Trump presented military conflict as unthinkable, pointing out it would cost millions of lives.


Venezuela’s Maduro tells military to stay alert after Trump ‘invasion’ report

The Venezuelan president has told the armed forces to be on guard after reports emerged Donald Trump had raised with former aides the idea of an invasion. But the idea was shot down by officials, according to the report.

July 5, 2018


Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday called on the armed forces to stay alert following reports that US President Donald Trump raised the idea of invading Venezuela.

“You cannot lower your guard for even a second, because we will defend the greatest right our homeland has had in all of its history, which is to live in peace,” Maduro said. “A military intervention on the part of the US empire will never be a solution to Venezuela’s problems.”

Maduro alluded to a report by The Associated Press that Trump had asked his aides why the US couldn’t simply invade Venezuela. According to the report, former State Secretary Rex Tillerson and ex-national security advisor H.R. McMaster took turns explaining the possible fallout.

Both officials are no longer at the White House.

The report also detailed a meeting between Trump and four Latin American leaders in which the US president raised the idea, only for it to be rejected by his counterparts. The White House has refused to confirm the report’s validity, saying it will not comment on personal conversations.

‘Military option’

Last year, Trump told reporters that he was “not going to rule out” a military option, saying it was “certainly something that we could pursue.”

His remarks sent shockwaves throughout Venezuela’s political establishment.

“We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary,” Trump said in August.

Maduro responded at the time by calling on the international community and Pope Francis to “help us prevent Trump from sending troops to invade Venezuela.”

Trump has described Maduro as a “dictator,” saying he should no longer be in power. Under Maduro, Venezuela has witnessed a significant deterioration of human rights and the erosion of democratic institutions.

More than 130 people were killed and hundreds more injured in 2017, when a Supreme Court order to strip the opposition-held National Assembly triggered months of anti-government protests. Venezuela has continued to struggle with exorbitant inflation and chronic shortages of basic supplies, including food and medicine.


U.S. Navy says will protect commerce in face of Iran oil threat

July 5, 2018

by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin


LONDON (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy stands ready to ensure free navigation and the flow of commerce, the U.S. military’s Central Command said on Thursday, as Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned they would block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz if necessary.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and some senior military commanders have threatened in recent days to disrupt oil shipments from the Gulf countries if Washington tries to cut Tehran’s exports.

Praising Rouhani’s “firm stance” against the United States, the head of the Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday their forces were ready to block the strait which links the Gulf to the open sea.

In May, U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of a multinational deal under which sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for curbs to its nuclear program. Washington has since told countries they must stop buying Iranian oil from Nov. 4 or face financial measures.

If Iran cannot sell its oil under U.S. pressure, then no other regional country will be allowed to either, said Mohammad Ali Jafari, who commands the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s most powerful military force.

“We are hopeful that this plan expressed by our president will be implemented if needed … We will make the enemy understand that either all can use the Strait of Hormuz or no one,” Jafari was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

The Strait of Hormuz is the most important oil transit channel in the world with about one-fifth of global oil consumption passing through each day.

“The U.S. and its partners provide, and promote security and stability in the region,” Central Command spokesman Navy Captain Bill Urban said in an email to Reuters.

Asked what would be the U.S. Naval Forces’ reaction if Iran blocks the strait, he said: “Together, we stand ready to ensure the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce wherever international law allows.”

The Guards’ naval arm lacks a strong conventional fleet. However, it has many speed boats and portable anti-ship missile launchers, and can lay mines.

A senior U.S. military leader said in 2012 the Guards have the ability to block the strait “for a period of time” but the United States would take action to reopen it in such an event.

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and David Stamp


Strait of Hormuz: the world’s most important oil artery

July 5, 2018

by Ahmad Ghaddar


LONDON (Reuters) – With a third of the world’s sea-borne oil passing through it every day, the Strait of Hormuz is a strategic artery linking Middle East crude producers to key markets in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and beyond.

This week, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander threatened that Tehran will block oil shipments through the waterway in response to U.S. calls to ban all Iranian oil exports.

The Strait has been at the heart of regional tensions for decades and this is not first time that Tehran has made such threats.


* It is a waterway separating Iran and Oman, connecting the Gulf to the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.

* It is 21 miles wide at its narrowest point, but the shipping lane is only two miles wide in either direction.


* The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates a record 18.5 million barrels per day of sea-borne oil passed through it in 2016, a 9 percent increase on flows in 2015 which accounted for 30 pct of all sea-borne traded crude oil and other liquids during the year.

* Sea-borne crude and condensate flows transiting the Strait are estimated at around 17.2 million bpd in 2017 and around 17.4 million bpd in the first half of 2018, according to oil analytics firm Vortexa.

* Most of the crude exported from Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq passes through it. It is also the route for nearly all the liquefied natural gas (LNG) from lead exporter Qatar.

* Throughout the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) the two sides sought to disrupt each other’s oil exports in what was known as the Tanker War.

* The U.S. Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, is tasked with protecting the commercial ships in the area.

* Energy consultants Petromatrix who track U.S. aircraft carriers in the region say there are currently no carriers in the Arabian Gulf. They add the carrier that could have made the short trip to the Gulf from the eastern Mediterranean, turned around to sail back to the Atlantic.

* “Under the Bush administration there was always one to two carriers in the Arab Gulf, under the Obama administration there were some short times when the Arabian Gulf was left with no carriers but that was gestures made while the U.S. was negotiating with Iran,” the said on July 5


* The UAE and Saudi Arabia have sought to find alternatives to bypass the strait.


* In July 1988 the U.S. warship Vincennes shot down an Iranian airliner, killing all 290 on-board, in what Washington said was an accident after crew mistook the plane for a fighter. Tehran called it a deliberate attack. The U.S. said the Vincennes was in the area to protect neutral vessels against Iranian navy attacks.

* In early 2008 the United States said Iranian boats had threatened its warships after they approached three U.S. naval ships in the Strait.

* In June 2008, Revolutionary Guards commander-in-chief, Mohammad Ali Jafari, said Iran would impose controls on shipping in the Strait if it was attacked.

* In July 2010 a Japanese oil tanker called M Star was attacked in the Strait. A militant group called Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which is linked to al Qaeda, claimed responsibility.

* In January 2012, Iran threatened to block the Strait in retaliation for U.S. and European sanctions that targeted its oil revenues in an attempt to stop the nuclear program.

* In May 2015, Iranian ships fired shots at a Singapore-flagged tanker which it said damaged an Iranian oil platform, causing the vessel to flee, and seized a container ship in the Strait.

* On July 3, 2018, President Hassan Rouhani hinted Iran could disrupt oil flows through the Strait in response to U.S. calls to bring down Iran’s oil exports to zero.

* The following day, a Revolutionary Guards commander spelled out that Iran would block all exports through the Strait if Iranian exports are stopped

Sources: Reuters/Energy Information Administration

Reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar; Editing by Kirsten Donovan


Trump’s Psychopathology Is Getting Worse

Most pundits interpret the US president’s outbursts as playing to his political base, or preening for the cameras, or blustering for the sake of striking future deals. In fact, Trump suffers from several psychological pathologies that render him a clear and present danger to the world.

July 3, 2018

by Jeffrey D. Sachs and Bandy X. Lee

Project Syndicate

NEW YORK – Seemingly every day now, US President Donald Trump escalates his policy and personal attacks against other countries and their heads of state, the poor and the weak, and migrant families. Most recently, Trump has championed the heartless separation of migrant children from their parents. Though public outrage may have forced him to retreat, his disposition to attack will soon make itself felt elsewhere.

Most pundits interpret Trump’s outbursts as playing to his political base, or preening for the cameras, or blustering for the sake of striking future deals. We take a different view. In line with many of America’s renowned mental-health experts, we believe that Trump suffers from several psychological pathologies that render him a clear and present danger to the world.

Trump shows signs of at least three dangerous traits: paranoia, lack of empathy, and sadism. Paranoia is a form of detachment from reality in which an individual perceives threats that do not exist. The paranoid individual can create dangers for others in the course of fighting against imaginary threats. Lack of empathy can derive from an individual’s preoccupation with the self and a view of others as mere tools. Harming others causes no remorse when it serves one’s own purposes. Sadism means finding pleasure in inflicting pain or humiliating others, especially those who represent a perceived threat or a reminder of one’s weaknesses.

We believe that Trump has these traits. We base our conclusion on observations of his actions, his known life history, and many reports by others, rather than as the finding of an independent psychiatric examination, which we have previously called for, and call for again. But we do not need a complete picture to recognize that Trump is already a growing danger to the world. Psychological expertise tells us that such traits tend to worsen in individuals who gain power over others.

To justify his belligerent actions, Trump lies relentlessly and remorselessly. In fact, according to a Washington Post analysis, Trump has made over 3,000 false or misleading claims since taking office. And, the Post notes, his lying seems to have escalated in recent weeks. Moreover, Trump’s confidants describe him as increasingly likely to ignore any moderating advice offered by those around him. There are no “grownups in the room” who can stop him as he surrounds himself with corrupt and bellicose cronies prepared to do his bidding – all of which is entirely predictable from his psychology.

Trump’s wild exaggerations in recent weeks reveal the increasing severity of his symptoms. Consider, for example, his repeated claims that the vague outcome of his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un constitutes an end to the nuclear threat posed by Kim’s regime, or his blatant lie that Democrats, rather than his own policies, caused the forced separation of migrant children from their parents at the southern border with Mexico. The Post recently counted 29 false or misleading statements in a mere one-hour rally. Whether intentional or delusional, this level of persistent lying is pathological.

Since Trump actually lacks the ability to impose his will on others, his approach guarantees an endless cycle of threats, counter-threats, and escalation. He follows any tactical retreat with renewed aggression. Such is the case with the spiraling tit-for-tat trade war now underway between Trump and a widening circle of countries and economies, including Canada, Mexico, China, and the European Union. The same is true of Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from a growing number of international agreements and bodies, including the Paris climate agreement, the Iran nuclear deal, and, most recently, the United Nations Human Rights Council, after it criticized US policies towards the poor.

Trump’s paranoia is translating into heightened geopolitical tensions. Traditional allies, not accustomed to dealing with US leaders with severe mental defects, are clearly shaken, while adversaries appear to be taking advantage. Many of Trump’s supporters seem to interpret his shameless lying as bold truth-telling, and pundits and foreign leaders tend to believe that his bizarre lashing out reflects a political strategy. Yet this is a misunderstanding. Trump’s actions are being “explained” as rational and even bold, whereas they more likely are manifestations of severe psychological problems.

History abounds with mentally impaired individuals who have gained vast power as would-be saviors, only to become despots who gravely damage their societies and others. Their strength of will and promises of national greatness entice a public following; but if there is one lesson of this kind of pathology in power, it is that the long-term results are inescapably catastrophic for all.

We should not remain immobilized by fear of a future disaster. A leader with dangerous signs of paranoia, lack of empathy, and sadism should not remain in the presidency, lest he commit devastating damage. Any appropriate measure to remove the danger – the ballot box, impeachment, or invocation of the US Constitution’s 25th Amendment – would help restore our safety.


An American Century of Brutal Overseas Conquest Began at Guantánamo Bay

July 4, 2018

by Miriam Pensack

The Intercept

It is a testament to the Washington establishment’s rhetorical dexterity that it labeled Guantánamo Bay home of the world’s most dangerous terrorists. U.S. leaders meant, of course, to refer to the hundreds of non-Americans detained at the base over the past 16 years. But a closer look at the history of Guantánamo tells a different story — one in which the United States, beginning 120 years ago this June, used the enclave in southeastern Cuba to launch decades upon decades of terroristic overseas conquest.

Cuba was the intended target of many such terror plots. Long before Donald Rumsfeld homed in on the country to imprison “enemy combatants” in the aftermath of 9/11, then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy sought to visit “the terrors of the earth” on Cuba as part of Operation Mongoose, a covert CIA effort to overthrow leader Fidel Castro. Mongoose envisioned acts of sabotage, including U.S.-created food shortages, potentially induced via biological weapons. And another 1960s plot, Operation Northwoods, sought to create a pretext for invading Cuba. “We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area,” read a document presented to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “We could blow up a U.S. warship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba.” The U.S. famously concocted a number of contemporaneous plans to assassinate Castro; at least one involved enlisting the Mafia. These plots proved to be a less-than-subtle ideological precedent for George W. Bush’s 2003 jest to Iraq administrator Jay Garner that, following Garner’s efforts to rebuild that country, the U.S. would, “for the next one,” invade Cuba, which ranked among the Bush administration’s “axis of evil” countries.

Today, GTMO, as the base is called in military parlance, boasts a gift shop at its Navy Exchange, a stone’s throw from the Guantánamo McDonald’s. There, for $15, you can buy a Joint Task Force GTMO detainment operations T-shirt, embossed with a graphic of an armed prison guard tower and finished with barbed wire filigree. The memento is a troubling reminder of the normalcy with which U.S. empire has infiltrated our everyday, an iteration of what revisionist historian William Appleman Williams called “a way of life.” Indeed, U.S. malignancy in Cuba, from the Cold War to the so-called war on terror, is only part of the aggression that stemmed from the taking of Guantánamo. This June marks an important birthday for the Navy base, and for American overseas empire, too. Indeed, their origin story is one and the same.

In early June 1898, U.S. Marines arrived at Guantánamo Bay and staged the first successful landing in what would become known as the Spanish-American War. Aside from avenging the sinking of the battleship USS Maine in Havana harbor, the U.S. sought to “liberate” Cubans from imperial rule. That pretense conveniently ignored Cuba’s preceding 30-year struggle for independence from Spain, an effort born of plantation society in the eastern part of the island, not all too far from Guantánamo. Indeed, 1898 proved the denouement of the Ten Years’ War (1868-1878), the Little War (1879-1880), and the final Cuban War of Independence, which began in 1895.

The invasion at Guantánamo marked the formal beginning of an American penchant for intervening militarily in the affairs of other nations. Historians of U.S. empire have long acknowledged 1898 as a watershed in the trajectory of America’s global posturing. The U.S. had always had its eye on the Caribbean and Cuba, just 90 miles off the coast of Florida: Southern-sympathizing filibusters sought to incorporate the island as an additional slave territory from the early-to-mid 1800s, and in 1823, John Quincy Adams predicted what many saw as the inevitable U.S. acquisition of Cuba, arguing that “if an apple severed by the tempest from its native tree cannot choose but fall to the ground, Cuba … can gravitate only towards the North American Union which by the same law of nature cannot cast her off from its bosom.” But the U.S. only got around to invading Cuba after its territorial acquisitions in North America had reached their western and southern limits — a fulfillment of Manifest Destiny and the realization of a settler-colonialist dream that stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Thus, in 1890, the U.S. Census Bureau declared the frontier “closed.” Within a decade, the U.S. attacked the Spanish empire, achieving a swift victory that effectively handed Spain’s remaining colonial possessions to the United States: Puerto Rico and Guam became U.S. territorial holdings, and the United States undertook a brutal and bloody war against Filipino nationalists to annex the Philippines.

Cuba, meanwhile, fell under U.S. military occupation from 1898 to 1902. An American military government ostensibly sought to guide the fledgling nation on the path toward full autonomy, and agreed to end the occupation once the first Cuban republic drafted and ratified a constitution to Washington’s liking — a constitution that would have to include the full text of the Platt Amendment, which granted the United States final say in Cuban treaties and made it legal for the United States to intervene whenever it deemed necessary “for the preservation of Cuban independence.” Article VII of the amendment mandated the lease of Guantánamo with no termination date, to be annulled only upon the agreement of both the U.S. and Cuban governments. The stated purpose of the lease was to ensure that, by granting the U.S. a space for a coaling and naval station, it would “enable the United States to maintain the independence of Cuba.”

So began a legacy of quasi-sovereignty in Cuba. Both governments renewed the coercive Guantánamo lease in 1934, and it is under the terms of that lease that the 40 detainees currently held at the base find themselves indefinitely incarcerated on a breathtaking 45 square miles of Cuban territory, the natural beauty of which they will most certainly never see.

A short drive from Camps 5 and 6, where “low-value detainees” are held, military personnel and their families enjoy the fruits of effectively stolen territory, land that Castro demanded be returned after his 26th of July Movement came to power in 1959 and sought to undo some 60 years of U.S. imperial machinations on the island. At one point, Castro shut off water to the base, a less-than-subtle suggestion that the United States vacate the premises. The U.S. retaliated: More than 2,000 Cubans employed at the base were summarily dismissed. Despite these antagonisms, the United States Treasury still sends the Cuban government a check of $4,085 annually for “leasing” Guantánamo. To this day, the revolutionary government refuses to cash the checks.

Indeed, Guantánamo is at once the oldest military base outside of the United States and the only one maintained against the expressed will of the government of the country it occupies. This rendered the legal status of those at the facility particularly murky, and this same legal ambiguity enabled the indefinite detention of suspected war-on-terror combatants, some of whom have never been charged with a crime. Prior to a handful of Supreme Court cases that have extended limited legal protections to detainees, the Bush administration seized upon Guantánamo’s legal liminality to argue, among other things, that the base was under the sovereignty of the Republic of Cuba, ostensibly negating constitutional protections or obligations to abide by international treaties, and thereby making the base an ideal place to commit human rights abuses. A handful of Supreme Court cases have mitigated some of this legal ambiguity: Rasul v. Bush ruled in 2004 that U.S. federal courts do have jurisdiction over Guantánamo Bay, thereby providing detainees access to the courts as a means of challenging the legality of their detention, though the ruling left unsettled the question of constitutional protections extending to noncitizens held at the base. And in 2008, Boumediene v. Bush established that detainees also have the right to a habeas corpus review.

There is a similarity in rhetoric and logic between the Platt Amendment and Guantánamo’s role in the war on terror: the United States’s argument for coercively leasing the territory as a coaling and naval station to “protect Cuban independence” closely echoes the call to torture and illegally detain enemy combatants for the sake of U.S. national security.

But these parallels run deeper, insofar as all roads lead back to Cuba, where the United States still somehow manages to do whatever it wants. Guantánamo persists as a place of imperial reinvention and forgetting, an ever-evolving hydra where stationed military personnel can receive their scuba diving certification and take their kids to the movies a short drive away from the black site where the CIA carried out torture at the base. Were it not for the “Cuba” section of the GTMO gift shop, where pictures of Havana adorn keychains, postcards, and magnets, you might forget you were in Cuba at all — indeed, this imperial amnesia, in conjunction with the  120 years of imperial machinations that began at the deep-water bay, may very well make Guantánamo the most American place on Earth.


Novichok strikes (but doesn’t kill) again, and all the old questions re-emerge

July 5, 2018


Four months to the day after the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter kicked off a massive blame game and diplomatic crisis, there’s a new chemical incident in the UK. According to officials, it’s Novichok all over again.

Two people, this time a British couple in their 40s with no link to Russian intelligence, were affected by a chemical substance on Saturday. Four days later, the UK’s counter-terrorism chief said the chemical that hit them was the same that sent former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, into a coma in early March. Back then, it took mere hours for the UK government to pin the blame on Moscow and unleash a massive diplomatic offensive together with its allies. Moscow, still waiting for compelling evidence to be produced, has been shut out of the investigation, and it has raised a number of questions about the poisoning – none of which have been answered.

Linking the two poisonings “is clearly a line of enquiry” for UK investigators, but the new incident doesn’t look likely to answer any of those concerns either.

Location, location, location

The new victims, 45-year-old Charlie Rowley and his 44-year-old girlfriend Dawn Sturgess were discovered in Amesbury, some 12 km (7 miles) north of Salisbury. Both scenes, though, are located around Porton Down, which houses a secretive government chemical lab.

Porton Down has been a crucial part of the Skripal case investigation. It was there that the chemical agent was identified as Novichok in both cases. Back in March, UK officials cited this as proof that the substance came from Russia – only to later be contradicted by the lab’s chief executive, who said they weren’t really able to verify the agent’s origins.

As for the location of the new scene relative to the old one, 12 km doesn’t seem like an improbably large distance. Plus, a friend of the victims said the couple had been to Salisbury before they fell ill. The UK Home Secretary’s working theory is that the exposure was accidental, which begs the question: how would that be possible after four months and a massive clean-up operation? Also, why were there only two random people in the whole 12km radius that were affected?

Curious timing

Investigators say it’s unclear if the supposed Novichok came from the same batch that poisoned the Skripals in March. But, according to experts, the nerve agents of the Novichok family lose their potency very quickly, which makes it unlikely that a trace powerful enough had survived for four months to strike again at this particular moment.

And the moment is significant for two reasons – two events key to Russia’s international image. One is the hugely successful FIFA World Cup, where the English team just secured a quarter-final spot. British fans seem to be enjoying themselves in Russia, and berating British politicians and media for their efforts to scare them away from the event.

The other is the preparations for a summit between US President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. A date and a place for the meeting – Helsinki, Finland, July 16 – were set just last week, and a possible rapprochement between the two rival superpowers seems to be keeping British officials up at night.

Nobody died, again

One of the key questions asked back in March was: why did the Skripals survive if they were indeed exposed to a military-grade nerve agent? While UK officials peddle Novichok as a deadly nerve agent manufactured by the Soviets, claiming its recent use was the first chemical attack in Europe since World War Two, it appears to have a surprisingly low lethality rate.

A friend of the couple described Rowley becoming increasingly ill over the course of the day, before finally being taken to the hospital. There, the supposedly deadly Novichok gave doctors enough time to treat the couple for a completely different diagnosis: the medics initially believed that the couple had taken contaminated drugs (Rowley is a registered heroin addict). Samples from the two were only sent to Porton Down on Monday, two days after they were admitted.

Back in March, the Skripals were similarly discovered slipping in and out of consciousness on a park bench. They were also treated for an opioid overdose at first, before the diagnosis switched to nerve agent poisoning. Both ultimately survived and have now been discharged from the hospital.

Analysts have repeatedly questioned the apparent low lethality of the supposed “military-grade nerve agent.” Russian officials, as well, have said that if such a deadly substance had indeed been used, survival would be impossible.

British officials are still investigating the incident. However, this time – now that Novichok has been brought up – they seem less inclined to point fingers, even as England fans frolic in Russia and Theresa May’s handling of Brexit continues to divide the public.


The Birth of Propaganda

July 5, 2018

by Christian Jürs

In the nineteenth century, Evangelical Christians invented their own hagiology

that included the Rapture, the Battle of Armageddon, speaking in tongues and numerous other fictional events. None of these events are to be found in the Bible but these omissions in no way prevents Evangelical Christians from believing they do.

‘Armageddon’ is actually purported by some Christian sects to be an actual battle. According to Pentecostal fanciful interpretations, the Bible states that Armageddon will be a battle where God finally comes in and takes over the world and rules it the way it should have been ruled all along. After this vaguely-defined battle of Armageddon, Pentecostals firmly believe that there will follow 1000 years of peace and plenty which, according to their lore and legend, will be the sole lot of their sect and no other religion.

The actual scene of the fictional battle is referred to by Pentecostals as being clearly set forth in Revelation 16:14-16. It is not. The specific citation reads, in full:

“14. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

“15. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

“16. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”

This very brief mention of Armageddon has given rise to the elaborate but entirely fictional legend of the so-called Final Battle between the forces of good and evil. There is no mention in Revelations 16: 14-16 whatsoever of Parusia or the second coming of Jesus, the apocryphal Anti-Christ, the Rapture or the many other delightful inventions designed to bolster the Pentecostal elect and daunt their adversaries.

These adversaries consist of all other branches of the Christian religion with especial emphasis placed on Jews and Catholics. The Pentecostals also loathe Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, and an endless list of anyone and everyone whose views clash with theirs such as scientists and any academic who views the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel as anything but tissues of lies.

The earlier, original cult of Christianity did not initially expand beyond a small group of poor and illiterate Jews until several hundred years after the purported lifetime of Jesus and then it spread rapidly in a remarkably tolerant Roman Empire until it became the dominant state religion.

As a religion, Christianity has shrunk in recent decades past, until its adherents are either traditionalists without zeal or zealots without tradition.

Much has been made of a purported resurgence of evangelical Christianity in the United States and its numbers have been placed by various American media organs at an astonishing 65% of the American public. The actual figures, about 5% of the total American population, clearly do not reflect these propagandistic fictions.

But the Christian Right has made strong, undercover, efforts to promulgate laws that would elevate them to national power. One of these ploys is called the Biblical Law. The implementation of Biblical Law is central to the mission of building what they consider to be the “Kingdom of God” on earth. The way to get to Biblical Law is through politics. Therefore, God’s law as seen by man and manifested in the Bible should govern. References to the Ten Commandments are more than symbolic. It reflects a belief that the Bible, not the Constitution, represents the final legal authority.

1) The federal government should recede into the background through massive tax cuts. This concept has more than one benefit. As money available for corrupting so-called “entitlements” dries up, there will not be funding for welfare leeches, birth control programs, support for the army of illegal aliens now flooding out country and the notorious Social Security give-aways.

2) Christian churches should be mandated to take over responsibility for welfare and education by so-called faith-based initiatives and school vouchers. By these means, “True Christians” can establish a firm control over the education of American youth. They are determined to instill what they term Christian Values in American youth and by this means insure a growing body of young Christians, ready, willing and able to assume leadership positions in a Christian United States.

3) Capitalism is the sole reason that America is now the greatest nation on earth and the Christian Community firmly believes that this engine of national success and power should be freed of current regulations that harmfully restrict America’s major corporations in achieving their maximum growth potential. We are therefore opposed to so-called “environmental” rules and regulations, restrictive and repressive work safety regulations, involvement by the Federal government in civil rights matters. We must first and foremost introduce and secure legislation to halt devastating personal injury lawsuits against  blessed Corporate America.

4) The U.S. Constitution should conform to Biblical Law.

The Constitution Restoration Act of 2004, introduced into both houses of Congress on February 11, 2004, included the acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law by an official in his capacity of executing his office.

This is another firm and ascending attempted step in the establishment of a “true Christian society” in America.

God help us all, our President supports these repressive and grotesque concepts.

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