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TBR News June 27, 2020

Jun 27 2020

The Voice of the White House
Comments:
Signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder

  1. Grandiose sense of self-importance: Grandiosity is the defining characteristic of narcissism. More than just arrogance or vanity, grandiosity is an unrealistic sense of superiority. Narcissists believe they are unique or “special” and can only be understood by other special people. What’s more, they are too good for anything average or ordinary. They only want to associate and be associated with other high-status people, places, and things.

2.Narcissists also believe that they’re better than everyone else and expect recognition as such—even when they’ve done nothing to earn it. They will often exaggerate or outright lie about their achievements and talents. And when they talk about work or relationships, all you’ll hear is how much they contribute, how great they are, and how lucky the people in their lives are to have them. They are the undisputed star and everyone else is at best a bit player.

3.Lives in a fantasy world that supports their delusions of grandeur.Since reality doesn’t support their grandiose view of themselves, narcissists live in a fantasy world propped up by distortion, self-deception, and magical thinking. They spin self-glorifying fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, attractiveness, and ideal love that make them feel special and in control. These fantasies protect them from feelings of inner emptiness and shame, so facts and opinions that contradict them are ignored or rationalized away. Anything that threatens to burst the fantasy bubble is met with extreme defensiveness and even rage, so those around the narcissist learn to tread carefully around their denial of reality.

4.Needs constant praise and admiration. A narcissist’s sense of superiority is like a balloon that gradually loses air without a steady stream of applause and recognition to keep it inflated. The occasional compliment is not enough. Narcissists need constant food for their ego, so they surround themselves with people who are willing to cater to their obsessive craving for affirmation. These relationships are very one-sided. It’s all about what the admirer can do for the narcissist, never the other way around. And if there is ever an interruption or diminishment in the admirer’s attention and praise, the narcissist treats it as a betrayal.

5.Sense of entitlement. Because they consider themselves special, narcissists expect favorable treatment as their due. They truly believe that whatever they want, they should get. They also expect the people around them to automatically comply with their every wish and whim. That is their only value. If you don’t anticipate and meet their every need, then you’re useless. And if you have the nerve to defy their will or “selfishly” ask for something in return, prepare yourself for aggression, outrage, or the cold shoulder.

6.Exploits others without guilt or shame.Narcissists never develop the ability to identify with the feelings of others—to put themselves in other people’s shoes. In other words, they lack empathy. In many ways, they view the people in their lives as objects—there to serve their needs. As a consequence, they don’t think twice about taking advantage of others to achieve their own ends. Sometimes this interpersonal exploitation is malicious, but often it is simply oblivious. Narcissists simply don’t think about how their behavior affects others. And if you point it out, they still won’t truly get it. The only thing they understand is their own needs.

7.Frequently demeans, intimidates, bullies, or belittles others.Narcissists feel threatened whenever they encounter someone who appears to have something they lack—especially those who are confident and popular. They’re also threatened by people who don’t kowtow to them or who challenge them in any way. Their defense mechanism is contempt. The only way to neutralize the threat and prop up their own sagging ego is to put those people down. They may do it in a patronizing or dismissive way as if to demonstrate how little the other person means to them. Or they may go on the attack with insults, name-calling, bullying, and threats to force the other person back into line.

A perfect analysis of our Beloved Trump!

 

Trump’s Approval Rating

June 20

USA Rating

Approve     Disapprove

35%          65%


The Table of Contents

1.Facebook, Twitter shares drop as European consumer giant pulls ads
2. Judge orders Trump adviser Roger Stone to report to prison by July 14
3. Trump says he is staying in Washington to protect law and order
4.”He’s going to broom Kushner and Prscale” Malignantly crazy about bad poll numbers, Trump is thinking of replacing his son-in-law 5.Washington’s Farewell Address 1796 .
6. A comedy of errors
7. What are the End Days? A study in deception
8.. The Neo-Confederate Movement
9. The Encyclopedia of American Loons


Facebook, Twitter shares drop as European consumer giant pulls ad
s
The company behind brands such as Ben and Jerry’s, Dove and Marmite said it would halt US advertising on the social media platforms. Ad boycotts have led Facebook to institute a ban on hateful conduct and false claims.
June 26, 2020
DW

Shares of Facebook and Twitter plummeted 7% on Friday following a decision from European consumer giant Unilever to pull US advertisements until the end of the year.

The Anglo-Dutch company, which is behind brands such as Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, Dove soap, Lipton tea and Marmite spread, said Friday it was halting ads on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in the United States due to the country’s “polarized election period.”

Twitter’s vice president of global client solutions, Sarah Personette, said the company is “respectful of our partners’ decisions and will continue to work and communicate closely with them during this time.”

Unilever has joined a growing number of advertisers that have pulled back from online platforms after the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called for the boycott as part of the “Stop the Hate for Profit” campaign.

On Thursday, American telecoms company Verizon joined a boycott on Facebook advertising. Last week, North Face, an outdoor clothing brand, became the first major marketer to participate in the boycott.

According to Axios, Unilever spent $2 million (€1.8 million) on Facebook advertising in June. The American news website said Proctor and Gamble, Unilever’s main competitor, spent 10 times that amount this month and has yet to announce a similar boycott.

Facebook bans ‘hateful conduct’ in ads

Later Friday, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his platform will flag all “newsworthy” posts from politicians that break its rules, including those from US President Donald Trump.

The new policy on hateful content will “prohibit claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page.

“We’re also expanding our policies to better protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads suggesting these groups are inferior or expressing contempt, dismissal or disgust directed at them.”

Facebook is also banning false claims intended to discourage voting in the 2020 US elections. Zuckerberg had previously refused to take action against Trump posts suggesting that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud.

Social media companies have come under increasing pressure to monitor inflamatory posts and misinformation. Last month, Twitter  put labels on Trump tweets for the first time, which drew ire from the US president.

Judge orders Trump adviser Roger Stone to report to prison by July 14
June 26, 2020
Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A federal judge on Friday ordered Roger Stone, President Donald Trump’s longtime friend and adviser, to report to prison by July 14 to begin his sentence after being convicted of seven criminal counts last year, granting him a 14-day extension over concerns about the coronavirus.

The 67-year-old veteran Republican operative and self-described “dirty trickster,” who lives in South Florida, had been scheduled to report to a federal prison in Jesup, Georgia, by next Tuesday. Florida is experiencing rising numbers of coronavirus infections.

Stone was found guilty by a jury last November of obstruction, witness tampering and lying to Congress under oath during its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who in February sentenced him to three years and four months in prison, granted the extension sought by Stone and ordered him placed in home confinement.

“This will address the defendant’s stated medical concerns during the current increase of reported cases in Florida, and Broward County in particular, and it will respect and protect the health of other inmates who share defendant’s anxiety over the potential introduction and spread of the virus at this now-unaffected facility,” Berman said.

Trump, who has argued that Stone was treated unfairly, declined to answer directly when asked in a Fox News Channel interview on Thursday whether he would issue him a pardon.

Stone was one of several Trump associates who were convicted or pleaded guilty to charges stemming from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that detailed Russian meddling in the 2016 election to boost Trump’s candidacy.

He was convicted of lying to the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee about his attempts to contact WikiLeaks, the website that released damaging emails about Trump’s 2016 Democratic election rival Hillary Clinton that U.S. intelligence officials have concluded were stolen by Russian hackers.

Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Will Dunham


Trump says he is staying in Washington to protect law and order
June 26, 2020
Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday canceled a planned weekend visit to his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, and said he was staying in Washington “to make sure LAW & ORDER is enforced.”

“The arsonists, anarchists, looters, and agitators have been largely stopped,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “I am doing what is necessary to keep our communities safe – and these people will be brought to Justice!”

Trump has pledged to take a hard line on anyone destroying or vandalizing historical U.S. monuments and has threatened to use force on some protesters, as activism against racial injustice sweeps the country.

Trump said on Twitter on Friday that he had signed a “very strong” executive order protecting monuments. A text of the order says the federal government will prosecute “to the fullest extent” anyone who damages or desecrates monuments, memorials or statues.

The 2003 Veterans Memorial Preservation Act provides for prison terms of up to 10 years for destroying or attempting to destroy monuments commemorating those who served in the U.S. armed forces.

Trump’s order also threatens to withhold federal support to state and local law enforcement agencies that fail to protect monuments.

Hundreds of unarmed Washington, D.C., National Guard troops are on standby to assist law enforcement personnel with protecting monuments, after protesters tried to tear down a statue of former President Andrew Jackson in a park near the White House on Monday.

Calls for the removal of these monuments come in conjunction with Black Lives Matter protests, which were sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd, a Black man killed in police custody in Minneapolis.

Trump’s decision to cancel his trip to New Jersey comes amid a spike in coronavirus cases in many states.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said the cancellation was not related to New Jersey’s requirement that visitors from states with high coronavirus infection rates self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

Trump visited one of the states with high rates, Arizona, earlier this week.

Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Jeff Mason; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Tom Brown, Sonya Hepinstall and Cynthia Osterman

“HE’S GOING TO BROOM KUSHNER AND PARSCALE”: “MALIGNANTLY CRAZY” ABOUT BAD POLL NUMBERS, TRUMP IS THINKING OF REPLACING HIS SON-IN-LAW
After a botched response to two national crises, Trump’s polls are cratering, and “no one is telling him what he wants to hear,” says a source, igniting a new round of grumbling about Kushner.
June 8, 2020
by Gabriel Sherman
Vanity Fair

In Donald Trump’s West Wing, being a member of the Trump family has historically been the ultimate job security. But that truism is being stress-tested after a run of polls consistently show Trump losing to Joe Biden at this stage of the race—a CNN poll this morning has him down 14 points. According to a source close to the White House, Trump has mulled taking oversight of the campaign away from his son-in-law Jared Kushner. “Trump is malignantly crazy about the bad poll numbers,” a former West Wing official said. “He’s going to broom Kushner and [Brad] Parscale—the numbers are not getting better,” a Republican close to the campaign said.

Long before the reelection campaign went sideways, Trump frequently blew up at Kushner. For instance, former West Wing officials recall how Trump hated when Kushner received too much positive press (In January, Trump was rankled when Kushner’s portrait graced the cover of Time). “Any time Jared is in the papers, Trump complains, ‘We have to get Jared back to New York!’” said a Republican who heard Trump make the comment. In the end, the source cautioned that Trump won’t push Kushner out. “This is typical with him and Jared,” the source said.

(The White House did not respond to requests for comment. Kushner declined to comment.)

The polling has gotten worse because Trump still hasn’t figured out how to handle the politics of the protest movement sparked by the police killing of George Floyd. Axios reported the campaign is debating whether Trump should talk about national unity. Trump took some solace in last week’s unemployment report, which was less horrendous than many economists expected. “He was in a good mood, he thinks the jobs numbers will turn things around,” said a Republican that spoke with Trump.

Last week, Trump’s former defense secretary James Mattis released a blistering statement criticizing Trump’s use of military force to clear peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square so Trump could stage a photo op outside of a church. Mattis had agonized for months about whether to speak out, a person close to him told me. Mattis told people that Trump is a “proto-neofascist” but Mattis worried it would politicize the military if he denounced Trump. “Mattis’s thinking was, you can’t involve the military in politics, plus Trump could go haywire,” said the source. But Lafayette Square changed his thinking.

Over the weekend, Trump called around to New York friends and outside advisers in hopes they would validate Trump’s belief that the polls are wrong. “He’s asking people to agree with him that the polls are biased. But no one is telling him what he wants to hear,” said a Republican briefed on the calls. Republicans know how bad things are, but the party still believes sticking with Trump is the best bet for holding the Senate. Last week, Mitch McConnell told Republican senators that they couldn’t abandon Trump, according to a source. McConnell reminded Republicans that former New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte lost her 2016 reelection bid after breaking with Trump over the Access Hollywood video.

(Through a spokesperson, McConnell denied making the comment.)


Washington’s Farewell Address 1796

Friends and Citizens:

The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.

I beg you, at the same time, to do me the justice to be assured that this resolution has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

The acceptance of, and continuance hitherto in, the office to which your suffrages have twice called me have been a uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this, previous to the last election, had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations, and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence, impelled me to abandon the idea.

I rejoice that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty or propriety, and am persuaded, whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that, in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove my determination to retire.

The impressions with which I first undertook the arduous trust were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust, I will only say that I have, with good intentions, contributed towards the organization and administration of the government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable. Not unconscious in the outset of the inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strengthened the motives to diffidence of myself; and every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome. Satisfied that if any circumstances have given peculiar value to my services, they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe that, while choice and prudence invite me to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it.

In looking forward to the moment which is intended to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me; still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me; and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise, and as an instructive example in our annals, that under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead, amidst appearances sometimes dubious, vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging, in situations in which not unfrequently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts, and a guarantee of the plans by which they were effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free Constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; that, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.

Here, perhaps, I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel. Nor can I forget, as an encouragement to it, your indulgent reception of my sentiments on a former and not dissimilar occasion.

Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.

The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the union of the whole.

The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, protected by the equal laws of a common government, finds in the productions of the latter great additional resources of maritime and commercial enterprise and precious materials of manufacturing industry. The South, in the same intercourse, benefiting by the agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand. Turning partly into its own channels the seamen of the North, it finds its particular navigation invigorated; and, while it contributes, in different ways, to nourish and increase the general mass of the national navigation, it looks forward to the protection of a maritime strength, to which itself is unequally adapted. The East, in a like intercourse with the West, already finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communications by land and water, will more and more find a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings from abroad, or manufactures at home. The West derives from the East supplies requisite to its growth and comfort, and, what is perhaps of still greater consequence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyment of indispensable outlets for its own productions to the weight, influence, and the future maritime strength of the Atlantic side of the Union, directed by an indissoluble community of interest as one nation. Any other tenure by which the West can hold this essential advantage, whether derived from its own separate strength, or from an apostate and unnatural connection with any foreign power, must be intrinsically precarious.

While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in union, all the parts combined cannot fail to find in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations; and, what is of inestimable value, they must derive from union an exemption from those broils and wars between themselves, which so frequently afflict neighboring countries not tied together by the same governments, which their own rival ships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and embitter. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty. In this sense it is that your union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.

These considerations speak a persuasive language to every reflecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the continuance of the Union as a primary object of patriotic desire. Is there a doubt whether a common government can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it. To listen to mere speculation in such a case were criminal. We are authorized to hope that a proper organization of the whole with the auxiliary agency of governments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue to the experiment. It is well worth a fair and full experiment. With such powerful and obvious motives to union, affecting all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those who in any quarter may endeavor to weaken its bands.

In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection. The inhabitants of our Western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head; they have seen, in the negotiation by the Executive, and in the unanimous ratification by the Senate, of the treaty with Spain, and in the universal satisfaction at that event, throughout the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspicions propagated among them of a policy in the General Government and in the Atlantic States unfriendly to their interests in regard to the Mississippi; they have been witnesses to the formation of two treaties, that with Great Britain, and that with Spain, which secure to them everything they could desire, in respect to our foreign relations, towards confirming their prosperity. Will it not be their wisdom to rely for the preservation of these advantages on the Union by which they were procured ? Will they not henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there are, who would sever them from their brethren and connect them with aliens?

To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliance, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a constitution of government better calculated than your former for an intimate union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.

All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.

However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the Constitution, alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially, that for the efficient management of your common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositaries, and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?

Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it, avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertion in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should co-operate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind that towards the payment of debts there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment, inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties), ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue, which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.

Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it  It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue ? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?

In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils 7 Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government. the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

Taking care always to keep ourselves by suitable establishments on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing (with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them) conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.

How far in the discharge of my official duties I have been guided by the principles which have been delineated, the public records and other evidences of my conduct must witness to you and to the world. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is, that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.

In relation to the still subsisting war in Europe, my proclamation of the twenty-second of April, I793, is the index of my plan. Sanctioned by your approving voice, and by that of your representatives in both houses of Congress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me, uninfluenced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it.

After deliberate examination, with the aid of the best lights I could obtain, I was well satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take, and was bound in duty and interest to take, a neutral position. Having taken it, I determined, as far as should depend upon me, to maintain it, with moderation, perseverance, and firmness.

The considerations which respect the right to hold this con duct, it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. I will only observe that, according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the belligerent powers, has been virtually admitted by all.

The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without anything more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity towards other nations.

The inducements of interest for observing that conduct will best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me a predominant motive has been to endeavor to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption to that degree of strength and consistency which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.

Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.

Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations, I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever-favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.

 

Geo. Washington.

 


A comedy of errors

Jesus H. Christ was born (ironically enough) around five to six years “before Christ” (B.C.) due to a scheduling mixup.

Generally depicted in art as a white guy with blue eyes and dirty blonde hair, the location of Jesus’ birth and his ethnicity suggest that he probably looked a lot more like Osama bin Laden than Brad Pitt. His parentage has been the subject of much controversy. His mother is generally agreed to have been a woman named Mary, and upwards of 2 billion people would make some sort of claim to the effect that his Father was Yahweh, the Jewish God (as opposed to Zeus, Durga, Allah, Jupiter, Anubis, Quetzalcoatl or Keanu Reeves).

The location of his birth is inconsistently reported, even in the Bible. Christmas carols record it as Bethlehem, other accounts say Nazareth, the town in which young Jesus grew to maturity, with his virginal mother and cuckolded father, Joseph.

In the Bible, Jesus was a precocious child, given to lecturing rabbis on the finer points of Talmudic law and chiding his parents for being so attached to him. A few unauthorized biographies of the “mysteriously-not-burnt-by-the-Catholics” variety, such as the Infancy Gospels of James and Thomas, relate salacious anecdotes about the prepubescent Jesus and his Bart Simpson-like antics — such as using divine powers to blind fellow children who presumed to roughhouse with His Fine Self. Don’t have a cow, man!

When Jesus grew to adulthood, he took up preaching as a career choice. In turn-of-the-Aeon Israel, preaching was a hot career much like computer programming in the 1990s. Everyone was doing it. Amidst a crowded field, however, Jesus stood out as an overachiever and soon people were talking. He gathered a core group of 12 groupies, who would later become known as The Apostles, and took his show on the road at age 30.

Jesus’ pitch was something new — he talked about God as a loving, forgiving figure, in sharp contrast to God’s previous reputation as a pillar-of-salt-transforming smiter of iniquity. He also made a name for himself as a miracle-worker, enabling the blind to see and the deaf to hear, casting out demons, walking on lakes, changing water into wine and making the Statue of Liberty disappear during a prime-time special.

Jesus spent a lot of time curing sick people, feeding the masses and disrupting the money-making activities at local temples. These activities did not endear him to the Jewish authorities, who began researching ways to get rid of him. Eventually they settled on the tried and true method of betrayal by a close friend, and hired Judas Iscariot, one of the Apostles, to do the job for 30 pieces of silver.

In a needlessly elaborate Passover plot, Judas led authorities to the Garden of Gethsemane after supper (which would in retrospect be designated “Last”), telling them to arrest the first person he kissed.

The accounts of what followed are somewhat muddled, but the general idea is this: For both political and religious reasons, the Jewish council of priests didn’t want to personally execute Jesus, so they turned him over to the Romans on charges of inciting revolution.

The Roman governor Pontius Pilate was extremely suspicious of this development, since the Jews did not suffer occupation gracefully and there were plots on every street corner. Suspecting he was being set up as the fall guy, Pilate tried to make Jesus somebody else’s problem, but nobody else was interested. Under heavy pressure from the council, Pilate eventually waffled his way through the dilemma by essentially condemning Jesus to death by Crucifixion but insisting it was the Jews’ fault (a deniability strategy that would eventually be cited by the insane Third Reich as a justification for the Holocaust).

The crucifixion went off without a hitch. Jesus was marched up to a hill, nailed to a cross and died. Or did he?

The official story is that Jesus died on the cross, was tossed in a grave but not embalmed (due to the impending Passover Sabbath) and miraculously rose again in three days. Not surprisingly, this account has been the subject of much dispute after the fact.

Again according to the party line, the Risen Jesus spent 40 days hanging with his Apostles, before bodily ascending into Heaven for the duration of human history. When he departed, or so the story goes, Jesus (allegedly) put Peter in charge of the Church, a fateful (alleged) decision that would lead to centuries of bad blood among the various Christian sects.

About five minutes after Jesus was out of the public eye, the controversy began.

It’s universally accepted that Jesus was granted his surname, Christ, around this time. Christ is Greek for “Messiah,” the fabled Jewish savior was foretold in the Old Testament. Prior to this time, the Jewish vision of the Messiah was a bit more conventional, involving Kingship and leading their armies to victory against the Gentiles.

The early Christians usurped the whole Messianic complex and voted Most Likely to Save. After that, things got sticky. Although there are no reliable historical accounts of the first decades of Christianity, the early Christians had divided into camps based on their favorite apostles by 100 A.D. These various sects had a lot of strange ideas, such as the Gnostics, who claimed that Jesus never died on the cross at all.

When the followers of the peaceful and loving Jesus realized that disagreements existed, they naturally began viciously attacking each other. A period of internecine warfare commenced, with the followers of the Peter Tradition coming out victorious. The surviving entity, known as the Roman Catholic Church, proceeded to spend a couple centuries systematically destroying all opposition, only to be completely screwed a thousand years later when Martin Luther nailed a laundry list of complaints to a church door.

The Mormons believe Jesus made a post-Resurrection visit to the future home of the United States, where he befriended Native Americans and notably didn’t give them smallpox. In later years, the discovery of such alleged artifacts as the Shroud of Turin led some researchers to speculate that Jesus H. Christ (no one knows what the H. stands for) didn’t actually die on the cross (but in a different way than the Gnostics believed it).

According to these theories, Jesus was taken down from the cross still alive and nursed back to health. He then sired a child with Mary Magdalene, who took the kid to France and raised him there. The Knights Templar formed to protect this secret, codenamed “Holy Grail,” and the descendants of Jesus eventually became a line of French kings known as the Merovingians (which would then lead to a neat little inside joke in The Matrix Reloaded).

According to this theory, which is far more convoluted and labyrinthine than the above paragraph might suggest, you can actually meet the living descendent of Jesus today. Unfortunately for residents of George W. Bush’s America, he’s a Frenchman — a guy by the name of Pierre Plantard, who runs a not-so-secret-anymore society and generally sits around quietly waiting for the world to acknowledge him.

As for Jesus himself, word has it that there’s a Second Coming in the works, which would in all likelihood be the precursor to the Apocalypse. The Second Coming is scheduled to take place around the time of Armageddon, the final war that concludes the history of humanity and vanquishes the forces of the Antichrist, the chief general of Satan.

All this talk of a Second Coming has naturally led to many mentally unbalanced people to assume they are it, including (but not limited to) David Koresh, Sun Myung Moon, Marshall Applewhite, The Beatles and John Ashcroft.

To date, none of these figures have successfully walked on water or returned from the dead, so the search, such as it is, goes on.

What are the End Days? A study in deception

‘Armageddon’ is actually purported to be a battle. According to Pentecostal 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 sparse mention of Armageddon has given rise to the elaborate but entirely fictional legend of the Final Battle between the forces of good and evil. There is no mention in Revelations 16: 14-15 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 Antichrist

The Antichrist is described by Pentecostals as the “son of perdition” and the “beast”!

They claim that this interesting creature will have great charisma & speaking ability, “a mouth speaking great things”.

The Antichrist, they allege, will rise to power on a wave of world euphoria, as he temporarily saves the world from its desperate economic, military & political problems with a brilliant seven year plan for world peace, economic stability and religious freedom.

The prophet Ezekiel names him as the ruler of “Magog”, a name that Biblical scholars agree denotes a country or region of peoples to the north of Israel. Many have interpreted this to mean modern day Russia. It could also be Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, perhaps one of the Baltic States or even the lewd and dissolute Socialist Sweden.

His power base will include the leading nations of Europe, whose leaders, the Bible says, will “give their power & strength unto the beast.”

The Bible even gives some clues about his personal characteristics. The prophet Daniel wrote that the Antichrist “does not regard the desire of women.” This could imply that he is either celibate or a homosexual. Daniel also tells us that he will have a “fierce countenance” or stern look, and will be “more stout than his fellows”–more proud and boastful.

Unfortunately, the so-called Book of Daniel was written during the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero, not many decades earlier as its proponents claim, and has been extensively modified by early Christian writers to predict the arrival of their personal Messiah, or Christ, on the Judean scene. The so-called “wonderful” prophetic statements put into the mouth of Daniel are absolutely and wondrously accurate…up to the reign of Nero and then fall as flat as a shaken soufflé afterwards

It is well known that Pentecostals loathe homosexuals, among many other groups not pleasing to them, and would like nothing better than to shove them into a bottomless pit filled with Catholics, rock and roll fans, teenaged mothers, Communists, gun control advocates, Tarot card readers, Christian Scientists, abortionists, Wayne Newton fans, Asians, Jews, African-Americans and Latino Surnamed Hispanics.

The seven year peace-pact (or covenant) that is engineered by the Antichrist is spoken of a number of times in the Bible, and may even have already been signed in secret. The historic peace agreement signed between Israel and the PLO at the White House on September 13, 1993, vividly illustrates how dramatically events in the Middle East are presently moving in this direction eager Pentecostals, awaiting their Celestial Omnibus, will inform anyone who is interested and a greater legion of those who are not.

Under the final terms of the fictional Covenant, Jerusalem will likely be declared an international city to which Judaism, Islam and Christianity will have equal rights. Scripture indicates that the Jews will be permitted to rebuild their Temple on Mt. Moriah, where they revive their ancient rituals of animal sacrifice.

According to modern prophecy the Antichrist will not only be a master of political intrigue, but also a military genius. Daniel describes several major wars that he fights during his 7-year reign, apparently against the U.S. and Israel, who will oppose him during the second half of his reign.

For awhile, most of the world is going to think the Antichrist is wonderful, as he will seem to have solved so many of the world’s problems. But, three-and-a-half years into his seven year reign he will break the covenant and invade Israel from the North.

At this time he will make Jerusalem his world capitol and outlaw all religions, except the worship of himself and his image. The Bible, according to the Pentecostals, says that the Antichrist will sit in the Jewish Temple exalting himself as God and demanding to be worshipped. If this passage, and many others of its kind, actually appears in the King James Version of the Bible, no one has ever been able to find it

It is at this time that the Antichrist imposes his infamous “666” one-world credit system.

It must be said that the Antichrist does, in point of fact exist. He can be seen on a daily basis on the walls of the Cathedral at Orvieto, Italy in the marvelous frescos of Lucca Signorelli. He looks somewhat like a Byzantine depiction of Christ with either a vicious wife or inflamed hemorrhoids .

Pentecostals strongly believe that U.S. public schools “departed from the faith” when in 1963 the Bible and prayer were officially banned. Now, Pentecostals believe with horror, thousands of these same schools are teaching credited courses in “the doctrines of devils”–the occult and Satanism.

Even a cursory check of curriculum of a number of American public school districts does not support this claim but then the Pentecostals have stated repeatedly that they represent 45% of all Protestants in America. The actual number, excluding the Baptists, is more like 4%.

What they lack in actual numbers they more than compensate for by their loud and irrational views so that at times it sounds like the roar of a great multitude when in truth, it is only a small dwarf wearing stained underwear and armed with a bullhorn, trumpeting in the underbrush

Frantic Pentecostals estimated that according to their private Census for Christ there are over 200,000 practicing witches in the United States and allege there are literally millions of Americans who dabble in some form of the occult, psychic phenomena, spiritualism, demonology and black magic. Their statistics claim that occult book sales have doubled in the last four years.

What is seen by terrified Pentecostals as The Occult today is no longer the stuff of small underground cults. They believe that many rock videos are an open worship of Satan and hell that comes complete with the symbols, liturgies, and  rituals of Satanism, and the Pentecostals firmly and loudly proclaim to anyone interested in listening, that “millions of young people” have been caught in their evil sway.

Popular music is termed “sounds of horror and torment” that Pentecostals firmly believe is literally “driving young people insane and seducing them into a life of drugs, suicide, perversion and hell.” It is forgotten now but the same thing was once said about ragtime and later, jazz. If this had been true, perhaps the real reason behind the First World War, the 1929 market crash, the rise of Franklin Roosevelt and the lewd hula hoop can be attributed to Scott Joplin and Ella Fitzgerald.

It is also to be noted that the immensely popular Harry Potter series of children’s books are loudly proclaimed as Satanic books designed to lure unsuspecting children into the clutches of the Evil One. Any sane person who has read these delightful fantasy books will certainly not agree with these hysterical strictures. In point of fact, it would be exceedingly difficult to locate any person possessing even a modicum of sanity who would believe any of the weird fulminations of the Pentecostals.

Outraged Pentecostals now firmly state that in the beginning years of the Twenty First Century, “even the most shameless acts of blasphemy and desecration are socially acceptable.”

“Acts of blasphemy and desecration” sound like human sacrifices carried out on nuns at bus stops during the noontime rush hour or lewd acts with crucifixes performed by drug-maddened transvestites on commercial airlines.

In his weird Book of Revelation the lunatic John of Patmos claimed he foresaw that in the last days the world would turn away from God in order to worship and follow Satan.

Such a prophecy would have seemed believable to previous generations, but not so in our more enlightened and secular humanist day. Hard-core Satanism has been called by rabid Pentecostals noise-makers as: “the fastest-growing subculture among America’s teens”, and the revival of witchcraft and the occult is “one of the World’s fastest growing religions!”

The Neo-Confederate Movement

In their study of the development of the neo-Confederate movement Edward Sebesta and Euan Hague identified Robert Lewis Dabney, a rather marginal 19th century theologian, when judged against his contemporaries, as “arguably the most significant early advocate of a theological perspective of the Civil War.” Dabney served during the Civil War as the chaplain to General Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson.  After the war, Dabney argued in books and lectures, based on scripture, that slavery was justified by the Bible and that “slavery was a necessary good for what he called the ‘depraved’ classes.” Sebesta and Hague wrote, “Dabney believed that the Bible legitimated slavery, and thus opposition to slavery was tantamount to rejecting Christianity.

Based on their readings of this nineteenth century body of Southern Presbyterian Church literature and League of the South’s internet postings, Sebesta and Hague identified a “theological war thesis, an assessment that interprets the nineteenth century CSA [Confederate States of America] to be an orthodox Christian nation and understands the 1861-1865 US Civil War to have been a theological war over the future American religiosity fought between devout Christian and heretical Union states.

Dabney’s post-Civil War writings established the theological cornerstone from which future Christian Reconstructionists and neo-Confederate theologians and strategists would expand their theological ideology and programmatic endeavors.  Sebesta and Hague identified several themes in Dabney’s writings: “governments were legitimate only if they derived from the will of God;” “condemned human equality and women’s rights… [and] opposed public schooling…justifying all his positions by Biblical interpretation;” “that modern science and development of the theory of evolution were ‘anti-theological’ and that amongst future generations this would result in a ‘nascent contempt for their father’s Bibles and irreparably damage the South’s ‘Christian households.’

Three key theologians and theoreticians trace their own intellectual lineage back to Dabney—the late Rousas J. Rushdoony, founder of Christian Reconstructionism at the Chalcedon Foundation; Steven Wilkins, co-founder (with history professor Michael Hill) of the racist, secessionist League of the South; and Douglas Wilson, who heads the Association of Classical and Christian Schools, the Confederation of Reformed Evangelicals, Credenda/Agenda, Canon Press, and New Saint Andrews College—all of them located in Moscow, Idaho.

The Christian Reconstructionist Component of the Neo-Confederate Movement

Frederick Clarkson, in his 1997 book Eternal Hostility—The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy—identified the key theological ideas of Christian Reconstructionism developed by Rushdoony: “the Bible is to be the governing text for all areas of life—such as government, education and law;” “Reconstructionists have formulated a ‘Biblical worldview’ and ‘Biblical principles’ to govern and inform their lives and politics;” “Reconstructionists…set a course of world conquest or ‘dominion,’ claiming a biblically prophesied ‘inevitable victory;’”  “Epitomizing the Reconstructionist idea of biblical ‘warfare’ is the centrality of capital punishment…for apostasy (abandonment of the faith), heresy, blasphemy, witchcraft, astrology, adultery, ‘sodomy or homosexuality,’ incest, striking a parent, incorrigible juvenile delinquency, and in the case of women, ‘unchastity before marriage’…[and] women who have had abortions should be publicly executed.”  Clarkson noted that Christian Reconstructionism is “arguably the driving ideology of the Christian Right today.

That is not to imply that Christian Reconstructionism did not have variants or that the Christian Right adopted wholesale the Christian Reconstructionist theology, or did not have other theological influences.  The Christian Right, for example, has conveniently ignored or softened its approach to the death penalty for the wide variety of “crimes” demanded for by Rushdoony.  But, it has largely adopted its agenda.  Clarkson noted that the Christian nationalist’s Council for National Policy’s secular and theological agendas range “from the dismantling of the public schools, to the criminalization of abortion and homosexuality, the radical deregulation of every major consumer and environmental protection initiative of the federal government, and the weakening, if not elimination of civil rights laws protecting the interests of women and minorities.

A decade later Michelle Goldberg in her 2007 book, Kingdom Coming—The Rise of Christian Nationalism, observed its totalitarian “elements.”  Goldberg wrote that Christian nationalism was a “totalistic political ideology” based “on the conviction that true Christianity must govern every aspect of public and private life, and that all—government, science, history, culture, and relationships—must be understood according to the dictates of scripture.  There are biblically correct positions on every issue, from gay marriage to income tax rates, and only those with the right worldview can discern them.

Goldberg’s book has chapters on homosexuality, Intelligent Design, abstinence sex education, and the Bush administration’s faith-based initiative.  But, central to the effort to achieve their goal of re-establishing the historical revisionist interpretation of America being founded as a “Christian nation” is the “war on the courts.”  Goldberg noted that the “Christian nationalists view the courts as the last intolerable obstacle to their palingenetic dream.  Believing America to be a Christian nation, they see any ruling that contradicts their theology as de facto unconstitutional, and its enforcement tyrannical.  They’re convinced that they must destroy the judiciary’s power to liberate themselves.”  Moreover, the Christian nationalist effort to strip the U.S. Supreme Court and lower federal courts from hearing cases related to the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause “could let state governments criminalize abortion and gay sex [read vociferous advocacy of states’ rights under the Tenth Amendment].  It could sanction the reinstitution of school prayer and the teaching of creationism and permit the ever greater Christianization of the country’s social services…It could intrude into the most intimate corners of Americans’ private lives.

Goldberg described one event (among several) in which Republican congressional staffers came together with neo-Confederates, Christian Reconstructionists, and others who had subconsciously absorbed Rushdoony’s dominionist message.

At a mid-2005 Confronting the Judicial War on Faith rally key speakers included Michael Peroutka, a prominent militia supporter, member of the League of the South, and former presidential candidate of the Constitution Party; Howard Phillips, founder and head of the Constitution Party; and, Herb Titus, the party’s former vice presidential candidate in 1996, and the founder and former dean of Oral Roberts’ Regent University Law School.  David Gibbs, a lawyer trained at the late Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, subconsciously echoed the Christian revisionism of Rushdoony and David Barton, founder of the Texas-based Wallbuilders and leading pseudo-historian promoting the myth that America was founded as a “Christian nation.” Gibbs told the crowd, “‘How many here understand we were founded as one nation under God?…That’s why the Ten Commandments are so important.  They were the original source of American law.  The Bible was understood to be authoritative.  When the founding fathers said, ‘One Nation under God,’ they made the decision that they would submit to what God had put forward in his law.’

The purpose of the Judicial War on Faith rally was to express support for the Constitution Restoration Act authored by former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was impeached over his refusal to remove a nearly three-ton monument of the Ten Commandments from the capitol’s judicial building, and Herb Titus.  The Constitution Restoration Act was introduced in 2004 into the Senate by Senators Sam Brownback and Richard Shelby, and, the House by Representatives by James Sensenbrenner Blumenthal reported that the Act “authorized Congress to impeach judges who failed to abide by ‘the standard of good behavior’ supposedly required by the Constitution.  Refusal to acknowledge ‘God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government,’ or reliance in any way on international law in their rulings would also trigger impeachment.”

Goldberg reported that the totalitarian elements and a desire for the physical destruction (death) to judges came from both religious and secular speakers.  Reverend Rick Scarborough, founder of Vision America for “‘patriot pastors,’” prayed for the death of Judge George Greer who had decided the Schiavo case: “‘Father, we echo the words of the apostle Paul, because we know Judge Greer claims to be a Christian.  So the apostle Paul said in his First Corinthians 5…deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may saved in the day of our Lord Jesus.’”  The constitutional lawyer Edwin Vieira in criticizing Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion in the Lawrence v. Texas case (in a defeat for states’ rights, it struck down Texas’ sodomy law), admiringly borrowed a truncated phrase from Joseph Stalin as a solution to the “‘personnel problem,’” “‘No man, no problem.’”  Goldberg gave Stalin’s full quote: “‘Death solves all problems: no man, no problem.’” Goldberg’s account is fully corroborated by Max Blumenthal who attended the Judicial War on Faith rally.

Chris Hedges in his 2006 book, American Fascists—The Christian Right and the War on America—reported on the “racist and brutal intolerance of the intellectual godfathers of today’s Christian Reconstructionism.”  Based on his reading of Rushdoony’s The Institutes of Biblical Law, Hedges observed that “The Jews, who neglected to fulfill God’s commands in the Hebrew scriptures, have, in this belief system, forfeited their place as God’s chosen people and have been replaced by Christians….Rushdoony dismissed the widely accepted estimate of 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust as an inflated figure, and his theories on race often echo those found in Nazi eugenics, in which there are higher and lower forms of human beings.  Those considered by the Christian state to be immoral and incapable of reform are to be exterminated.”

The other key development in movement towards an American theocracy is the influence of the John Birch Society upon R.J. Rushdoony and the Christian nationalists’ Council for National Policy.

Clarkson noted that Rushdoony admired the cellular structure of the John Birch Society as having a ‘strong resemblance to the early church.’”  Furthermore, Christian “Reconstructionist literature can be found in JBS affiliated American Opinion bookstores.  Indeed, the conspiracist views of Reconstructionist writers (focusing on the United Nations and the Council on Foreign Relations, among others) are consistent with those of the John Birch Society.”  While the Christian Reconstructionists placed their primary emphasis on orthodox Christianity rather than politics, Clarkson noted that in the “1990s the JBS worldview is more persuasive to more people when packaged as a Biblical worldview.” In other words, there is market segmentation where the same conspiracy theory can be presented to two different, even mutually exclusive target audiences, in two different narratives, one orthodox Christian and the other secular.  But, Chip Berlet and Matthew Lyons in their analysis of the John Birch Society noted that the influence could also run in the opposite direction.  They reported that the “influence of fundamentalist Christian beliefs on Birch doctrine are often obscured by the group’s ostensible secular orientation.  As Welch [founded the JBS in 1958] put it, “‘This is a world-wide battle, between lightness and darkness; between freedom and slavery; between the spirit of Christianity and spirit of [sic] anti-Christ for the souls and bodies of men.’”

Clarkson quoted investigative journalist Russ Ballant that the Council for National Policy “‘was inspired by business and political leaders who were also leaders of the John Birch Society.’” Nelson Bunker Hunt, a member of the John Birch Society’s national council, assisted Tim LaHaye, a former JBS trainer and later co-author of the very successful Left Behind series of novels, in founding the Council for National Policy.

The Neo-Confederate Component

Vehement opposition to elements of the New Deal were present already in 1934, largely centered on conservative Democrats in the South.  Historian T.H. Watkins reported that in 1934, with FDR’s New Deal barely underway, support for a federal anti-lynching law was “stalled by the threat of filibuster” by Senators from Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Texas.  In 1935, President Roosevelt told Walter White, head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, “‘I did not choose the tools with which I must work…Had I been permitted to choose them I would have selected quite different ones.  But I’ve got to get legislation passed by Congress to save America.  The Southerners by reason of the seniority rule in Congress are chairmen or occupy strategic places on most of the Senate and House committees.  If I come out for the anti-lynching bill now, they will block every bill I ask Congress to pass to keep America from collapsing.  I just can’t take that risk.’”  In 1938, Southern senators conducted a six-week, day-and-night filibuster of the federal anti-lynching legislation.  Senator Ellender of Louisiana urged his colleagues to continue the filibuster “‘at all costs [to] preserve the white supremacy of America.’”

After the November 1938 elections, Roosevelt’s Congressional margins were “perilously thin—and with an increasing disaffection between the administration and conservative and southern Democrats, Roosevelt’s base of power appeared to be disintegrating,” according to Watkins.  In spring 1939, Congress took action to cut funding for the Relief Act and ordered the firing of Works Progress Administration workers.  Instead of fighting the inevitable, Roosevelt “helped with the dismantlement.”

Jeff Sharlet reported that in 1943 conservative Democrats and Republicans teamed up to begin the dismantling the New Deal with the passage of the anti-union Smith-Connally Act.  Also, the National Association of Manufacturers had begun an alliance in the early 1940s with the then secret The Family, founded by Abraham (Abram) Vereide in the mid-1930s.  Vereide formed Breakfast Groups, the predecessor to the National Prayer Breakfast and other similar non-denominational, non-partisan get-togethers that brought together powerful, rich businessmen and elite politicians for fellowship.  In the 1950s and onwards among Vereide’s “closest allies would be Dixiecrats such as South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond, who became a coleader with Abram of the senate’s weekly prayer breakfast, and Mississippi senator John Stennis.” Sharlet reports that those conservatives who favored “slow and limited integration” were “‘moderates,’” while activism “on its behalf bordered on treason.”

Development of the neo-Confederate movement was no doubt assisted from May 1954 by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to desegregate white-only schools.  The subsequent development of the Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and the moral pressure this movement exerted on federal, state and local governments, as well as the reign of terror unleashed by the Ku Klux Klan with the implicit support of Southern governors, legislatures, congressmen, law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, juries, white clergy, and public opinion all played a role in the development of the neo-Confederate movement.  Leonard Zeskind reported that the Supreme Court decision ushered in the “Third Era Klan” that met the decision with violence, though at a much lower level than the post-Civil War Klan who “fought to break the Reconstruction governments and push black people back into servitude.” The Third Era Klan “lost its war.”

In September 1957, President Eisenhower ordered federal troops into Little Rock, Arkansas to protect nine black children attempting to desegregate a white public school.  In September 1962, President Kennedy ordered federal marshals, Army, and National Guard troops to protect James Meredith as he attempted to enroll in the University of Mississippi.  A French journalist, Paul Guihard, who was killed during the riot had earlier written in a dispatch that it seemed as if “‘The Civil War has never ended.’”  Under President Johnson, the Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Indicative of the Southern rage underlying the reign of terror, in May 1964, Sam Bowers, Imperial Wizard of the Mississippi White Knights, declared: “‘The events which will occur in Mississippi this summer may well determine the fate of Christian civilization for centuries to come.’”  This Ku Klux Klan statement is no different than statements from the League of the South that was founded in 1994.

There were 40 people brutally murdered by Klansmen driven by racial hatred.  I pick here only one for its political symbolism—the murders of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Werner in Philadelphia, Mississippi on June 21, 1964.  Driving their car on the way to Philadelphia, Chaney was arrested for speeding and Goodman and Werner were arrested for the “ludicrous charge” of firebombing the Mount Zionist Methodist Church.  They were unexpectedly released from jail at about 2200 hours.  Soon thereafter, they were again pulled over by the Deputy Sheriff who was now accompanied by two carloads of Klansmen.  The three civil rights workers were put into the police car, driven to an isolated location, and then shot in the back of the head.  Their bodies were then buried under an earthen dam by a bulldozer the Klan had rented.  The FBI launched the “biggest federal investigation ever conducted in Mississippi” with 100 agents interviewing 1,000 people, and generating a 150,000-page case file.  Charges were brought against 19 men.  In October 1967, 7 were found guilty of violating federal civil rights violations, 8 were acquitted, 3 were freed by a hung jury, and one plead guilty.  It was not until 2005 that state charges were successfully brought against one of the perpetrators.

In 1980, right after the Republican Party’s national convention Ronald Reagan spoke at the fairgrounds in Philadelphia, Mississippi, “before a sea of thirty thousand white faces, [and] uttered the magic words “‘I believe in states’ rights.’” Reagan was following in the footsteps of Barry Goldwater in 1964 who carried only his home state of Arizona and five states in the Deep South.  As Zeskind noted, it “was a portent of white voting patterns to come.” A portent that was assisted by George Wallace’s 1968 presidential campaign as the American Independent Party candidate; former Klan leader David Duke’s multiple campaigns as a Democrat, Republican, and Populist; and, Patrick Buchanan’s presidential run in 1992 in the Republican primaries that expropriated Duke’s issues. Indeed, Paul Krugman showed that between 1954 and 2004 the Republican gains in the House of Representatives was a reversal of the dominance the Democrats had in 1954.  The Democrats had net gains outside the South, but “more than all of the Democratic net loss to the Republicans came from the Southern switch.” In other words, Krugman argued, “Race, then, was essential to the ability of conservatives to win elections in spite of economic policies that favored a minority over the majority.”

It is important to remember that the “New Right” movement that brought Reagan to victory had been deeply involved in opposition to civil rights.  Max Blumenthal reported that after the 1954 Supreme Court decision the late Jerry Falwell “posited segregation as a biblical mandate” and worked with the FBI to try and smear Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. as a “communist subversive,” the same charge raised by the John Birch Society.  In 1966, Falwell started the Lynchburg Christian Academy, “‘a private school for white students.’”  As Blumenthal noted, “For Falwell and the…leadership of the Christian Right, race was the issue that galvanized their political activism.”And, as Michelle Goldberg noted, “what spurred them [the Christian Right] into action was the IRS’s attempt to revoke the tax-exempt status of whites-only Christian schools, schools that had been created specifically to evade desegregation.”

Steven Wilkins, co-founder of the racist, secessionist League of the South, is “arguably the most prominent member of the neo-Confederate clergy,” and a “resident instructor at the R.L. Dabney Center for Theological Studies” and “writes for almost all the religious publications and groups that advance neo-Confederate and Christian nationalist ideas,” according to Sebesta and Hague. Another devotee of R.L. Dabney is theologian Douglas Wilson.  For more than 30 years Wilson has run a mini-Christian Reconstructionist empire in Idaho that includes the New Saint Andrews College; Logos School, a private Christian academy; the Association of Classical and Christian Schools that certifies such private academies; Canon Press; the journal Credenda/Agenda; and, the Confederation of Reformed Evangelicals.  The curriculum at the New Saint Andrews College “treats Rushdoony and Dabney as foundational thinkers on the order of Plato and Aristotle.”


The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Doyel Shamley

Doyel Shamley is the president of a Nevada-based firm called Veritas Research Consulting, and part of his day job is to advise Republican politicians, including congresspeople, on land management and environmental policy – as such, he has participated in numerous fora and on several panels sponsored by conservative groups, and testified before various House committees and state assemblies.

But when his dayshift is over Doyel Shamley the consultant becomes Doyel Shamley the conspiracy theorist, who for years hosted the online radio show The Hour of the Time, where he would speculate on a range of issues, suggesting for instance that UFO sightings are a false-flag operation by the Illuminati to gain more power, and claiming that federal agents killed his friend, Christian Identity theorist William Cooper, because he was asking questions about the attacks on the World Trade Center – yes, Shamley is a 9/11 truther, and has claimed that “terrorism is really just part of a grand Hegelian dialectic scheme to bring about their desired change and the end result that the illuminati want, a New World Order.”

On the 2009 DVD “New World Order: The Battle for Your Mind and the Truth to UFOs”, he claimied that his conspiracy activism was viewed as a nuisance during his military career: “I did classes in the military on the New World Order, etc., to my troops and my platoons,” said Shamley: “Everything from the sham of fiat money and the federal reserve centralized banking system to the Illuminati to Council of [sic] Foreign Relations, Tri-Lats, all the typical subjects and me and my squad leaders, we would hand out literature and have classes in the barracks at night.” Clearly the fact that people in the military was annoyed must have been because Shamley was onto something.

Shamley does apparently distance himself from people like Alex Jones, however, whose antics he characterizes as “fearmongering” – not because there is something wrong with Jones’s integrity or critical thinking skills, but because Jones is too pessimistic. Shamley, on the other hand, thinks change is possible.

It is far from clear that his clients in politics are entirely unaware of his double life either. For instance, when Jennifer Fielder, the Montana GOP vice chair, identified Shamley as an expert in natural resources after inviting him to testify before the state’s Environmental Quality Council in 2014, she may not have mentionedhis conspiracy theory career, but Fielder herself has dabbled in sovereign citizen ideas and attended seminars with speakers (e.g. Kirk MacKenzie) who think that environmentalists are “domestic terrorists” and that cabals of international banking families are responsible for pushing environmental regulations. It is hard not to wonder.

In 2008, Shamley was elected natural resources coordinator for Apache County, a position he used to get the county to pass a pair of resolutions asserting its authority over federal lands. In 2018 he sought election to the Arizona House of Representatives to represent District 7; he was apparently unopposed in the primaries but lost the general election. Shamley has also provided training and workshops for Defend Rural America’s secessionist county organizing drive in California.

Diagnosis: It’s hard to shake the feeling that the lunatic paranoia of people like Doyel Shamley has become rather mainstreamed the last few years (though of course: that itself might sound like paranoia). And its impact is surely not benign effect. Deranged maniac.

 Kevin Ryerson

Channeling is a process where a fraud or loon (the “channeler”) claims to be invaded by a spirit entity which speaks through said channeler. Kevin Ryerson is one of the more familiar of these, after being featured in an ABC miniseries in 1987 hosted by Shirley MacLaine in which MacLaine has conversations with spirits through Ryerson. Of particular note is the spirit “John”, an alleged contemporary of Jesus, who spoke through Ryerson – interestingly not in Aramaic but in some sort of faux Elizabethan English – and told MacLaine that she (MacLaine) is a co-creator of the world with God, thus confirming MacLaine’s brand of subjectivist egotheism. MacLaine, who has never been accused of being among the brightest bulb on the New Age circuit, was understandably excited.

Ryerson, who bills himself as an  “author, lecturer, award winning consultant , expert intuitive, futurist and trance channel in the tradition of Edgar Cayce”, has been in the game for a while now. Currently, he seems to be mostly channeling one Atun-Re, an ancestor of Nubian descent and an Egyptian Priest who lived during the time of Akhnathen, and he offers Tele-Readings for a fee well above your usual last-page horoscope readers. He has previously served as board member of the Intuition Network and vice-president of the Berkeley California Society for Psychical Studies, as well as faculty at the “Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.), Omega Institute, Findhorn Foundation, Interface, Lily Dale Assembly, Philosophical Research Society, Learning Annex, and the Whole Life Expos” (we mention these for future reference). According to himself, he also “works extensively with medical doctors, scientists, parapsychologists and other professionals to add perspective and insight to various topics including physics,health, nutrition, biochemistry, geology and business,” though he is somewhat short on the details of that work. Ryerson is also the author of Spirit Communication: The Soul’s Path, coauthor of Future Healer (with Ron Henry, ND) and author of the foreword to C. Norman Shealy’s The Future Healer. James Redfield is a fan, and covered Ryerson in The Tenth Insight.

Diagnosis: Probably a serious loon, though there are alternative interpretations of his business model. Ought to be reasonably harmless, but a shocking number of people is apparently impressed by his nonsense.

Rebecca Rex & Dawn Richardson

Antivaxxers are very active in Texas, and antivaccine groups like Texans for Vaccine Choice have been quite effective in blocking commonsense measures and legislation, such as legislation that would have required school-level reporting of vaccine exemption rates so that parents interested in not sending their children to a school with high exemption rates could choose. No, Texans for Vaccine Choice isn’t really about choice; it’s just against vaccines.

Well, spineless major antivaccine groups like the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) (shades of Badger’s Law here: don’t peruse the NVIC site if you actually seek information) know to exploit the situation in Texas. For instance, in connection with the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, antivaccine advocates Rebecca Rex and Dawn Richardson jumped in with the post “Texas Parents: Know Your Vaccine Choice Rights During Hurricane Harvey Flood Emergency” (discussed here) encouraging antivaccine parents to take advantage of the disaster to “stand up for their right” not to vaccinate their children and to wreak havoc in general, for instance by urging parents to take advantage of a law designed for what is normally a small number of homeless children to be enrolled in school immediately, to enroll their own children without the requirement for documentation of vaccine status.

Rex and Richardson are the founders of PROVE – Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education – which does not request vaccine education but that denialist talking points and conspiracy theories be given equal time in discussions of vaccine-related issues. Here is Rex trying on the Nirvana fallacy. Richardson, meanwhile, is also the NVIC Director of Advocacy, and has been in the antivaccine game for a while. She must for instance be credited with managing to get a personal belief exemption added to Texas law in 2003, and has been heavily involved in blocking efforts to restrict exemptions in a number of states.

Diagnosis: They seemingly try their hardest to avoid looking like complete and utter loons. They fail. But they have already been frighteningly successful in blocking efforts that would actually save lives, so it’s not just a matter of laughs.

 

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