TBR News June 6, 2020

Jun 06 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. June 6, 2020: Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not
the place to discuss it.

Comment for June 6, 2020: “For some time, Trump and his neo-fascist staff have been plotting to overthrow the existing bureaucracy in America and replace it with a neo-Nazi government, with Trump as führer. They thought they could manipulate the corona virus eruption to achieve this but Trump is clumsy and his mental problems are such as to preclude logical thought on his part. That project failed although it left social and economic havoc in its wake and the new eruptions over the murder, by police, of a black man, have turned the public against an armed force that Trump and his allies were counting on to support his takeover. ‘God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform….’”

The Table of Contents
• Protests about police brutality are met with wave of police brutality across US
• Buffalo police officers quit unit to protest colleagues’ suspension – officials
• Police Militarization Has Fostered a Culture that Sees Protesters as ‘The Enemy’
• DC mayor tells Trump to remove federal law enforcement and military from the city as George Floyd protests continue
• What does ‘defund the police’ mean? The rallying cry sweeping the US – explained
• Trump, neo-fascism, and the COVID-19 Pandemic
• The religious right is still sticking by Trump. Sadly, there’s a long, grim pattern
• Jesus the Essene
• The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Protests about police brutality are met with wave of police brutality across US
Use teargas, batons, pepper spray, fists, feet and vehicles against protesters sparks lawsuits and international condemnation
June 6, 2020
by Adam Gabbatt
The Guardian
The nationwide anti-police brutality protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in the US have been marked by widespread incidents of police violence, including punching, kicking, gassing, pepper-spraying and driving vehicles at often peaceful protesters in states across the country.
The actions have left thousands of protesters in jail and injured many others, leaving some with life-threatening injuries.
From Minnesota to New York, Texas, California, Washington DC and many places beyond, from small towns to big cities, police officers have demonstrated just how problematic law enforcement is in the US, drawing condemnation from international groups as well as domestic civil rights organizations.
The International Crisis Group, which monitors unrest around the world, said the police had used “excessive force”. The UN high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, said: “All police officers who resort to excessive use of force should be charged and convicted for the crimes committed.”
Numerous incidents of police violence have been exposed in disturbing videos and press accounts in recent days, with little sign that police are adjusting their tactics.
New York City alone has seen numerous incidents. On Saturday 30 May, officers in a police SUV drove at a crowd of protesters in Brooklyn, knocking several to the ground. A day earlier, a police officer was caught on camera violently shoving a woman to the ground during a demonstration. The woman, Dounya Zayer, was taken to hospital and said she suffered a seizure and concussion.
At another New York protest, an officer yanked a facemark from an African American man who was standing with his hands in the air, then pepper-sprayed him in the face.
In Buffalo, in western New York state, two officers shoved a 75-year-old man to the ground. A video showed the man hitting his head on the ground, causing his blood to spill on the sidewalk. He is now gravely ill in hospital.
On Thursday, a video posted to Twitter showed a group of police beating peaceful protesters in Philadelphia. One officer is seen using a baton to hit a man on the head, before he and another officer pin him to the ground.
Protesters in Minneapolis, where four police officers have been charged with murder over the death of George Floyd, have also been subjected to violence.
In one incident police shot paint canisters at a woman who was standing on the porch of her own home. Footage showed an officer shouting, “Light ’em up” before police opened fire. Minneapolis police have also used teargas, flash-bangs and rubber bullets on a peaceful protests in the city.
In the south-east of the US, a black woman who was kneeling with her hands in the air was shoved to the ground by police in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
On the west coast, a police car drove into a protester in Los Angeles, briefly trapping them underneath the engine, and police used teargas to dispel a demonstration in Santa Monica.
In Los Angeles, as in other cities in the US, police have also repeatedly fired rubber bullets at protesters. Among those struck was CJ Montano, a military veteran, who said he had his hands up when he was shot in the head, hip, legs, stomach and ribs. In Austin, Texas, police are conducting an internal investigation after a pregnant woman was reportedly hit with a round to her stomach.
A group of scientists examined the impact of rubber and plastic bullets in 2017. They found that that 15% of those shot with the bullets, or with beanbag rounds and other “less lethal” bullets, had suffered permanent injury.
Even medical workers have not been immune.
According to the Daily Beast, 32-year-old Rayne Valentine was wearing his hospital ID when he was beaten by police officers in New York. Valentine, whose wound was closed with staples, said he had been filming protesters. Elsewhere a doctor in Miami, Florida, said he was teargassed at a protest.
Officers reportedly used teargas in Dallas and San Antonio, both in Texas, in Philadelphia and – in the most widely shared incident – to disperse protesters outside the White House in Washington DC so that Donald Trump could have his photo taken with a Bible outside a church.
Among those abused in Washington DC were a pair of Australian journalists, who were reporting on a protest. Video showed TV cameraman Tim Myers being hit with a riot shield and punched, while correspondent Amelia Brace was hit with a baton.
Frequently journalists have been met with the same aggressive policing as demonstrators, and according to the Nieman Journalism Lab, police attacked journalists “at least 140 times” in the last four days of May.
In some states, police officers have been disciplined following violence. The two officers who pushed the man in Buffalo have been suspended – which prompted all 57 members of the Buffalo police department’s emergency response team to resign in protest on Friday – as has the Fort Lauderdale officer who pushed the kneeling woman to the ground. Six police officers in Atlanta, Georgia, have been charged with aggravated assault after tasing a man and dragging a woman out of a car during an arrest in Atlanta.
In most cases, however, no action has been brought against officers or police departments. Seeking to change this, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the Minneapolis police, accusing them of attacking journalists during protests, and is taking similar action in LA.
On Friday, Black Lives Matter, the ACLU and other civil rights groups brought a separate lawsuit against Trump and the attorney general, Bill Barr, over the police response to the protest in Washington DC.
“Across the country, law enforcement armed with military weaponry are responding with violence to people who are protesting police brutality,” said the ACLU’s Ben Wizner. “The first amendment right to protest is under attack, and we will not let this go unanswered.”

Buffalo police officers quit unit to protest colleagues’ suspension – officials
June 5, 2020
by Nathan Layne
All 57 members of a police tactical unit in Buffalo have resigned from that team to protest the suspension of two colleagues who were filmed shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground, officials of the northern New York city said on Friday.
Two members of the Buffalo Police Department’s Emergency Response Team were suspended on Thursday and are being investigated after a local radio station released video of the incident involving the protester, Martin Gugino.
The video, which has been viewed more than 70 million times, shows the white-haired Gugino approaching a line of officers in riot gear. One officer pushes him with a baton and a second one with his hand. He falls, a crack is heard and blood trickles from his head, as officers walk by his still body.
Local media quoted Buffalo Police Benevolent Association President John Evans as saying the officers were doing their job, and that their colleagues on the response team had resigned from the special unit to protest their treatment. The 57 remain police officers, Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood said in a statement. Evans could not be reached for comment.
Earlier on Friday a spokeswoman for the local county’s district attorney, Kait Munro, said the two officers are under investigation for potential criminal liability in connection with Thursday evening’s incident outside city hall.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told a press conference on Friday that contingency plans were in place to address any policing issues due to the resignations and he said state troopers were embedded with Buffalo police to shore up their operations.
“I can say that Buffalo will be safe this weekend,” he said.
Brown said Gugino had been “asked to leave numerous times” from the area because of the city’s curfew.
Prior to the incident “there were conflicts between protesters,” Brown said. “There was a danger of fights breaking out between protesters, and the police felt it was very important to clear that scene for the safety of protesters.”
Even so, the video footage has raised further questions about police behavior, after the death of African-American man George Floyd in Minneapolis set off nationwide street protests.
The video shows the majority of the officers march past Gugino, though the officer who pushed him with a baton starts to lean over him before he is motioned away by another officer. Someone is heard calling for a medic.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Friday he had spoken with Gugino and was thankful he survived. Cuomo said the police chief should fire the officers involved.
“You see that video and it disturbs your basic sense of decency and humanity,” Cuomo told a daily briefing. “Why, why, why was that necessary? Where was the threat?”
Gugino, who is white, could not be reached. According to a community organizer who has known him for a decade, he is a longtime activist who has advocated for affordable housing, climate justice and police accountability and regularly protested outside the Erie County Holding Center, a Buffalo jail that has come under scrutiny for a string of inmate deaths.
“I’ve been doing this work for around 10 years, and I can’t remember a protest Martin wasn’t at,” said John Washington, an organizer at People’s Action in Buffalo. “Whatever the issues of justice were he stepped up and was always there.”
Washington said Gugino had gone to the demonstration to protest brutality by police but “clearly” posed no danger to the officers. He said he had only been able to confirm Gugino was in stable condition.
Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut; Editing by Daniel Wallis

Police Militarization Has Fostered a Culture that Sees Protesters as ‘The Enemy’
June 2, 2020
by Tom Nolan
Defense One
The unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd after being pinned to the ground by the knee of a Minneapolis police officer has left parts of U.S. cities looking like a battle zone.
Night after night, angry protesters have taken to the street. So too have police officers dressed in full riot gear and backed by an arsenal that any small military force would be proud of: armored vehicles, military-grade aircraft, rubber and wooden bullets, stun grenades, sound cannons and tear gas canisters.
The militarization of police departments has been a feature of U.S. domestic law enforcement since the 9/11 attacks. What is clear from the latest round of protest and response, is that despite efforts to promote de-escalation as a policy, police culture appears to be stuck in an “us vs. them” mentality.
As a former police officer of 27 years and a scholar who has written on the policing of marginalized communities, I have observed the militarization of the police firsthand, especially in times of confrontation.
I have seen, throughout my decades in law enforcement, that police culture tends to privilege the use of violent tactics and non-negotiable force over compromise, mediation, and peaceful conflict resolution. It reinforces a general acceptance among officers of the use of any and all means of force available when confronted with real or perceived threats to officers.
We have seen this play out during the first week of protests following Floyd’s death in cities from Seattle to Flint to Washington, D.C.
The police have deployed a militarized response to what they accurately or inaccurately believe to be a threat to public order, private property, and their own safety. It is in part due to a policing culture in which protesters are often perceived as the “enemy.” Indeed teaching cops to think like soldiers and learn how to kill has been part of a training program popular among some police officers.
Police militarization, the process in which law enforcement agencies have increased their arsenal of weapons and equipment to be deployed in an array of situations, began in earnest in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
In the years that followed, domestic law enforcement in the United States began a strategic shift toward tactics and practices that employed militarized responses to even routine police activities.
Much of this was aided by the federal government, through the Defense Logistics Agency’s 1033 Program, which allows the transfer of military equipment to local law enforcement agencies, and the Homeland Security Grant Program, which gives police departments funding to buy military-grade weapons and vehicles.
Critics of this process have suggested that the message sent to police through equipping them with military equipment is that they are in fact at war. This to me implies that there needs to be an “enemy.” In cities and, increasingly, suburban and rural areas, the enemy is often those “others” who are perceived to be criminally inclined.
The consequences of this militarized police mentality can be deadly, especially for black Americans.
A study of police-involved deaths between 2012 and 2018 found that on average, police kill 2.8 men every day in the U.S. The risk of death at the hands of an officer was found to be between 3.2 and 3.5 times higher for black men compared to white men.
And there appears to be a correlation between militarization and police violence. A 2017 study analyzed spending by police departments against police-involved fatalities. Summarizing their results in The Washington Post, the authors of the study wrote: “Even controlling for other possible factors in police violence (such as household income, overall and black population, violent-crime levels and drug use), more-militarized law enforcement agencies were associated with more civilians killed each year by police. When a county goes from receiving no military equipment to $2,539,767 worth (the largest figure that went to one agency in our data), more than twice as many civilians are likely to die in that county the following year.”
And it isn’t just individuals who suffer. Behavioral scientist Denise Herd has studied the community effect of police violence. Writing in the Boston University Law Review earlier this year, she concluded that “violent encounters with police produce a strong ripple effect of diminishing the health and well-being of residents who simply live in areas where their neighbors are killed, hurt, or psychologically traumatized.”
The trauma from the video of George Floyd in clear distress while a uniformed officer knelt on his neck is evident in the reaction it has provoked.
The need to address the escalation of police confrontations – both during protests and in individual encounters – was a focus of the last big push for police reform, after the killing of a unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. As with the case of George Floyd, it led to violent scenes in which protesters confronted militarized officers.
Just months after the Ferguson unrest, President Obama set up his Task Force on 21st Century Policing. It recommended the implementation of training and policies that “emphasize de-escalation.” It also called on police to employ tactics during protests “designed to minimize the appearance of a military operation and avoid using provocative tactics and equipment that undermine civilian trust.”
By the evidence of the last few days, a number of police departments have failed to heed the message

DC mayor tells Trump to remove federal law enforcement and military from the city as George Floyd protests continue
• District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser on Friday said she wants President Donald Trump to remove “all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence” from Washington.
• Bowser’s letter comes as the message “Black Lives Matter” was painted in giant yellow letters down 16th Street in Washington.
• Earlier this week, the Pentagon confirmed that approximately 1,600 active-duty troops from North Carolina and New York were flown into the D.C. area, as the nation braced for protests over the death of George Floyd.
June 5, 2020
by Amanda Macias
WASHINGTON — Mayor Muriel Bowser on Friday said she wants President Donald Trump to remove “all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence” from the city as protests over the death of George Floyd continued.
“The deployment of federal law enforcement personnel and equipment are inflaming demonstrators and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting for change and reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing Black Americans,” Bowser explained in a letter to Trump.
“Furthermore, I continue to be concerned that unidentified federal personnel patrolling the streets of Washington, D.C. pose both safety and national security risks,” the Democratic mayor added.
Bowser’s letter comes as the message “Black Lives Matter” was painted in giant yellow letters down 16th Street in Washington, the site of many demonstrations.
Trump fired back in a pair of tweets Friday afternoon, calling the Democratic mayor “incompetent” with a budget that is “totally out of control.”
″[Mayor Bowser] is constantly coming back to us for “handouts”, is now fighting with the National Guard, who saved her from great embarrassment over the last number of nights. If she doesn’t treat these men and women well, then we’ll bring in a different group of men and women!,” the president tweeted.
Like cities across the nation, the U.S. capital has been rocked by a week of protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd, a black Minneapolis man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck.
On Tuesday evening, the Pentagon confirmed that approximately 1,600 active-duty troops from Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Drum in New York were flown into the Washington area, as the nation braced for another day of protests.
Read more: Esper regrets using the term ‘battle space’ when describing civil unrest in U.S. cities
The troops, who are “postured” on military bases near the District of Columbia, have so far not taken part in any support to “civil authority operations,” the Pentagon said in a statement Tuesday night.
There are approximately 41,500 National Guardsmen activated across 33 states and the District of Columbia to assist state and local law enforcement in civil unrest operations.
On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters at the Pentagon that while he ordered the deployment of 1,600 troops to the region, he does not support invoking the Insurrection Act. That law would allow President Donald Trump to send the active-duty military to respond to civil unrest in cities across the country.
The Pentagon then said it was going to send home some of the active-duty troops.
Hours later, following a meeting at the White House and reports that Trump was upset with Esper, an Army spokesperson told NBC News that Esper had changed his mind again and would not be sending troops home.
A day later, Esper reversed his decision and ordered several hundred troops from the 82nd Airborne Division to return home to Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

What does ‘defund the police’ mean? The rallying cry sweeping the US – explained
Activists have long advocated taking money from police and reinvesting it in services. The idea is now seeing a wave of support
June 6, 2020
by Sam Levin in Los Angeles
The Guardian
The call to “defund the police” has become a rallying cry at protests across America this week, and some lawmakers appear to be listening.
Activists who have long fought to cut law enforcement budgets say they are seeing an unprecedented wave of support for their ideas, with some elected officials for the first time proposing budget reductions and divestments from police. Here’s what we know about the movement, and how cities and states are responding.
What does it mean to ‘defund the police’?
For years, community groups have advocated for defunding law enforcement – taking money away from police and prisons – and reinvesting those funds in services. The basic principle is that government budgets and “public safety” spending should prioritize housing, employment, community health, education and other vital programs, instead of police officers. Advocates argue that defunding is the best way forward since attempts to reform police practices over the last five years have failed, as evidenced by the brutal killing of George Floyd. Groups have a range of demands, with some seeking modest reductions and others viewing full defunding as a step toward abolishing contemporary police services.
How much does America currently spend on police?
In the past four decades, the cost of policing in the US has tripled and is now $115bn, according to a recent analysis. That steady increase comes as crime has been consistently declining. In most cities, spending on police is significantly greater than spending on services and other departments ($1.8bn on police in Los Angeles, for example, which is more than half the city’s general fund). The Covid-19 economic crisis has led cities and states to make drastic budget cuts to education, youth programs, arts and culture, parks, libraries, housing services and more. But police budgets have grown or gone largely untouched – until pressure from protests this week.
How are lawmakers addressing the calls to defund?
Almost overnight and in direct response to protests, some mayors and other elected leaders have reversed their position on police funding. The mayor of LA said he would look to cut as much as $150m from the police, just two days after he pushed forward a city budget that was increasing it by 7%. A New York councilman has called for a $1bn divestment from the NYPD. In Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, San Francisco and other cities, local policymakers have expressed support for some form of defunding or opposing police budget increases. Most radically, in Minneapolis, councilmembers have discussed potentially disbanding the embattled police department altogether. Colleges, public school systems, museums and other institutions are also divesting from police.
How do proposed cuts align with activists’ demands?
The change in direction is monumental, but the size of the proposed cuts is not, activists have said. In LA, Black Lives Matter has been pushing for a “people’s budget” that allocates just 5.7% of the general fund to law enforcement, instead of the 51% of the mayor’s plan. More broadly, longstanding abolitionist groups, such as Critical Resistance and MPD 150, argue that the cities should not be looking for minor savings and cuts, but should be fundamentally reducing the scale and size of the police force and dismantle the traditional law enforcement system. That can start with finding “non-police solutions to the problems poor people face”, such as counselors responding to mental health calls and addiction experts responding to drug abuse.
If cities defund police, will violence and crime increase?
Abolition groups argue that policing and prison are at their core racist and harmful and make communities less safe. They also point out that the vast majority of police work has nothing to do with responding to or preventing violence, and that police have a terrible track record of solving murders or handling rape and domestic violence.
While there is no contemporary example of defunding in the US, there are studies suggesting that less policing could mean less crime. In 2014 and 2015, New York officers staged a “slowdown” to protest the mayor, arguing that if they did less police work, the city would be less safe. But the opposite turned out to be true. When the officers took a break from “broken windows policing”, meaning targeting low-level offenses, there was a drop in crime. Researchers posited that aggressive policing on the streets for petty matters can ultimately cause social disruption and lead to more crime. Policing that punishes poverty, such as hefty traffic tickets and debts, can also create conditions where crime is more likely. When New York ended “stop and frisk”, crime did not rise.
How are police unions responding to defunding calls?
America’s powerful police unions have long resisted even minor reforms and accountability measures, and are predictably arguing, without evidence, that budget cuts at any scale will make cities less safe. They’ve cited looting and property damage amid protests this week to suggest that cities don’t have enough officers. Defunding advocates, however, have pointed out that the highly militarized response to peaceful demonstrations and the aggressive and at times violent ways officers are handling protesters has only provided further evidence that police cause harm (when there is no public safety threat in the first place).
Are there examples of police defunding that US cities can follow?
America’s legacy of racism and severe gun violence epidemic make it difficult to compare to other countries. But some have pointed out that compared to peer nations, the US spends significantly less on social services and more on public safety programs, and has astronomically higher incarceration rates. These investments in police and prison, however, don’t translate to a safer country. In fact, police in America kill more people in days than many countries do in years.

Trump, neo-fascism, and the COVID-19 Pandemic
April 11, 2020
by Michael D. Yates and John Bellamy Foster
MR Online
The main reason, of course, for talking about neo-fascism today in the context of the United States is that Donald Trump occupies the White House. But what we know as “the Trump phenomenon” in general is not simply about a single individual, any more than McCarthyism was merely about Joseph McCarthy, but rather has to do primarily with class dynamics, associated with capital’s increasing reliance on a white-supremacist, neo-fascist movement, emanating from the lower-middle class, in a context of deepening economic disarray, hegemonic decline, and failing neoliberal globalization. It is these conditions that led to the active mobilization of its rearguarders within the most reactionary elements of society, made much worse in the United States by a legacy of slavery, imperialism, and war. Trump is a vehicle of this ultra-reactionary shift in class dynamics, coming along at just the right time. As a billionaire real estate mogul, he represents monopoly-finance capital. We know that his former wife, Ivana Trump, indicated that the only book she ever saw him read (other than his own ghost-written Art of the Deal) was a collection of Hitler’s speeches, which he kept at his bedside. He learned, via Reality Television and Hollywood coaching to play the role of a king-like billionaire channeling the extreme anger of the lower-middle class, directed at the government and liberal elites, and at the so-called underserving poor. He has deliberately portrayed himself as someone to whom the normal rules don’t apply, who could act with impunity, an attitude he has put into practice in the White House, and which is the secret of much his popularity with his followers.
But more important than Trump himself was the political formation that coalesced around him in the form of a direct alliance between elements of the billionaire class and the largely reactionary, white lower-middle class with the former often bankrolling the latter. The billionaire capitalists and the CEOs of the big corporations understood that the Trump administration represented their economic interests and they were willing to put up with the Cro-Magnon political ideology, of which they do not care a fig one way or another, as a kind of necessary evil enabling them to continue their looting of the society. What made Trump essential for the “masters of the universe”—as the capitalist billionaires now characterize themselves—was the nature of the neo-fascist political alliance that gave him an army of belligerent supporters, with the help of Fox News, Breitbart, twitter, etc. With this, he was able to reach the White House and from there he and his cabal were able to conduct their onslaught on the liberal-democratic state with the backing of some of the key sectors of monopoly-finance capital, and under the mantra of Making America Great Again.
Characteristic of fascism is the notion of the leader, or Führer, giving rise to the Führer principle (Führerprinzip). Once this is in place, as the chief Nazi legal and political and legal theorist Carl Schmitt explained, a kind of ur-legality can be perpetuated in which the Führer principle overrides nearly everything. There is no doubt that Trump has now come to represent something like this for his followers. He is seen as transcending the legal structure or is himself the law; the constitution is continually bent against liberal democracy. This is of course a very dangerous phenomenon, especially in a period of crisis such as the present when the seizure of greater power at the top is possible. Moreover, Trump’s iron grip on the Republican Party and his packing the U.S. Supreme Court and judiciary suggest that the famous separation of powers (or checks and balances), especially those represented by judicial review, are scarcely operative anymore. Trump and his followers attack Republican non-loyalists, those with a trace of respect for the Constitution or the separation of powers, as Never Trumpers and rage at them with an intensity far greater than their attacks on “leftists,” by which they mean anyone as far “left’ as Joe Biden. In this way, the entire Republican Party has been brought into lock step.
Trump’s followers don’t view him as having to conform to normal standards of truth. This is a sign of the operation the Führer principle. It is now universally recognized that he lies perpetually, but his lies are then accepted by his followers and converted into accepted “political truths,” even conditions of membership in the pro-Trumper as opposed to Never Trumper club, in a game full of cynicism and defiance. The attitude among many of his followers is that he speaks “for us” and everything else can be called fake news, not because it is fake (though the corporate media is full of lies in the interest of power) but rather because it represents a perceived liberal or neoliberal establishment and political elite that is viewed with anger and disdain. The rage of the lower-middle class and some of the privileged sections of the working class is like that of Dostoevsky’s Underground Man (in Notes from Underground—see also Paul A. Baran’s The Longer View), who vomits up rationalism, rejecting the notion that 2+2 = 4. Trump in his constant twitters, laced with hyperbole, vile attacks on his opponents, perpetual self-praise, and the grandiose insistence that he is himself the ultimate arbiter of truth, and the only real actor (even while he constantly plays golf), offers a sense of “liberation” from science and the facts for sectors of society that have utter contempt for what they perceive as the liberal elites ruling society, obstructing business. Indeed, even for some sections of the white working class, Trumpism appeals to their sense of “radical” defiance of prevailing cultural norms. They enjoy seeing what they see as elite talking heads discomfited by the absolute rejection of science on climate change, COVID-19, toxic pollution, etc. We could see the growing spread of this kind of irrationalist political psychology, actually praising ignorance, and spewing hate, quite early on in talk radio, which has now migrated to social media. It has penetrated deeply into society. I don’t know if you have read Harry Frankfurt’s book On Bullshit. One can learn a lot about the vomiting up of reason in the Tea Party and Trump eras from that.

The religious right is still sticking by Trump. Sadly, there’s a long, grim pattern 
Is there a line Trump could cross that would cause white evangelicals to abandon him? Don’t bet on it
June 5. 2020
by Sarah Posner
The Guardian
As Donald Trump, aided by the attorney general, Bill Barr, orchestrates a militarized, armed-to-the-teeth crackdown, terrorizing lawful protesters of racism and police brutality, much of Trump’s white evangelical base is cheering him as a courageous, godly leader facing down protesters falsely depicted as “professional anarchists”, “cultural Marxists” and “domestic terrorists”.
For Trump’s Christian partisans, his Monday night photo op in front of St John’s Episcopal church in Washington DC, after Barr ordered the park between the White House and the church cleared of protesters with teargas, is just another illustration that Trump is a mighty protector of freedom – the freedom of his white Christian supporters, anyway.
A common refrain in white evangelical circles is to condemn the police murder of George Floyd as, in the anodyne words of the evangelist and Trump ally Franklin Graham, a “terrible tragedy that should not have happened and should never happen again”. In this all-too prevalent way of thinking, there’s only one cure for racism. As Dan Patrick, the Republican lieutenant governor of Texas, told Fox News on Wednesday, the country could only be “healed” by people accepting Jesus Christ.
But when it comes to the systemic change demanded by lawful protesters all over the country, from its largest cities to its small towns, Trump’s defenders draw the line. “We cannot heal through commissions and blue-ribbon panels and more laws,” Patrick told Trump’s favorite network. Graham wrote in a Facebook post, “New laws and more government give-away programs are not the answer. It’s a heart problem, and only God can change the human heart.”
This white evangelical opposition to laws and policies addressing systemic racism is nothing new. At other similarly transformative moments in recent American history, white fundamentalists and evangelicals viewed the advance of civil rights in America as the nefarious work of leftist outsiders, and opposed laws and policy designed to promote equal rights.
In 1964, the late Jerry Falwell Sr, the founder of the Moral Majority and the father of Jerry Falwell Jr, one of Trump’s most steadfast evangelical defenders, called the 1964 Civil Rights Act “a terrible violation of human and private property rights” and said it “should be considered civil wrongs rather than civil rights”.
alwell delivered one of his most notorious sermons, Ministers and Marches, in 1965 after Bloody Sunday, when state troopers, sheriff deputies and a white civilian posse beat and teargassed civil rights activists marching from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. “I do question the sincerity and non-violent intentions of” the Rev Martin Luther King Jr and other civil rights leaders, Falwell said, “who are known to have leftwing associations”.
Although 15 years later Falwell purported to repudiate the sermon, its ugly sentiments reverberate in Trump’s America today. The president and his allies, both in and outside of government, defame protesters as disingenuous, violent, un-American, and even criminal. Meanwhile, they hail the law enforcement officers who are violating protesters’ constitutional rights and inflicting horrifying violence as America’s heroes.
In the early days of the modern religious right, school desegregation animated white fundamentalists and evangelicals to mobilize in opposition to government policy they claimed violated their religious freedom. In the 1970s, the Internal Revenue Service tried to require private Christian schools, even those without explicitly segregationist policies, to adopt measures to diversify their student body, by making their tax-exemption contingent on such improvements. For these early religious right activists, this was a sign that the government, acting as a promoter of equal rights, was the enemy of the religious freedom of Christians.
Religious right activist and Left Behind author Tim LaHaye accused the government of “harassing” Christian schools. “Doesn’t it seem strange that the US government is lenient on communists, criminals, drug pushers, illegal aliens, rapists, lesbians, homosexuals and almost anyone else who violates the law, but is increasing its attacks on Christians?” LaHaye wrote in 1979.
Today, Trump’s base echoes similar claims of persecution – claiming that LGBTQ+ rights, for example, infringe on Christians’ religious freedom, or that state governors’ restrictions on large gatherings during the Covid-19 pandemic infringe on the first amendment rights of churches. Throughout his candidacy and presidency white evangelicals have stood behind Trump because, many of them say, he is “the most pro-religious freedom” president in history.
Their ongoing support for Trump – as he cracks down on protesters and hijacks the front of a church to pose with a bible – is, unfortunately, another chapter in this long history, one in which Trump has emerged as their dedicated strongman, unafraid to defend their “freedom”, no matter the cost to other Americans.

Jesus the Essene
June 6, 2020
by Thomas Kimmel
Not even the year of Jesus’ birth is known although many theologians have concluded that Jesus was born sometime in the autumn , between 11 and 13 CE. Also, there is disagreement about where Jesus was born. Different theologians, as opposed to historians, argue Bethlehem in Judea, and Nazareth.
That was prior to certain archeological discoveries in the Dead Sea area.
From the Dead Sea scrolls, we learn that Jesus was born in Alexandria, Egypt, to an Egyptian Jewish father and Egyptian mother.
He was not born in a stable in Bethlehem nor were there any wise men visiting nor a special star hovering overhead.
The basis of all of this revisionist material is clearly set forth in a scroll found at Cave #3 on the Dead Sea in 1953.
It is on parchment (used only for important documents…the rest were on papyrus) and was written at the time of Jesus, about 50-55 CE.
The document is the only extant period reference to Jesus; all the others were created, often out of whole cloth, two hundred years later, and in the case of significant paragraphs in Josephus, later Christian forgeries.
This revealing scroll has been forensically tested as to age, type of ink, handwriting etc and was very clearly created at the time and place indicated.
The text of the Dead Sea Scrolls were written in four different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Nabataean.
The scroll in question here, from cave #3 is in Nabataean, used from the 2nd century BCE to the 4th century CE
From this we discover that Jesus was a Jew but born in Alexandria, Egypt, ten years after the date ascribed in the Gospels to his nativity.
‘Bar Nasha’(son of man) was Jesus name for himself.
Jesus was not a Nazerene, as is often stated in the New Testament, but an Alexandrian Jew. His parents immigrated to Palestine, and the young Jesus joined the Essene religious movement where Jesus’ elder brother was a member of this religious and agricultural cult. He subsequently became heavily involved in their revolts against the occupying Roman power, was one of the leaders in a revolt attempt, fled when the Roman troops attacked in a pre-emptive strike, leaving many of his fellow cult members to be captured by the Romans and all later crucified.
He escaped with a small number of Essenes to the desert where he remained until he died.
The interesting aspect of this is that the Essene cult was an all-male agricultural commune and very specifically homosexual in nature and practice.
In the scroll, Jesus’ sexual orientation is specifically addressed and names of his male lovers covered.
It should be noted that the scrolls themselves were prepared by members of the Essene cult who were themselves homosexuals and therefore not critical of Jesus orientation.
During the Procuratorship of Antonius Felix (52 to 58 CE) Jesus amassed a mob of about 30,000 Palestinian Jewish dissidents, planning to attack Jerusalem and drive out the Roman garrison. One of Jesus’s Essene close associates, a man named Judas, informed Felix of the impending raid and it was stopped by Roman troops with a heavy loss of life for the rebels. Many were taken prisoner, tried and later crucified for rebellion against the Roman government but the period records show, very clearly, that their leader, Jesus from Alexandria, escaped and vanished into the desert.
Roman period writings show that this man came out of the desert with a force of 30,000 and went up the Mount of Olives in order to fall on the city of Jerusalem, expel the Roman garrison and become ruler. Felix engaged the Egyptian and his followers in battle and dispersed them, taking most of them prisoners.
Josephus, who lived and wrote during the period, wrote about this plot of an Egyptian Jew under the procurator Felix.
The history of Josephus is full of similar occurrences, which show the state of mind of the Jewish population at the time of Jesus.
An attempted putsch by the Alexandrian Essene prophet, Jesus, would be fully in accord with it.
If we think of Jesus’ activism as such an attempt against Roman authority, the betrayal of the Essenes to the Roman authorities by Jesus’ co-conspirator, Judas, becomes understandable as well.
Marcus Antonius Felix was the Roman procurator of Iudaea Province 52-58 CE, in succession to Ventidius Cumanus.
The period of his rule was marked by internal feuds and disturbances on the part of the Jewish population, which he put down with great severity.
On returning to Rome, Felix was accused of using a dispute between the Jews and Syrians of Caesarea as a pretext to slay and plunder the inhabitants, but through the intercession of his brother, the freedman Pallas, who had great influence with the Emperor Nero, he escaped unpunished.
Porcius Festus succeeded him as procurator of Judea.
The Essenes
After his move to Judea, Jesus became an Essene, and Christianity as we know it today evolved directly from this sect of Judaism, with which it shared a majority of ideas and symbols
The Essenes were a religious sect of Judaism that existed from the 2nd century BCE to the the 1st Century CE, in Qumran, a plateau in the Judean desert along the Dead Sea.
The origin of the name Essene is debated. Some credible possibilities are either a version of the Greek word for “holy,” or an Aramaic dialect term for “pious.” In their writings, they refer to themselves as the “Sons of Light”.
The Essenes are discussed in detail by Josephus and Philo. Scholars very clearly believe that the community at Qumran, that produced the Dead Sea scrolls, were Essenes, that Jesus was an Essene, and Christianity as we know it today evolved from this sect of Judaism.
The Essenes were, in any case, an agricultural community that had a communistic approach to their life style. There was a common purse and shared wealth and much, if not most, of the first expressed Christian dogma came directly from the Essenes.
Unfortunately for religious acceptance reasons, like the Spartans and Zulus who were essentially a military community cult, the agricultural Essenes were male-oriented and firmly homosexual in nature.
The Essenes were finally outlawed by the Romans following their participation in on-going revolts, and many members were subsequently crucified in a general crackdown under Titus, not because of their sexual practices but because of their political opposition to Roman rule.
The small remnants of the Essenes either retreated to their Dead Sea area and eventually died out or changed their names and joined other more acceptable Jewish religious groups.
Before the discovery and publication of a number of the Dead Sea scrolls, little was popularly known about the Essenes other than from the writings of a few select contemporary authors. These authors included; the Jewish priest and Galilean commander, Flavius Josephus, in his “Jewish Wars” written about 73-75 CE (Jewish Wars 2:119-161) and Josephus’ “Antiquities of the Jews” written about twenty years later. (Antiquities 18:11, 18-22); Josephus, claiming firsthand knowledge, called the Essenes, the Essenoi.
The earliest mention of the Essenes is by the Jewish philosopher Philo (20 BCE – c. 50 CE) of Alexandria. Philo wrote that there were more than 4,000 Essenes (Essaioi) living in villages throughout the Palestinian- Syrian area. Among their neighbors they were noted for their love of God and their concerns with piety, honesty, morality, philanthropy, holiness, equality, and freedom.
The deeply religious Essenes did not marry and lived a celibate life, and practiced communal residence, money, property, food and clothing.
They cherished freedom, possessed no slaves, and rejected the use of weapons or participation in commerce.
Philo did not mention any names or places, nor any background to the origins of this group.
The next reference to the Essenes is by the Roman writer Pliny the Elder (died 79 CE) in his Natural History (N’H,V,XV). Pliny relates in a few lines that the Essenes did not marry, possessed no money, and had existed for “thousands of generations.”
Unlike Philo, who did not mention any particular geographical location of the Essenes other than the whole land of Israel, Pliny, also a geographer and explorer, , located them in the desert near the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered in the year 1947 by Muhammed edh-Dhib and Ahmed Mohammed, two Bedouin shepherds of the Ta’amireh tribe.
At this point we find this passage, which contains the only description of local people in this section of Pliny’s work:
“From [or towards] the west onward,Essenes flee the banks [or shores] that harm; a group set apart [or isolated] and in the entire world beyond all others extraordinary [or unique] — without any women, stifling every urge, without money [or possessions], consort of palms.”
The nature of the organization clearly indicates that it was an outspoken communism. They lived in common dwellings, 4000 strong in the time of Josephus, in various villages and rural cities of Judea.
“They live there together,” Philo says of them, “organized by corporations and clubs for friendship and dining (kata thasous, hetairias kai syssitia poioumenoi), and regularly occupied in labors for the community.
“None of them desires to have property of his own, neither a house nor a slave nor a piece of land nor herds nor whatever else constitutes wealth. But they put everything together indiscriminately, and all of them use it in common.
“The money they earn by their labor in various ways they hand over to an elected administrator. Out of it he buys what is needed, and gives them ample food and whatever else is needed for life.”
It might be inferred from this that each man produced for himself or worked for wages.
Somewhat later, Josephus gave a detailed account of the Essenes in The Jewish War (75 CE) with a shorter description in Antiquities of the Jews (94 CE) and The Life of Flavius Josephus (97 CE). Claiming firsthand knowledge, he lists the Essenoi as one of the three sects of Jewish philosophy to include the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
He relates the same information Philo did on the Essenes concerning piety, celibacy, the absence of personal property and of money, the belief in communality, alienation from associating with women, and commitment to a strict observance of the Sabbath.
According to Josephus, they had customs and observances such as collective ownership, the sharing of a common purse, the electing of a leader to attend to the interests of them all whose orders they obeyed, were forbidden from swearing oaths and sacrificing animals controlled their temper and served as channels of peace, carried weapons only as protection against robbers, had no slaves but served each other and, as a result of communal ownership, did not engage in trading. He further adds that the Essenes ritually immersed in water every morning, ate together after prayer, devoted themselves to charity and benevolence, forbade the expression of anger, studied the books of the elders, preserved secrets, and were an all-male society, enjoying their own company in preference to that of women.
Also, there was the observation that the Essenes were an all-male cult, using women to produce male children. Women who produced female children were expelled from the Essene community along with their female child. Like the Spartans, and to a lesser degree, the Greeks, women were used exclusively for breeding purposes.
Both Josephus and Philo have lengthy accounts of their communal meetings, meals and religious celebrations.
Their theology included belief in the immortality of the soul and that they would receive their souls back after death. Part of their activities included purification by water rituals, which was supported by rainwater catchment and storage.
Josephus describes their life as follows:
“After this [the morning prayer] they are dismissed by their chiefs and each goes to the work he has learned, and when they have diligently labored until the fifth hour [counting from sunrise, about eleven o’clock] they come together at a stated place, gird themselves with white cloths and wash their bodies in cold water. After this purification they go into the refectory, into which no one has entry who is not a member of their sect. When they have sat down in silence, the baker puts bread before each man and the cook sets a dish before each with one kind of food. Then a priest blesses the food; and it is not permitted to taste anything before prayer. At the end of the midday meal they give thanks again, and thus before and after eating they praise God, the giver of all food. Then they put off their mantles like sacred clothing and go to work again until evening. Supper is taken in the same way as dinner, and when guests come [members of the order from elsewhere, since strangers were not allowed in the refectory.], they too sit at table with them. Neither outcries nor disorder sully the house, and when they converse, one speaks after the other, not all at once, so that people who are not of their order feel the quiet in the house as mysteriously impressive. The cause of their quiet life is their constant moderation, for they eat and drink no more than is required for maintaining their life.
“In general they do no work except on the instructions of their chiefs, with the exception that they may be free in showing sympathy and helpfulness. Whenever an emergency requires it, any one of them may assist those who need and deserve help, or bring food to the poor. But they may not contribute anything to their friends or relatives without the consent of their chief.”
Their communism was carried to an extreme. It extended to their clothing. Philo says:
“Not only food, but clothing as well is in common with them. For there are heavy cloaks prepared for the winter, and light outer garments for summer, so that every man may make use of them as he will. For what one has counts as the property of all, and what all of them have counts as everyman’s.”
They rejected slavery. Farming was their chief occupation, but they also engaged in crafts. Only the manufacture of luxury articles and weapons of war was forbidden, along with trade.
The basis of their whole communistic system was community of consumption, not social production. There is some talk of the latter too, but it is only a question of work that brings in money for individuals either for wages or for goods sold, in either case the work is done outside the social organization.
All the members of the order however have their lodging and meals in common. That is what held them together, above all. It was the communism of common housekeeping. This requires giving up separate housekeeping, separate families and separate marriages.
From the Essenes down through all the early Christian communistic-type sects we can see that all of them are very firmly against marriage.
The Essenes, in fact, rejected all social contact with women.

The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Larry Tomczak

Larry Tomczak is an apostolic leader, evangelist and founder and leader of the fundamentalist organization People of Destiny International. He has also been editor of the People of Destiny magazine and author of multiple books, notably Clap Your Hands, the Church Planters Handbook (with Dick Benjamin, Jim Durkin and Terry Edwards), The Bullseye Challenge and the disconcertingly titled The Little Handbook On Loving Correction: How To Raise Happy, Obedient, Respectful Children and God, the rod, and Your child’s bod: The art of loving correction for Christian parents. It should go without saying that you don’t take parenting advice from people like Larry Tomczak. He is also a longtime board-menber of the Intercessors for America ministry and Executive Director of The Awareness Group.
However, no matter what hat he is wearing, Tomczak is tirelessly combatting the influence of Satan. Why do you think American media is so biased against wingnut conspiracy theorists? That’s Satan, of course. “For hundreds of years, our beloved nation enjoyed a blessed reprieve from many aspects of Satan’s reign because of the prevailing influence of the gospel and our Judeo-Christian foundations,” claims Tomczak (black people and native Americans were presumably treated according to the will of God), but “[i]n the past few decades America has drifted rapidly away from our heritage,” and rather fallen under the sway of Satan (apparently the election of Trump was a prophetic “breakthrough” – Tomczak was positively giddy – though the more recent impeachment efforts have proved to him that “we are in perilous times of the Last Days.”). Though Tomczak has assiduously worked to reveal a variety of ways in which “the devil is using the Democratic Party to try to destroy America,” including the devil’s / Democratic party’s “6-point battle plan”, you can probably guess which of the devil’s most “diabolical schemes” is most clearly being pushed and by whom.
Yes, it’s the gays
Tomczak is, as you predicted, virulently and unhingedly anti-gay, and he has claimed that gays will destroy America like the Nazis did to Germany. In particular, gay people and their allies are putting America “on the path to destruction,” and events that “brazenly celebrate, legitimize and promote the gay lifestyle in America” are just symptoms of the country’s “downward spiral” and gay “tsunami”; as Tomczak puts it, “[i]t would do us well to recall that in Nazi Germany, only a small percentage of the people were part of the Nazi party. Amid the atrocities, the overwhelming majority were apathetic and afraid to speak up [not actually accurate]… Is history repeating itself?” Yes, that’s the entirety of the parallel, and it’s based on an easily demonstrable falsehood. But accuracy is, of course, not a relevant parameter here. He later likened opposition to homosexuality – including “courageous” African countries that “outlaw homosexuality”, thus “standing strong amidst this moral storm” – to the fight against Nazis; indeed, as Tomczak sees it, we are already “in a civil war” over gay rights. God, of course, is on his side, and is already punishing gay men and lesbians by making them “effeminate” or “mannish,” with Tomczak citing Romans 1:27 to claim that gays and lesbians “receive in their own bodies the penalty for their sin.”
Otherwise, Tomczak promotes most of the standard bullshit myths, such as the pseudoscientific “findings” of Paul Cameron, about how people “become gay,” for instance through “spousal and child abuse; media influence, pornography; absence of a father; childhood experience; experimentation; seduction and molestation by peers or authority figures; [and] misunderstanding ‘artistic’ bent.” And among allegedly prudential reasons you have for rejecting the homosexual lifestyle is of course the idea that it inevitably leads to disease and misery: “Engaging in sodomy with the sewage system of another’s anatomy is contrary to God’s design and it will bring inevitable consequences,” says Tomczak. He also promotes the ex-gay movement.
Tomczak on popular culture
Like many other religious rights activists, Tomczak is no fan of Beyoncé, and is deeply concerned that Michelle Obama is apparently a fan because Beyoncé’s music will “lead naive young girls on a dangerous path that could lead some even into sex trafficking” and ultimately “abuse, abortions and abasement-sometimes death.” Tomczak’s criticisms of popular culture also encompasses “former Christian Katy Perry flaunting her sex in a satanic witchcraft spectacle with fire, horned men and a sacrificial offering to … ?”, Emma Stone (who is “compromising to defile our daughters”) and “closet lesbian” and same-sex-marriage supporter Queen Latifah. In general, Tomczak warns of the dangers of music festivals and says that if deceased rock stars could return to life, they would tell everyone to “steer clear” of rock music. He has also warned that “Archie comics embraces homosexuality, witchcraft demons and occult practices” and that the film “Love, Simon” is “a sham. It’s also another device of the devil to ‘steal, kill and destroy’ (John 10:10) our children.”
A particular nemesis is apparently Ellen DeGeneres, whom Tomczak has accused of recruiting children into homosexuality. When the accusation received some attention, Tomczak asserted that he was merely trying to create a respectful and civil dialogue regarding homosexuality, before insisting that Ellen and her “partner” (Tomczak’s scare quotes) are harming children and their caregivers, and that her marriage and support for marriage equality will potentially doom “5000 years of Western civilization” and “the future of our nation” because marriage equality “opens the floodgates for other arrangements and legitimizes a lifestyle replete with dangerous, at-risk sexual behavior such as HIV/AIDS and over 30 STDs that are endangering lives, jeopardizing healthcare and impacting our economy.” All in the name of respectfulness and civility, of course. He also insisted that he was simply speaking the truth by condemning homosexuality – his ability to assess what he says being what it is – just like Martin Luther King, Jr. denounced racism.
Duane “The Rock” Johnson, on the other hand, seems to be some kind of prophet – at least Tomczak thought his movie “San Andreas” was some kind of prophetic warning about the impending end times. But then, Tomczak sees signs of the end times everywhere, though mostly in conspiracy theories about things that simply never happened. In fact, Tomczak’s end game is somewhat unclear – on the one hand, he accuses gays and others (most people he disagrees with, in fact) of bringing about the end times, though on the other he is also literally and explicitly praying for God’s judgement to fall upon this nation because “apart from divine intervention in holy judgment, America will simply slide deeper down the spiral of sin and destruction.” It really does make it unclear what he is really trying to achieve here, but the source of any confusion is probably due to trying to ascribe coherence and sanity to Larry Tomczak.
To no one’s surprise, Tomczak is a creationist and angry critic of evolution, a theory he doesn’t begin to comprehend and which belongs to a field (science) he doesn’t begin to comprehend either and is therefore deeply mistrustful of. In a criticism of current depictions of the Scopes trial and its aftermath for the WND, Tomczak laid out his misunderstandings of evolution with great fervor – for instance, according to Tomczak, the theory of evolution is the “dogmatic theory taught in schools and perpetuated by Hollywood [?] that human beings accidentally evolved over billions of years by ‘natural selection’,” and it “is mind-boggling. It’s akin to postulating that the images on Mount Rushmore formed spontaneously”; Tomczak is clearly referencing our common understanding of Darwin’s theory of evolution by spontaneous random manifestation. And he does, of course, have some damning refutations – most of it familiar creationist talking points, but some of it a bit novel, for instance his observation that “[I]n his 160-year-old ‘Origin of the Species,’ Darwin stated, ‘Let us assume …’ or ‘We may well suppose …’ over 800 times! We’re supposed to acquiesce so our youth base their lives on assumptions rather than the authoritative Word of God.” So yes, we’re headed for the end times, and it is partially Darwin’s fault. “Christians are not to be silent bystanders in the face of this tsunami of secular humanism,” implores Tomczak.
Diagnosis: We’ll grudgingly recognize the ability of such deranged fundies to come up with novel expressions of lunacy – the topics and general gist are the same, of course, but Tomczak does admittedly manage to add some individual touches of color. He also wields a bit of influence, and must be considered moderately dangerous.

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