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TBR News May 1, 2019

May 01 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. May 1, 2019: “Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

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

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

Commentary for May 1 “Bolton is hopping up and down, drooling all over his Sears shirt at the prospect of invading Venezuela, killing everyone who get in his way and taking over their immense oil reserves. The Russians have troops there and have set up very effective antiaircraft defenses so probably he will have to be content attacking Cuba instead. But Trump likes Bolton so that says it all. Birds of a feather get eaten by bigger birds.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Venezuela crisis: Maduro claims victory over ‘deranged’ coup attempt
  • Venezuelan opposition leader Lopez enters Chile diplomatic residence in Caracas
  • House intel chair plans criminal referral for Blackwater founder
  • Trump-Russia: Mueller criticized attorney general’s memo on findings
  • S. Attorney General Barr defends his actions on Mueller report
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The Loony Tunes Club notes: A ‘miracle’ healing gel, a cult-like following, and a fiercely protected empire
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

 Venezuela crisis: Maduro claims victory over ‘deranged’ coup attempt 

President blames Trump imperialists and ‘coup-mongering far right’ as rival Juan Guaidó calls for more protests

April 30, 2019

by Tom Phillips Latin America correspondent

The Guardian

Nicolás Maduro claimed his troops have thwarted a botched attempt to topple him masterminded by Venezuela’s “coup-mongering far right” and Donald Trump’s deranged imperialist “gang” – while on Wednesday morning the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said US military action in the country was a possibility “if required”.

Maduro gave an hour-long address to the Venezuelan nation on Tuesday night – his first since the pre-dawn uprising began – in which he accused the opposition leader Juan Guaidó and his political mentor, Leopoldo López, of seeking to spark an armed confrontation that might be used as a pretext for a foreign military intervention.

However, “loyal and obedient” members of Venezuela’s Bolivarian armed forces had put down the mutiny within hours of it starting shortly after 4am on Tuesday, Maduro claimed, in direct contradiction to Guaidó’s earlier remark that the president no longer had military backing.

By noon there only remained a small group of plotters who had chosen “the path of betrayal … [and] handed their souls over to the coup-mongering far right”, Maduro said.

But on Wednesday morning, Pompeo spoke out on US TV, having previously claimed that Maduro had been on the verge of fleeing to Cuba, to say that the US would prefer a peaceful transition of power in Venezuela but that he was prepared to consider military intervention to stem the turmoil.

“Military action is possible. If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox Business Network.

Meanwhile Guaidó has insisted that “a peaceful rebellion”, not an attempted military coup, was under way and urged supporters to return to the streets on Wednesday to continue what he called the final stage of “Operation Freedom”. He said Venezuelans had the opportunity “to conquer their future” and pledged that the march would be the largest in the country’s history.

In what could result in a flashpoint between the two sides on Wednesday, Maduro also called for his supporters to stage “a large, millions-strong march of the working class” on 1 May, which is also international workers’ day.

On Wednesday morning, the Spanish government confirmed that López, who had been freed from house arrest to help lead the uprising, was now in the residence of Spain’s ambassador to Caracas.

“We can confirm that the opposition leader Leopoldo López and his wife and daughter are in the residence of the Spanish ambassador in Caracas,” said a government spokeswoman.

She said that López and his family has not requested asylum as yet.

Maduro said the plotters would “not go unpunished” and said they would face criminal prosecutions “for the serious crimes that have been committed against the constitution, the rule of law and the right to peace”.

“They failed in their plan. They failed in their call, because the people of Venezuela want peace,” Maduro said, surrounded by Venezuela’s military and political elite. “We will continue to emerge victorious … in the months and years ahead. I have no doubt about it.”

Those claims were contradicted by Guaidó, the young opposition leader who has been battling to unseat Maduro since January. In a video message of his own – recorded at an unknown location – Guaidó claimed Maduro no longer enjoyed the backing or the respect of Venezuela’s armed forces.

Maduro called Tuesday’s “coup-mongering adventure” part of a US-backed plot to destroy the Bolivarian revolution he inherited after Hugo Chávez’s death in 2013.

“I truly believe … that the United States of America has never had a government as deranged as this one,” he said, calling Guaidó and his team “useful idiots” of the empire.

He also scotched claims from Pompeo that he had been preparing to flee Venezuela for Cuba on Tuesday morning, until he was told to stay put by his Russian backers.

“Señor Pompeo, please,” Maduro said.

In a day when the struggle for power on the streets appeared to hang in the balance, Donald Trump made no mention of Russia when he tweeted on Tuesday evening, threatening Cuba.

“If Cuban Troops and Militia do not immediately CEASE military and other operations for the purpose of causing death and destruction to the Constitution of Venezuela, a full and complete embargo, together with highest-level sanctions, will be placed on the island of Cuba,” Trump said in a series of tweets. “Hopefully, all Cuban soldiers will promptly and peacefully return to their island!”

The Trump administration put its full backing behind Guaidó after he appeared in a dramatic morning video surrounded by soldiers the “final phase” of the bid to oust Maduro.

Trump and key US officials tweeted their support for Guaidó, while the national security adviser, John Bolton, appeared in the grounds of the White House to declare that the situation had reached a critical moment.

Bolton named three senior officials who he said had been negotiating with the opposition and accepted that the president had to be replaced.

Bolton called on the defence minister, Vladimir Padrino, head of the supreme court, Maikel Moreno, and the commander of the presidential guard, Iván Rafael Hernández Dala to fulfil their “commitments” to defect.

He listed the names three times, in a gambit apparently designed to force their hand but the Venezuelan foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, replied: “Dream on [John Bolton] … Not today!”

According to a source close to Venezuela’s opposition, Guaidó did not receive US planning support or resources for his move on Tuesday, which came after months of contacts with military officials, the source said.

But the opposition has nurtured links with Washington since well before Guaidó took the political center-stage in January – and such efforts took on a new impulse after Trump took office.

Additional reporting by Sam Jones

 

Venezuelan opposition leader Lopez enters Chile diplomatic residence in Caracas

April 30, 2019

by Dave Sherwood

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and his family have been admitted to a Chilean diplomatic residence in Caracas, Chile’s foreign minister said on Tuesday via Twitter.

Lopez had been placed under house arrest in 2017 but left his home early this morning. He was later seen accompanying fellow opposition leader Juan Guiado, who has been widely recognised as the legitimate president of Venezuela, after Guaido called on the military to help him oust President Nicolas Maduro.

Editing by Christian Plumb

 

House intel chair plans criminal referral for Blackwater founder

April 30, 2019

by Mary Clare Jalonick,

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, is making a criminal referral to the Justice Department for the founder of the security firm Blackwater, alleging he lied to the committee in 2017.

Erik Prince testified to the panel that a meeting in the Seychelles islands with a Russian with ties to President Vladimir Putin was a chance encounter

“I didn’t fly there to meet any Russian guy,” Prince had said. That’s directly contradicted by the special counsel’s report on the Russia investigation, which says the meeting was set up ahead of time and that there were communications about it with Trump campaign adviser Steve Bannon

Schiff said Tuesday there is strong evidence that Prince, a prominent supporter of President Donald Trump, “willingly misled” the Intelligence Committee as it probed connections between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

“The evidence is so weighty that the Justice Department needs to consider this,” said Schiff, D-Calif.

The Justice Department didn’t have immediate comment on the referral. Prince is the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Questions have long surrounded the mysterious meeting. Prince met with Kirill Dmitriev, who headed a Russian sovereign wealth fund, as Trump was preparing to take office and the Russian government was seeking contacts with the incoming administration. Dmitriev reported directly to Putin, according to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

Prince told Mueller’s investigators that he had briefed Bannon on the meeting, but Bannon told them they never discussed it. The report says investigators couldn’t iron out the “conflicting accounts” by reviewing communications, in part because text messages between them were missing. Phone provider records showed that Bannon and Prince had exchanged dozens of messages, including two that Prince sent within hours of the meetings with Dmitriev, but the investigators could not find the messages on their phones.

Prince denied deleting messages and Bannon said he did not know why the messages were missing.

 

Trump-Russia: Mueller criticized attorney general’s memo on findings

In letter to Barr, special counsel said attorney general ‘did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance’ of investigation

May 1, 2019

by Sabrina Siddiqui in Washington

The Guardian

The special counsel Robert Mueller wrote a letter to the US attorney general, William Barr, expressing frustration with how the attorney general characterized the conclusions of Mueller’s investigation into potential ties between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia, according to multiple reports.

The Washington Post, the New York Times and NBC reported on Tuesday that Mueller penned the letter in late March, after Barr wrote a four-page summary of the special counsel’s work that largely cleared Trump on potential obstruction of justice.

Mueller wrote that Barr “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the special counsel’s findings, according to an excerpt of the letter published by the Post.

“There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation,” Mueller added. “This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”

A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment on the matter.

A justice department spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec, said Barr called Mueller upon receiving his letter and that the two had had a “cordial and professional conversation”.

“The Special Counsel emphasized that nothing in the Attorney General’s March 24 letter was inaccurate or misleading. But, he expressed frustration over the lack of context and the resulting media coverage regarding the Special Counsel’s obstruction analysis,” Kupec said in a statement.

Kupec said Mueller and Barr then discussed “whether additional context from the report would be helpful and could be quickly released”, but that the attorney general decided it would be counterproductive to release the report in “piecemeal fashion”.

It was after their conversation, she noted, that Barr released a second letter to Congress saying his first assessment was not intended to be a summary of Mueller’s report.

Barr, who is set to begin two days of testimony before Congress on Wednesday, has vigorously defended his framing of Mueller’s conclusions amid intense scrutiny over his conduct.

Earlier on Tuesday, Senate Democrats called on the justice department’s watchdog to independently investigate Barr’s handling of the Mueller report and “whether he has demonstrated sufficient impartiality” to continue overseeing 14 criminal matters related to the special counsel’s investigation.

Mueller concluded the two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election last month and subsequently delivered a final report to Barr. It spanned more than 400 pages.

Barr initially released a letter on 24 March citing Mueller’s conclusion that there was no criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Barr declared in the same letter that he did not believe there was sufficient evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of justice.

But a redacted version of Mueller’s report, which was made public on 18 April, revealed nearly a dozen instances in which the actions of the president and his campaign may have amounted to obstruction. The report also stated that the Trump campaign was “receptive” to assistance from Moscow during the 2016 election and expected to benefit from Russian interference.

Barr nonetheless delivered a press conference, before his public release of the redacted report,that essentially sought to absolve the president of wrongdoing. In his statement, Barr repeatedly echoed Trump’s claims of “no collusion” with the Russians and downplayed the president’s attempts to impede the special counsel investigation.

House Democrats have issued a subpoena for the full Mueller report and underlying evidence, setting the stage for what is expected to be a protracted legal battle with the justice department and the White House.

Top Democrats in Congress said reports around Mueller’s letter reinforced the need for the attorney general to testify on Capitol Hill.

“No one can place any reliance on what Barr says. We need to hear from Mueller himself,” Adam Schiff, the House intelligence committee chairman, said.

 

U.S. Attorney General Barr defends his actions on Mueller report

May 1, 2019

by Andy Sullivan amd Sarah N. Lynch

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Under pressure from Senate Democrats, Attorney General William Barr defended his handling of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election, saying Mueller was given broad authority to conduct his investigation.

“As you see, Bob Mueller was allowed to complete his work as he saw fit,” Barr told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, adding that Mueller had the time, money and resources needed to conduct his 22-month inquiry.

Democrats have accused Barr, the top U.S. law enforcement official, of trying to protect President Donald Trump. Barr defended the way he dealt with the report’s release and redactions made by the Justice Department removing parts of the document to protect sensitive information.

Barr, named as attorney general by Trump after the Republican president fired his predecessor Jeff Sessions, also told the panel he believed Russia and other countries were still a threat to interfere in future U.S. elections.

Barr noted that he had told the committee during his confirmation hearing before becoming attorney general that he would make as much of the report available to the public and Congress as possible under the law. “This has been done,” Barr said.

At the outset of the hearing, Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, a Republican, said the report showed that Congress should focus on protecting the coming 2020 election, in which Trump is seeking re-election, from foreign interference after Russian meddling in the 2016 race.

“My takeaway from this report is we’ve got a lot to do to defend democracy against Russians and other bad actors,” Graham said.

Democrats on the Senate-led panel began to grill Barr in his first appearance before lawmakers since he released the 448-page report on April 18.

“Contrary to declarations of total and complete exoneration, the special counsel’s report contained substantial evidence of misconduct,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, the committee’s top Democrat.

It marks first time a member of the Trump administration is testifying about the contents of Mueller’s report, which detailed extensive contacts between Trump’s campaign and Moscow and the campaign’s expectation that it would benefit from Russia’s actions. The report also detailed a series of actions Trump took to try to impede the investigation.

Mueller concluded that the evidence was insufficient to show a criminal conspiracy. Mueller did not exonerate Trump of the crime of obstruction of justice. Barr and the Justice Department’s No. 2 official, Rod Rosenstein, then determined there was insufficient evidence to establish that the president committed obstruction of justice.

Also on Wednesday, the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee said an agreement had been reached to have Mueller testify to Congress on the probe. Representative Jerry Nadler told reporters the agreement was for Mueller to testify sometime in May, but that a specific date had yet to be agreed upon.

Barr has said that he will not block Mueller from testifying.

A congressional subpoena deadline for the Justice Department to provide lawmakers with an unredacted copy of Mueller’s report expired at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT). It was not immediately clear whether the Justice Department Nadler and sought underlying evidence from the Mueller probe as well as the full report.

Mueller complained that Barr did not “fully capture the context, nature and substance of this Office’s work” shortly after Barr released a four-page letter in March stating the inquiry’s main conclusions. The letter, first reported by the Washington Post, was released on Wednesday.

Democratic lawmakers, already upset at Barr’s handling of the report, reacted furiously, with Senator Mark Warner saying Barr “has lost all credibility.” Four Senate Democrats asked the Justice Department’s inspector general in a letter on Tuesday to investigate how Barr had rolled out the report.

Jerrold Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, said an agreement has been reached to have Mueller testify to Congress on his investigation. Nadler told reporters the agreement was for Mueller to testify sometime in May, but that a specific date had yet to be agreed upon.

TRUMP TWEETS

Trump, ahead of the hearing, wrote a series of tweets focusing on the fact that Mueller found there was not enough evidence to charge the Republican president with criminal obstruction.

“NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION. Besides, how can you have Obstruction when not only was there No Collusion (by Trump), but the bad actions were done by the ‘other’ side?” the president wrote.

Some Democrats have said Barr acted improperly by ruling out obstruction of justice charges against the president and by praising the White House in a news conference shortly before the report’s release, accusing him of acting like Trump’s lawyer rather than the top American law enforcement official.

Democrats are now debating whether the report serves as a suitable basis to begin impeachment proceedings in Congress to try to remove Trump from office. Democrats control the House of Representatives, which would start any such effort, while Trump’s fellow Republicans control the Senate, which would have to vote to remove the president.

Republicans, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, have questioned whether the FBI overstepped its authority by monitoring Trump aides who were suspected of being potential Russian agents during the campaign. Barr has said he would look into the matter.

Barr is also due to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Democrats who control the committee and the Justice Department are in disagreement over the format of the hearing.

Democrats want Barr to face extended questioning from staff lawyers once the customary round of questioning by lawmakers is complete, and sit for a closed-door session to discuss redacted portions of Mueller’s report.

The Justice Department objected because witnesses traditionally do not face questions from committee staff.

The House Judiciary committee has voted to add an additional hour of questioning for tomorrow’s scheduled hearing with Barr.

Reporting by Andy Sullivan and David Morgan; Writing by Andy Sullivan and James Oliphant; Editing by Peter Cooney and Will Dunham

 

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Stan Romanek

A veritable legend in New Age ufology circles, Stanley Tiger Romanek is a self-proclaimed alien abductee and starseed, who has built a substantial collection of “evidence” supposedly “proving” the existence of aliens. His evidence base contains plenty of photos and videos of precisely the type you’d expect, audio recordings, drawings and math equations he claims that he should not be able to know but has nevertheless written down, so the only explanation for knowing them is that he has been given the information from extraterrestrials. He is most famous, however, for the so-called “Boo Video” (with Jeff Peckman), which allegedly captures an alien that is looking in through Romanek’s window, and the documentary (or uncritical paean) Extraordinary: The Stan Romanek Story, released on Netflix.

Why are the aliens so interested in him, in particular? Well, Romanek does claim to be a very important person – almost a messiah of sorts – and that aliens picked him specifically to bring their message to the people of Earth. And yes: we would recommend empathy were we able to shake a few nagging doubts about certain details. Apparently he gets to ride with these aliens in their spaceships quite often, though, and has been implanted with an alien artifact (he cited this as physical evidence for his alien contacts but when a medical test for the implant was requested, he said it had disappeared), sustained mysterious injuries inflicted by them, experienced telepathic communications with aliens, and apparently even been dressed in women’s clothing by aliens. Indeed, he Romanek has even got himself another family of seven alien/human hybrid children; his earthly wife Lisa was apparently initially surprised to hear about this other family, but it seemed to have sorted itself out at least until Stan suddenly met his space wife, a younger human woman, at an Earth convention; apparently he managed to convince Lisa to accept his space wife into the family in the end as well, though. Romanek has also, entirely according to himself, been accosted by “obviously para-military” men who have attempted to intimidate him into silence, but he managed to drive them away with his martial arts skills.

The Boo Video and Extraordinary

The infamous Boo Video catapulted Romanek to stardom when it was shown on Larry King live. The alien in question looks sufficiently fake, however, that even convinced ufologists tend to distance themselves from Romanek because he makes them look bad (you can watch it yourself here; you can watch some parodies here). Romanek also filmed a follow-up video of an alien looking into his house from a sliding door, which has, shall we say, not managed to win many new converts to his cause among those not already convinced by his first video. His other evidence really isn’t more convincing either. In fact, much of it is so obviously fake that we cannot honestly shake the strong suspicion that Romanek isn’t a loon at all.

The 2013 documentary Extraordinary is a rather feeble attempt to present Romanek as the messianic figure he claims to be, and unintentionally portrays him, his family and supporters as a frighteningly cultlike affair. Some highlights are described here. In his 2009 book Messages Romanek claimed to relay communications from his extraterrestrial informant, and that an (unnamed) astronomer interpreted the drawings he made of planetary alignments supposedly under hypnosis as pointing to September 21, 2012, a date Romanek suggested would be the one on which the aliens would make themselves known to humanity, or perhaps when the natural disasters he saw in other visions would take place.

Romanek’s career hit an abrupt and serious snag in 2017. As expected, both Romanek and some of his supporters appealed to conspiracy.

Diagnosis: Obviously an intrepid hoaxer – he has even admitted as much himself. The relevant question with regard to whether he deserves inclusion here, is whether he really believes his claims about alien visitations and his own role in them, which is not really inconsistent with being an unrepentant hoaxer. We’ll give him the benefit (or disadvantage, we suppose) of doubt, and give him an entry.

Paul Blair

We’ve covered a respectable number of anti-gay nutters here, but Paul Blair still manages to impress, with a deranged lack of insight and critical thinking skills to challenge the worst. Blair is pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, a 2011 candidate for the Oklahoma State Senate, and rabid, long-standing anti-equality activist (though he tried, in 2011, to portray himself as someone who just happened to end up being opposed to Oklahoma’s legislation supporting anti-discrimination measures and subsequently receiving death and bomb threats from gays, Blair has been involved for a long time).

Blair is a close ally of Rep. Sally Kern, and a speaker at the “Rally for Sally” where he showed support for her after she said that gays represent a bigger threat to America than terrorism (since gay rights made Kern a victim, of course). He is the founder of Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ, head of the Reclaiming America For Christ organization, and a participant in what was officially an anti-hate crimes “Rally for Religious Freedom” where anti-gay activists vowed never to stop fighting homosexuality and challenged the Justice Department to prosecute them. Indeed, Blair and his organization is behind a video called “The Criminalization of Christianity” in which he warns that hate crimes legislation (“Pedophile Protection Act”, according to Blair) would “make it possible for a pastor to be prosecuted for doing nothing more than preaching a Biblical sermon on Sunday”.

Yup, a standard, hardcore Liar-for-Jesus, who doesn’t think twice about lying through his teeth to his congregation if that can garner him support for his hatred of homosexuals. According to Blair, equal rights is persecution of Christians, but I don’t think he even believes that himself. You can probably imagine his reaction when the courts struck down Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage, but the details are still fascinatingly lunatic: Blair called on state government officials to defy federal court rulings on issues like marriage, and that they could do this because “the republic is officially dead” as a result of overreaching government officials and judges  – according to Blair the courts “have no authority” to strike down unconstitutional state laws. Yes, Blair only understands the Constitution when it suits him.

And according to Blair American “culture is under attack” as “we’ve gone from True Grit to Brokeback Mountain,” and it is “the Devil” who is leading the attack on the “realms of the home and the church” through the government, and marriage equality is apparently his tool. Ineed, if you advocate secularism or gay rights, you’re a minion of Satan, says Blair, and gay rights will bring about communist, Satanic dominion (it’s a conspiracy). And the fight against equality is, according to Blair, just like the fights against slavery and Hitler, since not allowing Christians to discriminate against gay people is just like enslaving an entire race of people and committing genocide. Good to have people like Blair to put things in a proper perspective.

Diagnosis: The Platonic idea of a liar for Jesus, Blair cares little about truth, accuracy or reason; instead he’ll use whatever insanity, lie or misrepresentation he can to further his hate-based agenda. A repugnant excuse for a human being, in other words.

 

The Loony Tunes Club notes

A ‘miracle’ healing gel, a cult-like following, and a fiercely protected empire

Self described ‘gellers’ tout Somaderm as a double-barreled miracle elixir: a goldmine and a fountain of youth. But past users have reported alarming symptoms – and their attempt at speaking out is met with legal threats

May 1, 2019

by Carey Dunne

The Guardian

Charli Johnson says she first discovered the gel last May, two and a half years after a semi-truck doing 75 miles an hour crashed into her car and launched her through the windshield, leaving her with “melted” eyelashes and a brain of “mush”.

“I was dead, literally,” Johnson said on a recent Wednesday evening, standing on a stage before 550 people at the APA Hotel Woodbridge, in Iselin, New Jersey. She wore a glittery white jacket and bangles engraved with the words “LOVE” and “HOPE”.

“I was on every freaking drug you could imagine,” Johnson said of her time after the accident. “My brain tested as that of a 10-year Alzheimer’s patient … I couldn’t put three words together to make a sentence.”

When doctors told her she would never recover, she considered suicide, she said, even Googling which drugs were needed to carry it out. “Every single one of them was sitting on my table,” she said.

But the universe had other plans.

“On that day,” she said, “God showed up in my life in the form of Alexy Goldstein and a bottle of gel.”

Alexy Goldstein is a paunchy 45-year-old with a horseshoe of dark hair. Based in Pleasant Hill, California, he bills himself as an herbalist, nutritional consultant and certified homeopath. In 2017, he founded a multilevel marketing (MLM) company called New U Life (NUL), which manufactures a product called Somaderm Gel.

The company’s website claims this “homeopathic gel is the ONLY transdermal Human Growth Hormone (HGH) product available without a prescription”. A 30-day supply costs $169.99.

According to “gellers”, as the company’s 125,000 customers and distributors often call themselves, potential benefits of rubbing this brownish goop into your armpits and inner wrists every day include improved mood, weight loss, deeper sleep, reduced wrinkles, thicker hair and enhanced libido. (They call it “gelbido”.) Gellers rave endlessly in Facebook groups with names like “Gel Nation – Forever Young”. They post feverish YouTube testimonials and before-and-after photos showing off slimmer waistlines. They recruit new distributors using hashtags like #GelRevolution, #FutureGellionaire and #GetOnTheGel.

Many of NUL’s “Diamond Ambassadors” – the tiny percentage of distributors who occupy the highest level in the company’s pyramid-shaped structure – claim their gel businesses bring in upwards of $20,000 a week. This makes gellers tout Somaderm as a double-barreled miracle elixir: both a goldmine and a fountain of youth.

Johnson, who was speaking at the event in New Jersey, claimed the gel had saved her life.

“The fog lifted,” she said, choking up. “I can feel myself being healed. What’s going on between my ears from PTSD [has] absolutely transformed because of Alexy Goldstein and this product.”

Audience members wiped tears from their eyes. The mostly white, middle-aged crowd included a massage therapist who said the gel had aligned his chakras; a gaunt, heavily tattooed man wearing a red T-shirt that said “Are You Gel’n?”; and a couple who had driven 20 hours from North Dakota just to attend. The energy in the beige-walled event space felt like that of a megachurch service. Bring Me to Life by Evanescence blared from speakers.

“You guys know that I was a 400-pound Filipino woman before this?” shouted Johnny LoPresto, the event’s MC, a thick-necked New Jerseyite with slick silver hair. “This product has changed me … I feel sexy inside.”

He introduced the keynote speaker. Wild applause erupted as Alexy Goldstein walked onstage, rolled up his sleeves, whipped a bottle of Somaderm out of his pocket, and started slathering gel all over his inner forearms, grinning slyly.

“I’m here to talk about the product,” Goldstein said. “My baby.”

The crowd whooped.

Goldstein vaguely described his “baby’s” early years, claiming he first concocted this formula in 2004 for some bodybuilder friends who were sick of injectable steroids. He said the opportunity to provide the world with Somaderm was the “biggest gift” he had ever received.

“This is not about money,” he said. “This is for touching lives.”

“It is about the money. Don’t believe him,” LoPresto interrupted. He grinned at the audience. “But I love touching people. Trust me.”

WTF is ‘the gel’?

I first learned of the gel in January. A Facebook friend in her 50s had posted a photo of herself, smiling and rosy-cheeked, wearing a magenta shirt that said Namaste and cradling a bowl of raspberries. The previous year had been rough, she had written, until her neighbors recommended a gel that had transformed their lives. “I’m feeling fabulously energized!” her post read. “No more chronic fatigue, achy muscles and joint or nerve pain. I literally feel like I did when I was 34.” She encouraged friends to contact her for details about her “new little secret”.

My immediate reaction was one of cautious intrigue. I wanted to believe this gel could be real. But a Google search turned up a Reddit thread titled “WTF is ‘the gel?’”, which led me to a Facebook page called Somaderm HGH Gel Scam, with 519 followers. Comments on the page were alarming.

“Never felt worse on that stuff,” one read. “Whatever it is, it’s terrible and dangerous.”

“I tried it. I’m completely dissatisfied and have returned 4 bottles ($600 worth of product) and they will not refund, answer calls, or email,” said another. “It’s truly a scam, at the least.”

Also suspicious was NUL’s multi-level marketing structure. The FTC cautions that while some MLMs are legitimate, others are thinly veiled pyramid schemes – illegal enterprises in which people earn money primarily by recruiting others instead of by selling products to the public.

MLMs seduce would-be entrepreneurs with tales of making fortunes while working from home – NUL describes its compensation plan as a “guide to financial freedom and a New U” – but it’s rarely that easy. To make money, distributors must become dogged missionaries. They’re tasked with “building a downline” – industry lingo for recruiting new distributors, who in turn recruit their own teams. The more people in your downline, the more you earn in commissions on their sales – hence NUL’s growing army of gellers.

According to a report posted on the FTC’s website, less than 1% of MLM participants will profit. “MLM makes even gambling look like a safe bet in comparison,” it states.

Some MLMs, like Herbalife, are notorious for ruining friendships and driving participants to financial ruin. Despite this, 18.6 million American participated in MLMs in 2017, thanks in part to aggressive recruitment tactics on social media.

Wondering if I should warn my Facebook friend, I messaged the anonymous moderator of the scam alert page. Over the phone, he told me his name, Stevo C, that he’s a Serbian emigre and logistics supervisor in Florida, and that he had created the page after a friend tried selling him the gel last July

“Me being a skeptic about pretty much everything, especially products that promise so many benefits with no side-effects – plus there was the whole MLM aspect of the business – really had me thinking, what is this all about?” Stevo said. “I did some investigating.”

In his research, Stevo learned that Human Growth Hormone (HGH) – a protein produced by the pea-sized pituitary gland that fuels childhood growth and cell regeneration – is illegal in the US without a prescription. The FDA has banned it for all but a few specific medical conditions, including short bowel syndrome and muscle wasting disease associated with HIV/AIDS. It has been banned by most professional sports leagues in the US and by the International Olympic Committee, since some athletes use it as a performance enhancer.

Those who use it require needles – the only known method for delivering HGH is via injection. Hoping to develop less invasive methods, scientists are currently researching ways to deliver HGH transdermally, but they’re far from figuring it out.

On NUL’s website, Stevo read that Somaderm contains a “homeopathic” dilution of Somatropin, a synthetic form of HGH, as well as 18 “inactive” botanical ingredients, including licorice root and epimedium, also known as horny goat weed.

There’s no clinical evidence to support claims that HGH can be effectively delivered via a “homeopathic” formula. (Modern medical experts generally agree that homeopathy is quackery.)

Stevo started commenting on a geller testimonial page on Facebook. He wanted to know: if Somaderm really does contain HGH, then how could it be legal without a prescription? And if it doesn’t contain HGH, then isn’t its marketing more than a little misleading?

Immediately, he says, the page’s moderator direct messaged him. “After a few messages, I was banned and all my comments were deleted,” he said.

That prompted Stevo – who says he has not tried the gel himself and has never been affiliated with NUL – to start his Somaderm HGH Gel Scam page. Soon, disgruntled ex-gellers started flocking to the page to commiserate. They’ve filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau, the California attorney general, the FTC, the FDA and the FBI.

But in their quest to get NUL shut down, they’ve incurred the wrath of some lawsuit-happy gellers intent on silencing detractors.

‘It’s sort of an Erin Brockovich thing’

Among these disgruntled ex-gellers was Georgia Hargett, a 55-year-old naturopath and navy veteran in Michigan. She first learned of NUL last January, a few years after her husband’s death, which had triggered the collapse of her business, Earthroots Wellness Center, and the loss of her home.

“I didn’t even have money to bury my husband,” Georgia told me. “The only way I was gonna be covered was if I won the lottery.”

Considering the miraculous stories she’d heard – about old ladies leaping out of wheelchairs, deaf people hearing trumpets for the first time – a Somaderm business seemed like the next best thing to winning the lottery. Four months after becoming a distributor, Georgia was making about $2,000 a week. Among her company recruits were her 80-year-old mother, her sister and her current husband.

She didn’t stop there. After seeing dozens of unanswered questions on Facebook about Somaderm, she took it upon herself to “educate the field” about homeopathy. Thousands watched her informational videos. At NUL’s pep rally-style events, she gave passionate speeches, assuring audiences that Somaderm is included in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the US (HPUS) – an independent organization founded in 1897 that provides seals of approval for homeopathic remedies it deems safe. (She later learned it was, in fact, not, and that even homeopathy bodies reject claims about so-called homeopathic HGH).

More red flags popped up. Georgia is postmenopausal, but several months into using the gel, she says, she started having abnormal vaginal bleeding, and her breasts had grown two cup sizes: “If you’re a late bloomer, that might sound exciting, but it’s not.”

Around that time, she says, other gel users started reporting strange symptoms, complaining of tachycardia, panic attacks, hives, rashes, vertigo, nosebleeds. Several postmenopausal women described abnormal vaginal bleeding.

Alarmed, Georgia put together an elaborate spreadsheet documenting about 150 such complaints. When she relayed them to the company’s leaders – acknowledging that she couldn’t prove the gel had caused these ailments, only that the sufferers claimed they hadn’t experienced them prior to gelling – they dismissed her concerns, she says. In a recorded Q&A session, Goldstein claimed that “there hasn’t been any side-effects, there hasn’t been any complaints to the FDA … nothing negative. It’s been super safe with everyone that’s used it.”

(Requests for comment sent to NUL went unanswered.)

In December, Georgia resigned from NUL. “[$9,000 a month] is not pocket change – but I walked away from it,” she said. “It’s about ethics. It’s sort of an Erin Brockovich thing.” Soon after, she posted a statement on Facebook.

“When I began with the company, I was assured the products were supported by studies that supported its safe and effective use,” the statement read, in part. “These documents were to be released pending patent and trademark. I had been made aware that there in fact is no patent pending nor is there research or studies showing the use of Somaderm HGH gel’s safety or efficacy.”

‘Things are about to get ugly’

At the Woodbridge, Johnny LoPresto warned the crowd about skeptics: “If anyone says they don’t feel the product, just say, ‘It’s designed not to work on losers!’” Behind the scenes, NUL has gone to wild extremes to squelch criticism.

Patti Sinclair, a Connecticut-based spiritual medium, had been Georgia’s right-hand woman while they were both Somaderm distributors. She had helped Georgia compile the spreadsheet of gellers’ complaints. Afraid the gel might be harmful, she resigned in October, then detailed her worries about the product in comments on BehindMLM.com.

In January, an NUL Diamond Ambassador who had recruited Patti into the company sent her a threatening email. He had been a friend of hers for seven years.

“I thought you should know several well-funded unnamed people are about to unleash a campaign that I may be able to prevent,” it said. “There is some pretty unflattering information about you out there from the last few decades. I am just stating a fact and want to try to deescalate this situation immediately.”

It continued: “You are going to be exposed on social media & Google. An expert has been consulted and hired to top rank the following domain names with professional content about you.

pattisinclairfraud.com

pattiSinclairscam.com

pattiSinclairfraudmedium.com

PattiSinclairconartist.com”

“Also, they are prepared to make noise at any/all of your upcoming events.

“Things are about to get ugly and I thought you should know,” the email concluded.

Patti tried not to panic and called a lawyer. At his urging, she contacted the FBI. In a public Facebook post on 3 February, she described the threatening email. “I will NOT be intimidated by men who believe they are MORE POWERFUL than I am,” she wrote.

On 7 February, NUL and Alexy Goldstein sued Patti for defamation, trade libel and breach of contract. The lawsuit claimed that Patti’s critical comments about NUL on BehindMLM.com had violated her non-disparagement agreement and cost the company $100,000 or more in damages. It seemed designed to make her stop blowing the whistle: should Patti refrain from making “further defamatory statements,” it stated, “she will suffer no harm”.

When Georgia got served with a similar lawsuit on Valentine’s Day, also claiming defamation and seeking $100,000 or more in damages, she was shocked to find the complaint included screenshots of private Facebook messages she had exchanged with friends regarding her concerns about the company.

“The bottom line is they are crooks and manipulators,” she’d told a fellow distributor in one of these messages. “I am praying for you all.”

The snapshots pictured Georgia’s outgoing messages on the screen’s right-hand side, indicating they were being viewed through her account, not the recipient’s. How had NUL acquired these messages? She suspected someone had hacked her Facebook. Her lawyer, Kevin Thompson, confirmed that her account had recently been accessed from an IP address in California.

She feared further retaliation. “I’ve had many people reach out to me from the [NUL] field saying they’re concerned for my physical safety,” she said.

“[Patti and I] have been crying all the time. My 80-year-old mom is worried about me.” For the first time, she’s seeking psychotherapy. When her current husband went away for a recent weekend, she sat locked in her house with a loaded shotgun. Thompson, a Tennessee-based MLM attorney who is representing both Patti and Georgia, told me he finds NUL’s lawsuits “pathetic”.

“When I see companies that can’t handle criticism,” he said, “they generally have a lot to hide.”

Complaints about NUL have started to draw watchdog attention. On 23 January, the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC), part of the Better Business Bureau, announced that NUL had “failed to submit any competent and reliable evidence to demonstrate that [Somaderm] would provide the purported health benefits of HGH,” and that the company had agreed to discontinue certain health benefit claims in its online advertising.

Even if NUL does revise its advertising, it will be tough to police thousands of gellers’ bogus social media posts – including their vast library of gel memes, one of which pictures a flaccid-looking banana.

“Feeling a little down?” it reads. “Don’t worry, HGH gel can help you back up!”

The caption: “#gelbidoisreal”.

Facebook’s efforts to combat “fake news” have not yet targeted these sorts of false advertising claims.

#ForeverYoung

The quest for an elixir of youth is about as old as human awareness of ageing. In medieval legends, Alexander the Great crossed the Land of Darkness in search of a magical “Water of Life”. Cleopatra bathed in donkey’s milk. Today, Gwyneth Paltrow is “all about scrubs”. The alt-right blogger Mike Cernovich hawks “Gorilla Youth Serum”.

In 2018, the global anti-ageing market was worth $42.51bn.

Multi-level marketing companies are also thriving, with $34.9bn in US retail sales in 2017. This success is no doubt celebrated by the Trump administration, which employs a whole squad of MLM cheerleaders, including the Amway billionaire Betsy DeVos. President Trump himself used to have an MLM, the Trump Network, and was a spokesman for another, called ACN. In a nation built on fantasies of streets paved with gold, Trump’s empty promises of easy economic fixes echo those of MLMs’ get-rich-quick spiels.

Amid a broken healthcare system and growing distrust of mainstream medicine, perhaps it won’t come as a surprise that most products sold by MLMs fall into the “wellness” category.

“Apply a healthy dose of skepticism before buying or selling products advertised as having ‘miracle’ ingredients,” the FTC cautions. “Many of these ‘quick cures’ are unproven, fraudulently marketed, and useless. In fact, they could be dangerous.”

‘A Chance to be free’

After talking to Rick Ross, executive director of Cult Education Institute, I chose not to try to warn my Facebook geller friend about NUL’s alleged shadiness.

Ross posits that MLMs and destructive cults tend to share two defining characteristics: a process of indoctrination or thought reform that encourages group members to shun anyone who questions their devotion and economic, sexual and other exploitation of group members by the ruling coterie. Getting a friend out of an MLM, therefore, often requires staging a strategic intervention.

During a product giveaway at the Woodbridge event, bottles of gel flew through the air.

“You’re my family,” Goldstein told the crowd. “I love you.”

A Diamond Ambassador named Brian Meara gave an existential closing speech. A pompadoured New Jersey real estate agent, Meara, had recently purchased a Maserati with vanity plates that say “The Gel”.

“Why are you here?” he asked the crowd. “Why are people doing this? … Because they want something different from their life.”

He described being diagnosed with terminal cancer at age 18, and how it disappeared after his aunt, a born-again Christian, laid hands on him, and how, ever since he got that “second chance”, he has known that “there’s a reason we’re all here”. Now, through Somaderm, he has found a way to “literally change lives”, and if everyone in the audience simply shared NUL’s three-minute promotional video with a few people every day, they might finally get “a chance to be free”.

He stared out at a room full of gray hair, bald spots, potbellies, crow’s feet, laugh lines, liver spots, spider veins.

“Do you realize something, that you’re running out of time?”

The crowd nodded.

“Can you please get excited about your life?” he shouted. “Anybody wanna make a change here? Stand up, please!”

People began to stand and cheer.

“Clap your hands! You got one shot! YOU DON’T KNOW WHEN YOU’RE GONNA DIE!”

Comment: We understand that there is a new treatment for terminal flatulence and sagging breasts. This consists of a mixture of carbonated elk piss and outhouse scrapings. It also rids one of large facial zits and grows a clitoris the size of a carrot. Also, it cleans stoves of baked-on fat drippings!  ed

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

May 1, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks. ”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

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

 

 

Conversation No. 51

Date: Saturday, November 30, 1996

Commenced: 11:30 AM CST

Concluded: 11; 45 AM CST

 

RTC: I was reading over your analysis of the present political and business status and I thought it was interesting. At least I thought your final conclusions were not at all outrageous. But I should caution you against sending such things to Kimmel or Bill. Kimmel would be outraged and Bill will pass this on to Langley because that’s what he does.

GD: None of that surprises me, Robert. I was just stating the obvious. At least it is obvious to me. I suppose if you read history, everything is so compressed and obvious but if you are living it, the end is not always clear. Distance is always important in making conclusions. People don’t like to do this because they want this or that kind of ending so they twist and distort the obvious to suit themselves. When I was writing such reports in the Army, I learned very quickly on not to express attitudes that were opposite of my superiors, no matter how obvious they might be.

RTC: A manifestation of early survival instinct, Gregory.

GD: Yes, why not? No one cares about inconvenient truths but they dearly love convenient lies. But the truth is still there, isn’t it?

RTC: Yes, but we never see it until it’s too late.

GD: The French Revolution was entirely predictable but only if you could stand back from it. Not a revolt of the masses but initially a perfectly reasonable desire for a burgeoning middle business class to gain parity with the great triumvirate: The Monarchy, the Nobility and the Church. Of course the latter trio did not want to share power and the ensuing struggle spilled over and the mob got it. Reasonable beginnings but terrible endings.

RTC: But could have anyone foreseen the end?

GD: Good point. A few but not the ones that mattered. A Polish writer, Bloch, very accurately foresaw the deadly trench warfare of the First World War but at the time he wrote, the great bulk of military theorists had more conventional views so no one heard him. Afterwards, of course, he became famous. At the time, not. The same with my views.

RTC: I must confess, Gregory, that I am a little conventional and predictions of social upheaval, anarchy and economic collapse are a bit alien to me.

GD: Yet you were accustomed to predict such things in other governments you wanted to either replace or destroy. Correct?

RTC: Well, we fomented more than one revolution and collapsed more than one economy but we didn’t predict these things, Gregory, we made them happen. You don’t plan to make a revolution or collapse our economy.

GD: No, I don’t. But if you see a man building a house on the beach, doesn’t it occur to him that a good storm might easily topple it? After all, Robert, the Bible says this but, of course, it’s only common sense.  No empire, and we have an empire now, ever lasted forever. Rome did not and England did not. They rise and they fall. It will be the same with us. After two major wars, we rule. Of course we contested with Russia but since we were better grounded economically, we survived. They may yet come back but it’s not for certain. I see China as our immediate rival but they have uncontrolled capitalism under the control of an aging dictatorship and I would predict that they will shoot up economically and this boom will frighten the leaders. Money creates the desire for power and an empowered mass is very dangerous. And we learned after 1929 that if our marketplace had no controls, it would indulge in peak or collapse on a regular and very destructive basis. Remove these controls would be like blowing up a dam and flooding all the countryside below it. Money for a few and disaster for the rest. Clinton has not encouraged this decontrol but God help us if the right wing ever gets into power. We have all kinds of fiscal dinosaurs waiting in the wings, mating with the lunatics of the religious right and they may yet have their day. Unfettered markets and Jesus in every home, no stores open on Sunday and the Ten Commandments in every classroom. Oh, and not to mention a stake through the heart of the evil Darwin. Nuts. The world is only 6,000 years old and the Grand Canyon was created by Noah’s mythical flood. Action and reaction. If that dismal project comes to pass, there will be a reaction, believe me.

RTC: But your predictions of revolution?

GD: People get bored sometimes, Robert, get tired of taxes and dream of some kind of social paradise where everyone is equal. Who knows what monsters are waiting to be born? But the economy is based on credit and like a Ponzi scheme, credit has its limits. You can only use it so far and no further and if we go too far with our credit cards and loans, the end can be easily seen as the python said as he wrapped himself around the tree.

RTC: Well, it won’t happen during the rest of my lifetime, Gregory. Perhaps in yours.

GD: Probably. We need a Bismarck now but we won’t get him. Democracy is its own worst enemy, Robert. Greed, lack of coordination, corruption, and God alone knows what else. And our national education system is a horror. We are cranking out generations of the illiterate and ill-informed and these know-nothings will eventually get into power. Then we need all the help God can give us. Well, we always get what we pay for, don’t we? Political correctness is idiotic. We should teach our children to question, to evaluate and to analyze, not bleat in their pens like placid sheep. It’s like trying to stab someone with a pound of butter.

RTC: (Laughter) Well, a fat and comfortable public….

GD: Yes, a fat public. Well, it’s only a matter of conjecture, isn’t it? What is it the Bible says? While we are in the light, let us walk in the light for the darkness cometh. Something like that. Enough realistic pessimism for the day, Robert. I recall telling Kimmel, when I found out he taught Sunday school, that he ought to let his little charges read the Song of Solomon and he had a fit. But, I told him, it’s in the Bible so it can’t be wrong. He didn’t see it that way. One dimensional. Never ask questions because you might not like the answers. The truth will not make you free but cause spastic colon. Anyway, I like to speculate, Robert, that’s all. If a dam is leaking, is it wrong to predict a collapse?

RTC: The real estate people down below it would not approve of such sentiments.

GD: No, but they probably live on higher ground.

(Concluded at 11:45 CST)

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

 

 

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