Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/tbrnew5/public_html/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

TBR News May 19, 2019

May 19 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. May 19, 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 19:”Now the gossip is that Trump wants to use blinding lasers against masses of congregating immigrants on the US border with Mexico. He says the lasers are quiet and will not draw attention to their use by ‘highly negative members of the left-wing press’ and stumbling, blind immigrants will be accused of being high on drugs. Trump is crazy as a loon and Bolton is even worse. Too bad Charlie Manson died recently or he could be a new Presidential advisor. What started out a a negative vote against Hillary turned out to be a potential disaster for the American people.”

 The Table of Contents

  • Cheap ‘shots’ & attacks at
  • light speed: Why laser weaponry is a trend for 21st century
  • US to Supply Border Military units with Deadly Laser Weapons: “Zap…You’re Blind Buddy.”
  • First Republican lawmaker says Trump engaged in impeachable conduct
  • Trump’s Prodigious Lying Threatens Our Democracy
  • Tanker Attack Was Imaginary, but US Says Iran Did It
  • The Trump economy is hurting most Americans. Statistics won’t fool voters
  • Turkey to produce new S-500 missile system with Russia
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • The Watchbird is Watching You

Cheap ‘shots’ & attacks at light speed: Why laser weaponry is a trend for 21st century

May 18, 2019

RT

Lasers are commonly seen as a ‘weapon of the future’ – and that future is already here as they are making it into the military. Laser systems have unique properties, opening new ways of waging warfare, RT’s military analyst says.

Laser weaponry “will largely define” the combat potential of the Russian armed forces “throughout the whole of the 21st century,” President Vladimir Putin said. The country has already adopted a combat laser system – Peresvet – and appears to be seeking other weaponry of this type.

Lasers indeed have great potential to be used in combat, especially against uncongenial targets such as swarms of tiny drones, Russian military analyst Mikhail Khodarenok believes. Apart from that, they have many advantages compared to ballistic and missile weaponry.

Laser weaponry is quite tempting due to the possibility of a surprise and almost immediate – at the speed of light – attack on an adversary, relative cheapness of a single ‘shot’, high precision and lack of the necessity to stockpile an arsenal of ‘munitions’ during peacetime,” Khodarenok told RT.

Apart from dealing direct damage to an adversary’s personnel and hardware, lasers can be used in a support role, facilitating usage of conventional weapon systems.

Experts particularly underline, not the ability to inflict heat damage on a target, but the potential of lasers to suppress optical and electronic means of observation – periscopes, optical rangefinders and other similar devices, fitted to modern weaponry.

The analyst added that optical devices themselves actually amplify and focus a laser beam, making it very effective even at long ranges.

At the same time, laser weaponry has a number of limitations that are still in place despite decades of experiments with such arms around the world. Above all, the main issue is the need for a powerful and reliable energy source, which makes such systems either very bulky or suitable only for naval vessels.

To make a 150kw laser ‘shot’ – not that powerful, actually, by modern standards – one needs energy of 450kw,” Khodarenok said. “Ideally, a laser system needs a capacitor able to charge as fast as the system itself uses it. It would allow it to use lasers in combat continuously.”

Laser systems are also quite sensitive to transparency of the atmosphere, as bad weather or mere smoke greatly affects their performance (at least at this stage). Laser beams – like any light – tend to dissipate with distance, and for now, “combat range might be limited to several dozen kilometers,” Khodarenok added.

What exactly does Russia have in stock?

Russia adopted a new “battle laser complex,” dubbed Peresvet, last year, yet little is known about what exactly the system is capable of. The complex is mounted on a wheeled vehicle, featuring a cannon-like laser emitter and a large container, presumably holding its power source.

It is not known if the device can “blind” optics or actually melt holes in something, and it’s not even known what exactly – land or air units – it’s supposed to target. In the Soviet era, the country fielded a handful of laser weaponry prototypes, primarily blinding devices, designed to target the enemy’s optics. The last Soviet weapon of this type, the 1K17 Szhatie, was produced shortly before the collapse of the country and never entered into mass production.

What about other countries?

The US has been experimenting with lasers for decades as well, trying to fit them into various combat roles. While repeated attempts to create an aircraft-based system were not very fruitful, the US successfully fielded and tested several prototypes of ground vehicles and naval systems. One of the newest is the MEHEL laser system, mounted on a Stryker APC, which has successfully shot down a number of light drones during testing.

Another major power – China – is not sitting idle either. Beijing puts “experimental systems on ships, coastal platforms, self-propelled chassis. One of the Chinese lasers has reportedly hit an unmanned aerial vehicle some 300 meters away,” Khodarenok said.

 

US to Supply Border Military units with Deadly Laser Weapons: “Zap…You’re Blind Buddy.”

May 19, 2019

by  Robert Ogilvy

FNZ

Sources inside the Pentagon have confirmed that LDS or Laser Dazzle Sight weapons, now under manufacture in New Hampshire and Florida, have been shipped to a military base in southern Arizona for use against what the Pentagon claims are “armies of illegal aliens.”

These weapons are designed solely to permanently blind opponents by destroying their optic nerves. First developed by the British in 1990 by the British Ministry of Defense, Royal Signals and Radar Establishment (RSRE) in conjunction with the Admiralty Research Establishment, these weapons were initially installed on ships of the Royal Navy.

They are called ‘Low energy laser weapons with an anti-eye capability,’

The United States military worked on a similar program in 1982 identified in military reports as a “battlefield antisensor close-combat laser assault weapon” called C-CLAW. This was a combination of two lasers which could operate together at three different wavelengths.One of the lasers was a 1-kilowatt pulsed CO2 device using a high pulse repetition frequency and a wavelength of 10,600 nanometers. The other was a Nd:YAG laser that could be used either at 1,060 nanometers or frequency doubled at 530 nanometers.

This program was officially cancelled in 1983 because of the high costs and excessive weight of the weapon. Information on this project had leaked to the media and the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army officially dropped the project as a result of public objections.

This project was restarted under the title STINGRAY which is an optical and electro-optical LEL weapon designed to blind the enemy forces facing it and was designed for mounting on the Bradley MW Infantry Fighting Vehicle but also was intended for mounting on attack helicopters.

The STINGRAY program is sponsored by the U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command (CECOM) and is contracted by Martin Marietta Electronics Systems in Orlando, Florida.

An evaluation by the Department of Defense in 2019 states that “when the power level is increased and beam is narrowed to concentrate its energy on an enemy soldier it can do tremendous damage, and has the potential to damage, permanently, the eyes of enemy soldiers, both temporarily and permanently. It is estimated that many, if not all, of the targets can be injured in such a way that will render them legally blind for the rest of their lives.”

The U.S. Army also has another STINGRAY-related LEL designed for attack helicopters called the CAMEO BLUEJAY. This is a lighter version of STINGRAY and is designed to be mounted on an Apache attack helicopter.

Another U.S. Army laser weapon is called DAZER and is a frequency-agile LEL portable anti-eye laser weapon that uses an alexandrite laser designed as “a man-portable laser device for use by infantry to provide a soft kill against personnel.” This system is under the control of U.S. Army’s Missile Command (MICOM) and is built by the Allied Corporation’s Military Laser Products Division of Westlake, California.

Because of public knowledge, albeit highly restricted in scope, of these laser-blinding weapons, serious questions of violations of international law have arisen and the Clinton Administration officially banned their use.

The weapons continued to be clandestinely built and the present Administration has permitted their release for use against what are now termed “massive and dangerous armed mobs of Islamic fanatics” in Iran and “an army of illegals at the Mexican border.

Because of potential international objections to the use of these weapons and probable legal objections, it has been determined, according to Pentagon sources, that these weapons would be issued, or “loaned pending return” to U.S. Army custody and control.

The phrase ‘plausible deniability’ is now being used by Pentagon sources concerning the use by mercenary units of these weapons. Members of these units who might be identified as participating in these “off-the-books” actions can be officially distanced and returned to the United States and not identified.

Tests of these weapons by elements of the US military against human targets is currently being planned for use along the US southern border against what Trump calls “criminals, rapists and drug dealers.”

 

First Republican lawmaker says Trump engaged in impeachable conduct

May 18, 2019

by Timothy Gardner

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Justin Amash, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, on Saturday became the first Republican lawmaker to say the President has engaged in impeachable behavior.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election reveals that Trump “engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment,” Amash, who has signaled he would consider running as a libertarian against Trump in the 2020 election, wrote on Twitter.

Mueller’s report “identifies multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence,” Amash wrote.

Trump has said Mueller’s report concluded there no obstruction of justice. Mueller’s report made no formal finding on that question, leaving the matter up to Congress.

Amash also wrote that “it is clear” that Attorney General William Barr intended to mislead the public about Mueller’s report in his conclusions and congressional testimony about it.

In his letter to Congress, Barr said he and his deputy Rod Rosenstein determined there was insufficient evidence to establish that the president committed criminal obstruction of justice, or acted unlawfully to impede the investigation.

Amash’s comments echoed the conclusions of many Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on May 8 that Trump was moving closer to impeachment with his efforts to thwart congressional subpoenas and obstruct lawmakers’ efforts to oversee his administration.

Still, Democrats are divided about impeachment and Pelosi also said impeachment proceedings would be “divisive” for the country.

The White House and the Department of Justice did not immediately respond to requests for comments about Amash’s tweets.

Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee wrote on Twitter “it’s sad to see … Amash parroting the Democrats’ talking points on Russia.” She said the only people still concerned about the Russia investigation are Trump’s political foes “hoping to defeat him in 2020 by any desperate means possible.”

Amash, who represents Michigan’s 3rd congressional district, wrote that he had read Mueller’s full redacted report, but that few members of Congress had.

In February Amash became the lone Republican to co-sponsor a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives to reject the emergency Trump declared at the U.S.-Mexico border to build a wall there, in a stinging rebuke to the president..

Impeachment should be undertaken only in extraordinary circumstances, Amash wrote on Saturday. But the risk during a time of extreme partisanship “is not that Congress will employ it as a remedy too often but rather that Congress will employ it so rarely that it cannot deter misconduct.”

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Daniel Wallis

 

Trump’s Prodigious Lying Threatens Our Democracy

Even after 10,000 falsehoods, many in the media find themselves unable to call a president who lies a liar.

May 16, 2019

by Eric Alterman

The Nation

According to The Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” column, President Donald Trump made his 10,000th “false or misleading claim” on April 26, 827 days into his first term. Astonishingly, the pace of his falsehoods keeps accelerating, from fewer than five per day during his first 100 days in office to an average of more than 17 per day in the week leading up to number 10,000. During a recent 45-minute telephone interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Trump managed to utter a falsehood about once every minute.

There is no discernible pattern to Trump’s lies. The Post found that 2,217 occurred during his rallies, 1,803 on his Twitter feed, and 999 in his speeches. He lied about the same topic—his imaginary border wall—on 160 separate occasions. Overall, the president has repeated 21 false claims 20 or more times, and more than 300 false claims at least three times. He has lied about everything from North Korea’s nuclear program to paying off porn actresses. He lies about steel mills and windmills. At his April 27 rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, he lied about the weather forecast—though it turns out that weather-related falsehoods are surprisingly common with him. On the morning of July 26, 2018, for instance, the traveling press corps was informed that the president’s departure from Washington by helicopter had been canceled because of bad weather. Reporters looked up and saw nothing but sun and sky. In the Trump White House, it’s apparently OK to lie even about whether the sky is blue.

By now, just about everyone is aware of the president’s pathological predilection. When he spoke to the United Nations General Assembly in September of last year and repeated one of his favorite lies—that in his first two years in office, he had accomplished more than “almost any administration in the history of our country”—the assembled audience of world leaders burst into laughter. The tape shows Trump (briefly) speechless. He later admitted that he “didn’t expect that reaction,” but then changed his mind and fibbed yet again, claiming that he “meant to get some laughter.”

Many of Trump’s lies, of course, have significant consequences. At the Green Bay rally, he accused abortion providers of routinely murdering newborn infants. “The baby is born. The mother meets with the doctor. They take care of the baby. They wrap the baby beautifully. And then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby.” As New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg pointed out, “Abortion providers are regular targets of domestic terrorism, and Trump’s lies serve as incitement.” Earlier that week, Goldberg continued, “a 30-year-old Trump supporter named Matthew Haviland was arrested and accused of threatening to rape and murder a professor who supports abortion rights. According to an affidavit by an F.B.I. joint terrorism task force officer, Haviland wrote in an email, ‘I will kill every Democrat in the world so we never more have to have our babies brutally murdered by you absolute terrorists.’”

Even after Trump’s 10,000 lies in office, many in the media still find themselves paralyzed by journalistic practices that prevent them from calling a lie a lie or a president who tells lies a liar. And so the media continue to enable him. The day after the rally, The New York Times reported that what Trump had done was to “revive…a standard, and inaccurate, refrain about doctors ‘executing babies.’” That’s not quite the same as saying Trump lied.

Daniel Dale of The Toronto Star, who also tracks the president’s deceptions, says that most journalists rarely bother to mention that Trump’s statements are filled with falsehoods. “If you watched a network news segment, read an Associated Press article or glanced at the front page of the newspaper in the city that hosted him, you’d typically have no idea that he was so wholly inaccurate.” Most coverage, Dale points out, reads something like “Trump speaks to big excited crowd, insults X and Y, talks policy Z.”

According to a CNN study, “The Mueller report documents at least 77 specific instances where President Donald Trump’s campaign staff, administration officials and family members, Republican backers and his associates lied or made false assertions” to the public.

Predictably, Trump and his handpicked attorney general, William Barr, have been lying about those lies ever since. Even before Barr undertook what Lawfare’s Paul Rosenzweig termed a “transparent effort to mislead the public in advance of the report’s release,” only 29 percent of Americans agreed with Trump that he had been exonerated—much less with his lunatic contention that “This was a coup. This was an attempted overthrow of the United States government.”

It turns out, thankfully, that most Americans don’t believe Trump. Fewer than three in 10, according to a Post “Fact Checker” poll conducted late last year, believe his most common lies, and barely one in six believe anything close to all of them. Sixty-five percent of Americans don’t think that Trump is being honest with the country. What worries me, however, is that people don’t realize how much more dishonest Trump is than any of his predecessors. Only about 50 percent of Americans said they think he is “less honest” than any previous president. This illusion is fed by the media’s blasé coverage of Trump’s prodigious lying, and it contributes to a cynicism that only invites further dishonesty.

In her 1967 essay “Truth and Politics,” Hannah Arendt noted the importance of “the consistent and total substitution of lies for factual truth” as a means of undermining not merely democracy but also “the sense by which we take our bearings in the real world,” thereby laying the groundwork for the replacement of a democratic system with a totalitarian one. It’s hard not to conclude that we are well on our way.

 

Tanker Attack Was Imaginary, but US Says Iran Did It

May 18 2019

by William Boardman,

RSN

BREAKING OVERNIGHT

OIL TANKERS ATTACKED

SAUDI ARABIA CLAIMS SHIP HEADING TO US SABOTAGED

– ABC News on-screen headline, May 13, 2019

 

BREAKING OVERNIGHT

SAUDI OIL TANKERS ATTACKED

ENERGY MINISTER SAYS SHIPS WERE TARGETED IN “SABOTAGE ATTACK”

–CBS News on-screen headline, May 13, 2019

 

These network stories are examples of fake news at its most dangerous, when it plays into the dishonest manipulations of an administration beating the drums for a war against Iran that has no reasonable basis. Not only do the networks and mainstream media generally fail to question the administration’s rush to war, they also fail to do basic journalism by independently confirming whether a particular story is true or not.

The story of the “oil tanker attacks” appears to have been mostly or entirely false, as any news organization could have known from the start by exercising basic skepticism. Or the story could have been pimped as terrorism, as Debka.com did, asserting on May 13 that: “A special unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards marine force carried out the sabotage on 4 Saudi oil tankers outside Fujairah port.” No evidence, anonymous sources only, and wrong number of Saudi tankers.

The first report of something happening in or near the emirate of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) came from the Lebanon-based Al Mayadeen TV, saying that seven to ten oil tankers were burning in the port of Fujairah on the Gulf of Oman (outside the Strait of Hormuz leading to the Persian Gulf). There is no evidence that any tankers were burning there. Available satellite images show no smoke, explosions, or anything else to support the claim of an accident or an attack.

A few hours later, a new story surfaced. On May 12 at 7:38 pm, the UAE foreign ministry issued a statement carried by the state news agency WAM with the headline: “Four commercial ships subjected to sabotage operations near UAE territorial waters, no fatalities or injuries reported.” The report in its entirety offered little detail:

ABU DHABI, 12th May, 2019 (WAM) — Four commercial ships were subjected to sabotage operations today, 12th May, near UAE territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman, east of Fujairah, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, MOFAIC, has announced.

The Ministry said that the concerned authorities have taken all necessary measures, and are investigating the incident in cooperation with local and international bodies.

It said that there had been no injuries or fatalities on board the vessels and that there had been no spillage of harmful chemicals or fuel.

The MOFAIC statement said that the carrying out acts of sabotage on commercial and civilian vessels and threatening the safety and lives of those on board is a serious development. It called on the international community to assume its responsibilities to prevent such actions by parties attempting to undermine maritime traffic safety and security.

The Ministry also described as ‘baseless and unfounded’ rumours earlier today, 12th May, of incidents taking place within the Port of Fujairah, saying that operations within the port were under way as normal, without any interruption.

There’s not much here. What sort of “sabotage operations” occurred? Who carried them out? What damage was there, if any? Who were the four ships? When was the sabotage discovered? What’s really going on here, if anything?

The next day the Saudi Press Agency chimed in with a statement from the Minister of Energy that “confirmed that … two Saudi oil tankers were subjected to a sabotage attack in the exclusive economic zone of the United Arab Emirates, off the coast of the Emirate of Fujairah.” The minister claimed structural damage to the two tankers but did not make them available for inspection. Satellite and surface images showed no damage to either tanker.

That’s about all that was known on May 13 as ABC News went on the air acting as if the story was factually clear and larger than supported by any evidence. The lead-in to the story was flush with news-hype and propaganda technique: “we begin with that attack overseas on Saudi ships and oil tankers. One about to head to the U.S. This comes in the wake of that warning about threats from Iran.” Fundamentally dishonest. There were two Saudi tankers, no Saudi “ships.” The other two tankers were from the UAE and Norway. There was no certainty that there was any attack (and there still isn’t). Saying that one tanker was about to head to the US was not only irrelevant, but provocative. It was on its way to Saudi Arabia to load oil bound for the US (according to the Saudis). Putting the misreported “attack” in the context of “that warning about threats from Iran” is pure propagandistic parroting of US government scare-mongering.

But that was just the lead-in to veteran reporter Martha Raddatz – surely she’d bring some sane perspective to bear, right? Wrong. She made it worse, talking in a tone suitable for a “they-just-attacked-Pearl-Harbor” report. Somberly treating the alleged attack as a matter of fact, Raddatz framed it with a conclusion supported by no evidence whatsoever:

This comes at an extremely tense time in the region with the U.S. warning just days ago that Iran or its proxies could be targeting maritime traffic in the oil rich Persian Gulf region. Although we do not know who carried out this morning’s attack on these ships, we know four were sabotaged off the coast in the Persian Gulf and it caused significant structural damage to two Saudi oil tankers. One of the Saudi ships was on its way to pick up Saudi oil for delivery to the U.S. Last week the U.S. urgently dispatched a carrier strike group, B-52 bombers and Patriot missile battery to the region after it said there were unspecified threats to American forces in the region. Iran’s news agency this morning saying the dispatch of the warships was to exaggerate the shadow of war and frighten the Iranian people. But this is a very dangerous development.

Could Sarah Huckabee Sanders have said it better?

Posing as a journalist, Martha Raddatz ratchets up the Trump administration’s scare campaign based on nothing more than fear tactics. She’s so busy trying to scare us, she doesn’t even get the geography right. The alleged attack didn’t happen in the Persian Gulf. The four ships that were supposedly attacked were in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of the UAE. Almost all the rest of what Raddatz reports as “fact” comes from government press releases.

And that’s not the most shameful part for Raddatz and ABC News. Worse than botching facts large and small is the willingness of such mainstream media players to team up with elements of the US government seeking war with Iran at almost any cost.

CBS News coverage was little better, not only putting the action in the Persian Gulf, but upping the number of ships “attacked” to six. CBS did manage a small saving grace, concluding: “Whatever the case, the tensions here have only risen since President Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal, brokered between Iran and world powers.”

Well, yes, THAT is the crux of the mess. The US unilaterally tries to pull out of a multilateral international agreement that all other parties say is working and we’re supposed to take the US seriously? Seriously? At this point, any reporter who accepts a government press release as authoritative should be summarily fired. At this point, that is inexcusable malpractice. Iran has abided by the nuclear deal, all the inspectors affirm that. The other signatories – China, Russia, GB, France, Germany, and the EU – all affirm that. But they don’t stand up to the US effectively. They allow the US to bully them into joining the American economic warfare against Iran.

Over the next several days after it broke, the “oil tankers attacked” story slowly collapsed. Fact-based skepticism started to catch up with the official story. The UAE kept reporters from getting too close to the ships, which showed no serious damage. An anonymous US official blamed Iran, based on no evidence. US military officials in the Persian Gulf region stopped answering questions about whatever it was, referring questioners to the White House.

At this point, if the oil tanker attacks were either a warmongering hoax or false flag operation, it’s not going to have the same success as the sinking of the battleship Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898 or the provocations of US warships in the Tonkin Gulf in 1964. There’s even an off-chance that a suspicious Congress and an even more suspicious public will manage to slow the rush to war, or even stop it. There are signs of some increased media wariness, also known as detachment. Perhaps the most hopeful signs are the leaked anonymous stories that the president really, really doesn’t want to go to war, which of course he doesn’t have to if he doesn’t want to, if he knows what he wants.

Another leaked story had it that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton are confident that they can lead Trump by the nose into the war they want with Iran and that Trump’s too stupid to understand what they’re up to. If Trump sees that, it might give peace a chance.

 

The Trump economy is hurting most Americans. Statistics won’t fool voters

If Democrats speak to the practical economic needs of Americans, they’ll have a chance to win against Trump in 2020

May 19, 2019

by Robert Reich

The Guardian

The award for this year’s Biggest Backhanded Compliment to Trump goes to White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who recently predicted a Trump victory in 2020 because “people will vote for somebody they don’t like if they think it’s good for them.”

Trump is the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling, but Mulvaney thinks Americans will vote for him anyway because unemployment has hit a 50-year low, wages are rising, and economic growth exceeds 3%. A CNN poll released in early May shows 56% of Americans approve Trump’s handling of the economy.

This is making Democrats nervous. No president since World War II has failed to be reelected during a good economy. “What Democrats have to be most worried about is the economy,” says Democratic pollster Celinda Lake.

It is possible, of course, that the economy will take a dive before Election Day, especially in light of Trump’s trade wars and the global economic slowdown. But it’s more likely that the recovery that began in 2009 will continue, even though Trump isn’t responsible for it.

Yet there’s a difference between how Americans view the overall economy and how they see their own personal economy. That difference has widened in recent years as more people get into financial trouble even as the economy soars.

Which means the official economic statistics have less relevance to what people tell each other over the kitchen table when they’re trying to pay the bills.

And it’s this kitchen-table economics – not the official statistics — that drives votes.

In a survey by The Washington Post and ABC News published May 7, more than 80% of Democrats and 66% of independents said “the economic system in this country” mainly works “to benefit those in power,” rather than all Americans. Nearly a third of Republicans agreed.

More Americans are employed, but most jobs still pay squat. Adjusted for inflation, recent wage gains are smaller than the wage gains of 2015. Workers have lost so much bargaining power that not even the lowest unemployment rate in half a century is doing much to boost pay.

Employers continue to sack workers willy-nilly. One example: AT&T executives promised that the corporate tax cut would allow them to create more jobs. Instead, they’ve laid off 23,000.

Add to this that almost 80% of American workers are living paycheck to paycheck, and you get a feel for the havoc so many families are living in.

Meanwhile, the costs of education, childcare, housing, and health care are skyrocketing. Trump hasn’t done a thing to help. If anything, he’s made everything worse.

Student loan debt is in the stratosphere. Remember the old promise that if you took a public service job your student loan would be forgiven? You can forget it. Betsy DeVos’s Education Department has rejected 98% of forgiveness applications.

Housing is out of reach for young workers, which is why so many are living with their parents and postponing marriage. Yet Trump keeps cutting affordable housing.

Child care is becoming impossible. The average cost of center-based child care for an infant is now $1,230 a month; $800 a month if you park the tot in a family childcare home.

Health insurance is a nightmare. Last year alone, 30.4 million Americans went without any coverage – about 1.1 million more than the year before, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health Interview Survey.

That’s the second year the figure has risen after years of declines after the Affordable Care Act. The reversal is largely because of Trump’s efforts to kill the Act. His administration is now asking a court to throw it out entirely.

Co-payments and deductibles are out of control. According to a recent Gallup survey, Americans borrowed $88bn to pay for health care last year, and one in four people decided not to see a doctor because of cost.

Trumpland has been especially hard hit. A quarter of working-age adults in Texas lack health insurance, for example (in Massachusetts, it’s 4.9%).

As if this weren’t enough, Trump’s trade wars have hammered rural America. Farm incomes are down $12bn in the first quarter of this year, according to the Department of Agriculture. Farm bankruptcies are at near record levels.

Mulvany may be correct that people will vote for somebody they dislike if they think it’s good for them. But Trump’s economy isn’t good for most people.

If Democrats speak to the practical economic needs of Americans and offer realistic solutions, as they’ve started to do, Americans won’t pay attention to overall economic statistics when they vote in 2020.

They’ll heed what’s in their kitchen, and Trump will be toast.

 

Turkey to produce new S-500 missile system with Russia

The Turkish president has described plans to help Russia build its next generation missile defense system. The move is likely to further strain Turkey’s relations with the United States.

May 19, 2019

DW

Russia and Turkey will jointly produce the next generation S-500 aerial missile defense system, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.

The United States, a military ally in the NATO alliance, has threatened sanctions against any country that purchases Russian defense systems. Turkish-US relations became strained after Turkey pushed forward with the purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system.

“There is absolutely no question of (Turkey) taking a step back from the S-400s purchase. That is a done deal,” Erdogan said. “There will be joint production of the S-500 after the S-400.”

‘Sooner or later’

Earlier this year, US officials told Turkey to scrap its deal to acquire the S-400, saying it would not be compatible with its current arsenal of American military hardware.

Washington also voiced concerns that the S-400 would compromise its F-35 fighter jets, saying Turkey’s plan to buy into the Russian-built system is “deeply problematic.”

Last month, the US halted deliveries of F-35-related equipment over Turkey’s refusal to back down from the S-400 deal with Russia.

The US is “passing the ball around in the midfield now, showing some reluctance,” Erdogan said on Saturday. “But sooner or later, we will receive the F-35s. [The US] not delivering them is not an option.”

Russia encroaches on US war industry in Middle East

Russia’s offensive in Syria has brought unexpected consequences: US allies in the region are interested in acquiring Russian military hardware. But they could face serious backlash from the White House.

Since 2015, Russia has made inroads into the Middle East in a way that few could have imagined at the time. While Moscow’s military intervention in Syria has served to prop up the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, it has also allowed it to show off its military might.

One of the knock-on effects has been a growing interest in Russian military hardware, most notably the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system.

“The demand is rather significant after the Syrian events,” Alexander Mikheyev, chief executive of Russian weapons exporter Rosoboronexport, told state-owned news agency TASS last week.

‘Russian moment’

Part of the interest from US allies in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, stems from waning American leadership, Fawaz Gerges, international relations professor at the London School of Economics, told DW.

“This is a Russian moment,” said Gerges. The Lebanese-American academic noted that instead of showing leadership, US President Donald Trump’s administration had done quite the opposite by highlighting the “great differences between the United States and its Western allies.”

The differences have been most notable with Turkey, a NATO member that has signaled its intention to buy the Russian anti-aircraft weapon system. Turkish President Recep Tayyep Erdogan on Friday said his country “needs S-400” and would move to “buy them as soon as possible.”

‘Unresolved contentions’

Relations between the US and Turkey have deteriorated over the detention of an American pastor, with Congress in July blocking the delivery of F-35 fighter jets that Ankara had already partly paid for.

“There are clearly a series of unresolved contentions at the domestic, regional and international levels that are contributing to this search for security,” Robert Mason, director of the Middle East Studies Center at the American University in Cairo, told DW.

But while Turkey is still intent on acquiring Russian military hardware, Saudi Arabia appears to have let go of the prospect. Colonel Konstantin Sivkov, vice president of the Russian National Geopolitical Academy, told Russian broadcaster RT that Saudi Arabia had “succumbed to pressure from the United States,” according to the London-based Middle East Monitor.

“The US needs to engage in more robust diplomacy to reassure allies and adversaries, which are engaged in a Middle East Cold War,” added Mason, a former visiting scholar at the Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia at New York University.

Other US allies in the region reportedly in talks to acquire the Russian S-400 system include Iraq and Morocco.

‘Russian system outperforms’

But politics are only one dimension of US allies’ interest in Russian military hardware.

Egyptian Brigadier General Samir Ragheb, president of the Arab Foundation for Development and Strategic Studies, told DW that in many ways, countries in the region view the S-400 system as a better alternative to the Patriot system, the US alternative.

“There is no doubt that this Russian system outperforms the Patriot system in range and ability to deal with targets in a small orbit, and its ability to launch multiple missiles,” Ragheb said.

Experts have also noted that Washington’s issue with the system could stem from its technological capabilities.

“The root cause of US dissatisfaction appears to be the S-400 missile defense system’s ability to track and destroy aircraft at unprecedented ranges and to gather information about aircraft in the surrounding airspace,” Mason told DW.

‘Serious downsides’

The US has warned that it would not stand idle when it comes to countries acquiring military hardware from Russia.

The US State Department threatened on multiple occasions to target countries making substantial purchases from Russia’s defense or intelligence sectors, citing potential penalties through the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) of 2017.

US Ambassador Tina Kaidanow, who serves as acting assistant secretary of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at the State Department, said in July that the White House wants US allies to understand how serious the White House is when it comes to them acquiring Russian military hardware.

“We want them to understand the downsides, the real, serious downsides to making these acquisitions, and particularly the S-400 acquisitions from the Russians, and to continue to … look to our systems and to put inter-operability and all the other things we care about first,” said Kaidanow.

‘Project influence’

Richard Nephew, senior fellow at Washington-based Brookings Institution and former Obama administration official for sanctions policy at the US State Department, told DW that US allies could also face problems attempting to incorporate the S-400 system into their arsenal.

“My understanding is that integrating US and Russian military hardware isn’t seamless and, therefore, it would be complex to do so,” Nephew said. “If such sales are successful though, then I think the biggest issue would not be from proliferation, but rather from increased Russian operations with those allies.”

With an increased presence in the region, Moscow would be making headway with its strategy, Daniel Byman, senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, told DW.

“It is a way for Russia to project influence, showing that Moscow — not Washington — is a player in the region that will deliver security for those who choose to be its friends.”

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Sam Rohrer

Sam Rohrer is the president of the Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network, a branch of Let Freedom Ring, Inc., and former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (128th District, 1993–2010). Rohrer is an alumnus of Bob Jones University, South Carolina’s attempt to out-madrassa the Taliban, and it shows. Indeed, Rohrer was awarded the 2013 “Alumnus of the Year” at the annual Bob Jones University Bible Conference, which he probably richly deserved.

Rohrer is the kind of person who tries to argue that a literal reading of the Bible reveals that gun rights come directly from God, and that Jesus’ teachings on non-violence should not be taken literally; it’s apparently the only part of the Bible that shouldn’t. Meanwhile, gun control is part of an Agenda 21 depopulation plot that the government – at least Obama’s government – tried to set in motion. Indeed, Rohrer is heavily into Agenda 21 conspiracies, and thinks that the nonbinding framework for sustainable development “is a control of our property, it’s a control of our legal system to the local level” (the hows matter less than the grand, paranoid narrative, apparently).

It is also a sin for the government to be compassionate, says Sam Rohrer.

Politically, Rohrer is a full-blown theocrat who claims that “God’s law must always reign supreme” over man’s law. “No court has the authority to overturn what God says and what God defines to be a matter of marriage in this case, so that’s the clearest example where man’s law counters what God has said is what something ought to be.” Purely for political reasons, he also claims to love the Constitution, of course. To back up his claims, Rohrer asserts that if you don’t do as Rohrer thinks God says (i.e. that Rohrer says) that you should do, then the nation will fall under God’s judgment, in which case  “you go nowhere but down.” Accordingly “politicians and everyone who serves in any capacity in any level of civil government is automatically also a minister of God,” and should recognize this obligation. Apparently it’s all about liberty. People like the sound of “freedom”, “liberty” and “the Constitution”, but Rohrer’s fans don’t seem to have the faintest idea what those words could possibly mean (which is why Rohrer ends up, in all earnestness, saying things like “if you put somebody in office who is an enemy of freedom, who is a practicing Muslim, as an example, or a Communist, as an example, an atheist, they will act on what they think is right, but it’s not going to be what agrees with biblical correction.”) Rohrer is apparently a fan of David Barton, whom Rohrer explicitly thinks is a pillar of honesty, which to him then means that the extensively documented dishonesty in Barton’s works can easily be dismissed as a malicious conspiracy.

Threats to his vision I: Immigrants

There are ample threats to Rohrer’s vision for America, though. Islam, for instance. Rohrer was quite shocked by the 2018 elections, when two “devout Muslim women who hold to a view of God and law and morality that is completely opposite to our Constitution” were elected. The lack of self-awareness is pretty intense, even by fundie theocrat standards. At least his stance on immigration follows the same lines of lack of reasoning; as Rohrer sees it, America has “changed the historic biblical rules” (?) regarding immigration, and “this is a reason why God must discipline our country.” As a consequence, we have now “millions of people” who “have no respect for our God, they serve primarily the god of Allah and they embrace Sharia law,” which permits them to engage in terrorism. Until the US endorses the letter and spirit of the First Amendment and realizes that it cannot tolerate “two competing Gods … we’re going to find ourselves in increasing trouble.” As a solution to the ills, Rohrer suggested that we should require immigrants to “accept the God of the Bible,” just like the Constitution prescribes. It is probably worth mentioning, in this context, that “progressive Christians” aren’t really Christians either.

Indeed, Muslim jihadists had by 2016 infiltrated the Obama administration at the highest levels, and (then-)CIA Director John Brennan is, as Rohrer sees it, a Muslim convert who is on the side of the terrorists.

When push comes to show, however, the main problem is immigrants in general, not really their religious convictions. The recent refugee caravan, for instance, is a “fight against God himself”. Rohrer’s reasoning is … weak, but it ends with concluding that those who favor immigration are on the side of the Antichrist. Of course it does.

Threats to his vision 2: The gays (of course)

Another threat is, of course, the gays. It was obvious to Rohrer gay marriage could not be legalized since judges should rule according to “moral law” established by God, and having, in fact, been legalized, it is threatening to “destroy the very fabric of our nation” and, like everything else that is not working according to Rohrer’s convictions, will “invite God’s judgment on the nation” (mass shootings, for instance, are part of said judgment). Gay marriage will apparently lead to “tyranny” as well, for good measure, and the judges responsible for legalizing it are “activist judges” and “ideological idealists” that “may have been motivated by an intentional defiance of God.” The legalization of gay marriage also means that “the moral position leadership of our country has been forfeited,” says Rohrer; apparently the new moral leader of the world – here Rohrer agrees with many religious right leaders – is Russia.

He also lamented that gay rights activists don’t realize that they, too, have lost a “great, great freedom” with the legalization of same-sex marriage. His reasoning behind the conclusion isn’t really reasoning.

Threats to his vision 3: Women

And then there are women. Apparently having women in power is a sign of God’s judgment. When making the claim, Rohrer hastened to add that “the real condemnation is not the women in office, the condemnation is the disregard and the absolute inability for male leadership to perform as God intended it,” so that he wouldn’t come across as sexist.

Miscellaneous Trumpisms

Shocked by the “lack of respect” shown by some people toward President Trump, Rohrer promptly and predictably declared that opposition to Trump “creates the circumstances … out of which will come the Antichrist,” explaining (or whatever you prefer to call it) that the “enemies of Christ” (globalists, Islam and the cultural “establishment”) are “all working together” because “they hate God, they hate the Constitution, they despise Jesus Christ, they want to destroy Israel and the United States.” And those who don’t support Trump’s immigration policies are definitely on the side of the Antichrist.

After all, as Rohrer sees it, it was God who put Trump in office, no less. Rohrer didn’t explain how God did that (without committing voter fraud).

There is a decent Sam Rohrer resource here. Rohrer is not to fond of rightwingwatch, and has said that if civil war breaks out, it will be because of groups like Rightwingwatch and others who don’t think what he thinks they should think.

Diagnosis: As deranged, confused and fanatical as they come, and unfit for any audience. He’s got one, though, and must be considered moderately dangerous.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

May 19, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Conversation No. 57

Date: Tuesday, January 7, 1997

Commenced:  9:34 AM CSTcurrently

Concluded:  10:07 AM CST

 

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

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

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

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

RTC: That’s a closed chapter.

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

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

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

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

GD: God, I would hope not.

RTC: How is the second Müller book coming along?

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

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

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

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

GD: What do you think?

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

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

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

GD: Aren’t they all?

RTC: Tell me, does Kimmel know Wolfe?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RTC: Where else would they get a job?

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

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

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

RTC: That’s for you to decide.

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

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

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

RTC: Oh, do publish that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

GD: Their Holy Land, Robert, not mine.

 

(Concluded at10:07 AM CST)

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

 

The Watchbird is Watching You

May 19, 2019

by Christian Jürs

Mobile Backscatter Vans

Police all over America will soon be driving around in unmarked vans looking inside your cars and even under your clothes using the same “pornoscanner” technology currently being utilized by the TSA at U.S. airports….

American intelligence agencies are set to join the US military in deploying American Science & Engineering’s Z Backscatter Vans, or mobile backscatter radiation x-rays. These are what TSA officials call “the amazing radioactive genital viewer,” now seen in airports around America, ionizing the private parts of children, the elderly.

These porno scanner wagons will look like regular anonymous vans, and will cruise America’s streets, indiscriminately peering through the cars (and clothes) of anyone in range of its mighty isotope-cannon. But don’t worry, it’s not a violation of privacy. As AS&E’s vice president of marketing Joe Reiss sez, “From a privacy standpoint, I’m hard-pressed to see what the concern or objection could be.”

RFID Microchips

Most Americans don’t realize this, but RFID microchips are steadily becoming part of the very fabric of our lives. Many of your credit cards and debit cards contain them. Many Americans use security cards that contain RFID microchips at work. In some parts of the country it is now mandatory to inject an RFID microchip into your pet.

District officials said the Radio Frequency Identification System (RFID) tags would improve safety by allowing them to locate students — and count them more accurately at the beginning of the school day to help offset cuts in state funding, which is partly based on attendance.

Automated License Plate Readers

Automated license plate readers are being used to track the movements of a vehicle from the time that it enters Washington D.C. to the time that it leaves….

More than 250 cameras in the District and its suburbs scan license plates in real time, helping police pinpoint stolen cars and fleeing killers. But the program quietly has expanded beyond what anyone had imagined even a few years ago.

With virtually no public debate, police agencies have begun storing the information from the cameras, building databases that document the travels of millions of vehicles.

Nowhere is that more prevalent than in the District, which has more than one plate-reader per square mile, the highest concentration in the nation. Police in the Washington suburbs have dozens of them as well, and local agencies plan to add many more in coming months, creating a comprehensive dragnet that will include all the approaches into the District.

Data Mining

The government is not the only one that is spying on you. The truth is that a whole host of very large corporations are gathering every shred of information about you that they possibly can and selling that information for profit. It is called “data mining”, and it is an industry that has absolutely exploded in recent years.

One very large corporation known as Acxiom actually compiles information on more than 190 million people in the U.S. alone….

The company fits into a category called database marketing. It started in 1969 as an outfit called Demographics Inc., using phone books and other notably low-tech tools, as well as one computer, to amass information on voters and consumers for direct marketing. Almost 40 years later, Acxiom has detailed entries for more than 190 million people and 126 million households in the U.S., and about 500 million active consumers worldwide. More than 23,000 servers in Conway, just north of Little Rock, collect and analyze more than 50 trillion data ‘transactions’ a year.

Cable television spying

When people download a film from Netflix to a flatscreen, or turn on web radio, they could be alerting unwanted watchers to exactly what they are doing and where they are.

Spies will no longer have to plant bugs in your home – the rise of ‘connected’ gadgets controlled by apps will mean that people ‘bug’ their own homes.

The CIA claims it will be able to ‘read’ these devices via the internet – and perhaps even via radio waves from outside the home.

Everything from remote controls to clock radios can now be controlled via apps – and chip company ARM recently unveiled low-powered, cheaper chips which will be used in everything from fridges and ovens to doorbells.

These web-connected gadgets will ‘transform’ the art of spying – allowing spies to monitor people automatically without planting bugs, breaking and entering or even donning a tuxedo to infiltrate a dinner party.

‘Particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft. Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters –  all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing.’

One of the world’s biggest chip companies, ARM, has unveiled a new processor built to work inside ‘connected’ white goods.

The ARM chips are smaller, lower-powered and far cheaper than previous processors – and designed to add the internet to almost every kind of electrical appliance.

It’s a concept described as the ‘internet of things’.

Futurists think that one day ‘connected’ devices will tell the internet where they are and what they are doing at all times – and will be mapped by computers as precisely as Google Maps charts the physical landscape now.

The forced conversion to High Definition TV means we will only be able to receive a digital TV signal instead of an analog TV signal. This began in 2009. The surveillance specialists will then have the ability to manipulate that digital signal in any direction desired, for any purpose desired.

In addition, all of the newer wide-screen High Definition TVs found in retail outlets today have both tiny cameras and audio detection devices covertly installed within them so the NSA can both observe and listen to everything within it operatinal radius.  The conversion boxes that have been offered with those free government coupons will have the same detection and surveillance devices.

And covert monitoring/tracking chips have been installed in all automobiles manufactured since 1990

  1. Don’t buy the newer HD TVs and don’t get their conversion box. Forget getting TV from broadcast or cable or satellite directly. One idea is to watch TV shows from your older computer with currently availabe TV reception hardware/software (newer computers probably have the surveillance devices installed) or send the video and audio from the computer into the AV jacks on your TV or VCR.
  2. Watch TV shows from programs previously recorded on VHS tapes or from DVDs using your older TV and VCR equipment. This could become a cottage industry overnight if enough people become aware of the covert surveillance agenda riding along on the coattails of the forced conversion to High Definition digital television.
  3. You can listen to only television audio from many inexpensive radios that include the TV audio bands from channel 2-13

In most cases, audio is good enough for me. I’m mainly looking for those few comedy offerings here and there that will provide a laugh. Most sitcoms are just awful: ‘boring’ or ‘banal’ would be complimentary descriptions.

There are also many “black box technologies” being developed out there that the public does not even know about yet.

Then there are the nation’s public schools, where young people are being conditioned to mindlessly march in lockstep to the pervasive authoritarian dictates of the surveillance state. It was here that surveillance cameras and metal detectors became the norm. It was here, too, that schools began reviewing social media websites in order to police student activity. With the advent of biometrics, school officials have gone to ever more creative lengths to monitor and track students’ activities and whereabouts, even for the most mundane things. For example, students in Pinellas County, Fla., are actually subjected to vein recognition scans when purchasing lunch at school.

Of course, the government is not the only looming threat to our privacy and bodily integrity. As with most invasive technologies, the groundwork to accustom the American people to the so-called benefits or conveniences of facial recognition is being laid quite effectively by corporations. For example, a new Facebook application, Facedeals, is being tested in Nashville, Tenn., which enables businesses to target potential customers with specialized offers. Yet another page borrowed from Stephen Spielberg’s 2002 Minority Report, the app works like this: businesses install cameras at their front doors which, using facial recognition technology, identify the faces of Facebook users and then send coupons to their smartphones based upon things they’ve “liked” in the past.

Making this noxious mix even more troubling is the significant margin for error and abuse that goes hand in hand with just about every government-instigated program, only more so when it comes to biometrics and identification databases. Take, for example, the Secure Communities initiative. Touted by the Department of Homeland Security as a way to crack down on illegal immigration, the program attempted to match the inmates in local jails against the federal immigration database. Unfortunately, it resulted in Americans being arrested for reporting domestic abuse and occasionally flagged US citizens for deportation. More recently, in July 2012, security researcher Javier Galbally demonstrated that iris scans can be spoofed, allowing a hacker to use synthetic images of an iris to trick an iris-scanning device into thinking it had received a positive match for a real iris over 50 percent of the time.

The writing is on the wall. With technology moving so fast and assaults on our freedoms, privacy and otherwise, occurring with increasing frequency, there is little hope of turning back this technological, corporate and governmental juggernaut. Even trying to avoid inclusion in the government’s massive identification database will be difficult. The hacktivist group Anonymous suggests wearing a transparent plastic mask, tilting one’s head at a 15 degree angle, wearing obscuring makeup, and wearing a hat outfitted with Infra-red LED lights as methods for confounding the cameras’ facial recognition technology.

Consider this, however: while the general public, largely law-abiding, continues to be pried on, spied on and treated like suspects by a government that spends an exorbitant amount of money on the security-intelligence complex (which takes in a sizeable chunk of the $80 billion yearly intelligence budget), the government’s attention and resources are effectively being diverted from the true threats that remain at large – namely, those terrorists abroad who seek, through overt action and implied threat, to continue the reign of terror in America begun in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

 

No responses yet

Leave a Reply