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TBR News May 27, 2019

May 27 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. May 27, 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 27:”In reading over the contents of a document, a long one, concerning various international matters, I am struck with the immense size of a money laundering ring, run by Russian intelligence, The parties involved in this are prominent and outwardly respectable. When, not if, all of this becomes public, I can see Federal prisons enlarging their content.”

The Table of Contents

  • Support for abortion rights grows as some U.S. states curb access: Reuters/Ipsos poll
  • Anti-establishment parties scored big in EU elections since bloc became ‘problem & not solution’
  • A Parade of Imperial Presidencies
  • Buttigieg slams Trump for considering war crime pardons
  • Trump’s Financial Statements Are So Full Of Lies That His Accountants Put a Warning Label on Them
  • U.S. measles outbreak grows with 60 new measles cases across 26 states
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • Impeachment talk is rising among Democrats. Nancy Pelosi is right to shut it down
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Government Disinformation Methods

Support for abortion rights grows as some U.S. states curb access: Reuters/Ipsos poll

May 26, 2019

by Maria Caspani

Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Americans have become more supportive of abortion rights over the past year, even as a wave of Republican-controlled state governments have imposed new restrictions, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday. The poll found that 58% of American adults said abortion should be legal in most or all cases, up from 50% who said that in a similar poll that ran in July 2018.

While support broke down along partisan lines, passions were higher among registered Democrats, with 81% saying abortion should be legal in most or all cases, while 55% of registered Republicans said it should be illegal in most or all cases.

This year, eight Republican-led states have passed new restrictions on abortion, measures that activists said are aimed at provoking the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy.

Anti-abortion campaigners are counting on the new 5-4 conservative majority on the court, following two appointments by Republican President Donald Trump, to turn the balance in their favor.

A wide majority of Americans disagree with parts of the year’s most sweeping anti-abortion measure: Alabama’s law banning abortion in all cases, including for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, with only a narrow exception for women whose lives are danger.

Eighty percent of respondents told Reuters/Ipsos they support abortion in cases of rape or incest.

Other states, including Ohio and Georgia, have banned abortions absent a medical emergency after six weeks of pregnancy or after the fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can occur before a woman realizes she is pregnant.

Public opinion is almost evenly split on whether abortion should be legal after a heartbeat is detected, the poll showed.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll also found that 85% of Americans are in favor of abortion when the mother’s life is in danger and 59% said abortion should be legal when there is evidence that the baby is physically or mentally impaired.

Fifty-eight percent of U.S. adults said abortion should not be legal when the fetus is older than 20 weeks, while 30% said it should be allowed.

“I think abortion is a very difficult, horrible thing, but I don’t think the government has any say in whether you should be able to do it – that’s a very personal thing,” said poll respondent Steven Hoelke, 69, a Republican retired aerospace engineer from Claremont, California. “It’s tough and I don’t think it can be dictated from above.”

2020 RALLYING CRY?

Trump’s opposition to abortion has stirred support in his base, especially among many religious voters. The two dozen Democrats vying to challenge him have loudly supported abortion rights.

But the poll also found most voters were not looking for candidates whose primary focus is abortion: Just 9% of registered Republicans said they would prefer to vote for a candidate whose main focus is banning abortion, while 11% of registered Democrats preferred one whose primary focus would be protecting abortion rights.

U.S. voters usually list healthcare and the economy as the top issues going into an election.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English throughout the United States on May 22-23. It gathered responses from 1,008 people and has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 6 percentage points.

Reporting by Maria Caspani; editing by Scott Malone and David Gregori

 

Anti-establishment parties scored big in EU elections since bloc became ‘problem & not solution

May 27, 2019

RT

Nationalist parties sailed to victory in the European Union elections as the bloc increasingly became out-of-touch with ordinary people, analysts and politicians told RT, saying that the EU has now turned into “a problem.”

Exit polls show that right-wing and Euroskeptic parties posted significant gains in the European Parliament elections, which ended on Sunday. In France, the UK and Austria, nationalist parties even surged past their pro-EU rivals. The Greens and the Liberals performed well too.

As a result, the pro-European bloc EPP and the Social-Democratic alliance S&D have now lost their combined majority.

The defeat of the bloc’s business-as-usual parties “is really not surprising when we look at the bigger picture,” Uli Brueckner, a professor of European studies at Stanford University in Berlin, told RT.

According to Brueckner, the election results present a serious challenge to Brussels’ narrative of a united, integrated Europe.

“In the past, we had one consensus on the general narrative that European integration as such is good, because it brings peace, stability, prosperity, and we only disagree on certain ideological differences – about whether it’s clean enough, is it fair enough, is it pro-business.”

Euroskeptic parties have shattered this consensus, Brueckner noted, adding that political movements across the continent now see the bloc “not as the solution [for Europe], but the problem.”

The momentum against Europe’s establishment parties was certainly felt in France, where Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party narrowly beat President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist En Marche.

Dennis Franceskin, a National Rally representative based in Washington, said that the success of Euroskeptic parties reveals growing dissatisfaction within the bloc. “The structure of the European Union is a failure,” Franceskin told RT.

The political rivalry between the growing Euroskeptic movement and the pro-Brussels bloc can be described as “common sense” versus “globalism,” Maximilian Krah, a politician who belongs to the Alternative for Germany (AfD), argued.

Speaking about the electoral gains made by his own party, Krah accused his country’s political establishment of being impervious to the needs of ordinary Germans. “We have our roots in rural areas with ordinary people, and they have mass media and the big corporations,” he said.

Similar anti-establishment sentiment can be found in the UK, where Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party received 31.6 percent of the votes, defeating the Conservatives by more than 20 points. The party’s electoral success can be attributed to the “highly-polarized” nature of politics in the UK right now, Francesco Rizzuto, a professor of European law at Edge Hill University, told RT. The Brexit Party offered voters an alternative to the traditional status quo, Rizzuto noted.

“I think many people were fed up with the mess of the last two or three years. And especially those who want to leave the European Union, they certainly were very disappointed with the conservatives, Labour floundering around in Never-Never Land, and quite clearly Mr. Farage offered a very simple and straightforward message.”

 

A Parade of Imperial Presidencies

Trump is just the latest in a long line of executives to stiff-arm the Constitution and ignore congressional powers.

May 24, 2019

by Ivan Eland

The American Conservative

Watching the Trump administration stiff-arm constitutional checks and balances left and right, and stonewalling all congressional subpoena and other oversight requests connected to the Mueller probe, this might be a good time to remind Americans that the encroaching executive tyranny we feel has been building for some time, and that it is pretty much our fault.

Although historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. popularized the concept of the “imperial presidency” during the presidency of Richard Nixon, the power of the executive had been expanding mightily since the Cold War presidency of Harry Truman. However, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, presidents have further augmented their extra-constitutional power to such an extent that we might now classify the presidency as having gone rogue.

The citizenry is now faced with the consequences of having allowed, over time, the inflation of the president’s power, vis-à-vis the other governmental branches, way beyond what the Constitution’s framers had originally intended.

The Founders created a fairly independent executive and judiciary as checks on what they thought would be the dominant branch of government—the Congress. Compared to the executive, the Congress’s enumerated powers in Article I are as plentiful as the president’s Article II powers are sparse. The president was only supposed to implement the congressional will both domestically and abroad. At home, the executive was merely to execute and enforce legislatively passed laws; in foreign policy, the president could receive foreign diplomats and was to be the commander-in-chief of forces on the battlefield after Congress had initiated war.

The president also shared with Congress the legislative (a limited veto that could be overridden by Congress), appointive (appointing government officials who needed Senate confirmation), and treaty-making powers (the executive’s negotiated treaties needed a supermajority in Congress to be approved).

However, under the rogue presidency, executives claim that their “inherent power” allows them to ignore or violate congressional-passed laws during “emergencies” (as President George W. Bush did after the 9/11 attacks and President Donald Trump did to build his border wall after Congress refused funding), effectively legislating by executive order when “Congress fails to act” (as President Barack Obama did on immigration and healthcare insurance).

This “inherent power” has also justified making agreements with foreign governments, most of which are not designated as treaties (for example, Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran), which require supermajority approval in Congress (some agreements don’t get legislative approval at all and may even be secret).

Perhaps most importantly, presidents now claim the inherent authority as commander-in-chief to take the nation into war without any congressional approval. The framers—fearing that presidents, like the European kings of their day, would use unilaterally-induced war to create tyranny at home—would roll over in their graves at the absence of legislative approval for such a vital national decision.

How did the Founders’ system of checks and balances break down? Despite some temporary bursts of extra-constitutional presidential activity from the founding to the turn of the 20th century, the presidency was basically the same limited office the framers had envisioned more than a hundred years later. Although during the 19th century there were a few strong presidents—Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and especially Abraham Lincoln, who seized almost dictatorial powers during the massive Civil War—the vast majority of executives during that time properly deferred to Congress.

What changed this dynamic during the 20th century? There were more frequent, significant wars, allowing presidents to usurp powers from legislatures—particularly the four decade-long Cold War at the end of the 20th century.

Prior to World War I, Congress explicitly forbade President Woodrow Wilson from taking the very provocative step of arming U.S. merchant ships; he did it anyway. Prior to World War II, the American public, with the meatgrinder of World War I in mind, was reluctant to get involved in a second major European conflagration. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was anxious to goad the Nazis into attacking U.S. maritime forces—many months before the Japanese provoked United States entry into the conflict with the attack on Pearl Harbor—to flip American public opinion in favor of war. Without congressional approval, he secretly and unconstitutionally ordered U.S. naval forces to aid the British Navy in finding and killing German submarines to provoke a German counter-response that he could use for propaganda purposes.

Roosevelt also unilaterally and unconstitutionally traded U.S. Navy warships to Britain in exchange for establishing U.S. military bases on British colonies in the Caribbean. For even justifiable wars, Congress’s ability to decide whether the nation will be at war or at peace, which the Constitution gave to Congress with the power to declare war, is eroded when presidents take prior actions that can precipitate war, or render it more likely, before the legislative body has a chance to decide such a vital matter.

The “imperial presidency” first arose after World War II during the Cold War, when President Harry Truman completely dispensed with Congress’s war power by simply sending U.S. forces to the Korean War without any prior congressional approval. This was a seminal moment because from then on, presidents regarded getting legislative approval for major wars as a courtesy rather than a constitutional requirement. And for more limited military actions—which the “letters of marque and reprisal” provision of the Constitution implies that Congress should regulate and did heavily during America’s first conflict, the undeclared naval Quasi-War with France—the executive began to run wild, without perceiving any obligation to obtain legislative sanction.

Also, during the Truman administration, the National Security Act of 1947 significantly augmented the institutional powers of the presidency by creating the National Security Council in the White House, consolidating presidential control over the armed forces by establishing the Department of Defense, and creating the CIA, which would be used by presidents to conduct wars without the knowledge of Congress or the American people.

During the Korean War, Truman attempted to expand his commander-in-chief status on the battlefield into being commander-in-chief of the country. He attempted to use his “inherent power” to nationalize the nation’s steel industry for the war effort in contravention of a congressionally passed law. In the Youngstown Steel case, the Supreme Court rejected this gambit. Such “inherent power” is nowhere found in the Constitution and cuts against its entire concept of limiting government by strictly enumerating all powers of the federal government.

Although the Civil War, World War I, and World War II were expansive wars and led to congressional acquiescence of large transfers of power to the executive branch, U.S. involvement in these wars lasted only a few years and many of the transferred powers lapsed after the war ended. Such was not the case during the Cold War. Although legislative pushback came after the Watergate scandal and President Richard Nixon’s abuse of the broad authority of the congressional resolution approving the war in Southeast Asia to escalate the conflict into Cambodia and Laos, Congress’s effort to claw back some of the power through legislation limiting executive power largely failed.

Another long war, the war on terror after the 9/11 attacks, also led George W. Bush to claim, like Truman, that he had the right, as commander-in-chief, to override congressionally passed laws during an emergency. Bush ordered terrorism suspects tortured in violation of U.S.-signed international treaties and U.S. law. Unlike other presidents, whose abuse of the Constitution’s checks and balances occurred in pursuit of some other policy goal, one of the main objectives of the Bush administration was a drastic expansion of presidential power. He also unconstitutionally spied on Americans without search warrants, detained terrorism suspects indefinitely without trial without allowing them to challenge their detention, and eventually tried a few of them in unconstitutional kangaroo military tribunals.

Although Obama eliminated torture, he continued most of Bush’s other unconstitutional policies, including killing suspected terrorists overseas without trials in congressionally-unapproved wars. Also with the exception of torture, Trump has continued these rogue practices.

Because Congress has most of the enumerated powers of the federal government in the Constitution, such episodes of executive overreach are only contingent on legislative acquiescence. Perhaps the erratic circus of the Trump presidency will eventually motivate Congress to push back even more forcefully than in the post-Watergate era, though this will require courage and institutional reforms.

To the extent possible, congressional rules and practices in both chambers should be changed to further centralize power in the leadership. This shift and others would help to better align individual members’ incentives with Congress’s institutional incentives to defend its constitutional powers. There is no better time than now.

 

Buttigieg slams Trump for considering war crime pardons

Veteran and 2020 candidate said Trump’s willingness to pardon soldiers ‘undermines the very foundations … of this country’

May 25, 2019

by Martin Pengelly

The Guardian

Donald Trump’s willingness to consider pardons for US soldiers accused or convicted of war crimes “undermines the very foundations, legal and moral, of this country”, Democratic candidate for president Pete Buttigieg said.

Amid reports that such pardons could come over the Memorial Day weekend, the president told reporters at the White House on Friday he was “looking” at the issue.

“I haven’t done anything yet,” he said. “I haven’t made any decisions. There’s two or three of them right now. It’s a little bit controversial. It’s very possible that I’ll let the trials go on, and I’ll make my decision after the trial.”

Trump is now in Japan. The Memorial Day holiday falls on Monday.

Trump has already pardoned Michael Behenna, a soldier convicted in 2009 of killing a prisoner in Iraq. According to multiple reports, among cases now being considered is that of Edward Gallagher, a Navy Seal set for trial on charges of murdering a prisoner in Iraq and shooting unarmed civilians.

Fox News hosts known to influence Trump have taken up Gallagher’s cause. It has also been reported that a lawyer who works for the Trump Organization has worked on the case.

Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, spoke to ABC’s This Week in an interview broadcast on Sunday. He is a military veteran, having served in Afghanistan with the navy reserve.

“Today,” he said, “one of the things that protects our troops morally and physically is the knowledge that if anybody in uniform does commit a crime, they will be held accountable by military justice.

“For a president, especially a president who never served, to say he’s going to come in and overrule that system of military justice undermines the very foundations, legal and moral, of this country.”

Buttigieg found a cautious ally in Joni Ernst, a Republican senator from Iowa who served in the National Guard, deploying to Kuwait, and is a member of the armed services committee. She told CNN’s State of the Union she “would advise the president to be very careful”, because “it is not OK to perpetrate war crimes”.

“We need our young men and women in uniform to understand that we operate under a code of ethics,” she said.

Trump, Ernst said, should “scrutinise of course each case individually, and if it’s warranted, grant a pardon. If it is not, if someone has committed a war crime, then a sentence should be served.”

Buttigieg, who has surged in the polls, has not been shy of attacking Trump. On Thursday, at an event hosted by the Washington Post, he discussed Trump’s own brush with military service.

“I have a pretty dim view of his decision to use his privileged status to fake a disability in order to avoid serving in Vietnam,” he said.

Trump received five draft deferments, four academic and one medical: bone spurs in a foot. The veracity of that claim has been extensively questioned.

Buttigieg continued: “I mean, if he were a conscientious objector, I’d admire that, but this is somebody who, I think it is fairly obvious to most of us, took advantage of the fact that he was a child of a multimillionaire in order to pretend to be disabled so that somebody could go to war in his place.

“I know that dredges up old wounds from a complicated time during a complicated war, but I am also old enough to remember when conservatives talked about character as something that mattered in the presidency, and so I think it deserves to be talked about.”

Buttigieg also discussed Vietnam in his ABC interview, in the context of remarks made by Trump about the treatment of soldiers accused of war crimes.

At the White House on Friday, Trump told reporters: “Some of these soldiers are people that have fought hard and long. You know, we teach them how to be great fighters, and then when they fight, sometimes they get really treated very unfairly.”

Buttigieg said: “The idea that being sent to war makes you a murderer is exactly the kind of thing that those of us who have served have been trying to beat back for more than a generation.

“One of the reasons Vietnam war veterans were treated so horribly when they came home, at least some of them, was an attitude that found it very hard to separate policies from the people sent to carry out those policies.”

He added: “When you serve, you are agreeing to serve the constitution and to uphold the law. And frankly [Trump’s] idea that being sent to fight makes you automatically into some sort of war criminal is a slander against veterans that could only come from someone who never served.”

 

Trump’s Financial Statements Are So Full Of Lies That His Accountants Put a Warning Label on Them

Newly obtained documents show the brazen methods with which the president inflated his assets to banks and insurance companies

by Bess Levin,

Vanity Fair

During his 72 years on Earth, Donald Trump has told something like 2,936,880 lies, based on my back-of-the-envelope calculations. (According to The Washington Post, the president has told at least 9,179 whoppers just since taking the oath of office—so, you do the math.) Sometimes, the lies are big, like the one he told about seeing “thousands” of supposed terrorist sympathizers “cheering” from New Jersey as the World Trade Center towers collapsed on 9/11. Other times, the lies are small and largely pointless, like his claim that he didn’t call Tim Cook “Tim Apple” when he 100 percent did, on-camera, in a room full of people. Frequently, the lies revolve around his net worth, including its origin (his father) and how big it is (a lot smaller than he claims). As we learned from Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony last month and a New York Times exposé last week, Trump’s lies about his wealth haven’t been confined to bragging about it on TV, but have also allegedly manifested in financial statements sent to banks and insurance companies, in which the ex-real-estate developer inflated his assets in order to obtain loans. And now, thanks to documents obtained by the Post, we have some fun examples of his most absurd financial claims, many of which are now under scrutiny.

In a 2011 document known as a “Statement of Financial Condition,” Trump purported to own 55 home lots ready to sell for at least $3 million apiece at his Southern California golf course. Yet, in reality, he’d only been zoned for 31, thereby overstating his future revenue by a cool $72-odd million. In a document from 2012, he tacked on an extra 800 acres to the size of his roughly 1,200 acre Virginia vineyard. In 2013, in an attempt to bolster his bid for the Buffalo Bills, a two-page “Summary of Net Worth” conveniently omitted his ownership of two hotels, in Chicago and Las Vegas, meaning, per the Post, “that some of Trump’s actual debt load was hidden from anyone reading the statement.” In perhaps the most brazen, Trumpian “exaggeration,” he invented an extra 10 stories at Trump Tower, claiming that the building was 68 stories when, in actuality—you can literally look at the building and count them—there are 58.

In a sign of just how ridiculous these statements were, the accountants who prepared the documents literally put a disclaimer on them, effectively stating that Trump was full of shit:

When compiling these statements of financial condition, those accountants have said they did not verify or audit the figures in the statements. Instead, when Trump provided them data, they wrote it down without checking to see whether it was accurate . . . The documents begin with two-page disclaimers, warning of various ways in which the statements don’t follow normal accounting rules. The accountants note that Trump is the source of many buildings’ valuations—and that, contrary to normal accounting rules, he had inflated them by counting future income that wasn’t guaranteed.

“Users of this financial statement should recognize that they might reach different conclusions about the financial condition of Donald J. Trump” if they had more information, the statement concludes.

The accounting firm said Wednesday—the same day the House Oversight Committee requested 10 years of Trump’s financial statements—that it “believes strongly in the ethical and professional rules and regulations that govern our industry, our work, and our client interactions.” Earlier this month, the New York State Department of Financial Services subpoenaed records from Aon, Trump’s longtime insurer.

 

U.S. measles outbreak grows with 60 new measles cases across 26 states

May 27, 2019

Reuters

The United States recorded 60 new measles cases last week, taking confirmed cases for the year to 940, the worst outbreak since 1994 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000, federal health officials said on Monday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 6.8% increase in the number of measles cases in the week ended May 24 in an outbreak that has now reached 26 states. The agency has been providing weekly updates every Monday.

Experts warn that the outbreak is not over as the number of cases edges closer to the 1994 total of 958. That was the highest number since 1992, when the CDC recorded 2,126 cases.

Public health officials have blamed the measles resurgence on the spread of misinformation about vaccines, as a vocal fringe of parents oppose vaccines, believing, contrary to scientific studies, that ingredients in them can cause autism.

Although the virus was eliminated from the United States in 2000, meaning the disease was no longer a constant presence, outbreaks still happen via travelers coming from countries where measles is still common, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Reporting by Shubham Kalia and Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Phil Berlowitz

 

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Mark Rushdoony

R.J. Rushdoony is famous for being one of the most deranged fundies of the latter half of the twentieth century. His son, Mark Rushdoony, has hardly managed to achieve the same kind of fame or renown, but he is at least not much less crazy and has dutifully followed in his father’s footsteps. Like his father, Mark Rushdoony is a dominionist and theocrat, and has campaigned tirelessly with the Chalcedon Foundation, of which he is president, to convert conservative fundamentalist churches to Christian reconstructionism. “We must base our laws on faith, not reason,” says Rushdoony. And the fight against the secular, Constitution-based and reason-loving America will be violent; as Rushdoony puts it: “We are authorized by God to challenge all that is not godly! God is angry with the wicked every day, and the sins of the wicked deserve the infliction of God’s wrath in this life as well as the life hereafter!”

The goal, in other words, is to ensure that society is “reconstructed” so that everyone in it lives under strict Old Testament moral codes imposed by local theocracies – there is no room for tolerance or dissent: “To oppose us is to attack God’s law, and to attack God’s law is to attack God himself!”, a transgression that, understandably, requires nothing less than death. Similarly, of course, homosexuals and adulteresses will be put to death. In the 2005 presentation before his Chalcedon Foundation from which the above quote is taken, the foundation’s vice president, Martin Selbrede, followed up by calling for the assemblage to arm themselves with “the powerful bazookas of God, not the peashooters of the flesh.” Joe Morecraft is another member of the foundation.

Rushdoony has also written about e.g. evolution, though his claims about evolution are merely regurgitating fundamental misunderstandings about what science is and does from Answers in Genesis and Kent Hovind.*

Diagnosis: There really isn’t anything relevant that distinguishes Rushdoony and his foundation from ISIS or the Taliban, except the ability to actually implement their goals. Completely insane, and utterly evil.

 

*Footnote: The regurgitated claims include the assertion that evolution is non-scientific because it is about phenomena that can’t be observed directly, rather than about things that can be weighed and measured. This, of course, is a standard creationist and pretty fundamental misunderstanding: Science is precisely a set of means for using observations to test hypotheses about the unobservable (laws, causal relationships, and that which is too big or small, or too far away in time or space, to be observed directly) – weighing and measuring is book-keeping and logistics, not science. Science proceeds by taking hypothesis about something unobservable, determining what observable consequences the hypothesis has – i.e. what we should, in fact, observe if that hypothesis is true – and then checking whether this is what we, in fact, observe. Rushdoony is also fundamentally confused about the repeatability condition for scientific investigations and experiments: it is the observations that must be repeatable, not the unobservable states of affairs described by the hypothesis. Of course, Rushdoony goes on to use his fundamental misunderstanding to claim that evolution is just as faith-based as religion.

 

Impeachment talk is rising among Democrats. Nancy Pelosi is right to shut it down

Opening an impeachment inquiry would start a process many Americans would see as an attempt to circumvent the 2020 election

May 27, 2019

by Zaid Jilani

The Guardian

Upon taking control of Congress in 2006, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi declared that impeachment of then-President George W Bush was “off the table.”

Her remarks dismayed many critics of Bush, who continued to press Pelosi and other Democratic leaders to pursue impeachment against the Republican president. They pointed to the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance, the illegal war in Iraq, and the use of torture.

Articles of impeachment were authored by Ohio Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich, who netted a small group of co-sponsors for his resolution. But as we all know, no impeachment proceedings were ever launched against Bush, and the administration’s officials escaped any accountability from its successors. President Obama famously said he preferred to “look forward as opposed to looking backwards” when it came to accountability on issues like torture and wiretapping.

To many onlookers, the approach by Democratic leadership towards President Donald Trump seems to be a case of deja vu. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly rebuffed calls to begin impeachment proceedings against the president. “I’m not for impeachment … Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it,” she said in March.

Compared to Bush, the logic of impeaching Trump is far less straightforward. There are real concerns about whether Trump is violating the emoluments clause and his contempt of Congress, but neither of these issues compare to Bush’s illegal behavior, which severely violated the rights of millions of Americans and others. Although House Democrats are frustrated by Trump’s attempt to block their subpoenas and investigations of his financial dealings across the world, they do not have a clear-cut case of high crimes and misdemeanors that could set the stage for a successful impeachment – the same way warrantless surveillance or waterboarding presented one.

Impeachment is a sort of last resort the legislative branch has to deploy against a president who is acting outside the boundaries of the law. It is important for Congress to never declare that impeachment is off the table – as Pelosi did in 2006 – because it sends a message to the executive branch that its members cannot be held legally accountable. That sort of impunity would be antithetical to our system of checks and balances.

But what Pelosi is arguing this time around is much more reasonable. She supports Congressional oversight and investigations into the Trump administration and the president’s personal financial dealings as a way to expose possible wrongdoing. And she is leaving the door open to impeachment if the facts suggest that it is necessary.

These investigations can inform the American public about the way Trump is choosing to govern and allow them to make an educated choice in the 2020 election, without setting off what could be an extremely polarizing and contentious impeachment proceeding that is unlikely to succeed.

It is true that the president is stonewalling some of these investigations, and that’s one reason some Democrats are warming to an impeachment inquiry that they believe would allow them to get at information they currently can’t obtain.

Yet within the halls of Congress, the votes don’t seem to be there for an impeachment, according to the House’s third-ranking Democrat, South Carolina’s Jim Clyburn. Meanwhile, the US Senate is run by Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell, who would never go along with an effort to remove the president.

Opening an impeachment inquiry would start a process many Americans would see as an attempt to circumvent the 2020 election – denying voters the ability to have the final say on Trump’s conduct as president. Americans simply aren’t ready for as divisive a process as trying to impeach the president; even many who are critical of Trump don’t support impeaching him. A Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted in April found that only 37% of Americans support opening an impeachment inquiry.

Perhaps what Pelosi understands is that what Americans want Congress to focus on is bread and butter issues and a forward-looking agenda. Gallup polling released in November of 2018 found that 80% of voters said health care was extremely or very important to their vote; the Russia investigation, the nexus of many of the impeachment calls against President Trump, was 12th among issues polled, sitting at just 45%.

This doesn’t mean that Congress shouldn’t investigate the conduct of the Trump administration or the president’s personal financial dealings as they relate to the public interest. It is important for the public to have all the relevant information in order to make educated choices in the upcoming election. And if Trump continues to stonewall these investigations, voters have every right to punish him for it.

It is also well past time for Congress to pass reforms that could prevent abuses of presidential power in the future. While then-Judiciary Committee chair Michigan Democratic Representative John Conyers declined to start impeachment proceedings against Bush, he did introduce legislation to establish a commission on war powers and civil liberties; sadly, it did not go anywhere. If Pelosi is serious about investigating and holding the executive branch accountable, she could help set up a similar commission that could help create reforms in the law to rein in an unaccountable executive in the future.

But ultimately it is voters who will decide President Trump’s fate. The votes in Congress aren’t there for impeachment, and Americans aren’t convinced that it is justified based on the facts. Pelosi is wise to avoid invoking this nuclear option, which would only further polarize a country that is increasingly at odds with itself over political differences. We have a democratic process to empower Americans to choose their leaders. Attempting to short-circuit the 2020 election would harm America’s democracy, not enhance it.

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

May 27, 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. 9

Date: Wednesday, April 17, 1996

Commenced: 8:45 AM CST

Concluded: 9:21 AM CST

RTC: Hello?

GD: Robert…

RTC: Good morning, Gregory. You’re a bit early today.

GD: I was talking with Corson about ten minutes ago. He started talking to me about Kennedy and said he had the whole story in his safe deposit box. Is that true?

RTC: Did he tell you anything else?

GD: He acted cute with me and said when he died, Plato would have the whole story. Why not Aristotle?

RTC: Plato is a local fix lawyer Bill uses from time to time. They all eat from the same trough. Was Bill specific?

GD: No, just that he had a big secret that he bet I’d just like to lay my hands on.

RTC: I’ll have to have a little talk with him. Bill gets it into his head that he’s an important person and has to be brought down a peg. Plato is a Greek and I never trusted him.

GD: I recall a newspaper headline. It said: ‘If Russia attacks Turkey from the rear, will Greece help?’

RTC: And so early in the morning, Gregory. This whole town is a moral whorehouse. They all hang out together, lie together, steal together and generally know nothing. I wouldn’t worry about Bill and his secret information. What he has is a DIA report that I gave him a copy of.

GD: You mentioned this before.

RTC: Yes and when the box comes and it works, then we can talk about a copy for you.

GD: I’m not poking but did you hate Kennedy?

RTC: You are poking, Gregory, but no, I did not hate Kennedy. Kennedy came from a family that was as crooked as a dog’s hind leg. His father was a rum-runner and a whore monger and vicious as hell. Jack wasn’t so bad but he couldn’t keep it in his pants and used drugs in the White House. And enough of him for the time being. Besides, maybe I can entertain you discussing the downfall of Richard Nixon.

GD: That would be interesting. You should have the box in a week or so and then we can discuss other matters. What about Nixon?

RTC: The Company brought Nixon down but of course he made it easy to do.

GD: Watergate

RTC: And other matters. Yes, Watergate. Shall I continue?

GD: Go right ahead.

RTC: Nixon’s problem is that he was a jealous outsider and never fit into the political or intelligence community. But a smart man, Gregory, very smart, and very ambitious.

GD: I met him once. My step-mother, who had big money, was a strong supporter of Nixon and when he was running for Governor of California, she dragged me to a rubber chicken affair and I got to talk with him.

RTC: What did you think of him?

GD: He had come across badly on the idiot box but in person, he was taller than I thought and very sharp. I liked him as a person because he knew I was nobody but had no problem having a very good conversation with me.

RTC: No doubt your step-mother’s money helped.

GD: True, but you can tell when someone is being pleasant to you for politic reasons and when he is being genuinely communicative. He had the left wing press after him and he hated them, believe me.

RTC: That’s one of the factors that brought him down. Nixon’s downfall started in early ’72 when he went to China. It was a bold move and it had an effect everywhere. It also had an effect in Taiwan. Old Chaing Kai-shek had a bloody fit when he saw this. I mean a bloody fit. He saw this as the beginning of the end of U.S. support for him and he wanted desperately to stop the slide. His intelligence chief and a couple of bigwigs came to see our DCI and wept in his office. If Nixon normalized relations with the PRC, it would spell the end of a mutual special relationship, just like our special relationship with Israel. The long and the short of it, Gregory, is that they wanted Nixon out of power before he went any further. And, the pleasant part of this is that they were more than willing to pay us very, very well for accommodating them.

GD: They wanted you to kill him?

RTC: No, just removed so he couldn’t do them any more damage. We later did discuss killing him but two dead presidents in ten years was a bit much, so we hit on another ploy. We would discredit him. Our main man in all of this was Howard Hunt, who had wonderful ideas of his importance and, besides writing bad books, he had been very helpful in the Kennedy business in ’63. He was our station chief in Mexico between August and September of that year and set up the fake ‘Oswald’ visit to Mexico City.

GD: Wasn’t Oswald there? Getting a visa for Cuba?

RTC: No, that was bullshit. Anyway, Howard arranged for faked pictures, testimony that Oswald had been there at the Russian embassy, and so on. Useful. Now let’s move ahead a few years. Nixon had won his last election in a landslide and you know he was never too well wrapped. He had a huge inferiority complex and the press did not like him. Herblock the cartoonist with the Post really made some ugly cartoons of him and Nixon was overly sensitive about that sort of thing. So with his victory at the polls, he got a swelled head and began to get even with his opponents by turning the FBI and the IRS loose on them. Things like that. Remember the enemies list? Fine. So Hunt was connected with the Nixon people as a trouble-shooter and got involved with going after Nixon’s perceived enemies. He planted the idea that McGovern, a raging liberal twit, was in contact with Castro and getting Cuban money. The next thing was to suggest that they bug the DNC offices to get proof of this and ruin McGovern. A break-in, and they had been breaking into offices and homes for some time, a break-in was planned but it was planned to fail. They taped a self-locking door open, someone tipped off Watergate security and you know the rest.

GD: But there was no guarantee that Nixon would do what he did. I mean the stonewalling.

RTC: We could read Tricky Dick like a dime novel. True to form, he believed he was an imperial figure and acted that way right up to the end. Hunt played his part and I’m sure you watched the thing unfold, right on the five o’clock news every night. For a smart man, Nixon was very stupid and played right into our hands.

GD: But Hunt was destined for the big house…

RTC: Of course. He had to fall on his sword but Howard didn’t like the idea and he began to whine about this. We had to show him the light and after that, he went right along with the schedule.

GD: A serious talk?

RTC: No, we had to kill his wife as a serious warning to follow the game plan.

GD: More killing. Someone shoot her from an office building?

RTC: No, we arranged for an accident when she was flying west. Dorothy was helping Howard with some little project he thought would help him so we sabotaged her plane in DC.

GD: Put a bomb on it?

RTC: No tampered with the equipment. Plane came in for a stopover at Midway, suddenly lost altitude and smashed into some local houses. Midway is a terrible field, believe me. Right in the middle of an urban area and the runways are far too short. Anyway, down it came on top of people and the wife was dead. The local authorities found ten thousand in cash in her purse by the way. But it had an effect on Howard…..

GD: I can imagine. How many people died?

RTC: A few on the ground and forty or so in the plane. But the point is, Howard kept to his end of things or he would have been next or perhaps a close relative. He knew the score, Howard did.

GD: And Nixon left office in disgrace.

RTC: Well, yes, he did. Remember Al Haig? The General? Yes. Well we were afraid that Nixon wouldn’t leave peacefully and might turn to the military for help so we put Al in to keep Nixon on the straight and narrow and limit his actions in that area. Worked out fine. And the chinks were happy as a clam with the results.

GD: Forty people, probably innocent at that, is a bit much, don’t you think?

RTC: Well, Lenin said you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs first. And Gregory, you surely can’t believe that there any really innocent people in this world? We are born in original sin as you know.

GD: That’s the Catholic view. Well, I suppose that’s water under the bridge now.

RTC: I think Teddy Kennedy said that after Chappaquiddick.

GD: Is it possible I could write about this?

RTC: Actually, I would rather you didn’t. Hunt is still alive and there’s no point pushing him. He’s fallen from grace and is in decline so he might not be too receptive to having all of this aired.

GD: No problem. Anyway, who would publish it? It’s bad enough that I am writing about the CIA hiring the head of the Gestapo without adding insult to injury. Does Nixon know about this?

RTC: I don’t really know and I don’t really care. He knows enough to keep quiet and count his money. I don’t think he wants his twilight years terminated with prejudice. He might be paranoid but he is a pragmatist in the end. That ought to hold you until we move on to other presidential removals.

GD: It sounds like a Mayflower moving van ad.

RTC: If it works, don’t knock it.

GD: Well, the chinks are not that happy. Look at all the money they spent and look at our relations with the PRC.

RTC: Some things are destined to happen and all they did was to prolong the final act. Jerry Ford was no threat. A wonderfully cooperative man, Jerry was. During the Warren Commission, he called up old Hoover every night with the latest confidential dirt. No, Jerry was no problem. And the peanut farmer was too self-righteous to bother with and harmless. Actually, Nixon was lucky. If the Watergate thing hadn’t worked, we would have found something a little more permanent.

GD: Nixon didn’t know anything about the Kennedy business, did he?

RTC: No. Nixon was a Quaker and God knows what he would have thought about that. Nixon wasn’t into what our Russian friends call wet actions.

GD: I’m not fishing here but did you people have anything to with Bobby’s ascension to heaven?

RTC: No, that was Hoover. The Colonel   hated Bobby for calling him an old faggot and harassing him. And King too. He hated King because he was having an affair with a white woman and, on top of this, had gone to the Lenin school in Russia. Bobby was a quid pro quo for his brother in our eyes.

GD: It sounds like the Borgias.

RTC: Gregory, these are matters of state, not an exercise in morality. We have to do unpleasant things from time to time…I recall our man driving around in Africa with the rotting body of Lumumba stuffed into his trunk back in ’61 after we killed him. People go off fast in that climate. He said he was sick for days trying to get the stench out of his nose. Feel sorry for the poor man, why not? That sort of work is never easy. There are often sleepless nights.

GD: Speaking of that, let me leave you now and I’ll call up my construction expert and see how the blessed Swiss bell ringing box is coming along.

RTC: You just do that, Gregory, and I will be very, very happy if and when.

 

(Concluded at 9:21 AM CST)

 

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Government Disinformation Methods

Governments, and the globalists who back them, have immense assets — an almost endless fiat money printing press — and control over most legal and academic institutions. With these advantages, disinformation can be executed on a massive scale. Here are just a handful of the most prominent tactics used by government agencies and private think tanks to guide public opinion, and establish the appearance of consensus:

1) Control The Experts: Most Americans are taught from kindergarten to ignore their instincts for the truth and defer to the “professional class” for all their answers. The problem is that much of the professional class is indoctrinated throughout their college years, many of them molded to support the status quo. Any experts that go against the grain are ostracized by their peers.

2) Control The Data: By controlling the source data of any investigation, be it legal or scientific, the government has the ability to engineer any truth they wish, that is, as long as the people do not care enough to ask for the source data. Two major examples of controlled and hidden source data include; the NIST investigation of the suspicious 9/11 WTC collapses, in which NIST engineers, hired by the government, have kept all source data from their computer models secret, while claiming that the computer models prove the collapses were “natural”. Also, the recent exposure of the CRU Climate Labs and their manipulation of source data in order to fool the public into believing that Global Warming is real, and accepting a world-wide carbon tax. The CRU has refused to release the source data from its experiments for years, and now we know why.

3) Skew The Statistics: This tactic is extremely evident in the Labor Department’s evaluations on unemployment, using such tricks as incorporating ambiguous birth / death ratios into their calculation in order to make it appear as though there are less unemployed people than there really are, or leaving out certain subsections of the population, like those who are unemployed and no longer seeking benefits.

3) Guilt By False Association: Governments faced with an effective opponent will always attempt to demonize that person or group in the eyes of the public. This is often done by associating them with a group or idea that the public already hates. Example: During the last election, they tried to associate Ron Paul supporters with racist groups (and more recently, certain Fox News anchors) in order to deter moderate Democrats from taking an honest look at Congressman Paul’s policies.

4) Manufacture Good News: This falls in with the skewing of statistics, and it also relies heavily on Media cooperation. The economic “Green Shoots” concept is a good example of the combination of government and corporate media interests in order to create an atmosphere of false optimism based on dubious foundations.

5) Controlled Opposition: Men in positions of power have known for centuries the importance of controlled opposition. If a movement rises in opposition to one’s authority, one must usurp that movement’s leadership. If no such movement exists to infiltrate, the establishment will often create a toothless one, in order to fill that social need, and neutralize individuals who might have otherwise taken action themselves.

During the 1960’s and 70’s, the FBI began a secretive program called COINTELPRO. Along with illegal spying on American citizens who were against the Vietnam conflict or in support of the civil rights movement, they also used agents and media sources to pose as supporters of the movement, then purposely created conflict and division, or took control of the direction of the movement altogether. This same tactic has been attempted with the modern Liberty Movement and the Tea Party movement, on several levels, but has so far been ineffective in stopping our growth.

The NRA is another good example of controlled opposition, as many gun owners are satisfied that paying their annual NRA dues is tantamount to actively resisting anti-gun legislation; when in fact, the NRA is directly responsible for many of the compromises which result in lost ground on 2nd amendment issues. In this way, gun owners are not only rendered inactive, but actually manipulated into funding the demise of their own cause.

6) False Paradigms: Human beings have a tendency to categorize and label other people and ideas. It is, for better or worse, a fundamental part of how we understand the complexities of the world. This component of human nature, like most any other, can be abused as a powerful tool for social manipulation. By framing a polarized debate according to artificial boundaries, and establishing the two poles of that debate, social engineers can eliminate the perceived possibility of a third alternative. The mainstream media apparatus is the key weapon to this end. The endless creation of dichotomies, and the neat arrangement of ideologies along left/right lines, offers average people a very simple (though hopelessly inaccurate) way of thinking about politics. It forces them to choose a side, usually based solely on emotional or cultural reasons, and often lures them into supporting positions they would otherwise disagree with. It fosters an environment in which beating the other team is more important than ensuring the integrity of your own. Perhaps most importantly, it allows the social engineer to determine what is “fair game” for debate, and what is not.

Stopping Disinformation

The best way to disarm disinformation agents is to know their methods inside and out. This gives us the ability to point out exactly what they are doing in detail the moment they try to do it. Immediately exposing a disinformation tactic as it is being used is highly destructive to the person utilizing it. It makes them look foolish, dishonest, and weak for even making the attempt. Internet trolls most especially do not know how to handle their methods being deconstructed right in front of their eyes, and usually fold and run from debate when it occurs.

The truth, is precious. It is sad that there are so many in our society that have lost respect for it; people who have traded in their conscience and their soul for temporary financial comfort while sacrificing the stability and balance of the rest of the country in the process. The human psyche breathes on the air of truth, without it, humanity cannot survive. Without it, the species will collapse in on itself, starving from lack of intellectual and emotional sustenance. Disinformation does not only threaten our insight into the workings of our world; it makes us vulnerable to fear, misunderstanding, and doubt, all things that lead to destruction. It can lead good people to commit terrible atrocities against others, or even against themselves. Without a concerted and organized effort to diffuse mass-produced lies, the future will look bleak indeed.

 

 

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