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TBR News May 27, 2020

May 27 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. May 27, 2020: Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Comment for May 27, 2020 : We have hysterical reporting on the major “respectable” internet news sites about how corona virus is slaughtering the population in the United States and, buried on Google, are factual articles showing the relative sickness and death number to be far, far lower than, let us say, Reuters or the Guardian are wailing about. Either the “respectable” media is grossly incompetent or this endless and inaccurate hysteria is rigged from the first word. I will list here some of the fearful headlines to show you what I am talking about. Also, there are, buried, some stories about why the convenient virus is helping Trump and his rich friends enormously. I have included these in the text as well. In the end, the public will make up its own mind and I, and others, feel that Fat Donny and his crew of slime-balls have run this little project into a wall;

The Guardian…
• The US approaches the grim milestone of 100,000 fatalities from the virus
• Explainer: what do we now know about Covid-19 – and can you get it twice?
• Global report: WHO says the Americas are centre of pandemic as cases surge
• Colombian designers prepare cardboard hospital beds that double as coffins
• US lets corporations delay paying environmental fines amid pandemic
• As the death toll of Covid-19 nears 100,000 in the US: these lives lost, and missed
• Covid-19: the role of vitamin D – podcast

Reuters
• Coronavirus toll on Italy’s elderly strains “nonni” safety net
• With black masks and silence, Spain mourns its coronavirus dead
• Research finds concerning drop in U.S. colorectal cancer screenings and surgeries
• France bans hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 amid safety concerns
• Antibody drug tech firm AbCellera raises $105 million as it works on COVID-19
• South Korea reports new spike in virus cases
• A pregnant doctor navigates COVID-19 fight in low income LA
All of this is nothing more than a collection of bovine feces. No one wants to mention that more Americans died of regular flu last year than have died of the corona virus. This is little more than a crude con and the American public (and others) are its intended victim.
Its benefactors are the thoroughly corrupt Trump and his millionaire supporters and friends. Its victims are the swindled American public.”

The Table of Contents
Millionaires to reap 80% of benefit from tax change in US coronavirus stimulus
• To Donald Trump, coronavirus is just one more chance for a power grab
• Wilderness camps to $50,000 RV rentals: Luxury travelers in pandemic ready to pay for privacy
• Fact check: The super rich did indeed get richer in early weeks of coronavirus pandemic
• The CIA’s Murderous Practices, Disinformation Campaigns, and Interference in Other Countries Still Shape the World Order and U.S. Politics
• The Failed Economic Rape of Russsia
• An Official Overview of Global Terrorism
• Trump and the Numbers Game
• The Empire in Collapse
• Encyclopedia of American Loons

Millionaires to reap 80% of benefit from tax change in US coronavirus stimulus
• Nation’s wealthiest to avoid $82bn of tax liability
• Hedge-fund investors and real estate owners to benefit most
April 15, 2020
by Amanda Holpuch in New York
The Guardian
Millionaires and billionaires are set to reap more than 80% of the benefits from a change to the tax law Republicans put in the coronavirus economic relief package, according to a non-partisan congressional committee.
The change – which alters what certain business owners are allowed to deduct from their taxes – will allow some of the nation’s wealthiest to avoid nearly $82bn of tax liability in 2020.
Nearly 82% of the benefits from the tax law change will go to people making $1m or more annually in 2020, according to an analysis by the joint committee on taxation (JCT). Overall, 95% of individuals who benefit from the change make $200,000 or more.
Taxpayers will lose nearly $90bn from the change, which suspends a restriction introduced in the 2017 tax bill.
The change allows owners of businesses known as pass-through entities to lower their taxes by deducting as much as they want against income unrelated to the business.
Before, owners of pass-through entities could deduct a maximum of $250,000 in losses from non-business income such as stocks and bonds. This limitation was introduced in the 2017 law to offset other tax benefits going to firms.
Republicans said it was a mistake to include the provision in the 2017 legislation, and moved to temporarily suspend it in the $2tn Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (Cares) act passed in late March.
Because of the suspension, the JCT estimated 43,000 people making $1m or more would owe a total of $70.3bn less in taxes in 2020. Less than 3% of the benefits from the change will go to Americans earning less than $100,000 a year.
Steve Rosenthal, a tax expert at the Tax Policy Center, a non-partisan thinktank, told the Washington Post hedge-fund investors and owners of real estate would benefit most from the change.
Alan Viard of the American Enterprise Institute thinktank said the change should be made permanent. “The tax relief gives businesses badly needed liquidity during the coronavirus pandemic while also reducing the tax penalty on risky business investments,” Viard wrote in a blogpost.
The JCT analysis was prompted by two Democratic members of Congress seeking more information from Donald Trump’s administration about changes to the tax law included in the coronavirus relief package.
In a letter last week, senator Sheldon Whitehouse, of Rhode Island, and representative Lloyd Doggett, of Texas, said they were specifically seeking information about whether any people in the Trump administration who were involved with developing the changes would also benefit from the provisions.
After the analysis was published, Whitehouse called for this provision to be repealed.
“It’s a scandal for Republicans to loot American taxpayers in the midst of an economic and human tragedy,” Whitehouse said in a statement. “This analysis shows that while Democrats fought for unemployment insurance and small business relief, a top priority of President Trump and his allies in Congress was another massive tax cut for the wealthy.”

To Donald Trump, coronavirus is just one more chance for a power grab
Chaos in response to Covid-19 is no surprise. Nor is the unscrupulous operators’ pursuit of profit and political advantage
April 5, 2020
by Robert Reich
The Guardian
The utter chaos in America’s response to the coronavirus pandemic – shortages of equipment to protect hospital workers, dwindling supplies of ventilators and critical medications, jaw-dropping confusion over how $2.2tn of aid in the recent coronavirus law will be distributed – was perhaps predictable in a nation that prides itself on competitive individualism and hates centralized power.
But it is also tailor-made for Donald Trump, who has spent a lifetime exploiting chaos for personal gain and blaming others for losses.
“I don’t take responsibility” for the slow rate of coronavirus testing in the US, he said.
On Friday, when asked if he could assure New Yorkers there would be enough ventilators next week when virus victims are expected to overwhelm city hospitals, he replied: “No. They should have had more ventilators.”
Trump has told governors to find life-saving equipment on their own. He refuses to create a central bargaining agent, arguing the federal government is “not a shipping clerk”. This has left states and cities bidding against each other, driving up prices.
Andrew Cuomo, the New York governor, described how ventilators went from $25,000 to $45,000 “because we bid $25,000. California says, ‘I’ll give you $30,000’ and Illinois says, ‘I’ll give you $35,000’ and Florida says ‘I’ll give you $40,000. And then, Fema [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] gets involved and Fema starts bidding!
“And now Fema is bidding on top of the 50! So Fema is driving up the price. What sense does this make? We’re literally bidding up the prices ourselves.”
New York state is paying 20 cents for gloves that normally cost less than five cents, $7.50 for masks that normally go for 50 cents, $2,795 for infusion pumps that normally cost half that, $248,841 for a portable X-ray machine that typically sells for $30,000 to $80,000.
Who’s pocketing all this? An array of producers, importers, wholesalers and speculators. State laws against price gouging usually don’t apply to government purchases.
Some of it may be finding its way into this fall’s election campaigns. The veteran Republican fundraiser Mike Gula and Republican political operative John Thomas just started a company selling coronavirus testing kits, personal protective equipment and other “hard to find medical supplies to beat the outbreak”. They call themselves “the largest global network of Covid-19 medical suppliers”.
Asked how he’d found such equipment, Gula explained: “I have relationships with a lot of people.”
Thomas added: “In politics – especially if you’re at a high enough level – you are one phone call away from anybody in the world.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner – who’s one phone call away from anyone – is running a “shadow” coronavirus task force that has been enlisting the private sector and overseeing the Strategic National Stockpile of medical supplies, all out of public view.
“It’s supposed to be our stockpile – it’s not supposed to be state stockpiles,” he said cryptically on Thursday.
Oh, and let’s not forget the giant coronavirus bill Trump signed into law on 27 March, which created a $500bn fund that Trump and his treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, will distribute to the private sector. Most of it will backstop $4.5tn of subsidized loans (ie, bailout money) coming from the Fed, also distributed by the Treasury.
In a signing statement, Trump said he wouldn’t agree to provisions in the bill for congressional oversight – meaning the wheeling-and-dealing will be in secret. When the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said she’d form a special select committee to watch how the money is spent, Trump accused her of “conducting partisan investigations in the middle of a pandemic”, adding: “Here we go again … It’s witch hunt after witch hunt.”
Is there any doubt Trump will try to use this money, as well as his son-in-law’s secretive dealings, to improve his odds of re-election?
Trump was impeached a mere three and a half months ago on charges of abuse of power and obstructing investigations. Eight months ago, he phoned the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, seeking dirt on Joe Biden and threatening to hold up military aid to get it.
In June 2016, his son Donald Jr and Jared Kushner met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, after a Russian intermediary contacted Trump Jr with a promise to provide material that would “incriminate” Hillary Clinton and be “very useful to your father”, adding it was part of the Russian government’s “support” for Trump.
Donald Trump calls allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election a “hoax”. He called his impeachment a “hoax”. He initially called the coronavirus a “hoax”.
But the real hoax is Trump’s commitment to America. In reality he will do anything – anything – to hold on to power. In his mind, the coronavirus crisis is just another opportunity.

Wilderness camps to $50,000 RV rentals: Luxury travelers in pandemic ready to pay for privacy
May 26, 2020
by Helen Coster
Reuters
(Reuters) – Before the coronavirus pandemic, Melanie Burns and her husband between them had planned five trips between April and September, including three to Europe.
With only one still a possibility, the Oklahoma City resident is turning to a more reliable option: driving eight hours to the 550,000-acre Vermejo resort in Raton, New Mexico, where the couple can hike, fly fish and dine under the stars while avoiding other guests.
“We didn’t want a large property,” said Burns. “We didn’t want a hotel situation where there was daily housekeeping and you had to walk down a hall with rooms across from each other.”
As borders and much of the travel industry remained closed after the Memorial Day weekend, historically the start of the U.S. summer travel season, most Americans are staying put, with travel within the United States expected to plunge by over half a trillion dollars this year, a nearly 54% decline from 2019.
Even so, some cooped-up Americans are starting to think about stepping out. Nearly one-third of Americans would consider taking a vacation outside the home between now and the end summer, according to a study from The Points Guy, a U.S. travel website.
Some of the first to book trips will likely be those who can minimize their risk of exposure to the virus, with budgets that allow for more isolated and private forms of travel.
“There’s a redefining of what luxury means,” said Eliza Scott Harris, chief operating officer of Indagare, a members-only boutique travel company. “It’s less about the ‘wow’ factor of the design and more about the privacy you’re afforded.”
High-end travelers are upgrading to more self-contained transportation, resulting in a “huge uptick” in private air travel, according to Joanna Kuflik, director of travel services at Marchay, a membership-based luxury travel agency.
For those who prefer a road trip, luxury RVs are expected to be popular. Goss RV, which offers weeklong luxury RV rentals with a driver for up to $50,000 per week, saw a 62% increase in revenue from rentals compared to the same month last year, as of May 21.
Cities are less popular options and small, elite properties in remote destinations are in, according to industry experts.
The country’s wealthiest travelers are beginning to book U.S. properties like the Amangiri, a 600-acre, $3,000 per night resort in southern Utah, which reopened May 21 with employees who have been trained to perform spa treatments while wearing masks and gloves.
The Amangiri has bookings through July and beyond, according to a resort spokesperson, with clients coming from nearby California, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado at a time when flights remain limited. To enhance social distancing, the resort is limiting occupancy of its already-low room count of 34 suites.
Low density is a big draw.
“In a smaller boutique hotel or Airbnb you can trust that it’s a better-contained staff and a manager could be confident that 12 rooms could be cleaned very well, rather than 600 rooms,” said Kristin Peterson Edwards, an art consultant in Connecticut.
To attract more guests driving from San Francisco and Los Angeles – 11 and 10 hours away, respectively – the Lodge at Blue Sky in Wanship, Utah, may work with another outfitter to set up luxury camps in wilderness settings midway between the resort and those cities. The resort is reopening with limited occupancy on June 1, said general manager Joe Ogdie, who isn’t seeing a “major push of demand” yet, although he’s fielding inquiries about bookings.
On the international front, Indagare’s Harris said when borders reopen and international travel picks back up, many high-end travelers will head to New Zealand, which recorded just over 1,500 cases of coronavirus after imposing one of the world’s strictest lockdowns. Based on bookings for late December and early 2021, the country is now for the first time her firm’s top foreign destination from a revenue standpoint, beating out Italy and France, Harris said.
For now, New Orleans resident Catherine Makk is not ready to fly and is instead planning a road trip with her daughter, possibly to Santa Fe, New Mexico. She’ll seek out small resorts where she can have more direct access to management, as well as experiences like private art tours.
“I think there will be more private one-on-one experiences with people in the region,” Makk said. “Everything will be much more relationship-based, much more considered.”
Reporting by Helen Coster in New York; Editing by Kenneth Li and Leslie Adler

Fact check: The super rich did indeed get richer in early weeks of coronavirus pandemic
May 7, 2020
by Molly Stellino
USA TODAY
The claim: America’s super-rich have seen their wealth rise by $282 billion in three weeks of the pandemic
An article published on The Mind Unleashed, a website that seeks to “disseminate and inspire out-of-the-box thinking,” claims the country’s super-rich have seen their wealth rise by $282 billion in 23 days during the pandemic.
The article has been shared more than 17,000 times from the site’s Facebook page.
It attributes the enormous figure to a report of the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank based in Washington, D.C. “Billionaire Bonanza 2020” analyzes the factors that affect income inequality in the country, summarizes the political influence of the billionaire class and recommends changes to address the trends.
The news coverage of the explosion of wealth among billionaires has been widespread because of the contrast with working Americans experiencing staggering layoffs. The Guardian, Reuters and Fast Company reported on the phenomenon. More than 30 million Americans have applied for unemployment in six weeks.
Where $282 billion comes from
The Institute for Policy Studies report uses data from the Forbes Global Billionaire List, the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finance, a survey of the income and demographic information of American households that is done once every three years, and the Distributional Financial Accounts, a “quarterly measure of the distribution of U.S. household wealth since 1989.”
The institute cites $282 billion as coming from data from the Forbes Global Billionaire List, which gathers the information from various sources to create its comprehensive catalog of the world’s billionaires.
“We value a variety of assets, including private companies, real estate, art and more. We don’t pretend to know each billionaire’s private balance sheet (though some provide it). When documentation isn’t supplied or available, we discount fortunes,” the Forbes webpage reads.
Institute researchers also used Forbes’s Real-Time Billionaires List, which updates billionaires’ change in wealth daily. But this tool doesn’t publicly display the archived data from past days, Omar Ocampo, researcher at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-author of the Billionaire Bonanza 2020 report, explained in an email.
“On April 5th and April 10th, after the markets closed on those two specific days, we applied a filter where Forbes’ website only displayed U.S. billionaires. We then retrieved the data and added up their wealth/net worth. The sum for April 5th was $3.017 trillion and for April 10th it was $3.229 trillion,” Ocampo said.
The Forbes Global Billionaire List recorded U.S. billionaires’ wealth at about $2.9 trillion on March 18. When subtracted from the April 10 total at $3.229 trillion, the difference – or net growth – comes out to $282 billion in 23 days, a roughly 10% increase.
The institute attributes the growth to billionaires’ use of tax cuts, tax exemptions and offshore tax havens. An analysis by The Guardian also points to a government’s bailout meant to aid small businesses despite large businesses reportedly benefiting.
“We’ve seen this happen before, in the recovery from the 2008 economic meltdown – which, for most Americans, was never complete,” Chuck Collins, the institute’s director of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good, wrote for CNN. “Indeed, most US households went into this pandemic with a lingering economic hangover from the 2008 crash. Only the top 20% of US households had fully recovered the wealth they had prior to the Great Recession.”

The CIA’s Murderous Practices, Disinformation Campaigns, and Interference in Other Countries Still Shape the World Order and U.S. Politics
May 21, 2020
by Glenn Greenwald
The Intercept
In the weeks before the 2016 presidential election, the most powerful former leaders of the Central Intelligence Agency did everything they could to elect Hillary Clinton and defeat Donald Trump. President Obama’s former acting CIA chief Michael Morrell published a full-throated endorsement of Clinton in the New York Times and claimed “Putin ha[s] recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation,” while George W. Bush’s post-9/11 CIA and NSA Chief, Gen. Michael Hayden, writing in the Washington Post, refrained from endorsing Clinton outright but echoed Morrell by accusing Trump of being a “useful fool, some naif, manipulated by Moscow” and sounding “a little bit the conspiratorial Marxist.” Meanwhile, the intelligence community under James Clapper and John Brennan fed morsels to both the Obama DOJ and the U.S. media to suggest a Trump/Russia conspiracy and fuel what became the Russiagate investigation.
In his extraordinary election-advocating op-ed, Hayden, Bush/Cheney’s CIA chief, candidly explained the reasons for the CIA’s antipathy for Trump: namely, the GOP candidate’s stated opposition to allowing CIA regime change efforts in Syria to expand as well as his opposition to arming Ukrainians with lethal weapons to fight Russia (supposedly “pro-Putin” positions which, we are now all supposed to forget, Obama largely shared).
As has been true since President Harry Truman’s creation of the CIA after World War II, interfering in other countries and dictating or changing their governments — through campaigns of mass murder, military coups, arming guerrilla groups, the abolition of democracy, systemic disinformation, and the imposition of savage despots — is regarded as a divine right, inherent to American exceptionalism. Anyone who questions that or, worse, opposes it and seeks to impede it (as the CIA perceived Trump was) is of suspect loyalties at best.
The CIA’s antipathy toward Trump continued after his election victory. The agency became the primary vector for anonymous illegal leaks designed to depict Trump as a Kremlin agent and/or blackmail victim. It worked to ensure the leak of the Steele dossier that clouded at least the first two years of Trump’s presidency. It drove the scam Russiagate conspiracy theories. And before Trump was even inaugurated, open warfare erupted between the president-elect and the agency to the point where Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer explicitly warned Trump on the Rachel Maddow Show that he was risking full-on subversion of his presidency by the agency:
Democrats, early in Trump’s presidency, saw clearly that the CIA had become one of Trump’s most devoted enemies, and thus began viewing them as a valuable ally. Leading out-of-power Democratic foreign policy elites from the Obama administration and Clinton campaign joined forces not only with Bush/Cheney neocons but also former CIA officials to create new foreign policy advocacy groups designed to malign and undermine Trump and promote hawkish confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia. Meanwhile, other ex-CIA and Homeland Security officials, such as John Brennan and James Clapper, became beloved liberal celebrities by being hired by MSNBC and CNN to deliver liberal-pleasing anti-Trump messaging that, on a virtually daily basis, masqueraded as news.
The all-consuming Russiagate narrative that dominated the first three years of Trump’s presidency further served to elevate the CIA as a noble and admirable institution while whitewashing its grotesque history. Liberal conventional wisdom held that Russian Facebook ads, Twitter bots and the hacking and release of authentic, incriminating DNC emails was some sort of unprecedented, off-the-charts, out-of-the-ordinary crime-of-the-century attack, with several leading Democrats (including Hillary Clinton) actually comparing it to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor.
The level of historical ignorance and/or jingostic American exceptionalism necessary to believe this is impossible to describe. Compared to what the CIA has done to dozens of other countries since the end of World War II, and what it continues to do, watching Americans cast Russian interference in the 2016 election through online bots and email hacking (even if one believes every claim made about it) as some sort of unique and unprecedented crime against democracy is staggering. Set against what the CIA has done and continues to do to “interfere” in the domestic affairs of other countries — including Russia — the 2016 election was, at most, par for the course for international affairs and, more accurately, a trivial and ordinary act in the context of CIA interference.
This propaganda was sustainable because the recent history and the current function of the CIA has largely been suppressed. Thankfully, a just-released book by journalist Vincent Bevins — who spent years as a foreign correspondent covering two countries still marred by brutal CIA interference: Brazil for the Los Angeles Times and Indonesia for the Washington Post — provides one of the best, most informative and most illuminating histories yet of this agency and the way it has shaped the actual, rather than the propagandistic, U.S. role in the world.
Entitled “The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World,” the book primarily documents the indescribably horrific campaigns of mass murder and genocide the CIA sponsored in Indonesia as an instrument for destroying a nonaligned movement of nations who would be loyal to neither Washington nor Moscow. Critically, Bevins documents how the chilling success of that morally grotesque campaign led to its being barely discussed in U.S. discourse, but then also serving as the foundation and model for clandestine CIA interference campaigns in multiple other countries from Guatemala, Chile, and Brazil to the Philippines, Vietnam, and Central America: the Jakarta Method.

Trump and the Numbers Game
There were 56.5 million Hispanics in the United States in 2015, accounting for 17.6% of the total U.S. population.
The Hispanic Mexican population of the United States is projected to grow to 107 million by 2065.
The share of the U.S. population that is Hispanic has been steadily rising over the past half century. In 2015, Hispanics made up 17.6% of the total U.S. population, up from 3.5% in 1960, the origins of the nation’s Hispanic population have diversified as growing numbers of immigrants from other Latin American nations and Puerto Rico settled in the U.S.
For example, between 1930 and 1980, Hispanics from places other than Mexico nearly doubled their representation among U.S. Hispanics, from 22.4% to 40.6%. But with the arrival of large numbers of Mexican immigrants in the 1980s and 1990s, the Mexican share among Hispanics grew, rising to a recent peak of 65.7%.
California has the largest legal poplation of Mexicans, 14,013,719. And California is also home to almost 25% of the country’s undocumented population. California is followed by Texas where 31.14%,(8,500,000) are Mexican, Florida has 4,223,806 Mexicans, Illinois 2,153,000, Arizona,1,895,149, Colorado, 1,136,000 Georgia, 923,000, North Carolina, 890,000, and Washington, 858,000 Mexicans.
Given the fact that President Trump has strong personal dislikes for both Blacks and Latinos, manifest in his recent vicious treatment of Mexican immigrants in their legal attempts to immigrate to the United States, the sheer number of Mexicans now resident in the United States ought to give him, and his far-right Republican Congressional supporters serious pause in their denial of entrance for legal immigrant attempts and the subsequent brutal maltreatment of small children of these immigrants.
If the Mexican voting population of the United States were to organize, like the recent organizing of the black voting population of Alabma in opposition to the fanatical Judge Moore, the results in the November elections could well prove to be a stunning disaster for both Trump and the Republicans.
Numbers certainly count but Trump is obviously unaware of their potential danger, both to him and his right-wing radical supporters.

The Empire in Collapse
Because of the growing, and serious, public discontent that had been manifested during the course of the Vietnamese War from 1950 through 1973, the American governmental establishment resolved to take steps to recognize, infiltrate and neutralize any significant future national anti-government actions.
Once the most powerful nation, the United States is rapidly losing its premier position in the international sphere while at the same time facing a potential serious anti-government political movement developing in that country. The number of unemployed in the United States today is approximately 97,000,000. Official American sources claim that employment is always improving but in fact it is not. Most official governmental releases reflect wishful thinking or are designed to placate the public
This situation is caused by the movement, by management, of manufacturing businesses to foreign labor markets. While these removals can indeed save the companies a great deal of expenditure on domestic labor, by sharply reducing their former worker bodies to a small number, the companies have reduced the number of prospective purchasers of expensive items like automobiles.
The U.S. government’s total revenue is estimated to be $3.654 trillion for fiscal year 2019.
•Personal income taxes contribute $1.836 trillion, half of the total.
•Another third ($1.224 trillion) comes from payroll taxes.
This includes $892 billion for Social Security, $270 billion for Medicare and $50 billion for unemployment insurance.
•Corporate taxes add $355 billion, only 10 percent.
•Customs excise taxes and tariffs on imports contribute $146 billion, just 4 percent
•The Federal Reserve’s net income adds $70 billion.
•The remaining $23 billion of federal income comes from estate taxes and miscellaneous receipts.
•The use of secret offshore accounts by US citizens to evade U.S. federal taxes costs the U.S. Department of the Treasury well over $100 billion annually.
By moving from a producing to an importing entity, the United States has developed, and is developing, serious sociological and economic problems in a significant number of its citizens, and many suffer from serious health problems that are not treated.
It is estimated that over 500,000 American citizens are without any form of housing. Many of these people either are living on the streets, in public parks, living in cars or in charity shelters. There are at present over 200,000 family groups in America with over 300,000 individuals involved and 25% of the total are minor children.
Over 80,000 individuals are permanently without any residence. Many of these have physical disabilities such as chronic alcoholism or drug addiction. Many are classified as having severe mental disorders.
About 50,000 of these homeless individuals are military veterans, many of whom have serious physical or mental problems. One of the most common mental disorders is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Governmental treatment for these individuals is virtually non-existent. Approximately half of this number are either black or Latin American (“Hispanics” in official designation.)
Of the total number of the homeless individuals, approximately 10% are female.
Official but private, estimates are that there over 500,000 youths below the age of 24 in current American society that find themselves homeless for periods lasting from one week to a permanent status.
Over 100,000 of this class are young people who are defined as being homosexual. Those in this class find themselves persecuted to a considerable degree by society in general and their peer groups in specific.
Approximately 50% of this homeless population are over the age of 50, many of whom suffer from chronic, debilitating physical illnesses that are not treated.
Drug deaths in the U.S. in 2017 exceeded 60,000. Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involved prescriptions. Opioids are a class of strong painkillers drugs and include Percocet, Vicodin and OxyContin which are synthetic drugs designed to resemble opiates such as opium derived morphine and heroin. The most dangerous opioid is Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid painkiller 50-100 times more powerful than morphine. The increasing demand for these drugs is causing them to be manufactured outside the United States.
Suicide is the primary cause of “injury death” in the United States and more U.S. military personnel on active duty have killed themselves than were killed in combat last year.
The growing instability of American families is manifested by the fact that:
• One out of every three children in America lives in a home without a father.
• More than half of all babies are being born out of wedlock for women under the age of 30 living in the United States
• The United States has the highest child abuse death rate in the developed world.
• The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the world although the numbers have declined in recent years due to the use of contraceptives.
The United States has the highest incarceration rate and the largest total prison population in the entire world. The criminal justice system in the United States holds more than 4,166,000 people in 1,719 state prisons, 102,000 in federal prisons, 901,000 in juvenile correctional facilities, and 3,163,000 in local jails. Additionally, 5,203,400 adults are on probation or on parole.
The number of people on probation or parole has increased the population of the American corrections system to more than 9,369,400 in 2017. Corrections costs the American taxpayer $69 billion a year.
There are a huge number of American domestic and business mortgages, (67 million by conservative estimate) which have been sliced up, put into so-called “investment packages” and sold to customers both domestic and foreign. This problem has been covered up by American authorities by cloaking the facts in something called MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System)
This results in the fact that the holders of mortgages, so chopped and packed, are not possible to identify by MERS or anyone else, at any time and by any agency. This means that any property holder, be they a domestic home owner or a business owner, is paying their monthly fees for property they can never own.
Another festering problem consists of the official loans made to students in colleges and universities in the U.S. the predatory nature of the $90 billion student loan industry. These so-called student loans are the most serious economic problem faced today by American university students.
This problem arose due to federal legislation originating in the mid-1990s which effectively removed basic consumer protections from student loans, thus permitting extensive penalties and the methodology for enforced collection.
Because of the highly inflated cost of higher American education, very few students from high school can afford university education. The new college graduate has, on average, a student loan in excess of $20,000 and students attending graduate programs have average debts of over $40,000.
America today has seriously failing public school systems. Upper economic class Americans are able to send their children to expensive private schools and avoid the exceedingly incompetent public systems. The average American lower school graduates are only a step above illiteracy and their lack of knowledge of world affairs is quite unbelievable.
A small number of extremely wealthy men control and operate all of the major American print and television media.
Each of the few very powerful, rich men have their own reasons for deciding what qualifies as news.
But the public in America now gets its news, without cost, from various internet sites and the circulation number of major print news has dropped dramatically. This has forced the internet editions of the print news media to erect what they call “paywalls.” This permits a very limited number of articles to be read or downloaded before the system demands money for the use of additional material.
The major print media in America is faced with imminent bankruptcy and are making frantic efforts at attempts to prevent free news sites from being aired on the internet.
Government surveillance of the American public is very widespread and at the present time, almost every aspect of an American citizen, or resident, is available for official surveillance. This includes mail, television viewing, telephone conversations, computer communications, travel, ownership of property, medical and school records, banking and credit card transactions, inheritances and other aspects of a citizen’s daily life.
This is done to circumvent any possible organization that could contravene official government policy and has its roots in massive civil resistance to governmental policy during the war in Vietnam. The government does not want a reprise of that problem and its growing surveillance is designed to carefully watch any citizen, or groups of citizens, who might, present or future, pose a threat to government policy.
Another factor to be considered is the current American attitudes towards racial issues. There has always been prejudice in the United States against blacks. In 1943 there were bloody riots in Detroit and Los Angeles, the former aimed at blacks and the latter against Mexicans. Since then, there has been chronic racial prejudice but it has been relatively small and very local. Also, there is growing anti-Semitic prejudice in American but this is officially ignored and never is mentioned in the American media. Much of this growing problem is directed at the brutal actions of Israel against Palestinians. Israelis have an undue influence in the American political scene. The very far right so-called neo-cons are almost all Jewish and most are Israeli citizens. Also, the middle-level ranks of American CIA personnel are heavily infiltrated by Israelis and it is said that any secret the CIA has is at once passed to Israel and that countries needs are assuming importance in CIA actions.
The attitudes of the working class Americans were inflamed during the last presidential elections by Mr. Trump who catered to them and encouraged rebellious attitudes. By speaking against Central American illegal immigrants, Mr. Trump has caused a polarization of attitudes and the militant right wing in America, currently small in number but well-organized and potentially very dangerous, has begun to make its views very well known in public demonstrations.
This movement has played into the hands of far-right American political manipulators.
It is their intention to clandestinely arm these groups and use them to cause violent public confrontations with the far left groups.
By causing this potential violence, the manipulators intend to use the American military to move into unstable area to, as they say, ‘establish law and order’ while in reality, they will use martial law to firm up their basic control of a potentially fractious public.
It is then intended, according to information, to incorporate organized, para-military groups into a sort of domestic Federal police force. These people will not be punished for their actions but rewarded and utilized to ensure further right-wing control of the country.

The Failed Economic Rape of Russsia
May 27, 2020
by Christian Jürs
After the fall of Gorbachev and his replacement by Boris Yeltsin, a known CIA connection, the Russian criminal mob was encouraged by the CIA to move into the potentially highly lucrative Russian natural resource field.
By 1993 almost all banks in Russia were owned by the mafia, and 80% of businesses were paying protection money. In that year, 1400 people were murdered in Moscow, crime members killed businessmen who would not pay money to them, as well as reporters, politicians, bank owners and others opposed to them. The new criminal class of Russia took on a more Westernized and businesslike approach to organized crime as the more code-of-honor based Vory faded into extinction.
The Izmaylovskaya gang was considered one of the country’s most important and oldest Russian Mafia groups in Moscow and also had a presence in Tel Aviv, Berlin, Paris, Toronto, Miami and New York City. It was founded during the 1980s under the leadership of Oleg Ivanov and was estimated to consist of about 200 active members (according to other data of 300–500 people). In principle, the organization was divided into two separate bodies—Izmailovskaya and Gol’yanovskaya which utilized quasi-military ranks and strict internal discipline. It was involved extensively in murder-for-hire, extortions, and infiltration of legitimate businesses.
The gangs were termed the Oligarchy and were funded by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Israeli-owned Bank of New York all with the assistance of the American government.
The arrival of Vladimir Putin as the new leader of Russia was at first ignored in Washington. A former KGB Lt. Colonel who had been stationed in East Germany, Putin was viewed as inconsequential, bland and colorless by the purported Russian experts in both the Department of State and the CIA.
Putin, however, proved to be a dangerous opponent who blocked the Oligarchs attempt to control the oil fields and other assets, eventual control of which had been promised to both American and British firms.
The Oligarchs were allowed to leave the country and those remaining behind were forced to follow Putin’s policies. Foreign control over Russian natural resources ceased and as both the CIA, various foreign firms and the American government had spent huge sums greasing the skids, there was now considerable negative feelings towards Putin.
The next serious moves against Russia came with a plan conceived by the CIA and fully approved by President George W. Bush, whose father had once been head of the CIA.
This consisted of ‘Operation Sickle’ which was designed to surround the western and southern borders of Russia with states controlled by the United States through the guise of NATO membership. Included in this encirclement program were the Baltic States, Poland, the Czech Republic, Georgia and a number of Asiatic states bordering southern Russia. It was the stated intention of the NATO leadership to put military missiles in all these countries.
The so-called “Orange Revolution” funded and directed by the CIA, overthrew the pro-Moscow government in the Ukraine, giving the United States theoretical control over the heavy industrialized Donetz Basin and most importantly, the huge former Soviet naval base at Sebastopol.
The Georgia Train and Equip Program (GTEP) was an American-sponsored 18-month, $64-million program aimed at increasing the capabilities of the Georgian armed forces by training and equipping four 600-man battalions with light weapons, vehicles and communications. The program enabled the US to expedite funding for the Georgian military for Operation Enduring Freedom.
On February 27, 2002, the US media reported that the U.S. would send approximately two hundred United States Army Special Forces soldiers to Georgia to train Georgian troops. The program implemented President Bush’s decision to respond to the Government of Georgia’s request for assistance to enhance its counter-terrorism capabilities and addressed the situation in the Pankisi Gorge.
The program began in May 2002 when American special forces soldiers began training select units of the Georgian Armed Forces, including the 12th Commando Light Infantry Battalion, the 16th Mountain-Infantry Battalion, the 13th “Shavnabada” Light Infantry Battalion, the 11th Light Infantry Battalion, a mechanized company and small numbers of Interior Ministry troops and border guards.
Eventually, responsibility for training Georgian forces was turned over to the US Marine Corps in conjunction with the British Army. British and American teams worked as part of a joint effort to train each of the four infantry battalion staffs and their organic rifle companies. This training began with the individual soldier and continued through fire team, squad, platoon, company, and battalion level tactics as well as staff planning and organization. Upon completing training, each of the new Georgian infantry battalions began preparing for deployment rotations in support of the Global War on Terrorism
The CIA were instrumental in getting Mikhail Saakashvili, an erratic politician, pro-West, into the presidency of Georgia but although he allowed the country to be flooded with American arms and “military trainers” he was not a man easily controlled and under the mistaken belief that American military might supported him, commenced to threaten Moscow. Two Georgian provinces were heavily populated by Russians and objected to the inclusion in Georgia and against them, Saakashvili began to make threatening moves.
The 2008 South Ossetia War or Russo-Georgian War (in Russia also known as the Five-Day War) was an armed conflict in August 2008 between Georgia on one side, and Russia and separatist governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the other.
During the night of 7 to 8 August 2008, Georgia launched a large-scale military offensive against South Ossetia, in an attempt to reclaim the territory. Georgia claimed that it was responding to attacks on its peacekeepers and villages in South Ossetia, and that Russia was moving non-peacekeeping units into the country. The Georgian attack caused casualties among Russian peacekeepers, who resisted the assault along with Ossetian militia.
Georgia successfully captured most of Tskhinvali within hours. Russia reacted by deploying units of the Russian 58th Army and Russian Airborne Troops in South Ossetia, and launching airstrikes against Georgian forces in South Ossetia and military and logistical targets in Georgia proper. Russia claimed these actions were a necessary humanitarian intervention and peace enforcement.
When the Russian incursion was seen as massive and serious, U.S. president George W. Bush’s statement to Russia was: “Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century.” The US Embassy in Georgia, describing the Matthew Bryza press-conference, called the war an “incursion by one of the world’s strongest powers to destroy the democratically elected government of a smaller neighbor”.
Initially the Bush Administration seriously considered a military response to defend Georgia, but such an intervention was ruled out by the Pentagon due to the inevitable conflict it would lead to with Russia. Instead, Bush opted for a softer option by sending humanitarian supplies to Georgia by military, rather than civilian, aircraft. And he ordered the immediate evacuation of all American military units from Georgia. The huge CIA contingent stationed in the Georgian capital fled by aircraft and the American troops, mostly U.S. Marines, evacuated quickly to the Black Sea where they were evacuated by the U.S. Navy.
British and Israeli military units also fled the country and all of them had to leave behind an enormous amount of military equipment to include tanks, light armored vehicles, small arms, radio equipment, and trucks full of intelligence data they had neither the time nor foresight to destroy.
The immediate result of this demarche was the defection of the so-called “NATO Block” eastern Europeans from the Bush/CIA project who saw the United States as a paper tiger that would not, and could not, defend them against the Russians. In a sense, the Russian incursion into Georgia was a massive political, not a military, victory.
The CIA was not happy with the actions of Vladimir Putin and when he ran for reelection, they poured money into the hands of Putin’s enemies, hoping to reprise the Ukrainian Orange Revolution but the effort was in vain.
On September 6, 2016, Vladimir Putin’s state limousine, travelling on a Moscow highway, was slammed into by a car which jumped the median strip.
Putin’s driver was killed but Putin was not in the car at the time.
Shortly after this incident, a WikiLeaks release disclosed the CIA’s ability to get control of a car’s computer system and cause it to go out of control.

An Official Overview of Global Terrorism
The following is the opening of a CIA report which is far too prolix to repeat in its entirety.
The key factors that spawned international terrorism show no signs of abating over the next 15 years. Facilitated by global communications, the revival of Muslim identity will create a framework for the spread of radical Islamic ideology inside and outside the Middle East, including Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Western Europe, where religious identity has traditionally not been as strong. This revival has been accompanied by a deepening solidarity among Muslims caught up in national or regional separatist struggles, such as Palestine, Chechnya, Iraq, Kashmir, Mindanao, and southern Thailand, and has emerged in response to government repression, corruption, and ineffectiveness. Informal networks of charitable foundations, and other mechanisms will continue to proliferate and be exploited by radical elements; alienation among unemployed youths will swell the ranks of those vulnerable to terrorist recruitment.
We expect that by 2020 al-Qa’ida will be superseded by similarly inspired Islamic extremist groups, and there is a substantial risk that broad Islamic movements akin to al-Qa’ida will merge with local separatist movements. Information technology, allowing for instant connectivity, communication, and learning, will enable the terrorist threat to become increasingly decentralized, evolving into an eclectic array of groups, cells, and individuals that do not need a stationary headquarters to plan and carry out operations. Training materials, targeting guidance, weapons know-how, and fund-raising will become virtual (i.e., online).
Terrorist attacks will continue to primarily employ conventional weapons, incorporating new twists and constantly adapting to counterterrorist efforts. Terrorists probably will be most original not in the technologies or weapons they use but rather in their operational concepts—i.e., the scope, design, or support arrangements for attacks.
Strong terrorist interest in acquiring chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons increases the risk of a major terrorist attack involving WMD. Our greatest concern is that terrorists might acquire biological agents or, less likely, a nuclear device, either of which could cause mass casualties. Bioterrorism appears particularly suited to the smaller, better-informed groups.
We also expect that terrorists will attempt cyber attacks to disrupt critical information networks and, even more likely, to cause physical damage to information systems.

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Gary Thompson

Gary Thompson is a climate change denier (of some stripe) who has at least on two occasions published climate change denialist articles for the wingnut website American Thinker. The website unfortunately provides no more information about him, and we have thus been unable to locate any reliable background (his name is hardly unique). But the articles themselves are instructive. “The AGW Smoking Gun”, for instance, does cites peer-reviewed papers, but what he calls “analyzing” e.g. graphs is not analyzing but rather quickly eyeballing graphs while dismissing peer-reviewed data analysis to lead himself to the opposite conclusion compared to the authors of the papers in question (“Our results provide direct experimental evidence for a significant increase in the Earth’s greenhouse effect that is consistent with concerns over radiative forcing of climate”). So instead of disproving the enhanced greenhouse effect, Thompson’s article merely provides, instead, further evidence for the Dunning-Kruger effect, and/or for the pernicious influence of bias . For more detailed criticisms of the article, this one is helpful.
Diagnosis: Thompson really is a good example of denialism at work – he is certainly a smart guy, and certainly a far cry e.g. from some of the wild-eyed creationists we have covered when it comes to being thoughtful and measured. But bias and a little knowledge can fell the smartest, and Thompson is not the smartest.

Daniel Pinchbeck

Daniel Pinchbeck is the author of Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism (2002), 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl (2006), and Notes from the Edge Times(2010), as well as co-founder of Reality Sandwich and founder of the think tank Center for Planetary Culture, which runs the Regenerative Society Wiki. Post-modernism and New Age nonsense, all rolled up nicely in pseudointellectual deepity, and fluffy, pink word salads, has established Pinchbeck as an important figure in the New Age Movement.
In Breaking Open the Head, he goes through various shamanistic practices and their use of psychedelics and how using psychedelics is a road to insight, which he mixes with the lunatic ramblings of Rudolf Steiner. The central idea is apparently that shamanic and mystical views of reality, the ones you can access by using psychedelics, provide genuine insights into Truths because wishful thinking, and that the dull and grey reality described by those in “pursuit of rational materialism” under the curse of Enlightenment restrictions like evidence and reason forfeits understanding of intuitive aspects of being. The follow-up, 2012, was (presumably deliberately) even less constrained by reality, reason, accuracy or evidence; basically, Pinchbeck starts off from Hopi and Mayan prophecies and follows his intuitions. Everything is heavily indebted to Terence McKenna’s claim that humanity is experiencing an accelerated process of global consciousness transformation (a metaphor, of course, and one that is predictably never cashed out) and the laughable psi research of Dean Radin, crop circles and the work of calendar reform advocate José Argüelles. Apparently it all supports the prophetic visions Pinchbeck has received from Quetzalcoatl, which has something to do with 2012, so there. Apparently Quetzalcoatl began speaking to Pinchbeck during a 2004 trip to the Amazon in Brazil featuring plenty of psychedelics. 2012, meanwhile, came and passed without ushering in the New Age.
In fact, Pinchbeck must be held partially responsible for popularizing 2012 nonsense in the New Age movement, where the rambling attempts at connecting crop circles, alien abduction and drug-use-as-a-means-to-channel-gods-that-non-drug-users-couldn’t-possibly-achieve-or-understand was guaranteed a receptive audience.
His How Soon Is Now?(2017) argues that ecological crises are rites of passage or initiation for humanity collectively, and appropriately addressed by reaching “the next level of our consciousness” as a species, which is a dumb suggestion. Later the same year the metoo movement finally caught up with him (he promptly blamed his predatory behavior on women; “I was never breastfed and believe that left me feeling lacking and desperately craving some essential connection to women,” said Pinchbeck), but it really oughtn’t have been necessary to marginalize his nonsense.
Diagnosis: It is worth emphasizing the sheer arrogance and narcissism of those who think their intuitions, wishful thinking and explorations of their imaginations are guides to truth and sufficient reason to dismiss the work of the generations on whose shoulders privileged nincompoops like Pinchbeck stand. Hopefully neutralized, but we realize that his audience will probably just move on to the next peddler of inane nonsense to pop up.

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