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TBR News May 5, 2019

May 05 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. May 5, 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 5: “Black days in the White House as the Bolton putsch in Venezuela collapses. American oil companies, who had been promised total access to Venezuelan oil are howling with rage and Bolton is now frantically trying to persuade anyone who will listen that a military invasion of Venezuela is a vital necessity. Bolton, who is not a beautiful person ( like the Adorable Donald who is also known as Chrome Dome Donny) but he has lost face. I saw parts of it in an office trash contained only this morning.  We could attack Nigeria (which is occupied by unarmed natives and has lots of oil) but Venezuela has much more oil and is much closer.”


The Table of Contents

  • U.S. doctors use medical records to fight measles outbreak
  • Getting a measles vaccination isn’t a personal choice – it’s a social responsibility
  • Measles: German minister proposes steep fines for anti-vaxxers
  • Tourist warning as lethal cases of BUBONIC PLAGUE put Mongolia on high alert
  • Turkey says it will not bow to U.S. sanctions over S-400 deal
  • Israel hits offices of Turkish state news agency in Gaza
  • Facebook bans Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos and other far-right figures
  • US mainstream media worships superficial ‘diversity,’ but diversity of thought is forbidden
  • Encyclopedia of American Loon
    • Alex Jones
    •  Linda Kimball
    •   David Kirby
    •   Matthew Nathan Drudge
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Surveillance Cameras


U.S. doctors use medical records to fight measles outbreak

May 5, 2019

by Julie Steenhuysen


CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. doctors are tapping into their electronic medical records to identify unvaccinated patients and potentially infected individuals to help contain the worst U.S. measles outbreak in 25 years.

New York’s NYU Langone Health network of hospitals and medical offices treats patients from both Rockland County and Brooklyn, two epicenters of the outbreak. It has built alerts into its electronic medical records system to notify doctors and nurses that a patient lives in an outbreak area, based on their Zip code.

“It identifies incoming patients who may have been exposed to measles and need to be assessed,” said Dr. Michael Phillips, chief epidemiologist at NYU Langone Health.

Alerts in a patient’s medical record also prompt conversations with their visitors – who may also have been exposed to the virus – about their own health, prior exposure to measles and vaccination history.

Mount Sinai Health System in New York rolled out a similar program last week, said Dr. Bruce Darrow, its chief medical information officer.

Darrow said it was important because although a patient who comes from a measles-affected Zip code may have passed the screening, family members who visit may have been exposed.

He said the alert system raises awareness for doctors and nurses “to be on lookout not just for our patients, but anybody who comes into the building.”

U.S. officials have reported more than 700 confirmed cases of measles, the highest level since the virus was deemed eliminated in 2000. The measles virus is highly contagious and can cause blindness, deafness, brain damage or death.

At NYU Langone, the alerts were developed using software from Madison, Wisconsin-based Epic Medical Systems. Epic, whose medical records software is used by thousands of U.S. hospitals and clinics, said other customers began requesting their help to address the outbreak.

In response, Epic released a how-to guide last month that incorporated many of the best ideas from its customers fighting the outbreak. The guide walks health systems through ways to use medical records to identify and reach out to patients who are unvaccinated and helps inform doctors on how to screen, track and treat measles patients.

“For example, we can find all those patients missing the MMR vaccine and send out a message to patients or providers,” said Jordan Tucker, a member of the Epic implementation team, who is helping oversee the project.

So far, Epic clients in New York, Illinois, Texas and California are using the system to fight the outbreak.

Illinois has confirmed seven measles cases this year. In response to reports of a potential case in the Chicago area, two hospitals in the suburbs last month sent hundreds of letters to parents urging them to ensure their kids get their measles shots.

“We wanted to do everything we could before it got to us,” said Dr. Michael Caplan, co-medical director of a pediatric partnership between Advocate Children’s Hospital and North University HealthSystem.

Northern California’s Sutter Health, which serves 1.7 million patients, last month introduced a screening questionnaire about potential measles risk for every patient who tries to book their appointment online.

Dr. Jeffrey Silvers, Sutter Health’s medical director of infectious diseases, said people with measles often seek treatment for symptoms such as cough, runny nose or fever before they develop the tell-tale rash. The screening program aims to identify early whether they represent a measles case.

“If a person has a fever plus one of those symptoms, or a rash, they have to answer the next question, which is, ‘Have you been outside of the United States in the last three weeks or been exposed to anybody with measles?’” Silvers said.

Those who answer yes must call to schedule their appointment so that staff can take precautions to protect themselves and other patients.

California so far has had 40 measles cases, most of them in the southern part of the state. Sutter plans to use Epic’s software to develop a program to increase measles vaccination coverage, Silver said.

According to the World Health Organization, 95 percent of a population needs to be vaccinated to provide “herd immunity,” a form of indirect protection that prevents infection in people too young or sick to be vaccinated. CDC officials have said rising rates of vaccine skepticism are creating undervaccinated populations, weakening herd immunity.

If herd immunity is not sufficient and exposures continue, the outbreak could take off, said Caplan, the Illinois pediatrician. “Everybody is a little concerned about that.”

Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Daniel Wallis



Getting a measles vaccination isn’t a personal choice – it’s a social responsibility

The core issue is the common good. Measles travels through the air – and if enough people opt out of vaccinations, they put everyone at a higher risk

May 5, 2019

by Robert Reich

The Guardian

I remember having measles as a kid. Believe me, it was no fun. Also, measles could cause birth defects if a pregnant women got infected. If you were elderly, measles could be fatal.

Eventually, after vaccinations became nearly universal in America, measles was declared eliminated from the US in 2000.

But now the measles are back – already surpassing 700 cases this year, in 22 states. So far, 66 people have been hospitalized, a third of them with pneumonia.

What happened? We stopped vaccinating everyone. More than 500 of the new cases are in people who had not been vaccinated.

Last Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention renewed an urgent call for parents to have their children vaccinated.

We stopped vaccinating all children because some parents have had religious objections. Others haven’t liked the idea of injecting a live virus into their little ones. Some just never got around to it.

And some parents – succumbing to growing skepticism about science and burgeoning conspiracy theories – believe vaccinations cause autism. The claim has been promoted by Russian internet trolls as well as Donald Trump.

In a 2015 presidential debate, Trump told of an employee with a two-year-old daughter who “went to have the vaccine and came back and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic”.

Trump has finally stopped pushing this lie. Last week he tersely said “they have to get the shots”, which is about as much of a concession to the truth anyone can expect from America’s liar-in-chief.

In reality there’s zero evidence connecting measles vaccine to autism.

Let’s be clear. To eradicate measles – and other dread diseases such as tuberculosis, polio and tetanus (which also protects from whooping cough and diphtheria) – parents must have their children vaccinated.

Parents have a right to choose what happens to their own children, of course. But the right isn’t absolute.

Parents who abuse their children may lose custody of them. Courts have ordered that children with cancer receive chemotherapy despite their parent’s objections.

There are also the interests of other children and of society overall.

Measles travels through the air. The virus can live for hours after an infected person has coughed or sneezed.

The core issue here is the common good. If enough people are vaccinated, everyone benefits. But if enough people decide to opt out of vaccinations, for whatever reason, they put everyone at a higher risk of contracting disease.

So what’s the incentive to get yourself and your child vaccinated when you might prefer to rely on everyone else vaccinating themselves and their kids instead?

Partly it’s laws that make vaccination compulsory. Yet right now only three states require vaccinations for children to attend kindergarten without any nonmedical exceptions.

Most states give parents a pass if they have religious objections. Nearly 20 states don’t even require that objections be religious – any objection will do.

So the first step is for all states to require vaccinations, or for the federal government to step in and make them mandatory.

But not even a universal legal requirement would be adequate if enough parents were determined to thwart it.

So at the most fundamental level, vaccination comes down to a duty inherent in being a member of a society.

In all sorts of ways, each of us might prefer to rely on everyone else doing certain things so we don’t have to – whether following mundane norms such as not littering or of giving up our seat on the bus to an older person, or simply obeying laws that are rarely or inadequately enforced, or taking on more heroic roles like teaching in a poor school, being a social worker, serving in the armed services or acting as a first responder.

The idea of the common good was once widely understood and accepted in America. After all, the US constitution was designed for “We the people” seeking to “promote the general welfare” – not for “me the selfish person seeking to do whatever I want for myself and my family”.

Yet the common good is no longer a fashionable idea. We celebrate our personal freedom on Independence Day but pay less heed to our interdependence. We relish our bill of rights but are less attentive to what might be called our bill of responsibilities.

Some demagogues insist our national identity depends on the whiteness of our skin, our European heritage and our English language. And on keeping “others” out.

Rubbish. Our identity depends on the ideals we share and our willingness to sacrifice for the good we hold in common.

Measles are back, largely because some people have stopped vaccinating themselves and their kids against them.

Vaccination against measles and other dread diseases isn’t just a personal choice. It’s a social responsibility.

If we really want to make America great again, social responsibility is the place to begin.

Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labor, is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few and The Common Good. He is also a columnist for Guardian US


Measles: German minister proposes steep fines for anti-vaxxers

German Health Minister Jens Spahn is proposing a law that foresees fining parents of non-vaccinated children up to €2,500 ($2,800). The conservative lawmaker said he wants to “eradicate” measles.

May 5, 2019


Parents in Germany who refuse to vaccinate their children against measles would be required to pay up to €2,500 ($2,800) in fines and their children would be thrown out of kindergarten, according to a draft law put forward by Health Minister Jens Spahn.

“I want to eradicate measles,” Spahn told the mass circulation Bild am Sonntag paper. “All parents should be secure in the knowledge that their children would not be infected and endangered by measles.”

Germany’s Robert-Koch-Institute believes that 93% of children have the necessary immunization. However, this is still short of the recommended 95% rate.

Spahn said the kindergarten ban would help protect children are too young to receive any immunization shots.

“Kindergartens have children under 10 months of age who are too young for vaccinations and are therefore especially threatened,” Spahn told the paper.

All by 2020

The bill foresees a different solution for parents of schoolchildren. Elementary education is mandatory in Germany, so the law would not be able to keep unvaccinated children out of schools. Instead, their parents would be required to pay the fine.

In addition to newborns, there are also older children whose health prevents them from getting immunized, such as organ recipients or people suffering from leukemia. Their parents would need to provide proof of the medical condition that prevents them from getting the vaccine.

Other parents who attempt to sign up their children for kindergartens or schools would need to provide confirmation that their children had been vaccinated by July 2020.

Vaccinations will also become mandatory for employees in hospitals and private medical practices.

Infection rate skyrockets

The draft legislation is currently being discussed in the Cabinet. It is expected to be adopted this year and go into force in March 2020.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations have repeatedly called for action over a recent increase in measles outbreaks across the world. Measles killed 136,000 people last year, and the number of people infected with the disease surged by 50% compared to 2017.

Developed countries have also seen a rise in measles infections, partly due to a debunked claim that vaccines cause autism.  Germany, which has seen large outbreaks in several of its states, registered 170 measles cases in the first two months of 2019.


Tourist warning as lethal cases of BUBONIC PLAGUE put Mongolia on high alert

May 4, 2019


Russia’s Federal Agency for Tourism has issued a special warning to tourists traveling to Mongolia after two fatal cases of bubonic plague were confirmed in the country.

Two Russians have died of the highly contagious disease, and reportedly became infected after eating contaminated marmot organs. The married couple from Siberia are believed to have come into contact with at least 158 people before they died. These people have been quarantined.

The tourism agency said the deaths were recorded in the western Mongolian province of Bayan-Ulgii, according to the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor).

The agency asked tourists to take this information into account when planning trips to the region.

Rospotrebnadzor has taken steps to prevent infection at the border areas, including quarantine control and more than 90 percent of the population has been vaccinated. The agency is also in communication with health institutes in Mongolia.


Turkey says it will not bow to U.S. sanctions over S-400 deal

May 5, 2019


ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey will never bow to U.S. sanctions over its agreement to purchase Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defense systems, Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Sunday regarding a deal that has strained ties between the NATO allies.

Washington says the systems are not compatible with NATO equipment and may compromise its Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets. It has warned of possible U.S. sanctions if Ankara pushes on with the Russian deal.

Turkey, a prospective buyer and a partner in the production of the F-35s, has said the S-400s and jets would not impact each other and that it will not abandon its deal with Russia.

It has proposed forming a working group with Washington to assess the impact of the S-400s, but says it has not received a response yet.

Speaking to broadcaster Kanal 7, Oktay said the U.S. concerns are unreasonable and that the planned July delivery date for the S-400s remained unchanged.

“When Turkey signs an agreement, Turkey keeps its promise. We signed this agreement and certain payments were made,” Oktay said. “I don’t think the arguments and concerns here have a lot to lean on,” he said.

The United States has also offered to sell Turkey its rival Raytheon Co. Patriot defense systems, which Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said Ankara was still evaluating.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who will visit Turkey next week, told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency on Sunday that decisions about defense procurement were up to individual countries.

“The issue of procuring military materiel is a national decision for countries, but the ability of allied armies to work together is a fundamental issue for NATO to run its operations and missions,” Stoltenberg was quoted as saying.

He said he welcomed talks between Ankara and Washington on the procurement of the Patriot systems and talks between Turkey and the Franco-Italian EUROSAM consortium on its SAMP-T systems.

In March Reuters reported Washington was exploring whether it could remove Turkey from production of the F-35 stealth fighter jet, angered by Ankara’s refusal to back down from its planned purchase of the Russian missile system.

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that the F-35 project would collapse if Turkey did not participate.

Turkey has said it expected U.S. President Donald Trump to use a waiver to protect it against penalties over the S-400s, after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Ankara could face retribution for the deal under the U.S. Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; editing by Jason Neely


Comment: The S-400 Triumf (Russian: C-400 Триумф, Triumph; NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler), previously known as the S-300 PMU-3, is an anti-aircraft weapon system developed in the 1990s by Russia’s Almaz Central Design Bureau as an upgrade of the S-300 family. It has been in service with the Russian Armed Forces since 2007. The S-400 uses four missiles to fill its performance envelope: the very-long-range 40N6 (400 km), the long-range 48N6 (250 km), the medium-range 9M96E2 (120 km) and the short-range 9M96E (40 km). The S-400 was described by The Economist in 2017 as “one of the best air-defence systems currently made”. Wikipedia


Israel hits offices of Turkish state news agency in Gaza

Israeli forces have hit a Gaza City building housing Turkey’s state-run news agency. Turkish President Erdogan has fiercely denounced the attack, which is likely to increase tensions between Israel and Turkey.

May 5, 2019


An Israeli airstrike hit the office of Turkey’s state-run news agency in Gaza, Turkey’s foreign minister said Saturday, calling it a “new example of Israel’s unrestrained aggression.”

Israeli warplanes carried out dozens of retaliatory airstrikes across the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in response to a barrage of rockets fired from Palestinian militants as hostilities flared into a second day.

Turkey’s state-run media reported that the building in which Anadolu Agency is located in Gaza was hit by at least five Israeli rockets after warning shots were fired. No deaths or injuries were reported.

Turkey’s condemnation

Turkish officials condemned the attack, which is likely to add fuel to already tense relations with Israel.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed Israel for the bombing.

“We strongly condemn Israel’s attack against Anadolu Agency’s office in Gaza,” Erdogan wrote on Twitter.

Last month, Erdogan called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “tyrant” after Netanyahu referred to him as a “dictator” and a “joke.”

Turkey’s presidential aide Ibrahim Kalin accused Israel of striking Anadolu Agency to “cover up its new crimes.”

There was no immediate comment from Israel.

“Targeting of Anadolu Agency Gaza office is new example of Israel’s unrestrained aggression,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter. “Israeli violence against innocent people without distinction is a crime against humanity. Those who encourage Israel are also guilty.”

“We will keep defending the Palestinian cause, even if alone,” he added.

In a separate statement, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry called on the international community “to act swiftly in order to ease tensions that have increased due to Israel’s disproportionate actions in the region.”

Gaza violence

An early morning rocket attack from Gaza on Sunday killed an Israeli man in the coastal city of Ashkelon, Israeli medical officials said on Sunday.

On Saturday, three Palestinians, including a pregnant mother and her 1-year-old baby, were killed in an Israeli attack, while three Israelis were injured by rocket fire. Israel disputed the claim, saying it was targeting only military-related sites.

Gaza militants have fired over 400 rockets at Israel since Friday, breaking a monthlong truce.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, and its ally Islamic Jihad, have vowed to continue their rocket attacks on Israel.


Facebook bans Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos and other far-right figures

The company has struggled to control far-right hate speech on the platform in recent years

May 2, 2019

by Kari Paul in San Francisco and Jim Waterson in London

The Guardian

Facebook banned several prominent accounts promoting white nationalism on the platform on Thursday.

Accounts barred from Facebook, as well as its subsidiary Instagram, as part of the new enforcement include the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, the far-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos and the anti-Muslim figurehead Laura Loomer. Jones was previously banned from Facebook but still had an account on Instagram, which was no longer live as of Thursday.

“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.”

Facebook also said it would remove accounts relating to Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam group, who has posted antisemitic material.

Critics say Facebook has not, in fact, “always” banned individuals engaging in violence and hate. The company has often grappled with controlling far-right hate speech on the platform in recent years. Figures like Jones, Loomer and Yiannopoulus were able to cultivate a huge reach using the platform, making Facebook’s move “insufficient”, said Cristina López G, the deputy director for extremism at Media Matters for America, a not-for-profit media watchdog.

“This is a step in the right direction, and it shows exactly why Facebook needs to be thinking about enforcement in a more holistic way,” she said. “Facebook can help curb the spread of extremism, hate and bigotry that flourished on its platforms if it remains open to reforming enforcement measures.”

The individuals have been banned from Facebook and Instagram under its policies against “dangerous individuals and organizations”. The company said it would continue its policy of banning accounts that praise or support these figures on the platform.

The bans highlight the arbitrary nature of Facebook’s decisions to bar prominent individuals from posting on its services. The company acts as both judge and jury on who is allowed to host material on its network, with accounts often removed only following sustained criticism in the media.

However, in recent months, the company has become increasingly willing to issue outright bans against individuals deemed to spread hate speech – in effect cutting many “alt-right” figures off from the social networks that allowed them to gain an audience in the first place.

The news was shared under embargo with a number of US news outlets before the bans actually went into effect, resulting in the bizarre sight of many of the figures using Instagram to complain that they were about to be removed from it.

Many of the accounts affected by Thursday’s announcement had already been banned from other social media sites. For instance, pages relating to Infowars were removed from Facebook but until now the conspiracist news site had been allowed to maintain an account on sister service Instagram.

Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart News employee, had already been banned by Twitter and Facebook but the decision to remove his Instagram account means his only mainstream social media outlet will now be on YouTube.

The change in attitudes suggests Facebook is adopting a more consistent approach across all its platforms. The company has recently specifically banned white supremacist material from its service and has come under increased pressure to act against such content following the Christchurch terror attack, which was livestreamed on its network.


US mainstream media worships superficial ‘diversity,’ but diversity of thought is forbidden

May 2, 2019

by Helen Buyniski


The mainstream media’s obsession with racial, ethnic, and gender diversity masks its virulent opposition to ideological diversity, which is clearer than ever in the establishment’s reporting on Venezuela.

For all that the left and right wings of the establishment media present themselves as bitter enemies of one another, there is very little diversity of thought in their coverage of American foreign policy. This ideological lockstep they cover up with vaudevillian antics – denouncing President Donald Trump as a racist, misogynist, and other social-justice “don’ts” on one end, while the other side declares Christianity to be under siege by the forces of LGBT, sharia law, and endless tides of migrants. This surface “diversity” – whether they’re for it or against it – is supposed to stand in for the real thing.

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) has called the establishment media’s coverage of Venezuela “a full-scale marketing campaign for regime change” after an analysis of every Venezuela story published or aired by the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS in the past three months found that not one journalist expressed support for President Nicolas Maduro’s government – or even opposition to US President Donald Trump’s regime-change intentions.

Cognitive dissonance may set in here – aren’t the Times and the Post Trump’s mortal enemies? Why are they cheering on his puppet, Juan Guaido, as he attempts a slow-motion coup in Caracas? Three of the outlets mentioned in the FAIR report actually gave space to Guaido to make the case for regime change himself, a courtesy that would be unthinkable if extended to Maduro. But this is hardly the first time the “liberal” media has fallen in line behind its sworn enemy.

A FAIR study of the top 100 US newspapers following Trump’s airstrikes on Syria in 2017 found not a single publication had stuck its neck out to suggest that maybe dropping millions of dollars’ worth of bombs as punishment for a “crime” whose culpability had not been established was a bad idea, or even that it contradicted Trump’s campaign promise to disengage from Syria. Indeed, the fawning responses from the mainstream media had only one precedent – 2017’s Syrian airstrikes, when CNN host Fareed Zakaria gushed that Trump “became president” when he lobbed 59 Tomahawks at the province of Homs.

To distract from the oppressive sameness of all this military-industrial cheerleading, the news is dispensed by talking heads available in a multiplicity of races, ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations. From Rachel Maddow to Malcolm Nance, from Chris Hayes to Anderson Cooper, the same tune echoes from very different-looking mouths. This is harder to pull off in print, but the New York Times managed to earn its diversity merit badge by defending controversial hire Sarah Jeong after her detractors dredged up apparent evidence of her anti-white racism. The military-industrial complex may still be largely an old white men’s club, but its apologists have come to resemble a Benetton ad.

Neoliberal centrist guest-stars itching to weigh in on Venezuela in the past few months hailed from all over the political spectrum as well as the globe in the period FAIR studied, with Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) weighing to call for the Gaddafi treatment for Maduro even as white-bread South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg declared Maduro “illegitimate.” Some prefer sanctions to military intervention; others hesitate to use militaristic rhetoric, but decry the “humanitarian crisis” in the country; all are agreed that Maduro must go.

It’s telling that the media establishment, many of whom are Trump’s sworn enemies, give him a pass when he lies about Venezuela just as they did regarding Syria, even while inventing new permutations of Pinocchios to describe his falsehoods about immigration and other domestic issues. Trump can’t claim immigrants bring crime, but when Trump calls Maduro an “illegitimate dictator,” and Pence claims he “never won the presidency in a free and fair election,” no mainstream journalist is willing to step up with a simple fact-check to point out that the US was the only country that didn’t recognize Maduro’s 2013 victory.

The American media establishment will praise diversity to the skies, as long as it’s only skin deep. Ideological diversity – especially concerning matters of war and peace – has become so taboo not a single mainstream American journalist is willing to question US intervention in a country that poses no threat. This is not what a free press looks like.

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Alex Jones

Alex Jones is the guy who has yet to meet a conspiracy theory he doesn’t endorse, no matter how batshit insane it is (and, interestingly, no matter how much it conflicts with other conspiracy theories he already believes). For at least ten years he has predicted, in his rather popular radio program, the imminent roundup of Americans by the New World Order.

In addition to his radio program, he is also the director of several straight-to-video documentaries, and he runs the websites Infowars and PrisonPlanet (for those who wish to avoid the site itself, it is detailed here).

Some conspiracy theories endorsed by PrisonPlanet are:

  • The Bilderberg Group (or Skull and Bones, or the Freemasons – it depends on the day, it seems) controls some/most/all governments in the world as well as the economy.
  • The New World Order will kill almost everyone. Vaccine programs seem to be just one of their methods – of course Jones has endorsed Andrew Wakefield as a martyr. To get a feel for the level it is pitched at, you may want to check out this one – or then again, maybe not.
  • In fact, Hurricane Katrina was merely an opportunity to test out the FEMA concentration camps.
  • And the tsunami in south-east Asia in 2004 was man-made.
  • 9/11 was (of course) an inside job.

This is, of course, only a selection; in general it is hard to find a loon that Jones does not take seriously. He is basically a living embodiment of whale.to.

Other bizarre antics are chronicled on his wikipedia page. Apparently the ravingly mad and utterly dense (but British) Vicount Monckton views PrisonPlanet as a legitimate news outlet. That explains a lot.

The interesting thing about Alex Jones’ reasoning is that he does not seem to run with the common fallacy ‘authorities (e.g. scientific) say X; I don’t like X; hence there must be a conspiracy’, but rather with the inference rule ‘everything is part of a conspiracy; authorities say X; hence X is false’ (which is a fallacy as well, of course, but a somewhat more interesting one).

Now, some may think Alex Jones is batshit crazy, and he is. But surely he is beaten by Lorie Kramer, who believes that Alex Jones is a pawn created by the New World Order to divert attention. Seriously. And if that is not enough, this site, run by Gary & Lisa Ruby, claims that Jones is part of a scientologist conspiracy to take over the world and demolish Christianity. I guess this is what you risk when you start to gain notoriety in the hyper-paranoid and chaotic field of conspiracy theory.

Among Jones’s more notable collaborators is the equally insane Paul Joseph Watson, who may consider himself indicted by this entry as well (he does not deserve a separate one). Watson is, among other things, behind this, uh, illuminating screed.

Diagnosis: The ur-loon. Extremely famous and frighteningly influential, but one suspects that he would be able to convince anyone who were not already at least mildly unhinged. Jones may be partly in it for the money, but there is little question that he actually believes much of whatever falls out of his mouth.

Linda Kimball

One of our previous idiot Alan Keyes’s pet projects is the delusionally ignorant website Renew America (for which luminaries like Fred Hutchison, Bryan Fischer, Wes Vernon and Grant Swank have written). Among their writers are Linda Kimball, who is apparently engaged in a desperate battle with Ray Comfort (and some others) for the most thoroughly moronic anti-evolution screed ever written.

Her masterpiece is surely “Evolutionism: the dying West’s science of magic and madness”. Here she traces evolution back to Nimrod of the Old Testament, and then to Ancient Greek where “evolution serves as the mechanism of soul-transference in metempsychosis and transmigration of souls. In the ancient East, the mystical Upanishads refine evolution and it becomes the mechanism of soul-movement in involutions, emergences, incarnations, and reincarnation.”

Huh? Does she have the faintest clue what she is talking about? Not at all. This is Time Cube level stuff. After carefully inventing the genealogy of the cult of evolution, she points out – in a manner that would probably make even Alex Jones raise an eyebrow (or perhaps not) – that “whereas occult pantheism quietly flowed beneath ‘red-colored’ atheist-materialist-communism and Nazism during the twentieth century, that order is quickly reversing. Today, ‘green-colored’ occult pantheist-socialism is brazenly striding onto the world-stage in full public view while materialist-secularism slowly fades to black. Already, zealous High Priests and Priestesses of the occult arts are calling the U.N the world church and the world mind, while other madmen such as David Spangler, demand that everyone submit to a satanic-initiation to qualify for entry to the coming green New World Order.”

And that, readers, is Linda Kimball’s attempt at refuting evolution. Discussed here.

She also made an earlier attempt, where her main argument seems to have been: “Jeffrey Dahmer, a psychopath who cannibalized his victims, acted on Darwin’s advice.” (remember that Dahmer’s father was a known creationist lecturer, and Dahmer was raised a creationist).

Her contributions to other matters are not pitched at a higher level of quality

Diagnosis: Mind-numbingly idiotic wingnut fundamentalist who is pathologically unable to separate evidence, science, logic or reason from religion. One of the most hilariously stupid characters we have covered thus far.

David Kirby

Not the poet David Kirby; this guy is a journalist with no medical background who wrote “Evidence of Harm – Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy” (“controversy” being a mistake for “manufactroversy”). He has since worked relatively tirelessly against vaccines. In later years he downplayed the absolutely unsupportable mercury link, although certainly not the purported vaccine-autism link. Naturally, he uses every fallacy in the book to uphold that argument; in particular, he seems to enjoy skewering strawmen (and who doesn’t?) and moving goalposts.

The basic argument in the book is that since each side of the autism-mercury debate finds the other side blind to evidence, biased and entrenched, there must be scientific disagreement. Therefore vaccines are dangerous and thimerosal leads to autism. He conveniently misses the fact that science clearly favors the no-link side – or rather, he explains it away as a conspiracy, coming up with stories about pharmaceutical conspiracies wire-tapping their opponents and paying off governments. Among the more interesting attempts is his Osama bin Laden gambit. As a result, Kirby now has his own blog at Huffington post (i.e. where every non-rightwing-fundie-wingnut loon seems to end up), in company with other anti-vaxxers such as Jay Gordon and Janet Grilo and with the blessings of HuffPo’s wellness editor, the bizarre, newage woo-purveyor Patricia Fizgerald.

Kirby has worked closely with Robert Kennedy Jr (on this, among other things), but Kirby is generally somewhat subtler (and frankly more intelligent) than the other dolt. For instance, Kirby (together with the insidious executive vice-president of Autism Speaks, Peter Bell) works here to drum up the respectability of (not evidence behind) the idea that vaccines cause autism.

Diagnosis: Devious and ardent fallacy-monger and strawmanslayer, Kirby is a shameless threat to public health and has influence enough to be considered dangerous.

Matthew Nathan Drudge

Matt Drudge is a gay right wing conservative blogger who runs the Drudge Report, a conservative news aggregation and gossip website, and a popular news and opinion source for American conservatives and man-made global warming deniers. His website is steadily falling in popularity, according to Alexa, and that’s despite the 3-minute autorefresh script Drudge uses to artificially inflate visitor numbers (and advertising revenue).

Ashley Todd attack hoax

On October 23, 2008, Drudge published an unconfirmed exclusive story regarding Ashley Todd, the 20-year old employee of the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) and John McCain volunteer who had allegedly been attacked by a black male for having a McCain sticker on her car. Drudge reported the story without a link but as ‘developing’, titling the headline “SHOCK: McCAIN VOLUNTEER ATTACKED AND MUTILATED IN PITTSBURGH – “B” carved into 20 yr old Woman’s Face”. The story set off a “storm of media attention”, being quickly picked up by many conservative bloggers and right-wing talk radio show hosts, all citing the Drudge Report as their source. It was also reported in newspapers and TV both in the US and around the world.The story was confirmed to be a hoax perpetrated by Todd and, according to Talking Points Memo, spread to reporters by McCain’s Pennsylvania Communications Director.


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

May 5, 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. 4

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 1996

Commenced: 9:32 AM (CST)

Concluded: 10:08 AM (CST)

RTC: Hello, Gregory. Sorry I was out the last time you called but we were off on family business. My son’s family. By the way, I have some information for you that might interest you. You know, there are a number of people here who are not happy with you and they are certainly not pleased that I am talking with you. Not at all. This morning I had a call from some shit at Justice who wanted to warn me, being a friendly and caring person of course, that you were a very bad person and I would ruin my reputation by telling you anything. He had a similar talk with Corson yesterday. Bill called me last night about this and we both laughed about it. This is a sure sign that you must be right. Both of us know you were friends with Müller and the thought of him loose in America is something the Company, and now Justice, does not want talked about. First off, they don’t know what name he used while he was here.

GD: Are you serious, Robert?

RTC: Oh yes, very. You see, the CIA and don’t forget the Army, used high-level Nazis after the Cold War broke out. We especially went after the Gestapo and SD  people because they had the most to do with fighting the Communists, both in Germany in the ‘30s and then during the war.

GD: I knew Gehlen very well and met some of them. I agree. His top recruiter was old Willi Krichbaum who was a Colonel in the SS and a top Gestapo person. I talked many times with Willi who had been in the Freikorps after the first war and he was quite a fellow. He was Müller’s top deputy in the Gestapo and in charge of the border guards at one time. And, don’t forget, Willi was head of the Wehrmacht’s Geheime Feldpolizei who had a terrible reputation with the troops. Hanging deserters at the end of the war. Yes, Gehlen told me the SS intelligence men were his best people.

RTC: You have a grasp of this from the time, don’t you? So, of course no one now wants to infuriate the rah-rah patriotic idiots and most especially the Jews by letting anyone know about this. You see, they brought Müller and others over here and gave them new names and identities. The higher they had been, the more they concealed them. Now your friend Müller’s name was known to Truman, Beetle Smith, Critchfield, Gehlen and about three others. Now that everyone is dead and you are tearing open old caskets, they are absolutely frantic to find out what name Mueller was here under and actually so they can run around the files and burn anything with that name on it. Then they can say, like the pious frauds they are, that Oh no, we never heard of that person. We searched our records, sir, and believe us, there was no such person anywhere. That’s what they want. Smith is dead, Truman is ditto, Critchfield will never talk because he ran Müller and still has his pension to consider. I know the name but they have never brought the subject up to me. They think you’re a loose cannon, Gregory, with no loyalty to the system and they think I am getting daft in my old age and marginalize me.

GD: Think they’ll shoot me? A boating accident? Something like that?

RTC: When I was in harness, yes, they would. A bungled robbery or a rape like Kennedy’s lady friend but not now. Besides, they don’t know what you have on them and if you were crushed to death by an elephant falling out of a plane, who knows what might come out? I have to send you some documentation which you then have to let them know you have. But in a safe place, not in a local storage locker under your name or in your attic or garage. A gentle hint of joys to come. I have hinted at that and very strongly. The Justice oaf today got an earful from me and when I told him I would tell you about this, he got scared and hung up on me. Now, I can expect Tom Kimmel to call me and try to find out if I’ve told you or given you anything. You know, you got some rare documents that were very helpful to his case to clear the Admiral but now he’s a torn person. The family wants desperately to accept these as genuine but are furious that you, a terrible person in their eyes, had them. No gratitude. I suppose if that awful Wolfe had found them and passed them along, he would be a great hero to the Kimmel family but you are one whose name is never to be mentioned. You know, Gregory, I find this very entertaining. And Kimmel is horrified that Bill and I like you and talk to you. Both of us have been warned, I by people from the Company I haven’t seen since I retired and Bill by the fringe wannabees like Trento and others. I think it’s time we nailed Critchfield, don’t you?

GD: I’m game, Robert. If he ran Müller, he must be scared.

RTC: Will be scared shitless. In the old days, he’d have had you killed at once but those days are no more. You knew Gehlen and that will be my approach. You are quick enough with in-house terms so that I can convince Jimmy that you were once part of his operation. You’ll have to play it by ear but you are about ten times smarter than him so you should have fun. I want you to convince him that you were really there and knew some his people. And most important, convince him you knew Mueller. Oddly enough, Jimmy never met Mueller because he operated him out of Switzerland through Willi and later, Müller moved up the ladder to the point where Jimmy had no access to him. Let’s keep his bowels open, Gregory, what do you say?

GD: I have no problem. Should I tape him?

RTC: Why not get him on a speaker phone with both a tape recorder going and a reputable witness? That way, if something comes of this and they get to the witness, you have a backup.

GD: I have a retired colonel acquaintance who was with your people in ‘Nam. He’d be perfect as a witness. Just let me know. Is Justice going to do something nasty to me?

RTC: God no. They just want to scare me off of you, that’s all. They’re all such pinheads, Gregory. They chatter like old whores at a tea party and I can remind you that gossip is king here. Everyone inside the Beltway runs around like the little self-important toads that they are, pretending to be really important. They see a Senator in a restaurant, wave at him and get waved at back. This impresses their client who does not realize that the Senator will always wave back on the assumption that the waver might be someone important he might have forgotten. And they tell you that the President, or the Secretary of this or that said this to them when no one knows them at the White House or anywhere else. This jerk from Justice is a small, malformed cog in a big and brainless machine. Typical. I had to deal with these punks for years and I have more respect for a black tart, believe me. At least they don’t try to hide the fact that they fuck for money.

GD: (Laughter)

RTC: It really isn’t funny. If the public was aware of the crooked, lying sacks of shit that run this country, they would be boiling the tar and preparing the chicken feathers.

GD: You know, speaking of Gehlen, he told me in ’51 that his famous ’48 report about the Russians being poised to invade Europe was made up at the Army’s specific request. Gehlen told me that far from moving hundreds of armored units into the east zone, the Russians had torn up all the railroad tracks after the war and shipped them back to Russia. And most of the armored divisions were only cadre.

RTC: But it did work, didn’t it? Big business got to gear up for a fictional coming war and the military got a huge boost.

GD: Ever heard of General Trudeau?

RTC: Oh yes, I knew him personally. What about him?

GD: He found out about Gehlen and bitched like hell about what he called a bunch of Nazis working for the CIA and inventing stories about fake invasion threats.

RTC: Now that’s something I didn’t know. You know they shipped him out of the European command and sent him to the Far East? Yes, and I met him when I was in Hawaii. I’m surprised they didn’t do to him what they did to George Patton. A convenient truck ran into his car and shut him up.

GD: Why?

RTC: George found out that the top brass was stealing gold from the salt mine and many generals and colonels were getting very rich. And then the accident and with George dead, they just went on stealing.

GD: I can use that.

RTC: I can get you some paper on that out of my files. Patton was strange but one of our better generals. Lying thieves. Gold has a great attraction for people, I guess.

GD: A few years ago, one of your boys, Jimmy Atwood and I went down into Austria to dig up some Nazi gold. Atwood is a terrible asshole but very useful. I think he viewed me the same way. Anyway, we had a former SS officer and a Ukrainian camp guard along. What a wonderful adventure, Robert.

RTC: Were you successful? Treasure hunts rarely are.

GD: Oh, very. And we brought most of it back with us.

RTC: How ever did you get it through customs?

GD: Boat. Brought it in by boat. I’ll tell you about this some time. Did you ever hear about it?

RTC: No, I didn’t. Should I have?

GD: Probably a rogue operation. Two Limeys got knocked on the head and put over the side on the way to the Panama Canal but other than that, it was an uneventful trip.

RTC: Well, someday, I’ll discuss the Kennedy assassination and you can tell me about the gold hunt. Sounds fair?

GD: Oh yes, why not?

RTC: I remember the time we had to fly the KMT general out of Burma with an Air America transport full of gold. He was our boy out there but he had a hankering to make more money so he began to raise opium and used our weapons to kill off the locals. Thirteen million in gold and twelve trunks full of opium. Quite a problem getting it all into Switzerland and into a bank. But he performed and we kept our word. That fucking Colby was into drugs as well.

GD: William?

RTC: Yes, our beloved DCI. A nasty piece of work, Gregory. Was working in SEA doing the drug business when he was tapped for PHOENIX. And just kept on going when he got to Saigon. PHOENIX  got to be a really nasty business and Bill set up torture centers all over our part of the country. Regional Intelligence Centers they called them. Well, Church got his hands on some of the goings on and guess what? Colby snitched on all his co-workers. I know for a fact from some of the old ones that they’re going to kill him for that. I remember he has some kind of a telephone device hidden in his glasses. Princeton man. You can always tell a Princeton man, Gregory, but you can’t tell him very much. Watch the papers pretty soon.

GD: How will they nail him? Run down in a crosswalk? A stampede of elephants flatten him in his garden?

RTC: You have an overheated imagination. I don’t know the how but I do know the why. Give it six months and the Dictator of Dent Place will be another stone in the cemetery.

GD: What about the one who killed himself by tying weights to his legs and shooting himself in the back of the head before jumping off his boat?

RTC: John Arthur Paisley. He used to be the deputy director of the Office of Strategic Research. Paisley. Tragic. Shouldn’t have sold out to the Russians. He was such a rotten mess when they found him that it took weeks to do an ID on him. There’ve been more.

GD: I have a packet coming in from overseas and the mail truck is at the end of the block. Let me ring off now, Robert and I can call you back later today.

RTC: Make it tomorrow. OK? Things to do.

(Concluded at 10:08 AM CST)


Surveillance Cameras

May 5, 2019

by Christian Jürs

Whether they’re walking to work, withdrawing money from an ATM or walking into their favorite local grocer, Americans could be within sight of one of the United States’ estimated 30 million surveillance cameras.

Police use them to monitor streets, subways and public spaces. Homeowners put them on their houses. Businesses mount them in stores and on buildings.

In Boston, for example, the FBI used still photos and video pulled from cameras to identify suspects after the Boston Marathon bombing. The images showed the suspects making calls from their cellphones, carrying what the police say were bombs, and leaving the scene.

New high-tech, high-definition security camera manufacturers give police departments the options of thermal imaging, 360-degree fields of view and powerful zoom capabilities for identifying people. Advances in camera technology enable new ways to monitor American citizens.

Surveillance cameras are video cameras used for the purpose of observing an area. They are often connected to a recording device or IP network, and may be watched by a security guard or law enforcement officer. Cameras and recording equipment used to be relatively expensive and required human personnel to monitor camera footage, but analysis of footage has been made easier by automated software that organizes digital video footage into a searchable database, and by video analysis software (such as VIRAT and HumanID). The amount of footage is also drastically reduced by motion sensors which only record when motion is detected. With cheaper production techniques, surveillance cameras are simple and inexpensive enough to be used in home security systems, and for everyday surveillance.

In the United States, the Department of Homeland Security awards billions of dollars per year in Homeland Security grants for local, state, and federal agencies to install modern video surveillance equipment. For example, the city of Chicago, Illinois, recently used a $5.1 million Homeland Security grant to install an additional 250 surveillance cameras, and connect them to a centralized monitoring center, along with its preexisting network of over 2000 cameras, in a program known as Operation Virtual Shield. Speaking in 2009, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley announced that Chicago would have a surveillance camera on every street corner by the year 2016.

As part of China’s Golden Shield Project, several U.S. corporations, including IBM, General Electric, and Honeywell, have been working closely with the Chinese government to install millions of surveillance cameras throughout China, along with advanced video analytics and facial recognition software, which will identify and track individuals everywhere they go. They will be connected to a centralized database and monitoring station, which will, upon completion of the project, contain a picture of the face of every person in China: over 1.3 billion people Lin Jiang Huai, the head of China’s “Information Security Technology” office (which is in charge of the project), credits the surveillance systems in the United States and the U.K. as the inspiration for what he is doing with the Golden Shield Project.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding a research project called Combat Zones That See that will link up cameras across a city to a centralized monitoring station, identify and track individuals and vehicles as they move through the city, and report “suspicious” activity (such as waving arms, looking side-to-side, standing in a group, etc.).

Governments often initially claim that cameras are meant to be used for traffic control, but many of them end up using them for general surveillance. For example, Washington, D.C. had 5,000 “traffic” cameras installed under this premise, and then after they were all in place, networked them all together and then granted access to the Metropolitan Police Department, so they could perform “day-to-day monitoring”.

The development of centralized networks of CCTV cameras watching public areas – linked to computer databases of people’s pictures and identity (biometric data), able to track people’s movements throughout the city, and identify whom they have been with – has been argued by some to present a risk to civil liberties. Trapwire is an example of such a network.

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