TBR News November 1, 2018

Nov 01 2018

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. November 1, 2018: “Parousia refers to the Second Coming of Christ as understood by the Christian Pentecostal sect.

This second coming assumes a first coming (here, the facts are not in evidence) but the fixation on bringing about the latter appearance is intense and determined.

It is the belief of Pentecostals that when certain conditions are met, Jesus Christ will return to earth, take his elect (the Pentecostals) physically to Paradise in an event known as Rapture. Those not belonging to the Pentecostal elect will have to remain behind for Satan to deal with.

When Parousia happens, there will be a great battle fought at Armageddon between the forces of Jesus and the Devil and his antichrist and Jesus, quite naturally, will be triumphant.

All of this, the Pentecostals assure their membership, can be found in the book of Revelation.

Unfortunately for this interesting thesis, the struggle between good and evil at Armageddon is not found in the book of Revelations. Revelations 16:16 only mentions the name of the long-forgotten town but there is nothing about an epic struggle mentioned anywhere else other than twisted interpretations in cult literature.

This strange book was allegedly written by St. John the Devine, a disciple of Jesus when, in fact is believed by most reputable Biblical scholars to have been written by a certain John of Patmos who lived many years after the period ascribed to Christ’s ministry.

John of Patmos was a hermit/monk on the Greek island of Patmos and contemporary historical reference briefly dismisses him as a lunatic. No one has been able to understand a word of what he wrote, and his confused and mystic writings easily lends themselves to all manner of interpretations by various dimwitted and obsessed religious fanatics.

When Martin Luther prepared the Protestant Bible, he discarded Revelations, and other books then found in the Bible, as being ‘unworthy and filled with nonsense.’

The Second Coming has as one of its primary  requirements that a Jewish nation must be reestablished in Palestine (which it was in 1948) and, even more important, that the great Jewish temple of Solomon must be rebuilt before Christ can return to earth and elevate his elect.

The first temple of Solomon was destroyed by the Babylonians and the more elegant second, by the Romans when they crushed the Jewish revolt in the first century.

Unfortunately for the Pentecostals, the former site of this temple is now occupied by the much-revered Muslim Dome of the Rock mosque.

The Jewish temple cannot be rebuilt, therefore, as long as the Muslim mosque occupies its space and therefore, it would be necessary to destroy this very holy building and replace it with a new edifice of another religion.

However, if this lunatic act were consummated, there would be an immediate and terrible rising in the Muslim world and a savage religious war would burst forth on an already-ravaged Middle East.

The Pentecostals are, by their very nature, uncaring and fierce fanatics and such a war would, to them, be a fulfillment of the spurious prophecy of the manic Revelation’s non-existent Battle of Armageddon.

Already we can hear comments from prominent Pentecostals that the Muslims are the forces of the anti-Christ and must therefore be engaged by the forces of Jesus in a final hecatomb of blood and destruction. This pending bloodbath means nothing to Pentecostals because, according to their beliefs, they will be safe in Paradise and those left behind are of no consequence

In the face of all reason and logic, they are pushing a suicidal, hidden agenda that will have terrible consequences for everyone concerned.”



The Table of Contents 

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 67
  • Feel the love, feel the hate – my week in the cauldron of Trump’s wild rallies
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  •    Trump hardens stance on Mexico border, says 15,000 troops could be sent
  •    Trump’s final campaign stretch rattled by twin calamities
  •    How Trump’s immigrant bashing feeds white supremacists’ obsession with Jews


Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 67

August 8, 2018

by Daniel Dale, Washington Bureau Chief

The Toronto Star, Canada

The Star is keeping track of every false claim U.S. President Donald Trump has made since his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. Why? Historians say there has never been such a constant liar in the Oval Office. We think dishonesty should be challenged. We think inaccurate information should be corrected

If Trump is a serial liar, why call this a list of “false claims,” not lies? You can read our detailed explanation here. The short answer is that we can’t be sure that each and every one was intentional. In some cases, he may have been confused or ignorant. What we know, objectively, is that he was not teling the truth.

Last updated: Aug 8, 2018

  • Apr 17, 2018

“South Korea is meeting, and has plans to meet, with North Korea to see if they can end the war. And they have my blessing on that. And they’ve been very generous that without us and without me in particular, I guess, you would have to say, that they wouldn’t be discussing anything, including the Olympics would have been a failure.”

Source: Remarks before bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

in fact: South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, and other officials did not go this far. Moon did say Trump had been a “very important factor” in the success of the Olympics. He did not say it would have been a failure without Trump.

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“Many of the world’s great leaders request to come to Mar-a-Lago and Palm Beach. They like it; I like it. We’re comfortable. We have great relationships. As you remember, we were here and President Xi of China was here. And when we do it — it was originally built as the Southern White House. It was called the Southern White House. It was given to the United States, and then Jimmy Carter decided it was too expensive for the United States. So they, fortunately for me, gave it back and I bought it. Who would have thought? It was a circuitous route. But now it is, indeed, the Southern White House.”

Source: Remarks before bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

in fact: Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club and personal residence in Florida, was not “originally built as the Southern White House.” It was originally built, in 1927, as a home for a cereal heiress, Marjorie Merriweather Post. When she died 46 years later, she left the mansion to the government in the hope that it could then be used as a kind of winter White House. But this was not its original purpose.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“Rasmussen just came out at 51% Approval despite the Fake News Media. They were one of the three most accurate on Election Day. Just about the most inaccurate were CNN and ABC News/Washington Post, and they haven’t changed (get new pollsters).”

Source: Twitter

in fact: It is reasonable to call Rasmussen one of the most accurate pollsters in the 2016 election: its final poll nailed Clinton’s two-point final margin in the national popular vote. (It’s worth noting that the poll also significantly underestimated the actual vote share received by Trump and Clinton; it had Clinton with 45 per cent and Trump with 43 per cent, with the rest going to other candidates; the actual margin was Clinton 48 per cent, Trump 46 per cent.) It is not accurate, though, to claim that the ABC/Washington Post poll was “just about the most inaccurate.) Their final poll had Clinton winning by four points; a post-election assessment from Costas Panagopoulos, director of the Center for Electoral Politics and Democracy at Fordham University, ranked the poll as the third-most-accurate of 14 major pollsters

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

  • Apr 18, 2018

“We had a very, very severe — we were talking about it a little while — fight in Syria recently, a month ago, between our troops and Russian troops, and that’s very sad. But many people died in that fight.”

Source: Joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

in fact: Trump is wrong that this incident occurred “a month ago.” It happened more than two months prior, on Feb 7. He is also at least slightly misleading in calling the fighters killed by the U.S. “Russian troops.” They were mercenaries for a Russian firm called Wagner. (Analysts note that the firm has close links to the Russian government, but its mercenaries are not officially fighting under the Russian flag.)

“The United States has a massive trade deficit with Japan. It’s anywhere from $69 billion to $100 billion a year.” … And: “But right now we have a deficit that’s a minimum of $69 billion a year. ”

Source: Joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

in fact: Trump was exaggerating, as he almost always does when discussing trade deficits. Sixty-nine billion is the accurate figure for the U.S. trade deficit with Japan if you only count goods and ignore services. But that’s the highest-end figure: counting both trade in goods and trade in services, the net deficit was $56 billion, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said in a report released the same month Trump spoke. There is no calculation in which the deficit is even close to $100 billion.

Trump has repeated this claim 4 times

“You look at the kind of money that was paid. Probably some went to Russia. You look at Podesta having a company in Russia where nothing happened and people don’t talk about it.”

Source: Joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

in fact: Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta did not and does not have a company in Russia.

Trump has repeated this claim 5 times

“So we are giving tremendous amounts of paper. This was a — really a hoax created largely by the Democrats as a way of softening the blow of a loss, which is a loss that, frankly, they shouldn’t have had from the standpoint that it’s very easy for them. They have a tremendous advantage in the Electoral College.”

Source: Joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

in fact: Trump’s frequent claim about the Electoral College continues to be nonsensical. It is obviously false that the presidential election system is set up in a way that favours Democrats. Six of the last nine presidents, all of whom except for Gerald Ford had to win an Electoral College election, have been Republicans.

Trump has repeated this claim 17 times

“So we are giving tremendous amounts of paper (to special counsel Robert Mueller). This was a — really a hoax created largely by the Democrats as a way of softening the blow of a loss, which is a loss that, frankly, they shouldn’t have had from the standpoint that it’s very easy for them. They have a tremendous advantage in the Electoral College. And this is what it is, and this is where it came from.”

Source: Joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

in fact: Democrats, of course, did not invent the allegation of Trump-campaign collusion with Russia as an election excuse. U.S. intelligence agencies say that the Russian government interfered in the election for the purpose of helping Trump win; the FBI opened the investigation into whether people affiliated with the Trump campaign were assisting Russian efforts after receiving a tip that campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos had boasted to an Australian diplomat that Russia had obtained damaging information on Clinton, before this was publicly known.

“There’s no collusion. There was no collusion with Russia, other than by the Democrats…”

Source: Joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

in fact: The word “collusion” — in common language, a “secret agreement or co-operation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose” — simply does not apply to the Russia-related activities of the Democrats. This accusation is based on the fact that the British ex-spy who produced a research dossier on the Trump campaign’s alleged links to Russia, which was funded in part by Clinton’s campaign, used Russian sources in compiling his information. This does not come close to meeting the definition of “collusion.”

Trump has repeated this claim 22 times

“Same thing with washing machines. We were, believe it not, having washing machines dumped all over the country. We put tariffs on, and we’re now opening up and expanding companies that create and make — which is actually a very big business — washing machines and dryers.”

Source: Joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

in fact: There is no evidence of even one additional plant being built as a result of Trump’s tariff on washing machines. Whirlpool Corp. has announced it is adding 200 jobs at an Ohio factory in part because of the tariff, but it is not building new plants, and there is no evidence of a widespread industry expansion. Further, there were washing machine plants built during the Obama era. Whirlpool’s South Korean competitor Samsung opened a plant in South Carolina in January, ten days before Trump announced the tariff, and fellow South Korean competitor LG already had a plant under construction in Tennessee.

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“If you look at what we did with solar panels, where we put 30 per cent tariffs on, we had 32 companies opened with pretty new plants, because it’s a relatively new industry. Of the 32 plants, 30 were closed and two were not doing well. Since putting the tariffs on, the two are doing very well, seven or eight are going to be opening, and a lot more will open.”

Source: Joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

in fact: In referring to “the two,” Trump appears to mean the two solar companies that brought a trade complaint to the U.S. International Trade Commission, Suniva and SolarWorld Americas. It is not true that they were the only two solar manufacturers remaining in the U.S. at the time, but it is not exactly clear what Trump is saying. Regardless, Trump’s claim that “the two are doing very well, seven or eight are going to be opening” is false. Suniva filed for bankruptcy last year, and its current status is “unknown,” Greentech Media reported in a fact-check of Trump’s claim in February. SolarWorld, meanwhile, is about to be acquired by a rival company, SunPower, that is looking to avoid Trump’s tariffs. While that move has been widely portrayed as a win for Trump — news outlets reported that the move could save more than 300 jobs at SolarWorld’s factory in Oregon — there is no indication that additional plants will be opening as a result; SunPower simply plans to make use of the existing SolarWorld facility. Reported Factcheck.org: “We asked the White House press office for a list of the ‘seven or eight’ plants, but we have not received a response.” Abigail Ross Hopper, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association, which opposes the tariffs, said in a statement reported by Factcheck.org: “The president was apparently misinformed about the number of plants that had been operating, the number that are going to be newly built and the status of the plants of the two petitioners.”

Trump has repeated this claim 7 times

“I will add that the (Section) 232, having to do with aluminum and steel tariffs — 30 per cent, in one case; 25 per cent and 10 per cent — that it’s got us to the bargaining table with many nations, and, in other cases, they’re paying.”

Source: Joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

in fact: Trump did not impose any 30 per cent tariff in any case in which he has used Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. His steel tariffs under Section 232 are 25 per cent, his aluminum tariffs under Section 232 are 10 per cent. He did impose 30 per cent tariffs on other unrelated items, but these tariffs were not applied using Section 232.

“I’ve gotten it to this point. President Moon of South Korea was very generous when he said, ‘If it weren’t for Donald Trump, the Olympics would have been a total failure.'”

Source: Joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

in fact: Moon did not go that far. He did say Trump had been a “very important factor” in the success of the Olympics. He did not say it would have been a total failure without Trump

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“The United States also supports Japan’s efforts to improve its defense capabilities, and we’re exploring ways to expedite the sale of American military equipment to Japan through the Foreign Military Sales program. We’ve stepped up our effort not only with respect to Japan, but other allies, that when they order military equipment from us, we will get it taken care of and they will get their equipment rapidly. It would be, in some cases, years before orders would take place because of bureaucracy with Department of Defense, State Department. We are short-circuiting that. It’s now going to be a matter of days.”

Source: Joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

in fact: Defense experts say it is not possible to fulfill a foreign county’s orders of military equipment “in a matter of days,” as Trump appeared to ad-lib. “It can be compressed, but not a matter of days,” said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute think tank. For one, Congress must be given at least a month to study any significant sale. More significantly, there is an extensive review process involving various parts of the federal government. “Arms sales are coordinated between the Pentagon and the State Department, often with inputs from other places like the Commerce Department…it’s still going to take you a fair amount of time for everybody to have their say,” Thompson said.

“It’s been a great honor to have the Prime Minister of Japan and his extraordinary wife with us tonight at Mar-a-Lago. We call this the Southern White House. It was originally built, as you probably have heard, as the Southern White House.”

Source: Remarks at dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

in fact: Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club and personal residence in Florida, was not “originally built” as the “Southern White House.” It was originally built, in 1927, as a home for a cereal heiress, Marjorie Merriweather Post. When she died 46 years later, she left the mansion to the government in the hope that it could then be used as a kind of winter White House. But this was not its original purpose

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“I mean, China, as an example, when they send a car to us, it’s 2.5 percent tax. When we send a car to them, number one, they don’t take it, and number two, it’s 25 percent tax. And then you wonder why we have $500 billion of imbalance. And it’s not right.”

Source: Remarks at lunch with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

in fact: Trump’s “$500 billion of imbalance” claim was off by $163 billion — and $125 billion if you give him the benefit of the doubt. The U.S. trade deficit with China was $375 billion in 2017 when counting goods alone, according the U.S. Census Bureau. Including trade in services, the net deficit was $337 billion, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said earlier in the month. (The Bureau of Economic Analysis uses a different method of calculating deficits and surpluses than the Census Bureau.)

Trump has repeated this claim 51 times

  • Apr 19, 2018

“James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: There is no way in which Comey’s memos could possibly prove that there was either no collusion by Trump’s campaign with Russian interference in the election or no obstruction of justice by Trump himself. They are simply far too narrow in scope — they describe only Trump’s conversations with Comey — to provide a conclusive exoneration; special counsel Robert Mueller is known to be investigating numerous matters not covered by the memo


Feel the love, feel the hate – my week in the cauldron of Trump’s wild rallies

On the eve of the midterms, the most powerful man on earth corrals his troops around two visions of America – one full of hope, the other one much darker – and tests the ground for 2020

November 1, 2018

by Ed Pilkington

The Guardian

There is no understanding Donald Trump without understanding his rallies.

They are the crucible of the Trump revolution, the laboratory where he turns his alternative reality into a potion to be sold to his followers. It is at his rallies that his radical reimagining of the US constitution takes shape: not “We the people”, but “We my people”.

As America reels from a gunman killing 11 Jewish worshippers in a Pittsburgh synagogue; pipe bombs being sent to 14 of the US presidents’ leading opponents, and Trump declaring himself a nationalist and sending thousands of troops to the US border to assail unarmed asylum seekers; the most powerful person on earth continues to rely on his rallies as seething cauldrons of passion.

And that’s not all. Trump is using them as a test run for his 2020 bid for re-election.

Which is why I have crisscrossed the country, from Montana and Wisconsin in the north to Texas in the south, Arizona in the west to North Carolina in the east, to observe the president delivering his message to his people.

Five rallies, eight days. At each, we explore a different emotion that Trump evokes to arouse his people’s devotion, in search of the source of his appeal.

Rally 1


Missoula, Montana

Thursday 18 October

The instant you attend your first Trump rally you are confronted by an uncomfortable truth: to figure out what’s happening you have to acknowledge the love. It may not be pure and selfless. It may be narcissistic and at times even threatening. But love is very much in the air.

Twenty minutes into his speech in Missoula, Montana, Trump breaks from the autocue and exclaims: “I love you too.” He scours the crowd – “Who said that? Who said that?” – until he locates the person who has just declared love for him.

“It’s finally a woman,” he exclaims. “You know, I get it from the men all the time. So far every guy that said ‘I love you’, they’re just not my type.”

Locker-room talk, but it works. It sparks a collective guffaw from Trump supporters. Women cackle, men squirm. It’s a lovefest.

Trump uses the word “love” repeatedly. He loves Montanans, he tells them. Such “loyal, hardworking, incredible patriots”. Later in the speech, he uses “love” in reference to the air hangar where the rally is held, the people of Maine, his first lady, his hair, a couple of local Congress members and hunting and guns.

His supporters repay his love – with interest. They begin forming a line well before dawn that by midday snakes around a giant field under the state’s legendary big sky. The procession is ablaze with red Make America Great Again hats and national flags draped over shoulders amid a festive mood not unlike a carnival.

Francie Bruneau, 58, has driven 200 miles from Spokane, Washington, and will stand for seven hours in line before Trump appears. “He speaks to me,” she says. “He’s like your friend next door, someone you can go to the pub with and drink beer.”

“He doesn’t drink,” someone interjects.

Much has been written about Trump rallies, and the dark forces they invoke. But today the crowd has the character of a family outing of proud Americans, happy to be among their own in a state that Trump won in 2016 by 20 points.

“You can see the love right here,” says Robin Pedersen, 56, a horse trainer from Florence, Montana. “Everybody’s civil, everybody’s getting along.”

Further down the line Phil Zacha, 82, is wearing a T-shirt that articulates what many people will say to me in the coming days. It bears the words: “Trump: he says what I think.”

Tonight, his stump speech is closely scripted and he largely cleaves to it. There’s more swagger in his demeanor than there was in 2016 – and there was plenty then. Two years ago he was the insurgent candidate on an unlikely mission to disrupt. Now he is the accomplished victor commandingly in charge.

Here in this sealed terrarium of 8,000 loving supporters, far from the multiple dangers of Robert Mueller, legal threats from porn stars and debates over impeachment, he is in his element.

“I just walked in and a big strong guy grabbed me, it happens every time. And he said, ‘Sir, Mr President, thank you so much for saving our country.’”

The president entices his followers to believe he is lavishing his love on them. But it works both ways: he’s also drawing on their love. The rally is his charging station, the place he goes to refuel his ego and his zealotry.

“We did it together, not me. I’m the spokesman,” he says. “By the way, how have I done?”

The crowd roars.

Tucked into the love, however, there is a menace that has also grown more pronounced since 2016.

I love you people, it seems to say, because you hate my enemy.

Trump turns his love to Greg Gianforte, Montana’s Republican member of Congress. In May 2017, Gianforte physically attacked the Guardian’s political correspondent Ben Jacobs who was trying to ask him a question about healthcare reform, grabbing him by the lapels and throwing him violently to the ground.

Trump praises Gianforte for being a “tough cookie”, “my kinda guy”. He then acts out the motions of someone body-slamming another. The hangar explodes with delight.

The slapstick display comes just hours after new evidence has emerged that journalist and Virginia resident Jamal Khashoggi had been beheaded and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad to silence his criticism. Trump has nothing to say about that.

After the rally is over, I call Pedersen, the horse trainer, and ask her what she thinks. She says that Trump “talked to every one of us individually, not as a group. It was peaceful.”

Peaceful. How so?

“I mean the positive energy I get from him. Feeling peaceful in there, feeling like he has your back.”

What about the body-slam?

“He was joking. We read it as a joke.”

Was it appropriate for the US president to joke about a violent assault on a fellow American?

“Probably not. But he did it, and I’m not offended by it.”

Did you laugh?

“I chuckled.”

Rally 2


Mesa, Arizona

Friday 19 October

The peace Trump offers his people is a peace twinned with fear. It’s right there in the phrase stamped on the sea of red hats: Make America Great Again. The slogan implies that the country is going to the dogs, and that only one man can save it.

Here that man comes, Marine One kicking up a giant cloud of dust in the Arizonan desert. As he steps out of the helicopter, for a few precious moments Trump carries himself as president of the United States, with all the regalia of that office. Uniformed marines salute him. Secret Service agents scowl.

Then he disappears into the mass of 5,000 devotees, popping up again in the center of the crowd, transformed into plain Donald Trump, man of the people, the guy who puts your fears into words.

Trump: he says what I think.

“The radical Democrats want to plunge our country into a nightmare of gridlock, poverty and chaos, you know that. They want to impose socialism on our country, turn us into another Venezuela, throw your borders wide open to deadly drugs and ruthless gangs. ‘Come on in everybody! Come on in!’”

This is radioactive for American conservatives who fear illegal immigration more than anything else. It is especially incendiary in the border state of Arizona, nowhere more so than where we are tonight – Mesa, an outpost of Phoenix that was home to Sheriff Arpaio’s 24-year reign of terror against Hispanic undocumented immigrants.

Which came first: Trump’s extremist vision of an immigrant dystopia, or the equally febrile fears of his followers? Who knows. But they make great bedfellows

In the crowd is Shadow Lane, 42, a boutique owner from Cottonwood, Arizona. She has a Q drawn on her cheek for QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theory network.

I ask her what America would be like in 2050 had Hillary Clinton beaten Trump. “Guatemala, a socialistic country,” she replies, probably confusing it with Venezuela (Guatemala is currently run by a rightwing president who, like Lane, is an avowed Trump fan).

“Socialistic” is a word that comes up often. For David Stewart, 66, a retired teacher, that means a world in which “taxes and unemployment would go through the roof, the economy would collapse, there would be riots for food and water”. Racial tensions would be inflamed by Democrats seeking to “break the political system”.

Why would they want to do that?

“They want power. Look it up. President Bush said if you put the blacks on welfare they will vote Democratic for the rest of their lives.”

But Bush was a Republican.

Stewart pauses. Then he says: “I don’t remember.”

Rick Novak, 57, a retired building foreman and Harley guy, comes up to me in the press pen saying he wants to come face to face with “fake news”. He sounds intimidating, until he throws me a big just-kidding smile.

What would happen to America were Trump not on the case? “People are going to get killed,” he says. “Gang wars. We are going to get gang wars between white and black, whites and Mexicans. We could have our own little Vietnam, right here.”

A full-blown war, here in Arizona?

“We are under threat with Mexican people coming over the border. If we don’t close it we are going to let Isis come in with the Mexicans.”

A couple of days later, Fox News begins peddling the exact same conspiracy theory. Trump’s favorite TV channel reports – without any evidence – that terrorist fighters of the Islamist group Isis have infiltrated the caravan of 3,500 Central American asylum seekers heading towards the US border.

A couple of hours after that, Trump takes up the rallying cry, warning that “Middle Easterners” are hiding in the human convoy and declaring the situation a “national emergency”.

After my week of rallies has ended, Trump takes his blatant effort to turn Americans’ fears into electoral votes to new lengths. He orders more than 5,000 troops to be sent to the US border to intercept the caravan – a ratio of more than one soldier per desperate, unarmed asylum seeker.

Then he says he will end with the flick of his pen the right to US citizenship for babies born in the US – a flagrant violation of the 14th amendment from a president who claims to be a stout defender of the US constitution.

Back in Mesa, where Trump snarls angrily about “kicking the criminals, the drug dealers and the terrorists the hell out of our country”, the gratitude of his people is visceral.

Outside the air hangar, the world is a cruel and ugly place. Here, inside, they

Rally 3


Houston, Texas

Monday 22 October

When Trump began his rallies in 2015, he insisted on choosing his own musical soundtrack: the Rolling Stones, Elton John, and Guns N’ Roses played at high volume. (Mick Jagger has insisted Trump can’t be stopped using Stones music, though that didn’t prevent Pharrell Williams this week sending the president a cease-and-desist letter demanding he never again plays the song Happy.)

Three years on in Houston, Texas, the sound system blares out Village People’s Macho Man.

“Macho, macho man / I gotta be a macho man.”

Is it irony? Is it bragging? Did the president hand-pick the tune? As with so much of Trump’s complex aesthetics, you can’t tell. If you had to guess, you’d say both.

There’s no doubt, though, that he likes to present himself as a strong man. And a strongman.

That’s obvious in Houston, the largest of the five rallies this week. With 16,000 people hailing their great leader inside the auditorium, and several more thousand outside, he is a large cat in heavy cream.

With every wave of affirmation, his chest visibly expands and his pose grows more martial: head back, lips puckered, shoulders square. He looks as though he were standing at inspection as the tanks roll by at his cancelled military parade.

“I’m a nationalist!” he cries. He’s fully aware of the storm he will provoke by using a term closely associated with US white supremacy. “We are not supposed to use that word,” he tells his followers with a verbal wink.

It’s strongman language. But then Trump is all about strongman language. Where Barack Obama used philosophical acrobatics to wow his base, Trump leans on words: pared down, sparse, monosyllabic ones.

Democrats are evil, bad, lousy, sick, cuckoo socialists who produce mobs. Republicans are great, beautiful, tough, patriotic warriors who produce jobs.

Occasionally he’ll allow himself to stick two words together – fake news, “Crooked Hillary”, radical socialism. But he’ll never place himself above his supporters or make them feel inferior to him.

There’s another source of Trump’s strength among his people. You have to attend his rallies to know this – it does not transmit through TV.


Not humor as it’s normally delivered. He doesn’t do gags, or side-splitting punch lines.

What he does do is riff, a sort of free-form ranting. He goes on about “Pocahontas”, his pejorative name for the liberal US senator Elizabeth Warren, and her Native American DNA test. He calls Maxine Waters, the black Democratic congresswoman from California, a “low-IQ individual”.

The way he tells it, with a cute “don’t blame me” look on his face, his arms outstretched, it comes across as funny. He’s teasing us. Some people laugh. Such is the infectiousness of laughter, others do so too.

But stop and think about what is happening here. The systematic demeaning of women, and the denigration of a person’s IQ in terms Trump reserves exclusively for African Americans – in front of a crowd that is 99.8% white. Through laughter, everyone is complicit.

It makes you wonder what the many women in the rally think of this. I talk to three groups of Texas women of different ages – one in her late 60s from Trinity; the second in her 40s from Kingwood; and the last a pair of high school seniors from Baytown who are preparing to vote for the first time.

There is remarkable unanimity. All three age groups say they see Trump as a strong leader who keeps his promises and “gets things done”.

All three give Brett Kavanaugh, the US supreme court justice, the benefit of the doubt in his searing confirmation process – they are convinced he did not sexually assault his accuser, Dr Christine Blasey Ford. There is also agreement across the generations that Trump has strengthened them.

“I do feel stronger as a woman since Trump,” says Stephanie Scott, 42, a stay-at-home mum. “It’s validation. I don’t have to be bullied into supporting Hillary Clinton any more just because I’m a woman; I have my own voice.”

The only chink of light between the ages relates to Trump’s vulgar sexual comments and behavior, such as the way he recently called Stormy Daniels, the adult film actor alleging an affair, “Horseface”. The sixtysomethings think it’s “piddlin’ stuff”.

But one of the high-school students, Priscila Garcia, 17, doesn’t like it. She recoiled at the Access Hollywood tape in 2016 in which he boasted that he would “grab ’em by the pussy”.

“Him saying that makes me and other women uncomfortable,” she says.

There the disagreement ends. Garcia may not like Trump’s loutish remarks, but she remains firmly in his camp. “He’s a better leader than he is a person,” she says. “I don’t agree with his personality, but he gets stuff done.”

Rally 4


Mosinee, Wisconsin

Wednesday 24 October

On the morning of the fourth rally, the outside world blasts its way into Trumpland. Shortly after 10am, as CNN anchors are telling their viewers about a series of pipe bombs mailed to the Clintons, the Obamas and to George Soros, they have to rush off air because the network has received its own explosive device.

At the same time, Jacob Spaeth and three of his buddies are lining up in a field in Mosinee, Wisconsin. They are all wearing the same distinctive red T-shirt. It bears a cartoon sketch of a smiling Trump urinating profusely over the CNN logo.

Today, after the CNN pipe bomb became headline news, a merchant says he’s sold about 15 of them in quick succession at $20 each.

Spaeth, a 19-year-old college student, doesn’t want to comment on the bombs. But he’s happy to discuss CNN.

“It’s not just CNN, it’s the whole media. They are very unfair to Trump. They’re manipulating kids, telling them that Trump is a horrible guy and that he wants bad things.”

Spaeth never watches CNN – he occasionally sees clips of it on Facebook. He gets his information from Infowars, the website of Alex Jones. Jones, a conspiracy theorist, is on the record as saying 9/11 was a government set-up and that the 2012 Newtown school shooting in which 20 children were killed was fabricated. Within hours he will be broadcasting that this week’s pipe bombs are also a hoax.

Spaeth embodies one of the most puzzling aspects of my week in Trumpland. Throughout the five rallies, I talk to scores of people, all of whom, without exception, are welcoming and pleasant. Yet hours later, in the pressure-cooker of the rally, they will turn on me and my mainstream media colleagues and hurl insults at us.

Spaeth admits that when he went to a Trump rally in Minnesota last month he took part in the finger-jabbing and the chanting of “CNN sucks”. It made him feel happy to be able to express his feelings so openly among like-minded folk. “I don’t see it as bullying,” he says.

There’s only one explanation for this pattern of behavior: that Trump enables good, civil Americans to metamorphose into media baiters. “Those people, fake news,” the president says sneeringly at almost every rally, pointing to the caged pen where reporters are cooped up during his speeches.

It’s a trigger mechanism: as soon as he says it, the chants begin. “CNN sucks! CNN sucks!” Many of the people chanting are also laughing – it’s that humor thing again. But CNN is taking no chances: they bring private security guards to every rally.

With the wound of the pipe bombs so fresh, Trump refrains from the usual “fake news” routine. He also holds back from personal attacks on Democrats, though in the other rallies I attend I hear Trump denigrate by name five of the 14 targets of the pipe bombs (Cory Booker, Hillary Clinton, Obama, Soros and Waters).

Tonight, he talks about the need to “bring our nation together”. It’s an extraordinarily cordial message coming from him. But listen closer. His call to unity is in fact a veiled attack on his political enemies.

In the name of “peace and harmony”, he tells politicians to stop treating their opponents – for which read Trump – as “morally defective”, and he references the “mob” – for which read Democrats. Remarkably, he is actually mocking the very concept of national unity while calling for it.

It is not until the day after my week of Trump rallies ends in North Carolina that the consequences become fully apparent of a nation whose civilian population owns vastly more guns than any other being led by a man who whips up racial fears and mocks national unity. On Saturday 27 October, two hours after he had posted a rant against “invaders that kill our people”, Robert Bowers enters a synagogue in Pittsburgh, pulls out an AR-15 style assault rifle and at least three handguns, and kills 11 Jewish worshippers.

Within a few hours of the Pittsburgh attack Trump is back at his next rally in Illinois promising “strong borders, no crime, and no caravans”. Within 48 hours of the attack he has renewed his unfounded claims that “very bad people” are mixed in with the caravan and that the “fake news media” is the “enemy of the people”.

But those events still lie in the future. Tonight in Wisconsin, the crowd are focused on only one thing – hearing their leader. It includes Steve Spaeth (no relation), 40, who runs a home exteriors company in West Bend. I ask him who he regards as his political enemies, and whether “hate” is too strong a word.

“Not at all,” he says. “I have a deep and absolute disgust for these human beings.”

Which ones?

He rattles off CNN, Soros, Clinton, Waters, Booker, “Pocahontas” AKA Elizabeth Warren, and others.

Why do you hate them?

“They want to turn America into a socialistic country. It’s disgusting.”

I ask Spaeth how far he is prepared to take his hatred. In reply, he tells a story. The other day he talked to his sister, who is liberal and votes Democratic. He said to her: “If there is a civil war in this country and you were on the wrong side, I would have no problem shooting you in the face.”

You must be joking, I say.

“No I am not. I love my sister, we get on great. But she has to know how passionate I am about our president.”

Rally 5


Charlotte, North Carolina

Friday 26 October

To end an account of a week in Trumpland on a low note would be inaccurate – fake news.

Look around the sports arena in which he holds his last rally of the week and all you can see is a mass of smiling faces. That raises another uncomfortable truth: to grasp what is going on in the world of Trump rallies, you have to accept how good he makes his people feel.

They are buoyed by hope.

That hope begins with jobs. Trump’s base is convinced that he has turned the economy round and that the wind is now in their sails. America is great again.

From the gravel pit worker in Montana who said orders are up; the teenager in Texas overladen with offers for weekend shifts; to Matthew Holt, 20, here in Charlotte, North Carolina who says his family-run gas station is doing just great – the prevailing mood is optimism.

While the president berates the media for their lies – “all we want is honest coverage,” he says tonight – his own taste for mendacity has been on ample display all week. He has boasted falsely that the tax cut he enacted last December was the “biggest in history” (it is the eighth largest since 1918); that Asian American unemployment is at a historic low (it was one percentage point lower under Obama); that at least eight new steel plants are opening (only two existing plants are being expanded).

That’s before you get to his lies about the Democrats paying for the immigration caravan (they didn’t) or wanting to abolish the federal immigration enforcement agency Ice (they don’t).

Commentators have long debated why Trump is so fond of lies, whether it’s conscious or not. Given how carefully he crafts his rallies, the answer seems indisputable.

Katy Tur, the NBC News reporter who was targeted by Trump during the 2016 election, begins her book on the experience with a revealing quote from him: “I play to people’s fantasies. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular.”

That’s a perfect summary of how the rally ends. Trump pumps out his final words – “We will make America great again” – the Rolling Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want is cranked up at such volume that CNN will find it hard to live broadcast, and the thousands of supporters begin to head out.

They carry with them a renewed love of their leader, reawakened fears about the mortal threats all around, strength in themselves and the rightness of their crusade, hate in their bellies towards those they call “un-Americans”, and hope that their worldview will prevail.

The doors are flung open, air rushes in to the Trump terrarium, and they step outside into the dark night


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

November 1, 2018

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 publications.


Conversation No. 80

Date: Thursday, April 17, 1997

Commenced: 2:21 PM CST

Concluded:  2:52 PM CST

RTC: Good afternoon Gregory. Did you get your car back from the shop in one piece?

GD: Yes, and it actually runs better now that they got the stroller out from under the engine compartment.

RTC: Now, now, Gregory, somehow I can’t believe that. How could a stroller get under your car?

GD: I like to run red lights, Robert, how else. And last night, I got a ticket for going twenty miles an hour.

RTC: Normally, that’s not so fast.

GD: Ah, but it was in the local mall.

RTC: Gregory, you must have been at the coffee again.

GD: What else? Glue is just too expensive. And when I used it in the past, my face kept sticking to the sheets. Oh, well, enough ribaldry so late in the day. And getting stuck to the sheets is a forbidden topic, I guess. Last week I dreamed I was eating an angel food cake and when I woke up, my pillow was gone. Enough, enough. How is life treating you?

RTC: Good days and bad days, Gregory.

GD: How is Emily?

RTC: Very good. Thank you for asking.

GD: Not at all. I had a privileged childhood. We were taught to be polite. I have no idea what good that does but I have been conditioned.

RTC: Bill Corson is thinking of running for Congress, by the way. Did he mention this to you?

GD: No. Is he serious?

RTC: Sometimes, it’s difficult to tell what is serious about Bill.

GD: Kimmel should run. The ladies would flock to his standard.

RTC: I think he’d spend most of his time on the platform discussing his grandfather and Pearl Harbor.

GD: Yes. He is a little limited in his scope. I was involved with politics one time and it was a hysterical romp in the sheep pen.

RTC: You ran for something?

GD: A speeding bus. No, I ran for nothing but I helped out a friend of mine who wanted to unseat a local judge. Interesting sort of thing. Do you want to hear about it?

RTC: Does this involve drag racing in the mall?

GD: No, actually it doesn’t but it had its roots in my friend, Marvin, and his Ferrari. He was going too fast in it and had a few drinks under his belt so the local cops grabbed him. The judge in his case, a local power, was nasty with him and Marvin loathed the man. Also, I note, Marvin had a lot of money. We knew each other, and he was aware that I could get things done in let’s say unorthodox ways. We had the same lawyer. Anyway, the judge, who was part of our local power elite, had been on the bench for centuries and was a permanent fixture. He was up for the standard reelection and Marvin wanted him booted off the bench. We made a deal, did Marvin and I. I would get rid of the judge and Marvin would pay my out of pocket expenses plus whatever he thought proper if I was successful. Now, we had some young attorney running for the job. He had no money and the sitting judge had all the local money behind him. How to unseat him.

RTC: You had one of your nasty friends shoot him?

GD: Now, you’re trying to use CIA tactics here, Robert. No, I was not going to shoot him or even run over him with someone else’s car on a rainy night. First, I went to see the young candidate. I asked him, in private, that if I got him elected at no expense to himself, would he throw out Marvin’s conviction for drunk driving and he laughed and agreed.

RTC: Did he?

GD: We’ll get to that in good time. Well, the first thing I did was to design a bumper sticker telling voters to vote for the judge. All perfectly straightforward. Took it to Frisco to a professional printer along with a phony purchase order I had drawn up using a letterhead from the judge’s reelection campaign. They printed 20,000 stickers and billed it to the judge. Next, I went to some of my Teamster friends for whom I had done a recent and significant favor and in return, we took all of these stickers and had the boys put them on the back of every car they could find in parking lots and other public places. Now note, I did not say on the rear bumper. They put them on the back trunk lids of the cars. Ever try to get a bumper sticker off, Robert? They stick like shit to a blanket. Many very angry citizens, Robert, many. Now, that was the first thing I did. The second was to write up a letter to every citizen in the town, telling them the reasons to vote for the judge. I ran off thousands at a girl friend’s church mimeograph service. For free, of course. Then we stuffed many thousand envelopes, sealed them and stuck labels on the front. I had the judge’s campaign office stamped with a rubber stamp on the front top and I had bought gummed labels for every registered voter in town. That I also billed to the judge. The stamps I had to buy. Now the overall theme of this mailing sounded as if it were written by a participant in the Special Olympics and the terrible sketches accompanying it were equally awful. We marked them as third class postage but sealed the envelopes, Robert, making them first class mailings. We, Marvin and I, dropped thousands of these into the main post office late at night and then a day later, we had so much fun. You see, the letters had postage due because they were not third class and notices were left for residents absent at work. The day after this, we drove past the local post office and I would have sworn that it had been snowing. There were vast snowbanks of ripped up letters all over the front lawn and sidewalk in front of the building as thousands of citizens flocked down there to pay their two cents only to discover really awful campaign trash.

RTC: (Laughter)

GD: Marvin did enjoy it too. And the next thing we did was to hire a sound truck to drive all over town early Sunday morning with a loud appeal for anyone hearing to vote for judge so and so the next week. My, my, so many irate late sleepers, wrenched from the arms of Morpheus, or their idiot sister, and having to listen to the message. Oh yes, we charged that to the judge as well. Let’s see now…yes, and then we got a couple of ladies I know to do a number. See, they would stand at bus stops in town around four in the afternoon, a block apart. One would get on the crowded commute bus and at the next stop, the other would. My, they would recognize each other and start a nice dialog that could be heard from one end of the bus to the other. They discussed the coming election and one said she would never vote for the incumbent judge because her cousin in the sheriff’s office had told her that the distinguished jurist had a fifteen year old black girl out in La Honda for weekends of endless fun. And they would then get off the bus, one stop at a time, and repeat the act again.

RTC: Now that’s really evil, Gregory.

GD: Oh, I thought so at the time. But creative and very, very deadly. See, when people hear something like that, they repeat it, Robert, but they don’t want to say it was gossip heard on a bus to they tell their co workers or family members that an unnamed high level police official told them. And so the good work prospers. And I rather like what I did on the day before the election. You see, in that town, you could get a permit from the city and bag the parking meters, paying for the daily take in return for free advertising….

RTC: Jesus

GD: So I bought some bread bags in Frisco and had another printer up there indicate that there was free parking that day, courtesy of the reelection campaign for the judge. Naturally, people parked and felt they could stay there all day, thanks to the judge and his friends. I got my Teamster friends and we bagged every meter in town. Along came the parking cops who looked at the bags and then called in to check. When they found the bags were fake, they tore them off and ticketed the cars.

RTC: Oh lovely, Gregory. I always said we should have put you on the payroll.

GD: I don’t take blood money. Interesting election results. The challenger spent about $200 on silly ads but a whopping 90% of the electorate turned out and about the same amount voted him into office in a stunning landslide. They voted their annoyance. I understand the judge’s people had some terrible bills they challenged. Anyway, Marvin got his conviction overturned.

RTC: Did he make it good to you?

GD: Well, I gave him my out of pocket expenses, mostly stamps, and told him as for anything additional, I would leave it up to his generosity. He gave me a check for the stamps and another sealed envelope. Of course I didn’t open it because that would be in bad taste and after he took me out to a wonderful, and very, very expensive French dinner, I went home and opened the second envelope. Five hefty figures, Robert, five figures. I call that sowing seeds of kindness.

RTC: You missed your calling, Gregory.

GD: A wardheeler or a parson, Robert?

RTC: Not much difference in the end.

GD: Yes, and that’s where the judge got it.

(Concluded at 2:52 PM CST)


Trump hardens stance on Mexico border, says 15,000 troops could be sent

October 31, 2018

by Jeff Mason and Idrees Ali


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the United States could send as many as 15,000 troops to the border with Mexico, as he hardens his stance against a caravan of migrants fleeing violence and poverty in Central America.

The numbers cited by Trump are significantly higher than defense officials have disclosed. The Pentagon said on Monday it was deploying more than 5,200 troops to the border but that the number would rise. On Wednesday, it said more than 7,000 troops would support the Department of Homeland Security along the border.

Several groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have accused Trump of politicizing the military ahead of next week’s congressional elections with

his plans to use active military personnel to buttress border patrol efforts.

“As far as the caravan is concerned, our military is out … We’ll go up to anywhere between 10 and 15,000 military personnel, on top of Border Patrol, ICE and everybody else at the border,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

Trump did not say how many of those 15,000 would be National Guard. There are already 2,100 U.S. National Guard forces at the border, sent after a previous Trump request in April, and they are authorized to go up to 4,000.

If 15,000 troops were drawn into the effort, it would mean there would be more U.S. troops on the border with Mexico than there are in Afghanistan, which has become America’s longest conflict.

Trump has sought to use immigration as an issue to motivate Republican voters ahead of the Nov. 6 elections, where Republicans will seek to maintain control of both congressional chambers.

As a presidential candidate before the U.S. election in 2016, Trump promised to harden immigration laws and build a wall along the southern border with Mexico, but implementation of his signature campaign promise has been slow.

A caravan of Central American migrants estimated to number at least 3,500 people left Honduras in mid-October and is now in southern Mexico on its way to the U.S. border.


Before Trump’s comments, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday rejected criticism that deploying thousands of troops to the border with Mexico was a political stunt.

“The support that we provide to the secretary for homeland security is practical support based on the request from the commissioner of customs and border police, so we don’t do stunts in this department,” Mattis said after a meeting with his South Korean counterpart at the Pentagon.

Republican lawmakers and other Trump supporters have applauded the deployment. But critics argue Trump has manufactured a crisis to drive Republican voters to the polls.

“The move to send 5,200 active duty troops to the southern border is a craven political stunt that sets a bad precedent and is arguably an abuse of power,” said Kelly Magsamen, a former senior Pentagon official who is currently with the Center for American Progress left-leaning think tank.

Trump’s decision to call in the military appears to be a departure from past practice. In recent years, such operations have been carried out by National Guard forces, largely part-time military members often called upon to respond to domestic emergencies.

A U.S. official told Reuters that as of Wednesday the Pentagon had identified more than 7,000 active-duty troops, which included about 2,000 on standby, that could be deployed to the border with Mexico if needed.

Many basic questions remained unanswered days after the Pentagon announcement, including the scope of the mission as well as the Pentagon’s assessment of any threat posed by arriving migrants.

Reporting by Jeff Mason and Idrees Ali; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Alistair Bell


Trump’s final campaign stretch rattled by twin calamities

October 31, 2018

by Steve Holland


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When Donald Trump met with advisers about his plans for campaign appearances in the final weeks for the battle for control of the U.S. Congress, the president surprised them by insisting they add more events to an already-crowded schedule.

His strategy for the final stretch has been simple: Drive Republican turnout by focusing on an issue that appeals to his core supporters – illegal immigration – using as a foil a large group of Central American migrants making their way slowly through Mexico toward the U.S. border.

And he aimed to keep talking about how Democrats tried to block Brett Kavanaugh from ascending to the U.S. Supreme Court, plus economic gains in the country under his watch.

“This will be the election of the Kavanaughs and the caravans and law and order and tax cuts,” Trump told a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Oct. 26.

Trump’s desire to focus on red-meat issues was rattled by two shocking cases of political violence as he plowed into an eight-state blitz ahead of Tuesday’s congressional elections.

Non-stop cable TV coverage of pipe bombs mailed to prominent political opponents of Trump and of a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue upended his goal of dominating the news. And the freewheeling format of his rallies can complicate the White House’s efforts at delivering a carefully crafted closing message to voters ahead of the elections.

Trump has had to divert from his usual stump speeches and make a rare appeal for political unity, even as he is accused of stoking divisions with his scathing attacks on key Democratic figures and figures in the U.S. news media.

Given the media’s focus on the twin calamities, Trump and his aides are struggling to keep up the momentum ahead of the Nov. 6 vote, which will determine whether Trump’s fellow Republicans retain majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives.

Trump upped the ante on Tuesday, saying he would issue an executive order curtailing so-called “birthright citizenship” to try to prevent babies born to undocumented immigrants from being automatically American citizens.

Such an order would immediately be challenged in federal court as unconstitutional, and some of Trump’s network of outside advisers worried the president was creating an unnecessary distraction.

“The president is making a mistake when he’s trying to roll out a new immigration policy that is undeniably going to be stopped in the federal courts,” said one Trump confidant, who asked not to be identified.

The White House countered criticism of Trump’s proposal by saying there is a wider need for reforms. “We have massive loopholes in our immigration system that we have to close,” spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Fox News.


Opinion polls indicate that Democrats have a good chance of making the net gain of 23 seats they need to win control of the House, but are less likely to capture a majority in the Senate.

Trump’s final blitz of campaigning includes 11 rallies in eight states, mostly focused on U.S. Senate races. They include two stops in Florida, two in Missouri and visits to West Virginia, Indiana, Montana, Georgia, Tennessee and Ohio – all states Trump won in the 2016 presidential election.

“These are places where data and polling information tells us that the president is of best use. He doesn’t go to places that are sure-fire wins nor does he go to places that are sure fire-losses,” said a Trump adviser.

Trump and his aides believe putting him in front of crowds will help convince voters who provided him with his upset victory in 2016 to turn out in a midterm election, when turnout is typically lower than in presidential years.

“These huge crowds – Donald Trump is still the only person who comes without a band, an instrument, a singing voice or a sermon to pack these houses,” said senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who is retiring and who has been a steady critic of the president, said Trump should be using his microphone to unite, not divide Americans after the mailed pipe bombs and the killing of 11 people at the synagogue.

“These events are horrific enough, so we ought to try to make something good come from the tragedy. Something good would be to unify the country and moving away from this kind of rhetoric. That’s what he hasn’t done,” the Arizona senator told Reuters in a telephone interview.

The White House said Trump will continue to draw a contrast with his Democratic opponents.


Trump aides acknowledge that holding onto the House is a challenging prospect, and say Republicans’ goal this year is to minimize losses.

“The party in power usually loses many seats and there are 43 Republican retirements and I think that this a massive hole to dig out of,” said Conway.

If Democrats take over the House, Trump’s administration will suddenly be exposed to congressional investigations that would weigh heavily on him for the next two years.

Major legislation would also likely fall to the wayside, such as his signature bid to build a wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico to thwart illegal immigration.

But for Trump personally, there could be benefits.

A Democratic House would give him a target ahead of his 2020 re-election campaign and would probably prompt what some consider house-cleaning in the Republican hierarchy in Washington – changes that could usher in more Trump allies.

Perhaps preemptively seeking a silver lining, the Trump confidant struck a contrarian tone and said Republicans winning both chambers of Congress would be a negative for Trump “because there will be no immediate desire to change anything.”

Reporting by Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell in Washington; Editing by Jason Szep and Frances Kerry


How Trump’s immigrant bashing feeds white supremacists’ obsession with Jews

Pulling white nationalists’ fear of migrants into the mainstream also stirs anti-Semitism

November 1, 2018

by Talia Lavin

Washington Post

Since the slaying of 11 Jews in Pittsburgh on Saturday, allies of President Trump have hastened to reassure the public that the president’s rhetoric played no role in inciting the deadly violence. “The president cherishes the American Jewish community for everything it stands for and contributes to our country,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, choking up, on Monday. “He adores Jewish Americans as part of his own family.” Outgoing Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley demanded that critics “have some respect for these families & stop the blame.” USA Today columnist James S. Robbins says it’s “factually incorrect and morally wrong” to say Trump could be encouraging anti-Semites: “This is a president whose high-profile daughter Ivanka is an observant modern Orthodox Jew and whose Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is a trusted White House envoy and personal adviser.”

Trump does, indeed, have Jewish family members and supporters. But he also revels in the anti-immigrant paranoia that the far right loves. Along with Fox News, Trump has spent weeks stoking panic about the prospect of “invasion” by a “caravan” of migrants walking from Honduras toward the United States, in an unarmed group composed of men, women and children, mostly planning to seek asylum. His allies have singled out one antagonist responsible for both the migrant caravan and protests against Trump’s administration: George Soros, the Jewish activist and philanthropist who fled Hungary as a refugee child after the Holocaust.

For American white supremacists, hysteria about immigrants is inextricable from anti-Semitism: Many of the far-right nativists who cheer Trump’s immigration rhetoric are also obsessed with Jews. When prominent Republicans warn that a powerful Jew is secretly funding an invasion by foreigners, it doesn’t matter how many Jewish grandchildren the president has — he and his party are fueling anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of the sort that the suspect in the Pittsburgh shooting posted on social media just before he walked into Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday.

The ubiquitous white-supremacist conspiracy that posits the Jew as sinister controller of nonwhite Americans has led repeatedly to episodes of deadly violence. In 1984, members of the white supremacist terror group the Order murdered Jewish talk radio host Alan Berg after swearing an oath to “deliver our people from the Jew.” The Order was inspired by the 1978 novel “The Turner Diaries,” a seminal white-nationalist text that posited that the U.S. government was controlled by a sinister Jewish group known as the Zionist Occupation Government. In 1999, white supremacist Buford Forrow Jr. shot five people at a Jewish community center in Los Angeles to stave off what he called the “decline of the white race” and offer a “message to America by killing Jews.” Ten years later, white supremacist James von Brunn fatally shot a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, leaving a note that said, “Obama does what his Jew owners tell him to do. Jews captured America’s money. Jews control the mass media.” Years prior, von Brunn had written an anti-Semitic book titled “Conquest Through Immigration.”

Trump’s entire strategy for next week’s elections has revolved around ginning up hysteria about immigration. The migrant caravan has been cast on Fox News as an “invasion” by sinister, potentially diseased foreigners eager to “break into our homes” — echoed in the resolve of Robert Bowers, the suspect in the Pittsburgh shooting, to punish Jews for bringing in “invaders.” Trump has repeated the claim that a group traveling on foot from Central America to claim asylum constitutes an “invasion” and speculated that “gang members” are involved. This week, he took the extraordinary step of ordering that thousands of troops be sent to the U.S.-Mexico border, raising the grim specter of violence toward those seeking asylum.

Republicans have refrained from stating directly that Jews as a whole are responsible for the migrant caravan, but several elected officials and countless right-wing commentators have blamed one Jew in particular. Before the string of mail bombs and the synagogue shooting, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.) baselessly speculated on Twitter that the migrant caravan was funded by Soros. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) echoed the sentiment. “Soros may be funding this,” he said. On Wednesday, Trump said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Soros was funding the caravan, though there’s no evidence that he is. (I work for Media Matters, which received a $1 million grant from Soros in 2010, eight years before I joined.)

And while Trump may hope to stoke reactionary fear among regular voters, white supremacists — the most strident and violent anti-immigrant voices in the United States — are rejoicing in his rhetoric. Trump’s announcement this week that he wanted to end birthright citizenship for the children of immigrants was greeted with enthusiasm on Stormfront.org, a white nationalist message board. “Stopping birthright is essential,” one poster wrote. “Every Country should follow suit,” another wrote. The Daily Stormer reacted with glee. “None of these dirt-weasels are getting out!” wrote the site’s founder, Andrew Anglin. The post went on to praise Trump’s plan for “open air concentration camps” and called the announcement a triumph over “the filthy lying JEWS.”

On message boards such as 4chan and 8chan, anti-Semitism blooms in a hothouse of anonymity — and open celebration followed the massacre at Tree of Life synagogue. This week, a poster on 4chan wrote, “ROBERT BOWERS IS A HERO AND HE SHOULD HAVE KILLED MORE.” Another wrote, “Robert Bowers is an American hero and I’m certain there are more out there like him, biding their time.” The white supremacist website Occidental Dissent disdained the violence of the shooting — but only in strategic terms. “We will never hear the end of Pittsburgh because Jews control the media,” wrote the site’s founder, Hunter Wallace, who added that the “deaths are being exploited to push all of the usual Jewish narratives about political correctness, censorship and refugee resettlement.”

The white supremacist theory that Jews are foes of the white race who seek its destruction has provoked violence before — including synagogue bombings and murders. Last weekend, it led to the deadliest attack on Jews in American history and plunged a city into mourning.

The Republican Party’s wide embrace of white nationalist rhetoric on immigration — the language of “invasion,” of disease, of the need for violent retribution — has clearly emboldened white supremacists. In doing so, the GOP and its leader have also stoked the flames of anti-Semitism, whether they intended to or not. It is impossible to mainstream elements of white supremacist discourse without strengthening its core precepts in the process. In cynically invoking Soros to gesture at well-established anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, Republicans have created a superheated rhetorical environment — one that undeniably contributed to the Pittsburgh tragedy.

This week, the Pittsburgh Jewish community has faced a challenge unprecedented in American Jewish history: It has had to determine how to properly fulfill Jewish mourning rituals, which demand constant vigils and swift burial, with the autopsies and crime-scene protocols that follow a mass slaughter.A

On Tuesday, some chose to enact that mourning fiercely and in public, a form of somber protest toward the president, whose words and actions helped propel the ideology that caused those deaths. Trump insisted Wednesday that the protests hadn’t happened, but they did. Under a cloud-dappled sky, signs and banners were unfurled among the grieving Jews of Pittsburgh. One read, “Your words have consequences.” Another simply said: “Trump: Denounce White Nationalism Now.”

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