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TBR News October 24, 2018

Oct 24 2018

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

Washington, D.C. October 24, 2018: “’¡Chingue su madre! Donald Trump!’ yelled Marisela Pérez, an aid worker supplying food to the small army of refugees fleeing toward the United States from Honduras.

Such a perceptive statement, which is indicative of a global impression of Our Beloved President, often known as Fat Donald the Groper.

He played patty-pat with the psychotic Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia until interntional opinion against the Crown Prince’s murderous activities caused him, typically, to reverse his earlier glowing opinion.

Will he now have to return all the nice gold presents the Crown Prince gave him when he visited Washington?

Fat Donald changes his mind as often as he changes his dignity pants.”

The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 59
  • ‘God will decide if we make it’: Central American caravan presses northward
  • Trump Rallies for Republicans, but Finds ‘Do Not Enter’ Signs in Some Races
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  •    The Great Eye of Sauron

 

Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 59

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

  • Mar 7, 2017

“These reforms are supported by the vast majority of Latino voters. In fact, more than 8 in 10 Latino voters think immigration to our country should be based on skill, not just a relationship with people you don’t even know.”

Source: Speech to Latino Coalition summit

in fact: Trump took a correct figure and then described it incorrectly. A Harvard-Harris poll the month prior to these Trump remarks found that 83 per cent of Hispanic respondents thought immigration “should be based on a person’s ability to contribute to America as measured by their education and skills” as opposed to being “based on a person having relatives in the U.S.” They were not asked for their views about skills-based immigration versus immigration based on “a relationship with people you don’t even know” — because, of course, much family-based immigration involves people with close relationships, such as people who are sponsoring their parents and people who are sponsoring their husbands.

“You saw, two weeks ago, Chrysler announced they’re leaving Mexico and they’re coming back into Michigan, and open up a big plant.”

Source: Speech to Latino Coalition summit

in fact: Trump could have accurately said that Chrysler is “shifting some production from Mexico,” or something of the sort. It is not accurate, though, to say that Chrysler is “leaving” Mexico, or that it is opening a plant. The company announced in January that it is moving the production of its Ram truck from a plant in Saltillo, Mexico to a plant in Michigan — but it said there would be no layoffs in Mexico, that the Mexican plant would be “repurposed” to production of other vehicles, and that it would upgrade Michigan’s Warren Truck Assembly Plant, not build a new plant.

Trump has repeated this claim 11 times

“Last year we had a Trade Deficit of almost 800 Billion Dollars. ”

Source: Twitter

in fact: The U.S. had a $566 billion trade deficit in 2017, Trump’s administration announced the month prior to this tweet. The deficit can only be described as $800 billion — $810 billion, to be precise — if you ignore all trade in services and only count trade in goods. As usual, Trump did not specify that he was doing so.

Trump has repeated this claim 30 times

“China has been asked to develop a plan for the year of a One Billion Dollar reduction in their massive Trade Deficit with the United States.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Trump’s administration actually asked China to develop a plan to cut the bilateral trade deficit by $100 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported, not $1 billion. (Analysts had been confused by the tweet because the annual trade deficit is more than $300 billion, so $1 billion would be a drop in the bucket.)

  • Mar 8, 2017

“You see it — the other day, Chrysler announced they’re leaving Mexico, they’re coming back into Michigan with a big plant.”

Source: Speech announcing steel and aluminum tariffs

in fact: Trump could have accurately said that Chrysler is “shifting some production from Mexico,” or something of the sort. It is not accurate, though, to say that Chrysler is “leaving” Mexico. The company announced (two months prior to this Trump statement, not “the other day”) that it is moving the production of its Ram truck from a plant in Saltillo, Mexico to a plant in Michigan — but it said there would be no layoffs in Mexico and that the Mexican plant would be “repurposed” to production of other vehicles. It is also not planning to build a big plant, as Trump may have suggested; rather, it is upgrading Michigan’s Warren Truck Assembly Plant.

Trump has repeated this claim 11 times

“We have a deficit with China of at least $500 billion.”

Source: Speech announcing steel and aluminum tariffs

in fact: Trump is off by at least $125 billion. The U.S. trade deficit with China was $375 billion in 2017 when counting goods alone. When data on trade in services is added, the net number will almost certainly be smaller

Trump has repeated this claim 51 times

 

“And we lose $800 billion a year on trade. Every year. Eight hundred billion. It’s been going on for a long time.”

Source: Speech announcing steel and aluminum tariffs

in fact: The U.S. had a $566 billion trade deficit in 2017, Trump’s administration announced the month prior to this remark. The deficit is only $800 billion — $810 billion, to be precise — if you ignore all trade in services and only count trade in goods. As usual, Trump did not specify that he was doing so.

Trump has repeated this claim 30 times

“After the signing of this proclamation, Century Aluminum in Kentucky — Century’s a great company — will be investing over $100 million to restart and upgrade their idled military-grade, high-quality aluminum production, which is also critically important to our national security. That’s 150,000 additional tons of aluminum. And think of it: This is a closed plant, and now, they’re doing 150,000 tons production, and an additional 300 workers.”

Source: Speech announcing steel and aluminum tariffs

in fact: Century announced plans to ramp up production at an active plant at which part of its capacity had been idle, not re-open a “closed plant.” CEO Michael Bless told CNBC that he “expects Century Aluminum will be able to bring its Kentucky plant from 40 per cent of capacity to 100 per cent because of the tariffs,” CNBC reported.

“And, you know, I’m very proud of NATO. Because with NATO, when you see the kind of money that’s pouring in, that was never going to come in. Because people were delinquent. States, countries were delinquent, they weren’t paying. And now they’re paying. Not all of them are paying the fair amount. Some owe billions and billions of dollars of money. They owe billions and billions from past years.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: As the Associated Press noted, “Most of that is flat wrong.” Regardless of how much credit Trump deserves for some NATO members’ recent increases in defence spending: no country owes spending to NATO; no country is “delinquent” in payments to NATO. Trump and some others argue that other countries have not spent enough on their own defence budgets, and he has noted that many NATO countries other than the U.S. have fallen short of the alliance guideline of spending 2 per cent of one’s own GDP on defence. But their decision not to meet the guideline does not amount to a debt, as Trump has repeatedly suggested

Trump has repeated this claim 13 times

“And I became involved (in NATO) by complaining, because it was not fair. We were spending 85 per cent of the money and, frankly, good for everybody, but it helps them a lot more than it helps us. Helps Europe a lot more than it helps us.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: NATO said on its website in June that the U.S. continues to contribute 72 per cent, not 85 per cent, of the total defence spending of the alliance: “Today, the volume of the U.S. defence expenditure effectively represents 72 per cent of the defence spending of the Alliance as a whole. This does not mean that the United States covers 72 per cent of the costs involved in the operational running of NATO as an organization, including its headquarters in Brussels and its subordinate military commands, but it does mean that there is an over-reliance by the Alliance as a whole on the United States for the provision of essential capabilities.” With regard to direct spending on NATO’s own common budget, the U.S. contributes a much smaller agreed-upon percentage: 22 per cent.

Trump has repeated this claim 14 times

“At the same time, we have some friends and some enemies, where we have been tremendously taken advantage of over the years, on trade, and on military. If you look at NATO, where Germany pays 1 percent and we’re paying 4.2 per cent of a much bigger GDP. Not fair.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: If the U.S. gets a decimal point, Germany should too: it spends 1.2 per cent of GDP on defence. Regardless, Trump’s figure for the U.S. is too high. During the last three years of the Obama administration, the U.S. spent 3.6 per cent of GDP on defence, according to NATO figures. The Pentagon, now under Trump’s command, says the figure will remain under well under 4 per cent even though Trump is spending more money on the military than Obama did. Of Trump’s 2019 budget request, the military said on its website: “The base budget is set for $617 billion and the overseas contingency operations fund is set for $69 billion. Overall, the request is 3.1 per cent of gross domestic product — a figure near historic lows, Defense Department Comptroller and Chief Financial Officer David Norquist said.” Norquist told reporters at a briefing that he expected the figure to remain near 3.1 per cent for several years, saying: “Even with this budget agreement, defense outlays will remain near historical lows as a share of the U.S. economy.”

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“We’re letting them (SpaceX) use the Kennedy Space Center for a fee. And you know, rich guys, they love rocket ships, and that’s good. That’s better than us paying for it. And I noticed the prices of the last one, that they said it cost $80 million. If the government did it, the same thing would have cost probably 40 or 50 times that amount of money. I mean, literally. When I heard $80 million, you know, I’m so used to hearing different numbers with NASA.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: SpaceX says the cost of each launch of its Falcon Heavy is $90 million, not $80 million. While that is exceptionally cheap compared to its private-sector competitors and much cheaper than NASA, it is not “literally” 40 or 50 times cheaper than NASA. If Trump were right, each NASA launch would cost $3.6 billion to $4.5 billion. The pubication Space News reported in 2017 that Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations, had told a conference that NASA’s rough equivalent of the Falcon Heavy, which is still under development, would cost about $1 billion per launch.

“When I was campaigning, I was talking about 18 and 20 years, and wages effectively went down. Now, for the first time in a long time, they’re starting to go up for people.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: Wages have been rising since 2014. As PolitiFact reported earlier: “For much of the time between 2012 and 2014, median weekly earnings were lower than they were in 1979 — a frustrating disappearance of any wage growth for 35 years. But that began changing in 2014. After hitting a low of $330 a week in early 2014, wages have risen to $354 a week by early 2017. That’s an increase of 7.3 percent over a roughly three-year period.” FactCheck.org reported: “For all private workers, average weekly earnings (adjusted for inflation) rose 4% during Obama’s last four years in office.”

Trump has repeated this claim 25 times

“Wages are rising at the fastest pace in more than a decade, something that people have been waiting for, as you know.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: This is a slight exaggeration. As of February 2018, wages were rising at the fastest pace since 2009, so nine years, just under a decade, not “more than a decade.” Growth was 2.9 per cent (later revised down to 2.8 per cent); before the crash in 2008, growth was still regularly above 3 per cent.

  • Mar 10, 2018

“We sell a car in China — which is almost impossible to do despite the tax — it’s 25 per cent.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: It is not impossible for American automakers to sell cars in China. General Motors announced in January that the company and its joint ventures had sold a record 4 million cars in China in 2017 alone. The U.S. government reported in 2015 that U.S. vehicle exports to China had risen 1,127 per cent since 2009 to more than 300,000 per year.

“I’ll tell you we did a great job on the Olympics. President Moon of South Korea said, ‘Without Donald Trump the Olympics would have been a total failure.’ That’s true. True, you know. Might as well say it. Nobody else is going to say it, right? Might as well say it.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

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

“Well, (Bill) Clinton gave away billions and billions of dollars. And as soon as they made the deal, the following day they started working on making more nukes. OK.” And: “We gave billions and billions of dollars and lots of other things. And we got nothing.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: The Washington Post reports that “billions” is an exaggeration: “Under the Clinton accord with North Korea, between 1995 and 2003 the United States spent about $400 million supplying the fuel oil to North Korea that was required under the deal. An international consortium spent about $2.5 billion to replace the North’s plutonium reactor with two light-water reactors; the project was not completed before the deal collapsed…the money mostly went to South Korean and Japanese companies, not North Korea.”

Trump has repeated this claim 5 times

“Ever see the story where it’s 1999, I’m on ‘Meet the Press,’ a show now headed by ‘Sleepy Eyes’ Chuck Todd, he’s a sleeping son of a bitch, I’ll tell you. And they showed it this morning, 1999, and I’m talking about North Korea, ‘You gotta take ’em out now.’ And then they have Clinton: saying, ‘We are pleased to announce that we have made a deal with North Korea.’ Well, you know how that deal turned out, right?”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: Trump mischaracterized his own comments in this 1999 interview. In fact, his emphasis was the need for negotiations, not an immediate military strike, and he never said “you gotta take ’em out now.” Host Tim Russert asked, “You say that you, as president, would be willing to launch a preemptive strike against North Korea’s nuclear capability.” Trump replied: “First I’d negotiate. I’d negotiate like crazy. I’d make sure that we tried to get the best deal possible.” He explained: “If a man walks up and puts a gun to your head and says ‘give me your money,’ wouldn’t you rather know where he’s coming from before he had the gun in his hand?” He continued: “Wouldn’t it be good to sit down and really negotiate something? And ideally negotiate. Now: If that negotiation doesn’t work, you better solve the problem now than solve it later.”

“And Bush, Bush, Bush, another great Republican. He got us into the Middle East. That was great. We spent $7 trillion in the Middle East over a 17-year period. Seven trillion dollars as of three months ago.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: There is no basis for the “$7 trillion” figure. During the 2016 campaign, Trump cited a $6 trillion estimate that appeared to be taken from a 2013 report from Brown University’s Costs of War Project. (That report estimated $2 trillion in costs up to that point but said the total could rise an additional $4 trillion by 2053.) Trump, however, used the $6 trillion as if it was a current 2016 figure. He later explained that since additional time has elapsed since the campaign, he believes the total is now $7 trillion. That is incorrect. The latest Brown report, issued in late 2017, put the current total at $4.3 trillion, and the total including estimated future costs at $5.6 trillion.

Trump has repeated this claim 17 times

“…President Xi, president for life. That was another one. So he is president for life. It happened two days ago. And I was joking. I was at a roast, actually, but I was joking. And I said, ‘Huh, president for life. That’s sounds good. Maybe we’re going to have to try it. President for life.’ But I’m joking. But I’m joking. And they knew I was — everybody in the room is laughing. Everybody is having a great time. I’m joking about being president for life. A couple (reporters) went back: ‘Donald Trump with his dictatorial attitude now wants to be president for life.’ You know…fake news. Fake.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: Trump was not at a “roast” when he made this remark. Though he appeared at a roast-like event, the Gridiron Club comedic dinner show, later in the same day, he spoke about Xi while he was at a close-door Republican fundraising event at his Mar-a-Lago club.

“Oh, I’d love Oprah to win. I’d love to beat Oprah. I know her weakness. No, no. I know her weakness. I know. You know, I know her very well. I was on her last show, or one of the last, I guess the last week.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: Trump appeared on Winfrey’s show three and a half months before it ended, far from “her last show” or “the last week.” Winfrey’s last show was on May 25, 2011; Trump appeared on Feb. 7, 2011.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“So we have created three million jobs since Election Day. Nobody thought that was possible.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: Between November 2016, the month of the election, and February 2018, the U.S. indeed added 3.1 million jobs, so leaving aside the fact that Obama was president in November, December and most of January, Trump’s figure is accurate. It is false, though, that nobody would have thought this 3 million number was possible. More jobs, 3.3 million, were added during the 16 months prior to that, under Obama

Trump has repeated this claim 16 times

“It was one of the best (jobs) reports. And you know the amazing thing? Wages went up a little bit. You haven’t had wages go up in 19 years. Wages are starting to go up. Think of it, wages. I mean, how good is that, wages starting to go up.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: Wages have been rising since 2014. (And wage growth actually slowed in the February jobs report to which Trump was referring, from 2.8 per cent year over year in January’s jobs report to 2.6 per cent.) As PolitiFact reported earlier: “For much of the time between 2012 and 2014, median weekly earnings were lower than they were in 1979 — a frustrating disappearance of any wage growth for 35 years. But that began changing in 2014. After hitting a low of $330 a week in early 2014, wages have risen to $354 a week by early 2017. That’s an increase of 7.3 percent over a roughly three-year period.” FactCheck.org reported: “For all private workers, average weekly earnings (adjusted for inflation) rose 4% during Obama’s last four years in office.”

Trump has repeated this claim 25 times

“‘Women won’t like Donald Trump. It will be a rough night for Donald Trump because the women won’t come out.’ We got 52 per cent, right? Fifty-two, right. And I’m running against a woman. You know, that’s not that easy.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: Trump excluded all women who aren’t white. In fact, he got the 2016 votes of about 52 per cent of white women, according to exit polls, not all women. Exit polls found that he had the support of about 42 per cent of all women.

Trump has repeated this claim 4 times

“We put an infrastructure bill in for $1.7 billion and I hear they want to stop it.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: There is no infrastructure “bill.” As of now, Trump’s infrastructure proposal exists as a vague framework about which many Republicans are unenthusiastic; it is unclear whether it will ever be turned into actual legislation. Also, the Trump White House is pitching a plan of $1.5 trillion, not “$1.7 billion,” as Trump said. Also, there is no actual basis for the $1.7 trillion figure. When Trump announced his proposal, he and his advisers described it as a $1.5 trillion plan: “This framework will lead to a $1.5 trillion investment in American infrastructure,” Trump said in his speech. That itself might be a stretch — he is proposing to make just $200 billion in federal investments, claiming this will produce $1.3 trillion in additional investments from others — but the $1.7 trillion figure is his own subsequent exaggeration.

“They want to stop DACA. DACA is their issue.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: This is transparently inaccurate. Trump himself stopped DACA: he cancelled the Democrat-created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that gives young unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, the “DREAMers,” work permits and protection from deportation. Democrats are now urging him to simply re-protect DACA enrollees without conditions. Conversely, Trump and other Republicans are demanding steep concessions — billions of dollars for a border wall, a reduction of one third or more in legal immigration — in exchange for protecting DACA enrollees, and some conservative Republicans continue to deride any permanent protection for enrollees as “amnesty.” Democrats have consented to billions in wall funding, but Trump has rejected even this deal on the grounds that he also wants the cuts to legal immigration. In short: Trump is free to argue, as some DREAMers are, that Democrats are not fighting hard enough for DACA enrollees, but there is no reasonable argument that they “want to stop DACA.”

Trump has repeated this claim 13 times

“When we lose $130 billion with Mexico, I think we can do a little better than that, right?”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: Trump’s “$130 billion” figure is about double the actual trade deficit with Mexico. Data from his administration indeed shows a $71 billion deficit with Mexico in the 2017 trade of goods. When trade in services is counted too — services data wasn’t immediately available at the time he spoke in early 2018 — the overall trade deficit with Mexico is almost certainly even lower.

Trump has repeated this claim 34 times

“Canada’s brutal. Canada’s really tough…You know, we have a big deficit with Canada too.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: The U.S. has a trade surplus with Canada when trade in goods and trade in services are both counted. Trump’s own Council of Economic Advisers said as much in its annual report, issued the previous week: “The United States has free trade agreements (FTAs) with a number of countries — some of which represent net trade surpluses for the United States (Canada and Singapore)…In 2016, the United States ran a trade surplus of $2.6 billion with Canada.” The U.S. government’s Office of the Trade Representative, which uses a different method of calculation, says on its website: “The U.S. goods and services trade surplus with Canada was $12.5 billion in 2016.” While the U.S. trade deficit with Canada in the trade of goods alone grew larger in 2017, going from $11 billion in 2016 to $17.6 billion, trade in services, for which 2017 data was not immediately available in early 2018, almost certainly continued to give the U.S. a substantial net surplus.

Trump has repeated this claim 15 times

“And that’s why we have a trade deficit with China of $500 billion a year. It’s no good.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: Trump is off by at least $125 billion. The U.S. trade deficit with China was $375 billion in 2017 when counting goods alone. When data on trade in services is added, the net number will almost certainly be smaller.

Trump has repeated this claim 51 times

“We have a trade deficit with all countries of the world.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: While the U.S. has a substantial overall deficit — $566 billion in 2017 — it has surpluses with many individual countries, according to data from the U.S. government’s own International Trade Commission. In 2017, the U.S. had surpluses with Brazil, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Australia, Chile, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Kuwait and dozens more countries and territories — in all, more than half of U.S. trading partners. And that’s only counting trade in merchandise; when you count trade in services too, the U.S. also has a surplus with Canada.

Trump has repeated this claim 21 times

“Listen to this number. If there’s any children in this room, please close your ears. We have a trade deficit of almost $800 billion a year.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: The U.S. had a $566 billion trade deficit in 2017, Trump’s administration announced the month prior to this remark. The deficit is only $800 billion — $810 billion, to be precise — if you ignore all trade in services and only count trade in goods. As usual, Trump did not specify that he was doing so.

Trump has repeated this claim 30 times

“You (the European Union) are not accepting our product. They are not accepting our farm product. I want to help the farmers and they don’t accept it. And I said open up your countries.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: According to the website of Trump’s own Department of Agriculture, the U.S. exported $11.6 billion in agricultural items to the European Union in 2016. That is a 55 per cent increase, the department noted, from $7.5 billion in exports in 2006. The department also noted that the E.U. is the fourth-largest agricultural export market for the U.S.

Trump has repeated this claim 13 times

“They banded together. Why did they band together? To screw the United States on trade. And that’s OK. They are allowed, you know…But all those countries got together in order to do well on trade with the United States. People don’t know that. You know, you hear European Union, oh, the European Union, sounds so innocent. It’s not innocent.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: Experts on the E.U. say that competing with the U.S. economically was not even on the list of the top reasons for the original formation of the European coalition or its evolution into the official European Union in 1993. “That effort was never to compete with the United States,” said Maxime Larivé, associate director of the European Union Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Its original incarnation, an economic “community” created in the 1950s, was intended “to simply foster peace through trade and economic exchange” of coal and steel, Larivé said.

“Rick Saccone. And I’ve got him to — and he’s got a tough race. And he’s got a tough race. I think we won by 22 points.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: Trump won Saccone’s district, the 18th District in Pennsylvania, by 19.5 percentage points in the 2016 election, according to Fox News Research. That rounds to 20, but it is not 22.

“But by the time we finished the winner easily by five points was Karen Handel.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: Republican Karen Handel beat Democrat Jon Ossoff by 3.6 points, 51.8 per cent to 48.2 per cent, in the special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. We’d let Trump round to four points, but not five or six.

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“This guy (Jon Ossoff) ended up — he was 58, 58, which meant he would have won the election. There was no more runoff, right. And we came after him…So anyway, you have to get 50 in which case the election is over. If you get less than 50 you have a runoff and you take the top two. So Karen was fantastic. But she was with so many Republicans, and he was essentially the only Democrat. So, I brought him down in a period of four days, I got no credit for this from these guys, brought him down from 58 to 48. So now he is in a runoff with Karen.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: Ossoff, the Democratic candidate in the 2017 special House of Representatives election in Georgia’s 6th District, was never at 58 per cent in any poll. He twice hit 51 per cent, according to RealClearPolitics’s poll tracker.

“And Karen (Handel) was the one I wanted, but that’s a lot of Republicans. So Karen ended up with about 14 or 15 (per cent, in the first round of voting).

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: Handel got 19.8 per cent of the vote in the first round of voting in the 2017 special House of Representatives election in Georgia’s 6th District.

“So Karen (Handel) was running with many Republicans. It was like 14, 13 Republicans, which is crazy.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: Eleven Republicans ran in the 2017 special House of Representatives election in Georgia’s 6th District.

“This is where a non-politician like me is good…for 40 years they couldn’t pass anything. And I kept saying, ‘How is it possible not to pass tax cuts?’ ‘Sir, I don’t know. We just can’t pass. It ‘s been — Reagan was last one that did a big bill and we just can’t pass.'”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: Trump is wrong even if he is only talking about his own party. Republicans passed major tax cuts under George W. Bush in the last 20 years. Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts were also within the last 40 years.

Trump has repeated this claim 11 times

“They never show the crowds. They never like to show the crowd, ever.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: Television stations regularly show the size of Trump’s crowds, often while he is complaining that they never show his crowds.

Trump has repeated this claim 7 times

“Chrysler is coming back in. You saw that. From Mexico to Michigan, we have companies coming back into the United States. You haven’t seen that. I used to tell you that was going to happen. But now it’s happening.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: Chrysler never left the country. In this case, Trump is talking about the company’s decision to move the production of its Ram truck from a plant in Saltillo, Mexico to a plant in Michigan. But he did not explicitly say Chrysler had “left” Michigan, as he often does, so we won’t call that false this time. What is false: Trump’s claim that “you haven’t seen that.” Companies made similar moves durin the Obama era. For example, in 2015, Ford shifted production of the Ford F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks from Mexico to a plant in Avon Lake, Ohio. “As part of the production shift, Ford is investing $168 million to retool the Cleveland-area plant for the new medium-duty trucks,” the company announced in 2014.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“A drug dealer will kill 2,000, 3,000, 5,000 people, during the course of his or her life.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: Stefan Kertesz, a doctor and a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who studies addiction, takes issue with the word “kill”: “Drug dealers do not typically go out to find people and force fentanyl into them. They sell to willing purchasers, many of whom have considerable tolerance to opioids,” he said in an email. Leaving that aside, Trump’s claim that an average drug dealer will kill 2,000, 3,000, or 5,000 people is obviously false. “While the number of overdose events that included opioids (among other substances) was high in the U.S. last year, the number of dealer arrests is quite a bit higher. So as a matter of arithemetics it probably is not the case that any single dealer has caused thousands of deaths,” Kertesz said. According to federal data crunched by the group Common Sense for Drug Policy, there were 182,048 arrests for the sale or manufacture of drugs in 2016; the U.S. government says that about 64,000 people died of drug overdoses that year. Not all of the 182,048 people arrested for sale or manufacture can be called “drug dealers,” but it is clearly not true that the typical drug dealer kills thousands of people.

Trump has repeated this claim 5 times

“Thousands of people are killed, or their lives are destroyed, their families are destroyed. So you can kill thousands of people and go to jail for 30 days. They catch a drug dealer, they don’t even put him in jail.” And: “Think of it: you kill 5,000 people with drugs, because you’re smuggling them in and you’re making a lot of money and people are dying, and they don’t even put you in jail, they don’t do anything. But you might get 30 days, 60 days, 90 days.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: These claims are absurd. In addition to Trump’s outlandish claim that a single drug dealer might kill 5,000 people, which we have fact-checked separately, it is obviously false that major drug traffickers whose products kill numerous people get sentences of 30 to 90 days in jail. (There might be a case somewhere in which there are exceptional circumstances — for example, a plea deal in exchange for information on higher-level criminals — but Trump was suggesting that sentences of one to three months are common for such people, though they are not.)

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“And we got 306-223.”

Source: Pennsylvania rally for Republican candidate Rick Saccone

in fact: Hillary Clinton earned 232 electoral votes, not 223. This was the seventh time Trump said “223.”

Trump has repeated this claim 12 times

“Also discussing opening up Japan to much better trade with the U.S. Currently have a massive $100 Billion Trade Deficit.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: The U.S. had a $69 billion deficit in goods trade with Japan in 2017, according to the U.S. government. When data on services trade is included, the net deficit will almost certainly be even lower than that.

 

‘God will decide if we make it’: Central American caravan presses northward

Despite Trump’s claims of criminals and ‘Middle Easterners’, the migrants heading north through Mexico tell of lives made impossible by gangs, violence, poverty and corruption

October 23, 2018

by David Agren in Huixtla, Mexico

The Guardian

Still bleary-eyed after a night camped out in a rain-soaked town square, Miriam Carranza combed the knots out of her daughter’s hair and listed the many challenges of life back in Honduras: the low pay and precarious job security at the maquiladora factory; the soaring inflation; the rampant insecurity.

But the final straw came when a local gang demanded payment of a “war tax” that far exceeded the income of Carranza and her construction worker husband.

“They said they would kill one of my daughters if we didn’t pay,” Carranza said as she struggled with seven-year-old Ashley’s unruly locks.

The family fled their home, and rather than risk making the journey north alone, they threw in their lot with the caravan of migrants currently making its way through southern Mexico.

“Honduras just isn’t a country where you can live in peace,” said Carranza.

More than 7,000 people have now joined the caravan, defying threats from Donald Trump and slowly advancing some 45 miles into Mexico since crossing the border from Guatemala at the weekend.

After 10 days on the road, weary members of the caravan – which includes children and seniors as well as several people in wheelchairs – said they would rest on Tuesday in the town of Huixtla, before continuing their journey north.

The migrants’ persistence – and the failure of Mexico and Central American governments to stop them – has enraged Trump, who has described the group as an “onslaught of illegal aliens”, and made the apparently baseless claim that they include “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners”.

But the US president has also made the caravan a central part of his strategy for the US midterms, seizing on the issue as a way to attack the Democrats.

Clean-cut, baby-faced and cradling his six-month-old son, Gerson Martínez, 22, hardly looked the part of an invader. Like many other members of the caravan, he had set out from San Pedro Sula in Honduras, a city with one of the highest murder rates in the world.Unable to find work after losing his job at a maquiladora, or export assembly plant, he was approached by a local gang that pressured him to store weapons in his apartment.

Rather than join the gang, Martínez fled. “If I had joined, my son will have to eventually have to join, too,” he said, as Axel started to cry.

Many of the Honduran migrants describe similar tales of extortion and death threats: reporting such crimes to the police is risky and in a country riddled with corruption and dominated by organised crime, moving to another city is no real solution.

“They gave me 24 hours,” said Aida Acevedo, 26, slicing her finger across her throat as she described how a gang had demanded extortion payments on pain of death. She fled the rugged Olancho region with a vague plan to reach the US and find safety.

“God is the one who will decide if we make it,” she said. “Trump doesn’t have that power.”

Trump and other rightwing US politicians have suggested that the caravan has been funded by “Democrats” or the billionaire financier George Soros. But Acevedo said she was already planning her escape from Honduras when she started seeing mentions of the caravan.

The exodus appears to have grown spontaneously, after a Honduran lawmaker, Bartolo Fuentes, announced on social media that he would be accompanying a group of 160 people who planned to start walking from San Pedro Sula on 12 October.

Fuentes was arrested in Guatemala and deported back to Honduras, where he has since become the target of an online smear campaign, but has always denied organizing the caravan.

Some support has been given by the Mexican NGO Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders) which has organised previous – though much smaller – migrant caravans such as one that travelled the length of Mexico in April, and prompted a similar overreaction from Trump.

The group is providing humanitarian and logistical support, but denies having a leadership role.

“There’s not ‘an organiser’.” said Alex Mensing, a projects coordinator with Pueblo Sin Fronteras. “With the Syrian refugees, nobody looks for ‘an organiser’. This is a mass exodus.”

A second caravan from Honduras is also reportedly heading towards Mexico. On Tuesday, Casa del Migrante, a migrant shelter in Guatemala City, said more than 1,000 people had joined the second group which is moving through Guatemala towards the Mexican border.

For many in the caravan, the logic is simple: life at home is increasingly impossible, and travelling alone is too dangerous, especially in Mexico, where criminal gangs target migrants for rape, robbery and extortion.

The three countries of Central America’s “Northern Triangle” all face a combination of systematic corruption and violence fuelled by state forces, criminal gangs and the drug trade. Not coincidentally, all three are also still feeling the consequences of US intervention in the region’s 1980s civil wars.

Many Honduran travellers focused their fury not on Trump, but on their own deeply unpopular president, Juan Orlando Hernández, who was re-elected in December in elections plagued with allegations of fraud.

Washington was quick to recognize Hernández’s re-election, just as it supported the government installed in the country’s 2009 military-backed coup.Trump’s threats to cut aid to Central America made little impact on the marchers. “The US has given money to Honduras – but politicians have spent it on themselves,” said coffee-picker David Hernández as he sipped tamarind juice from a plastic bag.

Like many others, Hernández spoke of a worsening daily grind back home, where bills and taxes have gone up as wages drop. Many companies have started charging for services in US dollars as the local currency, the lempira, plunged

Meanwhile, the country is struggling to take in a record number of deportees from the US, thanks to Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policies: more than 35,000 have arrived in the first six months of 2018, a 55% increase from the year before.

Edin Mata, 21, was among them, having been detained in an immigration raid on his employer in Miami.

In Miami, Mata had earned $160 a day working in construction. Back in Honduras, the only work he could find was selling clothes: he barely made $4 a day, and had to give a cut to the gangs.

Removing his camouflage Duck Dynasty cap, he showed a scar on his scalp, left after a gang beating when he failed to make the payment.

“We live like slaves in Honduras,” he said. “I lived so much better in the US.”

Like many of the younger men in the group, Mata entered Mexico by swimming from Guatemala. He said that when he reached the country’s northern frontier he would again swim across the Rio Grande into Texas – a much tougher undertaking, he said, because “the currents are much stronger”.

Such determination has kept the caravan moving northwards, despite Trump’s bluster.

Ordinary Mexicans have pitched in too, passing out sandwiches and water, leaving out new shoes and clothes at the roadside, or giving them lifts a few miles down the road.

The caravan has left Mexican politicians in a bind: wary of angering Trump, but unwilling to follow his example – at least in public. Mexican immigration officials routinely detain and deport tens of thousands of Central Americans each year – even as the foreign ministry defends the rights of Mexican migrants living in the United States.

“Violent entry into the country cannot be permitted,” Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto said in a national address last week. “Mexico remains willing to help the migrants who wish to enter the country respecting our laws.”

President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who takes office on 1 December, has offered long-term solutions, proposing work visas to Central Americans. But he stopped short of repeating a campaign statement, in which he said Mexico would not “do the dirty work” of foreign governments.

But many Mexicans called on the government to allow the caravan to pass through.

“¡Chingue su madre! Donald Trump!” yelled Marisela Pérez, 27, hurling an insult at the president as she handed out clothes and shoes as the migrants marched north from Tapachula. “Let them in!”

 

 

Trump Rallies for Republicans, but Finds ‘Do Not Enter’ Signs in Some Races

October 23, 2018

by Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman

New York Times

WASHINGTON — As early voting began Monday in Florida, Senator Bill Nelson and Andrew Gillum, who is running for governor, had former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. come to Jacksonville and Tampa to urge Democrats to go to the polls in what are two of the most hard-fought races in the country.

Early voting also started Monday in Texas, and that’s where President Trump spoke in an 18,000-seat N.B.A. arena. But he was rallying support in a pair of less-competitive races: the re-election campaigns of Senator Ted Cruz and Gov. Greg Abbott.

Conspicuously absent from the raucous festivities at Houston’s Toyota Center, where thousands also congregated outside, was the local Republican congressman who is locked in a difficult campaign: John Culberson, whose well-heeled district is full of moderates who recoil from Mr. Trump.

The split-screen between Florida and Texas — one the most crucial presidential battleground in the country, the other a pillar of conservative strength — neatly illustrated Mr. Trump’s role in the fall campaign. He is often away from the center of action, shunned by many of his party’s most vulnerable House candidates but still commands enthusiastic audiences on a scale rarely seen in a midterm election.

Two weeks before the ballots are all counted, and the first verdict rendered on his presidency, Mr. Trump is both overwhelming the campaign with tactics like attacking the migrant caravan but is also detached from some of the races that may determine who controls the House.

While polls show this president is more of a factor in voters’ calculations — pro and con — than his predecessors, Mr. Trump has avoided large swaths of the country. The entire Pacific Coast, much of the Northeast and large interior cities like Chicago, Minneapolis and Kansas City, where Republican lawmakers do not want to be seen with him, are effectively no-go zones.

He is hardly the first president whose unpopularity has limited his campaign travels — there were plenty of candidates who did not want to appear with the last two occupants of the Oval Office. But rarely has there been such a collision between the vanity of a president and the political reality he’s confronting. Mr. Trump is as much a celebrity as he is a politician, and he wants his rallies, which are only nominally about the officeholder he’s in town for, to match the hype of other global celebrities.

Representative Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, whom Mr. Trump personally wooed into running against Senator Heidi Heitkamp, recounted the many conversations he had with the president about his lightly populated state’s stadium-scale venues and said Mr. Trump had his eye on North Dakota State University’s FargoDome.

“‘Do you know how many arenas I’ve beaten Elton John’s record?’” Mr. Cramer recalled Mr. Trump telling him.

The president’s destinations also reflect the competing impulses of his advisers. The White House political director, Bill Stepien, and his colleagues are eager to claim credit for saving as many House seats as they can, no matter how small a market they must send the president to, according to people familiar with their planning.

But the manager-in-waiting for Mr. Trump’s 2020 campaign, Brad Parscale, and his allies are eager to flex the president’s political strength ahead of his re-election bid, and collect as many cellphone numbers and emails as possible — and thus prefer overflowing big-city venues such as the home of the N.B.A.’s Rockets in Houston.

So after his filled-to-the-rafters rally in the country’s fourth-largest city Monday, Mr. Trump on Saturday, on the second-to-last weekend before the election, will find himself in Murphysboro, Ill., a town of 7,568 where Representative Mike Bost could use a lift in a district that is closer to Memphis than Chicago.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, said the president’s itinerary recalled former President George W. Bush’s narrowly confined schedule in 2006, at the nadir of the Iraq War, when he was even more broadly unpopular than Mr. Trump is now.

“We could almost take him nowhere,” Mr. McConnell recalled of Mr. Bush. “He ended up going only to the places where he was still in decent shape.”

The Senate map is friendlier terrain for Mr. Trump. The most competitive races are taking place in states where Mr. Trump remains well-liked, or at least is not as toxic as he is in some up-for-grabs House districts.

Mr. McConnell praised him for being “willing to go where he needs to go,” and the president has been in high demand in campaigns for the Senate, where Republicans have a bare one-seat majority.

“I’ve been counting on one more time,” said Mr. Cramer, who polls show is leading in his bid against Ms. Heitkamp.

He is hardly alone: Other Republicans involved in many of the most competitive Senate races are also clamoring for a final visit from Air Force One before Election Day to motivate pro-Trump voters.

“The president is the Trump card in Montana,” said Senator Steve Daines, a Republican who is hoping to help defeat the state’s other senator, Jon Tester, a Democrat. “Another visit from him right before Election Day will further drive G.O.P. turnout and increase support for Matt Rosendale,” he said, referring to Mr. Tester’s challenger.

Most of the president’s hour-plus performances are one-man shows: Unlike with past presidents, the candidate of the hour is handed the microphone by Mr. Trump only briefly sometime during his monologue. Strategists involved in the campaigns have even started to time how long into his remarks it is before the president mentions the race in question and starts attacking the Democrat on the ballot, which is the 30 seconds of footage they most covet.

And Mr. Trump’s desire to fill arenas often overrides the preference of the candidate he is ostensibly there to help. When he visited Pennsylvania earlier this month to endorse Representative Lou Barletta’s Senate campaign, for example, the president chose to appear in Erie rather than Pittsburgh, even though Mr. Barletta’s campaign indicated their preference was Pittsburgh, according to officials close to the congressman, who stressed they were delighted to have the president at all.

White House officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly about strategy, maintained that Mr. Trump’s stop was really for Representative Mike Kelly in Erie, not Mr. Barletta.

For other Republican lawmakers and operatives, though, the Trump rallies are simply hazards to be avoided. In some House races, the president has been forced to appear in second cities — Topeka instead of Kansas City, or Rochester instead of Minneapolis — because the incumbents are attempting to convince their suburban electorate that they are independent of Mr. Trump.

The White House officials noted that Mr. Trump held a private fund-raiser in Minneapolis, although they acknowledged that embattled Representative Erik Paulsen, who has distanced himself from the president, didn’t attend.

They’re between a rock and a hard place,” said Thomas M. Davis III, a former Republican congressman from Virginia, of the attempt to balance appeals to upscale anti-Trump voters and the party’s bedrock supporters.

White House aides said that their teams defer to the campaigns in choosing where Mr. Trump can be most useful in their districts or states, and that even the Senate contests he appears in have down-ballot advantages. This week he’s appearing in three districts with open seats, which White House officials believe are at the root of their difficulty this year.

Officials pointed to 17 House districts where Mr. Trump had campaigned by mid-October, and they said that the areas where he appears are spots he can best draw in the nontraditional midterm voters who supported him.

The White House has very much taken notice of who has spurned Mr. Trump — Mr. Paulsen and Representative Kevin Yoder of Kansas are mentioned frequently by West Wing officials — and Mr. Stepien even went so far as to write a memo this month warning lawmakers that they would not fare well if they did not “boldly align” themselves with the president.

But that remains an open question in Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott, running for the Senate, has drawn notice in the White House for his willingness to appear with Mr. Trump at official events but refusal to stand with the president at his beloved rallies.

The president is planning a trip to Fort Myers next week, and may return to Florida once more before the election, but it is unclear if Mr. Scott will appear at the rally, which will feature the Republican nominee for governor, Ron DeSantis. Private polling by both parties indicates that the campaigns for governor and senator are, in the typical fashion of Florida, extraordinarily close.

West Wing officials said they are paying attention to what the governor does, and one of Mr. Trump’s most vocal allies in Florida urged Mr. Scott to show up when the president comes to campaign.

“I would definitely urge the governor to join us to rally the troops as early voting gets underway,” said Representative Matt Gaetz.

A spokesman for Mr. Scott did not reply to questions about his plans, but the governor’s advisers have been uneasy with having him on stage because of the president’s penchant for veering well off script and making incendiary comments

And with Mr. Trump ratcheting up his rhetoric against immigrants, and Mr. Nelson linking Mr. Scott to the president in Spanish-language ads, those sensitivities are even more acute.

One senior Republican official with ties to both Mr. Trump and Mr. Scott predicted the governor would likely use his role leading the cleanup after Hurricane Michael as cover to avoid coming to any political events — but this official acknowledged that if it were not for the storm, the governor would likely come up with another excuse to sidestep the risk of standing beside the ever-unpredictable president.

Patricia Mazzei contributed reporting from Miami.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

October 24, 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. 56

Date: Thursday, January 2, 1997

Commenced: 1:35 PM CST

Concluded: 2:10 PM CST

 

RTC: A New Year, Gregory. Will we see it out, do you think?

GD: Probably. Unless, of course, we have the Rapture and you and I are left behind. Are you particularly religious, Robert? If you are, I will refrain from comment so soon after the celestial birthday.

RTC: Nominal, just nominal. Say what you like.

GD: I don’t know if you want that, Robert. I have very strong views on some aspects of religion.

RTC: A Christmas indulgence from me, Gregory.

GD: Every society needs a moral core. Mostly, Robert, religion supplies this. For the Nazis and the Communists, Hitler and Stalin supplied the religious themes, but not here. Why is America the compost heap that produces, not flies from maggots, but the Christian Jesus freaks out of absolutely nothing but pulp fiction? The Gospels are all forgeries, written a long time after the events depicted in them and they have been constantly changed over the centuries to reflect various political and economic needs. I mean, Robert, that there is not one bloody word in the New Testament depictions of Jesus that could be considered to have even a gram of historical accuracy. I could go on for hours about this subject, but the whole fabric of the Christian conservatives or the rampant Jesus freaks is that their dogma is based on total and very clear fraud. The so-called Battle of Armageddon, for example, is nowhere in the Bible…

RTC: Are you serious?

GD: Look it up, Robert. Revelations 16:16 is the sole mention of it. Just a geographical name, that’s all. No blitzkrieg of Jesus versus the Evil Ones. Nothing at all. It was all pure invention.

RTC: Well, if not in the Bible, who made it up?

GD: One Charles Fox Parham, that’s who made it up. He was a very nasty type who ran a bi-racial church in Los Angeles around the turn of the century, before he was chased out. And, of course, he did time in jail for defrauding his flock of money and, more entertainingly, buggering little boys in the fundament. Oh my yes, he made up the whole Rapture story and ranted on endlessly about a fictional Battle of Armageddon. It’s like having the Church of the Celestial Easter Bunny or the Divine Santa Claus. At least there really was a Saint Nicholas, but the Easter Bunny is as fictitious as Jesus the Water Walker.

RTC: I don’t recall learning about that as a child at all.

GD: Of course not, you belong to the original Christian church, Robert, not one of the later cults. Neither the Catholics or the Eastern Orthodox people have this silly Rapture business anywhere in their early literature. This was a fiction started up at the beginning of this century by some nut named Blackstone who claimed that Jesus was coming. I think the word ‘rapture’ didn’t come I into use until about 1910. It’s just more nut fringe fiction, nothing more.

RTC: Well, I haven’t had much in the way of contact with these people except to chase off the Jehovah’s Witnesses who bang on my door and try to shove all kinds of pamphlets on me. In the long run, Gregory, you should learn to avoid the lunatics and concentrate on more important issues. There are always nuts. Didn’t they burn witches in Salem?

GD: The same types, only then they were in power. Now they lust after power so they can shove their fictional crap onto the sane part of society.

RTC: Well, then, what about the ones who don’t believe in evolution?

GD: The same types. We have them across the street. Told me yesterday the world was only 6,000 years old and dinosaurs and men commingled in Kansas somewhere. You can’t tell these people anything. They just keep repeating that whatever fiction you go after is in the Bible. When you ask them to show you, they get angry. Nuts always get angry when you puncture their fantasy balloons.

RTC: And Armageddon? I vaguely recall something about a battle between the Antichrist somewhere.

GD: But not in the Bible. The only reference to Armageddon is Revelations 16:16 and it just mentions the name of the place, nothing about a battle, Jesus, Satan, the Antichrist or my cousin Marvin. Nothing. But when you tell the nuts this, they almost froth at the mouth. They’ll tell you the battle is there and when you make them open their chrome-plated Bible and look, they flip back and forth and get more and more upset. Of course it isn’t there so they make faces and later they tell me, with great triumph, that they asked Pastor Tim and he said it was all there. Of course when I ask them for chapter and verse, they don’t have it.

RTC: Gregory, a word of fatherly advice here. Why bother with these idiots? Who cares what they believe? Are they of use to you in some project? If they are, be patient and go along with them. If they aren’t, drop them.

GD: But they are annoying. Robert, if I told you the Japanese attacked Spain in 1941, wouldn’t such stupidity annoy you?

RTC: No, it wouldn’t. When I was in harness, I heard worse than the babbling of the Jesus nuts, believe me. Senior Company people acting like spoiled children because no one listened to their pet theories about this country, that economy, that head of state, that foreign political party and on and on. Sometime…. no, more often than I liked, some rabid lunatic did us all kinds of damage, as witness the Gottleib mind control stupidity. People like that, Gregory, should be taken out for a trip on your boat or a walk in the Pine Barrens and simply shot. What did Joe Stalin say? ‘No man…no problem.” I often had to listen to these boring nuts, but you don’t. I had to make excuses to get away from them, but you don’t have to deal with them in the first place. Most small-minded people fixate on something utterly unimportant and think they have discovered the wheel. Yes, I agree that religious loonies are probably the worst, but, believe me, the political experts are almost as bad. They hop up and down shouting, ‘Listen to me! Listen to me!’ And who gives a damn what they think? No, I agree with you about the Jesus freaks but there are legions, I say, legions of others that are just as fixated, just as crazy, just as annoying, so you would be far better served if you just shut them out of your mind and turned your talents to other matters more important. Take some comfort in the thought that just as their lights go out and the darkness swallows them that they realize in the last second that there is no heaven, no Jesus and nothing but the embalmer’s needle and the worms. Nothing. But then their brains have turned to Jello and they don’t care anymore because they have returned to the dirt that they came from.

GD: I agree, Robert, I agree with you, but I still get annoyed. But these nuts, and you can add the Jewish Holocaust nuts to the pile, demand you do not say this or read that or watch that movie. They aren’t content to live in their basements and talk to themselves or tyrannize over their poor children and wives, so they rush out into the street and issue orders as if anyone cared or worse, as if they really mattered. That I object to strongly. I have waded through tens of thousands of pages of official German papers and I can tell you, without any doubt, that the Germans did not gas millions of Jews. What do these creeps do? They tell the archives to seal the papers that make them out professional liars and attack anyone who dares to question them. The holocausters and the Jesus freaks are cut from the same piece of God’s underwear. I think the dirty parts to be sure.

RTC: (Laughter) Oh, Gregory, such passion for so little. They both think they are really important and that people actually listen to them, and even care about their unimportant obsessions. Ignore the Jews, too, Gregory, like you should ignore the Jesus freaks.

GD: Ah, but the Jews control the media and most of the publishing houses. If you write, you don’t get published. Now if I made up some fantasy that said the Germans burned two hundred million Jewish babies, I would be a best seller, number one on The New York Times book reviews and a great one on the lecture and TV interview circuit. Of course about ten people would read my fictions, but no one would be rude enough to talk about that. Christ, most of the Holocaust books are pure fiction and the rantings about the Rapture are right in with them.

RTC: Well, I can see some sense here and I admit it is difficult to get away from obnoxious Hebrews, but why not try? I find that if you ignore people like this, eventually they will go away and annoy people in public lavatories. Just another step to oblivion.

GD: I really shouldn’t bore you with you with my own obsessions but I do not suffer fools gladly.

RTC: God, there are so many of them.

GD: I remember my grandfather and one of his pet comments to bombastic idiots he encountered at social functions. He would smile and say, ‘I beg your pardon, sir, but are you anybody in particular?’

RTC: (Laughter) I don’t suppose any of the gas bags got that.

GD: No, but grandfather did, and so did I. I remember once my mother started yelling at me non-stop because I had come in late from a night with the ladies and the bottle. I listened to her rantings for about an hour and finally, after she ran out of steam, she asked me if I had anything to say and I told her, very politely, that I had been trying to tell her for the longest time that she had some hairpins coming loose just over her right ear.

RTC:(Laughter) My Lord, Gregory, what a put-down. Whatever did she do?

GD: She was so worn out shouting that she just stared at me with her mouth open and before she could get her wind back, I went in my room and locked the door. She stood in front of it yelling that I was disrespectful, until my father came out and made her go back into the house because the lights were going on in the neighbor’s homes. I had a warm and caring family life, Robert, believe it. But I didn’t have to listen to the braying of human donkeys all the time. Just the occasional parental psychotic episode. Now they come up with glazed eye and threads of drool dripping from their mouths while they clutch at you and screech, ‘Jesus, Jesus,’ or ‘six million, six million.’ Oh how I would love to give them lobotomies with a chain saw.

RTC: I don’t think you would have much luck with a lobotomy, Gregory. Most creatures like that don’t have brains.

GD: No, Robert, they don’t. What they do have are knots on the top of their spine to keep their asses from plopping down onto the sidewalk.

 

(Concluded: 2:10 PM CST)

 

The Great Eye of Sauron

October 24, 2018

by Christian Jürs

Millions of Americans, and other nationalities, are spied on daily and vast amounts of personal data acquired and stored.

The cover story is that this is designed to “locate and neutralize” Muslim terrorists, both inside and outside of the United States, but in fact, according to a U.S. Army document, the actual purposes of the mass surveillance is to build significant data bases on any person likely to present a domestic threat to established authority.

This fear has its roots in massive popular rejection of the Vietnam war with its attendant mass meetings, defiance of the government and the development of ad hoc student groups firmly, and often very vocally, opposed to the war.

There was a great deal of civic unrest on college campuses throughout the 1960s as students became increasingly involved in a number of social and political movements ranging from the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Rights Movement, and, of course, the Anti-War Movement. Over 30,000 people left the country and went to Canada, Sweden, and Mexico to avoid the draft.

The bureaucracy then found itself under siege and has stated subsequently that this must not happen again and that any kind of meaningful civil disobedience is to get negative mention in the media and members of such groups subject to arrest and detention.

INTERNET

The government intelligence agencies and their allied private contractors now regularly accesses all emails, chats, searches, events, locations, videos, photos, log-ins and any information people post online with a warrant, which the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court always  grants secretly and without being ever made public.

And the revelation of Prism, a secret government program for mining major Internet companies, states that the government now has direct access to Internet companies’ data without a warrant.

Every company impacted – Google, YouTube, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Skype, PalTalk and AOL – publically deny knowing about the program or giving any direct access to their servers. These denials are intented to bolster public confidence in their services because in reality, all of these entities cooperate fully with requests for customer information.

Google is the supplier of the customized core search technology for Intellipedia, a highly-secure online system where 37,000 U.S. domestic and foreign area spies and related personnel share information and collaborate on investigative missions.

And there is absolutely nothing one can commit to the Internet that is private in any sense of the word

In addition, Google is linked to the U.S. spy and military systems through its Google Earth software venture. The technology behind this software was originally developed by Keyhole Inc., a company funded by Q-Tel http://www.iqt.org/ , a venture capital firm which is in turn openly funded and operated on behalf of the CIA.

Google acquired Keyhole Inc. in 2004. The same base technology is currently employed by U.S. military and intelligence systems in their quest, in their own words, for “full-spectrum dominance” of the American, and foreign, political, social and economic spheres.

However, Internet Service Providers and the entertainment industry are now taking Internet monitoring to a whole new level….

If someone download copyrighted software, videos or music, all Internet service providers (ISP) have the ability to detect this downloading.

The vast majority of computer surveillance involves the monitoring of data and traffic on the Internet. In the United States for example, under the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act, all phone calls and broadband Internet traffic (emails, web traffic, instant messaging, etc.) are required to be available for unimpeded real-time monitoring by Federal law enforcement agencies.,to include the FBI, NSA, the CIA and the DHS.

There is far too much data on the Internet for human investigators to manually search through all of it and so automated Internet surveillance computers sift through the vast amount of intercepted Internet traffic and identify and report to human investigators traffic considered interesting by using certain “trigger” words or phrases, visiting certain types of web sites, or communicating via email or chat with suspicious individuals or groups. Billions of dollars per year are spent, by agencies such as the Information Awareness Office, NSA, and the FBI, to develop, purchase, implement, and operate systems such as Carnivore, NarusInsight, and ECHELON to intercept and analyze all of this data, and extract only the information which is useful to law enforcement and intelligence agencies. One flaw with NSA claims that the government needs to be able to suck up Internet data from services such as Skype and Gmail to fight terrorists: Studies show that would-be terrorists don’t use those services. The NSA has to collect the metadata from all of our phone calls because terrorists, right? And the spy agency absolutely must intercept Skypes you conduct with folks out-of-state, or else terrorism. It must sift through your iCloud data and Facebook status updates too, because Al Qaeda.Terrorists are everywhere, they are legion, they are dangerous, and, unfortunately, they don’t really do any of the stuff described above.

Even though the still-growing surveillance state that sprung up in the wake of 9/11 was enacted almost entirely to “fight terrorism,” reports show that the modes of communication that agencies like the NSA are targeting are scarcely used by terrorists at all.

Computers can be a surveillance target because of the personal data stored on them. If someone is able to install software, such as the FBI’s Magic Lantern and CIPAV, on a computer system, they can easily gain unauthorized access to this data. Such software can be, and is   installed physically or remotely. Another form of computer surveillance, known as van Eck phreaking, involves reading electromagnetic emanations from computing devices in order to extract data from them at distances of hundreds of meters. The NSA runs a database known as “Pinwale”, which stores and indexes large numbers of emails of both American citizens and foreigners.

EMAIL

The government agencies have been fully capable to look at any and all emails.

A warrant can easily grant access to email sent within 180 days. Older emails are available with an easier-to-get subpoena and prior notice.

Government officials also are fully capable of reading all the ingoing and outgoing emails on an account in real time with a specific type of wiretap warrant, which is granted with probable cause for specific crimes such as terrorism.

Google received 122,503 user data requests involving 2,375,434 users from the U.S. government in 2016. It granted about 98 percent of those requests.

Microsoft, with its Outlook/Hotmail email service, received 61,538 requests involving 52,291 users, at least partially granting 92 percent of those requests.

PHONES

With the advent of smartphones and SIM cards, cellphones are no longer strictly for storage of digits and 180-character short messages.

Cellphones assist in navigating for car trips, to enable making Internet purchases and to watch events on television stations.   It is possible to deposit checks with a bank app and a camera, locate businesses of interest and also to use transportation by using a QR-code. Phones hold our coupons, our favorite cat videos and functions as a credit card when we forget ours at home.

The NSA collects subscriber information from major cell phone carriers. This information is primarily based on metadata, such as location and duration of calls, along with numbers dialed, all in search of links to suspected terrorists.

In 2013, to date, law enforcement agencies made 2.3 million requests for subscriber information.

These government requests for surveillance information from the NSA, are limited to metadata. That doesn’t mean that the content of conversations is off-limits. To listen in, the government just needs a warrant, one that’s granted through the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The court approves almost every request, fully denying just nine out of 133,900 government applications for surveillance over its 33-year existence, according to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act reports submitted to Congress.

Although this is not new technology, law enforcement authorities are using our own cell phones to spy on us more extensively than ever before as a recent Wired article described….

Mobile carriers responded to a staggering 1.3 million law enforcement requests last year for subscriber information, including text messages and phone location data, according to data provided to Congress.

A single “request” can involve information about hundreds of customers. So ultimately the number of Americans affected by this could reach into “the tens of millions” each year.

The number of Americans affected each year by the growing use of mobile phone data by law enforcement could reach into the tens of millions, as a single request could ensnare dozens or even hundreds of people. Law enforcement has been asking for so-called “cell tower dumps” in which carriers disclose all phone numbers that connected to a given tower during a certain period of time.

So, for instance, if police wanted to try to find a person who broke a store window at an Occupy protest, it could get the phone numbers and identifying data of all protestors with mobile phones in the vicinity at the time — and use that data for other purposes.

Perhaps you should not be using your cell phone so much anyway. After all, there are more than 500 studies that claim to show that cell phone radiation is harmful to humans.

The official and unofficial tapping of telephone lines is widespread. In the United States for instance, the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) requires that all telephone and VoIP communications be available for real-time wiretapping by Federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Two major telecommunications companies in the U.S.—AT&T Inc. and Verizon—have contracts with the FBI, requiring them to keep their phone call records easily searchable and accessible for Federal agencies, in return for $1.8 million dollars per year. Between 2003 and 2005, the FBI sent out more than 140,000 “National Security Letters” ordering phone companies to hand over information about their customers’ calling and Internet histories. About half of these letters requested information on U.S. citizens.

Human agents are not required to monitor most calls. Speech-to-text software creates machine-readable text from intercepted audio, which is then processed by automated call-analysis programs, such as those developed by agencies such as the Information Awareness Office, or companies such as Verint, and Narus, which search for certain words or phrases, to decide whether to dedicate a human agent to the call.

Law enforcement and intelligence services in the United Kingdom and the United States possess technology to remotely activate the microphones in cell phones, by accessing phones’ diagnostic or maintenance features in order to listen to conversations that take place near the person who holds the phone.

Mobile phones are also commonly used to collect location data. The geographical location of a mobile phone (and thus the person carrying it) can be determined easily even when the phone is not being used, using a technique known multilateration to calculate the differences in time for a signal to travel from the cell phone to each of several cell towers near the owner of the phone. The legality of such techniques has been questioned in the United States, in particular whether a court warrant is required. Records for one carrier alone (Sprint), showed that in a given year federal law enforcement agencies requested customer location data 8 million times.

CREDIT CARDS

Think Uncle Sam knows where you buy your coffee? He might be able to tell you the exact cafe.

It all starts with that stripe on the back of your credit card, which gets swiped through thousands of readers every year.

That solid black bar is made up of millions of iron-based magnetic particles, each one 20-millionths of an inch wide. Each credit-card owner has a personalized strip full of intimate data sitting right inside his or her pocket. Any purchase can be traced directly back to your wallet.

Although the scope of credit-card tracking efforts are unknown, the Journal reported that the NSA has established relationships with credit card companies akin to those that they had established with phone carriers, which provide them with data under warrant, subpoena or court order. These former officials didn’t know if the efforts were ongoing.

What could they find? Based on the technology of the mag stripe, quite a bit.

Even with just the metadata – digitally contained bits of information – on a credit card, they could most likely see when and where a purchase was made, and how much it cost.

SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS

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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