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TBR News October 28, 2018

Oct 28 2018

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

Washington, D.C. October 28, 2018:”A number of White House staff members have commented on Donald Trump’s nasty racist remarks. He does not make these on his childish Twitter posts or for the media, but his use of the ‘nigger’ word is common. Trump detests anyone who is not a northern European Protestant and is deliberately stirring up the far right and expressing pleasure at the various attacks on minorities. While it is not generally known to the public, Trump was a very active supporter of the late Willis Carto, a very well-known racist and publisher of the American Free Press. Through Carto, Trump met with leading figures of Carto supporters and donated large sums of money to Liberty Lobby, the AFP and to Carto himself. The public is now seeing the fruit of Trump’s preachings but the President ought to consider the Bible text that say that he who sows to the wind will reap the whirlwind.”

 

 

The Table of Contents 

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 63
  • ‘Edge of the knife’: Trump drags divided states of America towards his midterms reckoning
  • Central American caravan moves on in spite of Mexico jobs offer
  • Republicans & Democrats may bark and bite, but the migrant caravan moves on
  • Donald Trump’s long history of racism, from the 1970s to 2018
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

 

Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 63

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 29, 2018

“I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments…”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Amazon now pays sales taxes in every state that has one. It paid $957 million in income taxes in 2017, the New York Times noted. (That total is not broken down by level of government.) In most states, Amazon does not collect and remit sales taxes on sales by its third-party “marketplace” sellers, instead leaving those sellers to do it themselves. But Trump did not specify that he was talking about this practice.

Trump has repeated this claim 4 times

“Energy exports are at a record high, and foreign imports are at their lowest level in much more than a decade.”

Source: Speech on infrastructure

in fact: The Washington Post noted: “Energy exports are in fact at a record high. But import levels are not as low as Trump claims. The United States imported 25.34 quadrillion BTUs of energy in 2017, according to the Energy Information Administration. Imports were lower in 2015 (23.79 QBTUs), 2014 (23.24 QBTUs) and 2013 (24.62 QBTUs).”

“When I looked at the (SpaceX) rocket that went up three weeks ago, where the tanks came back — nobody has ever seen; it looks like Star Wars. But I looked at it and I heard the cost — I think they said $85 million. If the government did that, you’re talking about billions of dollars, and maybe it wouldn’t work so well.”

Source: Speech on infrastructure

in fact: This SpaceX launch, of the Falcon Heavy rocket, occurred seven weeks prior to Trump’s speech, not three weeks. Trump periodically moves up the date of good news to make it seem more recent. (Trump’s other number was roughly accurate, though not exactly: SpaceX said the cost of each Falcon Heavy launch is $90 million. Finally, while we can’t fact check predictions, it is not clear that it would cost the government “billions” to execute such a launch; Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations, told a conference that NASA’s rough equivalent of the Falcon Heavy would cost about $1 billion per launch, the publication Space News reported in 2017.)

“We must recapture the excitement of creation, the spirit of innovation, and the spark of invention. We’re starting. You saw the rocket the other day. You see what’s going on with cars. You see what’s going on with so much. NASA, space agency, all of a sudden, it’s back. You notice? It was dormant for many, many years. Now it’s back, and we’re trying to have the private sector invest the money.”

Source: Speech on infrastructure

in fact: Trump was speaking vaguely, and it’s not exactly clear what he meant, but it appeared he was saying that NASA was “dormant for many, many years” before his presidency. That is false. In 2016, the last year of Obama’s presidency, NASA’s Juno spacecraft entered Jupiter’s orbit; NASA astronaut Scott Kelly completed his International Space Station mission; NASA astronaut Jeffrey Williams went to the International Space Station; NASA launched OSIRIS-REx, the first American sample-return mission to an asteroid; NASA’s Kepler space telescope mission verified 1,284 new planets; and NASA did a variety of other significant things.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“America built the Empire State Building in one year. Think of it: one year. It was actually like nine months. Can you believe that?”

Source: Speech on infrastructure

in fact: We’d let Trump with getting away with saying the Empire State Building was built in “one year,” even though that ignores the pre-construction planning process. But “actually like nine months,” Trump’s ad-libbed exaggeration, is objectively false: the construction took 13 months.

Trump has repeated this claim 4 times

“A word that you don’t hear much, but when I was growing up, we had what was called vocational schools. They weren’t called community colleges, because I don’t know what that means — a community college. To me, it means a two-year college. I don’t know what it means. But I know what vocational — and I tell people, call it vocational from now on. It’s a great word. It’s a great word.”

Source: Speech on infrastructure

in fact: Vocational schools and community colleges both existed when Trump was growing up. (American community colleges date back at least to the early 1900s, depending on how you define them.) Contrary to Trump’s suggestion, they are different things. Vocational schools offer practical, technical education to prepare students for a particular occupation; community colleges offer broader two-year courses of study, associate degrees, and a pathway to traditional four-year degree program.

“We are going to be repairing roads, delivering clean water, and we’re going to have crystal, clean water. We’re going to have clean, beautiful air. But we’re not going to pay a trillion dollars to be in the Paris Accord, where it puts us way back, way back where we are put at such a tremendous disadvantage. That was a disaster for this country. We couldn’t use the kind of assets that we have. We would have had to close up factories and companies in order to qualify.”

Source: Speech on infrastructure

in fact: As always, Trump described the Paris Accord as far more punitive than it is. In reality, the climate agreement would not prohibit or limit the U.S. from using any of its natural resources, including oil and coal, nor would it mean the U.S. “would have had” to “close up factories and companies.” The agreement allows each participating country to set its own voluntary targets for cutting emissions of greenhouse gases. If Trump thought Obama’s targets would have required too big an economic sacrifice, he could have unilaterally revised those targets.

“You know, when I got in, we had over 100 federal judges that weren’t appointed. Now, I don’t know why Obama left that. It was like a big, beautiful present to all of us. Why the hell did he leave that? Maybe he got complacent.” And: “Thank you very much, President Obama. We all appreciate it. Thank you. What happened? How did he do that? How did he do that?”

Source: Speech on infrastructure

in fact: We usually don’t fact check Trump’s speculation on Obama’s motives, since those are generally fair game for political opinion, but his claim that he might have been left so many judicial vacancies because Obama “got complacent” is egregiously inaccurate. What actually happened was that Senate Republicans executed what Politico in 2016 called a “historic judge blockade” against Obama’s nominees. Under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s leadership, the Republicans used a variety of procedural tactics in 2015 and 2016 to grind the nomination process to a near-halt — confirming the fewest judges of any Congress since the 1950s. Politico reported in 2016: “In 2015, the Republican Senate majority ushered through confirmations for 11 circuit and district court judges. So far in 2016, nine have been confirmed. That’s 20 confirmed this Congress — the lowest number since the 82nd Congress in 1951-52, which confirmed just 18 judges, according to the Congressional Research Service. Harry S. Truman was president at the time. The CRS retains data on judicial confirmations dating to 1945.”

“But just think of it: We spent, as of three months ago, $7 trillion — not billion, not million — $7 trillion, with a “T” — nobody ever heard of the word ‘trillion’ until 10 years ago. We spent $7 trillion in the Middle East.” And: “We spent $7 trillion in the Middle East. And you know what we have for it? Nothing.” And: “But we spent $7 trillion, but we barely have money for the infrastructure.”

Source: Speech on infrastructure

in fact: Obviously, the word “trillion” was known to people more than 10 years ago. More importantly, 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

“We spent — and I was against it from the beginning. They try and say, ‘Well, maybe not.’ I was against it from the beginning. And, by the way, we’re knocking the hell out of ISIS.”

Source: Speech on infrastructure

in fact: Trump did not name the war he was claiming to be against from the beginning, but it was clear, from the context and from previous remarks, that he was referring to the Iraq War. The public record shows that he was either a lukewarm supporter of the war or undecided, certainly not a declared opponent. When radio host Howard Stern asked him in 2002 if he would support the war, Trump was tentatively supportive, saying: “Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly.” In 2003, two months before the invasion, he told Fox Business host Neil Cavuto, “Either do it or don’t do it,” adding, “Well, he has either got to do something or not do something, perhaps, because perhaps shouldn’t be doing it yet and perhaps we should be waiting for the United Nations, you know.” The day after the invasion, he said, “It looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint.” He started vaguely criticizing the war later in 2003, and he emerged as an explicit opponent in an Esquire article 17 months after the invasion.

“Think of it. We spend billions and billions of dollars. Look, North and South Korea — 32,000 soldiers, the finest equipment, barbed wire all over the place. We protect that whole thing. Nobody comes through.”

Source: Speech on infrastructure

in fact: The U.S. does not have 32,000 soldiers in South Korea, let alone at the border between the two Koreas. According to the most recent statistics from the military’s Defense Manpower Data Center, issued in Sept. 2017, the U.S. has 23,635 active duty personnel in South Korea, 27,123 military personnel in total. The vast majority are stationed at the massive Camp Humphreys base that is located more than 90 kilometres from the border.

Trump has repeated this claim 5 times

“So anyway — so that (Keystone XL) was dead for a couple of years, and no chance. I get elected, I approve it almost, like, in the first day. Right at the very beginning. And I just say to myself, can you imagine the boss of whatever the hell company it is — who never actually called me to say thank you, but that’s okay. We’ll remember.”

Source: Speech on infrastructure

in fact: Trump did not approve the Keystone XL pipeline “almost, like, in the first day” in office. He issued an executive order in his first week to advance the pipeline, but that order did not grant final approval; he gave final approval two months into his time in office. In addition, while it might be true that TransCanada Corp. chief executive Russ Girling did not “call” him to say thank you, Girling said “thank you” twice to Trump in person — as he stood beside Trump during the March 2017 Oval Office ceremony in which Trump announced the approval.

Trump has repeated this claim 9 times

“I approved that Keystone XL Pipeline, and I approved the Dakota Access Pipeline; both of them…You know the amazing thing? I approved them. I thought we would have, like, some commotion. Right? Some commotion. Like, some protest. Nobody. I approved it. The pickets, they picked up their stuff and they left. That was the end of it.”

Source: Speech on infrastructure

in fact: Trump could perhaps have said that there was little protest in response to his final orders to approve the two pipelines. He is wrong, though, in saying “nobody” protested, and he is misleading at best in saying Dakota Access Pipeline protesters simply “picked up their stuff and they left.” In fact, dozens of people continued protesting in North Dakota after he issued his approval in February; the main protest site was only cleared of protesters two weeks later, after the state governor announced a final deadline and police arrested and removed dozens of refusers — 46 people on the final day, the New York Times reported. Then, in March, thousands of people participated in a Washington protest march led in part by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which led the opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. While the marchers were broadly demanding respect for Native American peoples, the pipeline was one of their top expressed concerns; the march began at the headquarters of the Army Corps of Engineers, the entity that granted the final permit for the pipeline.

 

“We got rid of the bump stocks. The bump stocks, now, are under very strict control, which I think everybody agrees is fine. And we really did a job. Nobody reported it. Doesn’t get reported. If somebody else does it, it’s like a big story, but it didn’t.”

Source: Speech on infrastructure

in fact: Trump could have accurately said he was moving toward getting rid of bump stocks. It is false, however, to say “the bump stocks, now, are under very strict control.” Trump’s proposed ban had not yet been implemented at the time he spoke. The government had just begun the mandatory 90-day comment period in which the public can submit opinions on the proposal.

“And wages are rising at the fastest level in more than a decade. Finally — 19 years, 21 years. People were making — last year, were making less money than they made 20 years ago.”

Source: Speech on infrastructure

in fact: Trump would have been more correct a month prior, but still not actually correct: as of the official jobs report for January, released in early February, year-over-year wage growth, 2.9 per cent, was fastest since June 2009 — so the fastest in nine years, which is less than a decade. (It was later revised downward to 2.8 per cent.) The most recent numbers aren’t even that good. The last report before Trump spoke, the February report released in early March, put year-over-year wage growth at 2.6 per cent — lower than the 2.7 per cent year-over-year growth as of Obama’s last month in office, Dec. 2016.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“Just this week, we secured a wonderful deal with South Korea. We were in a deal that was a horror show. It was going to produce 200,000 jobs, and it did — for them. That was a Hillary Clinton special, I hate to say. ‘This will produce 200,000 jobs.’ She was right, but it was for them. It wasn’t for us.”

Source: Speech on infrastructure

in fact: Clinton did not claim that the trade deal with South Korea would “produce 200,000 jobs.” Neither did anyone else in the Obama administration. Obama said that deal would “support at least 70,000 American jobs.” (It is also probably a stretch to say the deal was “a Hillary Clinton special.” George W. Bush’s administration negotiated the original version of the deal. When Congress refused to ratify it, it was revised by the Obama administration when Clinton was secretary of state.)

Trump has repeated this claim 7 times

“We need walls. We started building our wall. I’m so proud of it. We started. We started. We have $1.6 billion, and we’ve already started. You saw the pictures yesterday. I said, ‘What a thing of beauty.’ And on September 28th, we go further and we’re getting that sucker built. And you think that’s easy? People said, ‘Oh, has he given up on the wall?’ No, I never give up. I never — we have $1.6 billion toward the wall, and we’ve done the planning. And you saw those beautiful pictures, and the wall looks good. It’s properly designed. That’s what I do, is I build. I was always very good at building. It was always my best thing.”

Source: Speech on infrastructure

in fact: We’ve let Trump get away with various dubious recent claims about the border wall, since he is usually vague when he is making misleading claims about it, but this claim is false. The California border project Trump tweeted photos of was not his own “wall” project and has nothing to do with any building skills he may have. It was first proposed in 2009, and it is a project to replace an existing 2.25-mile section of wall, not to build the hundreds of miles of new wall he has proposed. (Also, it is worth noting that the $1.6 billion Congress allocated to border projects in 2018 is not for the type of giant concrete wall he has proposed: spending on that kind of wall is expressly prohibited in the legislation, and much of the congressional allocation is for replacement and reinforcement projects rather than new construction. The Washington Post reported: “Of the total, $251 million is earmarked specifically for ‘secondary fencing’ near San Diego, where fencing is already in place; $445 million is for no more than 25 miles of ‘levee fencing’; $196 million is for ‘primary pedestrian fencing’ in the Rio Grande Valley; $445 million is for the replacement of existing fencing in that area; and the rest is for planning, design and technology — not for wall construction.”)

Trump has repeated this claim 20 times

“Even if you look — Apple, going to invest $350 billion. When I heard $350 billion, I said, ‘You must mean $350 million.’ That’s still a big plant. But they’re going to be investing $350 billion. So many others coming back with massive amounts of money.”

Source: Speech on infrastructure

in fact: Apple did not announce a $350 billion investment. While it did announce a “$350 billion” figure in January, the company, unlike Trump, made a point of separating its new investment from its pre-existing spending. Its press release made clear that the investment is only a fraction of the $350 billion total. It said: “Combining new investments and Apple’s current pace of spending with domestic suppliers and manufacturers — an estimated $55 billion for 2018 — Apple’s direct contribution to the US economy will be more than $350 billion over the next five years.” In other words, Apple’s pre-existing 2018 spending would have put it on track for $275 billion in spending over five years if maintained.

Trump has repeated this claim 20 times

  • Mar 31, 2018

“While we are on the subject, it is reported that the U.S. Post Office will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon. That amounts to Billions of Dollars.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: This figure appears to be based on a 2017 analysis by Citigroup that found the Postal Service is charging too little for packages, effectively providing a subsidy of $1.46 per package. But that analysis is about packages in general, not Amazon in particular; Amazon has its own deal with the Postal Service, and its terms have not been made public. Kevin Kosar, vice-president of policy for the R Street Institute, a conservative think tank, says “it’s just misusing the data and the analysis” to apply the $1.46 figure to Amazon specifically.

  • Apr 1, 2018

“Mexico has got to help us at the border. And a lot of people are coming in because they want to take advantage of DACA, and we’re going to have to really see.”

Source: Remarks before Easter church service

in fact: No unauthorized immigrants entering the country this year can “take advantage of DACA.” The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which is being terminated by Trump, only accepted people who had lived in the country continuously since 2007. Trump was complaining this same morning of a caravan of Central American migrants seeking to enter the U.S.; there was no evidence at the time that any of the people in the caravan even believed wrongly that they could make use of DACA. “I asked some of the migrants on the caravan what they thought about Trump saying they were going to the US for DACA. Some laughed and others said they thought (correctly) they wouldn’t qualify,” Adolfo Flores, a BuzzFeed reporter who is reporting on the caravan, said on Twitter. “For whatever reason Trump is conflating two different issues, DACA and reasons these people are on the caravan. I’ve spoken with dozens of people who cite violence, instability, and poverty as reasons for leaving. Not one has mentioned DACA.”

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

 

‘Edge of the knife’: Trump drags divided states of America towards his midterms reckoning

There are pipe bombs in the mail, racist invective is flying, a synagogue has been attacked. The president feeds the fire

October 28, 2018

by David Smith in Washington

The Guardian

Maureen Osiecki remembers the shock of Donald Trump winning her home state, Michigan, on his march to the White House. “My heart died,” she says of that night nearly two years ago. “My father turned over in his grave.”

On 6 November, Osiecki gets her first chance to formally pass judgment on the Trump presidency. The midterm elections will decide control of Congress and could give the commander-in-chief a black eye. Few can remember midterms taking place in an America so perilously divided – underlined this week by pipe bomb packages sent to leading Democrats and a massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue – or with a president so actively stoking the culture wars as an electoral strategy.

“He’s a pig,” said Osiecki, a 76-year-old retiree from a city planning department, sitting with friends in a Wendy’s restaurant in Pontiac. “No feeling, no empathy. My father was a Republican but we got along and didn’t call each other ‘horseface’.”

Across the road at a Taco Bell, Linda Andrews, 66, took the opposite view. “I like he tells us what he’s thinking,” she said. “His tweeting might not be politically correct but the politically correct people weren’t doing a dang thing in my opinion. He’s done what he said he was going to do so he’s a man of his word. We tried the sweet talking and it didn’t work.”

Andrews, an army veteran and retired nurse who will vote Republican, added: “Trump is like a surgeon. You might not like the bedside manner but he fixes what’s ailing you.”

The midterms, which early voting indicates could have their highest turnout in decades, are always more or less a vote of confidence in the sitting president. But Trump has put himself front and centre. “I’m not on the ticket, but I am on the ticket, because this is also a referendum about me,” he told supporters in Southaven, Mississippi. “I want you to vote. Pretend I’m on the ballot.”

Where his predecessors have sought to build bridges and unify, he has embraced the politics of polarisation across gender, race and culture lines in the hope of firing up his base, tacitly acknowledging he has lost a vast swath of the nation for good. The midterms will provide the first official measure of whether the sum of love for Trump is exceeded by the sum of hatred.

Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Report newsletter, told an audience at the Washington Post this week: “The best way to think about where we are today is that we’re having elections in two different Americas.”

She noted that many of the Senate seats being contested are in Trump country – Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, West Virginia, Tennessee, Texas – which probably means that Republicans will retain and perhaps even expand control of that chamber. But in suburban America – in Chicago, Denver, Dallas, northern Virginia – and especially among white college-educated women, the president is deeply unpopular, suggesting that Democrats will gain a majority in the House of Representatives.

“So it feels more and more like we’re going to end up with an election night where everybody gets something they want,” Walter said. “It’s like a soccer game – everybody gets a trophy, everybody wins – but where the country remains as polarised and divided today as it was the day after the 2016 election, where there’s going to be a big chunk of Americans who say, ‘We like where the country is going, we like the president, we’re doing to support him,’ and they will have their victories, and a whole part of the country that says, ‘We don’t like the president, we don’t like what he stands for,’ and those victories will take place in the House.

“So you have a House that’s blue and a Senate that gets maybe a little more red, or at least stays red, and we’re back kind of where we started.”

‘It did not start with Trump’

The blue versus red tribalism predates Trump. In his new book The Red and the Blue, the author Steve Kornacki traces it to the ferocious showdowns between the Democratic president Bill Clinton and the Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich in 1990s. Gingrich and Pat Buchanan were crucial to putting abortion rights at the centre of the “culture wars” that also came to weaponise issues such as censorship, drug use, gun rights, homosexuality and immigration.

Barack Obama commented in a speech at the University of Illinois last month: “It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause. He’s just capitalising on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years.”

But as the midterms approach, he has been capitalising as only he can, intensifying the attacks, fear of the other and outright lies while sowing discord and setting Americans at each other’s throats. “This will be an election of Kavanaugh, the caravan, law and order and common sense,” he said at a campaign rally in Montana.

These are all issues Trump would rather talk about than healthcare or social security. The recent battle over his supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, accused of sexual assault when a teenager, was acrimonious even by current standards. Trump and senators such as Lindsey Graham bludgeoned the confirmation through despite the pleas of female protesters who staged sit-ins and were arrested at the Capitol. Republicans have sought to brand them as an angry leftwing mob, in the hope it will animate the party’s largely white male base.

Frank Luntz, a Republican consultant and pollster, said: “Kavanaugh did not play well for the Democrats. For three nights the pictures were all about the outrage, the yelling and screaming, in the chamber and the gallery. I think what Americans saw frightened them. It communicated that a Democratic majority would be just more chaos.”

Early voting on the Republican side is higher than anyone expected, Luntz added. “The red states are going redder and the blue states are going bluer. There is a blue wave but there is also a red wave.”

The caravan of about 4,000 to 5,000 people mainly from Honduras is travelling through southern Mexico, still 1,000 miles from the border crossing at McAllen, Texas. Such caravans have taken place regularly, passing mostly unnoticed. But this is election season and the president is a self-declared “nationalist”.

Exploiting fears about the caravan and illegal immigration, Trump tweeted that “criminals” and “unknown Middle Easterners” are mixed in the group, only to later acknowledge that he had no proof. The pro-Trump Fox News network has been following the immigrants’ progress with morbid fascination. Gingrich has made it a personal obsession.

Charlie Sykes, a conservative commentator and author of How the Right Lost Its Mind, said: “If Trump was the executive producer of the midterms reality TV show, the caravan would be perfect episode: the brown people are coming here to invade the country and only he can protect the country from the invaders. Kavanaugh gave him a big win for his base and allowed conservatives to feel like winners. The caravan allows him to replay his greatest nativist hits.”

Sykes worries about the forces being unleashed and the president’s unwillingness to control them. “You do have a feeling the nation is on edge and Trump is very comfortable with pushing those divisions. I remember ’68 and the assassination of Martin Luther King. Political violence is always a possibility and always beneath the surface. Trump’s rhetoric can really bring out some dark impulses. The president is uniquely positioned to unite us and he is uniquely positioned to divide us.”

‘A president like no other’

This week, the point was brought home in a way that no one expected. Thirteen packages containing explosive devices were addressed to prominent Democrats and other targets of Trump’s vitriol, including Obama, former vice-president Joe Biden, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and cable network CNN. On Friday, justice department officials announced five charges against Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Florida, an amateur body builder, ex-stripper and “partisan” whose van was plastered with Trump’s image and whose social media accounts trafficked in far-right conspiracy theories.

The crude attempt to wipe out the leadership of a major political party was a moment of truth for the president. Instead of offering reassurance to those targeted, he used it to threaten the American media for political gain. “A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News,” he tweeted. “It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!”

At a campaign rally on Friday night in North Carolina, Trump accused journalists of using the pipe bomb incident to “score political points”. The crowd broke into boos when and there were loud chants of “CNN sucks” – a slogan that appeared on Sayoc’s van.

Bob Shrum, a veteran Democratic strategist, said: “He reads a perfunctory thing written by his staff and then he goes after the media. He’s back in the mode he was in for the presidential campaign but it’s the sharpest edge of the knife. It works well with his base but his base is not sufficient. He’s a president like no other. He’s making Richard Nixon feel better about his place in history.”

Then, on Saturday, a man named by police as Robert Bowers, armed with an assault rifle and three handguns and yelling anti-semitic abuse, rampaged through a synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing at least 11 people and injuring six. It was one of the bloodiest attacks on the the Jewish community in American history. Trump went ahead with a campaign rally and called for wider use of the death penalty.

Biden said, pointedly: “Hate is on the march in America. And when hatred is given a safe harbor – when it’s given space to fester – when it brazenly puts itself on display in an historic American city – when its distorted world view is fueled uninterrupted in forum after forum on the web – when it hears an America political leadership say good people can be found among those spewing this ugly bile – it grows.”

The bile has seeped into many of the midterm campaigns. Andrew Gillum, an African American candidate for governor in Florida, was targeted by a robocall that says in a demeaning minstrel accent: “Well, hello there. I is the negro Andrew Gillum and I’ll be askin’ you to make me governor of this here state of Florida.” His Republican opponent, Ron DeSantis, previously urged voters not to “monkey this up”. Gillum said during a debate: “I’m not calling Mr DeSantis a racist – I’m simply saying the racists believe he’s a racist.”

In Georgia, where Democrat Stacy Abrams is seeking to become the first black female governor in US history, her opponent, state secretary of state Brian Kemp, is accused of leading efforts to suppress African American turnout. In a campaign video, Pennsylvania’s Republican candidate for governor, Scott Wagner, warns his opponent: “You better put a catcher’s mask on your face because I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes because I’m going to win this for the state of Pennsylvania.”

It all suggests America is a tinderbox and its president is like a child playing with matches. At last, after the anger and grief since January 2017, voters have an opportunity to impose some sort of check on his power. Should Democrats take both the House and the Senate, they will have the power to impeach Trump and seek to turf him out of office. But a divided government is more likely, enabling the president to take credit for his party’s wins and blame others for their defeats, and teeing up an even more noxious contest for the White House in 2020.

Larry Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota, said: “It’s going to be a mixed picture and pretty unsatisfactory for those who expected Donald Trump to be punished. Republicans will be punished in the House, yes, but in the Senate they might expand. For those expecting the 2018 election to be a satisfying referendum on Trump: not going to happen.”

 

Central American caravan moves on in spite of Mexico jobs offer

October 27, 2018

by Delphine Schrank

Reuters

ARRIAGA, Mexico (Reuters) – A U.S.-bound caravan of Central American migrants pressed on through southern Mexico on Saturday, in spite of government offers of jobs, as authorities stepped up efforts to disperse the convoy that has angered U.S. President Donald Trump.

Mexican police in riot gear briefly blocked the march of men, women and children as they neared Oaxaca state before dawn, to relay the offer of temporary identification papers, jobs or education for those seeking asylum in Mexico.

Trump has threatened to send troops to the U.S. border and cut aid to Central America to try to stop the group of several thousand people that left Honduras two weeks ago.

Estimates vary significantly on the group’s size, which has morphed as some migrants return home and newcomers join. At least 150 migrants traveling separately were detained by Friday near Guatemala’s border, a Mexican official said.

More than 1,700 people in the convoy have applied for asylum, while others have returned home, according to Mexico’s government. The Honduran ambassador said on Friday the group officially had 3,500 members. Other estimates go much higher.

By Saturday, more than 100 Honduran migrants opted to seek refugee status and enter the temporary work program proposed by President Enrique Pena Nieto on Friday, said Mexico’s National Migration Institute. Many others rejected the offer.

“We’re going to the United States. Because that’s our dream,” said 28-year-old Honduran Daniel Leonel Esteves at the head of a 50-person wide column of migrants snaking down a highway into the hills.

Others echoed his goal to cross the border, declining Mexico’s offer.

“Our destination is the United States,” said migrant Francisco Ramirez.

A police official on a road just south of Oaxaca, where migrants were proceeding north from the town of Arriaga in Chiapas state, said authorities intended to keep presenting the asylum offer. “We think it’s very important that every person in the caravan knows these benefits, so that they stop putting their safety at risk crossing these roads,” said federal police commissioner Benjamin Grajeda.

Trump and his fellow Republicans have sought to make the migrant caravan and immigration major issues before the Nov. 6 elections, in which Republicans are battling to keep control of Congress.

Honduras said 4,500 of its citizens attempting to emigrate have returned to the country in recent days.

Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Additional reporting by Orfa Mejia in Tegucigalpa; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

 

Republicans & Democrats may bark and bite, but the migrant caravan moves on

October 27, 2018

by Robert Bridge

RT

On the eve of midterms, thousands of migrants are streaming towards the US through Mexico with dreams of entering America. The crisis has turned into a slippery political football in a coliseum called Washington.

For those of us living cozy, self-indulgent lives, complete with cappuccino mornings and cocktail sunsets, it is hard to imagine a level of economic deprivation so severe it could actually force people to pack their bags and trek thousands of miles in search of some semblance of happiness.

Yet that is exactly what is happening now as an estimated 10,000 poverty-stricken migrants, the majority from Honduras, have set off on a modern-day odyssey in the hope of reaching the ‘Promised Land,’ where potholes are filled with gold and cotton candy hangs heavy from trees. But what has made this march particularly sensational is that it is happening at the most pivotal moment as far as American politics is concerned.

Obsessed with the upcoming midterm elections, the Democrats and Republicans are piling on the emergency like a fumbled ball, trying to use the crisis to win extra points before November 6th. Such political maneuvering sees both parties occasionally flip-flopping on their platforms or twisting information for the purpose of gaining an edge.

In fact, many Americans would probably be surprised to know that under the leadership of Barack Obama, the Democrats – who have compared Trump to Hitler over his efforts to build a wall on the Mexican border – deported a whopping 2.5 million undocumented people from the United States by 2015. Equally surprising is that under the tenure of Obama’s Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, the Republicans deported just 2 million undocumented people.

And then there was Hillary Clinton. On the campaign trail in 2007, she told a rally “the federal government is supposed to set immigration policy.” That comment should have carried a footnote that reads, ‘Unless you are Donald Trump.’ In other words, in this brutal political game, the goalposts continuously shift to accommodate the changing winds.

Meanwhile, the GOP is also guilty of its own false starts. Indeed, many Republicans view the timing of this massive movement of people as more than just a coincidence, looking to borderline conspiracy theories to explain it.

Last week, for example, Republican lawmaker Matt Gaetz tweeted out a video that shows a long line of women, many of them holding children, accepting cash from two young men. Gaetz assumed that the video was made in Honduras, but in fact it showed the migrants somewhere in Guatemala on their way towards Mexico. Although he got the location wrong – which he later acknowledged – the video succeeds in raising far more questions than answers. Gaetz could not resist dropping the name of George Soros, the billionaire bugbear of the political right who provides funding for a long list of political and civic groups.

One such group that has benefited from Soros’ financial support is the non-profit organization, Skylight, which is embedded with the caravan for the stated purpose of filming the migration. In 2016, the group received a 1 million dollar contribution by Foundation to Promote Open Society (2016 tax return, page 287, ‘Skylight Engagement Inc’). Although this does not necessarily prove anything untold is happening, Skylight’s presence in the caravan has raised some eyebrows among Republicans.

Open Society denies any involvement in assisting the migrants on their journey.

This is a monumental undertaking, and already the march is taking its toll. Mexican officials say 1,740 migrants have applied for asylum and “hundreds more have taken up offers of bus rides back to Honduras,” AP reported.

Whatever the case may be, Trump is urging Mexico to crackdown on the marching migrants before they reach the US border. The US leader’s uneasiness about the situation is understandable. In the event that even a fraction of the migrants reach the US border before the midterms, it would place the Republicans in a tricky predicament.

If the US National Guard, for example, is forced to push back against migrant women and children (who will certainly be sent to the front of the receiving line for maximum visuals) it may spell disaster for the Republicans in the midterms. Such stark images will conjure up memories of Trump’s failed ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy that separated children from their parents at the border, as well as the misconception that Trump is somehow a ‘racist’ for wanting to build a wall on the Mexican border.

On the other hand, the image of thousands of migrants storming the US border might get Republicans off the couch and to the polls in record numbers. At the same time, other Trump supporters will be asking, yet again, why the wall Trump promised to build remains a pipe dream.

Such questions could ultimately work to the Republicans’ advantage, in that the Democrats have vigorously opposed most Republican projects to date, not least of all the border wall. Ironically, however, had the Democrats performed this simple construction task during Barack Obama’s two-term presidency, Trump, who built his campaign on the promise of protecting America’s border, would most likely never have had the rallying cry he needed to become president.

At this point, I would like to say that, as an American, it is difficult to fathom how the question of a strong border has become such a political football. The United States has a very fair system for allowing people to become naturalized citizens, and asylum seekers are accorded all the protections mandated by the law. The only requirement is that migrants follow the legal procedures for entry, and if that sounds like a radical or xenophobic idea, as many Liberals today seem to believe, then the majority of countries in the world would have to be classified as racist. Somehow the US went from being an ethnically diverse country comprised of law-abiding immigrants, to a nation that thinks it’s alright to accept law-breaking border jumpers as future citizens.

In times past, before the age of virtue-signaling, social justice warriors and PC dementia was all the rage, a group of undocumented people storming the US border would have been dealt with in the appropriate manner, and without any questions asked. Today, however, many Western governments have been infected by the globalist creed, Merkel-style, that says it is the duty of Western democracies to let oppressed migrants into their countries en masse and unmolested. Meanwhile, it is the migrants who are portrayed as heroes in the Western media, while the people who want to defend their borders are some sort of knuckle-dragging xenophobes.

In the case of the European Union, countries that fight back against the concept of loose borders, like Hungary, for example, are treated like pariah states, even suffering severe disciplinary action. The situation is so grave and arouses so many different emotions that the issue of borders actually has the power to break up the West into two camps – the nationalists on one side and the globalists on the other.

When one looks a bit deeper at the situation, the Liberal desire to accept migrants with open arms is dripping with hypocrisy – and not a little blood. After all, if the Democrats (and Republicans) really wanted to address the problem of mass migration at the root they would be out on the streets demanding that their governments cease and desist from waging war on sovereign states. That is the real reason why so many people are fleeing their homes for a new life – military aggression.

Even tiny Honduras is no stranger to such violence. This is something the Democrats should understand given former president Barack Obama and his secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s botched efforts to influence the Honduras military coup of 2009. In fact, that event, which brought to power a far-right strongman, Pepe Lobo Sosa, goes far at explaining the caravan now ascending upon the US border.

In short, if the West would simply stop pursuing war and chaos around the world, much of which is based on avarice and empire building, the question of stronger borders would no longer be an issue, and those innocent people now in the firing line of NATO armies could rest easily knowing they can build prosperous lives in their own countries.

 

Donald Trump’s long history of racism, from the 1970s to 2018

Trump has repeatedly claimed he’s “the least racist person.” The record suggests otherwise.

by German Lopez

Vox

If you ask President Donald Trump whether he’s racist, he has a standard response: He claims that no, in fact, he’s “the least racist person that you’ve ever encountered.”

But Trump’s record tells a very different story.

On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly made explicitly racist and otherwise bigoted remarks — from calling Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists to proposing a ban on all Muslims entering the US to suggesting that a judge should recuse himself from a case solely because of the judge’s Mexican heritage.

The trend has continued into his presidency. From stereotyping a black reporter to pandering to white supremacists after they held a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump hasn’t stopped with the racist acts even after his election.

In fact, the very first time that Trump appeared in the pages of the New York Times, back in the 1970s, was when the US Department of Justice sued him for racial discrimination. Since then, he has repeatedly appeared in newspaper pages across the world as he inspired more similar controversies.

The latest came in remarks surfaced by the Washington Post. Talking about immigration from Haiti and African countries, Trump reportedly asked, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” He reportedly suggested that America should allow more people from countries like Norway instead. The implication is clear: The people coming from predominantly black countries are bad, while the people coming from predominantly white countries are good.

This long history is important. It would be one thing if Trump simply misspoke one or two times. But when you take all of Trump’s actions and comments together, a clear pattern emerges — one that suggests that bigotry is not just political opportunism on Trump’s part but a real element of Trump’s personality, character, and career.

Trump has a long history of racist controversies

Here’s a breakdown of Trump’s history, taken largely from Dara Lind’s list for Vox and an op-ed by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times:

  • 1973: The US Department of Justice — under the Nixon administration, out of all administrations — sued the Trump Management Corporation for violating the Fair Housing Act. Federal officials found evidence that Trump had refused to rent to black tenants and lied to black applicants about whether apartments were available, among other accusations. Trump said the federal government was trying to get him to rent to welfare recipients. In the aftermath, he signed an agreement in 1975 agreeing not to discriminate to renters of color without admitting to discriminating before.
  • 1980s: Kip Brown, a former employee at Trump’s Castle, accused another one of Trump’s businesses of discrimination. “When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor,” Brown said. “It was the eighties, I was a teenager, but I remember it: They put us all in the back.”
  • 1988: In a commencement speech at Lehigh University, Trump spent much of his speech accusing countries like Japan of “stripping the United States of economic dignity.” This matches much of his current rhetoric on China.
  • 1989: In a controversial case that’s been characterized as a modern-day lynching, four black teenagers and one Latino teenager — the “Central Park Five” — were accused of attacking and raping a jogger in New York City. Trump immediately took charge in the case, running an ad in local papers demanding, “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE!” The teens’ convictions were later vacated after they spent seven to 13 years in prison, and the city paid $41 million in a settlement to the teens. But Trump in October 2016 said he still believes they’re guilty, despite the DNA evidence to the contrary.
  • 1991: A book by John O’Donnell, former president of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, quoted Trump’s criticism of a black accountant: “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day. … I think that the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault, because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.” Trump at first denied the remarks, but later said in a 1997 Playboy interview that “the stuff O’Donnell wrote about me is probably true.”
  • 1992: The Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino had to pay a $200,000 fine because it transferred black and women dealers off tables to accommodate a big-time gambler’s prejudices.
  • 2000: In opposition to a casino proposed by the St. Regis Mohawk tribe, which he saw as a financial threat to his casinos in Atlantic City, Trump secretly ran a series of ads suggesting the tribe had a “record of criminal activity [that] is well documented.”
  • 2004: In season two of The Apprentice, Trump fired Kevin Allen, a black contestant, for being overeducated. “You’re an unbelievably talented guy in terms of education, and you haven’t done anything,” Trump said on the show. “At some point you have to say, ‘That’s enough.’”
  • 2005: Trump publicly pitched what was essentially The Apprentice: White People vs. Black People. He said he “wasn’t particularly happy” with the most recent season of his show, so he was considering “an idea that is fairly controversial — creating a team of successful African Americans versus a team of successful whites. Whether people like that idea or not, it is somewhat reflective of our very vicious world.”
  • 2010: In 2010, there was a huge national controversy over the “Ground Zero Mosque” — a proposal to build a Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan, near the site of the 9/11 attacks. Trump opposed the project, calling it “insensitive,” and offered to buy out one of the investors in the project. On The Late Show With David Letterman, Trump argued, referring to Muslims, “Well, somebody’s blowing us up. Somebody’s blowing up buildings, and somebody’s doing lots of bad stuff.”
  • 2011: Trump played a big role in pushing false rumors that Obama — the country’s first black president — was not born in the US. He even sent investigators to Hawaii to look into Obama’s birth certificate. Obama later released his birth certificate, calling Trump a “carnival barker.” (The research has found a strong correlation between “birtherism,” as this conspiracy theory is called, and racism.) Trump has reportedly continued pushing this conspiracy theory in private.
  • 2011: While Trump suggested that Obama wasn’t born in the US, he also argued that maybe Obama wasn’t a good enough student to have gotten into Columbia or Harvard Law School, and demanded Obama release his university transcripts. Trump claimed, “I heard he was a terrible student. Terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?”

For many people, none of these incidents, individually, may be totally damning: One of these alone might suggest that Trump is simply a bad speaker and perhaps racially insensitive (“politically incorrect,” as he would put it), but not overtly racist.

But when you put all these events together, a clear pattern emerges. At the very least, Trump has a history of playing into people’s racism to bolster himself — and that likely says something about him too.

And of course, there’s everything that’s happened through and since his presidential campaign.

As a candidate and president, Trump has made many more racist comments

On top of all that history, Trump has repeatedly made racist — often explicitly so — remarks on the campaign trail and as president:

  • Trump launched his campaign in 2015 by calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” who are “bringing crime” and “bringing drugs” to the US. His campaign was largely built on building a wall to keep these immigrants out of the US.
  • As a candidate in 2015, Trump called for a ban on all Muslims coming into the US. His administration’s attempts at implementing a watered-down version of this policy have been contested in courts.
  • When asked at a 2016 Republican debate whether all 1.6 billion Muslims hate the US, Trump said, “I mean a lot of them. I mean a lot of them.”
  • He argued in 2016 that Judge Gonzalo Curiel — who was overseeing the Trump University lawsuit — should recuse himself from the case because of his Mexican heritage and membership in a Latino lawyers association. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who endorsed Trump, later called such comments “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”
  • Trump has been repeatedly slow to condemn white supremacists who endorse him, and he regularly retweeted messages from white supremacists and neo-Nazis during his presidential campaign.
  • He tweeted and later deleted an image that showed Hillary Clinton in front of a pile of money and by a Jewish Star of David that said, “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!” The tweet had some very obvious anti-Semitic imagery, but Trump insisted that the star was a sheriff’s badge, and said his campaign shouldn’t have deleted it.
  • Trump has repeatedly referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who has said she has Cherokee ancestors, as “Pocahontas.”
  • At the 2016 Republican convention, Trump officially seized the mantle of the “law and order” candidate — an obvious dog whistle playing to white fears of black crime, even though crime in the US is historically low. His speeches, comments, and executive actions after he took office have continued this line of messaging.
  • In a pitch to black voters in 2016, Trump said, “You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?”
  • Trump stereotyped a black reporter at a press conference in February 2017. When April Ryan asked him if he plans to meet and work with the Congressional Black Caucus, he repeatedly asked her to set up the meeting — even as she insisted that she’s “just a reporter.”
  • In the week after white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, Trump repeatedly said that “many sides” and “both sides” were to blame for the violence and chaos that ensued — suggesting that the white supremacist protesters were morally equivalent to counterprotesters that stood against racism. He also said that there were “some very fine people” among the white supremacists. All of this seemed like a dog whistle to white supremacists — and many of them took it as one, with white nationalist Richard Spencer praising Trump for “defending the truth.”
  • Throughout 2017, Trump repeatedly attacked NFL players who, by kneeling or otherwise silently protesting during the national anthem, demonstrated against systemic racism in America.
  • Trump reportedly said in 2017 that people who came to the US from Haiti “all have AIDS,” and he lamented that people who came to the US from Nigeria would never “go back to their huts” once they saw America. The White House denied that Trump ever made these comments.
  • Speaking about immigration in a bipartisan meeting in January 2018, Trump reportedly asked, in reference to Haiti and African countries, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” He then reportedly suggested that the US should take more people from countries like Norway. The implication: Immigrants from predominantly white countries are good, while immigrants from predominantly black countries are bad.
  • Trump denied making the “shithole” comments, although some senators present at the meeting said they happened. The White House, meanwhile, suggested that the comments, like Trump’s remarks about the NFL protests, will play well to his base. The only connection between Trump’s remarks about the NFL protests and his “shithole” comments is race.

This list is not comprehensive, instead relying on some of the major examples since Trump announced his candidacy. But once again, there’s a pattern of racism and bigotry here that suggests Trump isn’t just misspeaking; it is who he is.

Are Trump’s actions and comments “racist”? Or are they “bigoted”?

One of the common defenses for Trump is that he’s not necessarily racist, because the Muslim and Mexican people he often targets don’t actually comprise a race.

Disgraced journalist Mark Halperin, for example, said as much when Trump argued Judge Curiel should recuse himself from the Trump University case because of his Mexican heritage, making the astute observation that “Mexico isn’t a race.”

Kristof made a similar point in the New York Times: “My view is that ‘racist’ can be a loaded word, a conversation stopper more than a clarifier, and that we should be careful not to use it simply as an epithet. Moreover, Muslims and Latinos can be of any race, so some of those statements technically reflect not so much racism as bigotry. It’s also true that with any single statement, it is possible that Trump misspoke or was misconstrued.”

This critique misses the point on two levels.

For one, the argument is tremendously semantic. It’s essentially probing the question: Is Trump racist or is he bigoted? But who cares? Neither is a trait that anyone should want in a president — and either label essentially communicates the same criticism.

Another issue is that race is socially malleable. Over the years, Americans considered Germans, Greeks, Irish, Italians, and Spaniards as nonwhite people of different races. That’s changed. Similarly, some Americans today consider Latinos and, to a lesser degree, some people with Muslim and Jewish backgrounds as part of a nonwhite race too. (As a Latino man, I certainly consider myself to be of a different race, and the treatment I’ve received in the course of my life validates that.) So under current definitions, comments against these groups are, indeed, racist.

This is all possible because, as Jenée Desmond-Harris explained for Vox, race is entirely a social construct with no biological basis. This doesn’t mean race and people’s views of race don’t have real effects on many people — of course they do — but it means that people’s definitions of race can change over time.

But really, whatever you want to call it, Trump has made racist and bigoted comments in the past. That much should be clear in the long lists above.

Trump’s bigotry was a key part of his campaign

Regardless of how one labels it, Trump’s racism or bigotry was a big part of his campaign — by giving a candidate to the many white Americans who harbor racial resentment.

One paper, published in January 2017 by political scientists Brian Schaffner, Matthew MacWilliams, and Tatishe Nteta, found that voters’ measures of sexism and racism correlated much more closely with support for Trump than economic dissatisfaction after controlling for factors like partisanship and political ideology.

Another study, conducted by researchers Brenda Major, Alison Blodorn, and Gregory Major Blascovich shortly before the 2016 election, found that if people who strongly identified as white were told that nonwhite groups will outnumber white people in 2042, they became more likely to support Trump.

And a study, published in November 2017 by researchers Matthew Luttig, Christopher Federico, and Howard Lavine, found that Trump supporters were much more likely to change their views on housing policy based on race. In this study, respondents were randomly assigned “a subtle image of either a black or a white man.” Then, they were asked about views on housing policy.

The researchers found that Trump supporters were much more likely to be impacted by the image of a black man. After the exposure, they were not only less supportive of housing assistance programs, but they also expressed higher levels of anger that some people receive government assistance, and they were more likely to say that individuals who receive assistance are to blame for their situation.

In contrast, favorability toward Hillary Clinton did not significantly change respondents’ views on any of these issues when primed with racial cues.

“These findings indicate that responses to the racial cue varied as a function of feelings about Donald Trump — but not feelings about Hillary Clinton — during the 2016 presidential election,” the researchers concluded.

There is also a lot of other research showing that people’s racial attitudes can change their views on politics and policy, as my colleague Dylan Matthews as well as researchers Sean McElwee and Jason McDaniel previously explained for Vox.

Simply put, racial attitudes were a big driver behind Trump’s election — just as they long have been for general beliefs about politics and policy. (Much more on all the research in my explainer.)

Meanwhile, white supremacist groups have openly embraced Trump. As Sarah Posner and David Neiwert reported at Mother Jones, what the media largely treated as gaffes — Trump retweeting white nationalists, Trump describing Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and criminals — were to white supremacists real signals approving of their racist causes. One white supremacist wrote, “Our Glorious Leader and ULTIMATE SAVIOR has gone full-wink-wink-wink to his most aggressive supporters.”

Some of them even argued that Trump has softened the greater public to their racist messaging. “The success of the Trump campaign just proves that our views resonate with millions,” said Rachel Pendergraft, a national organizer for the Knights Party, which succeeded David Duke’s Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. “They may not be ready for the Ku Klux Klan yet, but as anti-white hatred escalates, they will.”

And at the 2017 white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, David Duke, the former KKK grand wizard, said that the rally was meant “to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.”

So while Trump may deny his racism and bigotry, at some level even his supporters seem to get it. As much as his history of racism shows that he’s racist, perhaps who supported him and why is just as revealing — and it doesn’t paint a favorable picture for Trump.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

October 28, 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. 58

Date: Thursday, January 9, 1997

Commenced:  9:47 AM CST

Concluded:  10:28 AM CST

RTC: Ah, good morning, Gregory. Did you talk to Bill yesterday?

GD: Yes, he actually called me. He was discussing Kronthal with me mostly, but I think he was on a fishing trip. Was asking me about the new Mueller book…what was in it and such like.

RTC: Did you tell him anything?

GD: No, not in specific. I find him entertaining and sometimes truthful, but I don’t trust him. And I don’t trust Kimmel, either.

RTC: Probably a good idea. I rarely hear from Kimmel these days.

GD: I wonder why?

RTC: I think you’re the reason. Bill was cautioning me against talking too much to you because it might hurt my reputation.

GD: I think it must be the fact that I’m a practicing vampire. You know, Robert, it’ll be tough sledding this winter.

RTC: Why is that?

GD: No snow.

RTC: I walked right into that one, didn’t I? Has anyone discussed the Kennedy business with you?

GD: Corson did, once. Said he had the real story in his safe deposit box, and Plato or Aristotle would get it when he was called to Jesus.

RTC: Plato. That’s the fix lawyer around here. Little favors for this person or that one, little jobs for the Company and so on.

GD: They probably deserve each other.

RTC: Probably. And how is the Mueller book doing?

GD: Well enough. I’m starting to block out the Kennedy book and, yes, I know not to talk about it…

RTC: Or even write something up about it. If Tom thought you were into this, he’d have his boys do a black bag job on you and get into your hard drive.

GD: I could put a bomb in it… When they turned it on, somebody later  would be carrying a white cane and being nice to his German Shepherd guide dog.

RTC: Now, now, Gregory, not to make jokes about things like that.

GD: If people don’t want me to punt them in their fat ass, they shouldn’t bend over. On the other hand, it might be an invite for something more romantic.

RTC: I can see you’re in a good mood today.

GD: Foul mouthed as ever.

RTC: Sometimes, but always entertaining.

GD: I know Kimmel doesn’t find me entertaining. I make fun of the establishment and he is so obviously a dedicated and vocal part of it.

RTC: Everyone has to have something to cling to.

GD: What a waste of time. People are so predictable and so pathetic. You know, Robert, it’s like visiting your ant farm every morning and watching the ants leading their programmed lives.

RTC: Isn’t that a bit arrogant, Gregory?

GD: It’s not that I’m so smart, Robert, although I am, but it’s because so many are so stupid. Anyway, enough Weltschmertz.

RTC: Pardon?

GD: Pain with the world. Burned out. Bored. Frustrated.

RTC: I see. When you get to my age, that’s the whole thing.

GD: Well, if youth knew and age could, Robert. I think that’s from Mary Baker Eddy, the woman who invented aspirin. You know, God is Love, there is no pain. They ought to put that up in the terminal cancer wards. It would be such a comfort. I understand Mary was buried with a telephone in her coffin. High hopes and impossibilities sums it up, and have an aspirin.

RTC: That’s Christian Science, isn’t it? You heard about the Christian Scientist? He had a very bad cold and pretty soon, the cold was gone and so was the Christian Scientist.

GD: That’s how it goes, I guess. Now let me get serious about this ZIPPER business. If you want me to do a treatment on this that will be to your benefit, I need to get from you, on the phone is fine, some kind of a rationale for what happened. I mean, that’s what you want, isn’t it? To let those who come after you fully understand the reasons for your actions.

RTC: Yes, that’s it exactly. If that ever got out, though by now, it probably won’t, I don’t want my son and my grandchildren thinking I was just a common or garden variety assassin. They should know the reasons for why we acted as we did.

GD: Fine. Go ahead.

RTC: You must understand that we took our duties very seriously. Angleton was a first class counter intelligence man and very dedicated. And he discovers that the most important intelligence reports, the President’s daily briefings from the CIA, are ending up in Moscow. Within a week of them being given to the President. A week. And this was not a one-time incident but had been going on for some time. We then tried to find out how this was happening. A major intelligence disaster, Gregory, major. Now there were several copies of this report disseminated, never mind to whom, so in each one, a little spice was put in. An identifier as you will. Nothing that changed the thrust of the report but a little bit of spice, as Jim used to say. Jim’s contact in Moscow was a diplomat, never mind which country, because we don’t need to make trouble for him. So from him, we got copies of what Nikita was getting. So can you imagine how stunned we all were to learn that it was the President’s copy that was being leaked? My God! So we couldn’t just walk up to him and ask him how come Khrushchev was reading his briefings a week after we gave them to him. Jim couldn’t find a way how this was done, but then we had a report that Bobby, his brother, was known to be friendly with a prominent KGB fellow, Bolshakov. No question of who he was. The TASS man here. Top level. Bobby was known to have had at least one meeting with him. Hoover was having Bobby watched day and night because Hoover hated him and wanted to catch him doing something bad so he could leak it to the Post and get him sacked. Anyway, they found out that Bobby was talking to the Commie on the phone from his home so we, and Hoover, tapped his phone. Hoover didn’t know we were doing it, too, but that’s Washington politics for you. And we heard, for sure, that Bobby was sending thermofax copies of this report to him. I mean, there was no question. And, we learned, too, that Kennedy was keeping in direct contact with Khrushchev by Bobby and the Russian. I mean they were subverting the entire diplomatic system and God alone knows what Kennedy was talking about. We had to make sure of this, and really sure. It was explosive, believe me. Jim and a few of us sat down, listened to tapes and agent reports and tried to decide what to do. I mean, Gregory, here we had our President giving, actually giving, the most secret documents to our worst enemy, a man who swore in public he would destroy us. So, what to do? Make it public? Who would dare to do this? Of course we had strong media contacts but we all decided this was just too mind-boggling and negative to let outside that room. And that is where the decision was made to simply get rid of Kennedy. He was too independent, he had sacked Dulles and Bissel over the Cuban thing and threatened to Mansfield to break the Agency up. And here he was giving our worse enemy top secret inside information. I mean it really wasn’t open to discussion. You can see this all, can’t you?

GD: I can see your point of view very clearly.

RTC: What would you have done?

GD: I’m not an important person like those people, so what difference does my opinion make in all this? I’m just trying to find the rationale.

RTC: Well, do you have it?

GD: Yes, very clearly.

RTC: Well, the rest was lining up the players. Jim did his part, McCone did his part and he talked to Hoover to get his cooperation. We never went directly to him, but we used Bill Sullivan, his right hand trouble-shooter. That’s how it was done. Hoover hated the Kennedys,  especially Bobby, and we had to have him on our side because it was his people that would investigate any killing that had to be done. It took about a week of back and forth but finally it was agreed on. Johnson was no problem. He was a real rat; a wheeler-dealer whom you couldn’t trust to the corner for a pound of soft soap. The Kennedy bunch were treating him like shit and planned to dump him as VP, so of course he went for the wink and the nod. Fortas was his bagman, just like Sullivan was Hoover’s. These are people who know the value of silence from long experience. And it went on from there. I have a phone conference record which I will dig out, when the time comes, and send to you. At this point are you clear on the motivations? I mean, this was not just some spur of the moment thing, Gregory. We felt it had to be done to stop what we could only call high treason. Hoover and Johnson both went along on those grounds. A matter of treason. And it had to be stopped. I don’t see this as heroic but a vital necessity. For the country.

GD: I remember reading somewhere that treason doth never prosper for if it prospers, none dare call it treason.

RTC: Something like that.

GD: Very like.

RTC: But if you look at it carefully, and I hope you will, Gregory, you will see that Kennedy was committing the treason, not us. It was he and his vile brother who were passing our most sensitive and secret documents to our enemies. What were we to do? Confront him? We’d all be fired, or worse. What choice was there? Tell me that.

GD: From that point of view, none.

RTC: We are making progress. One thing…Jim was thinking about blowing up Kennedy’s yacht while and was sailing around off Cape Cod but since there certainly would be children on board, I put a stop to that. Kennedy is one thing but not the children.

GD: And the wife? Our American saint.

RTC: Oh that one. Don’t be fooled, Gregory. Jackie claims descent from French nobility but in fact, her French ancestor wasn’t a nobleman, but an immigrant cabinetmaker. And crap about her being related to Robert E. Lee is more crap. That part of her family were lace curtain micks from the old sod. The woman is a fraud. She married Kennedy for his father’s money, that’s all. Wonderful backgrounds here, Gregory. Old Joe was as crooked as they come. He was an associate of Al Capone, a bootlegger, and worse, and in 1960, he and the mob rigged the election so Jack could get in. Yes, I know all about that. They did their work in Chicago with the Daley machine and the local mob. That’s right, vote early and vote often. They even voted the cemeteries. I never really liked Nixon but they connived and stole the election from him slicker than snot off a glass-handled door knob.

GD: Ain’t it nice living in a democracy? So Kennedy wasn’t a saint by any stretch.

RTC:We can overlook all the women and the wild drug and sex orgies in the White House, but, Gregory, passing our top secrets to the enemy was too damned much. I would like you to show that very clearly if and when you get into this.

GD: Well, from a pragmatic view, Robert, it is the very best and clearest reason for the killing. A question here.

RTC: Certainly.

GD: A plot. Good, but then how do you keep it quiet? Someone might talk.

RTC: Remove them, Gregory.

GD: But what about those who remove those who know too much? Then they know too much.

RTC: Oswald knew a little too much, just a little but enough. And he could prove he never shot Kennedy. So he had to go before he started to talk. Oswald knew some of our people and he worked directly for ONI, so there were dangers there. On the other hand, the man who shot King, Ray, knew nothing so he got to live and end up in jail until he died. He knew there was something wrong, but, and this is important to note, Gregory, he had no proof.

GD: You did King?

RTC: No Hoover did King. He hated him with a visceral passion. Hoover was a nut, Gregory, but a very powerful and very dangerous nut. There is a long-standing rumor here that Hoover had passed the color line and that he was part black. Hoover was a homosexual and there we have two reasons to hate yourself. King was black and he was a womanizer. And Bobby was AG and loathed Hoover. He used to go into Hoover’s office while he was taking his after-lunch nap and wake him up. And he laughed at him and called him a faggot behind his back. Not to do that to Hoover. He stayed in absolute power because he had enough real dirt on Congress to put most of them away in the cooler or the loonie bin. No, Bobby signed his death warrant when he did those things. No, Hoover did King and Hoover did Bobby. Not himself, but he got Bill Sullivan to do it. Sullivan was his hatchet man and we worked directly with Bill. But then Bill got old and was starting to babble like old people do, and he was hinting about Hoover, who had sacked him after he had used him. No, that doesn’t make it, so some kid shot Bill right through the head. He thought he was a deer. My, my.

GD: And Bobby?

RTC: That was Hoover too. It was an agreement. We did John and Edgar did the others. We had one of our men there when they did Bobby, just to observe. We got George the Greek to keep an eye open. They got one of Kennedy’s people to steer him into the kitchen after a speech and the raghead was waiting. One of the Kennedy bodyguards did him from behind while all the shooting and screaming was going on. Much better than John. They had a real shooter in front of real people. None of the questions like we had in Dallas. No loose ends, so to speak. And King was another clean job. Sullivan was very good.

GD: And that’s why he turned into a deer.

RTC: Yes, he turned into a very dead deer.

GD: And you got Cord’s wife on top of it.

RTC: Jim said she was hanging around with hippies and arty-farty people and running her mouth.

GD: Did she know anything?

RTC: No, but she was well-connected and some people might believe her. She’d been humping Kennedy and they apparently really go along with each other. She was a lot more of a woman than Jackie and she never nagged Jack or acted so superior like Jackie loved to do. Her brother in law worked for us and we all agonized over this but in the end, Jim had his way. Of course Cord thought it was peachy-keen. He hated her, but then Cord hated everybody. The vicious Cyclops!

GD: One eye.

RTC: Yes. Oh, and like Jim, he, too, was a profound poet. God, spare me from the poets of the world. You don’t write poetry, do you, Gregory.

GD: No, but really filthy limericks, Robert. Would you like to hear some?

RTC: Oh, not now. Maybe later.

GD: Probably just as well. Once I get started on those, I’ll be going strong an hour later. But let me tell you just one. Not a dirty one, but after about an hour of limericks, I love to end the night with this one. Can I proceed?

RTC: Just one?

GD: Yes, just one.

RTC: Go on.

GD: ‘There was an old man of St. Bees,

Who was stung on the arm by a wasp.

When asked if it hurt,

He replied ‘No, it didn’t,

‘I’m so glad that it wasn’t a hornet.’

 

(Concluded at 10:28 AM CST)

 

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