TBR News October 9, 2018

Oct 09 2018

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

Washington, D.C. October 9, 2018: “One of the more humorous highlights of

current uproar is a statement by a Christian gas bag that Donald Trump is a ‘moral man’

This would be the same thing as saying that L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology fame was sane or that Jack the Ripper was kind to women.

Trump is not immoral; he is amoral and there are some highly instructive secret hotel room tapes from Moscow concerning Fat Donald the Groper and a lady that are making the rounds now in Europe, and soon in the United States, that would beg to disargee.


There are many who believe the earth is flat or that Jesus will be appearing at a Dallas mall next week but cold reality would say otherwise.


The capacity of some to believe anything is often difficult to accept but then there is the late Infowars or those who believe they are really important or their wives are pure.


Where is the Easter Bunny now that we need him?

No doubt planning to run for Congress on the Tri-Sexual party ticket.


That is someone who will try anything once, even voting for a Republican or eating the contents of the cat box for lunch.”

The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 45
  • Trump has accepted Nikki Haley’s resignation
  • Kavanaugh will be on the US Supreme Court for life. Here’s how we fight back
  • Christian leader Jerry Falwell urges Trump support: ‘He’s a moral person’
  • God Hates Fags!
  • Benjamin Netanyahu Is No Friend to America
  • Saudi Arabia’s Weakness Is Showing After a Week of Bad Publicity
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  •    Student Loan Debt Statistics In 2018: A $1.5 Trillion Crisis



Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 45

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 telling the truth.

Last updated: Aug 8, 2018

  • Dec 24, 2017

“In fact, we saw your tireless efforts in action at the 200 – as you know, at our great Republican National Convention. And many Republicans are very happy, but I have to tell you, the people of Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, and lots of other states are even more happy. What a job you’ve done.”

Source: Christmas message to members of the military

in fact: There is no sense in which the people of Puerto Rico were “even more happy” than Republicans, even if Trump was referring specifically to the post-hurricane performance of the Coast Guard. More than 600,000 Puerto Ricans remained without power as Trump spoke, three months after Hurricane Maria, and Puerto Ricans were generally fuming about the government’s response efforts.

  • Dec 26, 2017

“Based on the fact that the very unfair and unpopular Individual Mandate has been terminated as part of our Tax Cut Bill, which essentially Repeals (over time) ObamaCare, the Democrats & Republicans will eventually come together and develop a great new HealthCare plan!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Trump’s tax law repeals the Obamacare “individual mandate,” which forces people to pay a penalty if they do not obtain insurance coverage. While the mandate is a key part of Obamacare, it is far from the entire thing — and while Trump is suggesting that all of Obamacare will vanish without the mandate, that is far from certain. For example, Trump did not touch Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicaid insurance program for low-income people, the federal and state Obamacare marketplaces that allow other uninsured people to buy insurance, and the subsidies that help many of them make the purchases. Nor did he touch various Obamacare rules for the insurance market, like its prohibition on insurers denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. The very day after the tax law passed, the government announced that 8.8 million people had signed up for coverage through the federal marketplace, down by only 0.4 million from last year despite Trump’s efforts to dissuade people from signing up.

Trump has repeated this claim 11 times

  • Dec 27, 2017

“You know, one of the things that people don’t understand, we have signed more legislation than anybody — we broke the record of Harry Truman.”

Source: Remarks to West Palm Beach Fire Rescue #2

in fact: According to legislative tracking website GovTrack, Trump finished 2017 with the fewest bills signed of any president in the last 64 years who was elected as president (that is, excluding Johnson and Ford): fewer than Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, H.W. Bush, Clinton, W. Bush, and Obama.

Trump has repeated this claim 19 times

  • Dec 28, 2017

“I’m the one that saved coal.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: As Reuters explained in a comprehensive story in November, “U.S. utilities are shutting coal-fired power plants at a rapid pace and shifting to cheap natural gas, along with wind and solar power.” Reuters wrote: “A year after Donald Trump was elected president on a promise to revive the ailing U.S. coal industry, the sector’s long-term prospects for growth and hiring remain as bleak as ever. A Reuters review of mining data shows an industry that has seen only modest gains in jobs and production this year — much of it from a temporary uptick in foreign demand for U.S. coal rather than presidential policy changes.” Trump can applaud a slight increase in the employment of people employed in coal mining: it stood at 51,200 in November, 1,500 higher than the number upon Trump’s election a year prior. But this was still down more than a third even from its levels in 2012, it can hardly be counted as “saving” the industry, and its connection to Trump is tenuous at best. There was an 8 per cent increase in U.S. coal production this year. Analysts said this increase had little or nothing to do with Trump; James Stevenson, a coal analyst at IHS Markit, told Reuters it was “largely attributable to demand for U.S. coal from Asian steel mills after temporary outages from their usual suppliers in Australia.”

“Seventeen billion (trade deficit) with Canada — Canada says we broke even. But they don’t include lumber and they don’t include oil. Oh, that’s not. … (Inaudible) … My friend Justin he says, “No, no, we break even.” I said, ‘Yeah, but you’re not including oil, and you’re not including lumber.” When you do, you lose $17 billion.

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: According to the U.S. government’s own Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. had a trade surplus of $12.5 billion with Canada last year when services trade was included. Even counting goods trade alone, the Trade Representative says the deficit was $12.1 billion, not $17 billion.

Trump has repeated this claim 15 times

“You know, it’s easier to renegotiate it if we make it a fair deal because NAFTA was a terrible deal for us. We lost $71 billion a year with Mexico, can you believe it?”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: Even if you only count trade in goods alone, the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico is not that large: it was $64 billion in 2016, $60 billion in 2015, $55 billion in 2014 and $54 billion in 2013, according to the U.S. government’s own Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and it has not exceeded $67 billion since 2007. Further, when trade in services is included, the 2016 deficit was $56 billion.

Trump has repeated this claim 34 times

” … and, you know, I have — what do have now, John, 158 million, including Facebook, including Twitter, including Instagram, including every form, I have a 158 million people.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: Even if you’re counting generously, Trump does not have that many followers on social media. Adding up his Twitter account (45 million followers), his Facebook account (23 million followers), the White House Facebook account (8 million followers), his Instagram account (8 million followers), the White House Instagram account (4 million followers), the official “POTUS” Twitter account (22 million followers), and the official “POTUS” Facebook account (2 million followers), Trump is at 112 million followers. Since many of these people undoubtedly follow him on more than one platform, the total number of actual humans is even further below 158 million.

Trump has repeated this claim 5 times

“Last year, we had a trade deficit with China of $350 billion, minimum.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: Trump would have been correct if he had said “$350 billion, maximum,” and specified he was talking about trade in goods alone, but not when he simply says “$350 billion, minimum”: the actual U.S. deficit with China was $347 billion if you exclude trade in services, $310 billion all things considered, according to the U.S. government’s own Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Trump has repeated this claim 51 times

“Chain migration and the lottery system. They have a lottery in these countries. They take the worst people in the country, they put ’em into the lottery, then they have a handful of bad, worse ones, and they put them out. ‘Oh, these are the people the United States…'”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: This is, as always, an inaccurate description of the Diversity Visa Lottery program. First, the lottery is run by the State Department, not conducted in foreign countries. Second, foreign governments do not toss their worst citizens into the lottery to try to dump them on the United States: would-be immigrants sign up on their own, as individuals, of their own free will.

Trump has repeated this claim 21 times

“We’ve created associations, millions of people are joining associations. Millions. That were formerly in Obamacare or didn’t have insurance. Or didn’t have health care. Millions of people. That’s gonna be a big bill, you watch.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: The move toward association health plans is not going to be a bill at all, let alone a “big bill.” This “would be a change in regulation or guidance,” not legislation, noted Timothy Jost, an expert on health law as an emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University.

Trump has repeated this claim 5 times

“Now here’s the good news. We’ve created associations, millions of people are joining associations. Millions. That were formerly in Obamacare or didn’t have insurance. Or didn’t have health care. Millions of people.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: This has not happened. Trump issued an executive order on Oct. 12 to ask his Secretary of Labor to propose regulations to allow more employers to make use of “association health plans.” But the actual change has not actually been made yet, noted Timothy Jost, an expert on health law as an emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University — so even if millions of people will eventually use these plans, they have, obviously, not been able to do so yet.

Trump has repeated this claim 5 times

“I believe we can do health care in a bipartisan way, because now we’ve essentially gutted and ended Obamacare.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: Gutted? Perhaps. Trump repealed a central pillar of Obamacare: the “individual mandate,” a requirement that Americans obtain health insurance or pay a financial penalty. The law might now experience new problems. But Trump is wrong, again, to claim that he has already “ended” Obamacare. The individual mandate is a key part of Obamacare, but it is far from the entire thing. Trump did not touch Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicaid insurance program for low-income people, the federal and state Obamacare marketplaces that allow other uninsured people to buy insurance, and the subsidies that help many of them make the purchases. Nor did he touch various Obamacare rules for the insurance market, like its prohibition on insurers denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. The very day after the tax law passed, the government announced that 8.8 million people had signed up for coverage through the federal marketplace, down by only 0.4 million from last year despite Trump’s efforts to dissuade people from signing up.

Trump has repeated this claim 11 times

“I know more about the big bills. … (Inaudible.) … Than any president that’s ever been in office. Whether it’s health care and taxes.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: There is no way to conclusively demonstrate that this false, but it’s so ridiculous that we are going to take a rare liberty and declare it false anyway. Trump has consistently misstated the details of major bills, spoken only in generalities about the health bill (“fantastic health-care”), and brushed off almost all specific questions. Whatever one thinks of Obamacare, Barack Obama demonstrated a vastly greater understanding of the nuances of his bill than Trump did about any version of the Republicans’ proposed replacement bills.

“Michael, we have spent, as of about a month ago, $7 trillion in the Middle East. And the Middle East is worse than it was 17 years ago. … (Inaudible.) Seven trillion.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

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 5 times

“The problem with Roy Moore, and I said this, is that he’s going to lose the election … And I wish you would cover that, because frankly, I said, ‘If Luther doesn’t win, Roy is going to lose the election.'”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: Trump never declared that Moore was “going to lose the election.” His actual statement was not nearly so definitive: “Roy has a very good chance of not winning.”

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“I feel that I have to endorse Republicans as the head of the party. So, I endorsed him (Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore). It became a much closer race because of my endorsement. People don’t say that. They say, ‘Oh, Donald Trump lost.’ I didn’t lose, I brought him up a lot.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: There is no evidence at all that Trump brought Moore “up by a lot.” Moore led Democratic candidate Doug Jones in four of the six polls taken in the week before Trump’s endorsement. He ended up losing.

“Almost won. … He (Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange) lost by 7 points, 7 or 8 points.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: Strange lost by 9.2 percentage points.

Trump has repeated this claim 9 times

“Luther Strange was brought way up after my endorsement and he almost won.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: We’ve already addressed the falseness of Trump’s claim that Strange was “brought way up after my endorsement.” It’s also false that Strange “almost won.” Strange lost the runoff by 9.2 percentage points, 54.6 per cent to 45.4 per cent.

Trump has repeated this claim 9 times

“I was for Strange, and I brought Strange up 20 points ….almost 20 points.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: Not even close. Here’s what happened. Strange was in the middle of the Republican primary’s five-candidate first round when Trump endorsed him. In the last poll taken before Trump’s endorsement, Strange was down by eight points to Roy Moore. In the first poll after the endorsement, Strange was up three. So, even though the polls were taken by different firms, Trump can arguably claim credit for a temporary 11-point bump. However, Strange immediately fell back down big, and he ended up losing the first round by six. So, at best, Trump brought Strange up two points, from down eight to down six. If you look solely at polls of the head-to-head Moore-Strange matchup, the story is even worse for Trump: Strange was down two points in the last pre-endorsement poll, then down 19 points in the first post-endorsement poll. He ended up losing by 9.

Trump has repeated this claim 9 times

“Just so you understand. When I endorsed him (Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange), he was in fifth place. He went way up.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: Strange was in second place in both polls taken in the week prior to Trump’s endorsement, according to RealClearPolitcs’s poll tracker. Strange was in first place in the poll prior to that.

Trump has repeated this claim 9 times

“They (Democrats) thought it would be a one-day story, an excuse, and it just kept going and going and going.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: This is simple nonsense. Democrats did not think that the question of Russian interference in the election on behalf of Trump, or the question of the Trump campaign’s relationship with those efforts, would be a “one-day story.”

“They made the Russian story up as a hoax, as a ruse, as an excuse for losing an election that in theory Democrats should always win with the Electoral College.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: Democrats, of course, did not invent the “Russian story” for electoral purposes, nor is it a “hoax.” U.S. intelligence agencies say that the Russian government interfered in the election for the purpose of helping Trump win; that Russian interference was the original story, and Democrats were talking about it well before Election Day. Perhaps Trump is correct that there was no illegal collusion between his campaign and the Russians, but this matter is being investigated by a special prosecutor appointed by his own deputy attorney general, not “Democrats,” and many senior Republicans believe the investigation has merit.

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

” … it’s very hard for a Republican to win the Electoral College. O.K.? You start off with New York, California and Illinois against you. That means you have to run the East Coast, which I did, and everything else. Which I did and then won Wisconsin and Michigan. (Inaudible.) So the Democrats. … (Inaudible.) … They thought there was no way for a Republican, not me, a Republican, to win the Electoral College … The Electoral College is so much better suited to the Democrats (inaudible).”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: This claim that the Electoral College is tilted in favour of Democrats — and that “they” think it is impossible for a Republican to win the election in 2016 — is obvious nonsense. Six of the last nine presidents, all of whom except for Gerald Ford had to win an Electoral College election, have been Republicans.

Trump has repeated this claim 17 times

“So, I actually think that it’s turning out — I actually think it’s turning to the Democrats because there was collusion on behalf of the Democrats. There was collusion with the Russians and the Democrats. A lot of collusion … starting with the dossier.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: The word “collusion” — in common language, a “secret agreement or co-operation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose” — simply does not apply to the dossier produced by a former British spy about alleged ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Trump’s administration, seeking to turn the “collusion” allegation around on its opponents, has argued that the dossier, which was funded in part by the Clinton campaign, amounts to the “Clinton campaign colluding with Russian intelligence.” This is absurd on its face. Russian intelligence favoured Trump and tried to damage Clinton, U.S. intelligence agencies say; the British ex-spy was simply using Russian sources — who have not been identified — to attempt to figure out how Trump’s campaign was linked to the Russian government. Such research is not illegal or deceitful, and it does not come close to qualifying as the type of possible “collusion” investigators are probing with regard to the Trump campaign: coordination with the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the election.

Trump has repeated this claim 22 times

“She’s (Feinstein) the head of the committee.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: Feinstein, a Democrat, is not the head of any committee: Republicans control Congress and thus lead the committees. She is the ranking member — the top Democrat — on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I saw (Democratic Sen.) Dianne Feinstein the other day on television saying there is no collusion.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: Trump appeared to be referring, as he has in the past, to a November CNN interview with Feinstein — in which she did not declare that there is no collusion. Feinstein was specifically asked if she had seen evidence that the Trump campaign was given Democratic emails hacked by Russia. “Not so far,” she responded. She was not asked about collusion more broadly, and her specific answer made clear that she was referring only to evidence she has personally seen to date, not issuing a sweeping final judgment.

Trump has repeated this claim 18 times

“And you’re talking about what Paul (Manafort) was many years ago before I ever heard of him. He worked for me for — what was it, three and a half months? … Three and a half months.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: Manafort worked for the Trump campaign for just under five months, from March 28, 2016 to his resignation on August 19, 2016.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“But I think it’s all worked out because frankly there is absolutely no collusion, that’s been proven by every Democrat is saying it … Virtually every Democrat has said there is no collusion. There is no collusion.”

Source: Interview with the New York Times

in fact: Democratic members of Congress have not said en masse that they are convinced that there was no collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Some have acknowledged that they have not seen evidence of collusion, but they have pointed out that the investigation is ongoing.

Trump has repeated this claim 18 times


Trump has accepted Nikki Haley’s resignation    

October 9, 2018

by Jonathan Swan


President Trump has accepted Nikki Haley’s resignation as UN Ambassador, the two said Tuesday morning in a public Oval Office meeting. She will exit at the end of the year, Trump said.

What we’re hearing: Haley discussed her resignation with Trump last week when she visited him at the White House, two sources said. Her news shocked a number of senior foreign policy officials in the Trump administration.

Axios was first to report the resignation earlier in the day.

Trump told reporters Tuesday that Haley raised the possibility of taking a break six months ago, and that she’s welcome back at any time.

Haley, for her part, added that she has no 2020 ambitions and will campaign for the president.

Background: Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, was easily confirmed four days after President Trump’s inauguration in 2017.

She has overseen Trump’s shift in dealing with the UN, including the U.S. exit from the UN Human Rights Council, which Haley called the organization’s “greatest failure.”

Worth noting: Haley wrote a public op-ed in September challenging the N.Y. Times’ anonymous op-ed, which was written by a “senior administration official” and claimed that Trump aides saw him as a threat to U.S. democracy.

Haley wrote in her response:

“I don’t agree with the president on everything. When there is disagreement, there is a right way and a wrong way to address it. I pick up the phone and call him or meet with him in person.”

“Like my colleagues in the Cabinet and on the National Security Council, I have very open access to the president. He does not shut out his advisers, and he does not demand that everyone agree with him. I can talk to him most any time, and I frequently do.”

“If I disagree with something and believe it is important enough to raise with the president, I do it. And he listens.”


Kavanaugh will be on the US Supreme Court for life. Here’s how we fight back

October 9, 2018

by Ian Samuel

The Guardian

We are in, it seems, for decades of misery for labor unions, voting rights and regulation of businesses. Or are we?

Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed, and he will serve as a justice on the Supreme Court for the rest of his life. This event assures rightwing dominance of the court for a generation – or so we are told. After all, at 53, he is not even the youngest conservative: Justice Neil Gorsuch is 51. The chief justice, who has been there for more than a decade, is only 63. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by contrast, is 85, and Justice Stephen Breyer is 80. We are in, it seems, for decades of misery for labor unions, voting rights, regulation of businesses and all the rest.

Or are we? The logic behind this “lost for a generation” stuff is simple enough. There are nine seats on the Supreme Court. All of its members serve for life. The five-justice conservative majority is quite young and seems healthy. Given all that, Kavanaugh’s confirmation is the final nail in the coffin, isn’t it?

The ray of hope, if there is one, lies in contradiction of the first of those premises. Nothing in the constitution fixes the number of Supreme Court seats at nine. The size of the court is set by legislation, and has varied over time. We started with six. We’ve gone as high as 10 (when Abraham Lincoln was president, and Congress worried about a reactionary supreme court invalidating his wartime measures). Only recently, Republicans held the court to eight members for a year in the wake of Antonin Scalia’s death.

So, then, the next time the left has some political power, why not just expand the size of the supreme court and add another handful of justices? Make Brett Kavanaugh a gifted and energetic member of a 10-to-5 minority. Don’t get mad, in other words: get even.

This is called “court-packing”. And although it enjoys a long and distinguished history in America, anyone who suggests it today will be met – swiftly – by serious and sober realists, all of whom who are eager to explain the reasons that this cannot possibly work. Their arguments tend to take one of a few forms.

First, they say, this idea is counterproductive. If the Democrats pack the courts, Republicans will retaliate by packing the courts even more when next they are in power. (“It’s time,” these people assure you, “for some game theory.”) That is, if the left expands the court’s membership to 15, then the Republicans will expand it to 17, or 19, when they are in power next. And that makes sense until you remember: didn’t the Republicans already adjust the size of the court (shrinking it to eight, by refusing to consider Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination) when they had the power to do it?

And if, in a decade, the right did further expand the court and take back control of it … how would that leave the left in any position that’s worse than now? This objection (“what if they retaliate?!”) feels, in present circumstances, a bit like worrying that if the Allies invade Normandy, the Nazis will shoot at them. It’s not wrong, exactly, but it seems bereft of some of the essential context.

Another objection is more romantic. Court-packing, some worry, would destroy the legitimacy of the supreme court as a non-partisan institution – it would say farewell to the court as a forum where neutral principles, rather than ideology, governs. Whereas the game theorists of the prior objection are mostly annoying, this objection is almost sad: what can one say to it but “Oh, honey?”

Every well-socialized adult must decide for him- or herself the decision that represents, for them, the definitive refutation of this Schoolhouse Rock vision of the American judiciary. Young socialists just coming of age will probably choose Janus v AFSCME – the culmination of a calculated, six-year political hit on public-sector labor unions. Elder Democrats can rally around their disdain for Shelby county (which invalidated a major portion of the Voting Rights Act) or Citizens United (which paved the way for unlimited corporate spending in elections). The truly wizened might remind us all of Bush v Gore (which … well, you know that one).

But this is not a coming-of-age experience limited to the left: even conservatives are eager to explain how Obergefell v Hodges (which recognized a constitutional right to same-sex marriage) or Roe v Wade (which … well, again, you know) or a dozen other decisions prove the court is an institution dedicated to the advancement of elite liberal victories in the culture wars. The point is: if the legitimacy of the Supreme Court depends on it being an institution above politics, then the Rubicon was crossed – however one counts – quite some time ago. Alea iacta est.

At bottom, though, opponents of court-packing have a burden to supply a superior alternative. The court is firmly in the grips of young conservatives who will serve for decades. What is to be done? Writing more persuasive briefs is not a hopeful strategy. Term limits don’t even begin to solve the problem. Accepting defeat is a non-starter. And so although court-packing is deservedly controversial, its skeptics on the left must nonetheless answer a question to which they have yet to supply a convincing answer:

Do you have a better idea?


Christian leader Jerry Falwell urges Trump support: ‘He’s a moral person’ 

The evangelical Liberty University president, who helped give Trump the Christian vote in 2016, aims to influence voters again

October 9, 2018

by Harriet Sherwood in Lynchburg, Virginia

The Guardian

Donald Trump is a “good moral person” and an example to the nation, according to one of the most prominent evangelical Christians in the US.

Jerry Falwell, who is credited along with other evangelical leaders with delivering a huge Christian vote for Trump in 2016, said he had “no doubts, no hesitations” about supporting the president. “He is like Ronald Reagan on steroids.”

In an interview with the Guardian, Falwell also described the Democrats as fascists and “Brownshirts”, and said the US would be engaged in civil war if this was the 18th century rather than the 21st century.

Falwell is the president of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, a Christian establishment with more than 100,000 students on campus and enrolled in online courses. His close association with and vocal support for Trump has embedded Liberty’s reputation and influence as one of the most conservative educational institutions in the country. Falwell has invited Trump to speak at Liberty three times in the past six years, and was the first evangelical leader to endorse his presidential candidacy.

Last week, Falwell encouraged Liberty students to travel to Washington to support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at his appearance before the Senate judiciary committee. Some 300 students who took part were excused from attending classes for the day, normally a strict requirement at the university.

Falwell said he had known Trump personally since 2012, and talked to him “all the time”. He added: “I usually tweet something similar to what he tweets a day or two before him. We think alike.”

Asked if the president was a good moral example, Falwell said: “Absolutely. Ever since I’ve known him, he’s been a good, moral person, a strong leader, a tough leader – and that’s what this country needs.”

Whether Trump was a good Christian was a matter between him and God. “Evangelicals believe every human being is a sinner. We’re all imperfect, we’re all flawed, and we’re redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.”

His support for Trump stemmed from a belief that “after Ronald Reagan – and even with Reagan a little bit – the Republicans betrayed evangelicals. When they were in office, they didn’t take actions that were consistent with their campaign rhetoric.”

Falwell identified four key issues for conservative evangelical Christians: “Support for the state of Israel; strong national defense; traditional family values; and pro-life”. America’s prosperity was also essential to the Christian obligation to help the poor.

Polls show a drop in the proportion of white evangelicals from a peak in the 1990s of around 27% of the population to between 17% and 13% now.

Falwell, who is reported to earn almost $1m a year, has overseen Liberty University’s growth from “the brink of disaster” to “the most prosperous university in the US”. The institution has $1.7bn in endowments, and its gross assets topped $3bn in August.

However, there has been a small drop in enrollment according to figures released this week. Falwell declined to be drawn on whether his support for Trump had an impact.

“You don’t have to be a conservative to come here. You don’t have to be a Christian to come here. But people come here knowing what Liberty’s about, and the vast majority that do come here are conservative and are Christian.”

Nearly all universities in the US were “predominantly and vocally liberal. Liberty is no different except we’re on the other side”.

Falwell Jr said the Democratic party and its supporters were “no longer liberals – they’ve become fascists, they’re Brownshirts. You believe like them or you’re out.

“Poor Kanye West,” he said, referring to criticism of the star for wearing a Make America Great Again baseball cap. “He dared to have his own opinions and look what they did to him.”

He added: “The most intolerant people in the country are those that preach tolerance.”

Politics had never been more polarised, “not since the civil war. I don’t know where that takes you. I can’t imagine a war breaking out in a civilised society in the 21st century. But if this was the 18th century, I think it would end up in a war. It’s scary.”

Falwell suggested that next month’s midterm elections could produce a surprise. “Historically, whoever’s in power does poorly in the next midterms. But we’re in times that have never been replicated. Anything could happen. We could see a break in the historical trend.”

The mood of the country was still strongly behind Trump, he said. “The sentiment is there, it’s going to come down to turnout.”

Falwell’s father, the televangelist Jerry Falwell Sr, founded the Moral Majority in 1979, which mobilised Christians as a political force. It was instrumental in turning white Christian evangelicals away from traditional Democratic support to backing Republicans.


God Hates Fags!

October 9, 2018

by Christian Jürs

“It’s NOT OK to be gay. It will damn the soul, destroy the life, and doom any nation that tolerates such evil. God Hates Fags is a profound theological statement, which America needs more than it needs oxygen or bread.” — Westboro Baptist Church “News Release,” May 3, 1999.

Although an extreme attitude, the anti-homosexual hysteria expressed by the mid-west Baptist church is prevalent in the preachings and dogmas of the Evangelical, far-right Christian churches. A number of these churches have called for the imprisonment of all homosexuals and a few demand their execution.

That their views are increasingly at odds with the views of the general public is of no concern to them. In their minds, they are right, the others wrong and they will, by one means or another, force the majority to obey the minority.

The interesting part of this hysterical and irrational hatred can be found in the self-hatred of closet gays who have a significant representation in the ministries, but from a historical point of view, the great irony is that the icon of their religion, Jesus, was himself a practicing homosexual!

Not even the year of Jesus’ birth is known although many theologians have concluded that Jesus was born sometime in the autumn, between 11 and 13 CE. Also, there is disagreement about where Jesus was born. Different theologians, as opposed to historians, argue Bethlehem in Judea, and Nazareth.

That was prior to certain archeological discoveries in the Dead Sea area.

From the Dead Sea scrolls, we learn that Jesus was born in Alexandria, Egypt, to an Egyptian Jewish father and Egyptian mother.

He was not born in a stable in Bethlehem nor were there any wise men visiting nor a special star hovering overhead.

The basis of all of this revisionist material is clearly set forth in a scroll found at Cave #3 on the Dead Sea in 1953.

It is on parchment (used only for important documents…the rest were on papyrus) and was written at the time of Jesus, about 50-55 CE.

The document is the only extant period reference to Jesus; all the others were created, often out of whole cloth, two hundred years later, and in the case of significant paragraphs in Josephus, later Christian forgeries.

This revealing scroll has been forensically tested as to age, type of ink, handwriting etc and was very clearly created at the time and place indicated.

The text of the Dead Sea Scrolls were written in four different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Nabataean.

The scroll in question here, from cave #3 is in Nabataean, used from the 2nd century BCE to the 4th century CE

From this we discover that Jesus was a Jew but born in Alexandria, Egypt, ten years after the date ascribed in the Gospels to his nativity.

‘Bar Nasha’(son of man) was Jesus name for himself.

Jesus was not a Nazerene, as is often stated in the New Testament, but an Alexandrian Jew. His parents immigrated to Palestine, and the young Jesus joined the Essene religious movement where Jesus’ elder brother was a member of this religious and agricultural cult.  He subsequently became heavily involved in their revolts against the occupying Roman power, was one of the leaders in a revolt attempt, fled when the Roman troops attacked in a pre-emptive strike, leaving many of his fellow cult members to be captured by the Romans and all later crucified.

He escaped with a small number of Essenes to the desert where he remained until he died.

The interesting aspect of this is that the Essene cult was an all-male agricultural commune and very specifically homosexual in nature and practice.

In the scroll, Jesus’ sexual orientation is specifically addressed and names of his male lovers covered. It should be noted that the scrolls themselves were prepared by members of the Essene cult who were themselves homosexuals and therefore not critical of Jesus orientation.

During the Procuratorship of Antonius Felix (52 to 58 CE) Jesus amassed a mob of about 30,000 Palestinian Jewish dissidents, planning to attack Jerusalem and drive out the Roman garrison. One of Jesus’s Essene close associates, a man named Judas, informed Felix of the impending raid and it was stopped by Roman troops with a heavy loss of life for the rebels. Many were taken prisoner, tried and later crucified for rebellion against the Roman government but the period records show, very clearly, that their leader, Jesus from Alexandria, escaped and vanished into the desert.

Roman period writings show that this man came out of the desert with a force of 30,000 and went up the Mount of Olives in order to fall on the city of Jerusalem, expel the Roman garrison and become ruler. Felix engaged the Egyptian and his followers in battle and dispersed them, taking most of them prisoners.

Josephus, who lived and wrote during the period, wrote about this plot of an Egyptian Jew under the procurator Felix.

The history of Josephus is full of similar occurrences.,which show the state of mind of the Jewish population at the time of Jesus.

An attempted putsch by the Alexandrian Essene prophet, Jesus, would be fully in accord with it.

If we think of Jesus’ activism as such an attempt against Roman authority, the betrayal of the Essenes to the Roman authorities by Jesus’ co-conspirator, Judas, becomes understandable as well.

Marcus Antonius Felix was the Roman procurator of Iudaea Province 52-58 CE, in succession to Ventidius Cumanus.

The period of his rule was marked by internal feuds and disturbances on the part of the Jewish population, which he put down with great severity.

On returning to Rome, Felix was accused of using a dispute between the Jews and Syrians of Caesarea as a pretext to slay and plunder the inhabitants, but through the intercession of his brother, the freedman Pallas, who had great influence with the Emperor Nero, he escaped unpunished.

Porcius Festus succeeded him as procurator of Judea.

(In a following article, the Essenes and Jesus connection with them, will be discussed in detail. ed)


Benjamin Netanyahu Is No Friend to America

October 4, 2018

by Scott Ritter


Benjamin Netanyahu is no stranger to the American spotlight. A career Israeli politician who attended school in the United States, he specializes in the kind of rhetoric that his American counterparts revel in—a kind of narcissism that’s more used car salesman than educator.

Netanyahu specializes in selling danger to the American people. This is an art he has practiced on numerous occasions, whether it be at the gatherings of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), his many appearances before the U.S. Congress, at televised events or during the general debate in the United Nations General Assembly, an annual gathering of global leaders and diplomats where each nation’s representative is provided the opportunity to address counterparts and the world on issues he or she deems to be of particular import.

Bibi (as he is known, affectionately or otherwise) delivered his latest address to the General Assembly on Sept. 27. Like others he had delivered previously, this one was a tour de force of angst, fear and anger with a nearly singular focus on the issue that has seized Netanyahu for more than two decades—Iran and its alleged nuclear weapons program.

In his 1995 campaign autobiography, “Fighting Terrorism,” Netanyahu, preparing to run for the office of prime minister of Israel, asserted that Iran was “three to five years” away from having a nuclear bomb. Bibi repeated this claim several times over the next 20-plus years, apparently unconcerned by the fact that his self-appointed timetable kept coming and going without the Iranian nuclear threat manifesting itself.

In September 2002, when he briefly found himself a private citizen, Netanyahu shifted his aim to Iraq, which he confidently asserted had a nuclear weapons program as he touted the benefits of removing Saddam Hussein from power—this during so-called “expert” testimony before the U.S. Congress. He was wrong on both counts, a fact that seems to slip the minds of those who continue to assign him a semblance of credibility given his proximity to Israel’s vaunted intelligence service.

As someone who spent four years (from 1994 to 1998) working closely with Israel’s intelligence service to uncover the truth about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs, I can attest that Israeli intelligence is better than most at what it does, but far from perfect. For every good lead the Israelis delivered to the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), for which I was working at the time, they provided a dozen or more that did not pan out. Their detailed analysis about the alleged organization and structure of Iraq’s covert nuclear program proved to be far removed from the truth. They got names wrong, affiliations wrong, locations wrong—in short, the Israelis made the exact same mistakes as any other intelligence service.

Iraq was a denied area, made less so by the presence of UNSCOM weapons inspectors like me who had unprecedented access to the most sensitive national security sites in the country. And still the Israelis got it wrong. They did so not because of “bad intelligence,” but because they, like the CIA and other intelligence agencies around the world, were privy to the vast amount of information and data collected by UNSCOM inspectors about the true state of Iraq’s proscribed weapons and related programs. They suffered from the same lack of imagination as did the others that postulated a nuclear-armed Iraq circa 2002, unwilling to consider the possibility that Saddam Hussein might be telling the truth about not having retained any weapons and related capabilities prohibited by the Security Council resolution. This same lack of imagination appears to fuel Netanyahu’s increasingly wild claims about Iran.

It is no secret that Netanyahu has opposed the Iran nuclear deal—officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action, or JCPOA—since the possibility of a negotiated solution to the stand-off between Iran and the rest of the world was put on the table by the Obama administration in 2012. He lobbied hard against the agreement, interjecting himself in American domestic politics in an unprecedented fashion to undermine the negotiations.

When Donald Trump won the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Netanyahu found a kindred spirit whose intellectual curiosity would not permit any effective challenge to the narrative constructed by the Israeli prime minister. And when Trump faced resistance from his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, he simply replaced them with more compliant persons, Mike Pompeo and John Bolton respectively.

Trump’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA was facilitated not by any supporting brief from the U.S. intelligence community, which held fast to the assessment that Iran was fully compliant with its obligations under the JCPOA, but rather by intel provided by Israel that featured wild claims of an operation in the heart of Tehran; hundreds of thousands of documents purported to outline a nuclear program that Iran insisted did not exist. In April 2018, Bibi unveiled the existence of what he termed Iran’s “Atomic Archive” as he detailed some of its contents, allegedly recovered during an Israeli operation.

While Netanyahu’s dramatic presentation proved to be enough to help push Trump into withdrawing from the JCPOA the following month, it failed to convince the rest of the world that Iran was operating in bad faith when it came to declaring the totality of its nuclear program. One of the main reasons for this is that the tale put forward by Bibi simply didn’t add up. Documents he presented as being derived from the newly captured archive were recognized by officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)—which, along with supporting governments, is responsible for implementing the JCPOA—as matching those presented to the agency more than a decade ago. That cache of documents was allegedly recovered from a laptop computer sourced to an Iranian opposition group by Israeli intelligence.

At best, there is nothing new in these materials, and all the underlying issues alleged to have been “exposed” had already been discussed and rectified by the IAEA and Iran prior to the rectification of the JCPOA. At worst, Netanyahu was lying about the Israeli intelligence operation, and simply recycling old material—which may have been manufactured by Israel to begin with back in 2004—simply to provide political cover for Donald Trump.

Netanyahu spent much of his Sept. 27 address before the General Assembly detailing an alleged “Atomic Warehouse,” supposedly uncovered by Israeli intelligence in the heart of Tehran. As was the case with the “Atomic Archive” facility, Netanyahu made grand claims about Iranian malfeasance: The site contained “15 ship containers full of nuclear-related equipment and material,” along with “15 kilograms of radioactive material” that Iran allegedly evacuated from the site to evade detection. (Netanyahu seems to have overlooked the fact that the U.S. Department of Energy, prior to the JCPOA and in anticipation of such a scenario, “evacuated” nuclear material from one of its facilities during an exercise, only to have evidence of its existence uncovered by inspectors wielding the same detection capabilities as the IAEA.)

Netanyahu alleged that Iran was maintaining both an “Atomic Archive” and an “Atomic Warehouse” so that it could reconstitute its nuclear weapons program when the “time is right,” ostensibly when the sunset clauses of the JCPOA, which limit the number of centrifuges Iran can operate, expire. As with the “Atomic Archive” story, however, outside of Trump and his inner circle of anti-Iranian acolytes, informed American officials aren’t buying the Israeli leader’s tale, noting that Netanyahu has exaggerated the scope and scale of the warehouse in question. (These officials claim that the “material” being stored there is documentary in nature, a far cry from the “equipment” claimed by Netanyahu.)

Netanyahu bemoaned the fact that the world was promised “anywhere, anytime” inspections in Iran, and yet the IAEA has failed to take any steps to investigate the revelations provided by Israel. The reality is that the JCPOA promised no such thing. “Anywhere, anytime” was an artificial construct cobbled together by opponents of the deal by denigrating the investigatory capabilities of the IAEA. Moreover, the IAEA is intimately familiar with the quality of the intelligence information provided by Israel in the past, having spent months with Iran carefully deconstructing the claims contained within. The agency is hesitant to fall victim to Israeli exaggerations and falsifications again, and rightfully so.

More importantly, the JCPOA has a detailed mechanism in place to investigate claims such as those put forth by Israel. But by precipitously withdrawing from the JCPOA, the Trump administration has removed itself from that process. This means that Israel would need to turn to the Europeans, Russians or Chinese to plead its case. And the fact that neither France nor Germany nor the United Kingdom has picked up the mantle of Israel’s claims points to the inherent weakness of its intelligence. Netanyahu may be able to play siren to Trump’s Ulysses in order to crash America’s ship onto Iranian shoals, but the rest of the world is not following suit.

The American people should not tolerate this continued intrusion into their affairs by an outsider whose previous lies, prevarications and provocations helped get the United States entangled in one war, all the while advocating for our involvement in another. Bibi Netanyahu has a problem with telling the truth, and we give power to his words and deeds by not calling him out for what he truly is—a habitual liar with the blood of thousands of our fellow citizens on his hands. Netanyahu claims he is a friend of the American people. He is, in fact, the furthest thing from it.


Saudi Arabia’s Weakness Is Showing After a Week of Bad Publicity

October 5, 2018

by Patrick Cockburn

The Independent

Over the past half century, critics have often predicted the fall of the House of Saud or emphasised the fragility of its rule. They were invariably proved wrong because the Saudi monarchy enjoyed limitless oil revenues, had the support of the US, and avoided becoming a front-line combatant in Middle East crises.

Saudi strengths and weaknesses may have been long debated but the Kingdom’s vulnerabilities have seldom been so starkly on display as they were last Tuesday because the coincidence of two very different events. Before a rally in Mississippi, President Trump stated – brutally and without qualification – the dependence of the Saudi monarchy on US support and the price it must pay for such backing.

“We protect Saudi Arabia,” Trump told the cheering audience. “Would you say they’re rich? And I love the King, King Salman. But I said ‘King – we’re protecting you – you might not be there for two weeks without us – you have to pay for your military’.” Outbursts by Trump tend to be more calculated than they sound and he only humiliates allies in this way when he knows he can get away with it.

Trump’s contemptuous reference to the instability of Saudi Arabia  was given greater significance by another dramatic event which happened a few hours earlier some 6,000 miles away in Istanbul. The prominent Saudi journalist and critic of his country’s government, Jamal Khashoggi, failed to emerge from the Saudi consulate where he was doing some paperwork relating to his divorce and impending marriage.

Khashoggi has not been seen since. The Turkish authorities, no doubt delighted to be able to present themselves as defenders of journalistic freedom, say he is still inside the consulate. Saudi officials claim that he left the building, though surveillance cameras prove he did not do so on foot, so, if he did leave, it was presumably in a diplomat’s car, possibly in the boot. Khashoggi’s fiance was left waiting disconsolately outside the consulate gates.

The best that can be hoped for is that the blast of international criticism over the incident will lead Khashoggi to reappear, perhaps denying that he was ever detained. This was the bizarre experience of the Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri in November last year when he disappeared during a visit to Riyadh and resigned his post on television before reappearing thanks to French government pressure.

The fate of Khashoggi, whatever the outcome of the present furore, carries an important message about the present state of Saudi Arabia. If he has been forcibly detained, as the Turkish government says, then it is a self-harming act of stupidity. It elevates him from being a minor irritant to a cause célèbre and a continuing mystery about his whereabouts ensures that the story is not going to go away.

It is early days yet but the Khashoggi disappearance has released a torrent of negative publicity about Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. This was wholly predictable. It is a curious fact about publicity that horrendous events – like the Saudi-led war in Yemen that has brought five million children to the verge of starvation – has failed to make its way to the top of the international news agenda. The slaughter is too great and the place too distant and ill-reported for most people to take on board and react to the horrors underway there.

Something on a smaller scale, like the disappearance of a critic of the Saudi government while his fiance waits for him in the street, is much easier to understand and respond to. Often, the all-too-common disappearance of journalists has the simple objective of silencing them and intimidating others. “Let them hate us so long as they fear us,” is the point being crudely made.

But the crown prince had hoped for a more positive image in the international media and his expectations have seldom been disappointed. Take a look at the piece by The New York Times columnist Thomas L Friedman in November last year about the four hours he spent with him: “We met at night at his family’s ornate adobe-walled palace in Ouja, north of Riyadh,” he writes. He describes Saudi Arabia as being in the throes of its version of the Arab Spring that ‘”will not only change the character of Saudi Arabia but the tone and tenor of Islam across the globe. Only a fool would predict its success – but only a fool would not root for it.”

Khashoggi was one of those fools who balanced between reasoned criticism and outright dissent. Going by Friedman’s account of Saudi public opinion he was a lonely voice because “not a single Saudi I spoke to here over three days expressed anything other than effusive support for this anticorruption drive.” But could it be that this impressive display of unanimity might have something to do with the fact anybody expressing a hint of criticism – like economist Essam al-Zamel – may find themselves clapped in jail on charges of terrorism and treason.

Hagiographic journalistic reports on Saudi Arabia may be more difficult to retail in future in the wake of the Khashoggi scandal. Already, some longtime backers of the country are jumping ship. One of them, Elliott Abrams, is quoted as saying that “the Saudi government is either keeping him [Khashoggi] in the consulate building or has kidnapped him and taken him to Saudi Arabia.” He warns that the reputation of the current Saudi government could “be harmed irreparably.”

The proposed economic reforms in Saudi Arabia have always sounded like wishful thinking. Deep scepticism is the correct approach to government-backed radical change in any country dependent on revenues from oil and other natural resources. Anticorruption campaigns simply redistribute the spoils to a new gang of well-connected predators. Much of the population has got too used to getting well-paid patronage jobs in return for little or no work. Domestic industry and agriculture cannot compete unless heavily subsidised. The system is too convenient to too many to be uprooted: opposition to corruption and patronage gets a thumbs up so long as it involves no personal sacrifice of any kind.

Saudi economic problems are serious, but not necessarily disastrous. More destabilising for the Kingdom is the extent to which Saudi Arabia is now demonstrably operating beyond its real strength in the region as its its more adventurous foreign policy over the last three years backfires.

The list of failures is impressive: Saudi-led bombing in Yemen since 2015 has not defeated the Houthis, but it has produced the greatest manmade famine on earth; increased help for the Syrian armed opposition the same year provoked Russian military intervention and has brought President Bashar al-Assad close to victory; the quarrel with Qatar has weakened all the Gulf monarchies; confrontation with Iran  is a conflict that can never be won.

As Mikhail Gorbachev discovered after the first heady days of trying to change the Soviet Union, reforms are more likely to capsize an existing systems of government than improve it.


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

October 9, 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. 55

Date: Monday, December 30, 1996

Commenced: 8:45 AM CST

Concluded: 9:21 AM CST

RTC: Hello, Gregory. Have a nice Christmas?

GD: Wonderful. I got a sled, some bunny slippers, a silencer for my shotgun, a pornographic Bible, three pair of socks that were too small and a dead turtle. Yourself?

RTC: Somehow, I don’t believe you. Christmas was fine here. I take it you did not have an extensive Christmas.

GD: The rabbit died and we were in deep mourning. But then we ate it and felt much better.

RTC: I could send a sympathy card.

GD: Just flush it down the loo. It might meet up with what’s left of the rabbit. Robert, to be serious, you said that Corson did not like Mark Lane. He represented Carto in a lawsuit and I was wondering what was the reason for the bad feeling?

RTC: My God, Gregory, this is like an old auntie’s sewing circle. Everyone here hates everyone else, tells lies, sticks out their tongues at each other and acts like small children. There was a lawsuit of the Keystone Cops type. Victor Marchetti, who used to be one of ours but got booted out, wrote an article for the Spotlight paper saying that Hunt had been in Dallas on the day Kennedy was shot. He was. Hunt sued the paper and got a judgment. The paper fought back and got Mark Lane to defend them.

GD: The Oswald lawyer?

RTC: The same. So they went back and forth. Marchetti is a fat slob who thinks he is very important when we who really know him consider him to be a chattering nut. Hunt is grossly incompetent but the reason why Corson hates Lane and everyone else, is that Marchetti claimed he got this information about Hunt in Dallas on November 22nd from Corson. Corson got dragged over the coals by Lane and clearly was proved to be a liar. However, there was a third person there when Corson told his little story to Marchetti and that’s what nailed him. Poor Bill. He always has to put his oar in, needed or not.

GD: Well, he told Kimmel that he knew some secret British soldier who told Corson about the Roosevelt/Churchill conversation. Corson claimed he backed it up. Kimmel went for this like a duck after a June bug, but I can’t believe it. Who was this mysterious witness? Corson said his lips were sealed.

RTC: Too bad that isn’t true.

GD: Back and forth. I know Corson has lectured me on a subject that I knew far better that he did but I just kept quiet and acted impressed. Didn’t he get court-martialed?

RTC: My God, Gregory, don’t ever go into that one. Look, these people like Bill and Trento, Marchetti and the rest of them, are like squirrels in the park running around begging nuts from the public. This is the Beltway, Gregory. It’s a hot house. Someone sees the President from about two hundred feet away, driving past in his armored limousine and then tells his friends that he had a chance to talk to the President that afternoon and the President told him….and that’s how it goes. Trento thinks he is a brilliant writer, Bill thinks he’s a mover and shaker, Marchetti sees himself as a secret agent and Hunt has just enough sense to put on his pants before going outside to get the paper. These are the hangers-on, Gregory, the wannabes as the current generation calls them.

GD: Ah, Robert, but you were actually there, you knew from doing it. The sun versus the moon. The moon reflects the glory of another. Does that role make you happy?

RTC: It makes me sad sometimes. And they run around acting like old women. Chatter, chatter, boast, back-stab, strut and eventually die. We all die, Gregory, but some take a long time to do it. I’m pleasant with them because perhaps they can help me but I am giving up with most of them. I thought Costello would be a good outlet but I gave up on him long before he died last year. Trento thinks he’s a great intelligence writer but he reminds me of a wino rooting around in old dumpsters for chicken bones. Bill hints at great secrets that only he knows and Hunt is a bumbling idiot and we should have done him instead of his wife. Marchetti is a little bit of all of them. If you listen to them, Gregory, they will convince you that big black cars drive up in front of their homes, every evening, and give them briefcases full of very secret papers. You know the types.

GD: I do, Robert, I really do. I love it when one of your pinheads starts telling me about German intelligence. Oh yes, and what about Nosenko?

RTC: A Russian double agent that Angleton mismanaged.

GD: Was Angleton Italian?

RTC: No, half Mexican. He spoke wop from his father, having lived there and sold cash registers but he was a Mexican. He was well-connected with the mob, though.

GD: Mueller told me about Boris Pash…

RTC: That asshole. A gym teacher with more dreams of glory.

GD: Heini said that Pash tried to kill the Italian Communist leader.

RTC: Togliatti. Yes, but he missed. They always miss, Gregory.

GD: I have an Irish friend who never does. He prefers a knife but bombs will do very well.

RTC: I think you mentioned him. Mountbatten?

GD: The same. Now that’s a professional. And he doesn’t talk like the rest of them.

RTC: Real professionals never do.

GD: So if we both agree on what constitutes a professional agent, how do you analyze Corson, Kimmel, Marchetti, Trento and the others? Are they agents? Kimmel works for the FBI, Marchetti used to work for your people and the others?

RTC: What we have there is the wannabe club, Gregory. All of them think they are important people and, because they have, or have had, connections with the intelligence community, they begin to feel, somehow, that they are possessors of the secrets that others do not have. This elevates them from boredom and real obscurity and makes them believe that they are privy to those who really do walk in the corridors of power. I am the one, pardon the vanity, with the secrets and I am the one who walked once in the corridors of power so they gather around me, snapping up any little bit of information I choose to drop. There are many things I would like people I know, such as my family, to know about. I would like not to leave a legacy of mystery and negativity behind me. I know Corson and the others would like to have a private club type of inner knowledge, to sit around the fire solemnly talking about great secrets they have known. Never happen. When I go, they go. It’s that basic. I had thought once to cultivate Costello and let him speak for me but I gave up on him after his visit with you. The man was brittle, opinionated and as blind as a bat. Kimmel is an establishment man with no creative juices, Corson runs around barking like one of those obnoxious little Mexican dogs that were once raised for food, Marchetti reminds me of a drunken little rat running around in a barn, trying to get out. And when he does get out, he runs around outside trying to get back in. Trento and his wife are delusional and self important and love to mix it up with losers and never-could-have-beens.

GD: Basking, like the moon, in reflected glory.

RTC: Absolutely. And these are at the top of the rank amateur clubs. Down below them, we find the “experts” and the “researchers” who represent the bottom of the pyramid. They are the ones who scribble, jabber and strut. They look upwards to the top for the voices of the masters. They all feed on each other, Gregory. Their little worlds are all they have and if someone like you, especially someone like you, comes along, they loathe, fear and despise you. You see, you are the real thing and they are just wearing Halloween costumes and they know it. After Costello returned from his visit with you and spent hours telling me how terrible and unpleasant you were, I put this down to simple jealousy and thought that perhaps I might look into you myself. And that’s why we’re talking right this very moment.

GD: Thank you for your approval, Robert. I agree with you, but they are wearing the gold-braided clown suits and go to clubs and meetings and, like old peacocks, preen endlessly. What you tell me I already know, Robert, but short of grabbing them by their throats and banging their heads against the wall, there isn’t much I can do…

RTC: Except to out-produce them, Gregory. And they know you can do it and they hate you for it. A week does not go by without my getting some kind of a phone call about what a terrible, evil person you are and warning me never to talk with you. Notice how impressed I have been with these dire warnings. But please make my life a little easier in my old age by not quoting me to any of these cheap hustlers. If they really get it into their heads that I am being informative to you, they will call me every other day, warn Greg and Emily to protect me from you and then do everything in their shabby little power to trash you. Do not, and I repeat, do not trust any of them, ever. I think we understand this all, don’t we?

GD: Oh, yes. I never trusted these sort anyway. They remind me of old aunties or, even worse, academics. Both of them gossip, chatter, denigrate everyone not present and can’t sleep well at night unless they feel they have damaged someone else that day. They see themselves as giants and, in fact, they are small, chattering mice. But, and I am sure you know all about this, we have to put up with them in order to get along with the really important matters. Don’t worry about making myself vulnerable to these types. It ends up that they make themselves vulnerable to me in the end. What is the saying? Out of nothing, nothing is made.

(Concluded at 9:21 AM CST)


Student Loan Debt Statistics In 2018: A $1.5 Trillion Crisis

by Zack Friedman


Student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category – behind only mortgage debt – and higher than both credit cards and auto loans.

According to Make Lemonade, there are more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. alone. The average student in the Class of 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt.

The latest student loan debt statistics for 2018 show how serious the student loan debt crisis has become – for borrowers across all demographics and age groups.

If you are a student loan borrower, the following student loan debt statistics can help you make more informed decisions regarding student loan refinance, student loan consolidation, student loan repayment and student loan forgiveness.

Student Loan Statistics: Overview

  • Total Student Loan Debt: $1.52 trillion
  • Total U.S. Borrowers With Student Loan Debt: 44.2 million
  • Student Loan Delinquency Or Default Rate: 10.7% (90+ days delinquent)
  • Total Increase In Student Loan Debt In Most Recent Quarter: $29 billion
  • New Delinquent Balances (30+ days): $32.6 billion


New Delinquent Balances – Seriously Delinquent (90+ days): $31 billion

(Source: As of 1Q 2018, Federal Reserve & New York Federal Reserve)

States With The Most Student Loan Debt

Not surprisingly, states with larger populations have higher aggregate student loan debt. California, Florida, Texas and New York are among the four highest states for total student loan debt outstanding among resident borrowers.

California, Florida, Texas and New York represent more than 20% of all U.S. student loan borrowers.

New Hampshire has the highest average student loan debt per student ($36,367) from the Class of 2016.

Utah has the lowest average student loan debt per student ($19,975) from the Class of 2016.

Student Loan Debt Per Capita In Select U.S. States

In the U.S., as of 2016, the average student loan debt per capita is $4,920. Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan have among the highest student loan debt per capita in the nation.

  • Arizona: $4,760
  • California: $4,160
  • Florida: $4,480
  • Michigan: $5,330
  • New York: $5,570
  • Ohio: $5,700
  • Pennsylvania: $5,690
  • Texas: $4,510

Distribution Of Student Loan Borrowers By Balance

As of 2018, more than 42 million student loan borrowers have student loan debt of $100,000 or less.

More than 2 million student loan borrowers have student loan debt greater than $100,000, with 415,000 of that total holding student loan debt greater than $200,000.

The largest concentration of student loan debt is $10,000 – $25,000, which accounts for 12.4 million student loan borrowers.

Over the past five years, student loan debt balances have grown across each age category.

On a percentage basis, the largest increase in student loan debt has come from a surprising age group: 60 to 69-year-olds, who have experienced an 71.5% increase in student loan debt. However, on a dollar basis, this age group represents a $35.6 billion increase over the same period, which is the lowest increase among all age groups.

On a dollar basis, the highest increase in student loan debt is among 30 to 39-year-olds, who as a group now hold over $461 billion in student loans. On a percentage basis, the amount of student loan debt held by 30-39 year-olds has increased 30.2% over the past five years.

The largest concentration of student loan borrowers is under 30-years-old, followed by the 30-39 age group.

Therefore, there are 29.1 million student loan borrowers under the age of 39, with this group representing approximately 65% of all student loan borrowers.

As of 2017, here is the breakdown of student loan borrowers by age.

  • < 30-years-old: 16.8 million
  • 30-39: 12.3 million
  • 40-49: 7.3 million
  • 50-59: 5.2 million
  • 60+: 3.2 million

Student Loan Debt Outstanding By Student Loan Program

Over 33 million student loan borrowers hold approximately $1.1 billion in Direct Loans. Another 14.5 million student loan borrowers hold $301 billion in Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL).

Direct Loans: $1,066.8 billion (33.3 million borrowers)

Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL): $301.1 billion (14.5 million borrowers)

Perkins Loans: $7.6 billion (2.5 million borrowers)

TOTAL: $1,375.5 billion

  • Student Loan Debt Outstanding By Student Loan Type
  • Stafford Subsidized: $272.2 billion (29.6 million borrowers)
  • Stafford Unsubsidized: $463.3 billion (28.4 million borrowers)
  • Stafford Combined: $735.5 billion (33.0 million unique borrowers)
  • Grad PLUS: $59.6 billion (1.2 million borrowers)
  • Parent PLUS: $83.7 billion (3.5 million borrowers)
  • Perkins: $7.6 billion (2.5 million borrowers)
  • Consolidation: $489.0 billion (12.0 million borrowers)

Student Loan Debt Statistics By Loan Status For Direct Loans

Approximately $600 billion in Direct Loans across 17.8 million student loan borrowers are in student loan repayment. Approximately 11 million student loan borrowers are in student loan deferment, student loan forbearance or student loan default.

  • Student Loans In School: $133.5 billion (7.4 million borrowers)
  • Student Loans In Repayment: $600.0 billion (17.8 million borrowers)
  • Student Loans In Deferment: $103.0 billion (3.3 million borrowers)
  • Student Loans in Forbearance: $108.3 billion borrowers (2.6 million borrowers)
  • Student Loans In Default: $88.4 billion (4.7 million borrowers)
  • Student Loans In Grace Period: $25.9 billion borrowers (1.2 million borrowers)
  • Student Loan Debt Statistics By Repayment Plan For Direct Loans

There are 12.8 million borrowers with $233.5 billion of student loan debt in the Level Student Loan Repayment Plan (student loan repayment in 10 years or less), which represents the largest concentration of borrowers in student loan repayment.

The second most concentrated group of borrowers is enrolled in Income-Based Repayment (IBR) at $192.0 billion and 3.6 million borrowers.

  • Level Repayment Plan  (< 10 years): $233.5 billion (12.8 million borrowers)
  • Level Repayment Plan (> 10 years): $79.1 billion (1.8 million borrowers)
  • Graduated Repayment Plan (< 10 years): $88.3 billion (3.3 million borrowers)
  • Graduated Repayment Plan (> 10 years): $14.3 billion (0.3 million borrowers)
  • Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan: $27.6 billion (0.6 million borrowers)
  • Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan: $192.0 billion (3.6 million borrowers)
  • Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Plan: $68.3 billion (1.2 million borrowers)
  • Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Plan: $108.8 billion (2.0 million borrowers)
  • Servicer Portfolio By Repayment Plan

As of December 31, 2017, AES/PHEAA (otherwise known as FedLoan Servicing) and Navient service the largest portfolios of student loans in repayment in the U.S. FedLoan Servicing is the largest servicer of federal direct and Federal Family Education Loans.

The most popular student loan repayment plan is the Level Repayment Plan, which means student loan repayment in less than 10 years, followed by REPAYE (Revised Pay As You Earn).

Other Important Student Loan Debt Statistics

In addition, there are several other startling statistics regarding the state of student loan debt:

  • Nearly seven in 10 seniors (68%) who graduated from public and non-profit colleges in 2015 had student loan debt.
  • In 2012, 1.3 million students graduated with student loan debt.
  • In 2012, 66% graduated from public colleges, 75% graduated from private colleges and 88% graduated from for-profit colleges.
  • Almost half (47%) of private loan borrowers in 2011-12 borrowed less than they could have in federal Stafford loans for college.
  • While private loan volume peaked at $18.1 billion in 2007-2008, private loan volume is now $7.8 billion as of 2014-2015.
  • 6% of all undergraduates – 1,373,000 students – borrowed private loans in 2011-12.
  • Four out of five 2016 graduates with state loan debt attended schools in just four states: Texas, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and

New Jersey that awarded only 14% of bachelor’s degrees.

  • Of the 100 colleges where graduates borrow most in private loans, 85 are nonprofit four-year colleges and 34 are located in Pennsylvania.
  • At public colleges, average debt in 2012 was $25,550 (25% higher than in 2008, when the average was $20,450).
  • At private nonprofit colleges, average debt in 2012 was $32,300 (15% higher than in 2008, when the average was $28,200).
  • At for-profit colleges, average debt in 2012 was $39,950 (26% higher than in 2008, when the average was $31,800).
  • About 20% of the Class of 2012’s student loans were private student loans.
  • Graduates who receive Pell Grants are more likely to borrow more debt: 88% had student loans in 2012, with an average of $31,200 per borrower.
  • Graduates who did not receive Pell Grants: 53% of those who never received a Pell Grant had debt, with an average of $26,450 per borrower — $4,750 less than the average debt for Pell recipients with debt.

(Source: The Institute for College Access and Success)

Student Loan Forgiveness

Student loan forgiveness comes in several forms. Two of the most popular types of student loan forgiveness are Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness.

As of December 31, 2017, there are 802,040 cumulative Public Service Loan Forgiveness borrowers.

Since 2012, 1,361,184 employment certification forms have been approved and 705,362 have been denied.

(The above student loan debt statistics include data from The New York Federal Reserve Credit Panel/Equifax, The Institute For College Access and Success, National Student Loan Data System, Mark Kantrowitz, Federal Student Aid and FedLoan Servicing).










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