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TBR News April 20, 2019

Apr 20 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. April  20, 2019: “Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for April 20:A subsection of Congress, that conducts clandestine investigations, has been extensively probing the activities of senior members of the White House staff. One of their investigators interviewed me, (and a few others I know) yesterday and the interview lasted two hours and was very detailed. There is no question Trump is due for some great surprises very soon. I had very little of importance to say but I said it. And was sworn to silence.”

The Table of Contents

  • Encyclopedia of American Loons

-Gayle DeLong

-Ed Decker

-Jay Seegert and the cssmwi

  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • The key unanswered questions from the Mueller report
  • Democrats file subpoena for full Mueller report
  • We don’t need the Mueller report
  • William Barr Misled Everyone About the Mueller Report. Now Democrats Are Calling for His Resignation.
  • Hospitals Feel the Weight of Treating the Severely Obese

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Gayle DeLong

Age of Autism is an antivaccine cesspool if there ever was one, and Gayle DeLong is zealous. DeLong is among those who refuse to let go of that most cherished and thoroughly refuted piece of nonsense, that vaccines are causally linked to autism. Originally, the idea was that mercury in vaccines was the culprit. The fact that thimerosal is safe, has been removed from all childhood vaccines since the conspiracy was first launched, and was never in the MMR vaccine anyways is not going to deter DeLong, for “although mercury has been removed from many vaccines, the remaining mercury as well as other culprits such as aluminum and live viruses may link vaccines to autism.” Heck, she has even published a study suggesting such a link in a low-tier journal. DeLong is not a scientist but a faculty member in the Department of Economics and Finance in the Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College/City University of New York. Nor does she know much about science, and the study design of the study in question suggests complete incompetence – or perhaps an attempt to avoid a rigorous design out of a suspicion that a good study design would fail to give her the results she wanted (details here and here). That the referees for the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health failed to notice is good evidence that the journal is one you should not put a lot of trust in. One Margaret Dunkle nevertheless took the bait and used DeLong’s article as part of a hysterically idiotic antivaxx article for the Baltimore Sun.

Apparently DeLong also managed to get a commentary in some journal called Accountability in Research entitled “Conflicts of Interest in Vaccine Safety Research”. Oh, yes, there is a conspiracy, no less. Doctors who fail to find an association between vaccines and autism are scientists at research institution who know their stuff in the pocket of science Big Pharma – as opposed to Andrew Wakefield and concerned parents who torture data into arguing for such a link based on no understanding of the science whatsoever. She cannot cite a single instance of distortion of the data in the science she rejects, of course, but she blithely asserts that FDA is in on the game. The evidence is apparently that they deny a vaccine-autism connection, and since she thinks there is one there must be a cover-up. What other possible explanation could there be?

The important point, of course, is that it doesn’t matter what science or evidence says – DeLong and her merry band of antivaccinationists don’t need to try to engage with any of that, since all those scientists are tainted by conflicts of interests and collusions with BigPharma. Their theory is thus unfalsifiable. Therefore they must be correct.

DeLong does, however, have two daughters with autism; both “have benefited greatly from supplements, diet, chelation, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.” Right. She is also a former member of SafeMind’s research committee and has participated in various antivaxx rallies.

In 2014, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which is, to emphasize, something we don’t wish on anyone. We still need to mention that she, rather tastelessly, referred to her condition as “autism-induced breast cancer”. You see, she blames it on having to deal with her autistic kids (and hence, ultimately, on vaccines). “There is virtually no cancer in my family, I eat organically, I exercise, I’m a good weight.” So, caring for children with autism is the only remaining possibility. Yes, even yours truly is left somewhat speechless both by the inference and the premises. But the core idea is actually pretty typical of pseudoscience: As long as you stay healthy and have the right attitude, you avoid cancer; so if you get cancer … well, never mind that the association between stress and cancer is at best “weak”. She also used the diagnosis to launch a pseudoscientific tirade against chemotherapy.

Diagnosis: A truly horrible person, unfortunately. We’re sure she means well, but it really doesn’t matter much when your premises are so detached from reality as DeLong’s pseudoscientific nonsense in fact is.

Ed Decker

A veritable legend in pseudoscience and religious conspiracy theory circles, John Edward Decker is particularly famous for his studies, books, and public presentations on the perceived negative aspects of the LDS church … as well as Freemasonry, for good measure (they’re related, according to Decker). Decker is himself a former member of the LDS Church and a prominent early member of a fundie group for ex-Mormons called Saints Alive in Jesus. His views are nicely laid out in his book The God Makers: A Shocking Expose of What the Mormon Church Really Believes (co-authored with Dave Hunt). Of course, it is not particularly difficult to find some quaint beliefs and poor reasoning in the LDS church, but Decker sort of chooses a different line of attack. After the book had been turned into a documentary, Decker promptly claimed to have prevented millions of conversions to the Mormon church, but was unable to substantiate the conjecture.

According to Decker, Mormonism isn’t only silly, it is sinister: Dark, supernatural forces are guiding the movement: “[A] careful investigation indicates that Joseph Smith was in touch with a superhuman source of revelation and power that has been the common inspiration behind all pagan religions down through history.” I don’t think “careful investigation” means what Decker thinks it means. It’s all about spiritual warfare, and like the teachings of C. Peter Wagner, Decker’s views are heavily influenced by various fantasy books and Hollywood horror movies of the 70s. In the 1980s Decker even worked with William Schnoebelen, no less – and Schnoebelen wrote an article, “Joseph Smith and the Temple of Doom” for Decker’s newsletter (a title that should give you an idea of how Decker and Schnoebelen view Mormon practices). When criticized by other anti-Mormon activists, such as Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Decker and his gang promptly accused them of being double agents for the Mormons and, for good measure, possessed by evil spirits – the proof of demonic possession apparently being the fact that they refused an offer of exorcism.

On Freemasonry, Decker has written What You Need To Know About Masons and The Dark Side of Freemasonry, as well as (with one Ron Carlson) Fast facts on false teachings, which deals with “false systems of worship” in general, including Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, and the Word of Faith movement. As for freemasons, they are responsible for the design of the street layout of Washington, D.C. to deliberately incorporate occult symbols, including an inverted pentagram with the bottom pointing directly at the White House (yes, that one). Most conspiracy theorists are stumped on the question of why they would do that, but Decker isn’t, since he doesn’t require a rational basis for the answer anyways: “The satanic pentagram under which the White House sits is an open door through which Satan has access to our president.”

Apparently the freemasons have, in return for his efforts, tried to poison him with “a lethal dose of arsenic”, but God saved him. They also steal anti-Masonic books like his from libraries, which is proof that they are evil, even though the only evidence he provides for such thefts is the fact that they are an evil conspiracy and evil conspiracies do these kinds of things (also, those who pick up Decker’s books from the libraries may not always have the sort of presence of mind that make them reliable and timely returners of library books).

Diagnosis: At least he doesn’t underestimate his own self-importance, which really seems to be what is driving a lot of these conspiracy theorists. Batshit insane.

Jay Seegert and the cssmwi

John Scudamore, the guy who runs (and apparently believes everything written on) whale.to is British (Herefordshire), so unfortunately he has to be disqualified.

CSSMWI and its leader Jay Seegert are Milwaukee-based, however. CSSMWI stands for “Creation Science Society of Milwaukee”. Their website is here. Now, societies like cssmwi exist throughout the US and there is probably nothing particular about this one. This entry should thus stand as a representative for all such pockets of denialist lunacy anywhere.

In any case, CSSMWI is your typical Reversia stronghold where the idea of science is literal interpretation of the Bible and rejecting all evidence that cannot fit smoothly with the reading of the Bible that Seegert and his crew think best fit their preconceptions. They have helpful subsites on “Evolution is Religion, not science”, “Genomes project data indicate a young human race”, “radioisotope dating” (they have absolutely no clue) and the standard canards and fallacies generally promulgated on sites like this.

Jay Seegert is their ringleader; he is the President & Principal Lecturer for the Creation Education Center, as well as a national speaker for Creation Ministries International (the world’s largest creation organization). Yes, it’s all about lectures and reaching out to the children; the “research” part of science seems to have been lost on them: their website has a lot on Seegert’s background as a minister; none on his research work, rather unsurprisingl

Their other speakers include:

– Keith A. Robinson, who’s written a novel about the origin of life and the universe as he sees it and is therefore a qualified researcher.

– Kitty Foth-Regner, whose scientific data for creationism comprise revelation, wishful thinking and appeal to emotion.

– Ken Bahr, high school teacher “prepared to teach your kids in church and at school”.

– Russ Hanson, who has a bachelor’s degree in science.

– Gary Locklair, a professor of Computer Science at Concordia University and probably the most dangerous of the lot.

– Tim Chaffey

– Jerry Frye, who is president of an employee benefit brokerage firm.

– Nathan Jastram, head of the Theology Department at Concordia University who has worked on the Dead Sea Scrolls, which “demonstrate the extreme accuracy of the copying of Biblical manuscripts, contrary to the assumptions of evolutionary scholars and others.” Yes, those dastardly evolutionary scholars; they always threaten to oppose Jastram’s firm confirmation bias.

Diagnosis: Overall, these people are actually really dangerous, and do a lot of harm by spreading denialism, ignorance and lies. There’s really nothing cute about them, despite their rather helpless take on reality.


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

April 20, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks. ”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas in 1993 when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publication.


Conversation No. 30

Date:  Tuesday, August 6, 1996

Commenced: 11:10 AM CST

Concluded: 11:47 AM CST


GD: Ah, good morning to you, Robert. How is life treating you today?

RTC: Good morning, Gregory. There are good days and bad days. I’m not sure about today.

GD: Certainty is illusion, Robert. I was talking to an old friend of mine last night. He’s down at Norfolk. Was Navy but retired. I went to school with him. King’s Point and then the NSG.

RTC: King’s Point is Merchant Marine.

GD: I know. They have a reserve commission and they can activate it if they want to. He did. Nuclear vessels surface and then the NSG. He was the Naval Attaché in the Dominican Republic. Worked on the Trujillo assassination. But that’s not the issue now. We got to talking about AIDS and since he had quite a bit of sherry, he told me quite a story about how that originated. I thought you might have some input on that. Want me to go on?

RTC: Why not?

GD: Well, according to him, the Navy had an experimental medical station down in Haiti. They were down there because there was a huge pool of very poor locals they could use as subjects in tests. He said that they were developing something that would lower a person’s resistance to the point where a common cold would put them out of action for weeks.

RTC: Go on. What then?

GD: Well, they hit on a virus that does this, experimented with the locals and when they were sure it actually worked, somehow they got this into local whores whom the Cuban government then shipped over to Angola to service their volunteers fighting there.

RTC: I’ve heard stories about that.

GD: But somehow, the virus mutated into something far more serious. The HIV thing. And they didn’t care if all the Cubans died, or the whores either, but it seems that some the younger Haitians got this and when American gays made excursions down there for some cheap black cock, they got it, too, and you can see where that went. Then, my friend said, after they found out what had gone wrong, the Navy shut down its facility, disposed of their volunteer locals by taking them out on boats and dumping them into the water. Anyway, that’s what he said, and I believe him. That’s what I wanted to ask you about.

RTC: There is something to that. Your friend had best be very quiet or he’ll end up taking a one-way boat trip. And I would be careful not to put any of that into one of your books. If you take my drift.

GD: No, it wouldn’t fit in with the Mueller material. It is true, then?

RTC: Basically it is. Take note that it didn’t start out to kill off all the homos, although the Christians thought it was a wonderful thing, but your friend was right when he said it mutated. I was never in that part of the agency but one hears things or talks to colleagues. I mean there was only the intention to interfere with the combat capabilities of enemy troops, not liquidate social outcasts. When we learned about this, the burn bags were used overtime at Langley.

GD: Were your people part of it?

RTC: In a sense. The Navy supplied the tactical, and we supplied the strategic. They produced the weapon and we, the targets. We were planning to use this on the Russians.

GD: Well, I know something about that aspect. You know about General Ishi? 1

RTC: Oh yes, I do indeed.

GD: His Japanese military units had a BW lab up in Manchuria and they used to develop the plague and God knows what else. Poisoned thousands of Chinese, wanted to loose the plague against their Russian neighbors and used Allied POW’s as lab specimens. Most of them died of plague and other nasty things.

RTC: Ah, the redoubtable Dr. Ishi. After we took over Japan, he was caught along with his staff and they were planning to try him for very ugly war crimes but MacArthur, acting on specific orders from the Pentagon, rescued him, set him with a big lab in Tokyo and back they went to developing the bubonic plague. I guess they were going to use it on the Russians if all else failed.

GD: That I know all about. Not the Japanese but using the plague against the Russians. There was a German Army doctor, a Dr. Walter Schreiber, who was a specialist in communicable diseases. He developed a form of the plague and the military used it to clean out the overcrowded Russian POW cages. Cost too much to feed and guard them. The rationale was that they never used them in the West. Roosevelt, as you might know, was planning to use mustard gas against the Germans in Russia until the Bari raid blew up a boat-full of mustard gas, and when Hitler learned of this, he threatened to let nerve gas loose on London and Washington. Amazing how quickly FDR backed off.

RTC: You do your homework, don’t you?

GD: Oh yes. Schreiber came over to us in Berlin after the war and we vetted him and sent him to San Antonio to set up a lab there to cultivate the plague. Again, we planned to use it against the Russians. I don’t what the Russians did to infuriate our sacred leaders, but I don’t think they would have deserved that. Schreiber got outed and had to be shipped back to Germany.

RTC: Drew Pearson was the man who did that.

GD: Whatever. Well, the Brits practiced BW when they gave the Indians smallpox-laced blankets back in the eighteenth century, but Mueller and I were discussing Schreiber’s project. Mueller was very angry when he heard this and rounded Schreiber up. Had to let him go. Orders from on high. Mueller said that there were no Customs agents at the borders to stop the spread of such filthiness right back from whence it came. But he told me about a CIA plan to ruin the Asian rice crop. That failed but only barely. It would have spread and ruined everyone’s rice crop. He said that creatures that dabbled in such things should be shot out of hand or they would destroy everyone, good or bad. I suppose the definition of good or bad depends on your politics, but the whole thing should be forbidden by law.

RTC: I believe it is, but only in theory.

GD: But they put the story out that AIDS came from monkeys in Africa and other funny stories.

RTC: Well, now it’s raging in Africa and they estimate that in ten years, everyone there will be infected. Of course, there is something to be said about depopulating Africa. They’re a bunch of incompetents who are sitting on very valuable natural resources, such as gold and uranium and when they all die, the treasures are there for the finding.

GD: That’s a bit cynical but true. But what about the American homosexuals?

RTC: The Christians and the far right would be in favor of exterminating them all. However, that having been said, we would lose so many really valuable public servants, not to mention all the florists and interior decorators.

GD: Thank God I’m not a Christian. They’re such filthy bigots. If they ever get into power here, I’ll move to some cleaner place.

RTC: I don’t see that happening, Gregory.

GD: I have no problems with the mainline faiths but the extremists are flat-out nuts and we don’t need that rampant and fanatical bigotry.

RTC: But it could be useful.

GD: But you can’t really control it. I’ve known a few Jesus freaks and, believe me, they are as nutty as they come. Most of them try to hide it from us sane ones but once in a while, it leaks out. It would be entertaining if the head of the Navy’s medical branch caught AIDS from his cousin or how about the DCI?

RTC: Now, now, Gregory, you must realize that accidents happen. Try not to be too judgmental about such things.

GD: It’s bloody difficult not to.

RTC: Look, Africa is full of people who are only a generation or two out of the jungle. They ran out the white people, who set up the business structure, and now they are running around with spears, eating each other. Why be concerned if they pass away and give the civilized part of the world access to their unused natural resources? After all, that’s why we killed off the head of the UN. He was interfering with the uranium business in the Congo so we had a little aircraft accident. We basically shot him out of the air. And that put an end to his meddling in important matters. Uranium, I don’t need to remind you, is vital for our weapons programs. Balance that against one meddling Swede and I don’t think there’s much of a problem.

GD: Well, for him…

RTC: Against the common good? You need to consider the practical priorities, Gregory. Believe me, we had no intention of causing AIDS. Our goal was to render a battlefield enemy incapable of combat, that’s all. These things sometimes happen and there is no reason at all to dwell on unexpected and certainly not planned consequences.

GD: Ah, remember that Lenin once said you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs. Of course, it didn’t originate with him and I know it won’t end there but you take the point because you articulate it. But I have to agree with Mueller when he tore into such projects. And if you know the Bible, remember that he who lives by the sword shall perish by the sword. Wars once were conducted by gentlemen with a certain amount of civility but those days are gone. Democracy, not kings, now rules and civility is dead.

RTC: You sound like a monarchist, Gregory.

GD: In many ways I am, Robert. I recall my German grandfather saying that democracy was government of the mentally misfit by the mentally mediocre and tempered by the saving grace of snobbery. Grandfather was usually right I remember once at one of his formal family dinners when one of my idiot aunts was going on about her constant attendance at the local Methodist church and her choir practices. My grandfather turned to me and told me, so the whole table could hear, that I ought to take a lesson in piety from my aunt. I recall saying, and I am not being funny here, that it seemed to me that there was considerable madness in aunt’s Methodism.

RTC: Did you actually say that, Gregory?

GD: Yes, and I was only ten, Robert.

RTC: Your family must have loved you.

GD: I don’t actually think so. When Grandfather said at some other occasion that my aunt and uncle were going to Lower Asbury Avenue, I said that they certainly would if they lived there long enough.

RTC: (Laughter) You must have been a most unpleasant child, Gregory.

GD: I do not suffer fools gladly, Robert. Lincoln has been misquoted. He said, or is supposed to have said, that God must love the common people because he made so many of them. What he actually said was that God must love fools because he had made so many of them.

RTC: Now you can see why our organization is so necessary. Imagine leaving state policy in the hands of idiots.

GD: Point of view here, Robert. Whose ox is gored? Destroying the Asian rice crop? Thousands or millions dead of starvation?

GTC: But consider the common good. These are Communists, Gregory, and they want to destroy our system.

GD: Another point of view once more, Robert. Yes, abstract Communism is utopian nonsense, just like abstract Christianity is. No one wants to work to help others, but they will help themselves. But that still does not justify slaughtering millions, does it?

RTC: But that is a very extreme and certainly tainted view, Gregory.

GD: Again, it’s the gored ox. But civilized people can disagree with each other and still remain civilized, Robert. Right?

RTC: I assume so but let’s try to be a bit more objective. You need to view the larger picture.

GD: Mueller said it so well to me once, just before one of my nice French dinners. He said that morals and ethics were excellent norms but hardly effective techniques.

RTC: Those sentiments I can agree with.

GD: A difference without much a distinction. Well, enough moralizing here. I’m glad to see that my naval friend was not just engaging in drunken babble.

RTC: I would strongly urge you not to take this issue any further. I would be concerned about your safety if you did.

GD: A point well taken. As a cross between a social Darwinist and a monarchist, even I can see the perils of contemplating moral issues from a neutral point of view.

RTC: And if you felt like giving me your talkative friend’s name and address, it might be appreciated. He ought to be spoken to.

GD: I doubt that I would want to do that, Robert. After all, I have never discussed our conversations with anyone else.

RTC: Point taken.

(Concluded 11:47 AM CST)

1 Shirō Ishii June 25, 1892 – October 9, 1959 was a Japanese microbiologist and the lieutenant general of Unit 731, a biological warfare unit of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War and accused War Criminal. Ishii experimented on Allied prisoners of war, killing large numbers of them, in an attempt to perfect a form of bubonic plague to be used on the Russians. After the war, Ishii was employed by General MacArthur, who held stock in Ishii’s Tokyo laboratory, operating the same program he had for the Kempei Tai (or Secret Police) but the U.S. decided against using the plague against either the Communist Chinese or Russians. Ishiii, however, lectured American officials at one point in time and died a rich, and never prosecuted, man.




The key unanswered questions from the Mueller report

Almost two-thirds of the section on Russian hacking is redacted and the special counsel refrained from deciding whether Trump committed a crime

April 19, 2019

by Sabrina Siddiqui in Washington

The Guardian

The public release of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Thursday finally brought into the open key findings from the two-year investigation into Russian interference in the US election. The special counsel team found no criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow but disclosed damning revelations about Donald Trump’s repeated attempts to interfere with the Russia investigation and possible obstruction of justice.

But the 448-page report includes substantial redactions – on the subject of Russian hacking, nearly two-thirds of the section is blacked out. Those redactions, as well as Mueller’s decision to punt on the question of whether Trump committed a crime, raise a series of fresh questions about the conduct of Trump and his aides.

Relationship between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks

Investigators established that WikiLeaks, the website founded by Julian Assange, was the forum for publishing thousands of Democratic Party emails that had been hacked by the Russians.

The indictment of the longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone also drew a link between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, suggesting Stone had advance knowledge that WikiLeaks disclosures were forthcoming and reported back to a high-ranking Trump campaign official.

The Mueller report states that the Trump campaign “showed interest in WikiLeaks’s releases of hacked materials throughout the summer and fall of 2016”, noting that Trump claimed to know about the forthcoming release of emails. It is then heavily redacted, citing potential harm to an ongoing matter.

A subsection in the report titled “Contacts with the Campaign about WikiLeaks” names several Trump associates – the campaign chairman Paul Manafort, the deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates and the president’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen – but is largely blacked out.

Notably, the redactions cover the release of emails hacked from the account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, which were published by WikiLeaks less than an hour after the Washington Post unearthed a 2005 Access Hollywood tape in which Trump bragged about groping and kissing women without their consent.

The redactions leave the public without a full view of what exactly transpired between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, the extent of their communications and whether there was coordination around the dissemination of emails. It also remains unclear how the hacked emails were transferred to WikiLeaks by the Russians

Mueller was unable to fully investigate Carter Page or George Papadopoulos

Two former Trump campaign foreign policy aides have been central to the investigation due to their contacts with the Russians.

George Papadopoulos was offered “dirt” on Hillary Clinton by a foreign agent and sought (unsuccessfully) to arrange meetings between Trump and Vladimir Putin; and Carter Page was believed to be acting as a foreign agent, prompting the FBI to seek a court-approved warrant to surveil him.

Trump’s team has downplayed the role both men played in the 2016 campaign, but the Mueller report says some mysteries remain about their activities.

The report states that the special counsel was “not fully able to explore” the nature of Papadopoulos’ contact with Sergei Millian, a US citizen and native of Belarus. (Millian refused to cooperate with investigators.)

The special counsel said Millian claimed to have “insider knowledge and direct access to the top hierarchy in Russian politics”.

Investigators separately scrutinized a trip Page took to Moscow in July of 2016, where he delivered two speeches criticizing US policy toward Russia. Page met with several friends and associates, according to the report, and informed Trump campaign officials of “strong support” for the then candidate Trump within the Russian government.

What follows are redactions and an admission by the special counsel that aspects of Page’s travel to Russia are still unknown:

“The Office was unable to obtain additional evidence or testimony about who Page may have met or communicated with in Moscow; thus, Page’s activities in Russia – as described in his emails with the Campaign – were not fully explained.”

Trump repeatedly sought to interfere with the Russia investigation – so was it a crime?

Arguably the most confounding aspect of the report, to many observers, is that Mueller did not make a determination on whether Trump obstructed justice.

The special counsel investigated 11 episodes of possible obstruction that spanned Trump’s actions as president and his campaign’s efforts to obscure its contacts with the Russians during the 2016 campaign.

But Mueller left it to Congress to determine whether Trump’s conduct was criminal.

Jessica Levinson, a law professor at Loyola Law School, said Mueller’s decision to punt stemmed from three factors: the understanding within the justice department that a sitting president cannot be indicted; Mueller’s inability to interview Trump in person and confirm that the president did, in fact, have “corrupt intent”; and the “leeway” granted to presidents on hiring and firing personnel.

“He threw this into Congress’s lap,” Levinson said. “I read the structure and substance of the report as a subtle wink and a nod to Congress to say, ‘Here’s some useful information for you … now you can do something with this if you’d like.’”

The report also made clear that the summary provided by the attorney general, William Barr, sought to minimize concerns over Trump’s conduct. Levinson said she was “surprised by the depth and breadth of the evidence that’s laid out” pointing to obstruction.


Democrats file subpoena for full Mueller report

The House Judiciary Committee says the report reveals the “culture of lying” at the White House. The Committee wants to see the uncensored report before Attorney General Barr testifies before Congress.

April 20, 2019


US Democrats in the House of Representatives issued a subpoena on Saturday, demanding they been given access to an unredacted version of the Mueller Report. The Department of Justice called the move “unnecessary.”

Speaking with broadcaster ABC, the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler argued that the report proves there is “a culture of lying at the White House,” and that his committee had the right to know the full contents of the document.

The 488-page report states that the two-year investigation could not find any direct conspiracy between Russian agents and the Trump campaign. However, it found that Trump’s camp had welcomed attempts by Russia to destabilize the public discourse in the US ahead of the 2016 election.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report also states that it could not definitively say whether or not President Donald Trump has obstructed justice since taking office.

This latter finding particularly irked Democrats after they were told previously by Attorney General William Barr that the report “fully exonerated” the president.

Sanders: Lies were ‘slip of the tongue’

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also spoke with ABC on Friday, defending herself after the Mueller report described incidents of Sanders lying to journalists.

She said that her incorrect statement that “countless” FBI agents told her they had lost confidence in former agency chief James Comey was a “slip of the tongue” made “in the heat of the moment.”

The subpoena gives a deadline of May 1 for the full report to be handed over to the Judiciary Committee, one day before Attorney General Barr is due to testify before Congress.

If the Justice Department refuses to cooperate, officials could be held in contempt of Congress.

Comment: : Contempt of Congress is a federal misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum $100,000 fine and a maximum one-year sentence in federal prison.


We don’t need the Mueller report

The Mueller report will fuel yet more controversy about Donald Trump and his administration. It also confirms what we already know: This president is not fit for the White House

April 19, 2019

by Oliver Sallet


The Mueller report has finally been published, and Donald Trump thinks he’s the winner. His regular Twitter tirades about a “witch hunt” and “fake news” have grown even louder.

But the mud-slinging has only just begun. The Democrats and Republicans are going to fight over the truth and what should become public. Thankfully, the American people can sit back and relax. They don’t need to read special counsel Robert Mueller’s 400-page report, because they already know enough.

Obviously people want to know what exactly Mueller means when he says he can’t conclusively say whether or not Trump obstructed justice. After all, the report acknowledges that he repeatedly stood in the way of the investigation.

However, we already knew the most important points before the report was published, because Trump has behaved suspiciously from the start. He fired FBI Director James Comey after he launched the Russia investigation, and even the president himself later said it was the reason he fired him. When Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from overseeing Mueller’s work, Trump deemed him persona non grata. He eventually replaced Sessions with William Barr, who had publicly criticized the Russia investigation.

Lies and loyalty

This is not the behavior of an innocent person, but rather someone with something to hide. Trump has damaged the office of the US president like no other before him.

But Trump has remained true to himself from the start. He took the shady tricks he learned in real estate with him to the White House, rewarding loyalty and exacting revenge on anyone who steps out of line.

True to form, Trump’s new attorney general has announced he is going to investigate the Russia investigation itself.

Tactics like this are an attempt by Trump to deliver his version of the truth. He already lauded his “total exoneration” before the Mueller report was even published. But the report clearly states Trump has not been totally exonerated when it comes to obstructing justice.

Coming to terms with the truth has always been a problem for this president. Trump simply adopted the lies his closest confidantes told about their contacts with Russians during the election campaign and repeated them to his voters. That was also clear before the Mueller report came out.

During the investigation itself, we learned a lot about those lies. Many people in Trump’s inner circle have paid a high price for their loyalty – from former campaign chief Paul Manafort and personal attorney Michael Cohen to longtime advisor Roger Stone.

Indeed, a number of Trump’s former confidantes can now accurately be called criminals – something we also didn’t need the Mueller report to tell us.

In fact, one of the most damning allegations was known even before Trump won the election: the payoff to porn star Stormy Daniels to cover up an extramarital affair, an act that may have violated US campaign finance law. We haven’t heard the last of that story yet.

The teflon president

Unfortunately, Trump’s supporters don’t seem to care. He remains popular as ever among his base. Some 90 percent of Republican voters approve of him. As he himself said during the campaign: “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

As far as his supporters are concerned, Trump can breathe easy: He is firmly in control and the US economy is growing. What could the Mueller report do to him?

For everyone else, we have known who this president truly is since long before the report’s publication: someone who surrounds himself with criminals, lies almost daily and bends the truth as he pleases. He won the election with Russian help, and the damage he’s done to democracy is enormous.

The 2020 election campaign, as well as Congressional inquiries from Democrats, won’t deliver tangeable results. They will only serve to entrench both camps in this fight. The “witch hunt” will continue, with or without the Mueller report.

Oliver Sallet is DW’s correspondent in Washington


William Barr Misled Everyone About the Mueller Report. Now Democrats Are Calling for His Resignation.

April 19, 2019

by James Risen

The Intercept

Attorney General William Barr is coming under increasing fire from congressional Democrats for statements he made before the release of the Mueller report. Critics say the remarks purposefully downplayed how damaging special counsel Robert Mueller’s report was for President Donald Trump.

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said Friday morning that his committee has issued a subpoena to the Justice Department to obtain the full, unredacted report. The subpoena demands that the Justice Department turn over the report by May 1. Nadler also asked Mueller to testify before his committee. “It is clear Congress and the American people must hear from Special Counsel Robert Mueller in person to better understand his findings,” Nadler said.

The subpoena comes in the wake of the Justice Department’s release of a redacted version of the Mueller report on Thursday. The redacted version was made public only after Barr gave a press conference early in the morning, in which he sought to claim that the report effectively exonerated Trump and those around him. That press conference followed an earlier statement Barr issued on March 24, in the form of a four-page letter that claimed to summarize Mueller’s findings. Critics said both his press conference and the four-page letter were part of Barr’s attempt to whitewash the Mueller report’s findings and spin the public narrative about the report before it was actually released.

In a joint statement Thursday after the report’s release, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., charged that Barr “deliberately distorted significant portions of Special Counsel Mueller’s report.” They added that Mueller’s report “paints a disturbing picture of a president who has been weaving a web of deceit, lies and improper behavior and acting as if the law doesn’t apply to him. But if you hadn’t read the report and listened only to Mr. Barr, you wouldn’t have known any of that because Mr. Barr has been so misleading.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee and a California Democrat, said Thursday that Barr “did a great disservice to the country by misrepresenting significant parts of the Mueller report, by attempting to put a positive spin for the president on the special counsel’s findings.”

In the wake of the report’s release, other Democrats have called on Barr to resign, including Rep. Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat who is now running for president. Swalwell took to Twitter to attack Barr, yet another sign that Twitter has become the battlefield of choice for political combat in the Trump era.

“Russia attacked us,” Swalwell wrote on Twitter. “The #MuellerReport details a multiplicity of contacts b/w Russia & @realDonaldTrump’s team and that Trump; his team ‘materially impaired’ the investigation. Yet, OUR Attorney General acts as Trump’s defense attorney. He can’t represent both. Barr must resign.”

The differences between Barr’s statements before the report’s release and the contents of the actual report were so striking that the New York Times did a whole story comparing, side-by-side, Barr’s statements and the report.

In particular, most observers pointed to stark differences between Barr’s statements and the section in the Mueller report concerning the possibility that Trump sought to impede the Trump-Russia inquiry and thus, might be guilty of obstruction of justice. In fact, the Mueller report makes it clear that a key reason Mueller did not seek to prosecute Trump for obstruction was a longstanding Justice Department legal opinion saying that the Justice Department can’t indict a sitting president. Barr omitted that part of Mueller’s reasoning in his statements saying that Mueller hadn’t decided whether to charge Trump.

“Now that we have seen almost the entire report of more than 400 pages, we know Barr intentionally misled the American people about Mueller’s findings and his legal reasoning,” wrote Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor and Politico columnist who unsuccessfully ran last year as a Democrat to be Illinois attorney general. “Mueller’s report detailed extraordinary efforts by Trump to abuse his power as president to undermine Mueller’s investigation,” Mariotti added. “The case is so detailed that it is hard to escape the conclusion that Mueller could have indicted and convicted Trump for obstruction of justice—if he were permitted to do so. And the reason he is not permitted to do so is very clear: Department of Justice policy prohibits the indictment of a sitting president.”

Barr’s statements prior to the release of the report, however, were also misleading when it came to the issues of Trump and Russian interference in the election. Barr discussed but did not linger on the portion of the report about the Russian cyberattacks against Hillary Clinton’s campaign — attacks that were designed to help Trump win the election. And Barr was disingenuous in the way he sought to cut and parse Mueller’s report to make Trump look better on issues related to contacts and links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The New York Times notes, among a number of examples, that in his March 24 letter, Barr lifted an exculpatory section of a sentence from the Mueller report while omitting the more damaging first part of the same sentence. Here is a paragraph from the Mueller report, with the portion of one sentence released by Barr in bold:

The [Russian] social media campaign and the [Russian intelligence] hacking operations coincided with a series of contacts between Trump Campaign officials and individuals with ties to the Russian government. [Mueller’s] Office investigated whether those contacts reflected or resulted in the Campaign conspiring or coordinating with Russia in its election-interference activities. Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired with the Russian government in its election interference activities.

In fact, the Mueller report’s findings on contacts between the Trump circle and Russia are extensive and damning. The report does not exonerate Trump or his campaign; instead, Mueller says he didn’t have enough evidence to bring criminal charges for conspiring with the Russians. The report states that “while the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges. Among other things, the evidence was not sufficient to charge any Campaign official as an unregistered agent of the Russian government or other Russian principal.”

“Further,” the report adds, “the evidence was not sufficient to charge that any member of the Trump Campaign conspired with representatives of the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.” But went on to say that the “investigation established that several individuals affiliated with the Trump Campaign lied to [Mueller’s team] and to Congress, about their interactions with Russian-affiliated individuals and related matters. Those lies materially impaired the investigation of Russian election interference.”

Far from vindicating Trump, the Mueller report leaves plenty of troubling questions unresolved for Congress and the press to investigate. Above all, the report shows that the Russians interfered in the election to help Trump win, and Trump was happy for the help.

Perhaps the most haunting moment recounted in the report occurred late on the night of the 2016 election, just after Trump had been declared the winner. Krill Dmitriev, who runs Russia’s sovereign wealth fund and is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, received an email from someone whose name is redacted in the report. The email to Dmitriev said, simply, “Putin has won.”


Hospitals Feel the Weight of Treating the Severely Obese

Novation survey shows hospitals face additional costs to treat larger patients

IRVING, TX — Hospitals around the country are being forced to buy specialized equipment and in some cases even remodel their facilities to cope with the growing number of severely obese patients, according to a survey of hospital purchasing executives.

The survey by Novation, the largest group purchasing organization for hospitals and health care institutions, found that hospitals are seeing more severely obese (overweight by at least 100 pounds) patients than ever before. Most of the respondents to the survey said these patients are having an effect on how their organizations accommodate other patients and hospital visitors. Some hospitals estimate additional costs associated with treating or accommodating the severely obese can reach up to $500,000 per year per institution.

“That’s a dramatic statistic,” said Jody Hatcher, senior vice president of Novation. “We are finding that hospitals across the country are buying more large-size beds, larger blood pressure cuffs, wider, reinforced wheelchairs and larger versions of other basic supplies to adjust to patient needs. It’s also a worker safety issue. If hospitals don’t have the right type of equipment, transporting or moving obese patients could lead to injury of hospital personnel. Given the existing nursing shortage, having a nurse out with a hurt back would create additional burdens for the health care organization, so hospitals are looking at this issue seriously.”

A typical example is Wausau Hospital in Wausau, Wis., where administrators say they spent an additional $200,000 this year to remodel rooms, order special equipment and train staff to deal with a growing number of obese patients.

“We’ve had to buy special, longer surgical gloves and even needles and syringes,” said Kent Demien, director of materials management at Wausau. “Standard equipment becomes obsolete on many of our larger patients.” He also added that in the last two years, the hospital’s bariatric department has grown from one surgeon to four, although the special supply needs extend to every corner of the hospital where obese patients could be.

The growing number of obese patients drives up costs in non-clinical areas, too. Demien said many patients or hospital visitors are simply too heavy for a standard, wall-mounted toilet, which can accommodate patients up to 300 pounds. The standard wall-mounted toilets cost $350, but the hospital is looking to replace them with sturdier pedestal commodes priced at $750, which can hold up to 2,000 pounds.

“This is a new trend we’re seeing among the 1,400 VHA and UHC hospitals we serve,” Hatcher said. “We’re working on ways to bring these costs down through our purchasing agreements, programs and services.”

The federal Centers for Disease Control has estimated that care for overweight and obese patients costs an average of 37 percent more than for people of normal weight, adding an average of $732 to the annual medical bill of every American.

The Novation survey polled administrators from 69 hospitals, representing small, rural hospitals and large urban systems, scattered in different markets around the country. It focused on areas of economic impact: the effect on physical facilities, patient care and procedures, and other patients. “It’s important to note that this survey was not designed to produce exact numbers on how the severely obese are affecting hospitals,” Hatcher said. “But it clearly shows that this is a serious challenge, and one that is having an increasing financial impact on health care organizations.”

In the survey, hospitals were asked to answer eight questions:

  • Has your hospital seen more severely obese patients in the last year than ever before? (80 percent of the hospitals responding to the survey said yes.)
  • What specific equipment or supplies has your hospital had to purchase to accommodate larger patients? (The most commonly cited items were beds, wheelchairs, gowns, and blood pressure cuffs.)
  • Have you remodeled physical facilities to accommodate obese patients? (17 percent said yes.)
  • Do the costs incurred in treating obese patients increase the cost of health care for other patients? (53 percent said yes.)
  • Estimate how much the hospital has been impacted financially by the growing number of severely obese patients. (The range was between $3,500 and $500,000 annually.)
  • Estimate how much more a seriously obese patient might spend on a hospital visit versus a patient of average weight. (Range was between $500 and $10,000 per visit.)
  • Has your hospital introduced any changes in patient procedures to accommodate an increased number of obese patients? (41 percent said yes.)
  • How much has your hospital been affected financially by the changes in patient procedures? (Responses ranged from $5,000 to $220,000.)

For a full copy of the survey, “Obese Patient Care Survey Market Research Report,” contact Kristin Lucido at (972) 581-5116 or klucido@novationco.com.

Comment: “It’s hereditary,” “it’s a gland problem,” are the excuses given for the growing number of grossly overweight Americans. Various American health organizations now agree that fully 40% of Americans are significantly overweight and at least 15% of these are truly enormous, weighing over 300 pounds at the bottom end and 800 pounds or more at the top. The real reason for the fattening of America has nothing to do with heredity or glandular disorders and has everything to do with self-indulgence, terrible diet and total lack of exercise. Those who are truly bloated are certainly not expected to live overly long and are guaranteed to suffer from diabetes and serious heart problems before they die.

And after they die, disposing of the mountainous remains presents a serious problem. A very fat person cannot be cremated; they will not fit in the ovens and if by some chance they can be squeezed into a burning kiln with sticks, there is a very good chance that the melting fat will be ignited and either cause a major fire or, at the worst, cause the oven system to explode.

Burying a fat person is also a problem. They are much too big to squeeze into a normal casket and now the American funeral industry has had to manufacture special “fat” coffins that look for all the world like piano crates.

In hospitals, as our article shows, enormous wheel chairs, reinforced like fork lifts are a necessity in all medical centers as are special beds capable of holding behemoths without collapsing. Also, the truly fat cannot squeeze their swollen bulk into the ordinary lavatory without the aid of a crowbar and twenty pounds of Crisco. If they should manage to get inside without having to remove the door first, toilet seats cannot stand up to the enormous weight placed on them and break. Heavy ceramic toilet bowls have been known to shatter, dumping their visitors onto the floor.

Not only do the hospitals have special problems, the commercial airlines are similarly afflicted. A truly fat person cannot sit in the standard aircraft seat and has to buy two seats and have a special safety belt on board to allow them to buckle up prior to takeoff and landing. As far as use of the aircraft lavatories is concerned, it is impossible for one of the truly bloated to even get a leg inside the cramped toilet.

Motion picture theaters cannot seat the enormous and there have been occasions when it took at least three members of the theater staff to pull a jumbo out of a seat into which they had become wedged like a basketball in a gopher hole.

Public transportation such as busses and street cars are also impossible for the very fat and the idea of one attempting to drive anything but a reinforced golf cart is impossible to even contemplate.

What is obviously coming are special Apartments for the Fat, establishments that cater to the truly immense. All rooms would be on the ground floor, beds would rest on concrete pylons, bathrooms would have sunken tubs big enough to float the Titanic, toilets would have to be at least four feet wide and set in cement with flushing controls at foot level and the refrigerators and stoves would have to be of restaurant size to prevent daily trips to the supermarkets and the purchasing of three shopping carts full of food for the day’s needs. The apartment house offices would have to be stocked with Hoyer lifts in case a tenant couldn’t roll out of bed and also keep on hand a number of very strong personnel and various padded garden and carpentering implements to pry guests out of doorways.

The end result of all this will be that the truly tubby will begin to form protest groups, demanding respect, more food and easier access to markets (where a single fat person is fully capable of brushing canned goods off of the shelves on both sides of the aisle at the same time) and very slow crossing lights at street intersections. It has been estimated that it takes an average 600 pounder at least ten minutes to get from one curb to an opposite one and it should be evident that a passenger car, or even a small truck, that impacted with a laboring leviathan wheezing across a crosswalk, would be totally destroyed and the occupants either killed or severely maimed.

Although it might appear that the tremendous of girth are not capable of any kind of productive sexual activity, most of them not having seen any part of themselves located south of the equator in years, they do seem to breed. There has been some Biblical references made to the fatted calf but perhaps there other uses for turkey basters than are dreamt of in our philosophies.

The poor we have always with us and now it looks as if we can add the truly fat to the roster as well. One possible advantage to having a nation filled with tubbies is that in the event of a famine, the rest of the nation can survive.

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