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TBR News April 25, 2019

Apr 25 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. April 25, 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 25:”My God, this booby never stops! He is not going to get his wall and his obvious hatred of dark-skinned Latin Americans will keep him going long after they put him in the back wards. He wants to send the Army into Mexico to “discipline” a reported army of refugees. The Mexican army can’t stop the CIA and the drug lords from running the border areas (the CIA is known to ‘assist’ in drug smuggling) so how could they stop the US Army from invading, raping any woman (or boy) they wanted to and shooting down cripples in wheel chairs? If Mexico had any valuable resources, believe it, the US would invade to “free the Mexican people” from people even more evil than the US is and, like their hot eyes on Venezuelan oil, grab any resource in sight, especially oil.”

 

 

The Table of Contents

  • Deutsche Bank hands over Donald Trump loan documents: reports
  • Deutsche Bank’s 5 biggest scandals
  • German ambitions evaporate as Deutsche Bank merger talks with Commerzbank collapse
  • So Much for the Anti-War President
  • Trump renews threat to close Mexican border, send more troops
  • Frustrated pilots got Navy to stop dismissing UFO sightings
  • San Francisco approves homeless shelter despite backlash from wealthy residents
  • Being Rupert Murdoch: How the Founder of Fox News Spreads His Brand of Destruction
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
    • -Richard Moskowitz
    • -Jennifer Roback Morse
  •  The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Cable television spying

Deutsche Bank hands over Donald Trump loan documents: reports

The German lender has started providing files to New York authorities related to funding of Trump projects. Investigators are interested in Deutsche Bank as it is one of the few banks to lend to the Trump Organization.

April 24, 2019

DW

Deutsche Bank has begun to provide financial documents to New York state authorities related to loans for President Donald Trump and his busines

In March, New York Attorney General Letitia James subpoenaed the German lender for records on loans it provided to the Trump Organization.

The bank is now handing over emails and loan documents related to the financing of Trump hotels in Washington, DC, Miami, Chicago and a failed attempt to buy the Buffalo Bills football team in 2014, CNN and AFP reported on Wednesday.

James requested the documents from Deutsche Bank after Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen testified to Congress that Trump inflated his assets to secure loans

Trump’s big lender

Deutsche Bank has been one of the few major banks to lend to Trump and his family-owned organization, following several defaults and bankruptcies by the real-estate mogul in the 1990s. The German bank stopped lending to Trump after he entered office as US president in 2017.

A 2018 financial disclosure form showed that Trump had at least $130 million (€115 million) in outstanding liabilities to Deutsche Bank’s American unit. The bank has loaned Trump and his organization some $2 billion over the years.

Multiple probes

The US House’s Intelligence and Financial Services committees earlier this month issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and other banks seeking information about Trump’s business dealings and possible Russian money laundering.

The subpoenas marked a renewed push by Democratic leaders to collect information on the president’s finances and that of the Trump Organization since they gained control of the House last fall.

The House Intelligence and Financial Services committees’ investigations are a part of a larger Democratic effort to dig into Trump’s finances.

The powerful Ways and Means Committee is also attempting to access to Trump’s personal and business tax returns. Trump did not release his tax documents during the 2016 campaign, as is standard for presidential candidates.

On Tuesday, the US Treasury let a deadline set by the Ways and Means Committee to pass, signaling that the administration intends to reject the request. Trump on Wednesday said he would fight all congressional subpoenas, setting the stage for a drawn-out legal battle.

cw/sms (AFP, CNN)

 

Deutsche Bank’s 5 biggest scandals

Espionage, money laundering and interest rate scams. Germany’s biggest lender has a global reputation for scandal – and has paid hefty fines and expensive settlements to make up for its wrongdoings.

November 29, 2018

DW

Police in Frankfurt raided six offices of the country’s largest moneylender, Deutsche Bank, on Thursday, following allegations of facilitating and failing to report money laundering.

The claims had first surfaced in the “Panama Papers” investigation, published by an international consortium of journalists in 2016.

Prosecutors suspect Deutsche Bank helped its customers “transfer money from criminal activities” to tax havens.

But the German lender isn’t new to criminal investigations, fines and settlements. That’s why it’s share price has slid from almost €90 before the 2007/8 financial crash to €8.25 in trading on Thursday. Here’s a quick look at five of the biggest snafus in recent years to hit Donald Trump’s bank of choice.

  1. Laundering Russian money

In 2017, Deutsche Bank was fined a total of $630 million (€553.5 million) by US and UK financial authorities over accusations of having laundered money out of Russia.

According to US and British regulators, Deutsche Bank’s anti-money laundering control mechanisms failed to spot sham trades with a value of up to $10 billion, not knowing who the customers involved in the trades were and where their money came from.

“These flaws allowed a corrupt group of bank traders and offshore entities to improperly and covertly transfer more than $10 billion out of Russia,” the regulators said.

  1. Libor interest rate scam

Two years prior, Deutsche Bank had already been fined a record $2.5 billion dollars bv US and British authorities for its role in an interest scam between 2003 and 2007.

The bank’s London subsidiary pleaded guilty to counts of criminal wire fraud, after it was accused of fixing interest rates like the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), used to price a hefty amount of loans and contracts across the world.

British banking authorities said at least 29 Deutsche Bank employees were involved in the scam, while US regulators ordered the bank to fire seven employees, including directors and vice-presidents.

UK regulator Georgina Philippou said at the time: “This case stands out for the seriousness and duration of the breaches by Deutsche Bank – something reflected in the size of today’s fine.”

Several other lenders faced similar allegations, but smaller punishments.

  1. Violation of US economic sanctions

Same year, more money: after the Libor scandal fines, Deutsche Bank agreed to a hefty batch settlement with the US financial authorities. This time, it was for violating US sanctions against a number of countries, including Iran, Syria, Libya and Sudan.

The bank was accused of conducting clearing transactions for its customers, also using “non-transparent methods and practices” to disguise its actions. These transactions, which were carried out between 1999 and 2006, were not allowed under US laws that banned business transactions with countries accused of financing terrorism.

Deutsche Bank employees had devised strategies to get around the sanctions and carry out transactions worth roughly $10.9 billion. The bank agreed to pay $258 million in settlements.

  1. Sale of toxic securities leading up to the financial crisis

Deutsche Bank was one of a series of lenders guilty of selling and pooling toxic financial products in the lead-up to the 2007 and 2008 financial crisis.

The bank signed a $7.2 billion settlement with the US Department of Justice in 2017, after being accused of having sold investors bad mortgage-backed securities between 2005 and 2007.

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at the time that “Deutsche Bank did not merely mislead investors: it contributed to an international financial crisis.”

  1. Spying on its critics

In 2009, after an internal investigation, Deutsche Bank admitted it had hired a detective agency to spy on people who were considered threatening for the bank – including a shareholder, a journalist, and a member of the public.

German prosecutors found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, and the bank’s top-level executives were deemed not to have been involved in the scandal.

After the results were disclosed, Deutsche Bank dismissed the employees who it thought were involved with the spying, including its head of corporate security for Germany and the global head of investor relations.

Comment: It is very well known inside the intelligence and banking  communities that the American CIA has long ago infiltrated its people into the directorship of Deutsche Bank, ergo the huge, ($300,000,000) unpaid loans to Donald Trump. In sum, they are as crooked as he is.

 

German ambitions evaporate as Deutsche Bank merger talks with Commerzbank collapse

April 25, 2019

by Andreas Framke, Arno Schuetze and Tom Sims

Reuters

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German hopes of creating a national banking champion able to challenge global competitors were dashed on Thursday when Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank ended merger talks due to the risks of doing a deal, restructuring costs and capital demands.

Germany’s two largest banks announced that nearly six weeks of high-level negotiations about a tie-up had ended in failure, confirming an earlier Reuters report and immediately raising questions about the future of the Frankfurt-based rivals.

The decision to ditch the talks followed a final early morning meeting between Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Christian Sewing and his Commerzbank counterpart Martin Zielke, two sources told Reuters.

Both CEOs said a deal would not have created sufficient benefits to offset the risks and costs of a merger, which had been opposed by unions fearing 30,000 job losses, and raised concerns among investors and regulators.

While the talks are over, investors doubt either bank can go it alone for long under their current strategies given their low levels of profitability.

German government officials, led by Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, had pushed for a tie-up to create a national banking champion and end questions over the future of both banks, which have struggled to recover since the financial crisis.

Deutsche Bank’s 2018 return on equity was just 0.4 percent, trailing far behind rival U.S., and increasingly other European, investment banks, while Zielke said this month that Commerzbank does not have the market share for costly investments, fuelling speculation of an alternative tie-up if talks fell through.

Shares in Commerzbank were 2.1 percent lower at 1235 GMT. Deutsche Bank traded 0.3 percent lower, erasing earlier gains.

Deutsche Bank will now face pressure to make more radical changes, such as cuts to its U.S. investment bank as advocated by regulators and some major investors. It is already looking at a deal for its asset management unit DWS.

“Deutsche Bank will continue to review all alternatives,” Germany’s largest bank said.

BIDDERS IN THE WINGS

Employees of both banks immediately welcomed the news, although a senior Commerzbank manager acknowledged it opened the door to further uncertainty as foreign competitors circle.

“It is clear that others will now come out of the woodwork with offers and ideas,” the manager told Reuters.

Doing nothing is “not an option”, Zielke has told his staff, 82 percent of whom were against a merger in an internal survey.

Both UniCredit and ING Groep have expressed interest in Commerzbank, which is Germany’s No. 2 lender and 15 percent owned by the government, sources have said.

UniCredit and ING declined to comment after news that talks between Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank had failed.

Some major Deutsche Bank investors had questioned the deal’s logic and were unwilling to stump up any extra cash to get it done, while credit ratings agencies had warned of risks.

The European Central Bank would have asked Deutsche Bank to raise fresh funds before it gave the go-ahead for a merger, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said. .

The German central bank, which helps oversee the banks, stressed their individual health, calling them sound and stable.

“This was the case prior to discussions, during discussions and now – without qualification,” Bundesbank executive board member Joachim Wuermeling said.

Deutsche Bank also published preliminary earnings in which it said it expects to post a first-quarter net profit of about 200 million euros ($223 million), beating analysts’ expectations of 29 million.

“A merger would have been an enormously complicated and protracted undertaking. In the end, reason has won,” said Ingo Speich, head of sustainability and corporate governance at Deka Investment, a shareholder in both banks, adding they urgently need to address their strategies.

Alexandra Annecke, portfolio manager at Union Investment, which also holds shares in Deutsche Bank, said it needs to focus on increasing profitability, especially at its investment bank.

Deutsche Bank’s finance chief James von Moltke told CNBC that the U.S. investment bank is “a core part of our strategy”.

Gerhard Schick, finance activist at Finanzwende and a former member of the German parliament, welcomed the end of talks but cautioned that Deutsche Bank remains “too great a risk”.

“The bank is still far too large and would probably have to be rescued in an emergency,” he said, with reference to the likelihood of Deutsche Bank needing to turn to the state to keep it afloat if it ran into difficulty.

Reporting by Hans Seidenstuecker, Andreas Framke, Arno Schuetze, Tom Sims, Francesco Canepa, Frank Siebelt; Additional reporting by Toby Sterling in Amsterdam and Gianluca Semeraro in Milan; Editing by Sabine Wollrab, Tassilo Hummel, Michelle Martin and Alexander Smith

 

So Much for the Anti-War President

As a candidate, Trump promised to end pointless Middle Eastern wars. He just vetoed a resolution to do exactly that.

April 16, 2019

by Eric Boehm

Reason

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump promised to put some reasonable limitations on how the United States conducted its post-9/11 wars across the Middle East.

“The legacy of the Obama-Clinton interventions will be weakness, confusion and disarray, a mess,” he said in April 2016, during his first major speech about foreign policy. “We’ve made the Middle East more unstable and chaotic than ever before.”

Since taking office, Trump’s track record has been decidedly mixed. He launched missiles into Syria. He ordered American troops home from Syria. He then reversed himself and sorta-kinda agreed to keep them there for a while longer.

But on Tuesday night, Trump unambiguously backed Forever War. He vetoed a congressional resolution that would have ended American military involvement in the Yemeni civil war—a conflict that has killed an estimated 50,000 people (scores more have died in a famine triggered by the conflict) without having any significant bearing on U.S. national security.

“This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future,” Trump said in a statement. The congressional resolution is unnecessary, Trump says, because “the United States is not engaged in hostilities in or affecting Yemen.”

That’s being too clever by half. Yes, there are no American troops fighting on the front lines in Yemen, but the Trump administration has been providing logistical support and intelligence to the Saudi-backed coalition that’s fighting the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. American-flown planes are being used to refuel Saudi aircraft in mid-air, for example. Trump’s own veto statement belies the internal contradiction, with its nod to American “service members” who are very much participants in the bloody, seemingly intractable conflict.

The resolution calling for an end to that military support, sponsored by Rep. Ro Khanna (D–Calif.), says “the activities that the United States is conducting in support of the Saudi-led coalition, including aerial refueling and targeting assistance, fall within” the authority of the War Powers Act of 1973. That law was passed in the closing stages of the Vietnam War, with the intention of preventing a president from getting America into another years-long conflict without congressional authorization (please, hold your laughter).

The resolution cleared both chambers of Congress with bipartisan approval, but not a veto-proof majority in either. (Notably, libertarian-leaning Rep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.) voted “present” on the resolution in the House due to concerns over how it might expand congressional authorization for other Middle Eastern wars.)*

On Tuesday, Amash took to Twitter to explain that the resolution was unnecessary anyway—Trump does not have the authority to commit U.S. forces to the Yemeni civil war in the first place

Justin Amash

✔  @justinamash

 

.@POTUS doesn’t have authority to engage our Armed Forces in this war regardless of this joint resolution. Congress never authorized war, so it’s unconstitutional and unlawful for the president to have entered the U.S. into hostilities. Stop aiding the Saudis in this brutality.

Still, it’s something of an accomplishment, since this is the first time a congressional resolution invoking the War Powers Act has reached the president’s desk.

But that won’t be enough until America has a president actually willing to rein in America’s foreign military excursions—instead of merely promising to do so to get elected.

 

Trump renews threat to close Mexican border, send more troops

April 24, 2018

by Makini Brice

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday again threatened to close part of the southern border and send more “armed soldiers” to defend it if Mexico did not block a new caravan of migrants travelling toward the United States.

“A very big Caravan of over 20,000 people started up through Mexico,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “It has been reduced in size by Mexico but is still coming. Mexico must apprehend the remainder or we will be forced to close that section of the Border & call up the Military.”

Trump also said, without offering details, that Mexican soldiers recently had “pulled guns” on U.S. troops in what he suggested was “a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers.”

“Better not happen again! We are now sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the Border. Mexico is not doing nearly enough in apprehending & returning!” Trump tweeted.

It was not clear what Trump meant by “armed soldiers” since at least some of the troops on the border already are armed. It also was unclear what specific caravan Trump was alluding to.

U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they are expecting a request from the Department of Homeland Security in the coming days for additional troops, although that number is expected to be in the low hundreds. About 5,000 active duty and National Guard troops already are at the border.

The U.S. Defense Department said earlier this month that six Mexican military personnel questioned two U.S. Army soldiers near Clint, Texas, about 30 miles (48 km) southeast of El Paso. The U.S. military said the Americans were in an unmarked car and an inquiry had found that they were in U.S. territory.

Newsweek magazine, citing the military report filed on the incident, said the U.S. soldiers were briefly held at gunpoint by the Mexicans, who took one American soldier’s gun and put it in the car.

The Mexican troops had believed the U.S. soldiers were south of the border and therefore in Mexico. After a brief discussion, the Mexican troops left the area, a Mexican official said.

The two U.S. soldiers were traveling in an unmarked vehicle, according to a brief statement issued later on Wednesday by the Mexican foreign ministry, which added to the confusion.

AVOIDING PROVOCATIONS

Asked about Trump’s tweet at a news conference, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his administration would investigate the incident Trump mentioned.

“But we’re not going to fight with the U.S. government,” he said. “We are not going to allow ourselves to fall into any provocations.”

Trump has made a tough stance on immigration a cornerstone of his presidency. He called the situation at the southern border a national emergency as a way to get money to build a border wall after Democrats in Congress thwarted traditional means of funding.

Officials arrested or denied entry to more than 100,000 people along the Mexican border in March, more than twice as many as during the same period last year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

In March, Trump threatened to close the border if the Mexican government did not immediately stem illegal migration, although later he praised Mexico for efforts to stop people from crossing illegally into the United States.

Mexico has returned 15,000 migrants in the past 30 days, a senior government official said on Tuesday, pointing to an uptick in deportations in the face of pressure from Trump to stem the flow of people north.

In San Francisco, three U.S. Court of Appeals judges heard arguments on whether to shut down the government’s program of sending immigrants back to Mexico to await their asylum proceedings rather than staying in the United States.

A lower-court judge ordered a halt to the program on April 8 but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stayed that order and was considering whether to extend the stay or lift it during the appeals process.

Civil rights groups convinced the lower court that the program, known as Migrant Protection Protocols, violated U.S. obligations not to send asylum seekers to a country where they face fears of persecution.

“How can you want to comply with this obligation if you don’t at least ask this person, ‘Hey, by the way, before we send you to Mexico, do you have a fear of returning there?’” Judge Paul Watford asked a Department of Justice attorney.

The three judges did not say when they expected to rule.

The Trump administration says the policy is one way to reduce the number of asylum seekers being released into the United States for the months or years it can take their deportation cases to be decided.

The Trump Administration began the program on Jan. 29 and since then 1,928 people, mostly from Central America, have been returned to Mexico to await asylum hearings.

(Story was corrected to show the judges did not say when they would rule in 22nd paragraph)

Reporting by Makini Brice; Additional reporting by Idrees Ali in Washington, Mica Rosenberg in New York, Kristina Cooke in San Francisco, Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware and Adriana Barrera, David Alire Garcia and Dave Graham in Mexico City; Editing by Donia Chiacu, Bill Trott and Jonathan Oatis

 

 

Frustrated pilots got Navy to stop dismissing UFO sightings

April 24, 2019

by Deanna Paul

Washington Post

A recent uptick in sightings of unidentified flying objects — or, as the military calls them, “unexplained aerial phenomena” — prompted the U.S. Navy to draft formal procedures for pilots to document encounters, a corrective measure that former officials say is long overdue.

“Since 2014, these intrusions have been happening on a regular basis,” Joseph Gradisher, spokesman for the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, told the Washington Post on Wednesday. Recently, unidentified aircraft entered military-designated airspace as often as multiple times per month. “We want to get to the bottom of this. We need to determine who’s doing it, where it’s coming from, and what their intent is. We need to try to find ways to prevent it from happening again.”

Citing safety and security concerns, Gradisher vowed to “investigate each and every report.”

Luis Elizondo, a former senior intelligence officer, told the Post that the new Navy guidelines formalized the reporting process, facilitating data-driven analysis while removing the stigma from talking about UFOs, calling it “the single greatest decision the Navy has made in decades.”

Chris Mellon, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence and a staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee, was less laudatory.

“I don’t believe in safety through ignorance,” he said, scolding the intelligence community for its lack of “curiosity and courage” and “failure to react” to a strong pattern of sightings.

In some cases, pilots — many of whom are engineers and academy graduates — say they observed small spherical objects flying in formation. Others say they’ve seen white, Tic-Tac-shaped vehicles. Aside from drones, all engines rely on burning fuel to generate power, but these vehicles all had no air intake, no wind, and no exhaust.

“It’s very mysterious, and they still seem to exceed our aircraft in speed,” he said, calling it a “truly radical technology.”

According to Mellon, awestruck and baffled pilots, concerned that reporting unidentified flying aircraft would adversely affect their careers, tended not to speak up. And when they did, he said there was little interest in investigating their reports.

“Imagine you see highly advanced vehicles, they appear on radar systems, they look bizarre, no one knows where they’re from. This happens on a recurring basis, and no one does anything,” said Mellon, who now works with UFODATA, a private organization. Because agencies don’t share this type of information, it’s difficult to know the full extent of activity. Still, he estimated that dozens of incidents were witnessed by naval officers in a single year, enough to force the service to address the issue.

“Pilots are upset, and they’re trying to help wake up a slumbering system,” he told the Post.

Lawmakers’ growing curiosity and concern also appeared to coax action out of the Navy.

In 2017, the Pentagon first confirmed the existence of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, a government operation launched in 2007 to collect and analyze “anomalous aerospace threats.” As the Post’s Joby Warrick reported, the investigation ranged from “advanced aircraft fielded by traditional U.S. adversaries to commercial drones to possible alien encounters.”

According to former Pentagon officials and documents previously seen by the Post, program funding, which totaled at least $22 million, was suspended in 2012.

Gradisher, the Navy spokesman, said that “in response to requests for information from congressional members and staff, officials have provided a series of briefings by senior Naval Intelligence officials as well as aviators who reported hazards to aviation safety.”

Elizondo, who also ran AATIP, said the newly drafted guidelines were a culmination of many things. Most notably: that the Navy had enough credible evidence — including eyewitness accounts and corroborating radar information — to “know this is occurring.”

“If I came to you and said, ‘There are these things that can fly over our country with impunity, defying the laws of physics, and within moments could deploy a nuclear device at will’ — that would be a matter of national security.”

With the number of U.S. military people in the Air Force and Navy who described the same observations, the noise level could not be ignored.

“This type of activity is very alarming,” Elizondo said, “and people are recognizing there are things in our aerospace that lie beyond our understanding.”

 

San Francisco approves homeless shelter despite backlash from wealthy residents

City official hails Navigation Center as ‘part of the solution’ as attorney for neighbors vows to fight on

April 24, 2019

by Vivian Ho in San Francisco

The Guardian

Authorities in San Francisco have approved plans for a homeless shelter that had faced fierce protests from wealthy local residents.

Tuesday’s unanimous vote by San Francisco’s port commissioners was the culmination of weeks of contention that began with residents of one of the city’s most desirable waterfront neighborhoods raising more than $101,000 in a crowdfunding campaign to pay for an attorney to fight the construction of the Navigation Center.

“It’s unfortunate that the industry around homelessness and affordable housing was able to prevail at this stage, but this is far from over,” Andrew Zacks, the attorney hired by the residents, told the Guardian.

The planned shelter is part of the city’s efforts to fulfill its promise to increase the number of shelter beds by 1,000.

An estimated 7,500 people sleep in San Francisco’s streets, with more than 1,400 waiting for temporary shelter spots to open up each night. Homelessness in the city has become a humanitarian crisis, fueled in part by the tech boom bursting through the housing market.

“The City is in crisis. People living on our streets are in crisis,” the city supervisor Matt Haney, whose district includes this affluent waterfront community, said in a statement. “We have to take immediate action to prevent and address homelessness, and provide more services, shelter and housing across the city – this Navigation Center will absolutely be a part of the solution.”

Opponents to the proposed 200 beds that would come with this shelter say their ultimate concern is safety. But at Tuesday’s meeting, some also appeared concerned with image; the waterfront’s scenic views and seaside bike lanes attract tourists by the millions. Residents waved orange signs reading: “This is San Francisco’s Front Yard”.

In response, advocates with the Coalition on Homelessness unfurled a banner declaring: “People are Dying in Your ‘Front Yard’”.

“That slogan came from a comment at the previous meeting, that we don’t even put our Recology [waste processing] center in the front yard, we put it in the back yard,” said Kelley Cutler, the human rights organizer for the Coalition on Homelessness. “So that’s where the slogan came from: you’re putting ‘the trash’ in the front yard.”

Cutler and the Coalition on Homelessness is used to getting pushback whenever a proposal for a homeless shelter comes up, but the level of “vitriol and hate” was unprecedented, Cutler said.

“We had to get involved just to remind people that we were talking about human beings,” she said. “We brought banners with the names of people who died on our streets this past year because that is the reality of it, that is what we’re concerned about, and that is what we need to keep bringing into the dialogue and that hasn’t been part of it. People have just been so demonized and stigmatized, and the conversation just hasn’t gotten anywhere.”

Zacks, the attorney for the residents, has already filed a brief objecting to the process by which the port commission approved the plans for the homeless shelter. He is also questioning whether the project should be exempt from a full environmental review or if it should undergo the lengthy process required under state law.

“We believe that in the mayor’s haste to meet her campaign promises, she has failed to follow the law,” he said. “It’s pretty disrespectful to the people who live there to shove it down their throats like this. I have been practicing law in this city for almost 30 years and I have never seen so much disregard for the feelings, thoughts, and opinions of thousands of people.”

A rival GoFundMe, whose premise is that homeless people “deserve safe and humane shelter”, raised $176,000 for the Coalition on Homelessness. The rival campaign garnered support from the Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff; the Twilio CEO, Jeff Lawson; and from GoFundMe itself.

And though the Coalition on Homelessness is not directly involved in this city-funded homeless shelter, Cutler says it will continue to oppose the demonization of homeless people.

“We got our own battles going on, but what we are going to continue to do is remind people of the humanity of people and of the crisis going on in our community,” Cutler said.

 

Being Rupert Murdoch: How the Founder of Fox News Spreads His Brand of Destruction

April 25, 2019,

by Peter Maass

The Intercept

Rupert Murdoch holds a knife in his hand. He sits in a posh restaurant, praising the virtues of doing as he pleases.

“I like moving around, never in one place long enough,” he says, a napkin tucked into his collar to catch the drippings from a nearly raw steak he consumes. There is a flash of steel from the knife, which he points with menace at a dining companion. “Isn’t that the joy of a hotel? You can check in, turn it over, spill a glass of wine, take a shit in the toilet, fuck in the bed, make a mess, and then leave. And someone else cleans it up after; isn’t that wonderful?”

This conversation is taking place 40 feet from where I sit, though I should clarify that an actor is playing Murdoch, and another actor is playing the editor of one of his British tabloids, The Sun. The relationship between the two — the powerful master and his willing surrogate — is explored in a play called “Ink” that opens this week on Broadway. If you want to understand the mentality of the multibillionaire who has done more than any other person to spread far-right extremism in America, you should see this play, though it stumbles before the considerable task of exposing in its fullness the harm machine that is Keith Rupert Murdoch.

How, after all, does one capture in a play or a movie — or even a book that doesn’t gallop past 500 pages — the long life and dismal work of this 88-year-old mogul? At the age of 21, when his father died, Murdoch inherited two small newspapers in Australia and spun them into a media empire in his native land. He then moved to England and acquired more assets there, including the flower of the establishment, the Times of London, while creating from scratch a satellite television network. His media properties were instrumental in the rise and fall of several prime ministers, and they played a key role in fomenting the nationalist ire that led to Britain voting to leave the European Union. One of his newspapers, the News of the World, also engaged in a criminal campaign of hacking into the voicemails of celebrities, members of the royal family, and ordinary citizens; this led to a parliamentary committee declaring Murdoch unfit to run a major corporation.

And we haven’t even gotten to America and Fox News, which Murdoch founded in 1996.

The strength of “Ink” is that it reveals a key tactic of Murdoch’s: disruption by proxy. The play’s main character isn’t really Murdoch but Larry Lamb, the chip-on-his-shoulder journalist hired to turn the boring Sun into a sensationalist tabloid. Although Murdoch enjoys visiting his newsrooms, he is not the editor-in-chief of any of his publications; he appoints the people who are, in essence, his shock troops. “Find people like you,” Murdoch instructs Lamb, who is building a new staff for The Sun. “The spurned, the spited, the overlooked; gather ’em up, throw ’em in. A ship of undesirables.”

This tactic is magical for Murdoch because the “undesirables” are tagged with calumny, not him. When we think of Fox News and its toxic impact, we think of its headliners: Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Jeanine Pirro, Lou Dobbs. The man whose fortune started the network, who appointed the executives who made Fox an engine of right-wing hate, who has made a good deal of money from all of this and could turn it around in an instant if he wished — would you recognize Rupert Murdoch if he shuffled past you on the street? Two films are being released this year about Fox News but both focus on Roger Ailes, the former chief executive of the network who was forced to resign in 2016 in a sexual harassment scandal. Ailes, who died in 2017, casts a longer cinematic shadow in death than his boss casts in life.

We want our villains to behave like villains, and Ailes is perfect for the role: He was physically unattractive, he was known before his downfall to berate his underlings, and he said foul things in public, as well as private. Murdoch’s advantage is that he stayed in the bleachers of his most odious project, letting Ailes, Hannity & Co. take the heat, while pursuing respectable ventures that gained the approval of his peers in the business world, such as turning 21st Century Fox into an entertainment juggernaut that Disney Corp. just bought for $71.3 billion. Of course, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in plutocratic America, a man’s reputation is measured by the size of his fortune rather than the depravity of his politics.

“Ink” — written by British playwright James Graham, who in 2016 wrote another political play that was a Snowden-esque look at privacy — focuses on a single year in Murdoch’s life, when he bought The Sun in 1969 and turned its focus to crime, sex, and anything else that would sell copies. The play opens with an idea: Lamb tells Murdoch that asking why something happens is unhelpful; it suggests that there is a plan or a point to things, whereas often there is not. The only thing worth asking, Lamb continues, is: “What next?” Murdoch listens and smiles; he recognizes his purpose in these words.

Murdoch’s politics are notoriously conservative, but there’s always been an aura of incoherence to what he’s sought and what he’s wrought. He mocked Donald Trump’s presidential aspirations until it became clear that Trump was going to be the Republican nominee, and then he fell in line. Murdoch now regularly advises the president, and Fox News is state TV. He was famously a crucial supporter of U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a leader of the Tory Party, but he later supported, crucially again, Prime Minister Tony Blair, a leader of the Labour Party. A recent investigative epic by the New York Times Magazine (“How Rupert Murdoch’s Empire of Influence Remade the World”) suggested that it’s been all about the Benjamins, and that Murdoch sought political influence to gain the sorts of regulatory favors that turn millionaires into billionaires and billionaires into multibillionaires (he’s now worth more than $7 billion, and his six children have about $12 billion between themselves).

“Ink” presents Murdoch as a rascally narcissist, a proponent of destruction for destruction’s sake. In one of the play’s best scenes, Murdoch tells Lamb that he wants to burn down the established newspapers, to which Lamb warns, “There’ll be a lot of blood.” Murdoch’s reply is growled with hunger: “God, I hope so.”

 

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Richard Moskowitz

Richard Moskowitz is a homeopath and antivaccine advocate. Apparently Moskowitz was trained as an MD some 50 years ago, but his more recent activities show in the strongest possible way that you should turn elsewhere for medical advice.

As an antivaccine activist (given his background he did make it onto this sorry list of purported anti-vaccine doctors), Moskowitz thinks immunization is an act against God (in “Vaccination: A Sacrament of Modern Medicine” – no link provided). His main idea, though, is that vaccine-preventable diseases are not that bad – a 1/1000 chance of dying from measles is something he thinks you should be willing to deal with, since suffering and death is nothing to worry about as long as it is relatively uncommon – and that if they occur they should be treated with homeopathic nostrums, which don’t do anything and would increase the mortality rate only some (not Moskowitz’s own words). In his article “Unvaccinated Children”, published in the dubious journal (website, really) Medical Voices and discussed here, he even suggests that at least “any child whose sibling or parent previously contracted poliomyelitis, or a severe or complicated case of measles or whooping cough or any of the other diseases listed, should not receive the vaccine prepared against that illness.” A moment’s reflection should reveal that this is not good advice. As for tetanus, Moskowitz recommendation is that“Hypericum can reputedly treat as well as prevent tetanus, but I would recommend giving human antitoxin at the first sign of the disease, since it is far less effective later on.” This piece of advice is actually rather likely to kill you if you ever contracted tetanus. His advice on anthrax (no link provided) would be hilarious if it wasn’t so scary, displaying an almost perfect lack of understanding of the disease.

Moskowitz’s defense of homeopathy reveals an understanding of science and evidence to match his understanding of anthrax, and consists primarily of tirades against Big Pharma (the pharma is shit therefore my magic beans cure cancer-gambit), delusional attacks on real medicine, claiming that clinical trials are not adequate to study homeopathy, since such trials consistently show that it doesn’t work, contrary to Moskowitz’s powers of intuition – how else would he know that homeopathy works, insofar as there can be no proper trials? Besides, modern medicine doesn’t take into account “the energy field of the patient as a whole” – the life force, if you want. He also argues that since homeopathy works in animals and in newborns it can’t be placebo, which is seriously misunderstanding what the placebo effect is and completely missing that part about evaluator bias. It would be interesting to hear Moskowitz try to answer the question of why medical trials use double blinding, but then again it probably wouldn’t.

Diagnosis: Crackpot, pseudoscientist and genuinely dangerous lunatic. He’s apparently viewed as something of an authority in certain anti-vaccine circles, which tells you quite a bit both about them and about him.

Jennifer Roback Morse

Jennifer Roback Morse is a religious fundamentalist and President and Founder of the Ruth Institute, a radical anti-gay group that for a while was an arm of the extreme anti-marriage-equality organization NOM. The institute has correctly been designated an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Roback Morse rose to prominence – she’s pretty influential – in wingnut circles for a couple of books, as a radio show host, and as “an official spokesman for” and vocal defender of California’s Proposition 8 back in 2008. She is also a signatory to the 2017 Nashville Statement, affirming a complementarian view of gender and a traditionalist view of sexuality.

Morse’s opposition to gay marriage is to a large extent fueled by her commitment to archaic stereotypes about gay people, for instance the thought that “neither permanence nor sexual exclusivity plays the same significant role” for them; officially, of course, her main argument against gay marriage is that legalizing gay marriage would be “removing biology as the basis for parenthood and replacing it with legal constructions,” but that assumption has little to do with her actual motivation. It is worth pointing out that Morse and her husband themselves adopted a child because they couldn’t have children of their own, which apparently didn’t in their eyes invalidate their marriage. Now, Morse has published a list of 77 non-religious reasons to support Man/Woman marriage. It is, of course, actually a list attacking gay marriage; Morse, who blames Hollywood for the SCOTUS decision on marriage equality, seems to be under the delusion that supporting same-sex marriage is the same as opposing opposite-sex marriages, and is demonstrably not particularly good at seeing rather obvious connections. Most of the points on that list are just vague rewordings of the single aforementioned point about biological foundations for marriage that she doesn’t, in fact, accept herself. If you are interested, the list is discussed in some detail here. Apparently, legalizing gay marriage will also let people with “drug problems, who are mentally unstable,” or who aren’t sure whether they are gay, get married, which is a novel change compared to previous legal restrictions that clearly prevented unstable people and drug users from marrying.

In 2013, she (and her group) was also behind an insane doomsday list of bizarre projected consequences of legalizing gay marriage delivered before the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee. Morse called the rant the “New Gettysburg Address of the Marriage Movement”, which is about as reasonable as the contents of the rant. Morse is also the kind of person that compares opposition to marriage equality to the position of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, claiming that “the parallels” between Nazi Germany and contemporary America “are really quite chilling” and that what happened in Nazi Germany “is happening to us”. One wonders what she thinks did happen in Nazi Germany. (She relied on Eric Metaxas’s revisionist Bonhoeffer biography, of course.) She has also been promoting ex-gay therapy, arguing that leaving “the gay lifestyle” takes more courage than coming out.

Morse has declared that anyone who “buys sperm” in order to conceive a child should be in jail. This is apparently because of God, though the details of the reasoning process is a bit fuzzy (“The child is now a product, manufactured by adults, and therefore the child cannot be fully the equal of its parent. The object cannot be the equal of its producer or its maker, you know. And so the further we go down this path, the further away we are going from the true ideal of equality before God, of equality before one another, of treating one another with dignity. And the child becomes a kind of chattel. So the legal complications and the sort of ick factor of all of this, it’s important to sort all that out and look at it, but let’s not take our eye off that ball, which is that we have defaced the creator’s plan and intention here by this behavior.” These are not the coherent thought processes of a rational mind).

In 2012 she suggested that young people should refrain from having gay friends.

Gender equality

Morse has also weighed in on other social issues. In 2012 she was deeply offended by Obama’s health care mandate, claiming that it was part of a war weighed against women’s fertility. In general, according to Morse, there is no “war on women” but rather a “war on women’s fertility”, where enemy forces are making contraception easily available and encouraging women to enter the workforce after college rather than getting married, staying home, cleaning the house and having children.

The underlying source of all evils is, according to Morse, the sexual revolution, a “totalitarian” movement pushed by “hipsters” and “radical feminists” that victimizes professional women who build their lives “around the lies.” As an example of such totalitarianism is apparently the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate, which she claims is a government effort to “control people’s behavior and even people’s thoughts.” By requiring that insurance plans cover contraception, Morse argues, the government is “stifling dissent by essentially saying: ‘This society will be built around contraception, and there will be no dissent from that.’” Of course, by the same token anymeasure ever passed is by definition a totalitarian one that stifles dissent.

The sexual revolution has ostensibly been promoted by “population controllers (who think there are too many poor people); hipsters (who just want to be libertines); radical feminists who think babies are keeping women from being ‘equal.’” And yes: of course there is a conspiracy behind it all: “All these groups have one thing in common: They’re controlled by elites, people who want to re-create the world in their own image,” rather than hers.

Apparently the sexual revolution, and especially LGBT equality, are bringing back slavery. In a statement that reveals a lack of knowledge of history to match her delusions about the present, Morse argues that “all of these issues – divorce and remarriage, abortion and infanticide, slavery, the buying and selling of human beings – all of these things, the Christian religion put a stop to. But they’re all on their way back because of the sexual revolution. The sexual revolution is bringing back all of these points.” Indeed, the sexual revolution is “a pagan ideology” that Christians should refuse to compromise with – “the only reason we’re dealing with gay marriage now is because we never faced up to the harms that have already been inflicted by feminism” (conservatives were “tricked” into accepting contraception). Her comments on the Hobby Lobby ruling are no less idiotic.

At least she’s not worried about being on the wrong side of history.

Diagnosis: Incoherent, stupid and evil monster. She fits right in – and has accordingly become a rather influential and prominent voice in – fundie wingnut circles.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

April 25, 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. 12  

Date: Thursday, May 2, 1996

Commenced: 8:45 AM CST

Concluded: 9:22 AM CST

GD: Good day to you, Robert. How goes the battle with you?

RTC: I think I’m slowly losing ground, Gregory, but I’m still fighting.

GD: I’ve been fighting for years so I understand the concept.

RTC: I hear the Germans are not happy over some of your writings. You are disturbing the Jewish community with your allegations that we hired the head of the Gestapo.

GD: Who cares?

RTC: You heard the old saying that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned? Well, the Beltway has no fury like a Jew ignored. How dare we hire the head of the Gestapo? How could we do such a thing to them? They are the Chosen of God, after all.

GD: What did God choose them for? To stand in the shower lines in some Polish camp?

RTC: Oh, now, Gregory, show some compassion.

GD: My God, why should any of us care about all of those nonsense stories? Lampshades and cakes of soap, my ass.

RTC: We are all supposed to care about that, Gregory. And if they use it right, they can get discount airline tickets and something off on that new sofa.

GD: Stunning revelations indeed, Robert. Another group of obnoxious nuts.

RTC: Believe me, Gregory, there are far worse.

GD: Who? The Pedophile’s Protective League? The Bellowing Jesus Freaks of Bad Seepage, Ohio?

RTC: There are worse things in this world than the Society of Professional Hebrew Moaners.

GD: The Sackcloth and Ashes League? The Humpback’s Tuesday Afternoon Bridge Club?

RTC: Why don’t you try the Scientologists? Now that group is really something to contemplate.

GD: I’ve read a little about them but not much. Started by some old faker named Hubbard. L. Ron Hubbard. I used to be a science fiction nut and I remember reading one of his stories years ago. Awful writing. Sounded like it was written by a ten year old.

RTC: That’s the one. He may have been an awful writer but he was a class A conman. Those people made more Goddam trouble for us. They were running all over the Med in the ‘60s in some rusty tub called the Royal Scotsman. My God, what a ship of fools that was. We were getting requests from DoS and other people to look into them. All over the place, docking here and there, chasing frantic deserters into towns, screaming at people…my God what a circus that one was. And old Hubbard waddling around in some naval uniform, shouting at people one minute and trying to bribe some public official on shore the next.

GD: That I knew nothing about.

RTC: We did, believe me. Hubbard was as crazy as a loon and Washington was afraid he would start a war. You ever read about them?

GD: Just something here and there. Hubbard died, didn’t he?

RTC: Yes, about ten years ago. His people got rid of him because he was getting to be a flaming nut and threatened to fire all of his top people. Since their scam brought in about a million dollars a day, those at the top had no intention of allowing a fat, old psychotic liar push them out.

GD: Was that in the press?

RTC: No. Hubbard was a raging paranoid, among other failings, and was convinced that everyone was out to get him so he went into hiding. That was where he was, out in California, when they gave him the needle. Of course they got the old idiot to sign a will leaving them everything and in with the drugs. As I recall, they cremated him as fast as possible and dumped his ashes into the Pacific off the stern of a sardine boat.

GD: Sic transit Gloria mundi, Robert

RTC: Isn’t that always the truth?

GD: How did they make a million a day? Print it?

RTC: No, Barnum was right, Gregory. There is a sucker born every minute. When I took Jim’s files out of there, I got the Scientology file, too. Three large boxes of files. My son read through some of them and said it sounded like a group therapy session over at St. Elizabeth’s The money? It came from legions and more legions of suckers who flocked to the tin can boys and paid until they were broke.

GD: Tin cans?

RTC: Yes. Hubbard had a very simple device that registered electrical skin responses. Works like the polygraph but has no value. We all have these electrical impulse things and of course the little needle jumps around. They have so called experts called auditors who tell the mark that this is helping to clear up their psyche so they can go out into the real world without a bag over their head. We know, and I am sure you do too, that the world is full of failures and worse. Now, instead of hanging themselves or jumping in front of Amtrak trains, they can grab the tin cans and let someone tell them that being ugly, stupid or a failure is really not their fault. Others are to blame. Of course they will never be free of their loads of guilt until the auditor tells them they are OK and that day never comes. As long as the marks have money, the tin cans are grasped and the wallets slowly empty. When it does, the sucker is tossed out on the street and then, broke, they jump off of railroad bridges and make messes on the tracks.

GD: A million a day?

RTC: Oh yes, at least. Hubbard once said that if a man wanted to be really rich, he should found a religion.

GD: Faking it with tin cans and some worthless meter is not a religion.

RTC: Oh, they turned it into one. They have a lock on a number of frustrated fanatics, fueled by vast sums of money pouring in from the army of suckers.

GD: You mentioned a boat?

RTC: Oh yes, in the 80’s, old Hubbard got it into his head that powerful forces were after him so he bought an old boat, filled it up with nuts and off they went, cruising all over the place and creating diplomatic havoc. Later, he got tired of his admiral’s uniform so he took over some town in Florida and terrorized the normal people before moving on to California, the true home of fruits and nuts. And in the meantime, before Hebe the Yench and the Dwarf, Miscarriage, terminated him, old Hubbard had his crazy followers break into government building and steal sensitive files. Of course they got caught but Hubbard claimed ignorance. He wasn’t stupid by any means but he had Borderline Personality disorder and couldn’t tell the truth when a lie would suffice.

GD: Who are the Hebe and the Dwarf?

RTC: In house for Heber Jentsch and David Miscavage. The first one is a front and the dwarf is the one who runs the show now that his founder is floating on the surf. Oh, you should read the nonsense….Gregory, do you know what a DC 3 is?

GD: Certainly. It’s an older commercial jet.

RTC: Hubbard said, and the ninnies still believe, that certain superior aliens, the father of all of the more enlightened of us, were brought to Earth from Venus millions of years ago on DC 3s.

GD: Robert…

RTC(Laughter) No, I’m serious. We don’t need to even discuss this moronic crap but thousands of panting believers accept it as the truth. The problem is, while they have stopped running around in the boat, they now try to take over small towns and are heavy in the electronics business. And of course swindling fools out of Daddy’s trust fund.

GD: You have material on them?

RTC: Yes, I do, Gregory.

GD: Any chance I could see it?

RTC: Of course, I can dig it out and ship it to you. But a word of caution here, Gregory, never try to use it.

GD: Why not?

RTC: My God, these twits sue everyone in sight for no reason. If you wrote that all up, they would sue you, your dog, your neighbors, your dead grandmother, your school and probably the mailman. The word ‘crazy’ is too mild to use in conjunction here. But, I will send this off to you with my caveat.

GD: You know, my sister’s cat keeps crapping on her bed. Maybe I could stuff it into a tin can and read the meter.

RTC: (Laughter) Be my guest. Why not audit a cat?

GD: I used to think it was books that were audited.

RTC: Gregory, these people can’t read books.

GD: Speaking of books, Bender is going ahead with the Mueller series so I guess Wolfe will hiss at you in the Archives like Loki.

RTC: Bill and I will look forward to the new books, Gregory. And we do need to get together in person sometime, right here. It’s safe enough here.

GD: Should we invite Kimmel?

RTC: Gregory, I have enough problems from the Justice people over you without fanning the flames. I think you love to fan the flames. Have you ever considered a gracious retirement?

GD: That takes money, Robert.

RTC: Yes, that it does. Sell more books.

GD: That’s not my bailiwick. Maybe I could start a religion, Robert. Tell people I came from Venus and if they are good, and give me lots of money, I can elevate them to a huge and invisible flying saucer and take them to Pluto where the men will have huge peckers and the women get to eat a ton of chocolates a day and not gain a pound. And they will all live forever and never worry about falling hair or sagging breasts. Why? Because I will turn them all into little green toads and eventually feed them to the Great God Dagon.

RTC: Well, that way we would get rid of everyone in Los Angeles and Washington.

GD: And our magic spaceship will be a 707 and we can call it the Ship of Fools.

RTC: I will look up those files for you Gregory.

GD: Thanks. It will beat reading the obits in the paper, looking for dead enemies.

(Concluded at 9:22 AM CST)

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Conversations+with+the+Crow+by+Gregory+Douglas

Cable television spying

When people download a film from Netflix to a flatscreen, or turn on web radio, they could be alerting unwanted watchers to exactly what they are doing and where they are.

Spies will no longer have to plant bugs in your home – the rise of ‘connected’ gadgets controlled by apps will mean that people ‘bug’ their own homes.

The CIA claims it will be able to ‘read’ these devices via the internet – and perhaps even via radio waves from outside the home.

Everything from remote controls to clock radios can now be controlled via apps – and chip company ARM recently unveiled low-powered, cheaper chips which will be used in everything from fridges and ovens to doorbells.

These web-connected gadgets will ‘transform’ the art of spying – allowing spies to monitor people automatically without planting bugs, breaking and entering or even donning a tuxedo to infiltrate a dinner party.

‘Particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft. Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters –  all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing.’

One of the world’s biggest chip companies, ARM, has unveiled a new processor built to work inside ‘connected’ white goods.

The ARM chips are smaller, lower-powered and far cheaper than previous processors – and designed to add the internet to almost every kind of electrical appliance.

It’s a concept described as the ‘internet of things’.

Futurists think that one day ‘connected’ devices will tell the internet where they are and what they are doing at all times – and will be mapped by computers as precisely as Google Maps charts the physical landscape now.

The forced conversion to High Definition TV means we will only be able to receive a digital TV signal instead of an analog TV signal. This began in 2009. The surveillance specialists will then have the ability to manipulate that digital signal in any direction desired, for any purpose desired.

In addition, all of the newer wide-screen High Definition TVs found in retail outlets today have both tiny cameras and audio detection devices covertly installed within them so the NSA can both observe and listen to everything within it operatinal radius.  The conversion boxes that have been offered with those free government coupons will have the same detection and surveillance devices.

And covert monitoring/tracking chips have been installed in all automobiles manufactured since 1990

  1. Don’t buy the newer HD TVs and don’t get their conversion box. Forget getting TV from broadcast or cable or satellite directly. One idea is to watch TV shows from your older computer with currently availabe TV reception hardware/software (newer computers probably have the surveillance devices installed) or send the video and audio from the computer into the AV jacks on your TV or VCR.
  2. Watch TV shows from programs previously recorded on VHS tapes or from DVDs using your older TV and VCR equipment. This could become a cottage industry overnight if enough people become aware of the covert surveillance agenda riding along on the coattails of the forced conversion to High Definition digital television.
  3. You can listen to only television audio from many inexpensive radios that include the TV audio bands from channel 2-13

In most cases, audio is good enough for me. I’m mainly looking for those few comedy offerings here and there that will provide a laugh. Most sitcoms are just awful: ‘boring’ or ‘banal’ would be complimentary descriptions.

There are also many “black box technologies” being developed out there that the public does not even know about yet.

Then there are the nation’s public schools, where young people are being conditioned to mindlessly march in lockstep to the pervasive authoritarian dictates of the surveillance state. It was here that surveillance cameras and metal detectors became the norm. It was here, too, that schools began reviewing social media websites in order to police student activity. With the advent of biometrics, school officials have gone to ever more creative lengths to monitor and track students’ activities and whereabouts, even for the most mundane things. For example, students in Pinellas County, Fla., are actually subjected to vein recognition scans when purchasing lunch at school.

Of course, the government is not the only looming threat to our privacy and bodily integrity. As with most invasive technologies, the groundwork to accustom the American people to the so-called benefits or conveniences of facial recognition is being laid quite effectively by corporations. For example, a new Facebook application, Facedeals, is being tested in Nashville, Tenn., which enables businesses to target potential customers with specialized offers. Yet another page borrowed from Stephen Spielberg’s 2002 Minority Report, the app works like this: businesses install cameras at their front doors which, using facial recognition technology, identify the faces of Facebook users and then send coupons to their smartphones based upon things they’ve “liked” in the past.

Making this noxious mix even more troubling is the significant margin for error and abuse that goes hand in hand with just about every government-instigated program, only more so when it comes to biometrics and identification databases.

Take, for example, the Secure Communities initiative. Touted by the Department of Homeland Security as a way to crack down on illegal immigration, the program attempted to match the inmates in local jails against the federal immigration database. Unfortunately, it resulted in Americans being arrested for reporting domestic abuse and occasionally flagged US citizens for deportation. More recently, in July 2012, security researcher Javier Galbally demonstrated that iris scans can be spoofed, allowing a hacker to use synthetic images of an iris to trick an iris-scanning device into thinking it had received a positive match for a real iris over 50 percent of the time.

The writing is on the wall. With technology moving so fast and assaults on our freedoms, privacy and otherwise, occurring with increasing frequency, there is little hope of turning back this technological, corporate and governmental juggernaut. Even trying to avoid inclusion in the government’s massive identification database will be difficult. The hacktivist group Anonymous suggests wearing a transparent plastic mask, tilting one’s head at a 15 degree angle, wearing obscuring makeup, and wearing a hat outfitted with Infra-red LED lights as methods for confounding the cameras’ facial recognition technology.

Consider this, however: while the general public, largely law-abiding, continues to be pried on, spied on and treated like suspects by a government that spends an exorbitant amount of money on the security-intelligence complex (which takes in a sizeable chunk of the $80 billion yearly intelligence budget), the government’s attention and resources are effectively being diverted from the true threats that remain at large – namely, those terrorists abroad who seek, through overt action and implied threat, to continue the reign of terror in America begun in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

 

 

 

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