TBR News August 9, 2011

Aug 10 2011

The Voice of the White House


            Washington, D.C., August 8, 2011: “America’s largest and, at one time, most productive state, is rapidly falling to pieces. An enormous influx of illegals has shifted the ethnic balance in the state of California and has caused a serious flight of white and black citizens from the state. More important, many California businesses have joined in the flight, leaving Latino areas bereft of a huge tax base. Since at least 85% of the Latino population are recipients of state and federal welfare programs, in the case of the state, the rapidly shrinking tax base portends rapidly nearing sociological and economic collapse.

             California’s white population has declined since 2000 at an unprecedented rate, hastening the day when Hispanics will be the state’s largest population group, according to newly released state figures.

            There were half a million fewer whites in California in 2008 than in 2000, a period when the state’s overall population grew by 4 million to 38.1 million, according to a study released Thursday by the state Department of Finance.

By 2008, whites made up 40 percent of Californians, down from 47 percent at the turn of the century. In 2000, Hispanics comprised 32 percent of the population; that number grew to 37 percent in 2008.

             Analysts said the decline can be attributed to two main causes – a natural population decrease as Baby Boomers enter their later years and die at a faster rate than younger whites have children, and a migration from California since 2001 among whites who sought affordable housing as real estate costs soared. White flight from Los Angeles, in southern California, began in the 1950s way before the racial Watts Riots in 1965, but the riots increased the pace of flight from nearby areas of the city. At the same time, the rising cost of real estate drove some buyers out of the city to less expensive suburbs. Latinos have become the greatest ethnic minority in California, and their numbers have increased in its major cities.     

            During the 1990s and early 2000s, African Americans migrated from the (post-1960) historically black communities of Inglewood and Compton, which now have majority-Latino populations, to Inland Empire, California communities such as Fontana, Rialto, Moreno Valley, Palmdale and Victorville, as well into parts Orange, and Ventura counties. 

            Others have left the state, returning to the South  and the proportion and number of African Americans in the state has decreased. From 1995-2000, California lost black migrants for the first time in three decades Because of the strong Latino demand for housing in Watts and south central Los Angeles, housing prices there rose more than 40 percent from 2004-2005.

          In 2010 193 businesses pulled up stakes or materially reduced their business investment in California to build facilities out of state or out of the country.  This compares to 51 companies leaving in 2009.

            These business losses are driven by deliberate business decisions to relocate outside of California followed by decisions to redirect capital investment that more likely than not would have been directed to California but now will not.  California is losing its attractiveness to business while other states with better business conditions are working hard to suction up the doubters.

            The following business entities have left California:

            Abraxis Health, Adobr Systems, Inc. Alza Corp., American AVK, American Racing, Apple Computer, Audix Corporation, Apria Healthcare Group, Assurant Inc., Barefoot Motors, Bazz Houston Co., Beckman Coulter, Bild Industries Inc., Bill Miller Engineering, Ltd. BMC Select , BPI Labs, Buck Knives, CalPortland Cement, California Casualty Group, CalStar Products Inc., Checks To-Go, Chivaroli & Associates CoreSite, A Carlyle Company, Creel Printing, Dassault Falcon DaVita Inc. , Denny’s Corp., Digital Domain, Ditech DuPont Fabros Technology, ebay, Inc., EDMO Distributors, Inc. Edwards Lifesciences, Electronic Arts, Inc., EMRISE Corp., Facebook, Fall Line Corporation, Fidelity National Financial, First American Corp., Fluor Corp., Foxconn Electronics, Fuel System Solutions, Gregg Industries, Hewlett-Packard, Hilton Hotels Corp., Hino Motor Manufacturing USA, Intel Corporation, Intuit of Mountain View, J.C. Penney, Kimmie Candy Co., Klaussner Home Furnishings, Knight Protective Industries Kulicke & Soffa Industries Inc., LCF Enterprises, Lennox Hearth Products Inc., Lyn-Tron, Inc. Mariah Power, Maxwell America, Miasole, MotorVac Technologies, Nissan North America, Northrop Grumman, One2Believe, Patmont Motor Werks, Inc. Paragon Relocation Resources, Pixel Magic, Plastic Model Engineering, Inc., Precor, Premier Inc., Pro Cal of South Gate, Race Track Chaplaincy of Amer., Red Truck Fire & Safety Co., SAIC, Scale Computing, Schott Solar Inc., SimpleTech Smiley Industries, Solaicx, SolarWorld, Special Devices Inc., StarKist , Stasis Engineering, Stat a Corp., Tapmatic, Teledesic, Telmar Network Technology Inc., Terremark, Terumo Cardiovascular Systems, Toyota, True Games Interactive Inc., TTM Technologies, Understand.com US Press shifted, USAA Insurance, Yahoo and many more.

            Texas appears to be the big winner from this California flight along with other Western and Southern states where taxes, regulations and growth prospects are better.

            The biggest losers among California Counties are Orange County (40) Santa Clara (36), the heart of Silicon Valley, Los Angeles County (34) and Alameda County (14) together making up 64% of the business losses.

             California has the highest total number of Latinos of any U.S. state. largest named ancestries in California are Mexican (25%), Hispanics, mainly Mexican Americans, predominate in Southern California, especially in Los Angeles.

            The city itself has the largest Mexican community in the United States. Census records kept track of the growth since 1850, but Mexican Americans came to L.A. since 1890. Latinos are the largest ethnic group in Los Angeles County at over 40 percent of the county’s population. Latinos are predominantly concentrated in the older eastern and southern suburbs surrounding downtown L.A. and northern Long Beach, the southern/eastern San Fernando Valley and the Covina/Pomona Valleys. They also comprise sizable communities in Bakersfield, Fresno, El Monte, La Puente, Long Beach, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Stockton and Vallejo.

            In Santa Ana in Orange County, they are the majority and comprise 75 percent of the population.

            Nearby Anaheim is over half Latino, and Orange County’s population is 30-35 percent Latino.

            The Imperial Valley on the U.S.-Mexican border is about 70–75% Latino; Latino communities are also dominant in Riverside County, especially in its eastern end and Coachella Valley. The Central Valley has many Mexican American migrant farmworkers. Latinos are the majority in Colusa, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Benito, Santa Cruz, Tulare and Yolo counties.

            Latinos make up over 25% of the San Francisco Bay Area. Many live in San Mateo, Alameda and Santa Clara counties, as well in San Francisco. The Napa Valley and Salinas Valley have predominantly Hispanic communities established by migrant farmworkers. San Jose is about 30-35 percent Latino, the largest Latino community in Northern California, while the Mission District, San Francisco and Lower/West Oakland has barrios established by Mexican and Latin American immigrants. The Mexican-American communities of East Los Angeles and Logan Heights, San Diego, as well the San Joaquin Valley are centers of historic Chicano and Latino cultures.

            In Mariposa County, there is a very small community of Californios or Spanish American people as they identify themselves, that dates back before the U.S. annexation of California. The Californio culture is closely linked with Mexico and other Latin American nations. Spanish colonial/Mexican/Latino influences was always a minor part of California after it became part of the U.S. since 1848 and its’ statehood in 1850.

            Most of the state’s Latinos have Mexican ancestry, but there are many Cuban Americans, Puerto Ricans, Guatemalan Americans, Honduran Americans, Salvadoran Americans, and Nicaraguan Americans, Chilean Americans, Colombian Americans, and Peruvian Americans. Los Angeles has the United States’ largest Central American community, as well as the largest Mexican American community, since the 1910’s. Demographers debated for decades since the 1970’s on whether or not California will become a Latino majority state, which has happened in the city of Los Angeles in 2010, with both xenophobe and xenophile overtones.

            The U.S. Census Bureau figures show that over the last decade, the percentage of Latinos has approached parity with non-Hispanic whites — 37.6% to 40.1%, with Asians at 12.8% and blacks at 5.8%.

             California grew by 3.4 million people in the last decade, a rate that was on par with the national average.

            Much of California’s growth was fueled by Latinos, who saw their numbers increase nearly 28% to 14 million, and Asians, who saw a nearly 31% gain to nearly 4.8 million.

            The two other major demographic groups were in retreat: Non-Hispanic whites declined more than many demographers had predicted, dropping 5.4% to just under 15 million.

            The number of blacks declined nearly 1% to nearly 2.2 million residents.

            Though most parts of the state added population, growth was greater in the interior and more anemic along the coast.”

Taliban helicopter attack kills 31 US special forces troops

August 6, 2011

The Telegraph/UK

A Nato Chinook helicopter has been shot down by Taliban insurgents, killing 31 American special forces soldiers in one of the worst single incidents in Afghanistan.

            The aircraft was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and crashed in the Tangi valley of Wardak province, west of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

            A condolence statement from Hamid Karzai said 31 Americans had been killed and seven Afghans, making it the bloodiest incident for the United States and the coalition in the decade-long campaign.

             Coalition head quarters in Kabul confirmed a helicopter had crashed in eastern Afghanistan, but a spokesman would not comment on casualty figures.

            Sources said the release of more information was being delayed by the difficulties in informing the next of kin.

            The spokesman said: “A coalition helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan today, and recovery operations are under way.

            The coalition is still in the process of assessing the circumstances to determine the facts of the incident, reporting indicates there was enemy activity in the area.

             “Additional details will be released as appropriate.”

            Mr Karzai’s statement said: “The president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai expressed condolences over a Nato helicopter crash and the deaths of 31 members of US special forces.”

            Wardak is viewed as a strategically critical province guarding the western “gate” to Kabul and has seen heavy Taliban infiltration for several years.

            Local reports said the helicopter had been taking part in a night raid targeting insurgent commanders. At least eight insurgents were killed.

            A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujaheed, told the New York Times insurgents shot down the helicopter around 11pm on Friday local time and that eight militants were killed in the fight that continued after the helicopter fell.

            “The fresh reports from the site tells us that there are still Americans doing search operations for the bodies and pieces of the helicopter are on the ground,” Mr. Mujaheed said.

 UPDATE WASHINGTON – AP sources: Majority of those killed in helicopter crash were from Navy SEAL Team 6.



Infowars Ireland Predicted SEAL Team 6 Demise


Strange Coincidence Surrounding a Known Conspiracy


August 7, 2011

by Tony Cartalucci

What is a known fact is that Osama Bin Laden was not killed earlier this year during the hyped-Pakistan raid, but rather died nearly a decade ago due to health problems. This means that whoever landed in Pakistan and murdered the people occupying the alleged “Bin Laden” compound, just a stone’s throw away from a nearby CIA safe house, killed someone else. It is quite clear that these people, alleged to have been members of the ultra-secret SEAL Team 6, would then be liabilities to whoever attempted to foist this hoax upon the world.

With that in mind, all the way back in May 2011, Infowars Ireland’s Declan O’Shea predicted SEAL Team 6 would be inevitably eliminated. It appears now, after reports of “US troops” dying in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, that a large part of SEAL Team 6 died with them. In fact, allegedly 22 SEAL Team 6 members are said to have died in the crash, just 2 short of the 24 that allegedly participated in the “Bin Laden” raid. The Pentagon was quick to point out that, even though the identities of SEAL Team 6 members are all closely guarded secrets – they are “sure” none of those who recently died had taken part in the “Osama Bin Laden” assassination.

One thing that is certain, the professionalism, training, and dedication exhibited by the US Navy SEALs or in fact, by any of America’s armed forces, is being exploited and abused by a callus, self-serving, criminal government. Despite all the hollow praise coming from Obama and his speech writers, the reality is they could care less about the lives of these men or the families they left behind. Whether it was murdering Pat Tillman, lying about Jessica Lynch, experimenting on unknowing military test subjects, or using false pretexts to start wars that feed tens of thousands of Americans into the horrors of combat for Exxon, Halliburton, and DynCorps contracts, US troops are but pawns in a power struggle, their lives, honor, and sacrifices maliciously used to perpetuate an unjust dishonorable agenda.

That the US government is so duplicitous that they arouse just as much suspicion as our “enemies” when US troops die in a combat zone should be a warning and wake up call for all of our brave armed forces. America’s enemies are not hiding in caves throughout the mountains of Afghanistan, they strut about with absolute hubris in Washington D.C. and along Wall Street. Now would be a good time to re-read Marine Corps General Smedley Butler’s “War is a Racket” and keep in mind just how the government and the corporate interests that drive them view its “hallowed military heroes.”


A Reminder

And let us, above all, remember that while the US government is full of pot-bellied, paper-pushing, treasonous, craven scum – America’s troops truly believe they are doing what is right. While in reality they serve a despicable agenda driven by a lust for power, they themselves have honorable intentions in mind as they risk their lives on a daily basis. They, like soldiers throughout time, do not wake up every morning swearing allegiance to their leadership’s megalomania, but truly believe they are defending their nation from an enemy they have been told is very real. We must make sure that we continue fighting with that in mind, to match their bravery and sacrifices with the truth and a truly noble cause.

Voices from the Back Wards: Jesus Freaks Wear Tin Hats!


‘Jesus loves nukes’: US Air Force taught the Christian Just War Theory

To the men and women burdened with the ultimate responsibility of launching America’s nuclear missiles it was known as the “Jesus loves nukes” lesson.


August 5, 2011

by Nick Allen, Los Angeles

The Telegraph/UK

For 20 years the course on “Christian Just War Theory” was taught by chaplains at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to those who would turn the key should World War III break out.

The training, which used passages from the Bible and religious imagery to demonstrate the moral justification for atomic warfare, has now been suspended.

The Air Force acted after receiving an inquiry from Truthout, a news website which first broke the story.

A PowerPoint presentation which was part of the course had consisted of 43 slides which included references to Biblical figures like Abraham and John the Baptist, and paintings of the Visigoths attacking Rome in AD410.

Instructors quoted St Augustine’s just cause for war, telling them it was right “to avenge or to avert evil, to protect the innocent and restore moral and social order.”

            They also recounted how, in the Book of Genesis, Abraham had organised an army to rescue Lot, and how there were “Old Testament believers who engaged in war in a righteous way.” Officers were also told that in Judges, God is “motivating judges to fight and deliver Israel from foreign oppressors,” and that there was “no pacifistic sentiment in mainstream Jewish history.”

In the New Testament, they were told, Jesus used the Roman centurion as a “positive illustration of faith.” One slide read: “Revelation 19:11 Jesus Christ is the mighty warrior.”

The course literature also quoted Werner von Braun, the leading German rocket scientist who went on to work for the United States after the Second World War, saying that it was a “moral decision” to surrender his technology to the US.

Von Braun said: “We felt that only by surrendering such a weapon to people who are guided by the Bible could such an assurance to the world be best secured.”

Before the the course was stopped 31 nuclear missile launch officers, including Protestants and Roman Catholics, had complained to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a group that campaigns for the separation of church and state.

Its founder Mikey Weinstein said the officers were being told that “under fundamentalist Christian doctrine, war is a good thing”.

He said the officers found that “disgusting.” Mr Weinstein said: “The United States Air Force was promoting a particular brand of right wing fundamentalist Christianity.

“The main essence was that war is a natural part of the human experience and it’s something that is favoured by this particular perspective of the New Testament.”

David Smith, spokesman for the Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command, said ethics courses were “especially important” for nuclear missile launch officers.

But he added: “Our commander here reviewed the course and decided immediately that it was not appropriate for what we want to do.

“The use of Bible passages and other elements was just inappropriate. The military is made up of people from all walks of life, all faiths.” However, critics accused the Air Force of bowing to political correctness.

Commander Daniel McKay, a retired US Navy chaplain, said: “Why is it inappropriate to give our people guidelines that have withstood the test of time, to give us moral guidance?

“History will prove that if you stay true to God’s wisdom, it will serve us well and it has served us well.”

Rick Perry under fire for planning Christian prayer rally and fast

Republican hopeful and Texas governor risks ruining his reputation by mixing politics and religion, critics warn

August 5, 2011

by Ewen MacAskill in Washington


            Rick Perry, one of the leading Republican contenders for the 2012 White House race, is under fire after organising a huge Christian evangelical rally at a football stadium in Houston, Texas.

Although he has not yet formally declared his intention to stand, Perry is in second place in some polls behind front-runner Mitt Romney. But critics say he is risking his reputation on Saturday’s planned day of prayer and fasting that he has declared in response to the economic and moral crisis facing the country.

Perry, the governor of Texas, has been accused of mixing politics and religion, and faces questions over the organisation financing the rally – which has been described as a “hate” group by discrimination monitors. Atheists filed an unsuccessful lawsuit to have the rally stopped and Perry’s involvement declared unconstitutional.

Perry, in a message inviting Christians to the rally, said: “Right now, America is in crisis. We have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy.”

He added: “Some problems are beyond our power to solve, and according to the Book of Joel, chapter 2, this historic hour demands a historic response. Therefore, on 6 August, thousands will gather to pray for a historic breakthrough for our country and a renewed sense of moral purpose.”

He called on Christians to join him at the 71,000-seat Reliant football stadium for the seven-hour rally, “with praying people asking God’s forgiveness, wisdom and provision for our state and nation. There is hope for America. It lies in heaven, and we will find it on our knees.”

He is to announce either this month or next whether he will seek the Republican nomination for the presidency. He has already put a campaign team in place and begun sounding out fundraisers.

If he stands, he would likely become the frontrunner, provided the rally does not rebound on him.

He has won the governorship of Texas three times in a row and the state has a strong record on employment, accounting for about a third of new US jobs, providing him with a good platform in a country where unemployment is the number one issue.

Although the rally, called “The Response”, has created a lot of dissent, it could help Perry win over Christian evangelicals. They make up about half of the Republican grassroots support, according to polls, and an even higher proportion in key caucus and primary states such as Iowa and South Carolina, two of the early states that can be decisive in the nomination battle.

But the New York Times reported this week that only about 8,000 people had signed up for the event. Perry invited all the country’s governors but only one, Sam Brownback, of Kansas, is to attend. Sixty-thousand empty seats might be seen as a humiliating rebuff.

Eric Bearse, a rally spokesman, told CNN the attendance was not an issue.

“Not concerned whatsoever. We think it will be a powerful event whether it is 8,000 or 50,000. The only people concerned about numbers are press,” he said.

The American Family Association, formerly known as the National Federation for Decency, is financing the rally. The organisation, based in Tupelo, Mississippi, runs about 200 radio stations. The Southern Poverty Law Centre, which tracks discrimination, described it as a hate group.

Critics of the rally, including other Christian groups, were scheduled to hold a counter-rally on Friday. Ministers from some churches signed a letter critical of Perry for holding a rally that they say is only for Christians and excludes Muslims and other faiths.

The Houston Clergy Council, in a letter to Perry, said: “The American Family Association and its leadership have a long track record of anti-gay speech and have actively worked to discriminate against the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.”

It added: “We ask that Rick Perry leave the ministry to us and refocus his energy on the work of governing our state.”

But Perry is to follow up the rally by speaking at Virginia’s Liberty Christian Academy, one of the powerhouses of the evangelical movement, on 14 September.

PROFILE: The Outlandish Beliefs Of Rick Perry’s Prayer Rally Endorsers

August 3, 2011


On August 6th, Gov. Rick Perry will host a rally of prayer and fasting for a “nation in crisis.” Perry has invited all 49 other governors to share in the event he defines as “a nondenominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting.” He is expected to announce his presidential intentions soon after the rally.

A quick look at the event’s endorsement list features a who’s-who of extreme right-wing religious figures. They warn of dire consequences for our nation: birds dying out because gays can serve in the military, hurricanes ravaging “sinful cities,” even Oprah Winfrey being a sign of the Apocalypse. Yet despite their outlandish beliefs and rhetoric, Perry features their support prominently on the event’s website.

ThinkProgress has compiled the top outlandish beliefs from pastors associated with Perry’s prayer rally:

– Oprah is a sign of the Apocalypse: In his channel on GOD TV, Mike Bickle called Oprah a “forerunner to the harlot movement.” Bickle also warned that traditional “marriage will be…defiled” as the “gay marriage agenda, which is rooted in the depths of Hell,” progresses.

– Blackbirds are dying because of gay soldiers: Dr. Cindy Jacobs recorded a video declaring a connection between the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the sudden death of blackbirds in Beebee, Arkansas as a divine punishment. She also called “girl-on-girl kissing” a “plague on society” and asked divine forgiveness for the violation of a woman’s “natural use.”

– The Statue of Liberty is a “demonic idol”: In various sermons, John Benefiel called the Statue of Liberty a “demonic idol.” He also expressed a belief that homosexuality is a plot contrived by the Illuminati “to limit the world population.”

– Hurricane Katrina was divine retribution for the city’s “sin”: John Hagee said residents of New Orleans were at fault for Hurricane Katrina: “I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God and they were recipients of the judgment of God for that.” Hagee has also insinuated that “the Holocaust…was the fault of Jews themselves” and Hitler acted as a “hunter” corralling the Jews into Israel.

– Gay rights movement from the “pit of hell”: Dwight McKissic denounced comparisons between the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement because the latter is a “satanic anointment…inspired by the anti-Christ” that comes from the “pit of hell.” McKissic also said that “God uses natural disasters to punish evil,” pointing to Hurricane Katrina because “New Orleans flaunts sin.”

– Jesus actually opposed the minimum wage: Influential pastor David Barton has made a name for himself by distorting Biblical text to support his claim that Jesus opposed the minimum wage and the capital gains tax. Barton has also argued that public school students are getting “homosexual indoctrination.”

– Children of gay parents are like orphans of 9/11: During this year’s Faith and Freedom conference, ThinkProgress reported on Jim Garlow’s comparison of orphans of the September 11th attacks to children raised in same-sex households. Garlow is also known for his controversial allegation that African Americans have saved the country from the “enslavement of gay marriage.”

– Director of a Christian para-military group: Jay Swallow is the Director of SWAT, a “Christian Military Training Camp” organized “for the purpose of dealing with the occult and territorial enemy strong holds in America.” Participants of the training session sign a liability waiver before becoming “warriors” against “occult and territorial enemy strongholds in America.” Participants are also trained “how to pray for casinos on Native American land.”

– African Americans are “cursed” by homosexuals: Willie Wooten published a book about the curse of the African American people. He wrote that their tolerance of “immorality” in the Democratic Party begets curses of “adultery, incest, children from incestuous union, children born out-of-wedlock, destroyed virginity, bestiality, homosexuality, lesbianism.”

The Biggest Religious Movement You Never Heard of: Nine Things You Need to Know About Rick Perry’s Prayer Event


Perry’s endorsers are not just a random group of radical evangelists but part of a large and little-understood international religious movement.


August 6, 2011

by Paul Rosenberg


When Texas Gov. Rick Perry decided to stage a Texas-size prayer event — dubbed “The Response” — on Aug. 6, it no doubt seemed like the right thing to do at the time. It received little critical scrutiny when he announced it back in early June, except on websites that track these sorts of things. But after Rachel Maddow, drawing on these sites, did a segment highlighting some of the more bizarre statements made by Perry’s high-profile religious endorsers, things cooled considerably — even though the real story is still not remotely well-understood.

 “Perry’s endorsers are not just a random group of radical evangelists making outrageous statements,” researcher Rachel Tabachnick subsequently wrote at Alternet.org. “These are the apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), the biggest international religious movement you never heard of.” Almost simultaneously, investigative rePeter Forrest Wilder of the Texas Observer published an extensive article on Perry’s prayer event and his endorsers, “Rick Perry’s Army of God.”

The NAR’s intellectual godfather, C. Peter Wagner, one of Perry’s early endorsers, brags that it’s the most significant change in how Christianity is practiced since the Protestant Reformation. Like him or not, in a sense he’s right: With tens, even hundreds of millions of followers worldwide, the NAR’s stress on Godlike prophetic and apostolic powers, its revisions of end-time prophecies, its methodology of “spiritual warfare” and its agenda of theocratic dominion over all aspects of society are not just threatening to modern secular democracy and the religious pluralism it protects, they have been sharply criticized by other conservative Christians as unbiblical, deviant teachings, even a form of the very demonic practices they obsessively declare war against. Indeed, the Assemblies of God — the largest Pentecostal denomination in America — condemned some of the NAR’s teachings and practices as “deviant” in 2000, though Tabachnick told me that many within the denomination have since embraced the movement.

Wilder told me they were going to “tone it down a little bit to make it less overt in terms of the particular set of beliefs and practices that most of the people behind the event hold.” So, probably no talk about taking over government, sex with demons or Oprah Winfrey as a harbinger of the Antichrist — the sort of more alarming tidbits Maddow highlighted.

But if America’s mainstream media rePeters think this turns Perry’s prayer meeting into a nonevent, they couldn’t be more mistaken. There might not be any “gotcha!” moments to be had — although anything is possible — but with 15 long months of campaigning ahead and multiple other candidates courting the same, poorly understood religious constituency, there is a wealth of potential insights to be gathered that could prove invaluable down the road. What’s more, the failure to explore and understand the multiple intersections of religion and politics has repeatedly exacted a terrible toll over the past 30 years of media consolidation, which has seen more and more talking heads, as frontline reporting has withered on the vine. Failure to understand the politico-religious dynamics of far-off Afghanistan in the 1980s resulted in all sorts of mayhem there — and eventually in the 9/11 attacks.

So what are some of the stories the media ought to be looking at, coming out of The Response, regardless of whether there are any instant YouTube classics or not? Without trying to dictate what others should write, one can glean some helpful tips from those who’ve ventured in early. Here are nine underreported stories worth considering:

1.The Response” Is Not a Broadly Representative Christian Event.

There’s a heavy concentration of NAR figures among the endorsers, with several other of the most prominent figures joining Wagner, including Mike Bickle, founder of the Kansas City–based International House of Prayer (IHOP), Dr John Benefiel, head of the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network of Oklahoma City, and Cindy Jacobs of Generals International. Tabachnick ticked off a list of NAR endorsers, starting with five from IHOP: Luis and Jill Cataldo, IHOP staff members in Kansas City; Randy and Kelsey Bohlender of IHOP and The Call; Apostle Doug Stringer; and Dave Silker of IHOP.

“This is not a random cross-section of conservative Christians,” Wilder told me. “There is such an emphasis and disproportionate number of people that are very closely tied together, affiliated with this strain of neo-pentecostalism or charismatic movement, that it cannot be an accident.”

They aren’t the only ones involved, of course. The Texas GOP has been avidly recruiting conservative Christians of all stripes for deep political involvement since the mid-1990s. Former state party vice-chair David Barton, a self-taught revisionist historian, has played a key role in this process. (He, too, is an endorser.) However, with the NAR’s keen interest in establishing Christian dominion over politics as part of their “Seven Mountains” strategy (more on this below), it’s no coincidence that they are significantly overrepresented.

2. Perry Is Not the Only Potential GOP Nominee Specifically Courting the NAR.

According to Tabachnick, writing about Perry’s announcement in June, GOP candidates competing for NAR support “include Sarah Palin, who has an over 20-year relationship with Alaskan Apostle Mary Glazier; Newt Gingrich, who was anointed by Lou Engle on an internationally televised broadcast in 2009; Michelle Bachman; Rick Santorum; and now, apparently, Rick Perry.”

“It’s not just the NAR infiltrating government,” Wilder told me. “I think — my observation — they are sought out, often by the politicians themselves.”

“Politicians of any type, want to go where the energy is, they want to go where the votes are.” Wilder continued. “They want to go where there are people who put together a network. These folks put together a tremendous network. For example, you look at the Heartland Apostolic Network — they have a presence in 50 states.”

In addition to cultivating NAR leadership, candidates can publicly identify themselves with the NAR without anyone else being the wiser. Like many other movements, the NAR has its own lingo, which allows politicians to speak directly to NAR members in coded language, directly soliciting their support, telling them “I’m one of you” without anyone else realizing what’s being said. This happened repeatedly in 2008, when Palin openly talked about “prayer warriors.”

Another NAR phrase Tabachnick wrote about in September 2010 is “the head and not the tail,” although she points out that others use the phrase quite differently. For the NAR, however, Tabachnick identified the phrase as the “battle cry for the Seven Mountains Campaign.” That’s how the NAR conceives of its dominionist agenda: taking control of the “Seven Mountains,” or culture-shaping spheres that dominate human society: business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, family, and religion.

By becoming “the head and not the tail” of these seven spheres, the NAR aims to establish complete dominance of human society around the world. Speaking like this sends a powerful message about much more than just opposing abortion or gay marriage, yet the words can pass by unnoticed by rePeters unfamiliar with the NAR.

3. Perry Is Not the Only State-Level Figure Connected to the NAR.

A key aspect of the NAR is its emphasis on “spiritual warfare,” which grew out of Wagner’s decades of earlier work on church growth. Over time, Wagner came to believe that church growth was limited in some places because of demonic power. At first, attention was focused on the process of “spiritual mapping,” a geographical approach to demon-fighting. More recently, this has been presented in terms of “Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare,” described as part of a three-tiered approach, as Talk2action.org explains in its glossary of NAR terms:

Ground-level spiritual warfare is casting out demons from individuals. Occult-level spiritual warfare is confrontations with demons operating through witchcraft and esoteric philosophies (examples are Freemasonry and Tibetan Buddhism). Strategic-level spiritual warfare is the highest level, dealing with confrontation of territorial principalities that control entire communities, ethnic groups, religions and nations.

Given this deep-seated orientation, it’s not surprising that geographical organization has been key to the NAR. Establishing geographic dominion over cities and states makes perfect sense on the way to controlling whole nations and eventually the world. And so it’s not surprising to note several examples where NAR-related individuals have gained state-level power.

Most famously, of course, Sarah Palin, was governor of Alaska. While her deep involvement with the NAR was glossed over at the time, it’s now clear that she first joined a statewide “prayer warrior” network under Apostle Mary Glazier when she was 24 years old. When she first ran for Wasilla City Council in the 1990s on an explicitly religious platform, it was unprecedented for the town but perfectly normal by NAR standards. Banning books from the public library when she became mayor was similarly unsurprising once you understand the dominionist ideology she embraced.

Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas doesn’t have anything close to Palin’s longtime involvement as a prayer-warrior footsoldier, but he has played a highly visible role as a general while serving in the Senate before becoming governor. While in the Senate, Brownback spent years supporting the NAR’s “reconciliation” strategy with Native Americans, both sponsoring legislation and appearing at NAR events. Brownback is the only sitting governor to accept Perry’s invitation to attend The Response.

In Hawaii in 2010, before now-governor Ambecrombie joined the race, both the leading Republican and Democratic candidates for governor were deeply involved with NAR. They had almost achieved their goal of making the election irrelevant for their purposes. In April 2010, Tabachnick’s colleague at Talk2action, Bruce Wilson, wrote a blog post, Christian Right Claims Both 2010 Hawaii Gubernatorial Candidates. It began with a quote from Ed Silvoso, a global NAR leader who is intimately involved with promoting the Ugandan “Kill the gays” law. The quote reads, “It doesn’t matter if the Republican or the Democratic candidate wins the governorship [of Hawaii]. Either one is already in the kingdom”.

The Democrat, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, is a Mormon, despite the fact that the NAR regards the Mormon church as being under demonic control — the same as the Catholic Church. NAR groups even go so far as to burn the Book of Mormon. They’re a pretty tolerant lot — at least the Mormons among them like Hannemann are. The Republican. Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona, is positively Palin-like in his NAR enthusiasms. Fortunately, longtime Democratic Congressman Neil Abercrombie entered the race and won. But there’s no doubt the NAR will try again in Hawaii.

4. State-Level Prayer Warrior Networks Are Important.

As Wilder pointed out above, John Benefiel’s Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network has a presence in all 50 states. Some states have other organizations as well. Collectively, these organizations, based on “spiritual mapping,” create a strong foundation for campaign organizing. “Prayer warriors” have already been mobilized in significant elections, such as the 2008 initiative banning gay marriage in California, and given their geographic foundations, their potential is considerable.

Wilder went on to say, “In Texas, for example, they’ve got one guy who’s in charge of the whole state. He oversees 15 regions. Each has its own director. Below that, there’s counties and even churches and precincts. So it’s this beautifully put-together network that’s both broad and deep, and these are committed, disciplined people.”

“These are not people living in caves,” Wilder added. “They function just fine in the secular world.”

Needless to say, their ideology of taking dominion over the government provides a strong motivational framework for keeping them dedicated, whereas most of the population’s political interest fluctuates considerably over time. Particularly in light of widespread state-level GOP attacks on public worker unions, which normally provide a great deal of grass-roots organizational support for Democrats, these GOP-supporting networks could provide a crucial boost for GOP candidates, as well as helping to select who those general election candidates might be.

5. A “Rainbow Right” Could Play a Decisive Role in 2012.

Running against America’s first black president, the GOP is going to need any edge it can find to gain minority inroads. The NAR is especially aggressive in recruiting minority leaders, and this could be disproportionately important in 2012.

“If Perry runs for president, success may depend on minority voters. The inclusion of minorities is an area where the NAR is strikingly different from old-school fundamentalists and Jerry Falwell’s Religious Right,” Tabachnick said. “The NAR is trying to form what Bruce Wilson refers to as a ‘Rainbow Coalition’ in the Religious Right. Success could dramatically change voter patterns in this country.”

“It’s surprisingly multiracial, that is, surprising if you you don’t understand why,” Wilder said. Consequently, people should not expect The Response to be “this white bread crowd that people would expect Rick Perry, this white conservative male would be putting on. In fact, it’s a pretty racially diverse movement of people, in part reflecting its deep involvement in overseas evangelizing.”

“There’s this interesting kind of veneer of racial reconciliation,” Wilder continued. “I wrote about in the article. There’s this kind of instrumentality to it, not that it’s not sincere, but there’s a goal that’s attached, trying to overcome racial problems within this community or Christianity or even conservatism, if you want to keep going with it. And that’s that, at a base level, you look at what Lou Engel said. He wants a new breed of black prophets to rise up and use their social justice civil rights kind of bona fides to lend authenticity and credibility to the anti-abortion movement.”

“Thus far, they’ve had trouble getting everybody on the same page and the right wing continues to shoot itself in the foot with racism and radical immigration policies,” Tabachnick added. “But if you look at David Barton and many of the apostles, they are doing everything possible to rewrite history in a way that rebrands conservatives as the champions of Blacks, Latinos, Jews, etc., and liberals as the enemy.”

6. But Don’t Take Talk of “Reconciliation” at Face Value.

As both Wilder and Tabachnick indicate, many of those drawn in by the NAR’s talk of reconciliation are quite sincere. But what this actually means in practice is another matter altogether It is not actually about hearing out real past grievances — particularly since Christianity itself often had a major role in legitimizing, even perpetrating those grievances in the first place, such as justifying Southern slavery with biblical arguments, as described by Larry E. Tise in his 1987 book, Proslavery: A History of the Defense of Slavery in America, 1701-1840Christianity played an equally important role in justifying the genocide of Native American peoples from the early colonial period onward, with Native Americans themselves often portrayed as demons.

Setting aside their revisionist history for the moment, there’s the more immediate question of how to square the rhetoric of reconciliation with the reality of a de facto culture war. In a guide to Talk2Action’s articles on the NAR, put together last October, Tabachnick wrote that “they literally demonize religions outside of evangelicalism, including burning of Mormon, Catholic and Native American artifacts, and excursions in which they claim their ‘spiritual warfare’ supernaturally damages icons and infrastructure of other faiths.”

A report from the Trinity Apostolic Prayer Network website describes one such ceremony — held in Olney, Texas, on April 21, 2007 — in which Native American artifacts were destroyed. The report has since been scrubbed but was saved by Talk2Action researchers. Central to this reconciliation ritual was the destruction of Native American artifacts, which had to be carried out by NAR-designated “representatives” of the Native American people. These were Jay Swallow, a prominent Native American “apostle” and Mark Wauahdooah, an NAR-affiliated Comanche. Picking up in the midst of a detailed description, we are told, “Jay then proceeded to lead Mark in the smashing of vessels. One vessel depicted the snakelike features of Leviathan, and the other depicted the Sun god, Baal. They were placed in trash bags, and Mark used a dogwood rod presented to Jay by Chuck Pierce to destroy the pottery. It shattered into many pieces at the joyous shouts of the body of Christ. Tom Schlueter, as an apostolic leader of the region, was invited by Jay and John to lead the group through the Divorce Decree. Then judgment was declared. The divorce was finalized. A crystal gavel (presented to Tom by Chuck Pierce) was used to declare the judgment…”

Finally, to round things off, the report noted, “A spirit of reconciliation was released as we embraced each other. There was a representation of Native American, Hispanic, Asian, African American and Anglo. What an awesome day!”

Not one Anglo-American artifact was destroyed, of course. What would the NAR leaders endorsing Perry’s prayer event say to Native Americans who see such acts of cultural destruction as a continuation of past hostility, even genocide, rather than of reconciliation? Would they say that such Native Americans were possessed by demons? Would their answer be to smash still more artifacts? “The beatings will continue until morale improves.” Is that the logic?

Surely, there are important questions here for intelligent rePeters to ask.

7. The NAR’s “Factual” Claims Don’t Always Stand Up.

It’s often said that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. NAR propaganda has plenty of extraordinary claims. But proof? Not so much. For example, consider the case of Kenyan witch-hunter Thomas Muthee. A video of Muthee anointing Sarah Palin came to light during the 2008 campaign, but little of the background involved made it into the corporate media. Far from being an obscure backwoods figure, Muthee was one of the stars of a 1999 video, the first in the Transformations series, a pseudo-documentary series advancing strategic-level spiritual warfare that is advertised as having been seen by 200 million people in 70 languages. Muthee’s reputation was reputedly established by vanquishing a Kenyan “witch” around 1990, as recounted in that video. This then lead to a spiritual, moral and cultural revival, with plummeting crime rates and joy for all. There’s just one problem: It’s not true.

First off, the vanquished “witch” is actually a rival preacher, and she never went anywhere. On Oct. 15, 2008, a leading British newpaper, The Telegraph, ran a story datelined Nairobi by Nick Wadhams, “False claims exposed of Kenyan pastor who protected Sarah Palin from witches”.

“In fact, Mama Jane never left. She is a pastor just down the road from Muthee’s Word of Faith Church,” Wadhams reported. “’Muthee was saying that this was a place of witch doctors. Where do you see the witch?’ said Mama Jane, whose real name is Jane Njenga.”

Further down, Wadham wrote, “Rival pastors in Kiambu now denounce Muthee for his treatment of Mama Jane. ‘You cannot make personal gain on crucifying a woman,’ said an ally of Mama Jane, Pastor Gideon Maina. ‘As a man of God, you don’t make your name by stepping on other people’s names.’”

Nor were Muthee’s claims of dramatic quality-of-life improvements backed up by facts, either. Indeed, a nine-page 2002 letter from Dutch Christian work group “Back to the Bible” found numerous factual problems in the various segments of the first two “Transformations” videos that had been released at the time. Regarding Muthee’s claims, they wrote, “We are told in the video that this area had the worst reputation in the land and was full of violence and rape. But this is not backed up by police reports, authorities of justice or any other official source. There are also no official reports of reform because of the “revival.” We do realize that often things work differently in an African land, so we consulted the magazine “Internationale Samenwerking” (International Co-operation) of the Dutch Ministry of development aid. In this paper, there is no report of a decline in crime during the last years in Kenya.”

Not everything in the videos is false, of course. But when it comes to matters that routinely are documented by authorities, the NAR’s record for truthfulness does not warrant any rePeter treating them as a reliable source.

8. NAR-Related “History” Often Stands Real History on Its Head.

Blaming liberals and Democrats for America’s racist past is par for the course in NAR circles. They are hardly alone in this, however. They heavily rely on self-trained “historian” David Barton, along with many others, not just on the religious right, but among conservatives and Republicans more generally. Barton is also quite popular for his “historical” arguments that America was established as a Christian nation — a claim that professional historians reject with mountains of evidence to the contrary, not least the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli, which explicitly states, “The Government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

Barton’s argument blaming liberals and Democrats for America’s racism depends on a double deception: First, Barton focuses on pre-1960s history, the time period when the national Democratic Party decisively broke with its racist past — and set in motion the long-term decline of its support among Southern whites, which Republicans immediately took advantage of with Barry Goldwater’s candidacy in 1964, when his home state of Arizona was the only non-Southern state the GOP carried — a complete reversal of the 1956 election.

This minor detail — later cemented into the long-term electoral “Southern Strategy” under Richard Nixon — is completely missing from Barton’s account. A second deception is that Barton presents the impression that racist Democrats — who predominated most heavily in the South — were synonymous with liberals, while anti-racist Republicans were conservatives. Both impressions are historically false. Indeed, anti-racist Republicans in the 1960s were the much-maligned “Rockefeller Republicans,” who movement conservatives worked very hard to drive out of the party.

Yet, the NAR goes much further than Barton in creating its own alternative history. In her book Bridging the Racial and Political Divide: How Godly Politics Can Transform A Nation, Texas apostle Alice Peterson not only ignores the mass exodus of racist whites from the Democratic Party, she asserts acontinuity over time based on an “invisible network of evil comprising an unholy structure,” which she then identifies with the biblical figure Jezebel, interpreted not as the human figure she actually is in the Bible, but instead as a demon, a typical example of how the NAR reinvents the Bible for their own political purposes. Since the same demon has been associated with the Democrats at least since the 1860s, mere matters like LBJ’s heroic arm-twisting passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act — and Nixon’s race-based “Southern Strategy” to lock up Southern whites for the GOP — are without any historical significance so far as Peterson is concerned. Lest anyone question her too closely, Peterson assures us that she has actually seen the demon Jezebel with her own two eyes — and not only Jezebel, but a few smaller demons underneath her skirt.

9. Be Skeptical About NAR’s Self-Proclaimed “Christianity.”

Like many conservative Christians, members of the NAR are often quick to dismiss other Christians they don’t agree with, so it’s probably not a good idea to do the same with them.

Yet, it would not be good, thorough reporting to ignore the fact that, mentioned above, other conservative Christians have been highly critical of NAR doctrines and practices, often labeling them “unbiblical.” I’ve already cited the Assembly of God’s warnings from 2000. Additionally, the letter from the Dutch Christian work group “Back to the Bible” mentioned above, criticized NAR’s unbiblical teachings as well at the factual errors in the Transformations videos. Another extensive critique can be found in the 2002 book Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare: A Modern Mythology? by Bishop Michael Reid, who has three degrees from Oral Roberts University, including an honorary Doctorate of Divinity, and a gay sex scandal just licked Wagner’s long-time close associate, Ted Haggard. Other critical voices from conservative Christians can be easily found online, repeating many of the same criticisms.

As stated earlier, Wagner brags that the NAR is the most significant change in how Christianity is practiced since the Protestant Reformation, and all these critics agree — except, they say, it’s changed so much that it’s no longer consistent with the Bible.

A Call to Question

This is hardly an exhaustive list of potential stories that in no way depend on fireworks at The Response this coming Saturday. But they are certainly enough to show that there’s no shortage of explosive material lurking just beneath the surface, waiting to be more fully explored.

The Voice of Jesus!: Brother and Sisters in Christ!!!!

            We are honored to announce to you the founding of our NEW CHRISTIAN CHURCH!

            We know that many of you are not satisfied with the enforced meekness of regular Christian churches; that you are often humiliated by your neighbors and co-workers for displaying the piscine symbols of the Faith on your cars and front doors, mocked because of your picketing of abortion clinics and Satanist movies and demands for censorship of everything but the stock market reports.

            Now, we have the True Answer for you!

            We have formed the Church of Jesus Christ the Avenger whose credo is the manifestation of Muscular Christianity and the total destruction of all alien forms of life who will not accept the Word of Christ as Gospel! Unlike their Jesus Christ who is meek and long-suffering, our Jesus Christ is capable of leaping over several buildings at a single bound and of smiting Satan with both hands and a length of lead pipe for good measure! Our Jesus Christ would never have kissed Judas but rather, have snapped his neck like a piece of celery in a Bloody Mary! Our Jesus Christ would not merely have torn the veil in the temple but instead, have reduced the building to instant rubble along with all the congregation!

            No longer do pious possessors of the One Truth have to put up with mockery from alien cults such as the Mormons, Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, Christian Scientists, Roman and Eastern Catholics, Hindus, Moslems and other false cults of Lucifer. Now, the Church of Jesus Christ the Avenger will smite them hip and thigh and cast them into Outer Darkness. This time there will be no wailing and gnashing of teeth because Jesus Christ the Avenger will have ripped off their jaws (and private parts as well)!

            You can join our Church and experience the thrill of Power as you witness acts of Holy Vengeance daily on the television. Rejoice when Orthodox Jews are forced to eat pork sausage and sour cream, see Christian Scientists compelled to take drugs, laugh when Mormons are made to drink Coke and iced tea and be enraptured as Baptists are held under water for ten minutes!

            Those of you who crave Creative Christian Action can join the Society of the Militant Meek, the Sword of the Lord and Gideon, and the guarantors that the Meek shall indeed inherit the Earth! We alone can guarantee this because it is our aim to Exterminate anyone who does not belong to our Church! And not only will we inherit the earth, we will also inherit all of the cars, TVs, DVDs, bank accounts, clothing and real estate of the Departed Satanists!

            Membership in the Society of the Militant Meek is not automatic but application must be made to your local Church of Jesus Christ the Avenger along with the severed head of a Satanist. Please note that we cannot accept the severed head of an ex-spouse, a mother-in-law, a creditor or anyone else against whom you might have some unworthy Personal Objection . No, the head must be of a Satanist unknown to you. (The Pastor of your Church has lists for your use.)

            We hope we have made you aware of our goals and we advise you that More Bulletins will Follow!


US credit rating downgrade prompts warning from China

• S&P cuts US credit rating from AAA to AA+ for first time
• China says it has ‘every right to demand’ US tackles debt
• Barack Obama repeats call for parties to work together

August 6, 2011

by Larry Elliott, Jill Treanor, Dominic Rushe and David Batty


            The United States has lost its top AAA credit rating for the first time, in a move that could severely undermine the recovery of the world’s largest economy and prompt further calamitous falls on world stock markets next week.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s decision to cut the debt rating after another dire day on the world stock markets on Friday could increase the cost of borrowing for the US and set off more panic selling when stock markets reopen on Monday.

The downgrade is an embarrassment for the Obama administration, coming less than a week after protracted wrangling among Republicans, Democrats and the White House took the US to the brink of default.

In his weekly radio address, Obama appealed to politicians from both parties to set aside partisanship and refocus on efforts to stimulate the stagnant economy.

“Congress reached an agreement that’s going to allow us to make some progress in reducing our nation’s budget deficit. And through this compromise, both parties are going to have to work together on a larger plan to get our nation’s finances in order,” Obama said.

China, the world’s largest holder of US debt, condemned the “short-sighted” political wrangling in the US and said the world needed a new and stable global reserve currency.

In a comment article the official Xinhua news agency said China had “every right now to demand the United States address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China’s dollar assets. International supervision over the issue of US dollars should be introduced and a new, stable and secured global reserve currency may also be an option to avert a catastrophe caused by any single country.”

S&P had held back cutting the rating earlier on Friday after the US government reportedly questioned its maths. But the agency insisted it was going ahead with the downgrade to AA-plus, saying the deficit reduction plan passed by Congress on Tuesday did not go far enough to stabilise the debt situation.

It is the first time S&P has issued a “negative” outlook on the US government since it began rating the credit-worthiness of railroad bonds in 1860. Michael Hewson, a market analyst at CMC Markets, warned: “This crisis will run and run, and could make Lehmans look like a Tupperware party.”

The dramatic reversal of fortune for the world’s largest economy means that US treasuries, once seen as the safest investment in the world, are now rated lower than bonds issued by countries such as the UK, Germany or France. The move is likely to raise borrowing costs for the US government, companies and consumers.

Unnamed US officials had been telling the media that S&P’s analysis was deeply flawed, but S&P said in a statement: “The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilise the government’s medium-term debt dynamics.”

Britain’s stock market suffered another major sell-off on Friday, ending its worst week since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 with almost £150bn wiped off the value of the country’s top 100 companies.

After a calamitous five days for stock markets on both sides of the Atlantic, the FTSE 100 closed 146 points lower at 5247 to record its third day of triple-digit declines – a trading pattern last witnessed in the immediate aftermath of Lehman’s bankruptcy in September 2008.

Better-than-feared US employment figures failed to calm the markets. A rally prompted by news that America’s economy generated an extra 117,000 jobs last month fizzled out within an hour in London, after the German government ruled out providing extra money for Europe’s bailout fund, and rumours about the impending S&P move swirled around Wall Street.

After the European markets closed, Wall Street – which had suffered a 512-point fall on Thursday in one of its worse performances since 2008 – was encouraged by remarks from the Spanish government that the prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, agreed with the French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s desire for greater co-ordination.

Even so, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, on a day of wild fluctuations, ended just 60 points higher. Tensions were also eased after Italy’s prime minster, Silvio Berlusconi, promised to accelerate austerity measures by a year, and summoned a meeting of G7 finance ministers as soon as possible.

His comments followed rumours that the European Central Bank could reverse its hardline stance and begin buying Spanish and Italian government bonds in return for quicker reforms.

Dealers have been frustrated by the lack of urgency shown by the ECB in supporting Italy and Spain. During Thursday’s market mayhem, they had bought only bonds issued by Ireland and Portugal.

Amid fears of an escalation in the crisis, Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, held a conference call with David Cameron and the chancellor, George Osborne – both on holiday – to discuss the impact of the financial crash on Britain’s banks and the struggling UK economy. The Bank is likely to cut its growth forecast for the UK when it publishes its latest quarterly inflation report on Wednesday.

“They discussed the financial situation and the chancellor asked the governor for his judgment,” a Treasury source said. “They agreed to monitor the situation.”

The source said the chancellor was keeping up the pressure on eurozone leaders to carry through the terms of the second bailout of Greece, which was intended to calm the markets when announced on 21 July but has failed to do so, with concerns widening to Italy and Spain. “What we are communicating to our European counterparts is you must deliver on what you have promised,” a Treasury source said.

The US jobless rate went down from 9.2% to 9.1%. Analysts said the increase in non-farm payrolls was bigger than the 85,000 jump expected by Wall Street, but the figures were not good enough to make traders feel less gloomy about the possibility of a global double-dip recession.

Glenn Uniacke, senior dealer at Moneycorp, said there was relief at the US jobs figures. “With employment growth in the world’s top consumer market an indicator of the future strength of the global economy, today’s non-farm payroll figures gave the markets a modest upside surprise and President Obama some short-term reprieve following the blood-letting of the past week,” he said.

“However, the data won’t stop the rot and is not sufficient to change the bearish outlook from traders, with a sustained figure of 200,000-plus needed for any major positive impact on the unemployment rate. The markets were seen swinging wildly straight after the data, unsure how to interpret the ray of light in an otherwise gloomy week.”

The British economist Baroness Vadera, a former Labour minister and G20 adviser who played a role in devising a rescue package for the international banking system at the time of the 2008 crash, said the current crisis could be even worse.

She told BBC Newsnight: “It feels as scary, but it is different. The reason it is potentially worse is that governments stepped in [in 2008-09] all over the world and saved the banking system in order to save their economies, but now who is going to step in to save governments?

“When we went into that crisis, interest rates were quite high, so we did have monetary policy to use as a tool and now we are at the outer limits of that. Lastly, we are currently facing quite a lot of inflationary pressures, particularly coming from commodities and emerging markets, so our room for manoeuvre is a lot more limited.”


The Unknown Unknowns of War American-Style

August 5, 2011

by Tom Engelhardt


In “Getting bin Laden,” Nicholas Schmidle’s New Yorker report on the assault on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, here’s the money sentence, according to Noah Shachtman of Wired Magazine’s Danger Room blog: “The Abbottabad raid was not DEVGRU’s maiden venture into Pakistan, either. The team had surreptitiously entered the country on ten to twelve previous occasions, according to a special-operations officer who is deeply familiar with the bin Laden raid.”  DEVGRU is the acronym for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, better known as SEAL Team Six (think “SEAL-mania”), the elite special operations outfit that killed bin Laden.

His assassination — and Schmidle’s piece makes clear that his capture was never an objective — brought on a blitz of media coverage.  But without reading that single, half-buried sentence, who knew that the same SEAL team had been dropped into Pakistan to do who knows what 10 to 12 times before the bin Laden mission happened?   Not most Pakistanis, nor 99.99% of Americans, myself included.  Keep in mind that this was only a team of 23 elite troops (plus a translator and a dog).  But there are now about 20,000 full-time special operations types, at least 13,000 of them deployed somewhere abroad at this moment.  In other words, we simply don’t know the half of it.  We probably don’t know the tenth of it — neither the breadth or number of their missions, nor the range of their targets.  According to Schmidle again, on the day of the bin Laden raid, special operations forces in nearby Afghanistan conducted 12 other “night raids.” Almost 2,000 of them have been carried out in the last couple of years.

These are staggering figures.  And since we didn’t know that U.S. special operations forces were secretly conducting Pakistan missions in such numbers, it might be worth asking what else we don’t know.  Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, speaking to the press in 2002 about the lack of evidence linking Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to the 9/11 attacks, made a famous (or infamous) distinction among “known knowns,” (things we know we know), “known unknowns” (things we know we don’t know), and “unknown unknowns” (things we don’t know we don’t know).  How apt those “unknown unknowns” turn out to be when it comes to the ever-expanding special operations forces inside the U.S. military.

Think of them, in fact, as the unknown unknowns of twenty-first century American warfare.  Fortunately, thanks to Nick Turse’s new piece “A Secret War in 120 Countries,” we now have a far better idea of the size and scope of the global war being carried out in our name by tens of thousands of secret warriors fighting “in the shadows.” 

Forgery row exposes murky goings-on of trade in fine art

Legal battle over painting originally thought to be by American abstract expressionist Robert Motherwell

August 7, 2011

by Dalya Alberge

The Observer

A bitter legal battle over an alleged trade in forged paintings has exposed the murkier side of the art world. It is claimed in court papers that one of the world’s leading art galleries, Knoedler of New York, has been involved in the sale of alleged forgeries of works by pre-eminent 20th century US artists, including Jackson Pollock, Richard Diebenkorn and Robert Motherwell.

The Dedalus Foundation – devoted to the abstract expressionist Motherwell – is also caught up. Dealer Julian Weissman claims the foundation authenticated a Motherwell painting, enabling him to sell the work, Spanish Elegy (1953), in 2007 for $650,000 (£400,000) to Killala Fine Art, an Irish company, which is now claiming against Dedalus and Weissman.

Dedalus subsequently withdrew its authentication, and scientific tests this year revealed the presence of a type of paint not used in the 1950s.

Dedalus says in the court papers that the painting is “a forgery” and worthless. It accuses Weissman of “deceit and dishonesty” because he did not reveal that he had acquired it from a dealer linked to someone “accused publicly … of allegedly trafficking in forgeries”. Weissman, it is alleged, claimed its provenance was a Kuwaiti princess, who is a known collector. The two dealers split the $425,000 sale commission.

The painting is one of seven dubious Motherwells cited in the legal papers – three sold through Weissman and four through Knoedler.

Killala Fine Art argues that it is left with a worthless picture, which it bought after Dedalus – which Killala says is “dedicated to authenticating Motherwell’s works” – claimed the work was authentic. Dedalus insists that it gave a “conditional opinion letter”, not a warranty; that it expressly stated that it has no liability; and that it does not run an authentication “business”.

Court documents say that Weissman was a former Knoedler salesman who represented many famous artists, including Motherwell when he was alive, and should have detected the forgery. Weissman’s lawyer, Glenn Colton, said his client would never knowingly sell a dubious work. A Knoedler spokesman said: “We hope this matter will ultimately bring some finality to the authenticity of these paintings.”


Conversations with the Crow


            When the CIA discovered that their former Deputy Director of Clandestine Affairs, Robert  T. Crowley, had been talking with author Gregory Douglas, they became fearful (because of what Crowley knew) and outraged (because they knew Douglas would publish eventually) and made many efforts to silence Crowley, mostly by having dozens of FBI agents call or visit him at his Washington home and try to convince him to stop talking to Douglas, whom they considered to be an evil, loose cannon.

                        Crowley did not listen to them (no one else ever does, either) and Douglas made through shorthand notes of each and every one of their many conversation. TBR News published most of these (some of the really vile ones were left out of the book but will be included on this site as a later addendum ) and the entire collection was later produced as an Ebook.

          Now, we reliably learn, various Washington alphabet agencies are trying to find a way to block the circulation of this highly negative, entertaining and dangerous work, so to show our solidarity with our beloved leaders and protectors, and our sincere appreciation for their corrupt and coercive actions, we are going to reprint the entire work, chapter by chapter. (The complete book can be obtained by going to:



Here is the ninety-second  chapter


Conversation No. 92

Date: Wednesday, July  23, 1997

Commenced: 10:15 AM CST

Concluded:  10:38 AM CST

GD: Hello, Robert. How were the tests?

RTC: Exhausting and inconclusive. I told them that if I had cancer of the lungs, I must have had it for years and I would be dead by now. No one listens to you.

GD: Oh, the doctors do love to get huge fees from their victims or from the victim’s insurance companies. Oh my, they tell you, these ingrown toenails could turn to gangrene at any time so I am going to schedule you for a toenail correction operation. And they bill you enough to make the down payment on their gay son’s new Porche. I have some experience with such things and they squeeze the lemon until it’s dry. The next thing will be exploratory surgery which you really don’t want at your age. Too invasive and too dangerous. Well, if you aren’t dead now, you would be when they finish with you. Montaigne said that…what did…oh yes, ‘The ceaseless labor of your life is to build the house of death.’ It happens but don’t let the doctors hasten it along.

RTC: No, I will try. Emily is convinced I should have more tests but I am getting tired of them. When you are gong along good, you never think of being sick. I am getting weaker and my balance is not what it used to be. My hip is not working properly and I fall down sometime if I don’t watch where I put  my feet. I used to get outside more but better safe than sorry.

GD: Did you ever talk to Critchfield about Jimmy Atwood?

RTC: Oh I mentioned it but he just laughed and said ‘shit happens.’ Of course it might happen to him one of these days.

GD: If he ever threatens to shoot me again, it certainly will.

GD: Be careful about that. You might get caught and he isn’t worth it.

GD: Jesus, no. I use other methods. For example I would go to a bar with a bad, bad clientele. I would act like a twit, get a little drunk and offer to buy drinks for the house. If I were lucky, I could pick out someone who was right and then, drunkenly of course, tell him I am a bookkeeper and one of my clients, Jim Critchfield, is such a fool. Why, did you know, that stupid man keeps a half a million dollars worth of Krugerrands in his house? Why, time after time I have warned him to put them into a bank or some burglar might get them. But would Jim listen? Not him. And after another drink, my new friend would slyly ask me where Jim lived because he might be a long lost cousin. Of course I would give him the address and then wait for the news that they found Jim, very dead, and someone had used a steam iron on his feet. And the house had been torn up and they found his wife stuffed into the drier, very dead.

RTC: I like Lois.

RTC: Well, we can’t control these things, Robert, and the good perish with the bad. Life is not always fair. Well, enough humor for the day. Otherwise, how are you doing?

RTC: Oh, as usual.

GD: Thank you, by the way, for the papers on Clinton. I doubt that I could use them but one never knows about these things. I knew all about his wife but he is really something, isn’t he?

RTC: Yes he is. Wouldn’t you like to be married to that?
GD: Oh, God no. Being married to a Jewish dyke would not be my idea of fun. I keep as far away as possible from lezzies, Robert. The bull-dikes are the worst. Tattoos, weight lifter arms, short hair, motorcycle boots and all. They don’t look anything like men but we never tell them. Might get punched out.

RTC: (Laughter) Well, who are we to judge, Gregory?
GD: I am. I love to pass judgments, Robert. I have a limerick for you on this subject:

            A gay young man from Khartoum

            Took a Lesbian up to his room,

               And they argued all night,

                As to who had the right

            Do to what, and with which, and to whom.

RTC: (Laughter) Well I wouldn’t tell that one at Langley. Step on too many toes.

GD: Oh, please don’t disillusion me, Robert. The Secret Defenders of our Republic wearing mesh stockings under their Brooks Brothers suits?

RTC: It happens.

GD: Do they have daily inspections of the men’s lavatories to see if someone has drilled holes in the toilet stall walls?

RTC: It’s not quite that bad.

GD: If you opened a male whorehouse inside the Beltway, Congress would recess and stampede towards it.

RTC: Gregory, I hate to disillusion you but there are a number of male whorehouses in the District. And some for women as well. I mean with women, not for women. I don’t think things have gotten that bad. Not many women in Congress anyway

GD: Well, I could come there and get rich. I could open up a clinic to treat tennis elbow problems for Congressmen. They develop this problem from dragging around barracks bags stuffed full of bribe money.

RTC: I can’t argue with that, having been involved on the other end.

GD: Well, the other end is usually best.  My God, if they did away with hundred dollar bills and substituted them for heavy; silver coins, Congressmen would have to have leather inserts in their pockets to keep them from ripping out at the bottoms.

RTC: You are forgetting the Jewish Congressmen, Gregory. They spend all their time investing their bribes at 10 percent interest and wailing endlessly about Sacred Israel and the evil Nazis.

GD: Israel is an artificial country, stolen by Polish non-Jews from the Arabs, whom they murdered for their homes and gardens and then begged their co-religionists here to send money and guns. The Arabs outnumber them thirty to one and at some future date, the Arabs will get wise to their power and Israel will be a smoking hole in the ground. And then there will be people dancing in the streets for pure joy.

RTC: Roosevelt should never have let them into the government.

GD: Yes, that’s a bit like a farmer inviting a deputation of hungry hogs into his truck garden.

RTC: Yes, well put. What scares a lot of us is that Israel will drag us into a war to suit their plans. You know, attack some hostile Arab neighbor because they have enough power here to get it done.

GD: I can see this.

RTC: And they once sent tens of thousands of illegal Polish Jews into Florida from the Caribbean. Their Mossad sent them in and we couldn’t stop them. And they get fake papers, settle in Miami, send their sons to law school and from there, into the government. God help us all.

GD: Well, Hitler will be appreciated in a few years hence. He will be seen as a great visionary, even as the Army engineers are setting up detention camps in the deserts of Arizona. Sort of like the ones you ran in Vietnam.

RTC: Please do not get started on that, Gregory.

GD: I won’t but we both know about the torture palaces. Electric drills, acid baths, poked-our eyes, crushed testicles. Just a chance for some of your boys to explore the better sides of their nature. And get their loafers soaked in blood at the same time. Oh, precious treasures, the blood soaked shoes. A real token of personal heroism in the unspoken battle for empire.

RTC: You are being literate today, Gregory.

GD: Elegant realism, Robert. A little sugar coating on the bitter pill someone is going to have to swallow someday.

RTC: I’m out of it, anyways.

GD: Remember, Robert, that the sins of the fathers are paid for by the children.

(Concluded at 10:38 AM CST)


Dramatis personae:


James Jesus Angleton: Once head of the CIA’s Counterintelligence division, later fired because of his obsessive and illegal behavior, tapping the phones of many important government officials in search of elusive Soviet spies. A good friend of Robert Crowley and a co-conspirator with him in the assassination of President Kennedy


James P. Atwood: (April 16, 1930-April 20, 1997) A CIA employee, located in Berlin, Atwood had a most interesting career. He worked for any other intelligence agency, domestic or foreign, that would pay him, was involved in selling surplus Russian atomic artillery shells to the Pakistan government and was also most successful in the manufacturing of counterfeit German dress daggers. Too talkative, Atwood eventually had a sudden, and fatal, “seizure” while lunching with CIA associates.


William Corson: A Marine Corps Colonel and President Carter’s representative to the CIA. A friend of Crowley and Kimmel, Corson was an intelligent man whose main failing was a frantic desire to be seen as an important person. This led to his making fictional or highly exaggerated claims.


John Costello: A British historian who was popular with revisionist circles. Died of AIDS on a trans-Atlantic flight to the United States.


James Critchfield: Former U.S. Army Colonel who worked for the CIA and organizaed the Cehlen Org. at Pullach, Germany. This organization was filled to the Plimsoll line with former Gestapo and SD personnel, many of whom were wanted for various purported crimes. He hired Heinrich Müller in 1948 and went on to represent the CIA in the Persian Gulf.


Robert T. Crowley: Once the deputy director of Clandestine Operations and head of the group that interacted with corporate America. A former West Point football player who was one of the founders of the original CIA. Crowley was involved at a very high level with many of the machinations of the CIA.


Gregory Douglas: A retired newspaperman, onetime friend of Heinrich Müller and latterly, of Robert Crowley. Inherited stacks of files from the former (along with many interesting works of art acquired during the war and even more papers from Robert Crowley.) Lives comfortably in a nice house overlooking the Mediterranean.


Reinhard Gehlen: A retired German general who had once been in charge of the intelligence for the German high command on Russian military activities. Fired by Hitler for incompetence, he was therefore naturally hired by first, the U.S. Army and then, as his level of incompetence rose, with the CIA. His Nazi-stuffed organizaion eventually became the current German Bundes Nachrichten Dienst.


Thomas K. Kimmel, Jr: A grandson of Admiral Husband Kimmel, Naval commander at Pearl Harbor who was scapegoated after the Japanese attack. Kimmel was a senior FBI official who knew both Gregory Douglas and Robert Crowley and made a number of attempts to discourage Crowley from talking with Douglas. He was singularly unsuccessful. Kimmel subsequently retired, lives in Florida, and works for the CIA as an “advisor.”


Willi Krichbaum: A Senior Colonel (Oberführer) in the SS, head of the wartime Secret Field Police of the German Army and Heinrich Müller’s standing deputy in the Gestapo. After the war, Krichbaum went to work for the Critchfield organization and was their chief recruiter and hired many of his former SS friends. Krichbaum put Critchfield in touch with Müller in 1948.


Heinrich Müller: A former military pilot in the Bavarian Army in WWI, Müller  became a political police officer in Munich and was later made the head of the Secret State Police or Gestapo. After the war, Müller escaped to Switzerland where he worked for Swiss intelligence as a specialist on Communist espionage and was hired by James Critchfield, head of the Gehlen Organization, in 1948. Müller subsequently was moved to Washington where he worked for the CIA until he retired.


Joseph Trento: A writer on intelligence subjects, Trento and his wife “assisted” both Crowley and Corson in writing a book on the Russian KGB. Trento believed that he would inherit all of Crowley’s extensive files but after Crowley’s death, he discovered that the files had been gutted and the most important, and sensitive, ones given to Gregory Douglas. Trento was not happy about this. Neither were his employers.


Frank Wisner: A Founding Father of the CIA who promised much to the Hungarians and then failed them. First, a raging lunatic who was removed from Langley, screaming, in a strait jacket and later, blowing off the top of his head with a shotgun.


Robert Wolfe: A retired librarian from the National Archives who worked closely with the CIA on covering up embarrassing historical material in the files of the Archives. A strong supporter of holocaust writers specializing in creative writing. Although he prefers to be called ‘Dr,’ in reality he has no PhD.

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