Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/tbrnew5/public_html/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

TBR News January 14, 2019

Jan 14 2019

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

Washington, D.C. January 14, 2019: “Donald Trump does not care if thousands of Federal employees, whom his actions have been cut off from income, starve to death as long as he can force his worthless billion dollar wall through Congress. That he cannot is obvious but in Trump’s world, no one ever defies him with impunity. On this occasion many have and he will not yield until he forces them to his will. Perhaps the mythic Jesus will appear in the Oval Office in support of Trump but like the enormous parade Trump demanded, this will never happen.

 

The Table of Contents

  • 815 false claims: The staggering scale of Donald Trump’s pre-midterm dishonesty No 13
  • Senate Republicans feel shutdown pressure as Trump tweets angrily on
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • ‘In God We Trust’ – the bills Christian nationalists hope will ‘protect religious freedom’
  • Jesus: Fact and Fiction
  • It is near; it is at hand. Maybe tomorrow but probably never

815 false claims: The staggering scale of Donald Trump’s pre-midterm dishonesty No 13

November 15, 2018

by Daniel Dale Washington Bureau Chief

Toronto Star

WASHINGTON—It took Donald Trump until the 286th day of his presidency to make 815 false claims.

He just made another 815 false claims in a month.

In the 31 days leading up to the midterm elections on Nov. 6, Trump went on a lying spree like we have never seen before even from him — an outrageous barrage of serial dishonesty in which he obliterated all of his old records.

How bad have these recent weeks been?

  • Trump made 664 false claims in October. That was double his previous record for a calendar month, 320 in August.
  • Trump averaged 26.3 false claims per day in the month leading up to the midterm on Nov. 6. In 2017, he averaged 2.9 per day.
  • Trump made more false claims in the two months leading up to the midterms (1,176), than he did in all of 2017 (1,011).
  • The three most dishonest single days of Trump’s presidency were the three days leading up to the midterms: 74 on election eve, Nov. 5; 58 on Nov. 3; 54 on Nov. 4.

As always, Trump was being more frequently dishonest in part because he was simply speaking more. He had three campaign rallies on Nov. 5, the day before he set the record, and eight more rallies over the previous five days.

But it was not only quantity. Trump packed his rally speeches with big new lies, repeatedly reciting wildly inaccurate claims about migrants, Democrats’ views on immigration and health care, and his own record. Unlike many of his lies, lots of these ones were written into the text of his speeches.

Trump is now up to 3,749 false claims for the first 661 days of his presidency, an average of 4.4 per day.

If Trump is a serial liar, why call this a list of “false claims,” not lies? You can read our detailed explanation here. The short answer is that we can’t be sure that each and every one was intentional. In some cases, he may have been confused or ignorant. What we know, objectively, is that he was not telling the truth.

  • Oct 26, 2018

“Twitter has removed many people from my account and, more importantly, they have seemingly done something that makes it much harder to join – they have stifled growth to a point where it is obvious to all. A few weeks ago it was a Rocket Ship, now it is a Blimp! Total Bias?”

Source: Twitter

in fact: There was no evidence of Twitter bias, or that the service had “done something that makes it much harder to join.” The had launched a purge of “fake accounts and those engaging in malicious behavior,” which resulted in some accounts losing followers.

“And we have recognized the capital of Israel and opened the American embassy in Jerusalem. And instead of spending $1.1 billion, I opened it up for $400,000…I called David, very smart guy. I said, ‘David, they want to spend $1.1 billion to build the embassy in Jerusalem. It’s crazy.’ He said, ‘Could I work on it?’ ‘Yeah.’ Calls me back two days later, he says, ‘Sir, we own the best piece of land in Jerusalem. We have a building on the piece of land. It’s set back from the standpoint of terrorism. They want to set back. They don’t like it on the street. We all understand that, right? It’s set back beautifully. It’s on a big site, like I think 18 acres, which is a massive site. We’ve owned it for a long time. We have a building on it. It’s a good building, but it needs some renovation. We can take a big chunk of the building, renovate it. Sir, I can have it done for $180,000, he told me. $180,000. $180,000.; So I said, wait a minute. Wait a minute. It’s the first time I’ve ever done this in my life. I shouldn’t tell you this. I’ll get in trouble. They’ll get me in trouble. I said, ‘Wait a minute, David. You won’t believe what I’m going to say.’ I said, ‘That sounds too cheap. It’s no good.’ He said, ‘I can do it for $180,000.’ I said, ‘David, it’s too cheap. Do it for $400,000 or $500,000. Please don’t do it for $180,000; $180,000, they’re going to think you’re kidding. Do it for like $400,000. Is that OK?’… And there’s a stone called Jerusalem stone. I have a friend. He’s a very rich person, the great Ron Baron. He’s a great hedge fund guy, great, brilliant guy. And for years, he brags about his office. He said, ‘I use Jerusalem stone.’ He gets it in Jerusalem. And it’s one of the most expensive — he’s so proud of it. He’s more proud of Jerusalem stone than he is of his career, and he’s made billions, OK? Really. And he always wants to show me his Jerusalem stone. I’ve been hearing it for years. So I said, ‘David, didn’t you use Jerusalem stone?’ You’re in Jerusalem. He said, ‘Absolutely. I get it for peanuts.’ Can you believe it? So we have all Jerusalem stone. It’s beautiful. And we ended up spending $400,000, and we opened it four months after I agreed to do it in the first place. We saved $1.1 billion. We got it opened. Don’t forget, the $1.1 billion as a lot of people in this room would say, probably would never have gotten built. And if it did, it would have cost $4.4 billion, so we did it for $400,000, and we’re proud of it. And by the way, it’s beautiful. It’s really beautiful.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: The renovations required by the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem will cost far more than $400,000. ABC News reported in July: “Documents filed with the official database of federal spending show that the State Department awarded the Maryland-based company Desbuild Limak D&K a contract for $21.2 million to design and build an ‘addition and compound security upgrades’ at the embassy. These updates will be made to the former consular building in Jerusalem — the embassy’s temporary location.” The ABC article continued: “A State Department official told ABC News today that President Trump’s estimates only factored in that first phase of modifications to the former consular building, not this second round of renovation.”

“We passed Veterans Choice, giving our veterans the right to see a private doctor.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: The Veterans Choice health program was passed and created in 2014 under Obama. The law Trump signed in 2018, the VA MISSION Act, modified the Choice program.

“We have approved after 44 years patients get life-saving treatments that we passed. It’s called Right to Try. You know that, right? We have the greatest research in the world, the greatest drug companies in the world, the greatest doctors in the world. We have the greatest…But we have in some cases drugs or treatments or therapies that are fantastic. They’re really looking good. And there was no way legally you could do it to help somebody who was terminally ill. Very ill. Terminally ill. We couldn’t use it. People were leaving the country. If they had money, they’d go all over the world. They’d go to Asia. They’d go to Europe. Go to Africa. They’d go all over the world looking for a cure. Because we couldn’t do it. And it sounded like, for me, not even a contest. Now you’ll have what’s called — it’s the name of the bill — the right to try. Right to try. And it’s had an amazing impact. I signed it two-and-a-half months ago. And I’m so proud of it. Went through Congress. Went through the Senate. Thom helped. They all helped. And I’ll tell you what, it’s great. And you know what? We’ve had some incredible stories. We’ve had some incredible results.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: Trump signed the Right to Try bill five months prior, not “two-and-a-half months ago.” More significantly, he was exaggerating how dire the situation was Right to Try legislation passed. It is not true “there was no way legally” to help patients seeking access to experimental medicines, or that these patients simply “couldn’t use it.” Rather, they simply had to ask the Food and Drug Administration for approval first. While many patients objected to this requirement, which the Trump-backed new legislation removed, the FDA approved 99 per cent of all patient requests, the Trump-appointed head of the Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb, testified to Congress in October 2017. The Government Accountability Office confirms: “Of the nearly 5,800 expanded access requests that were submitted to FDA from fiscal year 2012 through 2015, FDA allowed 99 per cent to proceed,” the GAO wrote in a July 2017 report. “FDA typically responded to emergency single-patient requests within hours and other types of requests within the allotted 30 days.” Further, the new law will not help the patients whose requests for experimental treatments have been rejected by drug companies themselves, which Trump himself noted was a problem. The legislation does not compel the companies to provide access.

“You know, the president came to North Carolina, just a nice president, a good president, even a really good president, like Ronald Reagan. If a president came to North Carolina, what would happen? They’d go to a hotel. They’d have a conference room. That’s my kind of guy right there. That’s my kind of guy. No, nice president, they go to a hotel. They’d have a conference room, 300 people, 350, and that would be considered a success. They’d say, wow, that was a good success. That was worthwhile. We have — the other night in Houston, the Houston Rockets, the arena, packed, set a new record. Outside, tens of thousands of people, 109,000 people — 109,000 people wanted to come. And every place. Every place. Every place. But if they came to North Carolina, nice president, 300, 350 people, and then they go back to the White House. Look at this crowd. It’s crazy.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: It is not true that other presidents held their North Carolina events in mere hotel conference rooms. According to North Carolina State University’s website: “On a sweltering Sept. 5, 1985, Ronald Reagan gave a major speech at Reynolds, promising to lower taxes on 58 percent of Americans and to simplify tax brackets. With 15,000 students and supporters on hand in the arena – which lacks air conditioning – Reagan had to ditch his jacket before he could proceed with his speech.” In 2012, Obama packed Carmichael Arena at the University of North Carolina, speaking to a “cheering, capacity crowd of 8,000,” Yahoo reported.

“It is. I’m not even running for office. Look at this crowd. No, look at this crowd. I’m not even running. Think of it. Think of it.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: Though it was the midterm election period at the time, Trump was, in fact, running for office — and this rally was held by his re-election campaign. He registered to run in 2020 on the same day he was sworn in as president in January 2017.

“African-American, Hispanic American, Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest rates in the history of our country. That’s not bad. That’s not bad. That’s not bad. That’s going to be a good soundbite in the debate. Hispanic American, African-American, Asian-American, the best unemployment statistics in the history of our country.

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: Trump was correct about the first two, incorrect about the third. The Asian-American unemployment rate briefly dropped to a low, 2.0 per cent, in May — a low, at least, since the government began issuing Asian-American data in 2000 — but the most recent rate at the time Trump spoke, for September, was 3.5 per cent. (It fell to 3.2 per cent for October.) This was higher than the rate in Obama’s last full month in office — 2.8 per cent in December 2016 — and in multiple months of George W. Bush’s second term.

“And we started the wall, and we’ll finish the wall, but we have to do it faster. We want the money to finish the wall.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: Construction on Trump’s border wall has not started, and Trump has not secured $4.8 billion for the wall. When Trump has claimed in the past that wall construction has begun, he has appeared to be referring to projects in which existing fencing is being replaced. The $1.6 billion Congress allocated to border projects in 2018 is not for the type of giant concrete wall Trump has proposed: spending on that kind of wall is expressly prohibited in the legislation, and much of the congressional allocation is for replacement and reinforcement projects rather than new construction.

“As we speak, the Democrat Party is openly encouraging millions of illegal aliens to break our laws, violate our borders, and bankrupt our country.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: There is no basis for this claim.

“And Republicans will always protect Americans with pre-existing conditions.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: This claim is belied by Republicans’ actions. The party has tried repeatedly during Trump’s presidency to replace Obamacare with a law that would give insurers more freedom to discriminate against people with pre-existing health conditions. As part of a Republican lawsuit to try to get Obamacare struck down, Trump’s administration is formally arguing that the law’s protections for pre-existing conditions are unconstitutional and should be voided. Trump has not said what he would like to replace these protections with.

“A vote for Democrats is also a vote to destroy Medicare…The Democrat plan would — it would just obliterate Medicare and terminate Medicare Advantage for almost 7 — do you know about this? Has anyone heard this? It will obliterate 700,000 North Carolina seniors who have been paying for this for years will not be taken care of anymore. Republicans want to protect Medicare for our great seniors who have earned it. And frankly, if you know about this stuff, they paid for it. They’ve been paying for it for many years.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: Democrats’ Medicare for all” proposals tend to be vague, but they would not “obliterate Medicare” or take Medicare health insurance away from seniors. Rather, they would extend similar government-provided health insurance to younger people as well, and they would give current Medicare recipients additional coverage for things like vision and dental services.

“We won. And he’s going to be there for many, many years. And we put another great one there, Justice Gorsuch. You know that, Neil Gorsuch. Those are two great people. Scholars, brilliant, genius. Number one in their class. Number one at Yale. Number one at Yale Law. One of the greatest records you’ve ever seen. I used to hear about now Justice Kavanaugh. I used to hear 10 years ago. I said, there’s a young man named Kavanaugh. Brett Kavanaugh.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: As a Yale undergraduate, Kavanaugh graduated cum laude, which means he was not first in his class; other students graduated summa cum laude and magna cum laude. Yale Law School’s grading system does not allow the calculation of class rankings at all.

“But more importantly, many of these Democrats in — almost all of them, including Schumer, including crooked Hillary, including everybody…many of these Democrats approved the wall in 2006.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: Some Democrats voted for the Secure Fence Act in 2006. As the name suggests, it was a law for border fencing, not the kind of giant concrete-and-steel wall Trump is proposing.

“I knew them, and when you say the wall — first of all, we started the wall.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: Construction on Trump’s border wall has not started, and Trump has not secured $4.8 billion for the wall. When Trump has claimed in the past that wall construction has begun, he has appeared to be referring to projects in which existing fencing is being replaced. The $1.6 billion Congress allocated to border projects in 2018 is not for the type of giant concrete wall Trump has proposed: spending on that kind of wall is expressly prohibited in the legislation, and much of the congressional allocation is for replacement and reinforcement projects rather than new construction.

“A vote for Democrats is a vote for open borders and a vote for tax hikes. I don’t know. I don’t get that one. I think I would be a failed politician if I had to really promote open borders.

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: Democrats do not want open borders. Most of them support a less aggressive immigration policy than the one Trump advocates, but they are not calling for people to be able to walk across from Mexico unbothered.

“Or chain migration. How about that one? How about that one? Chain migration, where we had this bad guy come in from a certain country, and he brought his mother and his father and his uncle and his grandfather and his grandmother and his brother and his sister and his aunt and his uncle and probably a lot of people that no relation to them whatsoever, I think it was 22 people. But perhaps they’ll be able to figure it out. And he’s driving down the West Side Highway, this beautiful park along the West Side Highway in Manhattan that I know very, very well. And he decides to kill people. And so he takes the car going 60 or 70 miles an hour, far above the speed limit, and he turns it right into a park where people are jogging, where people are working out, where people want to look so good. They leave their apartment to work out, to run, to run along the Hudson River, so beautiful. And he goes 70 miles an hour, boom, and he kills eight. And he badly, badly, badly hurts — nobody ever talks about — 12 people, missing arms, missing legs, missing everything. Just so sad. And he brought in 22 people.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: There is no evidence that Sayfullo Saipov, the alleged perpetrator of the terror attack in 2017 on Manhattan’s West Side Highway, brought 22 relatives into the U.S. through “chain migration.” Even Trump’s own aides have declined to endorse this claim, and even anti-immigration advocates say it is wildly improbable that one man with a green card could have sponsored 22 people.

“Think of — visa lottery. Visa lottery. Um, who is this? Who is this? And then when they turn out to be not so good, we say, I wonder why. Well, maybe the country is giving us their worst in those lotteries. Does that make sense? Do you think — do you think the country is saying, ‘Let’s get our best people, our greatest people, let’s put them in the lottery so that the United States can have them?’ Or do you think maybe they’re going the opposite route? I think maybe the opposite route. Right?”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: This is, as usual, an inaccurate description of the Diversity Visa Lottery program. Contrary to Trump’s claim foreign “put” people in a lottery to get rid of their bad apples, would-be immigrants sign up on their own, as individuals, of their own free will, because they want to immigrate.

“There’s a town in California where they actually tried to take over the town council. All illegal aliens running the town council. That sounds like a great idea.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: There is no basis for this claim.

“And the Democrats want to invite caravan after caravan of illegal aliens into our country. And they want to sign them up for free health care, free welfare, free education, and for the right to vote. They want to sign ’em for the right to vote. What’s that all about? The right to vote. You ever hear that one? Illegal alien has the right to vote.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: Trump’s claim about voting is so misleading that we’re calling it false. Many Democrats, and a significant number of Republicans, want to offer the unauthorized immigrants currently in the country a path to citizenship, which would allow them to vote years down the road. They do not want to invite people to enter the country illegally and “sign up” these people to vote immediately, which was Trump’s clear suggestion.

“And the Democrats want to invite caravan after caravan of illegal aliens into our country.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: There is no basis for this claim.

“By the way, nobody talks about, but we got rid of the individual mandate, the most unpopular aspect of Obamacare. Where you had the great privilege of paying a fortune in order to pay a fortune to not pay for bad health care. That’s not a very good — right? That’s not a very good thing. Now we got rid of the individual mandate. That’s big. And by the way, we’ve really radically changed that. And we had it beaten. But we didn’t get one Democrat. I always say, we didn’t get somebody vote, which is true. But we didn’t get one Democrat vote, either. Think of it. One Democrat would have repealed and replaced, but we’re essentially doing the same thing anyway. It’s been decimated by us.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: Trump has not “essentially” repealed and replaced Obamacare or “decimated” Obamacare. The individual mandate was a key part of Obamacare, but it is far from the entire thing. Trump did not touch Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicaid insurance program for low-income people, the federal and state Obamacare marketplaces that allow other uninsured people to buy insurance, and the subsidies that help many of them make the purchases. Nor did he touch various Obamacare rules for the insurance market, like its prohibition on insurers denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. The very day after the tax law passed, the government announced that 8.8 million people had signed up for coverage through the federal marketplace, down by only 0.4 million from last year despite Trump’s efforts to dissuade people from signing up.

“Democrats…want to impose socialism. That’s what they’re doing. They want to take away your Second Amendment. Take away your strong health care that we’re making stronger and stronger every single day.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: Democrats do not want to “impose socialism” or take away people’s health care. Though they are proposing to toughen restrictions on gun purchases, they are not proposing to eliminate the Second Amendment.

“We have eliminated a record number of job-killing regulations, passed a massive tax cut for working families, and we will soon follow it up with another 10 per cent tax cut for the middle class.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: We do not usually fact-check promises of future action, but there was no sign that Republicans were actually pursuing an additional 10 per cent tax cut for the middle class; Trump suddenly introduced this claim two weeks before the election, with no details attached. We will amend this item if he proves serious.

“The unemployment rate just fell to the lowest level in more than 50 years.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: The unemployment rate, 3.7 per cent, is the lowest in 49 years, since 1969. We would not count this as false if Trump rounded to “50 years,” but “more than” 50 years is objectively false.

“Or if you take a look at what we’re doing with NATO, where for many years they’re not paying their bills. Now they’re paying their bills and nobody talks about it. I went in last year, and I said, you got to pay up. We’re protecting you. We’re protecting you. You got to pay up. They agreed to pay $44 billion more money we don’t have to pay ultimately, because it’s not fair. Not fair. We’re protecting them, and they’re not paying their bills. And we want to protect them, but they got to pay their bills. And this year, we had an even better meeting, but you never hear that from these folks.”

Source: Campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

in fact: NATO countries were not failing to “pay their bills” before Trump took office. Trump was referring to the fact that some European countries had not been meeting their pledge to spend 2 per cent of their gross domestic product on defence. But this 2 per cent figure was merely a guideline or target, not an ironclad commitment, and countries’ failure to meet it did not result in bills of any kind.

“Well, you take a look at what’s outside. We have tremendous fans. We have tremendous rallies. In Houston, we just had 109,000 people accept, and we were in the Rockets arena, 22,000 people, 51,000 people outside. I better not change too much.”

Source: Interview with WSOC TV Channel 9 Charlotte

in fact: Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said there were about 3,000 people watching the rally from outside.

“We have a lot of Senate races where we’re leading — races that, frankly, were going to be uncontested. It looks like we’re leading a lot of those races.”

Source: Exchange with reporters before Marine One departure

in fact: This is an exaggeration. Republicans had improved in the polls in some Senate races, but they did not take the lead in any races the party wasn’t even going to contest.

“The Democrats’ policies — have you noticed? I never say the ‘Democratic,’ like, Party. You know, their word is “Democrat.” But when you say ‘Democratic,’ it’s much nicer-sounding, right? They should change their name, actually. But I’m not going to tell them that. I don’t want to — see all those cameras? I don’t want to tell them that. But — but they say ‘the Democratic Party.’ It’s not that. It’s called the ‘Democrat Party.’ It doesn’t sound good, right? I hate it. I hate just saying it. You know, you’re making a speech and then you say, ‘the Democrat Party,’ and a lot of people say, ‘Oh, it should be the’ — because it sounds so much better. They should actually change their name. I’m giving them free advice. Change the name. Because we’ll still beat them. Their policies are no good, so it doesn’t matter, right?”

Source: Speech at Young Black Leadership Summit

in fact: The name of the Democratic Party is the Democratic Party, not the Democrat Party.

“So when I took office, trade — we lost $807 billion that year on trade, think of it. $807 billion, nobody even knows what it is, what does that mean? It’s so much, it’s like what does it mean? You know, if you said you lost $12 — $12 million — we lost $807 billion.”

Source: Speech at Young Black Leadership Summit

in fact: The U.S. had a $566 billion trade deficit in 2017; it was $800 billion only if you ignore trade in services and look solely at trade in goods, as Trump habitually does without saying he is doing so. The U.S. had a goods-trade deficit of $810 billion in 2017, a services-trade surplus of $244 billion.

“And — because Israel has been a great ally. We’ve done a lot for them, but they’ve done a lot for us. And in the Middle East, it’s nice to have somebody that you can rely on. And so what happens is, we end up getting 68 votes. So we went from two to 68 because we said, ‘Aid, you’re not going to get I’ — or ‘maybe you’re not going to get it.’ Or ‘we’re watching.’ You have to watch. And amazing how that changes the vote. Isn’t it amazing?”

Source: Speech at Young Black Leadership Summit

in fact: Trump did not specify what votes he was talking about, but he has made this “68 votes” claim in the past when talking about the U.N. vote on his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The result of that vote was 128 countries against, nine in favour. To get to his total in the 60s, Trump, like Ambassador Nikki Haley, included abstentions (35) and countries that were not present to vote at all (21). But that (9 plus 35 plus 21) adds to 65, not 68. Haley accurately tweeted after the vote: “The vote is in–65 countries refused to condemn the United States and 128 voted against us.”

“We’re driving down drug prices, the first time in many years. As you know, I called up a number of big drug companies: Novartis, Pfizer, others. They raised their prices. I talked to them. They all brought them back down, and now they’re going to go lower than that. We’re getting our prices for drugs way down. Lots of different things we’re doing. A little bit of controversy. I wouldn’t say the drug companies will love me in the end. But our prescription drugs are coming down. Everybody sees it. It’s happening fast.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Trump did pressure Pfizer and Novartis into delaying some of their planned price increases. But there was no evidence they are now “going to go lower than that,” and it is not true that “everybody sees” falling prices or that “it’s happening fast.” The Associated Press reported: “Few, if any, drugmakers actually lowered prices as a result of Trump’s pressure. A few drugs had price cuts for business reasons. More broadly, an Associated Press investigation of brand-name prescription drugs found 96 price increases for every price reduction in the first seven months of this year. There were fewer price increases this year from January through July than in comparable prior year periods, but companies still raised prices far more often than they cut them.”

Senate Republicans feel shutdown pressure as Trump tweets angrily on

Day 24 dawns after fusillade of angry messages from White House and with presidential ally seeking temporary reopening

January 14, 2019

by Martin Pengelly and Oliver Laughland in New York

The Guardian

On day 24 of the partial government shutdown, the longest in history, Senate Republicans seemed best placed to negotiate a reopening of shuttered federal departments and threatened services and the restoration of pay to 800,000 workers

Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has worked assiduously to get close to Donald Trump, said he told the president he should reopen the government temporarily, to pursue a deal. Some Democrats voiced support.

But on Monday morning, en route to New Orleans where he is due to address a farming convention, Trump told reporters he had rejected Graham’s suggestion.

“I’m not interested,” he said of the senator’s proposal. “I want to get it solved. I don’t want to just delay it. I want to get it solved.”

Trump, has remained attuned to conservative media, which speaks for and to his base and on which support has not wavered for his stance on funds for a border wall.

Earlier in the day , from an understaffed White House, the president suggested via Twitter he had been “waiting all weekend” to negotiate. Trump, who said last month in a meeting with Democrat leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security”, tweeted: “Nancy and Cryin’ Chuck can end the Shutdown in 15 minutes. At this point it has become their, and the Democrats, fault!”

On Sunday night, he had tweeted scattergun blasts of anger. He threatened to “devastate Turkey economically” if it sought advantage from his withdrawal from Syria; he gloated over the personal difficulties of the owner of the Washington Post, whom he called “Jeff Bozo”; and he tweeted what many attacked as a virulently racist message about Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator running to face him in 2020.

Attaching an Instagram video posted by Warren, Trump wrote that if the senator, “often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash!”

Contention over Warren’s Native American ancestry, fed with glee by Trump, has dogged her early campaign moves.

Graham strove to pull Trump round to serious politicking, even if his previous attempts to change the president’s mind, such as over Syria, have achieved uncertain success at best. Trump wants wall funding before he signs legislation to open the government. House speaker Pelosi will not pass legislation including Trump’s demand for $5.7bn. Senate Republicans will not pass legislation without it.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Graham said: “Before he pulls the plug on the legislative option, and I think we’re almost there, I would urge him to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks, before he pulls the plug, see if we can get a deal. If we can’t at the end of three weeks, all bets are off.”

Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has worked assiduously to get close to Donald Trump, said he told the president he should reopen the government temporarily, to pursue a deal. Some Democrats voiced support.

But on Monday morning, en route to New Orleans where he is due to address a farming convention, Trump told reporters he had rejected Graham’s suggestion.

“I’m not interested,” he said of the senator’s proposal. “I want to get it solved. I don’t want to just delay it. I want to get it solved.”

Trump, has remained attuned to conservative media, which speaks for and to his base and on which support has not wavered for his stance on funds for a border wall.

Earlier in the day , from an understaffed White House, the president suggested via Twitter he had been “waiting all weekend” to negotiate. Trump, who said last month in a meeting with Democrat leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security”, tweeted: “Nancy and Cryin’ Chuck can end the Shutdown in 15 minutes. At this point it has become their, and the Democrats, fault!”

On Sunday night, he had tweeted scattergun blasts of anger. He threatened to “devastate Turkey economically” if it sought advantage from his withdrawal from Syria; he gloated over the personal difficulties of the owner of the Washington Post, whom he called “Jeff Bozo”; and he tweeted what many attacked as a virulently racist message about Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator running to face him in 2020.

Attaching an Instagram video posted by Warren, Trump wrote that if the senator, “often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash!”

Contention over Warren’s Native American ancestry, fed with glee by Trump, has dogged her early campaign moves.

Graham strove to pull Trump round to serious politicking, even if his previous attempts to change the president’s mind, such as over Syria, have achieved uncertain success at best. Trump wants wall funding before he signs legislation to open the government. House speaker Pelosi will not pass legislation including Trump’s demand for $5.7bn. Senate Republicans will not pass legislation without it.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Graham said: “Before he pulls the plug on the legislative option, and I think we’re almost there, I would urge him to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks, before he pulls the plug, see if we can get a deal. If we can’t at the end of three weeks, all bets are off.”

Graham said that if a temporary reopening failed, Trump should use “emergency powers” to bypass Congress, as he has threatened to do, and fund the wall from sources such as military construction budgets, money set aside for disaster relief or asset forfeiture funds taken from criminals by the justice department.

Such a step would attract legal challenges as well as liberal opprobrium, but Democrats could likely not stop it and it could be a political win with Trump’s base. Some advisers say he would have acted to reopen government and exposed congressional inertia – and as a bonus, on becoming tied up in court, would not actually have to build the wall.

Graham said that if a temporary reopening failed, Trump should use “emergency powers” to bypass Congress, as he has threatened to do, and fund the wall from sources such as military construction budgets, money set aside for disaster relief or asset forfeiture funds taken from criminals by the justice department.

Such a step would attract legal challenges as well as liberal opprobrium, but Democrats could likely not stop it and it could be a political win with Trump’s base. Some advisers say he would have acted to reopen government and exposed congressional inertia – and as a bonus, on becoming tied up in court, would not actually have to build the wall.

If his temporary plan does not happen, Graham said, an emergency declaration will be “the last option, not the first option, but we’re pretty close to that being the only option.”

Trump campaigned on a promise to build the wall, and to have Mexico pay for it. Faced with political reality – in 2017 he told Mexico’s president “we are both in a little bit of a political bind because I have to have Mexico pay for the wall, I have to” – he now says Mexico will do so through savings from a new trade deal. Analysts have undermined that claim.

Congress was due back in Washington on Monday, which dawned under heavy snowfall and with key government functions, from airport security to immigration courts to environmental and food inspections, no closer to being restored. On Friday, workers affected by the shutdown missed their first paycheck of 2019. Stories of hardship, often spreading to those who live or sell services to such Americans, spread throughout the land.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

January 14, 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 publications.

Conversation No. 22

Date: Friday, July 5, 1996

Commenced:   1:45 PM CST

Concluded:   2:10 PM CST

GD: Did you have a safe Fourth, Robert?

RTC: Oh my, yes, Gregory. I was out in the street firing off rockets at passing police cars. And you?

GD: No, I stayed inside. Little children setting the garage on fire with Grandma tied up inside or shooting bottle rockets into gas tanker trucks on the freeway. Plastic surgeons must have loved the Glorious Fourth back when we had real firecrackers to fire off. Missing eyes, fingers and other body parts. Terrified and singed cats and dogs, not to mention grass fires and burning shake roofs. I can just see you firing off rockets into passing cop cars, Robert. With your training and previous employment, no doubt the rockets blew the occupants into bloody cat meat.

RTC: Such an outburst of rage, Gregory.

GD: I am a man of sorrows and acquainted with rage, Robert. How about the Company setting off a small A-bomb in some hitherto harmless country and blaming it on mice?

RTC: Now that’s something we never did. In fact, we prevented at least one nuclear disaster.

GD: What? A humanitarian act? Why, I am astounded, Robert. Do tell me about this.

RTC: Now, now, Gregory, sometimes we can discuss serious business. There were times when we prevented terrible catastrophes and tried to secure more peace. We had trouble, you know, with India back in the 60s when they got uppity and started work on an atomic bomb. Loud mouthed cow-lovers bragging about how clever they were and how they, too, were going to be a great power in the world. The thing is, they were getting into bed with the Russians. Of course, Pakistan was in bed with the chinks, so India had to find another bed partner. And we did not want them to have any kind of nuclear weaponry because God knows what they would have done with it. Probably strut their stuff like a Washington nigger with a brass watch. Probably nuke the Pakis. They’re all a bunch of neo-coons anyway. Oh, yes, and their head expert was fully capable of building a bomb and we knew just what he was up to. He was warned several times but what an arrogant prick that one was. Told our people to fuck off and then made it clear that no one would stop him and India from getting nuclear parity with the big boys. Loudmouths bring it all down on themselves. Do you know about any of this?

GD: Not my area of interest or expertise. Who is this joker, anyway?

RTC: Was, Gregory, let’s use the past tense, if you please. Name was Homi Bhabha.1  That one was dangerous, believe me. He had an unfortunate accident. He was flying to Vienna to stir up more trouble, when his 707 had a bomb go off in the cargo hold and they all came down on a high mountain way up in the Alps. No real evidence and the world was much safer.

GD: Was Ali Baba alone on the plane?

RTC: No it was a commercial Air India flight.

GD: How many people went down with him?

RTC: Ah, who knows and frankly, who cares?

GD: I suppose if I had a relative on the flight I would care.

RTC: Did you?

GD: No.

RTC: Then don’t worry about it. We could have blown it up over Vienna but we decided the high mountains were much better for the bits and pieces to come down on. I think a possible death or two among mountain goats is much preferable than bringing down a huge plane right over a big city.

GD: I think that there were more than goats, Robert.

RTC: Well, aren’t we being a bleeding-heart today?

GD: Now, now, it’s not an observation that is unexpected. Why not send him a box of poisoned candy? Shoot him in the street? Blow up his car? I mean, why ace a whole plane full of people?

RTC: Well, I call it as it see it. At the time, it was our best shot. And we nailed Shastri 2 as well. Another cow-loving raghead. Gregory, you say you don’t know about these people. Believe me, they were close to getting a bomb and so what if they nuked their deadly Paki enemies? So what? Too many people in both countries. Breed like rabbits and full of snake-worshipping twits. I don’t for the life of me see what the Brits wanted in India. And then threaten us? They were in the sack with the Russians, I told you. Maybe they could nuke the Panama Canal or Los Angeles. We don’t know that for sure, but it is not impossible.

GD: Who was Shastri?

RTC: A political type who started the program in the first place. Babha was a genius and he could get things done, so we aced both of them. And we let certain people there know that there was more where that came from. We should have hit the chinks, too, while we were at it, but they were a tougher target. Did I tell you about the idea to wipe out Asia’s rice crops? We developed a disease that would have wiped rice off the map there and it’s their staple diet. The fucking rice growers here got wind of it and raised such a stink we canned the whole thing. The theory was that the disease could spread around and hurt their pocketbooks. If the Mao people invade Alaska, we can tell the rice people it’s all their fault.

GD: I suppose we might make friends with them.

RTC: With the likes of them? Not at all, Gregory. The only thing the Communists understand is brute force. India was quieter after Bhabha croaked. We could never get to Mao but at one time, the Russians and we were discussing the how and when of the project. Oh yes, sometimes we do business with the other side. Probably more than you realize.

GD: Now that I know about. High level amorality. They want secrets from us and you give them some of them in return for some of their secrets, doctored, of course. That way, both agencies get credit for being clever.

RTC: Well, you’ve been in that game, so why be so holy over a bunch of dead ragheads?

GD: Were all the passengers Indian atomic scientists?

RTC: Who cares, Gregory? We got the main man and that was all that mattered. You ought not criticize when you don’t have the whole story.

GD: Well, there were too many mountain goats running around, anyway. They might have gotten their hands on some weapons from Atwood and invaded Switzerland.

RTC: You jest but there is truth in what you say. We had such a weight on us, protecting the American people, often from themselves I admit. Many of these stories can never be written, Gregory. And if you try, you had better get your wife to start your car in the morning.

GD: How about my mother-in-law, Robert? Now do you see why Kimmel doesn’t want me talking to you? It isn’t that he’s afraid you might talk to me; I think he’s afraid I might corrupt you with my evil designs.

RTC: Tom means well but he’s dumb as a post. Most of the FBI are keyhole peepers at heart and should keep the hell out of espionage. Yes, Tom thinks I am getting senile and you are persuading me to give up state secrets. I may be old and I do forget names sometimes but I am not gaga yet, not by a long shot, and I’ve done a lot more important things than Tom ever did chasing car thieves and people dragging whores over state lines to a cheap motel.

GD: I don’t think you’re crazy, Robert and, you know, I once discussed you with him. He wanted to know what you were talking about with me and I told him we were discussing stamp collecting. He was not happy with this. I know he views me as a terrible person, but I can’t help that. He said you weren’t the person you used to be and I said who was? I asked him if he was better or worse that he had been at twenty and he got mad at me. Self-righteous, Robert, self-righteous.

RTC: Well, you certainly aren’t that, Gregory.

GD: Well, you’re not crazy and I’m not wicked. I am right, aren’t I? Please tell me I’m right, Robert. I’ll cry myself to sleep if you don’t

RTC: (Laughter) You’re a truly bad person, Gregory.

GD: I know. I told Jesus that last night when we were playing poker. He keeps hiding cards in that hole in his side.

RTC: Tell that to the Pope.

GD: We don’t get along anymore since I ran over his cat.

(Concluded at 2:10 PM CST)

 1 Homi Jehangir Bhabha,  October 30, 1909 – January 24, 1966 was an Indian nuclear physicist who played a major role in the development of the Indian atomic energy program and is considered to be the father of India’s nuclear program. He died when Air India Flight 101 crashed near Mont Blanc in January 1966. Strong evidence pointed to a sabotage by the CIA intended at impeding India’s nuclear program. ,

 

Lal Bahadur Shrivastav   October 2, 1904 – January 11,1966 was the third Prime Minister of the Republic of India and a significant figure in the Indian independence movement. After the declaration of ceasefire, Shastri and Pakistani President Muhammad Ayub Khan attended a summit in Tashkent (former USSR, now in modern Uzbekistan), organised by Kosygin. On 10 January 1966, Shastri and Khan signedthe Tashkent Declaration.The next day Shastri, died, supposedly of a heart attack, at 1:32 AM.He was the only Indian Prime Minister, and indeed probably one of the few heads of government, to have died in office overseas. Like the death of Homi Bhabha a few days later, the fatal heart attack has long been suspected as a means on the part of the Russians to remove a potential enemy armed with nuclear weapons.

 

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

 

 ‘In God We Trust’ – the bills Christian nationalists hope will ‘protect religious freedom’

The package of new bills are part of Project Blitz, a political playbook that aims to support and promote Christian beliefs

January 14, 2018

by David Taylor in New York

The Guardian

Christian hardliners on the religious right have introduced new bills to impose their values in at least six American states in the opening days of 2019.

The early legal moves have been tracked from Alaska to Florida as mostly Republican legislators make use of off-the-shelf ‘model bills’ generated by Christian nationalists in a playbook called Project Blitz.

So-called “In God We Trust” bills have already been introduced this year in Alaska, Kentucky, Missouri and South Carolina, which, if they became law, would see the phrase emblazoned on public buildings, hung in schools and displayed on public vehicles including police cars.

A bill requiring Florida public high schools to offer Christian Bible-study classes has just been introduced by a Democratic representative Kimberly Davies – a former ‘exorcist’ who called herself the Demonbuster. Similar bills have been introduced in North Dakota and Missouri.

In Texas, a bill allowing teachers to display the Ten Commandments in classrooms will be considered in this state legislature session.

Georgia is expected to try to pass a ‘religious freedom’ act which would give cover to people who run businesses, or agencies which provide adoption or foster care services, if they refuse to serve LGBTQ people on religious grounds.

And in South Carolina, Republican governor Henry McMaster is appealing to the Trump administration to allow Miracle Hill Ministries to keep its federal funding even though it refuses to allow non-Christians to use its foster-care service, a breach of Obama-era regulations.

However, civil rights activists are preparing to use Religious Freedom Day on January 16 as a moment to mount an attack against Project Blitz.

Frederick Clarkson, senior research analyst at Political Research Associates, a think-tank which studies the political right, was the first to draw attention to the Project Blitz playbook last year.

He first revealed that the 140-page playbook had been shared by a group called the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation (CPCF) set up by a former Republican congressman with the stated aim to “protect religious freedom, preserve America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and promote prayer”.

Now civil rights, human rights and atheist groups are coming together to organise against the emboldened Christian hardliners.

Clarkson said: “It has taken time, but organized opposition is mounting.”

A law passed in 1992 gives the president the duty to proclaim January 16 as Religious Freedom Day. It is supposed to be a moment to celebrate all faiths (or none) in the US, recognizing the freedoms first written by Thomas Jefferson, and enshrined in the Constitution and the First Amendment.

But last year, Donald Trump, heavily influenced by Christian Evangelicals used his proclamation to advance a Christian nationalist message that religious freedom was under threat from courts and legislatures “forcing people to comply with laws that violate their core religious beliefs”.

Trump claimed: “no American – whether a nun, nurse, baker or business owner – should be forced to choose between the tenets of faith or adherence to the law.”He was providing explicit support for those who would refuse to serve LGBTQ customers, deny reproductive rights to women, or block gay couples from adopting children or becoming foster parents.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is making opposition to Project Blitz a priority in 2019. It has been tracking bills and working with other activist groups to track new laws and organise opposition against them.

Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United said: “Project Blitz is one of the foremost organised efforts to infiltrate state legislatures with religion.”

By shining a light on the Project Blitz playbook, Americans United wants to clearly “hallmark” In God We Trust bills as the creation of the CPCF.

Laser said the aim was “to demonstrate to state legislatures that they are very much part of a Christian nationalism plan to codify a far right Evangelical Christian America and allow religious liberty to be used as a sword to harm others, instead of as a shield to protect people.”

Opponents have tracked at least 75 bills brought forward in more than 20 states since Trump became president which stem from the Project Blitz playbook.

Clarkson’s work last year revealed one of the steering team behind Project Blitz as David Barton, the Texas-based founder of an organisation called WallBuilders, which takes its inspiration from the Old Testament in describing a mission of “rebuilding our nation’s foundations”.

In a recording of a call with state legislators, he described in detail the strategy behind Project Blitz, which he said packages together about two dozen bills in separate categories based on the type of opposition they are likely to receive.

The first category of “In God We Trust” bills are likely to trigger opposition by saying the bills are a waste of time, or the sponsor of the bill “just wants to fight culture wars and divide people”.

Category two include bills for a range of proclamations or resolutions – declaring a religious freedom day or Christian heritage week that can then be used to get religious teaching into schools.

Category three bills will have the greatest impact but will be “the most hotly contested” the playbook says – they include resolutions in favour of “biblical values concerning marriage and sexuality”, such as “establishing public policy favoring adoption by intact heterosexual, marriage-based families” and “establishing public policy favoring intimate sexual relations only between married, heterosexual couples”.

Laser said: “When a lot of state legislators see ‘In God We Trust’ they think that is harmless patriotism, but it is part of an intentional plan to build momentum for establishing a Christian America.”

Laser said there are real concerns about a momentum behind Christian nationalism, which she said Trump has bolstered with the appointment of pro-life Supreme Court judges Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch. The only religious advisory board Trump has is an all Evangelical Christian advisory board.

Last year the administration announced a religious liberty task force at a religious liberty summit event attended entirely by social conservatives.

As Trump prepares to release his Religious Freedom Day proclamation next Wednesday (16 January) some legislatures are preparing their own inclusive resolutions. In Washington DC, David Grosso a Democratic member of the Council of the District of Columbia sponsored a Religious Freedom Day resolution which recognizes all faiths and none and says “the government may not favor one religion over another, or over nonreligion, without fatally undermining religious freedom”.

He said: “We are built on the principles of freedom of and freedom from religion in the United States and we shouldn’t let the far-right activists that are pushing these efforts like Project Blitz undermine that reality.”

 

Jesus: Fact and Fiction

January 14, 2018

by Christian Jürs

Jesus was not a Nazerene but an Alexandrian Jew. His family moved to Judea when Jesus and his two older brothers were very young. One of Jesus’ elder brothers was a member of the agricultural Essene cult and Jesus joined this group.

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

Jesus was an Essene, and Christianity as we know it today evolved from this sect of Judaism, with which it shared many ideas and symbols

The Essenes, a Judean cult were an agricultural community that had a communistic approach to their life style. There was a common purse and shared wealth and much, if not most, of the first expressed Christian dogma came directly from the Essenes. Unfortunately, like the Spartans and Zulus who were essentially a military community cult, the agricultural Essenes were male-oriented and homosexual in nature. The Essenes were outlawed by the Romans, and many members were subsequently crucified in a general crackdown under Titus, not because of their sexual practices but because of their political opposition to Roman rule.

The small remnants of the Essenes retreated to the Dead Sea area and eventually died out.

The Essenes are discussed in detail by Josephus and Philo. Scholars believe that the community at Qumran that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls were Essenes, that Jesus was an Essene, and Christianity as we know it today evolved from this sect of Judaism, with which it shared many ideas and symbols The Essenes are best known today as the inhabitants from Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were located by Bedouins first in 1947.  It is now known that they were closely affiliated with the Hasidim, a sectarian group that included the disciples of Hillel and Menahem the Essene who left for Damascus in 20 BCE.

The Essenes are discussed in detail by Josephus and Philo.

The basis of it is a scroll found at cave #3 on the Dead Sea in 1953.

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

The document is the only extant period reference to Jesus; all the others are two hundred years later, and in the case of Josephus, later Christian forgeries.

This has been forensically tested as to age, type of ink, handwriting etc and clearly located at the time and place indicated.

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

His parents immigrated back to Palestine where the young Jesus joined the Essene religious movement. He became involved in their revolts against the occupying Roman power, was one of the leaders in a revolt attempt, fled when the Roman troops attacked in a pre-emptive strike, leaving many of his cult members to be captured by the Romans and all later crucified.

He fled with the remainder of the Essenes to the desert where he remained until he died. The interesting aspect of this is that the Essene cult was an all-male agricultural commune and very specifically homosexual in nature and pratice.

In the scroll, Jesus’ sexual orientation is specifically addressed and names of his male lovers covered.

 

It is near; it is at hand. Maybe tomorrow but probably never

A compendium of endless predictions of the Second Coming based on period documents

An untold number of people have tried to predict the return of Jesus by using elaborate timetables. Most date setters do not realize that mankind has not kept an unwavering record of time. Anyone wanting to chart, for example, 100 BC to 2000 AD, would have to contend with the fact that 46 BC was 445 days long, there was no year 0 BC, and in 1582 we switched from Julian Years (360 days) to Gregorian (365 days). Because most prognosticators are not aware of all of these errors, their math is immediately off by at least several years if not decades.

The return of Jesus Christ for His Church will easily be the most important event in Pentecostal fictive history and long before the Pentecostal sect evolved in 1900, empty-headed religious zealots, banging on their empty drums, have been predicting the Second Coming. Herewith we present a brief compendium of the more entertaining prophesies for the entertainment of the reader.

53 AD

Even before all the books of the New Testament were invented, there was talk that Christ’s Return had already taken place. The Thessalonians panicked when they heard a rumor that the day of the Lord was at hand, and they had missed the event..

500

A Roman priest living in the second century predicted Christ would return in 500 AD, based on the dimensions of Noah’s ark. Someone must have used a bad ruler because Jesus did not appear in 500 AD

1000

All credulous members of what passed for normal society seemed affected by the prediction that Jesus was coming back at the start of the new millennium. The magic of the number 1000 was the sole reason for the expectation. During concluding months of 999 AD, everyone was on his best behavior; worldly goods were sold and given to the poor; swarms of pilgrims headed east to meet the Lord at Jerusalem; buildings went unrepaired; crops were left unplanted; and criminals were set free from jails. When the year 999 AD turned into 1000 AD, nothing happened. Many citizens of the world who had given their property away, but certainly not those who accepted it, were stunned but eventually hopeful that the event would be postponed until 1001. Nothing happened then, either.

1033

This year was cited as the beginning of the millennium because it marked 1,000 years since Christ’s alleged crucifixion.

1186

The “Letter of Toledo” warned everyone to hide in the caves and mountains. The world was reportedly to be destroyed with only a few spared, including the letter writer. It was not.

1420

The Taborites of Czechoslovakia predicted every city in the known world would be annihilated by fire. Only the five mountain strongholds they occupied would be saved from the Celestial Barbeque. This did not happen

1524-1526

Muntzer, a leader of German peasants, announced that the return of Christ was near. After Muntzer and his men destroyed the high and mighty, the Lord would supposedly return. This belief led to an uneven battle against government troops. He was strategically outnumbered. Muntzer claimed to have had a vision from God in which the Lord promised that He would catch the cannonballs of the enemy in the sleeves of His cloak. The prediction within the vision turned out to be false when Muntzer and his followers were mowed down by cannon fire. If one believes their stories, the disintegrated had the pleasure of going to heaven in a number of pieces which God Himself would lovingly sort out just like pious Jewish religious ambulance workers reassembling those fragmented in a Jerusalem bus attack.

1534

A repeat of the Muntzer affair occurred a few years later. This time, one greatly deluded by apparently very forceful, Jan Matthys took over the city of Münster in Germany. The city was to be the only one spared from Divine destruction. The inhabitants of Münster, evicted by Matthys and his men, regrouped and laid siege to the city. Within a year, every one of the strange occupiers in the city was dead. They also had an express ticket to Heaven.

1650-1660

In an England beset by religious fanatics, the Fifth Monarchy Men  beseeched Jesus to establish a theocracy. They took up arms and tried to seize England by force. The movement, and most of the senior leaders of it, died when the British monarchy was restored in 1660. Jesus apparently was not listening or was otherwise engaged. Heads rolled, quite literally, as England finally escaped from the unwanted attention of dim witted fanatics.

1809

Mary Bateman, who specialized in fortune telling, had a magic chicken that laid eggs with end-time messages on them. One message said that Christ was coming. The uproar she created ended when an unannounced visitor caught her forcing an egg into the hen’s oviduct. Mary later was hanged for poisoning a wealthy client. History does not record whether the offended and sodomized chicken attended the hanging.

1814

Spiritualist Joanna Southcott made the startling claim that she, by virgin birth, would produce the second Jesus Christ. Her abdomen began to swell and so did the crowds of people around her. This gathering is similar to certain ethnic groups who see visions of the Virgin Mary on refrigerator doors or reflected on rooming house walls. The time for the birth came and passed with no Jesus appearing. As for the miraculous Southcott, she died soon after. An autopsy revealed she had experienced a false pregnancy. Her followers blamed the Antichrist for this.

1836

John Wesley wrote that “the time, times and half a time” of Revelation 12:14 were 1058¬1836, “when Christ should come” John Wesley was wrong in this matter as well as a number of other items of religious thought he preached.

1843-1844

William Miller was the founder of an end-times movement that was so prominent it received its own name, Millerism. From his studies of the Bible, Miller determined that the second coming would happen sometime between 1843-1844. A spectacular meteor shower in 1833 gave the movement excellent momentum. The buildup of anticipation continued until March 21, 1844, when Miller’s one-year timetable ran out. Some followers set another date–Oct 22, 1844. This too failed, collapsing the movement. One follower described the days after the failed predictions: “The world made merry over the old Prophet’s predicament. The taunts and jeers of the ‘scoffers’ were well-nigh unbearable.”  People in general do not suffer fools gladly.

1859

Rev. Thomas Parker, a Massachusetts minister, looked for the millennium to start about 1859. It did not. Parker subsequently was placed in a lunatic asylum when discovered running, buck naked, down the street in Bainbridge, screeching that Jesus was right behind him. What were behind the Reverend Parker were local bailiffs with nets.

1910

The revisit of Halley’s comet to the earth’s bemused vision was, for many, an indication of  Jesus’ Second Coming. The earth actually passed through the gaseous tail of the comet. One enterprising man sold comet pills to people for protection against the effects of the toxic gases. Toxic gasses, mostly vocal methane, from frantic Fundamentalists did not need pills. It might have been better if the predictors had used Thorazine tranquilizer pills but as they had not yet been invented, this is a moot point.

1914

Charles Russell, after being exposed to the lunatic babblings of William Miller, founded his own organization that evolved into the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In 1914, Russell predicted the return of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was not listening and did not appear in 1914.

1918

In 1918, new studies assisted Russell from extending his predictions to that year. Jesus Christ, or His travel agent, did not oblige.

1925

The Witnesses had no better luck in 1925. They already possessed the title of “Most Wrong Predictions.” They would expand upon it with great zeal and no sense whatsoever in the years to come.

1967

When the city of Jerusalem was reclaimed by the Jews in 1967, prophecy watchers declared that the “Time of the Gentiles” had come to an end.

1970

The ‘True Light Church of Christ’ made its claim to fame by incorrectly forecasting the return of Jesus. A number of church members had quit their livelihoods ahead of the promised advent. In earlier time, such deluded creatures gave their property away to their gleeful, non-believing neighbors, donned white nightgowns and stood up on hilltops, waiting for the Celestial Elevator. It never came for them but pneumonia did.

1973

A comet that turned out to be a visual disappointment nonetheless compelled one preacher to announce that it would be a sign of the Lord’s return. It was not.

1975

The Jehovah’s Witnesses were back at it again with commendable zeal in 1975. The failure of the latest forecast did not affect the growth of the movement. The Watchtower magazine, a major Witness periodical, had over 13 million subscribers. Many of them actually are able to read, albeit very slowly, but the majority love the large pictures. However, over 40 millions have read the Left Behind books or, as they have irreverently been termed, the My Left Behind books.

1981

One author boldly declared that the rapture would occur before December 31, 1981, based on Christian prophecy, astronomy, and a dash of ecological fatalism. He pegged the date to Jesus’ promised return to earth a generation after Israel’s rebirth. He also made references to the “Jupiter Effect,” a planetary alignment occurring every 179 years that supposedly could lead to earthquakes and nuclear plant meltdowns. Also, there were saintly rumors of the Lost Continent of Atlantis suddenly emerging from the depths of Lake Baikal in Russia, or according to other enlightened cretins, Lake Michigan, New York Harbor, the Mississippi River just off of New Orleans or the main public reservoir of Phoenix, Arizona. There was no rapture and Atlantis never surfaced.

1982

The lunatic fringe was at it again in 1982 when they loudly proclaimed that the world as we all knew it was going to end in 1982, when the planets lined up and created magnetic forces that would bring “Armageddon” to the earth. Astrologers and religious predictors joined forces here and when nothing happened, all of them went back to the Ouija boards. Armageddon is, of course, pure fiction and is not found in the Bible, even in the weird rantings of the lunatic John of Patmos.

1982

A group called the Tara Centers placed full-page advertisements in many major newspapers for the weekend of April 24-25, 1982, announcing: “The Christ is Now Here!” They predicted that He was to make himself known “within the next two months.” After the date passed, they said that the delay was only because the “consciousness of the human race was not quite right…”  Unfounded rumor had it that Jesus in fact did arrive but was arrested by New York City Vice Squad for unmentionable acts in a public lavatory in Central Park.

1984

The Jehovah’s Witnesses made sure, in 1984, that no one else would be able to top their record of most wrong doomsday predictions. The Witnesses’ record currently holds at nine. The years are: 1874, 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975, and 1984. Tired of loud public scorn and derision, the Witnesses have modestly retired from the field and now spend their time banging on doors and hawking their magazines, Tshirts and Second Coming bath mats.

1987

The Harmonic Convergence was planned for August 16-17, 1987, and several New Age events were also to occur at that time. The second coming of the serpent god of peace and the Hopi dance awakening were two examples.

1988

The book, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1988, came out only a few months before the event was to take place. What little time the book had left to it and its feeble minded readers, it used effectively. By the time the predicted dates, September 11-13, rolled around, whole churches were caught up in the excitement the book generated. Not unnaturally, nothing happened. The writer and publisher, however, benefited greatly from the sales.

1989

After the passing of the deadline in 88 Reasons, the author, Edgar Whisenant, came out with a new book called 89 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1989. This book sold only a fraction of the number of copies his prior release had sold.

1991

A group in Australia predicted Jesus would return through the Sydney Harbor at 9 a.m., March 31, 1991. Rumors are that He was doing the breast stroke in the Harbor but was run over by a car ferry and drowned.

1991

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan proclaimed the Gulf War would be “the War of Armageddon … the final War.” ‘Sweet Louis” was wrong.

1991

Menachem Schneerson, a mystic Russian-born rabbi, called for the Messiah to come by September 9, 1991, the start of the Jewish New Year. Apparently, Jesus was not listening and failed to appear. The good rabbi passed away and his followers eagerly anticipated his own return. He did not do so.

1992

A Korean group called Mission for the Coming Days had the Korea Church in a state of frenzied excitement in the fall of 1992. They foresaw October 28, 1992 as the date for the Glorious Rapture and arrival of the Celestial Ominbus.  Numerology was the basis for the date. Several camera shots that left ghostly images on pictures were thought to be a supernatural confirmation of the date. Careless photography was a more likely suspect.

1993

If the year 2000 is the end of the 6,000-year cycle, then the rapture must take place in 1993, because you would need seven years of the tribulation. This was the murky thinking of a number of prophecy writers. They were all wrong.

1994

In the book, 1994: The Year of Destiny , F. M. Riley foretold of God’s plan to rapture His people. The name of his ministry is “The Last Call,” and he operates out of a Missouri that has produced both John Ashcroft and Jesse James.

1994

Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church in Los Angeles caused quite a stir when he announced he had received a vision from God that warned of apocalyptic event on June 9, 1994. Hinkle, quoting God, said, “On Thursday June the 9th, I will rip the evil out of this world.” From a proper reading of Bible prophecy, the only thing that God could possibly rip from the earth would be the Christian Church. Some people tried to interpret Hinkle’s unscriptural vision to mean that God would the rip evil out of our hearts when He Raptured us. As usual the date came and went with no heart surgery or rapture.

1994

Harold Camping, in his book Are You Ready?, predicted the Lord would return in September 1994. The book was full of numerology that added up to 1994 as the date of Christ’s return. The numbers did not crunch and Camping joined a long list of failed prophets, seers and other mountebanks in blessed oblivion.

1994

After promising they would not make any more end time predictions, the Jehovah’s Witnesses fell off the wagon and proclaimed 1994 as the conclusion of an 80-year generation; the year 1914 was the starting point.

1996

A self-proclaimed California psychic, Sheldon Nidle predicted the end would come with the convergence of 16 million space ships and a host of angels upon the earth on December 17, 1996. Nidle explained the passing of the date by claiming the angels placed us in a holographic projection to preserve us and give us a second chance. His doctors will not let him write any more and even took away his crayons.

1997

When Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat signed their peace pact on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993, some saw the events as the beginning of tribulation. With the signing of the peace agreement, Daniel’s 1,260-day countdown was underway. By adding 1,260 days to September 1993, you arrive at February 24, 1997. Jesus, on the other hand, did not arrive nor were the Elect of the Pentecostal cults shot up into the stratosphere like so many ballistic missiles.

1997

Stan Johnson of the Prophecy Club saw a “90 percent” chance that the tribulation would start September 12, 1997. He based his conclusion on several end-time signs: that would be Jesus’ 2,000th birthday and it would also be the Day of Atonement, although it wouldn’t be what is currently the Jewish Day of Atonement. Further supporting evidence came from Romanian pastor Dumitru Duduman. In several heavenly visions, caused by the imbibing of too much plum wine,  Dumitru claimed to have seen the Book of Life. In one of his earlier visions, there were several pages yet to be completed. In his last vision, he noticed the Book of Life only had one page left. Doing some rough calculating, Johnson and friends figured the latest time frame for the completion of the book would have to be September 1997. More bitter disappointments as the time came and passed without a sight of Jerusalem Slim.

1998

Numerology: Because 666 times three equals 1998, some people point to this year as being prophetically significant. This incredible information was posted on the internet where it stunned dozens of true believers.

1998

A Taiwanese cult operating out of Garland, Texas predicted Christ would return on March 31 of 1998. The group’s leader, Heng-ming Chen, announced God would return and then invite the cult members aboard a UFO.

The group abandoned their prediction when a precursor event failed to take place. The cult’s leader had said that God would appear on every channel 18 of every TV in the world. Maybe God realized at the last minute, the Playboy Network was channel 18 on several cable systems, and He didn’t want to have Christians watching a porn channel.

1998

1998 Marilyn Agee, in her book, The End of the Age, had her sights set on May 31, 1998. for the Glorious Arrival. This date was to conclude the 6,000-year cycle from the time of Adam. Agee looked for the rapture to take place on Pentecost, which is also known as “the Feast of Weeks.” Another indicator of this date was the fact that the Holy Spirit did not descend upon the apostles until 50 days after Christ’s resurrection. Israel was born in 1948; add the 50 days as years and you come up with whatever figure you like.

After her May 31 rapture date failed, Agee, unable to face up to her error, continued her date-setting by using various Scripture references to point to June 7, 14, 21 and about 10 other dates. Marilyn then set a new date for the rapture: May 21 or 22 of the same year, Again, she and the dozens of believers who read her works were doomed to disappointment. Eventually, later rather than sooner, Agnes joined the ranks of the Disproven and passed into blessed oblivion.

1999

TV newscaster-turned-psychic Charles Criswell King had said in 1968 that the world as we know it would cease to exist on August 18, 1999. It did not.

1999

Philip Berg, a rabbi at the Kabbalah Learning Center in New York, proclaimed that the end might arrive on September 11, 1999, when “a ball of fire will descend . . . destroying almost all of mankind, all vegetation, all forms of life.” Nothing happened on that date of note except that the Devil was arrested at a sex arcade in Times Square using counterfeit coins in a porn film viewer.

2000

The names of the people and organizations that called for the return of Christ at the turn of the century is too long to be listed here. I would say that if there were a day on which Christ could not return, it must have been January 1, 2000. This day came and passed and the waiting multitude did not see Jesus descending on Dallas, arrayed like Solomon in all his splendor. Many had hangovers and the only visions they had were of the double variety.

2000

On May 5, 2000, all of the planets were supposed to have been in alignment. This was said to cause the earth to suffer earthquakes, volcanic eruption, and various other nasty stuff. A similar alignment occurred in 1982 and nothing happened. People failed to realize that the other nine planets only exert a very tiny gravitational pull on the earth. If you were to add up the gravitational force from the rest of the planets, the total would only amount to a fraction of the tug the moon has on the earth.

2000

According to Michael Rood, the end times have a prophetically complicated connection to Israel’s spring barley harvest. The Day of the Lord began on May 5, 2000. Rood’s fall feast calendar called for the Russian Gog-Magog invasion of Israel to take place at sundown on October 28, 2000. It did not. Perhaps Prophet Rood might have considered the annual Harvest of the Floating Condoms from the waters of New York City as an alternative event.

2000-2001

Dr. Dale SumburËru looked for March 22, 1997 to be “the date when all the dramatic events leading through the tribulation to the return of Christ should begin.” The actual date of Christ’s return could be somewhere between July 2000 and March 2001. Dr. SumburËru is more general about the timing of Christ’s second coming than most writers. He states, “The day the Lord returns is currently unknown because He said [Jesus] these days are cut short and it is not yet clear by how much and in what manner they are cut short. If the above assumptions are not correct, my margin of error would be in weeks, or perhaps months.”

2003

ARKANSAS CITY (AP) — A Little Rock woman was killed yesterday after leaping through her moving car’s sun roof during an incident best described as “a mistaken rapture” by dozens of eye witnesses. Thirteen other people were injured after a twenty-car pile up resulted from people trying to avoid hitting the woman who was apparently convinced that the rapture was occurring when she saw twelve people floating up into the air, and then passed a man on the side of the road who she claimed was Jesus. “She started screaming “He’s back, He’s back” and climbed right out of the sunroof and jumped off the roof of the car,” said Everett Williams, husband of 28-year-old Georgann Williams who was pronounced dead at the scene. “I was slowing down but she wouldn’t wait till I stopped,” Williams said. She thought the rapture was happening and was convinced that Jesus was gonna lift her up into the sky,” he went on to say. “This is the strangest thing I’ve seen since I’ve been on the force,” said Paul Madison, first officer on the scene. Madison questioned the man who looked like Jesus and discovered that he was dressed up as Jesus and was on his way to a toga costume party when the tarp covering the bed of his pickup truck came loose and released twelve blowup dolls filled with helium which floated up into the air. Ernie Jenkins, 32, of Fort Smith, who’s been told by several of his friends that he looks like Jesus, pulled over and lifted his arms into the air in frustration, and said “Come back here,” just as the Williams’ car passed him. Mrs. Williams was sure that it was Jesus lifting people up into the sky as they passed by him, according to her husband, who says his wife loved Jesus more than anything else. When asked for comments about the twelve dolls, Jenkins replied “This is all just too weird for me. I never expected anything like this to happen.”  This event is probably the most illustrative of all the great compendiums of Prophesy.

2011-2018

For the past several decades, Jack Van Impe has hinted at nearly every year as being the time for the rapture. Normally, he has only gone out one or two years from the current calendar year. However, Jack’s latest projection for the rapture goes out several years. His new math uses 51 years as the length of a generation. If you add 51 years to 1967, the year Israel seized Jerusalem from its Arab inhabitants, you get 2018. Once you subtract the seven-year tribulation period, you arrive at 2011. Dozens will be energized and will sell off their bicycle training wheels and lifetime collection of dignity pants but again, sad to say, nothing will happen.

2012

New Age writers cite Mayan and Aztec calendars that predict the end of the age on December 21, 2012. They were wrong as so many errant souls have been before them.

2060

Sir Isaac Newton, Britain’s greatest scientist, spent 50 years and wrote 4,500 pages trying to predict when the end of the world was coming. The most definitive date he set for the apocalypse, which he scribbled on a scrap of paper, was 2060. The original scrap is now in the phenomenal archives of Brother Pat Robertson. It appears to have been written with a ball point pen which was not invented until 1948.

 

 

No responses yet

Leave a Reply