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TBR News January 19, 2020

Jan 19 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. January 19, 2020:“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Trump aches from his head to his toes
His sphincters have gone where who knows
And his love life has ended
By a paunch so distended
That all he can use is his nose

Commentary for January 19: “Well, I am happy to learn that because a young Swedish girl with emotional problems has spoken, our Congress might just pass a law stopping climate changes in the United States. It’s wonderful that Congress could do this and I wonder that when they do this vital service, couldn’t they also vote to keep citizens from dying and get President Trump appointed as King of America? His psychiatrist says it would make him feel so much better and might stop bed wetting entirely.”

Trump’s Approval/Disapproval rating January 19 reporting
Source     Approve     Disapprove
YouGov       40%         53%

The Table of Contents
In impeachment document, Democrats say Trump endangers security, Trump denies
• ‘A Very Stable Genius’ review: dysfunction and disaster at the court of King Donald
• Why Is the Trump Presidency of Extreme Psychological Interest?
• Russian State TV Backs Trump’s Wild Impeachment Attacks
• Vows of peace, fears of violence at Virginia gun rally
• Important New Source for Secret Intelligence
• The Season of Evil
• Encyclopedia of American Loons
• NASA Warns: Sunspots Drop Drastically, Earth Heads Towards Next Ice Age

In impeachment document, Democrats say Trump endangers security, Trump denies
January 18, 2020
by Patricia Zengerle and Steve Holland

WASHINGTON/PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) – Democratic U.S. lawmakers leading the impeachment case against Republican President Donald Trump said on Saturday the president must be removed from office to protect national security and preserve the country’s system of government.
In a 111-page document filed before Trump’s Senate trial begins in earnest on Tuesday, the lawmakers laid out their arguments supporting charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against the president.
“The Senate should convict and remove President Trump to avoid serious and long term damage to our democratic values and the nation’s security,” the lawmakers said, for the first time formally calling for the Senate to convict the president and remove him from office.
“The case against the president of the United States is simple, the facts are indisputable, and the evidence is overwhelming,” they said.
The document was an appeal directly to the senators to be impartial. “History will judge each senator’s willingness to rise above partisan differences, view the facts honestly and defend the Constitution,” the managers said in a statement noting “the President is not a king.”
Trump’s legal team issued a resounding rejection of the impeachment charges, which were read out in the Senate earlier in the week during formalities setting the stage for the trial. They are expected to release a longer, separate response to the Democrats’ pretrial brief on Monday.
Rejecting the charges, Trump’s lawyers reiterated the president’s insistence, echoed by many of his fellow Republicans in Congress, that the charges are nothing more than a partisan attempt to remove him from office, a “dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president.”
“This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election — now just months away,” they argued in a six-page document released on Saturday.
It was the first time Trump formally responded to the two articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – that the Democratic-led House approved late last year.
Trump and Democratic lawmakers offered dueling arguments about the politically polarizing impeachment case involving Trump’s attempt to persuade Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden last year.
“President Trump categorically and unequivocally denies each and every allegation in both articles of impeachment,” the Trump lawyers’ document said. (For full document see here)
As well as the charge of abuse of office for pressuring Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter Biden, Trump is also accused of obstructing Congress in its investigation into his conduct by refusing to hand over documents and barring administration officials from testifying, even when subpoenaed by House investigators.
The document filed by the Democratic House impeachment managers on Saturday explained why the House passed the two articles of impeachment, and listed evidence supporting the charges.
The evidence included references to information released in the past few days from Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who was involved in Giuliani’s contacts with Ukraine’s government.
It also included a finding on Thursday by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) that Trump broke the law when he withheld military aid that Congress had designated for Ukraine. Trump is charged with withholding the $391 million in security assistance to put pressure on Kiev to announce an investigation of the Bidens, to boost his 2020 re-election prospects.
“An acquittal would also provide license to President Trump and his successors to use taxpayer dollars for personal political ends,” the Democratic lawmakers’ brief said. (For full document see here)
Trump has denied wrongdoing.
The trial in the Republican-led Senate is unlikely to lead to Trump’s ouster, as no Republican senators have voiced support for doing so and a two-thirds majority vote is required to convict.
Trump, at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, for the weekend, played a round of golf on Saturday.
The Trump lawyers, in their document, argued that the president acted at all times with full constitutional legal authority, said one of three sources close to Trump’s legal team who briefed reporters on a conference call on Saturday.
“We will take the facts head-on and we believe that the facts will prove, and have proven, that the president did absolutely nothing wrong,” the source said.
Reporting by Steve Holland and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Paul Simao, Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis

‘A Very Stable Genius’ review: dysfunction and disaster at the court of King Donald
Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, Pulitzer-winning Washington Post reporters, have produced a vital and alarming read
January 19, 2020
by Lloyd Green
The Guardian
In January 2018, Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury made headlines as it depicted a president out of control and a White House that careened from crisis to crisis. Donald Trump threatened legal action against author and publisher. He also lauded himself and his electoral college victory: “I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius … and a very stable genius at that!”
Trump’s outburst confirmed what many already feared. In the aftermath of the firing of FBI director James Comey in May 2017, Rod Rosenstein, then deputy attorney general, reportedly weighed secretly recording the president with an eye to removing him from office under the 25th amendment.
Now Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig of the Washington Post offer ‘A Very Stable Genius.’ As befitting Pulitzer winners for investigative reporting, their book is richly sourced and highly readable.
It sheds new light on how the 45th president tests the boundaries of the office while trying the patience and dignity of those who work for or with him. It is not just another Trump tell-all or third-party confessional. It is unsettling, not salacious.
Trump himself was quick to criticize the book, calling its authors “two third rate Washington Post reporters”. In a tweet on Saturday night, the president said the book was “all for the purpose of demeaning and belittling a President who is getting great things done for our Country, at a record clip”.
Rucker and Leonnig lift the curtain on internal battles over immigration and the attempt to replace John Kelly with Chris Christie as White House chief of staff. It also closely examines the scrum between Bill Barr, the attorney general, and Bob Mueller over Barr’s handling of the special counsel’s report on Russian election interference and links between Trump and Moscow.
Trump’s West Wing is tantamount to a family business and everything is personal. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump obtain security clearances because they are kin.
After publicly punting the issue to Kelly, Trump is described as applying pressure privately. “I wish we could make this go away,” he reportedly told Kelly. “This is a problem.” Said differently, protocols and national security were treated as impediments, not safeguards, when Javanka got involved.
When Trump cuts Kelly loose, Kushner and Ivanka are depicted as coveting the job. Their ambitions go unfulfilled but they continue to lurk in the background.
Told by Rudy Giuliani that Trump wants him as his chief of staff, Christie asks why he would want the job if Kushner isn’t leaving. For record, as a federal prosecutor Christie sent Charlie Kushner, Jared’s father, to prison for “one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes” on Christie’s watch.
“Why the fuck am I going to take this job?” the former New Jersey governor exclaims. “You guys are nuts. I’m not going in there.”
Still, Ivanka purportedly telephoned Christie’s wife, Pat, to assure her bygones would be bygones. It didn’t work.
‘A Very Stable Genius’ also chronicles the back and forth between Trump’s lawyers and the special counsel’s office and the interplay between Barr and Mueller. Under George HW Bush, Barr was attorney general and Mueller headed the criminal division at the justice department. The two men were friends.
Yet when Barr rolled out his summary of Mueller’s report, Leonnig and Rucker write, the special counsel “looked as if he’d been slapped”. When Mueller sent a rebuttal letter, objecting to Barr’s summary, Barr was “pissed”, thought the letter “nasty” and felt personally “betrayed”. Barr and Mueller spoke by phone, a tense conversation that ended on “an uplifting note.”
As for Trump and name-calling, nothing has changed. As a candidate, he mocked John McCain, a gold star family, a Latino judge and a disabled reporter. Life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has not alloyed that spirit.
At a meeting in the Pentagon’s inner sanctum, the “Tank”, the draft-dodging Trump derided America’s generals as “dopes and babies”. He added: “I wouldn’t go to war with you people.” Debasement was a coin of the realm.
When Kirstjen Nielsen, secretary of homeland security and a Kelly deputy, balked at Trump’s demands on immigration, he berated her looks and height. For good measure, according to the authors, Trump would call her at 5am, just for the sake of harassment.
After James Mattis advised Trump of his intent to resign as defense secretary, Trump moved his departure up two months. At a cabinet meeting, the president bragged that he had “essentially” fired the four-star general. For the president, policy differences invariably exploded into a matter of honor.
Mattis’s resignation letter omitted any praise for the commander-in-chief. “Because you have the right to have a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned with yours,” he wrote, “I believe it is right for me to step down.”
Likewise, Trump mocked HR McMaster, Michael Flynn’s replacement as national security adviser, for his mien and wardrobe. The scholarly McMaster was always on borrowed time.
Says one of McMaster’s aides, Trump “doesn’t fire people … he tortures them until they’re willing to quit.”
Clearly, Trumpworld has its share of casualties. Paul Manafort, a campaign manager, and Michael Cohen, a lawyer, sit imprisoned. Flynn and Roger Stone, a longtime political confidante, await sentencing.
Trump’s allergy to reality remains on display. His contention he doesn’t know Lev Parnas is belied by video and email. The US now admits 11 troops attacked by Iran’s missiles were treated for concussions.
Leonnig and Rucker quote Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution, who says Trump “appears to be daring the rest of the political system to stop him – and if it doesn’t he’ll go further. The law has no force without people who are willing to enforce it.”
As the Senate marches toward an impeachment trial and the countdown to the election ticks on, truer words have seldom been spoken.

Why Is the Trump Presidency of Extreme Psychological Interest?
Psychology Today

Since the campaign that led to his 2016 election, Donald J. Trump has defiantly flipped the presidential script, making chaos and deliberate combativeness the new normal of White House operations, manifest in hostile briefings, high rates of staff turnover, and cultural exchanges that appear aimed at dividing the nation.
There is widespread debate about the degree to which Trump should be held directly or indirectly accountable for changes in civil discourse, with some citing his rhetoric and policies as a spur to hate crimes while others claim he has been unfairly demonized by the press.
Millions of people around the country and the globe have expressed bafflement at the nature of the personality at the center of it all, and many are alarmed by tactics and policies that appear not only erratic but often retrogressive and undermining of long-established democratic practices. Chief among them is a well-documented distortion of facts if not outright lies about everything from crowd size at the inauguration to discussions with foreign heads of state.
A large segment of the population seeks to quell their emotional reactivity to the chaos of the presidency and to rationally navigate the civic, legal, and ideological battles that play out daily, from Twitter to the federal courts.
The President’s Personality
Trump’s manifest grandiosity and disregard for facts, beginning with failure to accept clear evidence about the size of the crowd attending his inauguration, has put mental health professionals in the spotlight from Day One of his presidency.
Psychologists and commentators from all ideological camps early converged on a label of narcissistic personality disorder as the condition that “explains” Trump’s behavior. Among those making this assertion are more than 70,000 mental health professionals who signed a petition warning of Trump’s potential dangerousness, despite longstanding professional injunctions against “diagnosing” public figures whom experts have not personally examined.
Americans remain divided as to how authoritarian or grandiose Trump may or may not be, as well as who has the authority to make clinical pronouncements or draw historical parallels.
At some as-yet-untested point, the clinical becomes the constitutional. The behavior of President Trump has sparked both legislative action and public discussion about whether and when to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which calls for the orderly transfer of power when a president becomes temporarily or permanently incapacitated.
What Psychological Terms Characterize the Trump Presidency?
Trump’s presidency has given rise to heated discussion about a range of psychological phenomena, well beyond the debate about his own personality. The term “gaslighting” refers to the manipulative attempt to make people question their own perceptions or memory, and it has often been invoked to describe Trump’s actions and statements, especially those about “fake news.”
The question of whether or not Trump’s style could accurately be characterized as authoritarian has sparked analysis of other world leaders, past and present. Whatever one’s position on Trump and his policies, a narrow area of agreement for most Americans is that the political climate has never been more corrosive, and that it reflects, to a greater or lesser degree, Trump’s contrarian approach to leadership.

Russian State TV Backs Trump’s Wild Impeachment Attacks
State television praised Trump’s letter to House Speaker Pelosi, calling him a “highly educated” writer of “multiple bestsellers” who wrote the letter “for future generations.”
December 21, 2019
by Julia Davis
The Daily Beast
Russian state media have joined President Vladimir Putin in delivering a full-throated defense of impeached U.S. President Donald J. Trump.
Such support would have been implausible for any other U.S. leader, much less one who claims to be “tough on Russia.” But bluster aside, Trump has been reluctant to sign off on additional Russian sanctions. Pro-Kremlin experts, lawmakers and talking heads believe President Trump would do away with most of the sanctions in record time if not for the U.S. Congress.
Bolstering these assumptions is the case of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany. On Friday, Trump signed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which contains a provision sanctioning Nord Stream 2. But the project is just weeks away from completion and analysts doubt the imposition of sanctions at this late stage can be effective, much less halt the project.
The Trump administration meanwhile is opposing the bipartisan Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act, or “DASKA,” meant to punish Russia for its interference in the 2016 election and deter it from such actions in the future. The administration called the bill “unnecessary” in a 22-page letter to Congress. “The Trump administration stood up in defense of Russia against DASKA sanctions,” Russian media concluded.
The Kremlin is likewise continuing to stand up for President Trump. During President Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference in Moscow, he claimed that the impeachment was based on “absolutely made up” allegations. Echoing the GOP, the Russian president said, “The party that lost the [2016] election, the Democratic Party, is trying to achieve results by other methods, other means.” On Friday, Trump touted Vladimir Putin’s endorsement on his Twitter feed.
The chairman of the Russian State Duma (the lower house of parliament) foreign affairs committee Leonid Slutsky called impeachment “the revenge of the Democrats for the defeat in the 2016 presidential election.”
Supporting Trump, Russian state media attacked the Democrats, but saw pure comedy in the GOP making ill-conceived comparisons between Donald Trump and Jesus Christ while likening the impact of the impeachment to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
(Novaya Gazeta, which is not part of the state media, concluded that Trump is obviously guilty and many Republicans realize he’s been deserving of impeachment for quite some time. Nonetheless, the GOP defends the president in order to preserve the party, while many of the Democrats are “honest people who are ready to sacrifice themselves in the name of the ideas of the founding fathers.” Novaya Gazeta opined that re-election in 2020 “is in Trump’s pocket,” but the moral victory belongs to the Democrats.)
One of the Kremlin’s top propagandists, Vladimir Soloviev, heaped praise upon Trump and rattled off a list of bogus defenses in his coverage of the impeachment proceedings. During his show, The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev, the host favorably mentioned a “documentary film” based on the Ukrainian exploits of the U.S. president’s private lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani. The show was quickly slapped together in order to defend Trump’s pursuit of fictitious “dirt” against Joe Biden, along with the allegations that Ukraine—not Russia—interfered in the U.S. elections.
“Defending President Trump by echoing his talking points, Soloviev exclaimed: ‘There was no quid pro quo!’”
Soloviev proceeded to accuse the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden of “conspiring” with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European leaders to remove Viktor Shokin—the corrupt former Prosecutor General of Ukraine. Defending President Trump by echoing his talking points, Soloviev exclaimed: “There was no quid pro quo!”
The claim that Ukraine and not Russia interfered in U.S. elections is a Kremlin-spawned conspiracy theory that reportedly was conveyed to President Trump personally by Vladimir Putin during their secretive meeting at the G-20 summit in 2017. Trump was so impressed by the tale of the Russian president (whom he calls “my friend”), he would say: “The Russians didn’t do anything. The Ukrainians tried to do something,” according to The Washington Post. The Kremlin’s fable further blossomed, when it started to be widely accepted and frequently reiterated by the GOP.
Vladimir Soloviev praised Trump’s letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calling the U.S. president a “highly educated” writer of “multiple bestsellers,” who wrote the letter “for future generations.” Soloviev surmised that when it comes to the upcoming presidential race of 2020, “Trump is defeating all potential candidates.”
“When an expert noted Trump boasted about grabbing women, the Russian state TV host immediately jumped in to defend him as an alleged proponent of ‘free love.’”
Soloviev theatrically complained: “Here’s what I can’t understand. Why do they hate Trump so much?” The Atlantic Council’s expert appearing on the show, Ariel Cohen, explained that Trump is a political outlier, who boasted about grabbing women by their private parts. The Russian state TV host immediately jumped in to defend President Trump as an alleged proponent of “free love.”
Throughout the segment, pro-Kremlin propagandists criticized Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Greta Thunberg, but found no fault in Trump.
During one of his previous shows, Soloviev said he was troubled, saddened by “insulting” anti-Trump ads, featuring prominent actors and celebrities. He urged respect towards the American president, although he’s shown very little in the past.
On his earlier shows, Soloviev described President Trump as “Donald Ivanovich” and “Trumpushka,” joked about the U.S. president sending the Republicans to Moscow in order to make deals with Russian hackers, questioned which “Motherland”—the U.S. or Russia—“geriatric” Trump would serve and pondered whether Trump would end up fleeing to Russia like the former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych.
“Among tthe Democrats, Russian state media have only one clear favorite: Tulsi Gabbard.”
With respect to President Trump’s Democratic opponents in the upcoming presidential race, the Russian state media have only one clear favorite: Tulsi Gabbard. Vladimir Soloviev asked: “Who would be the ideal candidate from the Democrats?” “John F. Kennedy,” replied Andrey Sidorov, deputy dean of World Politics at Moscow’s State University. “Kamala Harris,” suggested the Atlantic Council’s expert Ariel Cohen. Soloviev disagreed: “No, it should be Gabbard.”
Pro-Kremlin TV pundit and Rossiya Segodnya state news agency CEO Dmitry Kiselyov shares Soloviev’s affinity for Tulsi Gabbard, having aired a “getting to know her” profile on his weekly show, Vesti Nedeli.
Notably, Tulsi Gabbard refused to take a principled stand in the vote on two articles of impeachment against Trump, merely voting “present.” Gabbard’s failure to condemn the atrocities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and non-fulfillment of her Congressional duties with respect to entering a meaningful impeachment vote demonstrate the absence of moral clarity, a quality that is highly prized by the Kremlin.
Russia’s state media outlet, RT, aired President Trump’s speech at his Michigan rally, wherein the American president claimed that by proceeding with the impeachment, “House Democrats have branded themselves with an eternal mark of shame.” Meanwhile, Russian state television branded the American president as the Kremlin’s “agent”—an “eternal mark of shame” indeed.

Vows of peace, fears of violence at Virginia gun rally
January 19, 2020
by Brad Brooks
RICHMOND, Virginia (Reuters) – The top Republican in Virginia’s lower house said that any group planning to incite violence at a large gun rights rally on Monday in Richmond should stay home, while far-right leaders of militias planning to attend swore they were coming in peace.
Richmond was braced on Sunday for the rally, aimed at showing gun enthusiasts’ disdain for swift moves the newly Democrat-controlled legislature is making to pass stiffer gun laws – and many residents feared a repeat of violence seen at a white supremacist rally in nearby Charlottesville in 2017.
But several militia leaders with large followings on social media who attended that Charlottesville rally said they were coming purely to show their support for those opposed to new, more restrictive gun laws in the state.
“If you think that we’re a threat coming into your city, then you don’t know who we are, you don’t understand what we’re about,” said Joshua Shoaff, who has over 542,000 Facebook followers and goes by the pseudonym Ace Baker. “We’re not anarchists – we believe in government.”
Other leaders of well-known militias also vowed they were not seeking confrontations in Richmond. But police warned that among those they know to be attending are known neo-Nazis and other groups who may seek to hijack the gun-rights gathering.
Authorities say they are expecting several thousand people and are trying to keep the event from becoming violent.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam this week temporarily banned all weapons from the area around the Capitol ahead of the demonstration.
Todd Gilbert, the Republican leader in Virginia’s House of Delegates, said in a statement on Saturday that violence was not welcome during Monday’s rally.
“Any group that comes to Richmond to spread white supremacist garbage, or any other form of hate, violence, or civil unrest isn’t welcome here,” he said. “While we and our Democratic colleagues may have differences, we are all Virginians and we will stand united in opposition to any threats of violence or civil unrest from any quarter.”
Monday’s rally is being organized by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a pro-gun rights group that annually comes out in force to lobby Virginia’s legislature to not pass any new gun laws.
The group is working closely with police, according to law enforcement officials, in an effort to pull off a smooth event – but they have called for tens of thousands of armed citizens to come to the event, hiking tensions.
President Donald Trump backed the rally organizers in a Twitter post on Friday in which he said the U.S. Constitution was under attack by recent gun control measures in Virginia, a state that Hilary Clinton won in 2016 and where Democrats took full control of the state legislature for the first time in a generation in November.
“Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia,” Trump wrote in the post, referring to the amendment in the Bill of Rights that gives Americans the right to keep and bear firearms. “That’s what happens when you vote for Democrats, they will take your guns away.”
The Virginia Senate late on Thursday passed bills to require background checks on all firearms sales, limit handgun purchases to one a month, and restore local governments’ right to ban weapons from public buildings and other venues.
Both Virginia legislative houses are also expected to pass “red flag” laws that would allow courts and local law enforcement to remove guns from people deemed a risk to communities, among other measures.
Reporting by Brad Brooks; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

Important New Source for Secret Intelligence

We have just learned about a notice from a firm that specializes in digging electronic information out of the woodwork. The firm lists several pages of topics, some of which are unbelievable. They are very expensive but one must assume that their data is correct. We are excerpting some of this list and have included their address for those who have the money to learn the truth as, according to the précis, it has never been available before.

• Successor to the NSA ‘Harvest” programs that catalog important overseas telephone calls made via communications satellites.
• In depth information on the DoD’s DISA systems / VIPER and others
• USIA/Warrentown files
• In depth dossiers on members of Congress. These, the list advises us, consists of medical and financial records.
• A 250 page report on the fake Anthrax scare
• Firms and individuals in foreign countries known to be friendly sources.
• Scanned copies of Governor George W. Bush’s personal correspondence and financial records, now hidden in the George H.W.Bush Presidential Library
• Lists of offshore bank accounts for senior political and military figures
• The so-called ‘Wilson Blvd.’ technical and scientific records
• A report on infiltration and surveillance of all Israeli communications with their embassy and other entities in the United States
• An analysis of a collection of documents relating to homosexual activities on the part of President Trump
• A copy of an FBI report on Edward Snowden’ employment by Russian Intelligence and a compendium of secret documents he downloaded for them from Booz-Hamilton connections
There are many more fascinating offerings but it should be noted that on the list we were sent, prices are very high indeed but approved credit cards, especially American Express, can be used.
We have not availed ourselves of this reported service but as it might prove to be interesting to our many readers, especially those with large amounts of cash, we are including the address for your general information: www.spywarelabs.inc and one must apply for an entrance code.

Good hunting!

The Season of Evil
by Gregory Douglas

This is in essence a work of fiction, but the usual disclaimers notwithstanding, many of the horrific incidents related herein are based entirely on factual occurrences.
None of the characters or the events in this telling are invented and at the same time, none are real. And certainly, none of the participants could be considered by any stretch of the imagination to be either noble, self-sacrificing, honest, pure of motive or in any way socially acceptable to anything other than a hungry crocodile, a professional politician or a tax collector.
In fact, the main characters are complex, very often unpleasant, destructive and occasionally, very entertaining.

To those who would say that the majority of humanity has nothing in common with the characters depicted herein, the response is that mirrors only depict the ugly, evil and deformed things that peer into them
There are no heroes here, only different shapes and degrees of villains and if there is a moral to this tale it might well be found in a sentence by Jonathan Swift, a brilliant and misanthropic Irish cleric who wrote in his ‘Gulliver’s Travels,”
“I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most odious race of little pernicious vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”
Swift was often unkind in his observations but certainly not inaccurate.

Frienze, Italy
July 2018-August 2019

Chapter 61

They were both asleep in five minutes and when Claude woke up about eight, he discovered that Alex had put an arm across his chest and was snoring softly into his pillow.
He gently disengaged the arm and got up. There were various interesting things he could do that day and he showered and shaved and put on an expensive suit and a tweed overcoat. Ernie’s badge and handcuffs went into a coat pocket and after drinking a cup of freshly brewed coffee, he wrote out a note and left it propped up on the kitchen table.
He took the extra set of door and gate openers and went into the garage.
The eastern sky was turning a light pink as he drove down the county roads heading south towards Duluth. There was always the interesting thought that he might visit Ernie in the hospital and unplug him from any support systems he might be on. Somewhere in the trunk of his car was an excellent Polaroid camera and if he didn’t feel like dispatching Ernie, he might take a few pictures of him in his agony to amuse his new friend.
The next one up was Gwen and shortly before nine, she managed to drag Lars out of a heavy sleep.
It took him several minutes for him to realize that she was requiring his services to help her buy clothes and other items for Alex. He was very tired and not feeling well after his consumption of more Kulmbach beer than he was accustomed to but in the end, Gwen prevailed and a cold shower assisted him in making a partial recovery of his senses.
Chuck was also comatose and it took her more time to waken him and get him sufficiently awake to understand her.
“Jesus H. Christ woman, leave me in peace!”
“You deserve this. Lars and I are going out to buy some clothes for our friend and I don’t know when we’ll be back. It depends on how far we have to go. There’s a note from Claude on the table in the kitchen. He’s gone to Duluth, God knows what for, and he doesn’t know when he’ll be back so you guys are on your own today. And no more beer, Charlie, got me?”
Chuck could barely keep his reddened eyes opened.
‘Yes, all right, fine, perfect. Is Alex up yet?”
“No, he’s probably worse off than you are. Be sure to feed him on schedule and try to be nice today. You get so negative sometimes and it’s not good for him. I’m off now and remember what I said about being a little positive.”
Chuck merely rolled over and plunged back into soothing sleep.
Chuck finally managed to wake up at ten thirty. He had no headache but he was very tired and totally disinterested in getting out of bed. There was, however, the question of Alex and lunch so he got out of bed in slow stages, showered and shaved and put on a blue broadcloth shirt, gray cardigan and charcoal slacks. Feet stuck in a pair of soft and very expensive deerskin moccasins, he slowly descended the oak staircase and into the bowels of the house.
Alex was indeed dead to the world, which, Chuck thought, was probably better for him considering how the world had treated him in times past.
He shook the bed with his hand and was rewarded by stirring and mumblings from the inert mass under the covers.
“Wake up, kid, and greet the new day.”
The stirrings increased and a head appeared. Chuck was pleased to note that the swelling around the eye had gone down to the point where two pale blue eyes regarded him.
“Hey, Chuck! What’s going on?”
“Nothing, Alexander. Everyone has left us for the day and I was told to be nice to you and make some lunch. Gwen put your clean clothes on the chair over there so if you would like to shower and get dressed. I’ll be in the kitchen.”
“OK, give me a few minutes. Do I have to shower?”
“If you want to live in the house with the rest of us, yes, you have to shower. Those clothes look like they came off a plane accident victim and Gwen, that sweet and considerate young lady, has gone out to buy you some new ones. Take your time but fifteen minutes ought to be enough.”
“Where’s Claude?”
“Claude has gone to Duluth, reasons not given. Do you know anything about that?”
“Well….he said he was going to talk to my mother.”
“Oh fine. That conversation will be all over the news at five. Woman found cut into little pieces and fed to pet beagle.”
“He said he wasn’t going to kill her. I asked him if was going to and he said he was just going to talk to her. And we don’t have a dog. Ernie hates dogs and tries to run over them if they get in the street. I don’t think Claude is going to cut my mom up.”
“He might be telling you the truth but he could well visit Ernie and send him off to Polish heaven with a great bang. Look, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it as Teddy Kennedy once said. I’ll be in the kitchen fixing lunch so don’t spend too much time in the bathroom.”
Chuck had a cup of hot Colombian coffee and a roll while a refurbished Alex, no longer limping, ended up with a Denver omelet and a large glass of milk.
“Can’t I have some coffee?” he asked, eyeing the milk. In his house, milk was almost always a week past expiration date and tasted like it.
“No coffee for you, lad. I got my ass reamed out by Dame Gwen last night for letting you drink too much beer and it’s milk and orange juice for you from now on. And eat the omelet before it gets cold.”

Halfway through the brief meal there was a sudden clangor of bells and Chuck jumped up. It was the perimeter fence alarm system and he went to the front door and peeked out through a small window set in it.
At first he could see nothing and then, over to the right edge of his vision, he saw what looked like a fat man in a fur coat trying to climb up to the top of the fence. A second look corrected his initial impression.
The burglar was not a fat man in a fur coat but a large black bear that seemed to have his head and shoulders caught in the concertina of razor wire that topped the high fence. The alarm bells didn’t seem to bother him but Chuck was badly shaken to note that there were at least five other large bears also attempting to climb the fence.
He ran back through the kitchen, Alex staring after him, and tore up the stairs.
In Gwen’s room he found a .357 Magnum pistol and two boxes of ammunition in her bedside table and grabbing it up, ran back downstairs.
He took a quick look at the pistol, found it loaded and jerked the front door open.
The other bears, intent on reaching the top and totally oblivious of the roars of pain of their impaled and badly bleeding comrade, paid no attention to Chuck.
From where he stood on the terrace, the bears were a hundred feet away and most of them were nearing the top of the fence.
The one caught in the wire looked relatively helpless so he drew a bead on the nearest bear and shot it. The heavy pistol bucked in his hand and the roar of the shot stopped the other climbers.
The target, half of its head blasted off, toppled back onto the ground. He shot at another one, missed and then shot a third squarely through the throat. Great gouts of blood squirted out of it and it too dropped onto the ground. The others hastily scrambled down from the fence and lumbered off across the road and down into the tall pines.
That left two dead bears on the ground and a very much alive, one stuck in the razor wire and roaring in fury. Chuck walked over towards the fence and shot the remaining invader under the chin, blowing off the entire top of his head. The bear jerked several times and then hung limply, smashed head still enmeshed in the wire.
He stared at the furry corpses and then up at the dripping remains of his last trophy shot and wondered what possessed the bears to raid his house. Then he thought of LeBec and went over to look at him. By now he was walking in the snow and his feet were getting very cold. The moccasins were comfortable in the house but did not have the ability to stay dry in wet snow.
LeBec’s leg was now visible and it became obvious that the bears, who normally hibernated during the winter, must have smelled him and decided to break their annual Lenten fasting and make Chuck’s job of disposal easier by eating Collins’ pet assassin.
Chuck hastily dug the body out of the snow with his bare hands and dragged it down towards the front gate. When he was about halfway there, Alex came out through the open front door.
He saw the remains of the bears and smelt blood, powder and faint corruption.
He also saw Chuck dragging a skinny, contorted and very naked body partially wrapped in sheet plastic down to the gate.
“Hey, Chuck, can I help you?”
Chuck dropped LeBec. He supposed that when Gwen heard about this, there would be more scolding. And then there was the question of Alex himself. How was he going to explain dragging a naked man across the courtyard?
“We had an accident here, Alex. Yes, go back inside and push the button just below the speaker. It’s on the right side of the door. Hurry up, my feet are freezing.”
Alex shrugged and went back inside and a few seconds later, the gate slid open.
A contorted and yellowish LeBec was deposited beside one of the bears and Chuck punched the manual control that closed the gate.
There was no point, he thought, leaving LeBec in the snow bank. It was melting and LeBec was starting to thaw and he was not prepared to fight off hungry bears all day.
They were omnivores and perhaps they might eat LeBec or some of their former running mates. At any rate, he would have to go inside and deal with Alex.
This did not prove as difficult as he thought.
Alex was finishing off the last of his omelet when Chuck, pistol in one hand and ammunition boxes in the other, came back into the kitchen after turning off the ringing bells.
“Well, that’s a nice break in the day, don’t you think, kid?”
“Those are bears, aren’t they?” Alex asked as he drank down what proved to be delicious, untainted milk.
“Yes, most of them are bears.”
“Who’s the dead dude? Did the bears get him too?”
“Yes. The bears chased him over the fence and killed him.”
“But they were all outside the fence and he was inside. And why is he naked, Chuck?”
Chuck sighed.
“That’s because he died in Claude’s bed of a heart attack some time ago and we stuck him in snow bank to keep him fresh until we could bury him.”
“In Claude’s bed? Were they having some kind of sex?”
Chuck began to laugh with relief.
“No, that was before Claude came. That’s a nasty question, Alex. You’re a sick boy.”
“Well, my mom had a fat boyfriend and he died right there on top of her and I had to help get him off. That wasn’t very nice to look at Chuck. It was just an idea.”
“Do you want more milk?”
“Yes, please. This is sort of an interesting place to be. Do you think the bears will come back and eat him?”
“I’m hoping.”
“What if someone comes by in their car and sees him with his legs all stuck up in the air like that?”
“This is a private road and I don’t think anyone is coming by. Do you want another omelet?”
“No, but that sure was good. And I took a shower like you asked.”
His hair was still wet and no longer stuck up at odd angles. Alex looked as if someone had put a bowl over his head and cut off anything that hung down below its edges. This area was growing out but the demarcation line was still very visible.
“Good boy. Now how many of your school friends can you tell about all the adventures you have had?”
“Not very many. Who was that guy?”
“Alex, that is a very long story. I don’t think you are ready for it right now. Maybe when we all get to know each other a little better, I can tell you about LeBec.”
“There’s nobody home now.”
“Yes, right. And how are you feeling today, Alex?”
“Not as bad as yesterday. And that beer sure tasted good.”
“Keep that in your mind because we can’t do that again. Gwen doesn’t like it.”
“Is she the boss or are you?”
“Never argue with women, kid, because you will always lose. She likes you and that’s that. She likes to take care of you. It’s a mothering instinct that some women have, but obviously not your mother.”
“She told me about her brother. The one who died.”
Chuck was curious. He had never heard about a brother, living or dead so Alex related as much as he could remember of what Gwen had said.
“Oh, that’s a sad story, Alex. I never knew that. Look, let’s put the dirty dishes into the dishwasher and then I can practice on the piano and you can go back to bed or go outside and poke a stick at the big bear hanging from the fence. My God, what would someone think who drove by? Three dead bears, a concentration camp inmate and where, oh where is Goldilocks? Someone ate her all up and she just loved it. No, no, just forget I said that and for shits sake, don’t repeat that to Gwen.”
“Never mind, Alex, just clean off your plate and we can all go and do something else and forget about the bears. OK?”
“Yes, sir. But this is sure an interesting place to be.”
“That’s a polite thing to say. This is not your normal household, Alexander, not at all. If you can put up with us, I suppose we can put up with you. Now, I’m going to practice on the piano and you can do what you want. When I’m done, we can go outside and move LeBec across the street and hope the bears come back and eat him. Or we can leave him where he is with his legs stuck up in the air. What do you think?”
“Does he smell bad?”
“Not yet but he’s getting there.”
“I’ll help you drag him across the road if you want.”
“Good lad. Now, let me practice in peace.”
“I think we should move him now, Chuck. What if someone comes by? I mean you can tell people you were hunting bears but what can you say about the dead guy? I don’t mind helping you if you want. Your shoes look kind of wet so you better change them, don’t you think?”
Chuck could see that there would be no trouble at all with Alexis and shaking his head, he went up to put on a pair of winter boots.
This is also an e-book, available from Amazon:

Encyclopedia of American Loons

John Stemberger

John Stemberger is president of the Florida Family Policy Council – closely aligned with the Family Research Council – and affiliated with a number of other, similar groups (like On My Honor). As you’d expect from the name of his group, Stemberger is a fundie, denialist and all-round bigot, and many of his efforts have, unsurprisingly, been directed at making life as hard as possible for gay people, but he has also initiated or contributed to a number of other fundie efforts, too, such as circumventing the law to distribute Bibles in public schools. He has also tried to contribute to discussions of race relations.
Gays in the Boy Scouts
Stemberger was very critical of proposals to end the ban of gay youths in the Boy Scouts, warning that doing so would “further public scandal to the BSA, not to mention the tragedy of countless boys who will experience sexual, physical and psychological abuse”. Also, according to Stemberger, a young gay man will only join the Scouts in order to begin “flaunting his sexuality and promoting a leftist political agenda” and “inject a sensitive and highly-charged political issue into the heart of the BSA”. Apparently these are among Stemberger’s “top ten reasons” to oppose ending the ban on gay youth in the organization. Wanna bet whether the others are any better? As Stemberger sees it, “anything that has the word ‘gay’ on it [is] inappropriate for kids,” and “that’s what we’re talking about; we talking about injecting hyper-sexuality and a leftist political agenda right into the veins of the Boy Scouts and it will utterly devastate it.” Of course, the Boy Scouts weren’t supposed to start using the word ‘gay’ – indeed, their policy change was more about ending the use ‘gay’ or similar expressions in their rules. What Stemberger is talking about is thus not what he thinks he is talking about. He also warned that the Boy Scouts would commit “suicide” if they allowed openly gay members, whom he said would be “segregated” and put “in separate tents” from the other boys. At least he tried his best to make that prediction come true.
In response to the end of the ban, a heartbroken Stemberger tried to help start an alternative, anti-gay version of the boy scouts, Trail Life USA, an initiative he compared to the death and resurrection of Jesus. Trail Life USA would ban anyone who is gay unless he is working to hide and banish his gay demons, in opposition to “society and schools and even parents”, which he blamed for affirming LGBT youth, something that, in Stemberger’s mind, is “tantamount to abuse.” Stemberger also said that gay people are “intolerant,” and indeed that this is why he will not “tolerate” them in Trail Life USA or any other youth group. No, he didn’t put two and two together. But he did express his outrage at Disney, who at the time (2014) was still not funding the BSA because the organization still barred gay people from leadership roles, calling Disney’s decision proof that gay rights advocates have a “vitriolic spirit” of “intolerance.” Disney is “completely a pro-gay agenda,” said Stemberger: “ I don’t trust Disney anymore with my kids. The Disney Channel can’t be trusted. If it has ‘Disney’ on it and says it’s for kids you better watch what it is parents because they can no longer be trusted as a family source for entertainment.” All in the spirit of fighting intolerance, of course.
And when a state judge in Florida overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in 2014 Stemberger vowed to continue fighting: “This is an issue worth dying for,” he said, adding that “every domestic partnership, every single civil union, every couple that cohabitates, these arrangements dilute and devalue marriage.” It makes one wonder a bit how his own marriage works and what it’s based on.
After the 2016 massacre in an Orlando gay club, Stemberger complained about being “tired of seeing special interest rainbow flags”, and wishing instead to see greater “unity”. The statement itself – and Stemberger was not the only one to make statements of that kind – kinda suggests that Stemberger is not that fond of unity (hint: unity is not quite equivalent to everybody do as I want), but to emphasize he added that “Christians should be prepared to be attacked and persecuted if they do not bow down and pledge allegiance to the gay pride flag and all it supposedly represents,” and the strategy of LGBT rights advocates is to “manipulate and bully Christians into submission to the new orthodoxy of the moral revolution,” presumably by letting themselves be gunned down in an Orlando nightclub.
Among efforts to help people avoid homosexual temptations, Stemberger has suggested ending welfare: after all, people wouldn’t be gay if they could just be kept dirt poor. “People who are hard-working and have to be self-sufficient and are not going to be propped up by the government don’t have the luxury of doing stupid, immoral things,” argued Stemberger. So, one major reason for opposing welfare measures is because they make you gay.
Stemberger is also an advocate of teaching creationism in public schools, usually by arguing that teachers should (be allowed to) do so under the “academic freedom” label. In response to discussion of Florida’s education standards in 2008, Stemberger objected to adding the phrase “scientific theory” to evolution, ostensibly because it would be a “meaningless and impotent change,” which is a peculiar choice of words.
As Stemberger saw the debates, the “Neanderthals” – i.e. the scientists and experts – were fighting hard to prevent exposure to denialist talking points (not his formulation) in public schools: “It’s apparent that evolution has become almost like one of the prongs of the Apostles’ Creed for the secular humanists. They guard it as if they were guarding a doctrinal truth,” said Stemberger, who would not be able to distinguish science from dogma if his life dependend on it (he interestingly didn’t liken the idea of gravity to the Apostles’ Creed). “They’re not open to discussion and debate and examination of evidence,” he concluded. Stemberger is not interested in the evidence, of course. He did, however, liken creationists to Galileo, “when he was trying to establish an order of the day and come against the Flat Earth Society.” That was not remotely what Galileo was doing.
Diagnosis: Yes, relatively standard fare for us, but still: John Stemberger is an insane, delusional conspiracy theorist with a tenuous grasp of reality. But he is certainly tireless, and still has the ability to cause real harm.

NASA Warns: Sunspots Drop Drastically, Earth Heads Towards Next Ice Age

According to scientists, the sun has been without sunspots for 79 days – or 55% – of the year so far, causing the Earth’s upper atmosphere to lose heat energy, which shows the long-awaited solar minimum has arrived and it could soon shrink the thermosphere – meaning it is going to get very cold, very quickly.
In 1645, a solar minimum led to a mini ice age (scientifically known as the Maunder minimum) and left the Earth grappling with freezing weather for 70 years. During these seven decades, temperatures dropped globally by 1.3 degrees Celsius leading to shorter seasons and food shortages.
According to scientists, the sun has been without sunspots for 79 days – or 55% – of the year so far, causing the Earth’s upper atmosphere to lose heat energy, which shows the long-awaited solar minimum has arrived and it could soon shrink the thermosphere – meaning it is going to get very cold, very quickly.
Martin Mlynczak, a scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center, warns:
“A cooling trend is obvious in the atmosphere…High above the Earth’s surface, towards the edge of space, the atmosphere is losing heat energy and if current trends persist, it could mean soon to set a Space Age record for cold…the knowledge of this is quite startling to think for a start that something out of our control and visible could cause the next ice age, is not just a little frightening but scary.”
The data comes from NASA’s TIMED satellite, which measures changes in the Earth’s atmosphere. Using the SABER instrument on the TIMED satellite, which monitors infrared emissions from carbon dioxide and nitric oxide, NASA found the thermosphere is currently cooling and shrinking.
Sunspot activity tends to come and go in cycles lasting around 11 years as the number of patches peaks and drops. But there have been very few spots on the sun for most of this year. Mlynczak explains:
“SABER is currently measuring 33 billion Watts of infrared power from nitric oxide. That’s 10 times smaller than we see during more active phases of the solar cycle.”
During the last solar minimum, the Thames froze over; if it happens again, according to NASA, the solar minimum will enhance the effects of space weather, disrupt communications and navigation, and even cause space junk to ‘hang around’.
Interestingly, when the frightening warning that the Earth could be plunged into ice age if the sun continues to remain dead went viral, Mlynczak issued the following statement to Climate Feedback:
“The cooling effects we are seeing in Earth’s thermosphere are a result of the current solar minimum conditions. The thermosphere is the layer of Earth’s atmosphere beginning 65 miles above Earth’s surface and is highly sensitive to solar activity. There is no relationship between the natural cycle of cooling and warming in the thermosphere and the weather/climate at Earth’s surface.
“NASA and other climate researchers continue to see a warming trend in the troposphere, the layer of atmosphere closest to Earth’s surface. There is no inconsistency between the science findings of a warming troposphere [where we live] and the Thermosphere Climate Index.”

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