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TBR News January 20, 2019

Jan 20 2019

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

Washington, D.C. January 20, 2019:”Like the ‘1812 Overture’ that begins with soft flute obbligatos and end with bells and cannon, the growing rumors that Putin’s intelligence services got their hands on a pliable Donald Trump and jobbed him into the Oval Office, are growing in volume. Logic, coupled with bits and pieces of fact, points strongly in that direction. If this is true, Trump is guilty of treason and should be removed from the White House with diligence and dispatch.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • 815 false claims: The staggering scale of Donald Trump’s pre-midterm dishonesty 19
  • Editorial: How Trump works for the Russians
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Does marijuana use really cause psychotic disorders?

 

815 false claims: The staggering scale of Donald Trump’s pre-midterm dishonesty No. 19

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.

  • Nov 4, 2018

“Now, how ridiculous — we’re the only country in the world where a person comes in, has a baby and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years, with all of those benefits. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”

Source: Interview with Axios on HBO

in fact: The United States is not the only country that offers citizenship to anyone born on its soil. Canada also has such a policy. So does Brazil, Venezuela, Jamaica, and more than two dozen other countries, though some of the laws vary slightly.

“And we gave our great warriors their largest pay raise in more than a decade.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

in fact: The military pay increase in the 2019 defense bill, 2.6 per cent, is the largest in nine years, since the 3.4 per cent increase under Obama in 2010. We’ve let Trump get away with saying this is the largest increase in “a decade,” but “more than a decade” is incorrect.

“We passed Veterans Choice, giving our veterans the right to go see a private doctor instead of waiting in line for weeks and weeks and weeks. Forty-four years, they’ve been trying to get it done.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

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.

“To help critically ill patients get life-saving treatments, we passed Right to Try. I’m very proud of that. Many, many years they tried to get it passed. Many, many years, Right to Try. A patient’s terminally ill, they travel all over the world trying to find a cure, if they have the money to do that. If they don’t, they just don’t have hope. They go home. We have the best medical facilities, doctors, research in the world, and if we’re getting close, anything in the pipeline, if something’s terminally ill, if somebody’s very sick, they now will have the right to try the experimental drugs that we have.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

in fact: Trump was exaggerating how dire the situation was before this Right to Try legislation passed. It is not true that patients had no hope of getting experimental medicines. 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.

 

“We’ve taken bold action to reduce the price of prescription drugs. That’s happening. You see it.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

in fact: Few people are seeing any reductions in prescription drug prices. 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.”

“Last month alone, we added another 33 — think of this — 33,000 manufacturing jobs, 1,000 each day…Remember the previous administration? We’re never going to have manufacturing jobs anymore. By the way, they’re among the best jobs we have in our whole country. And very important jobs. The magic wand, he just said. You need a magic wand to bring them back. Well, I guess we found the magic wand. We found the magic wand.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

in fact: Trump’s number was slightly off; as he said in other speeches this same week, the economy added 32,000 manufacturing jobs the previous month. But the Obama administration never said these jobs “we’re never going to have manufacturing jobs anymore.” Rather, at a televised PBS town hall in Elkhart, Indiana in 2016, Obama said that certain manufacturing jobs “are just not going to come back” — but also boasted that some manufacturers are indeed “coming back to the United States,” that “we’ve seen more manufacturing jobs created since I’ve been president than any time since the 1990s,” and that “we actually make more stuff, have a bigger manufacturing base today, than we’ve had in most of our history.” Obama did mock Trump for Trump’s campaign claims that he was going to bring back manufacturing jobs that had been outsourced to Mexico, saying: “And when somebody says — like the person you just mentioned who I’m not going to advertise for — that he’s going to bring all these jobs back, well, how exactly are you going to do that? What are you going to do? There’s no answer to it. He just says, ‘Well, I’m going to negotiate a better deal.’ Well, how exactly are you going to negotiate that? What magic wand do you have? And usually the answer is he doesn’t have an answer.” But, again, Obama made clear that he was talking about a certain segment of manufacturing jobs, not all of them.

“Not only do the Democrats’ open border policies drain our Treasury, but they endanger every American community.

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

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.

“As we speak, Democrats are openly encouraging millions of illegal aliens to break our laws, violate our borders, and destroy our nation in so many different ways. And they want to sign them up for free welfare, free health care, free education, and most importantly, the right to vote. They want them to vote. Come on in and vote. They love them voting.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

in fact: 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 unauthorized immigrants to “come on in and vote” immediately, which was Trump’s clear suggestion.

“As we speak, Democrats are openly encouraging millions of illegal aliens to break our laws, violate our borders, and destroy our nation in so many different ways.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

in fact: There is no basis for this claim.

“Democrats’ plan to destroy health care also includes giving away your benefits to illegal immigrants.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

in fact: There is no basis for this claim.

“And Republicans will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions. Please remember that.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

in fact: This claim is belied by Republicans’ actions. The party tried repeatedly during Trump’s early 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.

“If Democrats gain power on Tuesday, they will try to raid your Medicare to fund socialism. You know that. The Democrat health care plan would obliterate Medicare and eliminate Medicare Advantage for more than half a million Tennessee seniors.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

in fact: Democrats’ “Medicare for all” proposals tend to be vague, but they would not 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.

“And Phil (Bredesen) totally supports the Democrats’ open border madness. What’s that all about? What is that all about?”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

in fact: The Democrats’ do not support “open borders,” and neither did Bredesen, their Senate candidate in Tennessee

“And you’re right. And we started the wall. We have $1.6 billion. And we just got another $1.6 billion. And we’re getting another $1.6 billion. But we want to build it all at one time. We want to get it done. And it’s happening. It’s all happening. It’s all happening.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

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. Trump has requested another $1.6 billion for the 2019 fiscal year, but this has not yet been approved, much less spent. In these comments, Trump also added a third “$1.6 billion” that does not exist.

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

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

in fact: There is no basis for this claim.

“They (Democrats) want to take away your health care. They want to impose socialism on our country. And they want to erase America’s borders.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

in fact: Democrats do not want to do any of these things.

“A vote for any Democrat on Tuesday is a vote to hand power to cryin’ Chuck Schumer… Nancy Pelosi…and, of course, the legendary Maxine Waters. And to — Maxine’s in charge of banking, by the way. That’ll be good. China will be thrilled to hear that. And to implement their extreme job-killing agenda, they want to raise your taxes by double and even by triple. I don’t think the people in Tennessee want that.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

in fact: Democrats have no plans to double or triple taxes, though some of them want smaller tax increases on wealthy people.

“But the way they tried to destroy him (Brett Kavanaugh), and they knew what they were doing. They knew. Dianne Feinstein with the lies and the leaks. The leaks. How about the leak? Did you leak it? Remember, right? You remember? Did you leak it? That was John Cornyn of Texas, did a great job. Just said, ‘Did you leak it?’ ‘No, no — did we leak anything?’ And the guy shouts back, ‘No, turn around, no. Turn around.’ He didn’t say turn around, I won’t say, because they’ll give me a hard time. And then she goes, ‘No, uh, no, we didn’t leak it.’ Which I consider that to be maybe the worst body language I’ve ever seen.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

in fact: Trump did not accurately recount the answer Feinstein gave when Republican Sen. John Cornyn pressed her, at a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on the leaking of Christine Blasey Ford’s letter accusing judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Feinstein didn’t say “No, uh, no, we didn’t leak it.” She vehemently said she did not leak the letter; asked if her staff leaked it, she said, “Oh, I don’t believe my staff would leak it. I have not asked that question directly, but I do not believe they would.” When Cornyn followed up, she said, “The answer is no. The staff said they did not.”

“We are rebuilding America’s military might like it’s never been rebuilt before. And hopefully we’ll never have to use it, but I can tell you, the stronger we become, the less likely it is that we will have to use it, OK? And we are building it at a level that has never been done before, $700 billion and $716 billion the following year.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

in fact: Neither of these budgets is an unprecedented level, even if you ignore inflation. Obama signed a $725 billion version of the same bill in 2011.

“Republicans 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. We’ve got to win Congress, in all fairness. Just — because the Democrats won’t be doing that. The Democrats are going to be raising your taxes. They’re not cutting your taxes. So I have to put a little caveat. We’ve got to win Congress.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

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.

“Poverty is plummeting.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

in fact: Plummeting is a clear exaggeration. The poverty rate for 2017, published by the Census Bureau in September, was 12.3 per cent, only a slight decline from the 12.7 per cent rate in 2016. The rate using the “supplemental poverty measure,” generally considered a better statistic than the basic rate, was 13.9 per cent, “not statistically different” from the 2016 rate of 14.0 per cent, the Census Bureau said in its report.

“African-American, Hispanic American, Asian-American, unemployments, all of them, all of these groups, have all reached their lowest level in the history of our country. Think of that.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

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 October, was 3.2 per cent. 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.

“We created a total of 4.5 million new jobs since the election. And by the way, the media would have never believed it if I said it on the campaign. They would have never believed it. They would have said, he shouldn’t be allowed to say that.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

in fact: The media would not have said Trump was being wildly unrealistic if he had claimed 4.5 million jobs would be created between Nov. 2016 and Oct. 2018. Under Obama, 4.9 million jobs were created during the previous 23-month period.

“America now has the hottest economy on Earth.”

Source: Campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

in fact: The New York Times explained why this is false: “The United States does have one of the fastest growing of the world’s largest economies. But it is not the fastest growing in the whole world. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development compiles quarterly growth in real gross domestic product for its 36 member nations and nine other major economies like China, India and Brazil. The United States had the eighth-highest rate in the second quarter of 2018 out of this group. Its rate was the highest among the Group of 7, the largest of the industrialized democracies. Among the entire world, however, the United States is nowhere near ‘the fastest-growing economy.’ Growth rates among developing nations, while volatile, often exceed those of the big industrialized countries. In 2017, the United States’ GDP annual growth rate ranked in the bottom third out of more than 180 countries, according to data from the World Bank. The International Monetary Fund’s projections for GDP growth rate for 2018 place the United States among the bottom half of about 190 countries. Similarly, Harvard University’s Atlas of Economic Complexity projects that the United States will reach an annual growth rate of 3.07 per cent by 2026, placing it No. 104 out of 121 countries.” While China’s growth rate has slowed down in 2018, its 6.5 per cent growth in the third quarter was still about twice the forecasts for the not-yet-announced growth rate in the U.S.

“I withdrew the United States from the horrible, one-sided Iran nuclear deal. And Iran’s been a much different country. Has Iran been a different country for the last six months? Isn’t that incredible? When I came in, it was just a question of how long would it take them to take over the whole Middle East.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: It is an exaggeration to claim “it was just a question of how long would it take them to take over the whole Middle East” before Trump took office. Hussein Banai, a professor who studies Iran at the international studies school at Indiana University, said in an email: “The claim that Iran was on the verge of taking over the Middle East prior to Trump taking office is utterly false. In fact, quite the opposite was the case, as the Sunni-majority Arab states in the region — most vocally led by Saudi Arabia and with the expressed support of the US and Israel — had already begun to curb Iran’s influence in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. There is no question that the perception of many of Iran’s rivals in the region after the nuclear deal was that the Islamic Republic had emerged with a stronger geopolitical hand. But the reality was that Iran had merely emerged from nearly 40 years of isolation from which many of these rivals had benefited. So, I would say that the major grievance at the time was that the Obama administration had allowed for the Islamic Republic to become a ‘normal’ country. The issue was never Iran’s military might — its defense expenditures and capabilities are dwarfed by those of Israel and Saudi Arabia — but the fact that it was on the verge of a major economic boom in a post-sanctions world.”

“And we gave our incredible warriors their largest pay raise in more than a decade.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: The military pay increase in the 2019 defense bill, 2.6 per cent, is the largest in nine years, since the 3.4 per cent increase under Obama in 2010. We’ve let Trump get away with saying this is the largest increase in “a decade,” but “more than a decade” is incorrect.

“We passed Veterans Choice, giving our veterans the right to see a private doctor rather than waiting on line for 10 days, for 20 days, for three months.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

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 also taken bold action to reduce the price of prescription drugs, Secretary Azar. You’ll see them come down. You saw a month ago when the drug companies rose their prices very substantially and I said, ‘Get me the name of the head of Pfizer and Novartis,’ and I made some calls. And they immediately dropped their price. ‘Yes, Mr. President. No, we were only kidding when we gave you that price, sir. We were only kidding, Mr.’ — and that’s when I realized how powerful the presidency is. True. No, I thank Pfizer for doing that and Novartis and the others. They did it and it was great.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: Trump pressured Pfizer and Novartis to reduce their drug prices in July, more than three months prior to these remarks, not “a month ago.” Trump has a habit of moving up the date of good news to make it sound more recent.

“We’ve added nearly a half a million manufacturing jobs and that’s going up to almost 600,000 very shortly. Remember, they were the jobs that won’t happen anymore. They were the jobs that we would have needed the magic wand. They’ll never be brought back. I’ll tell you what, they are. They’re among the best jobs any state or country could have and they’re pouring in.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: The economy added 416,000 manufacturing jobs between Jan. 2017 and Oct. 2018. (Trump often gives himself credit for job growth at the end of the Obama era; it’s 446,000 jobs if you start counting in Nov. 2016.) Regardless, contrary to Trump’s frequent claim, the Obama administration never said manufacturing jobs “won’t happen anymore.” Rather, at a televised PBS town hall in Elkhart, Indiana in 2016, Obama said that certain manufacturing jobs “are just not going to come back” — but also boasted that some manufacturers are indeed “coming back to the United States,” that “we’ve seen more manufacturing jobs created since I’ve been president than any time since the 1990s,” and that “we actually make more stuff, have a bigger manufacturing base today, than we’ve had in most of our history.” Obama did mock Trump for Trump’s campaign claims that he was going to bring back manufacturing jobs that had been outsourced to Mexico, saying: “And when somebody says — like the person you just mentioned who I’m not going to advertise for — that he’s going to bring all these jobs back, well, how exactly are you going to do that? What are you going to do? There’s no answer to it. He just says, ‘Well, I’m going to negotiate a better deal.’ Well, how exactly are you going to negotiate that? What magic wand do you have? And usually the answer is he doesn’t have an answer.” But, again, Obama made clear that he was talking about a certain segment of manufacturing jobs, not all of them

“Elizabeth Warren wants to get rid of — I don’t — I can’t call her Pocahontas anymore because she has no Indian blood. It’s a problem. She has no Indian blood. I have more than she has and I have none. And I said that a long time ago, before I got — before she brilliantly sent out the test results. That was not a good test, Elizabeth.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: A Stanford University professor who conducted a DNA test on Warren concluded that “the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor” six to 10 generations in the past. The analysis found that almost all of Warren’s ancestors were European, and many Native Americans reject the suggestion that a distant Native ancestor can qualify a person as any part Native. But it is not true that Warren has “no Indian blood.”

“As we speak, Democrats are openly encouraging millions of illegal aliens to break our laws, violate our borders and destroy our nation, essentially, because, you know what? Without borders, we don’t have a nation. We don’t have a nation.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: There is no basis for this claim.

“The Democrats’ plan to destroy health care also includes raiding Medicare to fund benefits for all of the illegal immigrants that they want to pour into our country.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: There is simply no basis for this claim.

“And very importantly, Republicans will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions. We’re doing it. But Democrats like to spread false rumours. They’re the ones that won’t be able to, because there will be nothing left when your system is obliterated.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: This is nonsensical: Democrats have already implemented a plan to protect people with pre-existing conditions: Obamacare, which made it illegal for health insurance companies to discriminate against these people. Republicans, conversely, tried repeatedly during Trump’s presidency to replace Obamacare with a law that would give insurers more freedom to discriminate against these people. 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.

“The Democrat plan would obliterate Medicare, it’ll eliminate Medicaid Advantage for more than 635,000 Georgia seniors who depend on it.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: Democrats’ “Medicare for all” proposals tend to be vague, but they would not 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.

“If Democrats gain power on Tuesday, one of their very first projects will be the socialist takeover of American health care.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: Democrats did not plan to embark on a “socialist takeover of American health care” if they won back control of the House of Representatives. The likely new House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has not committed to “Medicare for All” single-payer proposals, and she and other party leaders have said their focus would be protecting and improving Obamacare and reducing the cost of prescription drugs. While Democrats might indeed hold hearings or votes on “Medicare for All” at some point, they would be embarking on their efforts knowing they could not get a bill approved by Trump.

“You know the magic wands that President Obama said, ‘You’ll never get your manufacturing jobs back. You’d need a magic wand.’ Well, we did.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: Obama never categorically said “you’ll never get your manufacturing jobs back.” Rather, at a televised PBS town hall in Elkhart, Indiana in 2016, Obama said that certain manufacturing jobs “are just not going to come back” — but also boasted that some manufacturers are indeed “coming back to the United States,” that “we’ve seen more manufacturing jobs created since I’ve been president than any time since the 1990s,” and that “we actually make more stuff, have a bigger manufacturing base today, than we’ve had in most of our history.” Obama did mock Trump for Trump’s campaign claims that he was going to bring back manufacturing jobs that had been outsourced to Mexico, saying: “And when somebody says — like the person you just mentioned who I’m not going to advertise for — that he’s going to bring all these jobs back, well, how exactly are you going to do that? What are you going to do? There’s no answer to it. He just says, ‘Well, I’m going to negotiate a better deal.’ Well, how exactly are you going to negotiate that? What magic wand do you have? And usually the answer is he doesn’t have an answer.” But, again, Obama made clear that he was talking about a certain segment of manufacturing jobs, not all of them.

“But anyway, so Oprah — and Oprah’s been down to Mar-a-Lago and honestly, we did. Until I ran for office, we were actually — we did very well. We had a good relationship and I like Oprah. But you know what you don’t know? Oprah, when she ended her show, had her five most important people, I assume, her last week. You remember the last week? Well, I was on her full show in the last week. I think they’re trying to burn the tape. Are they trying to burn the tape?”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: Trump appeared on Winfrey’s show three and a half months before it ended, not in “her last week” or in a series featuring the people “most important” to her. Winfrey’s last show was on May 25, 2011; Trump appeared on Feb. 7, 2011.

“And Stacey Abrams wants illegal aliens to vote. You know, that’s one of the big deals here. They like them coming in because we’re winning and they figure if enough of them come in, eventually they’ll be able to vote and they’re going to vote for the Democrats, right?” And: “She recently said she wants illegal aliens to be part of her blue wave.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: Abrams did not want unauthorized immigrants to vote. She said in October that they were part of her movement: “But the thing of it is, the blue wave is African-American. It’s white, it’s Latino, it’s Asian-Pacific Islander. It is disabled. It is differently-abled. It is LGBTQ. It is law enforcement. It is veterans. It is made up of those who’ve been told that they are not worthy of being here. It is comprised of those who are documented and undocumented.” She never said they should cast ballots.

“Brian’s opponent, Stacey Abrams, is one of the most extreme, far-left politicians in the entire country…She supports a socialist takeover of health care…”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: Abrams did not endorse single-payer health care during her campaign.

“Our Second Amendment, which, believe me, is under siege. Our Second Amendment. Our Second Amendment. If Stacey Abrams gets in, your Second Amendment is, is gone, gone. Stacey and her friends will get rid of it. You wouldn’t mind if somebody comes knocking on your door, ‘Please, I’d like to have your guns turned over to government.’ Take your guns away. Please give us all guns right now.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: Abrams, the Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia, supported various gun control measures, including a ban on high-powered “assault weapons.” But she would not have the power to “get rid of” the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and she expressed no desire to ban all guns.

“And we got Veterans Choice passed, by the way.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

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.

“These are the same caravans that have violently overrun Mexican soldiers and police. You saw this. We’re not dealing with babies here, folks.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: Mexico deployed federal police to confront the caravan, not soldiers. CNN correspondent Leyla Santiago reported that she had spoken to the Mexican government; “they tell me two federal police officers were struck by rocks during a confrontation at border. Injuries were ‘not serious or life threatening.’”

“Democrats want to invite caravan after caravan of a legal aliens to pour into our country.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: There is no basis for this claim.

“So we started the wall. $1.6 billion. Another $1.6 billion just approved. We’re building it in pieces and chunks, but I want to build it all at one time.

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

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. Trump has requested another $1.6 billion for the 2019 fiscal year, but this has not yet been approved, much less spent.

“They (Democrats) want to take away and destroy your health care because that’s what’s going to happen, impose socialism and totally erase America’s borders.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: There is no basis for any of these claims.

“How about the leak? How about Dianne Feinstein with the leak? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know about the leak Remember? Remember when she went, ‘No, I don’t know. Did we leak? did we leak?’ John Cornyn asked the question. He asked her, boom, ‘Did you leak?’ ‘No. No, let me check. No. No, we didn’t leak. We didn’t.’ I always say that may be the worst body language I’ve ever seen in my life, right? She leaked. In other words, she leaked.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: Trump did not accurately recount the answer Feinstein gave when Republican Sen. John Cornyn pressed her, at a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on the leaking of Christine Blasey Ford’s letter accusing judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Feinstein didn’t say ” No. No, let me check. No. No, we didn’t leak. We didn’t.” She vehemently said she did not leak the letter; asked if her staff leaked it, she said, “Oh, I don’t believe my staff would leak it. I have not asked that question directly, but I do not believe they would.” When Cornyn followed up, she said, “The answer is no. The staff said they did not.”

“Poverty is plummeting…”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: Plummeting is a clear exaggeration. The poverty rate for 2017, published by the Census Bureau in September, was 12.3 per cent, only a slight decline from the 12.7 per cent rate in 2016. The rate using the “supplemental poverty measure,” generally considered a better statistic than the basic rate, was 13.9 per cent, “not statistically different” from the 2016 rate of 14.0 per cent, the Census Bureau said in its report.

“Wages are rising, first time in many years.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: Wages have been rising since 2014, though the pace has accelerated under Trump, to 3.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2018. As PolitiFact reported: “For much of the time between 2012 and 2014, median weekly earnings were lower than they were in 1979 — a frustrating disappearance of any wage growth for 35 years. But that began changing in 2014. After hitting a low of $330 a week in early 2014, wages have risen to $354 a week by early 2017. That’s an increase of 7.3 percent over a roughly

“We passed a massive tax cut for Georgia families and we will soon follow it up with another 10 per cent tax cut for the middle-class.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

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.

“This is incredible and I really wish the fake news media would show the crowds because they don’t do it. They always go, gave a speech today in front of a nice crowd.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: Media outlets regularly show the size of Trump’s crowds.

“This is like being at a Georgia football game. This is incredible. Wow. Man. I only wish the media was back about 200 yards so that all those people behind them could see. And we have 15,000 people in a different location.”

Source: Campaign rally in Macon, Georgia

in fact: Trump was exaggerating. The press secretary for Georgia Republican governor candidate Brian Kemp, for whom Trump was campaigning, told local media outlet 13WMAZ: “Our staff has estimated the number of folks in the hangar or right outside the hangar was around 10,000.” WMAZ reported: “Captain Brad Wolfe with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office put that estimate slightly higher, at a minimum of ‘12,500’ in the hangar and ‘around 6,000 outside.’”

“The Iran sanctions are very strong. They’re the strongest sanctions we’ve ever imposed. And we’ll see what happens with Iran, but they’re not doing very well, I can tell you. Iran is not going very well. It’s a big difference since I’ve been in office. When I came to office, if you go a day before, it looked like Iran was going to take over the Middle East.”

Source: Exchange with reporters before Marine One departure

in fact: It is an exaggeration to claim “it looked like Iran was going to take over the Middle East” before Trump took office. Hussein Banai, a professor who studies Iran at the international studies school at Indiana University, said in an email: “The claim that Iran was on the verge of taking over the Middle East prior to Trump taking office is utterly false. In fact, quite the opposite was the case, as the Sunni-majority Arab states in the region — most vocally led by Saudi Arabia and with the expressed support of the US and Israel — had already begun to curb Iran’s influence in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. There is no question that the perception of many of Iran’s rivals in the region after the nuclear deal was that the Islamic Republic had emerged with a stronger geopolitical hand. But the reality was that Iran had merely emerged from nearly 40 years of isolation from which many of these rivals had benefited. So, I would say that the major grievance at the time was that the Obama administration had allowed for the Islamic Republic to become a ‘normal’ country. The issue was never Iran’s military might — its defense expenditures and capabilities are dwarfed by those of Israel and Saudi Arabia — but the fact that it was on the verge of a major economic boom in a post-sanctions world.”

“We’re going to work on the tax cut. We already started. I’ve been working with Kevin Brady. We’re working with the House. We’re doing a 10 per cent tax cut. Now, it could be that if we lose control of the House, that’s not going to happen. But we’re going to be doing a 10 per cent tax cut for the middle class. We’re starting the process already with Kevin Brady, and we’re very well along on it. We’ll be submitting when they come back.”

Source: Exchange with reporters before Marine One departure

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.

“Nobody else could do the job that we’re doing. And as you know, the Democrats want to have open borders and all of those tens of thousands of people pour into our country. That’s not going to happen.”

Source: Exchange with reporters before Marine One departure

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.

 

Editorial: How Trump works for the Russians

January 18, 2019

San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board

Like much about his administration, the possibility that President Trump is a Russian asset has the disorienting quality of being simultaneously unthinkable and plausible. The recent report that the FBI opened an investigation into whether Trump was working for Moscow defies assumptions outside “The Manchurian Candidate” and other fictions. And yet evidence of his furthering Vladimir Putin’s goals is plentiful and plain.

The FBI opened the counterintelligence probe in 2017, the New York Times reported, soon after Trump fired its director, James Comey, and explicitly linked his decision to the bureau’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. The inquiry’s central concern was whether the president, either as secret agent or useful idiot, was advancing Russia’s interests in contravention of the United States’. Days after the investigation began, newly appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller took it over, according to the Times, along with the continuing criminal investigation of the Trump team’s relationship with Russia.

Trump’s initial failure to deny the report — in the friendly confines of a Fox News interview, no less — wasn’t reassuring. Neither was the Washington Post’s subsequent revelation that Trump took pains to conceal the content of his discussions with Putin, even confiscating an interpreter’s notes. (The president eventually got around to insisting he “never worked for Russia,” a dramatic narrowing of his earlier, false claim to have “nothing to do with Russia.”)

The worst possible implication of these reports, that Putin has an operative in the White House, is dark and outlandish indeed. But Trump pursues the Russian strongman’s priorities openly and overtly, even when they conflict with U.S. interests.

His assault on NATO is a glaring example. An American project to counter the Soviet Union, NATO is a heretofore bipartisan pillar of U.S. foreign policy as well as a wartime ally, 9/11 being the only instance in which the compact’s mutual protection guarantee has been invoked. For Putin, on the other hand, NATO is a bete noire. He has gone to great lengths to thwart its minutest expansions, most recently fomenting discontent over Macedonia’s accession by meddling in Greek elections. (Sound familiar?)

Like much about his administration, the possibility that President Trump is a Russian asset has the disorienting quality of being simultaneously unthinkable and plausible. The recent report that the FBI opened an investigation into whether Trump was working for Moscow defies assumptions outside “The Manchurian Candidate” and other fictions. And yet evidence of his furthering Vladimir Putin’s goals is plentiful and plain.

The FBI opened the counterintelligence probe in 2017, the New York Times reported, soon after Trump fired its director, James Comey, and explicitly linked his decision to the bureau’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. The inquiry’s central concern was whether the president, either as secret agent or useful idiot, was advancing Russia’s interests in contravention of the United States’. Days after the investigation began, newly appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller took it over, according to the Times, along with the continuing criminal investigation of the Trump team’s relationship with Russia.

Trump’s initial failure to deny the report — in the friendly confines of a Fox News interview, no less — wasn’t reassuring. Neither was the Washington Post’s subsequent revelation that Trump took pains to conceal the content of his discussions with Putin, even confiscating an interpreter’s notes. (The president eventually got around to insisting he “never worked for Russia,” a dramatic narrowing of his earlier, false claim to have “nothing to do with Russia.”)

The worst possible implication of these reports, that Putin has an operative in the White House, is dark and outlandish indeed. But Trump pursues the Russian strongman’s priorities openly and overtly, even when they conflict with U.S. interests.

His assault on NATO is a glaring example. An American project to counter the Soviet Union, NATO is a heretofore bipartisan pillar of U.S. foreign policy as well as a wartime ally, 9/11 being the only instance in which the compact’s mutual protection guarantee has been invoked. For Putin, on the other hand, NATO is a bete noire. He has gone to great lengths to thwart its minutest expansions, most recently fomenting discontent over Macedonia’s accession by meddling in Greek elections. (Sound familiar?)

Trump’s performance at a NATO summit last year, where he insulted, berated and threatened to forsake key European allies, left little doubt that he shares Putin’s attitude toward the trans-Atlantic alliance. Though Trump ended the gathering on an incongruously conciliatory note, the Times recently reported that he repeatedly returns to the idea of withdrawing from NATO despite his advisers’ best efforts.

U.S. retreat from Syria is another Kremlin priority to which Trump hews in spite of his subordinates. His abrupt announcement last month that 2,000 American troops would leave the conflict brought about the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a NATO alumnus.

Granted, withdrawal from military conflicts and even alliances might be favored for reasons that have nothing to do with Russia. But the administration’s favors to Moscow extend to the otherwise inexplicable. Take last month’s lifting of sanctions against companies linked to the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally. Reversing the sanctions, which were a response to Russia’s attack on the U.S. election, was so controversial that nearly 150 Republican lawmakers voted with Democrats to reinstate them.

Deripaska, by the way, was also close to Trump’s disgraced campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, whose lawyers recently acknowledged that he shared internal polling data with a suspected Russian intelligence associate. Not coincidentally, last week Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani abandoned his long-standing insistence that there was “no collusion” between the campaign and Russia.

Even Trump’s handling of domestic affairs reflects Russia’s designs against Western efficacy. Consider the unprecedented government shutdown that is crippling agencies responsible for national security.

Whether the president has worked for the Russians in the counterintelligence sense isn’t known. But he has clearly worked out for them very well.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

January 20, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks,”: Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

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

 

Conversation No. 91

Date: Monday, July 21, 1997

Commenced: 8:15 AM CST

Concluded: 8:50 AM CST

 

RTC: I decided to let the phone ring for awhile, Gregory. I’m glad I got you. You appear to have won some money from me.

GD: Pardon?

RTC: Oh yes, I thought you might like to know that your friend James Atwood is dead.

GD: Ah! Start the week with good news, Robert. How did this totally unexpected thing happen? Shot to death in a Savannah mall by a drug crazed dwarf? Dead elephant fell out of a passing cargo plane and landed on him while he was walking his dog?

RTC: (Laughter) No, nothing so noticeable. One of our people took James out for Sunday brunch and he had a sudden embolism and fell face down into his salad.

GD: An embolism? Into the salad? (Laughter) My, my, such a tragic but somehow expected death. An autopsy?

RTC: I doubt it. He was getting old. Sixty seven by my information. I’ll send you a check.

GD: I will honor it. Will they bury him in Arlington with full military honors?

RTC: Probably not.

GD: Well, at least he didn’t shoot himself in the back of the head and fall off his boat.

RTC: Yes. The Paisley syndrome. Well, they both had mouth problems.

GD: And just think, if I hadn’t filled Critchfield in about James that time, Jimmy might still be operating down there; spreading joy wherever he went.

RTC: Do I know her?

GD: Know who?

RTC: Joy.

GD: (Laughter) Oh yes, that must be Joy Kobinski. We call her the Mattress Queen. Do you  know what Jimmy said when Joy had a runny nose?

RTC: Please tell me, Gregory.

GD: Why, she was full.

RTC: (Laughter) My God, have you no compassion?

GD: Very little. I save it for my dogs, Robert. Why waste compassion on those who do not deserve it? Jimmy tried to use me and to rip me off once. Perhaps he even planned a salad drop for me, who knows? And don’t pity the dead, Robert, they are at peace. You know, in retrospect, I can comfort myself by considering the number of people I have brought peace to.

RTC: I share your sentiments.

GD: That’s why we talk to each other, Robert. Wonderful shared memories of those departed for a better land. Still, unless their silence is beneficial to me, I prefer to keep them alive so I can poke them up once in awhile. Small pleasures to contemplate when one is depressed.

RTC: Have you always been so brutal, Gregory? Subtle and creative  but brutal I must say.

GD: No, not always. Why would you believe it, Robert, when I was young, I was loving and kind.

RTC: When you were three?

GD: No, up until high school. I was essentially a private person, disliked by most of the teachers and some of the student body because I always said what I thought,, but only if asked. And I knew a good deal about people; their sins of commission and omission. People are afraid of this sort of thing so I was generally avoided. So when a very attractive and intelligent girl in one of my classes became very friendly with me, I was, to be sure, very pleasantly surprised. No, my hormones were not raging, Robert, and it was what I believed was a very warm and friendly relationship. In fact, this began to occupy my thoughts more and more and each time I talked with her, I became more and more interested and, I might add, very happy.

RTC: These things happen.

GD: Oh, they do but not very often to me, I assure you. So, I began to explore the means to widen the relationship outside of school. She had what we would call very correct parents but that did not bother me because my own family was the same way. Then, as the Christmas season was approaching, I thought in my innocence we might go to San Francisco and attend a performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah.’ I love the work and in fact, when my grandfather died, I inherited an autograph copy of the conductor’s text for this back when King George II attended a London performance and stood for the ‘Hallelujah chorus.’ When the King stood, so also did the entire house and that’s why today everyone stands. Well, so much for that. Anyway, I prepared my scenario and got up the nerve to ask her. A couple of days later, I came to school late after a dentist’s appointment and when I was walking down the empty halls to my classroom, I ran into her so I very politely chatted with her for a few minutes and then invited her. She looked right at me, over my shoulder and then walked towards me and past me away down the hall. At first, I thought she had seen someone but when I turned, there was no one.

RTC: What was the reason for that? Did you ask her?

GD: No, I watched her walk away and then just stood there. I was so stunned that I told the school nurse I had just had a tooth extraction and was having some pain so she sent me home. There was no one there so I just went to my apartment and sat in the armchair for a long time. I wondered what it was that I had said to cause her to just walk away. I went over my very short conversation a dozen times…a hundred times is more like it…but could find nothing.

RTC: I assume from this that you were of an unsettled mind.

GD: Yes, very. And no, I did not call her or try to visit her. She did what she did and there was no point in bothering with it any further. This was on a Friday and Monday, I went to school early and had my class changed so I didn’t have to see her any more. I did see her from time to time in the halls but we never made eye contact at all. Devastation, Robert, total devastation but I would not chase after anyone, believe me. Anyway, about six months or later, give or take, I was talking with a girl and she mentioned that everyone knew I was very friendly with this girl but didn’t appear to be around her anymore. Before I could concoct some story, she told me that my friend was a member of a very aggressive young Christian group that met every week at the school and that this girl was what my communicant told me was a ‘seeker.’ That is, she was chosen by the group to single out what were essentially social misfits, befriend them and bring them into the group. Once they did this, the mark would be passed off to another handler. And, she added, they were not permitted to get too close to their victims and had to break off contact if the relationship heated up. I personally don’t think going to see a sacred oratorio at Christmas is particularly intimate but who knows what evil lurks in the minds of women? I later came to the conclusion that the evil lay in their pants. Robert, I was polite with her but got away as fast as I could because I got very, very angry. I was nothing but some poor sucker to be lured into some Jesus freak group and I was so mad I started to shake.

RTC: Well, I don’t blame you.

GD: Yes, well, I walked around the football field for about an hour until I calmed down. Then, of course, I did remember her little comments about her circle of worthy friends and so on. And I noticed that she was now walking and talking with some other social misfit and learned that she had a very serious boyfriend in the Jesus group. This did not go over too well with me, Robert, not at all. So I decided to teach all of them a lesson in manners.

RTC: Not with a gun I assume.

GD: No. If you kill a person, they are immune from ongoing payback. I thought about it for some time and then I made up a letter from her to a fictional Miguel Ramirez. As I created him, Miguel was an illegal who worked in the local animal shelter, euthanizing unwanted cats. He got tired of giving them fatal shots because they would fight and scratch him so he took them by the tails and slammed them into the wall of his work area. Sometimes, Miguel had to slam them several times….

RTC: Jesus….

GD: No, cats. And no one who worked there wanted to go into the room so the walls were a smeared mess. Anyway, this girl was enamored, very enamored, of Miguel and her letter to him was full of grossly explicit discussions of their sexual writhings amidst the cat remains. Oh yes, very graphic indeed. So I had her letterhead copied in a San Francisco print shop, envelopes too, and wrote, or rather typed this grossly pornographic and sadistic letter out. I took one of the envelopes with her name printed on the back flap, just like the original, and wrote my name is pencil on the front. Into the mail and when it came, erased my address and typed in Miguel’s at the local Humane Society. So, I put the terrible letter into the envelope and later, I was sitting next to a school gossip in the library and slipped it into her bulging notebook. You thought I was going to say something else, didn’t you, Robert? And then I waited, and waited. About a week later, she found it and proclaimed its contents throughout the land and unto all the inhabitants thereof. Oh, my God, what an uproar! We didn’t have the Xerox then but we did have Thermofax and within a week, that evil missive was all over the school and the town. My gossip mongering sister had two copies and someone in my mother’s bridge club had give her a copy. Of course I got a ragging for having the bad taste to associate with such a vile monster but I took my ass chewing peacefully.

RTC: And the result?

GD: Well, her Christian parents were horrified but not at her. No, they believed she did not write it and they found out there was no Miguel at the cat killing emporium but no one would listen to them and the letter was copied and recopied for months afterwards. My former friend? Her family sent her off to a Christian academy in southern California. Its location was supposed to be a secret but a friend who worked after school filing in the principal’s office found out where her school transcripts had been forwarded so I sent them copies of the Miguel screed along with a fictional letter from an outraged local parent, warning them of the foul beast they had taken unto themselves. I understand that she left the place a month later and I never heard about her again. Of course her truly Christian real boyfriend had dumped her very quickly, the image of her nude writhings amid the decaying cats must have sickened him. But then I dealt with the religious freaks. They had a student office in the school and I broke into it one night and planted a number of bad things around. First off, I had bought a box of rubbers from a friend, filled the ends with liquid starch and draped and threw them all over the little room. There was a picture of an Aryan Jesus on the wall and I tossed one on top of the frame. And several large uncooked and shelled prawns under the couch and I scattered a few truly awful porn pictures here and there. The shrimp started to rot and I dropped a note in the school snitch box about the wild sex orgies going on right under the nose of Jesus. The smell got very bad very quickly and when the assistant principal and a janitor went into the room, one of them threw up. Of course the group was at once banned from the campus and many students expressed outrage and the Miguel letter was dragged into the situation as a typical example of these sick people.

RTC: My oh my, Gregory. You really must have been angry to do all that.

GD: Oh, very angry, Robert, very, but also eventually very satisfied.

RTC: You know, what she did may have seemed to be terrible to you but that is standard recruitment procedure with most intelligence agencies. We do the same thing. Pick out targets, befriend them and when we have gained their friendship and confidence, pass them along to their new handlers. I can understand why this upset you but she was obviously doing what she thought was right.

GD: Well, she might have thought it was right but I certainly didn’t, did I?

RTC: No, you obviously did not. You wreaked absolute havoc, Gregory and took no prisoners.

GD: I do not ask for quarter, Robert and I never give it. And I recognize that all societies must have a moral core or they collapse. The Christians have their examples and the Muslims and other have theirs. All well and good. Frederick the Great said once that all men in his kingdom were free to find Heaven in their own way. And I agree, but by God, I will not tolerate any religious group stepping outside their church, mosque or synagogue and taking their particular nonsense out aggressively to the public. The Muslims and the Jews don’t do this but the lunatic Christians are a worst pest than an invasion of mice. First of all, from a purely historical point of view, I personally doubt if Jesus ever existed. Jesus was a very common name in Roman Judea. I do not accept the nonsense about the manger, the wise men, the star or other myths and legends. There is no contemporary mention of Jesus or his gang anywhere other than a patently forged reference in Flavius Josephus. The Gospels are full of misinformation and were written long after the event and then rewritten to suit various current political themes. No, if Jesus did exist, Jesus was an Essene. Most theological scholars agree with this by the way. But I go a little further. There exists a considerable body of information on the Essenes of the period. They were put out of business after this, by the way. No, the Essenes, were an all male agricultural community who practiced a communistic way of life and hated women. In short, like the Spartans or Zulus, they were a homosexual community.

RTC: Not nice, Gregory.

GD: I can easily prove this. Oh yes, let the little children come unto me but only the boys. Anyway, I want nothing to do with such Easter Bunny- type myths and legends and as long as these people keep to themselves, all well and good but of course they think they have the only game in town and act accordingly. In earlier times, I would have been burnt at the stake. Say, do you know what St. Dismas the Thief said to Jesus while both of them were up on their crosses?

RTC: I’m afraid to ask you, Gregory.

GD: Dismas said, ‘Say, Jesus, I can see your house from up here.’

RTC: (Laughter) Well, assuming you are right….

GD: And I am….

RTC: Well, I rather pity this poor girl who was only trying to get you to share her joy in Jesus.

GD: Well, she was sharing her pudenda with Miguel the Cat Basher as well.

RTC: (Laughter) Perhaps she went into other work after you finished with her. By the way, did anyone ever suspect you?

GD: No. I never said a word to anyone. I just sat back and savored my revenge. Revenge is a tasty dish, Robert, but always far better if eaten cold.

(Concluded at 8:50 AM CST)

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

 

Does marijuana use really cause psychotic disorders?

Alex Berenson says the drug causes ‘sharp increases in murders and aggravated assaults’. As scientists, we find his claims misinformed and reckless

January 20, 2019

by Carl L Hart and Charles Ksir

The Guardian

As scientists with a combined 70-plus years of drug education and research on psychoactive substances, we find Berenson’s assertions to be misinformed and reckless.

It is true that people diagnosed with psychosis are more likely to report current or prior use of marijuana than people without psychosis. The easy conclusion to draw from that is that marijuana use caused an increased risk of psychosis, and it is that easy answer that Berenson has seized upon. However, this ignores evidence that psychotic behavior is also associated with higher rates of tobacco use, and with the use of stimulants and opioids. Do all these things “cause” psychosis, or is there another, more likely answer? In our many decades of college teaching, one of the most important things we have tried to impart to our students is the distinction between correlation (two things are statistically associated) and causation (one thing causes another). For example, the wearing of light clothing is more likely during the same months as higher sales of ice-cream, but we do not believe that either causes the other.

In our extensive 2016 review of the literature we concluded that those individuals who are susceptible to developing psychosis (which usually does not appear until around the age of 20) are also susceptible to other forms of problem behavior, including poor school performance, lying, stealing and early and heavy use of various substances, including marijuana. Many of these behaviors appear earlier in development, but the fact that one thing occurs before another also is not proof of causation. (One of the standard logical fallacies taught in logic classes: after this, therefore because of this.) It is also worth noting that 10-fold increases in marijuana use in the UK from the 1970s to the 2000s were not associated with an increase in rates of psychosis over this same period, further evidence that changes in cannabis use in the general population are unlikely to contribute to changes in psychosis.

Evidence from research tells us that aggression and violence are highly unlikely outcomes of marijuana use. Based on our own laboratory research, during which we have given thousands of doses of marijuana to people – carefully studying their brain, behavioral, cognitive and social responses – we have never seen a research participant become violent or aggressive while under the influence of the drug, as Berenson alleges. The main effects of smoking marijuana are contentment, relaxation, sedation, euphoria and increased hunger. Still, very high THC concentrations can cause mild paranoia, visual and/or auditory distortions, but even these effects are rare and usually seen only in very inexperienced users.

There is a broader point that needs to be made. In the 1930s, numerous media reports exaggerated the connection between marijuana use by black people and violent crimes. During congressional hearings concerning regulation of the drug, Harry J Anslinger, commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, declared: “Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.” He was compelling. But unfortunately, these fabrications were used to justify racial discrimination and to facilitate passage of the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, which essentially banned the drug. As we see, the reefer madness rhetoric of the past has not just evaporated; it continued and has evolved, reinventing itself perhaps even more powerfully today.

There have been several recent cases during which police officers cited the fictitious dangers posed by cannabis to justify their deadly actions. Philando Castile, of St Paul, Minnesota, in 2016; Michael Brown, of Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014; and Keith Lamont Scott, of Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2016 were all killed by police who used some version of this bogus defense.

Ramarley Graham, Trayvon Martin, Rumain Brisbon and Sandra Bland all also had their lives cut short as a result of an interaction with law enforcement (or a proxy) initiated under the pretense of marijuana use suspicion.

Back in the 1930s, when there were virtually no scientific data on marijuana, ignorant and racist officials publicized exaggerated anecdotal accounts of its harms and were believed. Almost 90 years and hundreds of studies later, there is no excuse for these exaggerations or the inappropriate conclusions drawn by Berenson. Neither account has any place in serious discussions of science or public policy – which means Berenson doesn’t, either.

Carl L Hart is the chairman and Ziff professor  of psychology and psychiatry at Columbia University and author of High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery that Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society. Charles Ksir is professor emeritus of psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Wyoming and author of Drugs, Society and Human Behavior

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