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

TBR News January 21, 2020

Jan 21 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. January 21, 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 21:”What the Senate Republicans are unware of in he upcoming trial of Trump is that there is increasing evidence of his peculations that in all probability will come to the attention of the voting public. Their tatics will be to rush the drama along in the hopes they can shut off more condemning eruptions. Once the great mass of the voting pubic becomes aware of Trump’s actitities, they will put him out of office and, at the same time and in the same election, put many Republican Senators out into the wilderness. Trump has hired Facebook to flood their members with pro-Trump propaganda but I have the distinct feeling that Marc Zuckerberg will go the way of Trump. One hopes.”

Trump’s Approval/Disapproval rating January 21 reporting
Source                                Approve          Disapprove
_________________________________________
American Research Group       37%              59%

The Table of Contents
Why haven’t you shut down the border?’: inside Trump’s White House
• An Israeli Nazi funding and arming the American far-right
• Half a billion unemployed or underemployed worldwide: UN report
• China mystery virus death toll rises
• Coronavirus
• The Season of Evil
• Encyclopedia of American Loons

Why haven’t you shut down the border?’: inside Trump’s White House
How the president’s reckless fixation on immigration threatened to shatter democracy.
January 21, 2020
by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig
The Guardian
I alone can fix it.” On 21 July 2016, as he accepted the Republican presidential nomination in Cleveland, Ohio, Donald John Trump spoke more than 4,000 words, but these five would soon become the tenet by which he would lead the nation.
That night, Trump stood by himself at the centre of Quicken Loans Arena on an elevated stage, which he had helped to design. A massive screen framed in gold soared behind him, projecting a magnified picture of himself along with 36 American flags. This was a masculine, LED manifestation of his own self-image. His speech was dark and dystopian. He offered himself to the American people as their sole hope for renewal and redemption. Past presidential nominees had expressed humility, extolled shared values and summoned their countrymen to unite to accomplish what they could only achieve together. But Trump spoke, instead, of “I”.
“I am your voice.”
“I will be a champion – your champion.”
“Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.”
It would be all too easy to mistake Trump’s first term for pure, uninhibited chaos. His presidency would be powered by solipsism. From the moment Trump swore an oath to defend the constitution and commit to serve the nation, he governed largely to protect and promote himself. Yet, while he lived day to day, struggling to survive, surfing news cycles to stay afloat, there was a pattern and meaning to the disorder. Trump’s north star was the perpetuation of his own power, even when it meant imperiling the US’s shaky democracy. Public trust in American government, already weakened through years of polarising political dysfunction, took a body blow.
Yet Trump’s own recklessness hampered his ability to accomplish the very pledges on which he campaigned. From the start, government novices and yes men made up much of his inner circle, a collective inexperience that exacerbated the troubles, wasted political capital, and demoralised committed public servants. The universal value of the Trump administration was loyalty – loyalty not to the country, but to the president himself. Some of his aides believed his demand for blind fealty – and his retaliation against those who denied it – was slowly corrupting public service and testing democracy itself.
Two kinds of people went to work for the administration: those who thought Trump was saving the world and those who thought the world needed to be saved from Trump. The latter, who at times were drawn in by his charm, were seasoned and capable professionals who felt a duty to lend him their erudition and expertise. Yet as the months clicked by, the president wore down these “adults in the room” with what they considered the inanity, impropriety and illegality of his ideas and directives. One by one, these men and women either resigned in frustration or were summarily dismissed by Trump. He engaged in a constant cycle of betrayal, rupturing and repairing relationships anew to keep his government aides off balance to ensure the continuity of his supremacy. Some of them now sigh from a distance at a president they hoped to guide and the realisation that fewer voices of wisdom remain to temper his impulses. They lament a president who nursed petty grievances, was addicted to watching cable television news coverage of himself, elevated sycophants and lied with abandon.
Trump stepped into the presidency so certain that his knowledge was the most complete and his facts supreme that he turned away the expertise of career professionals upon whom previous presidents had relied. This amounted to a wholesale rejection of the US’s model of governing, which some of his advisers concluded was born of a deep insecurity. “Instead of his pride being built on making a good decision, it’s built on knowing the right answer from the onset,” a senior administration official said.
In the weeks before the 6 November 2018 midterm elections, Trump barnstormed the nation, singularly focused on illegal immigration. He fixated on a slow-moving migrant caravan consisting mostly of families fleeing violence travelling on foot from Central America, through Mexico, and towards the US to seek asylum. Trump warned voters that the caravans were in fact a dangerous “invasion” of migrants threatening the safety and prosperity of US citizens. Privately, Trump demanded that his aides take “tough action” at the border to demonstrate strength. No one came under more pressure from the unrelenting president than Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of homeland security and a close ally of the White House chief of staff, John Kelly.
Trump’s relationship with Nielsen had been tempestuous from the start, as he made her a battering ram for his stance on illegal immigration. He routinely complained to other advisers that Nielsen was not doing enough to secure the border; her defenders said she was doing all she could within the confines of the law. In some instances, the volatile president was verbally and emotionally abusive toward Nielsen. “Kirstjen, you’re just not tough enough,” Trump would tell her.
Trump complained that Nielsen did not “look the part” of homeland security secretary. He made fun of her stature and believed that at about 5ft 4in, she was not physically intimidating. “She’s so short,” Trump would tell others about her. She and Kelly would try to make light of it. Kelly would rib her and say: “But you’ve got those little fists of fury!”
A number of federal agencies bore responsibility for managing the influx of migrants. The justice department housed asylum judges and administered the legal process. The State Department negotiated with Latin American countries and issued visas. The Department of Health and Human Services oversaw the care of migrant children. The army corps of engineers managed construction of the border wall. But in Trump’s mind, everything related to immigration and the border fell under the Department of Homeland Security, and he held Nielsen accountable for it all.
At a cabinet meeting on 9 May 2018, Trump berated Nielsen in front of roughly two dozen administration colleagues over the rising number of illegal border crossings. In an explosive, extended tirade, a red-faced Trump excoriated Nielsen for not bringing him enough “solutions”. Then Trump instructed Nielsen to “shut down” the southern border. Attorney general Jeff Sessions, whose relationship with the president was the most strained of all the cabinet members, seized an opportunity to get on the boss’s good side for once. Seated across the table from the president, Sessions interjected: “I just think we’re not being tough enough. I think we need to shut down the border.” Trump concurred and, turning to Nielsen at the far end of the table, asked: “Why haven’t you shut down the border?” It was more of an admonition than a question. Nielsen knew this would be illegal, not to mention economically disastrous because it could choke off trade routes.
“I’m not sure what we are saying here,” Nielsen said. “As the attorney general knows, people have a legal right to cross the border and try to claim asylum. That’s just the law.”
Trump looked back at Sessions.
“No,” Sessions said. “We should just shut the border down.”
Trump then lit into Nielsen. Why couldn’t she use the power of her department to keep immigrants from flooding into the US? What was so hard about this? Trump was so worked up that some attendees thought he looked manic. Kelly silently shook his head at Nielsen to signal to her to stop engaging with the president. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, made eye contact with Nielsen and moved his finger across his neck to signal to her to cut it off. It was clear to others in the meeting that Nielsen hadn’t properly read the room or the president. By the time Trump eventually tired of yelling at Nielsen, nobody had stuck up for her – not even Kelly. He had decided that speaking up would only further provoke the president. After the cabinet meeting had concluded, Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, said to Trump: “You know, the attorney general was wrong about the law. The attorney general is saying this, but that is not the case.” But it was too little too late.
Trump’s abuse continued episodically through the summer and autumn. He harassed Nielsen with angry phone calls, waking her as early as 5am and routinely calling her at 6.30am and 7am as she was heading to work. He also pestered her late at night. Once, after the president had heard a rumour from a Republican lawmaker that a mid-level homeland security official had been disloyal to the president during a classified briefing, Trump became obsessed with getting the man fired.
He called Nielsen late at night demanding she remove the official from his job. “That doesn’t sound like something he would do, but I’ll look into it, sir,” she had told him. He had called Nielsen back early the next morning. “Is it done?” the president had asked. Nielsen explained that she couldn’t check as her employees had been asleep overnight.
Trump regularly called Nielsen after watching Lou Dobbs’s nightly show on Fox Business. Dobbs delivered regular diatribes about illegal immigration, proposing unrealistic solutions and castigating Nielsen as a squish. To Trump, the Dobbs monologues were gospel and created in the White House a near-daily drumbeat. The president would routinely call Nielsen to say a version of “Did you see Lou Dobbs? You’re totally fucking embarrassing me. This is my issue!” One of his go-to complaints was: “They’re killing me,” a reference to Fox’s coverage of immigration policy. “You’ve got to fix it,” he would demand of Nielsen. Sometimes, Trump would refer to one of Dobbs’s proposals and say: “Kirstjen, just do it. Just do it.”
“But we can’t do it,” Nielsen would explain, usually because whatever Dobbs had uttered on TV was against the law. Other times, when Trump would call Nielsen and demand she execute one of Dobbs’s ideas, she would interrupt the president’s yelling to inform him: “Sir, we’re already doing that. I briefed you on that the other day.”
Nielsen recognised the power Dobbs had over Trump, and saw that his commentary was infecting her relationship with the president. The White House communications shop had tried to book Nielsen on Dobbs’s show, but he had declined, saying Nielsen wasn’t “my cup of tea”. As the volume of border crossings spiked, Dobbs had a show focusing on the administration’s failure to enact three ideas to secure the border. Nielsen shook her head as she watched. One proposal was legally shaky, the second had already been discarded by the administration because it was impossible to implement and the third was something the administration was already doing.
Nielsen called Dobbs from her car to correct him. Her aides listened fearfully, sure she would start yelling at the TV host, but she was gracious. “Lou, we’d be happy to help you with your reporting,” Nielsen said. “If you ever need any facts or statistics or one of our experts, we’d really be glad to provide it.” She then went over why the three ideas he had outlined on air were not workable. Within hours, Trump called Nielsen. He was excited. “Did you call Lou Dobbs?” he asked. She said she had. “That’s great,” Trump told her. “Lou says you’re very smart!”
One of Nielsen’s tactics for when Trump asked her to do something illegal – or something that violated a regulation or a treaty – was to ask him: “OK, sir, what are you trying to accomplish here?” She would then try to figure out a legally permissible way to achieve the same result and often arranged briefings to try to inform the president what he could and could not do. “Let me bring people in,” Nielsen would tell Trump. “You don’t have to trust me.” But the briefings rarely made an impression on Trump. Just when Nielsen thought an illegal or unfeasible idea had been put to bed, the president would awaken it. Trump did not see the law as an impediment – a mindset forged as a real estate developer. A developer could always just sue, battle it out in court and negotiate some middle ground.
“Look, we’ll get sued and then we’ll work it out,” Trump told Nielsen during one such discussion. “Just block people from coming in.” Stopping people from seeking asylum was a favourite solution of the president’s. But he had many ideas, and they would sometimes feel like a sandblast of suggestions, any one of them violating the international conventions on torture or US rules requiring the study of environmental harm, or regulations governing competitive contracts. Lawyers from the Department of Homeland Security and the White House rarely pointed this out to Trump. Nobody wanted to get him even angrier. Just as he used to recoil from former White House counsel Don McGahn’s repeatedly telling him he couldn’t do some of the things he wanted to do, Trump got frustrated with Nielsen.
“Federal law enforcement doesn’t work like that,” Nielsen told Trump in one such meeting. “People could get in trouble. These people have taken an oath to uphold the law. Do you really want to tell them to do the opposite?”
“Then we’ll pardon them,” Trump said.
“The White House was so broken,” one administration official later remarked, looking back on this tense period on immigration policy. “There was no process. Ideas would come to the president in a no-process method. Half-baked ideas come in to him. God knows how. It was totally disorganised. To this day, no one is in charge at the White House. No one.”
In late October 2018, with the caravan on the move, Trump badgered Nielsen almost endlessly. He suggested lining up border agents and other officers to form a sort of human wall along the portion of the southern border that lacked fencing, roughly 1,200 miles (1,931km) of the 1,933-mile border. A statistician at Homeland Security figured out it would take hundreds of thousands of people standing arm to arm to create a line that long. The number, a conservative estimate, was immediately discarded because it was so staggering. “We were like, this is absurd,” one aide remembered.
Nielsen and her team, including the leaders of Customs and Border Protection and US Citizenship and Immigration Services, met for a brainstorming session in downtown Washington’s Ronald Reagan building. Sitting around a conference room, they discussed how to satisfy Trump’s increasingly difficult demands to deny entry to illegal immigrants. The officials felt as if they had already scraped the bottom of the barrel for new options. They contemplated a number of ideas, including sending US marshals to the border, borrowing personnel from another department or creating a volunteer army. They figured they had to throw some bodies at it, if only to sate Trump. National Guard units had deployed 2,100 troops to the border since the spring, and some homeland security officials suggested ramping up the presence dramatically to create, as one aide put it, “a huge show of force”.
At this moment, the border situation was relatively calm. There was no crush of migrants – the caravan was still a few weeks away from reaching the border – and the humanitarian crisis in overcrowded border stations would not unfold until several months later. One senior agency official interjected to point out that additional personnel at the border was not necessary, at least not yet. “This is ridiculous,” the official said.
It was not, however, ridiculous to Trump. He was adamant about sending troops to the border, telling aides that the military had tens of thousands of men and women in uniform and he should be able to use them, as commander-in-chief, to protect the sovereignty of the US. Advisers explained to Trump that if he sent troops to the border, they would not be allowed to function as if they were law enforcement officers. They could erect temporary fencing or fix vehicles or conduct surveillance, advisers said, but they could not use deadly force. Firing a single shot into Mexico would be considered an act of war. (Nielsen resigned in April 2019 after repeatedly failing to get Trump’s office to listen to her proposals for resolving the border crisis – including her efforts to work with northern triangle countries to manage the exodus of migrants.)
In late October 2018, Trump decided to use his authority as commander-in-chief to deploy military troops to the border to guard against migrants. On 29 October, the Pentagon announced that it was sending 5,200 troops, as well as Black Hawk helicopters and giant spools of razor wire. This was the largest mobilisation of active-duty troops along the US-Mexico border in decades. The next day, Trump floated the idea of sending 15,000 troops to the border, an extraordinarily large number that was roughly the size of the US military presence in Afghanistan. The move immediately inspired howls that Trump was playing politics, militarising the border to scare voters and turn out his base in the midterm elections, which were now just a week away. But the secretary of defense Jim Mattis vouched for the mission and said the military was providing “practical support” to homeland security operations. “We don’t do stunts in this department,” he said.
Nevertheless, Trump made clear that his rush to put troops at the border was about taking strong action to galvanise his supporters to vote Republican. “If you don’t want America to be overrun by masses of illegal aliens and giant caravans, you better vote Republican,” Trump said in November at a rally in Columbia, Missouri.
For Trump, deploying the troops wasn’t enough. He wanted images – propaganda – distributed through the media showing the military presence. Trump sent word to the Pentagon that he wanted pictures of troops at the border. The presidential demand landed on the desk of Dana White, Mattis’s press secretary. Kevin Sweeney, a retired navy rear admiral who was serving as Mattis’s chief of staff, told White that the White House needed to see pictures of troops – and fast. White tried to explain this would be unrealistic. This was the Department of Defense, not Coca-Cola. Troops would not be moving to the border instantaneously, even after they received orders. “I can’t give people pictures of something that’s not happening,” White told Sweeney.
“That’s your problem, Dana,” Sweeney said. “Just get the damn pictures.”
The pressure wasn’t coming from Sweeney, of course. It was coming from the top. Trump had pushed the entire military apparatus to help him illustrate the show of might that he had ordered, which could convince voters that he was protecting the nation from the dangerous “invasion” of migrants that was getting closer each day to a showdown at the border. Sweeney and every senior agency official knew the fastest way to please the president was to get the message on the station he and his fans power-watched. “Get something on Fox immediately,” Sweeney told White. Trump just didn’t understand that US armed forces don’t simply hop on a C-17 one night and start patrolling the banks of the Rio Grande the next afternoon. “No one would push you to show that, except the one person who doesn’t know,” a defense department official said of the president.
Mattis’s aides agreed that to satisfy Trump’s wishes they would have to get pictures of National Guard troops and asked state National Guard officials who hadn’t yet shipped out if they could snap photographs or shoot video of their reserve troops training at home. The first images they got – after more than 24 hours of hustling – were of the Texas National Guard, the first to have images of troops in drills. “People were more focused on the pictures rather than what we are allegedly doing,” the defense department official said of the White House. “The urgency wasn’t on the mission. It was on getting the pictures.” Trump also wanted to see military generals being interviewed on TV news, preferably at the border and in a commanding role. Word came down from the White House that images of National Guard officials were not good enough.
By 3 November, the first wave of military troops had arrived at the border and photos emerged of uniformed service members installing razor-wire fencing along the Texas side of the Rio Grande. Trump remarked at a campaign rally in Montana that evening: “We have our military on the border. And I noticed all that beautiful barbed wire going up today. Barbed wire, used properly, can be a beautiful sight.”

An Israeli Nazi funding and arming the American far-right

One of the more interesting personalities involved in the growing American neo-Nazi political movement is one using the name of ‘Al Chapman.’
As far as can be ascertained, the paternal side of Al Chapman’s family were from Wilno, Lithuania. His grandfather, Chaim Shapiro, was a Lubavitch rabbi who fled to Stockholm disguised as a Christian. Chaim Shapiro married Esther Domeratsky at Viborg on February 17, 1941 and immigrated to Israel in 1947.
Ilán Shapiro was born in Israel on September 8, 1949, in Tel Aviv.
After military service in the IDF, extended from 30 to 36 months by a temporary decree in January 1968, he came to the USA in 1971 to attend an English language school in New York to perfect the colloquial English he learned as a child.
After his English studies, Ilán Shapiro returned to Israel where he became involved with the Israeli think tank JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs).
Ilán Shapiro returned to the United States via Canada in 1979 as Alan A. Shapiro. Shapiro has also been closely associated with the Chabad Lubavitch Hasidics, who follow the Qabala and hold extremist and insulting opinions of non-Jews. He is also suspected of having links to AIPAC and believed by U.S. counter intelligence to be a Mossad operative.
Currently residing in the Washington area, where he has strong, daily, connections with the Trump White House, the clean-shaven Shapiro cultivates a more-American-than-the-Americans image, sometimes going by the name Al Chapman, and is heavily involved in gun shows and, notably, the Third Reich militaria scene in the US. He has been tracked on a number of Internet militaria forums under a variety of pseudonyms.
Shapiro/Chapman is involved in the trading of high end Third Reich militaria and Nazi VIP memorabilia but maintains a firewall between the public and himself.
He is said to be involved in the supply of high end fakes to a small group of US and Europe-based dealers.
As Al Shapiro, he sometimes claims to have served in the Six Day War in June 1967 but would have been three months short of his 18th birthday at the time. As Al Chapman, he has claimed to have served in the US Air Force in Vietnam but no record of this service has been found.
Shapiro was taught colloquial English as a child and when he was finished with his obligatory IDF service, he came to the United States to find his fortune and better serve his employers, the Israeli government and people. In due time, Alan became connected with a number of the Hebraic Illuminati in and around Washington, an area that has proven to be of rich pickings for some.
At one period or another, Alan was a very early associate and, as they like to say, a “close friend” of the notorious “Roger Steele” late of “Hollywood Military Hobbies.”
Steele, whose real name was Gaylord Earnest Wessock, was a well-known homosexual, convicted counterfeiter and an outlet for the forged and fantasy daggers of James P. Atwood, fake SS insignia and caps manufactured by one John Nesbitt or ‘Reisenhaft’ of California, Inventor of the famous “SS Viking Ring” and other fantasy pieces.
After “Steele’s” death as the result of a stroke, Shapiro sold ‘Hollywood Military Hobbies’ customer lists to a number of dealers as well as the Los Angeles office of the FBI. He later changed his name to “Al Chapman” and ran several retail, mail order outlets, mostly in Miami, Florida.
Shapiro/Chapman then bought a small print shop in Jacksonville, Florida and began to manufacture various German Third Reich lower level documents, such as preliminary certificates for high military decorations.
He had an aide, Malcolm Ransome, type in names, add stamps and so on and antique these by soaking them in diluted coffee and stuffing them into a commercial clothes dryer for age.
Shapiro/Chapman sold these documents widely, both in the United States and the UK to a number of militaria dealers (see Mollo, Andrew; Foreman, Adrian; Fischer, Malcom; Ulrich of England; the Klenau Auction in Germany; Merschintsky, Wolfgang; Zyla, Raymond; Snyder, Charles; Globe Militaria; Andrei Huskins; Stuart, Emily; OMSA; Kleitmann, K.G.; Rich, Dr. Edward P.; Manion’s Auction; Steffans, Roger Auctions.)
Using the lists of “Steele’s” customers, he later became an advisor to the Justice Department’s OSI team investigating the existence and identification of alleged neo-Nazi groups in the United States.
He has made a liaison with the Wiesenthal Foundation in Los Angeles and the San Diego office of the DHS. He was a collaborator with Andrew Allen, a wealthy San Francisco real estate developer, in penetrating and virtually destroying Willis Carto’s right-wing and anti-Semitic ‘Spotlight’ paper.
Shapiro still manufactures, and sells, fake documents, but the good news is that his printer always uses paper with chemical paper-whiteners and as these were never in use before 1951, an ultra violet light (or “blacklight”) will cause these recent fakes to fluoresce.
Shapiro banks in Paris with a branch of the BNP and uses three different sham American (and one Canadian) corporations to bank his incomes and avoid the American IRS. In what he mistakenly believes is a confidential email, he has boasted of having cheated the IRS out of over three hundred thousand dollars in unpaid taxes.
He has also been the man who supplied the manufacture for the many fake “SS Honor Rings” being sold. His mistake here is not to know that after November 11, 1943, by order of Himmler, no actual rings were presented, only the papers. Most of Shapiro’s ” SS Honor Rings” bearing Himmler’s signature are dated with the spring solstice in March 1944 and therefore are dead giveaways as fakes.
The policy of the supporters of the far right groups is to exacerbate latent racism in the United States to the point where public violence erupts and the political polarization of the public becomes manifest.
By encouraging and arming the far right and neo nazi groups, a secret organization, the Scavenius group, is laying the groundwork for an acceptable and militant government reaction, the institution of draconian control over the entire population and the rationale for national and official government control, all in the name of law and order.
It is planned that the far right and neo nazi groups be taken into the law enforcement structure and used to put down any public demonstrations that the government deems to be a potential threat to their policies.
Who are these groups? Here is a listing of only some of them:
• ACT for America
• Alliance Defending Freedom
• America’s Promise Ministries
• American Border Patrol/American Patrol
• American Family Association
• American Freedom Party
• American Renaissance
• Aryan Brotherhood
• Aryan Brotherhood of Texas
• Aryan Nations
• Blood & Honor
• Brotherhood of Klans
• Center for Security Policy
• Church of the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
• The Creativity Movement
• The Sovereign Citizen Movement of the US and Canada
• The Dominonist Movement of America
• National Alliance
• National Coalition for Immigration Reform
• National Socialist Movement
• National Vanguard
• Oath Keepers
• Stormfront
• The Aryan Terror Brigade.
• The neo-Confederate League of the South.
• Traditionalist Worker Party
• White Revolution
The basic plan of the planners is to supply activist neo-nazi groups in the United States with weapons smuggled into the US. These weapons,mostly AK-47 automatic rifles, originate with the Chinese firm, NORENCO, The China North Industries Corporation.
This is a Chinese company, located in the Xicheng District, Beijing, China that manufactures civil and military firearms and ammunition.

Half a billion unemployed or underemployed worldwide: UN report
A new United Nations report shows more than 470 million people are unemployed or underemployed globally. The report said a lack of access to decent jobs is contributing to social unrest — and warns that worse is to come.
January 21, 2020
DW
More than 470 million people worldwide are currently unemployed or underemployed, the United Nations has revealed in a new report compiled by the International Labor Organization (ILO).
The global unemployment rate remained relatively stable during the 2010s, according to the report. But the global unemployment rate is expected to rise by 2.5 million in 2020, from 188 million to 190.5 million people.
“For millions of working people, it is becoming increasingly difficult, I think, to build better lives through work,” ILO chief Guy Ryder told reporters in Geneva.
The annual World Employment and Social Outlook report stressed not only the unemployed but also the underemployed. Some 285 million people worldwide are considered underemployed, meaning they either work less than they want to, have given up searching for work or otherwise lack access to the labor market.
The figure of 470 million represents around 13% of the global labor force, the report said.
Is social unrest linked to unemployment rates?
The link between social unrest and unemployment and underemployment is a key part of the new report.
“Labor market conditions are contributing to this erosion of social cohesion in many of our societies,” said Ryder, referring to mass demonstrations in places like Lebanon and Chile.
According to the ILO’s “social unrest index,” measuring the frequency of things like demonstrations and strikes, there was an increase both at the global level and in seven out of 11 regions between 2009 and 2019.
The figure of 267 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 not in employment, education or training may be a key factor in this. Many young people in employment endure substandard working conditions.
The report also reiterated the vast inequality between the world’s highest and lowest earners. Female participation in the workforce remained at 47%, 27 percentage points below the male figure.
“We are not going where we want to go,” Ryder said. “The situation is worse than we previously thought.”

China mystery virus death toll rises
Chinese officials have said a new coronavirus virus can spread from person to person, as the disease claimed a sixth life. The World Health Organization called an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis.
January 21, 3030
DW
Six people have died from pneumonia in the central Chinese city of Wuhan following the outbreak of a new coronavirus, authorities have confirmed, as the death toll continues to rise.
China’s National Health Commission on Tuesday said the number of confirmed cases had risen to 291 since the outbreak began in December.
A statement by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said that 15 medical workers had been diagnosed with pneumonia, with one in critical condition.
Since first being identified in Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei province, the disease has now spread to Beijing, Shanghai and Guandong province. Cases have also been reported outside China, in South Korea, Thailand and Japan.
The outbreak coincides with the biggest travel time in China, with hundreds of thousands expected to travel for the Lunar New Year celebrations set to begin later this week.
Australia begins to screen flights
As the disease spreads beyond China, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis.
WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote on Twitter that the meeting was being called to determine whether the new virus “constitutes a public health emergency of international concern,” and to decide on “what recommendations should be made to manage the outbreak.”
In response, Australia announced Tuesday that it would begin screening passengers on flights from Wuhan in an effort to stop the virus from spreading.
Australian Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy confirmed that new screening measures would only offer “limited protection.”
“You cannot absolutely prevent the spread of disease into the country. The incubation period is probably a week,” Murphy told reporters in Canberra. “It’s about identifying those with a high risk and making sure those who have a high risk know about it and know how to get medical attention.”
More tourists visit Australia from China than from any other country, with more than 1 million people arriving in 2019.

Coronavirus
WebMD
A coronavirus is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat.
Most coronaviruses are not dangerous.
Some types of them are serious, though. More than 475 people have died from Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which first appeared in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and then in other countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. In April 2014, the first American was hospitalized for MERS in Indiana and another case was reported in Florida. Both had just returned from Saudi Arabia. In May 2015, there was an outbreak of MERS in Korea which was the largest outbreak outside of the Arabian peninsula. People also died from a severe acute respiratory syndrome ( SARS ) outbreak in 2003. As of 2015, there were no further reports of cases of SARS. Both MERS and SARS are types of coronaviruses.
But usually a coronavirus causes common cold symptoms that you can easily treat with rest and over-the-counter medication.
What Is a Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses were first identified in the 1960s, but we don’t know where they come from. They get their name from their crown-like shape. Sometimes, but not often, a coronavirus can infect both animals and humans.
Most coronaviruses spread the same way other cold-causing viruses do, through infected people coughing and sneezing, by touching an infected person’s hands or face, or by touching things such as doorknobs that infected people have touched.
Almost everyone gets a coronavirus infection at least once in their life, most likely as a young child. In the United States, coronaviruses are more common in the fall and winter, but anyone can come down with a coronavirus infection any time.
Common Symptoms of Coronavirus
The symptoms of most coronaviruses are similar to any other upper-respiratory infection, including runny nose, coughing, sore throat, and sometimes a fever. In most cases, you won’t know whether you have a coronavirus or a different cold-causing virus, such as rhinovirus.
You could get lab tests, including nose and throat cultures and blood work, to find out whether your cold was caused by a coronavirus, but there’s no reason to. The test results wouldn’t change how you treat your symptoms, which typically go away in a few days.
But if a coronavirus infection spreads to the lower respiratory tract (your windpipe and your lungs), it can cause pneumonia, especially in older people, people with heart disease, or people with weakened immune systems.
What to Do About Coronavirus
There is no vaccine for coronavirus. To help prevent coronavirus infection, do the same things you do to avoid the common cold:
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Keep your hands and fingers away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Avoid close contact with people who are infected.
You treat a coronavirus infection the same way you treat a cold:
Get plenty of rest.
Drink fluids.
Take over-the-counter medicine for sore throat and fever (but don’t give aspirin to children or teens younger than 19; use ibuprofen or acetaminophen instead).
A humidifier or steamy shower can also help ease a sore and scratchy throat.
Even when coronavirus causes MERS or SARS in other countries, the kind of coronavirus infection common in the U.S. isn’t a serious threat for an otherwise healthy adult. If you get sick, treat your symptoms and contact a doctor if they get worse or don’t go away.

The Season of Evil
by Gregory Douglas
Preface

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 63

LeBec was never an attractive man in life and in death, he was positively ugly.
Neither of them looked at his sunken, leering face as they slid him across the road on the plastic sheeting and no one said a word as they tipped him over the edge and watched him slide sideways down the hill and into the base of a large pine.
“That’s that, Alex,” Chuck said as they went back through the open security gate.
The boy pointed to the very dead bear hanging on the fence.
“Can’t we knock him down from there? He might break the wire or something.”
“Goddam kid, you’re worse than Gwen. Do this, do that. How do you suggest we get Winnie the Poo down?”
“Who?”
“Never mind. We didn’t have the same childhood, I can see. Suggestions?”
They were standing in the snow, looking up at the dripping bear.
“Tie a rope around his leg and pull him down.”
“Oh that sounds like fun, kid. OK, I’ll get a stepladder out of the garage and you can some along and get some line. There’s a roll of nylon rope somewhere in there.”
And in due time, Chuck climbed up on the ladder that Alex held, fastened a noose around the clawed hind leg and then lifted the ladder back to safety.
It took both of them pulling and yanking to get the bear loose from the wire and finally the head parted company with the body and both parts thudded down into the snow.
Alex made a face at the sickening and bloody mess but he carried the ladder back to the garage and said nothing. He had stepped in a pile of soft bear feces and Chuck made him take off his shoes before going inside.

Chuck had planned to have a pleasant breakfast while remembering to be pleasant and positive. Following this bonding activity he planned to occupy himself during the afternoon with some serious music. Instead, he had repelled an invasion of bears who were attempting to eat the softening remains of a man who had tried to kill him and somehow managed to involve his charge in dragging the corpse away from public view and throwing it down a steep hill. Now, an innocent boy was washing away the final evacuation of a dead bear from his battered shoes and he was far behind schedule on his practicing.
Ten minutes later, he was sitting at the piano, practicing runs up and down the keyboard. Alex had pilfered another glass of milk and then came into the main hall to listen to the music.
He sat in an armchair and put his feet up on the ottoman while Chuck ran up and down the scales for ten minutes. He had lifted the piano lid and could have been heard by the front door. The only audience out there was incapable of hearing him but Alex was another matter.
Chuck looked up and saw him.
“This is boring crap for you, Alex. You don’t have to be polite and listen to me.”
“I like it. Am I bothering you?”
“No, but I warned you.”
“Lars said you were a real good singer. Is that true? I mean everyone around here makes up all kinds of stories.”
“It’s true. I sing a little.”
“Are you going to sing something?”
Chuck sighed.
“Would you like me to sing something?”
“If you were going to anyway.”
“I wasn’t but I owe you for helping with the chores outside so I’ll do a song. Do you have any preferences?”
“Do you know something by Bach?”
“Which one? There was a whole family. C.P.E. Bach for example.”
“No, Johann Sebastian. The father.”
“How do you know about that family business?”
“I read the stuff inside the CDs.”
“I won’t do Bach today. How about Glück? He was more or less a contemporary anyway.”
“Sure.”
Chuck cleared his throat and played the opening bars of ‘Che farò senze Euridice?’ He had sung this for his freedom in Canada but not at full voice. This was quickly followed by Haendel’s ‘Ombra mai fù’ from ‘Xerxes.’ This was the first time he had sung with no one else in the house and he sang at the top of his voice. He rattled the glass in the windows with the volume and became so engrossed with his work that he paid no attention to his solitary audience.
The Haendel piece was short but very moving and he had always loved it because it was his Grandfather’s favorite.
When he finished, he looked over at Alex. At first, Chuck thought the boy was laughing at him. He had drawn up his knees, wrapped his arms around them and had buried his face. Chuck saw his shoulders jerking and his first thought was that somehow he had hit false notes and was being mocked.
Then he realized that Alex was weeping so he got up from his bench and crossed the room.
He knelt down beside the chair and pulled a monogrammed handkerchief out of his pocket.
“Here, kid, take this.”
Alex pulled his head tighter into his knees and in the silence following the mini-recital, his sobbing was muffled but intense.
“Here, don’t…..just take this. It’s OK, Alex, it’s just fine.”
He realized how banal he sounded but Chuck had a serious problem dealing with the grief of others because he was totally incapable of dealing with his own.
He tried humor.
“I’m sorry I was so loud. You’re not laughing at me are you, Alex?”
The boy raised a tear-stained face and shook his head.
He said something but Chuck couldn’t understand him.
“Here, take this handkerchief and blow your nose. What’s wrong? Feeling sorry for the bears?”
Alex stopped weeping and began to blow his nose.
“No, not the bears. It was so beautiful that I can’t help myself. Sorry.”
“Damn it, stop apologizing. I’ve had people tell me to shut the fuck up before but no one ever…”
“It was beautiful. It just did something to me.”
The music had opened something in him that he had kept locked away since he was a small child. He did not weep over the beauty of the music alone but also for his lost and tormented childhood and youth; for the neglect of his mother and the cruelty of her many boy friends; for his complete lack of friends and finally, because he now had wonderful, interesting friends who had rescued him from his chief tormentor. With the long-suppressed grief came hope and the music was only a catalyst.
“Here, blow your nose again, Alexander the Great.”
He sat on the arm of the chair and put his arm around the boy’s thin shoulders.
“Alex, Alex, try to get some control here. Alex, listen to me. Never let anyone see into your heart. Do you understand that? Never. Better the heart unused than the heart abused. Am I making any sense to you? I’m not much good at this but when I was your age I wanted to cry many, many times but I never did. Here, wipe your face and wipe out all the suffering you must have had. We are all your friends here, Alex and you are safe in this house from everything outside that has injured you. Not even hungry bears can get in here and if anyone comes after you, I promise to shoot them just like I did the bears.”
Alex blinked his reddened eyes and suddenly reached out and took one of Chuck’s hands.
“I’m sorry, Chuck. So much happened so quick that I can’t get it all. I promise not to do this again. I promise.”
Chuck found he was having a serious problem controlling himself.
“You just….if you want to cry, go ahead and let it all out. You’ll feel better afterwards. I wish I could do that too but I can’t. I never could. The last time I cried was when my Grandpa died and I was fifteen, just like you. I never cried again after that and I probably never will. Now why don’t you get some self-control here and we can talk about nice things. OK?”
Alex had a terrible grip on his hand and Chuck was surprised that someone so thin and dejected had so much strength left in him.
“And we have to fatten you up, kid, and one of these days I’ll talk Lars into teaching you how to box so no one can ever beat you up again. How does that sound?”
Alex wiped his eyes with the sleeve of his shirt and blew his nose again.
“That would be fun. Chuck?”
“Yes?”
“Could you teach me how to play the piano?”
“Are you serious?”
“Yes. Listening to music is one thing but actually making it would be so good it hurts just to think about it. Does that sound stupid?”
“No,” Chuck said very quietly, “it does not sound stupid. I feel exactly the same way. Come on now, come over to the piano and we can have our first lesson.”
Alex let go of Chuck’s hand and stood up slowly, still sniffling.
Suddenly he wrapped both arms around Chuck and buried his face in his chest.
Chuck had no idea what to do so he carefully pulled the boy away.
“It’s just fine, Alex, everything will be just fine.”
Alex said something and Chuck couldn’t understand him.
“What?”
“I said I love you, Chuck.”
Nothing was said for a minute and now it was Chuck’s turn to find his eyes burning.
“That’s funny. I’m twenty-seven years old, kid and no one ever said that to me before. Not once, not ever. I may not be the best role model for you but I love you too and now, let’s have our first lesson. OK?”
Alex, terribly intent, sat on the piano bench and watched Chuck’s hands on the keyboard. In the first hour of instruction, he was taught basic chords, separately and together and a number of simple exercises.
In deference to Alex, Chuck played the first movement of Bach’s Italian Concerto, his hands moving so rapidly that Alex could not keep up with the watching of them.
“That, lad, was the first movement. You watch me and listen and say to yourself, ‘Gee, I could never do that because it’s so hard’ but there was a time when I said the same thing. Now, let’s move on to the second movement. I’ll play the entire thing through and then we can go back over the beginning theme and see what you can do with it.”
(Continued)
This is also an e-book, available from Amazon:

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Robert J. Krakow

Robert Krakow is a lawyer affiliated with the antivaccine movement, whose main goal, it seems, is to get parents of children with vaccines to sue. Thus far, the court cases have been more or less failures, of course, but who knows what will happen next time? Krakow isn’t just a cynical opportunist, it seems, but an actual, true believer in the idea that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism, which – given the distance between that hypothesis and reality – doesn’t really help in court (or make is efforts relevantly less vile, for that matter).
With well-known anti-vaccine activists Mary Holland, Louis Conte, and Lisa Colin, he authored “Unanswered Questions from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program: A Review of Compensated Cases of Vaccine-Induced Brain Injury,” which attempted to bolster the case for a legal (and scientific) argument, an article that would have been hilarious for its fallacies were it not for the fact that it could potentially be the source of some real harm. It is discussed in some detail here. The same people were also behind an embarrassing “study” called “Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health, and Our Children,” which also committed all the fallacies associated with this particular brand of denialism, in addition to being ethically questionable.
Diagnosis: Crank lawyer whose primary move in the denialist movement is the predictable one: Since science doesn’t support our claim, let’s take it to the courts. Though wrong, Krakow is of course still dangerous. Stay away.

Steve Hotze

Steve Hotze is a wingnut crackpot who runs a big, lucrative practice in suburban Houston focused on “nontraditional therapies” and treatments for allergies, thyroid problems and yeast infections. He is particularly known for promoting natural progesterone replacement therapy for women, a treatment that can hardly be said to be particularly science-based. He also runs a daily health and wellness show that airs on Sen. Dan Patrick’s Houston radio station, KSEV. Quackwatch has taken due note of him, though.
Now, even Hotze’s approach to medicine is something special. In 1986 Hotze was one of dozens of ministers, professionals and laypersons who signed the Coalition on Revival’s Manifesto for the Christian Church, expressing his commitment to the following doctrines:
– A wife may work outside the home only with her husband’s consent
– “Biblical spanking” that results in “temporary or superficial bruises or welts” should not be considered a crime.
– No doctor shall provide medical service on the Sabbath (yup – it’s all for your benefit).
– All disease and disability is caused by the sin of Adam and Eve.
– Medical problems are frequently caused by personal sin.
– “Increased longevity generally results from obedience to specific Biblical commands”.
– Treatment of the “physical body” is not a doctor’s highest priority.
– Doctors have a priestly calling.
– People receiving medical treatment are not immune from divine intervention or demonic forces.
– Physicians should preach to their patients because salvation is the key to their health.
– “Christians need better health to have more energy, tolerate more stress, get depressed less often, and be more creative than our non-Christian counterparts for the advancement of God’s Kingdom.”
Nor does he like gays and socialists, like Obama. Surprise, surprise. Hotze even bankrolled the anti-gay attacks against Houston mayor Annise Parker on the grounds that she wasn’t anti-gay, and a leader who lacks Hotze’s level of hatred and bigotry is obviously unfit for a position of power.
Indeed, Hotze also runs a PAC known as Conservative Republicans of Texas, which he uses to push “health freedom” bills in Texas – that is, facilitate the promotion of questionable therapies and outright quackery without fear of government involvement or legal responsibilities. For instance, Hotze was a major backer of HB 1013, a bill that would ban all anonymous complaints other than those filed by patients, their guardians or their family and open up the process by which doctors are investigated – the measures would include setting statutes of limitations, providing doctors with details of the charges against them and giving them more time and legal remedies to respond or appeal; apparently he managed to get a lot of conservative politicians on his payroll to push the bill (presumably reflected in the Texas Republicans’ stance on reality). Officially, he claimed that “[o]ur opponents have said this is all about snake oil. What they mean is these doctors use natural approaches to health. This is a turf war between conventional medicine and alternative, natural approaches to health.”
Diagnosis: An extremely dangerous, quite (perhaps unintentionally) evil person, whose efforts to undermine civilization, promote denialism, and fight reality are almost staggering. We’ll deem Hotze to be one of the most objectionable people in the US, and that’s quite an impressive feat.

Arlin Horton

Arlin Horton is the former president of Pensacola Christian College (PCC), an unaccredited institution (or, as some argue, a cult) he founded in 1974 right down the street from Dinosaur Adventure Land. The PCC also runs “A Beka Book”, the infamous propaganda mill publishing house providing textbooks to fundamentalist Christian homeschoolers, known for instance for claiming that set theory is godless and evil, and for its uncompromising creationist stance (it is named after Rev. Horton’s wife, Rebekah).
Indeed, in A Beka Book’s catalog you will find titles such as “Science of the Physical Creation”, which claims that evolution is bunk, all scientists subscribing to evolution are frauds, and that dinosaurs were fire-breathing dragons; “Science: Order and Reality”, presented as a biology textbook but really mostly a collection of Bible verses; “Biology: God’s Living Creation”, the same, and made famous through some court cases in 2012; “Physics: The Foundational Science”, which contains very little physics but a lot of attempts to emphasize the faith of famous physicists; “Vocabulary, Spelling and Poetry”, which describes a purported conspiracy among grammarians to make kids into evolutionists; “Economics: Work and Prosperity”, an anti-communist tract (which has in fact missed the fall of the Soviet Union); “Sex, Love and Romance: Sex Education from the Bible”, which is a rabidly misogynist tract mostly about Satan; “Bible Doctrines for Today”, which one would suspect would be a Bible tract, but which also contains a fair share of ufology and conspiracy theories concerning aliens; “A Healthier You”, which claims in effect that prayer is the foundation for all health; and “Choosing Good Health”, which is the same as the previous book, but targeted at kids.
PCC is strictly devoted to gender segregation, prohibiting e.g. handshakes between people of opposite genders, has strict restrictions on what music students may listen to, and has a strict prohibition on petitions or reading or distributing unauthorized literature (all in the name of free speech, of course). The coursework at PCC is of course strictly young earth creationist.
Horton resigned in 2012, handing the reins to Troy Shoemaker, whose “doctorate” was awarded by the very institution he is about to take over.
Diagnosis: Deranged madman who makes even the most rabid ayatollah seem liberal by comparison, and who appears to think that the Taliban didn’t go far enough. The PCC has quite a number of students, and it is rather sad to see the numbers of child abusing parents who even consider sending their children there.

No responses yet

Leave a Reply