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TBR News July 14, 2019

Jul 14 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. July 14, 2019:

“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.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for July 14:” According to Pakistani government intelligence, the CIA is heavily involved with al-Quaeda and IS and introduced them into Afghanistan for guerrilla actions so as to be able to convince Washington to increase the number of American troops into that country to protect the highly profitable opium fields.

If one looks at a map showing the locations of the known opium fields in Afghanistan and then looks at another map showing US military units in place, the two are nearly identical.

Russian intelligence is well aware that the US CIA and the Pentagon are secretly supporting the Saudi-raised Sunni IS, a branch of which is now very active in Afghanistan.

It is very well known that a major portion of Afghanistani gum opium is taken over by CIA people and most of it is shipped to Columbia.

A portion of this opium goes to Kosovo where it is also refined and then shipped up through Germany to Russia. This annoys the Russians who have made a strong effort to put a halt to something that killed over 50,000 Russians last year from heroin overdoses.

Here we have an interesting situation.

Russia, with good reason, objects to having heroin smuggled into her country and attempts to put a stop to it.

The United States, a country that, via its agencies, is heavily involved in the international drug trade, objects to this attitude.

Therefore, in addition to all Russia’s oil and gas which America badly needs, the US has an excellent motive for making Russia a handy enemy.

Enemies are necessary to stimulate public support for more profitable (to some at least) small wars.

 

The Table of Contents

  • Hong Kong extradition protesters escalate fight in suburbs
  • What’s Really Going On in Hong Kong?
  • U.S. appeals court blocks Trump administration birth control exemptions
  • This Death Star presidency is no ally for modern Britain
  • American Carnage: a masterful must-read on Trump’s Republican takeover
  • U.S. appeals court blocks Trump administration birth control exemptions
  • Jeffrey Epstein: how US media – with one star exception – whitewashed the story
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

 

 

Hong Kong extradition protesters escalate fight in suburbs

July 14, 2019

by Donny Kwok and Felix Tam

Reuters

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Tens of thousands rallied in a large Hong Kong suburb on Sunday, driven by abiding anger at the government’s handling of an extradition bill that has revived fears of China tightening its grip over the former British colony and eroding its freedoms.

Millions have taken to the streets over the past month in some of the largest and most violent protests in decades over an extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial in courts controlled by the Communist Party.

Clashes broke out as protesters hurled umbrellas and plastic bottles at police who retaliated by firing pepper spray amid chaotic scenes inside a shopping mall that houses some of the world’s biggest luxury brands.

Most of the demonstrators dispersed shortly afterward as a small group sang the Christian hymn “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord”, which has emerged as the unlikely anthem of the protests.

Protesters marched in sweltering heat of about 32 degrees Celsius (89.6°F) in Sha Tin, a town between Hong Kong island and the border with China, extending the demonstrations outward from the heart of the financial center into surrounding districts.

“These days there is really no trust of China, and so the protesters come out,” said Jennie Kwan, 73.

“Didn’t they promise 50 years, no change? And yet we’ve all seen the changes. I myself am already 70-something years old. What do I know about politics? But politics comes to you.”

Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula that guarantees its people freedoms for 50 years that are not enjoyed in mainland China, including the liberty to protest and an independent judiciary.

Beijing denies interfering in Hong Kong affairs, but many residents worry about what they see as an erosion of those freedoms and a relentless march toward mainland control.

Hong Kong’s embattled leader, Carrie Lam, has said the extradition bill is “dead”, but opponents say they will settle for nothing short of its formal withdrawal.

Some protesters on Sunday waved banners appealing to U.S. President Donald Trump to “Please liberate Hong Kong” and “Defend our Constitution”. Such scenes are certain to rile Beijing, which has been angered by criticism from Washington and London over the controversial bill.

Others waved British and American flags, while banners calling for Hong Kong’s independence billowed in the sultry breeze from makeshift flagpoles.

One placard featured a picture of Chinese leader Xi Jinping with the words: “Extradite to China, disappear forever.”

Chants of “Carrie Lam go to hell!” rang through the crowd, gathered well away from the island heart of the financial center which has witnessed the largest and most violent demonstrations over the past month.

Organizers said around 115,000 attended Sunday’s rally. Police put the number at 28,000 at its peak.

PROTESTERS SPAN GENERATIONS

The bill has stirred outrage across broad sections of Hong Kong society amid concerns it would threaten the much-cherished rule of law that underpins the city’s international financial status. Young, elderly and families joined the latest protest.

The protests have caused the former British colony’s biggest political crisis since its handover to China. Demonstrators stormed the Legislative Council building on July 1 and ransacked it.

“I never missed a march so far since June,” said a 69-year-old man who gave only his surname, Chen.

“I support the youngsters, they have done something we haven’t done. There is nothing we can do to help them, but come out and march to show our appreciation and support.”

Protesters are also demanding that Lam step down, the withdrawal of the word “riot” to describe demonstrations, the unconditional release of those arrested and an independent investigation into complaints of police brutality.

Police have condemned what they describe as “violent protesters” and stressed that officers will investigate all illegal acts.

One woman, in her mid-50s, said protesters had harassed her after she tried to defend the police, whom activists described as “dogs”.

“It’s verbal violence,” said the woman, who gave her name only as Catherine. “People just surrounded me and shouted rude language and that makes me feel I am living in fear.”

Mass protests over the bill since June have morphed into demonstrations over democracy and broader grievances in society.

On Saturday, a largely peaceful demonstration in a town close to the Chinese border turned violent as protesters hurled umbrellas and hardhats at police, who retaliated by swinging batons and firing pepper spray.

The government condemned violence during Saturday’s protests against so-called “parallel traders” from the mainland who buy goods in bulk in Hong Kong to carry into China for profit.

It said that during the last 18 months it had arrested 126 mainland visitors suspected of infringing the terms of their stay by engaging in parallel trading, and barred about 5,000 mainland Chinese also suspected of involvement.

Earlier on Sunday, hundreds of journalists joined a silent march to demand better treatment from police at protests.

A police statement said that while there was room for improvement in coordination between officers and the media, the police respected press freedom and the media’s right to report.

Additional reporting by Joyce Zhou and Aleksander Solum, Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Mark Heinrich

 

What’s Really Going On in Hong Kong?

July 13, 2019

by Reese Erlich

AntiWar

For more than three months, people in Hong Kong massed in the streets to protest a proposed extradition law. Critics say it would allow China to extradite dissenting students, journalists, and business people to the mainland, where they could face prison for their views. Rallies and marches of tens of thousands grew to perhaps almost two million at their peak.

“I was very angry about the proposed law,” says Adrian Leong, a former Hong Kong resident and political activist in San Francisco. “Everyone could see themselves getting in trouble.”

But supporters of the Beijing government say the proposed law would only allow extradition of people accused of serious crimes, not political dissidents. Western governments and media use the phony extradition issue to foment rifts between Hong Kong and the mainland, they argue.

“They want China to splinter and die,” says Nathan Rich, an American YouTube blogger living in China.

To sort out these competing claims, we have to understand some Hong Kong history.

Opium Wars

Starting in the late 1700s, the British East India Company illegally sold opium to China. By the 1830s, British and American entrepreneurs became fabulously wealthy selling opium, while addicting millions of Chinese. When the Chinese government ordered the sales to stop, the British sent gunboats to Chinese ports and fought the first Opium War from 1839-1842.

The Qing dynasty lost the war and was forced to cede Hong Kong island to the British, along with parts of other port cities. The British launched the Second Opium War from 1853-1858, in which they seized more Chinese territory and forced China to legalize opium.

For centuries, China had the world’s largest economy, selling far more goods overseas than it imported. The opium wars were fought in the name of  “free trade,” – i.e., the right of British and American drug barons to open up the Chinese market.

Modern day imperialism

Selling addictive drugs to China didn’t end in the nineteenth century. During the reign of President Ronald Reagan, for example, the US forced China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan to buy US made cigarettes – all in the name of opening their markets to free trade.

But by the 1980s, the People’s Republic of China was emerging as a major world power, and Britain agreed give up Hong Kong. In 1997, Britain returned Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty with an agreement that it would maintain two different political and economic systems. It became known as “one country, two systems.”

One country, two systems was a bold step, something never tried before. China would keep its socialist economy; Hong Kong would remain capitalist. Hong Kong would maintain governing institutions established by the United Kingdom, including independent courts but also indirect election of top political leaders. The one country, two systems would last for 50 years.

The Communist Party of China hoped that, given time, Hong Kong residents would come to see the advantages of socialism and voluntarily join the mainland. They hoped Hong Kong could be a model for integrating Taiwan into China.

But Hong Kong had existed as a separate entity for well more than 100 years, and reunification wasn’t going to be easy. Many Hongkongers seek to maintain their capitalist institutions for as long as possible. They want direct election of political leaders and a judiciary that tilts their way in case of disputes with Beijing.

Hongkongers have developed their own identity, notes Tom Fowdy, a China analyst who attended university in Hong Kong. “On paper they are the same ethnic group, but they are culturally different.”

Extradition law

The roots of the current protests can be traced to the case of Chan Tong Kai. In February, he flew to Taiwan with his girlfriend, strangled her, stuffed her body in a suitcase, dumped her in a field, and flew back to Hong Kong. Although he confessed, he couldn’t be sent to Taiwan because Hong Kong had no extradition treaty. (Hong Kong has extradition agreements with 20 countries but not China, Macao, and Taiwan.)

Hong Kong authorities couldn’t charge Chan with a murder that took place elsewhere. So a Hong Kong court convicted him on a lesser charge and sentenced him to a few months in jail.

Outrage over the Chan case led Hong Kong legislators to draft a law that would allow extradition to any country on a case by case basis. Taiwan later indicated it would not seek Chan’s extradition, making the murder case moot. But the extradition issue remained on the table.

Critics claim the proposed law would enable China to extradite and imprison political dissidents from Hong Kong. However, the bill’s supporters point out that an extraditable offense must be a crime in both China and Hong Kong, which protects Hongkongers from arbitrary arrest. And the law specifically prohibits extradition for political crimes.

In addition, the bill granted Hong Kong’s chief executive the ability to review extradition requests and allows for two separate judicial review processes. And according to the chief executive’s office, extradition would “only cover 37 offenses punishable with imprisonment for seven years or above, and none of them prohibits the exercise of the right to freedom of expression.”

But many people in Hong Kong simply don’t trust Beijing. They cite examples when China  remanded Hong Kong residents without following judicial procedures. “The Communist Party of China no longer respects the two systems,” says activist Leong. “It only respects the one country.”

Demonstrations

On March 31, Hongkongers marched and rallied against the proposed legislation. By June, the mostly peaceful protests grew to hundreds of thousands. On June 9, organizers said two million people marched, while police put the number at 338,000.

Then, in a preplanned action on July 1, hundreds of militants smashed their way into Hong Kong’s legislative offices, where they destroyed furniture and sprayed anti-communist graffiti on the walls. They draped the union jack flag over the speaker’s podium.

Analyst Fowdy says displaying the British flag doesn’t mean protesters want a return to British rule. Rather, they want Hong Kong to “remain a special administrative region under Chinese sovereignty. They don’t want Hong Kong to be just another Chinese city.”

Whatever the militants’ intention, in my opinion, raising the British flag leaves the impression that they favor independence. That plays into the hands of Western powers who have long sought to divide China.

It’s no coincidence that most mainstream media unabashedly support the protesters and seek to excuse the violent actions. An opinion article in the Wall Street Journal urged readers to see the vandalism as “an act of desperation after years of frustration.” I’ve yet to see the Journal apply that logic to Black Lives Matters protesters in the US.

Here’s the bottom line: Hong Kong is Chinese; it’s not an independent country. Any effort towards independence angers mainland Chinese, not just the government in Beijing.

Contrary to the impression left by the mainstream media, Hong Kong opinion is divided on the extradition law. On June 30, tens of thousands gathered for a rally supporting extradition and backing the Hong Kong government. Legislators say they collected 700,000 verified signatures on a petition supporting the proposed law.

For now, however, the momentum is with the anti-government forces. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam suspended the bill from consideration and on July 9 declared it “dead.” Critics say that isn’t enough. They want her to withdraw the legislation completely and to resign.

So demonstrations are likely to continue. China and Hong Kong will be struggling for many years to determine exactly what “one country, two systems” really means.

 

 

U.S. appeals court blocks Trump administration birth control exemptions

July 12, 2019

by Nate Raymond

Reuters

– A federal appeals court on Friday blocked the Trump administration from enforcing new rules allowing employers to obtain exemptions from an Obamacare requirement they provide health insurance that covers women’s birth control.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia upheld a nationwide injunction that blocked the implementation of rules allowing employers with religious and moral objections to seek exemptions from the 2010 healthcare law’s requirement.

The three-judge panel agreed with Democratic state attorneys general from Pennsylvania and New Jersey pursuing the case that the rules issued by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury had “serious substantive problems.”

The lawsuit was one of several by Democratic state attorneys general challenging the rules, which targeted a requirement in the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, former Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement.

The contraceptive mandate required employer-provided health insurance include coverage for birth control with no co-payment.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Twitter said the ruling would protect women’s access to contraceptive care.

Republican President Donald Trump’s administration itself has estimated up to 126,400 women nationally would lose contraceptive coverage due to their employers taking advantage of the exemptions.

Kelly Laco, spokeswoman for the U.S. Justice Department, which defended the rules in court, said it was disappointed. “Religious organizations should not be forced to violate their mission and deeply-held beliefs,” she said.

The appellate ruling upheld a nationwide injunction issued in January by a federal judge in Philadelphia. Another judge in California has blocked the rules’ enforcement in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

In Friday’s decision, U.S. Circuit Judge Patty Shwartz, writing for the panel, said the administration lacked good cause to forgo a requirement to provide the public notice and the chance to comment on interim versions of the rules it adopted in 2017.

The administration had cited an urgent need to alleviate the harm faced by employers with religious objections.

But Shwartz said its “desire to address the purported harm to religious objections does not ameliorate the need to follow appropriate procedures.”

She said government agencies showed a “lack of open-mindedness” when they later adopted similar, final rules in 2018, which were also not authorized by Obamacare.

A nationwide preliminary injunction preventing the rules’ enforcement was necessary, she said, to protect the states from against the potential costs they would face if women’s employers refused to provide insurance that covered birth control.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; editing by Tom Brown

 

This Death Star presidency is no ally for modern Britain

The Kim Darroch affair is final proof that Trump’s America is increasingly at odds with the UK’s multicultural, democratic values and national interest

July 13, 2019

by Simon Tisdall

The Guardian

Kim Darroch is but the latest victim of Donald Trump’s Death Star presidency, which collides at random with people and countries, sparking destruction and universal mayhem.

Many good men and women have suffered similar fates – shot down by blasts of laser-like presidential animosity. Like them, Britain’s departing ambassador to the US failed to treat Washington’s Dark Knight with fawning awe. Never mind. Johnson will set things right.

Except, perhaps not. The widespread assumption that a Boris Johnson premiership will instantly restore US-UK relations to brimming good health is facile. Trump’s inept, insecure, chaotic and dysfunctional behaviour, to borrow Darroch’s words, guarantees that Johnson, having betrayed a better man, will inevitably get zapped, too. He will richly deserve it, although it may be Britain that suffers.

That’s the problem with appeasement. Whatever you do, it’s never enough. Theresa May went out of her way to flatter and placate Trump from their very first White House meeting. He repaid her by mocking her over Brexit, talking up Nigel Farage and talking down Britain. Publicly calling the prime minister a fool was not the action of a friend.

Historical comparisons can be overdone at times of stress. Trump is not a born-again Hitler and his resurrected American brand of know-nothing rightwing populism is not a return to Nazi national socialism. He is probably not a fascist. But his ultra-nationalist chauvinism, ill-disguised support for white supremacists, racial and gender prejudices and vindictive temperament sometimes render him indistinguishable from a Cable Street blackshirt.

What Trump is, without any doubt, is an unsuitable partner for modern, multicultural, democratic Britain. His words and policies pose an unmistakable threat to the national interest, prosperity and values. For three years, ministers have clung to the hope that, somehow, he could be tamed – or at least, managed. But as Darroch noted in his leaked memos, Trump is not going to change. Last week’s events showed that this reality can no longer be ducked.

Security and intelligence-sharing are most often cited as the critical glue holding the “special relationship” together. In both areas, Britain and the US are at growing odds. Washington’s moves last week to create a naval taskforce to patrol Persian Gulf and Red Sea flashpoints sucks Britain more deeply into Trump’s manufactured confrontation with Iran. That country’s apparent attempt to seize a British tanker showed how easily hotheads on either side could spark a war.

The point is that Britain does not agree with Trump’s baiting of Iran, a policy Darroch termed “incoherent”. Ministers believe current tensions date from Trump’s decision last year to renege on the 2015 nuclear deal.

Britain shares concerns about Iran’s ballistic missiles and regional behaviour, but it also knows swingeing US sanctions are unjustified and provocative. It knows that the hawks advising Trump are trigger-happy.

Intelligence-sharing – another reason for putting up with Trump – is also in jeopardy due to the Huawei dispute.

Britain’s loyalty to the postwar US alliance has often worked to its disadvantage. It is hardly controversial to say that disastrous US or US-directed military interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere, and systemic abuses arising from the post-9/11 “global war on terror”, have not served Britain’s interests or respected its values. Yet, under Trump, the UK’s self-defeating loyalty goes unreciprocated. See, for example, his coddling of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, the man who attacked Salisbury with a chemical weapon.

As its economic pre-eminence is challenged and its moral authority weakens, Trump’s America is increasingly relying on military might to maintain its global edge. Annual US defence spending is projected to rise to $750bn next year – upwards of 60% of the entire federal budget. That’s a rise of more than $100bn since Trump took office. The US is also, by some distance, the world’s leading arms exporter. Britain, by contrast, spends about $50bn annually on defence.

What are these vast amounts of arms and money for? The US already out-guns, out-nukes and out-missiles every nation on the planet. The obvious concern is that Trump’s America may increasingly seek to enforce its will, and impose its terms around the world, from behind the barrel of a gun.

Forget the UN, multilateral collaboration and the global rules-based order that Britain upholds and Trump abhors. The term “exceptional nation” may soon be replaced, in the eyes of the world, by “objectionable nation”.

On present trends, Britain risks becoming a mere satrap of this militarised empire, a vassal state of Trump’s America where Independence day is celebrated with tanks and bellicose bombast. This grim fate may be compounded by an unequal, post-Brexit “free trade” treaty that rides roughshod over environmental, regulatory and public health concerns.

Trump sucks up to dictators, sanctions the world, abuses migrants and reviles independent journalism. And why should the British people, attuned to the intensifying climate crisis, kowtow to a man who, denying climate change exists, shreds America’s environmental protections and boycotts the Paris climate accord?

Trump’s America is an ugly, dangerous creation from which old certainties recoil. The US alliance can no longer be relied upon. The Darroch affair is a timely warning to step back and take stock. And it’s no good saying Trump will soon be gone. The way the divided Democrats are behaving, he could still be calling the shots in 2025.

 

American Carnage: a masterful must-read on Trump’s Republican takeover

Tim Alberta of Politico has written a compelling, alarming and scoop-heavy history of the fall of the party of Lincoln

July 13, 2019

by Lloyd Green

The Guradian

Like the deity on the sixth day of creation, Donald Trump has recast the Republican party in his own image. Aggrieved and belligerent is the new normal. The soul of the party has migrated from the sun belt to the Bible belt, from the suburbs to rural America, from a message suffused with upward arc to one brimming with resentment.

The 45th president has won the hearts and minds of the faithful while turning off the rest of America. According to a recent poll, Trump has garnered the approval of seven in eight Republicans even as he trails Megan Rapinoe, the star of the champion US women’s soccer team, 42%-41%. All this despite an economy that moves forward.

Tim Alberta, Politico’s chief political correspondent, has written a masterful must-read. Across 600-plus pages, he chronicles more than a decade of transformation and turmoil within what was once but is no longer the party of Abraham Lincoln.

Over the past half-century, the GOP has dramatically changed. New England and New York’s tony bedroom communities are now Democratic. The old Confederacy is a contiguous sea of Republican red. In the 2018 midterms, the GOP captured 9% of the black vote. In 1972, they got twice that.

Subtitled On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump, American Carnage delivers a lively tick-tock on how the party moved from George W Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” to the jagged contours of Maga. Trump emerges as the vehicle and voice of white evangelicals and white Americans without a four-year degree, the operative word being “white”.

Alberta is mindful that the winds of proto-Trumpism were present before Bush had left office. In his telling, Sarah Palin – who once bragged of her husband and herself: “He’s got the rifle, I’ve got the rack” – was a harbinger of a post-Bush world.

American Carnage records Karl Rove, Bush’s political brain, branding Palin “vacuous” and evidencing a Republican tropism toward “wanting people who would throw bombs and blow things up”. While Trump was the “ultimate expression” of that impulse, Rove says, Palin was an “early warning bell”.

As framed by Paul Ryan, the former House speaker and 2012 vice-presidential candidate: “The Reagan Republican wing beat the Rockefeller Republican wing. And now the Trump wing beat the Reagan wing.” Against the backdrop of failure in Iraq, the Great Recession, displacement and globalization, Trump delivered “hope” to voters Hillary Clinton discounted as deplorable.

Alberta’s storytelling is bolstered by his access to powers that be and were. Trump, Ryan and John Boehner, another ex-speaker, all go on the record. American Carnage is filled with scoop. It is an exercise in a pulling back the curtain, not breathlessness.

For example, Alberta lets us know the fix was in at Fox News for Trump during the Republican primaries, in a manner akin to the Democratic National Committee putting its thumb on the scales for Clinton. Ted Cruz, Texas’ grating junior senator, never had a real chance with the network built by the late Roger Ailes.

One Fox staffer told Cruz: “We’re not allowed to say anything positive about you on the air.” Or, as Cruz put it after Ailes’ death in 2017: “I think it was Roger’s dying wish to elect Donald Trump president.” Alberta lets us know that Ailes believed Barack Obama “really was a Muslim who really had been born outside the United States”.

American Carnage also crystalizes Trump’s own penchant for eavesdropping. In early 2012, as the primaries were heating up, Matt Rhoades, Mitt Romney’s campaign manager, met with Michael Cohen, Trump’s then consigliere who is now a resident of a federal correctional facility. They discussed the prospect of Trump meeting Romney. Alberta lays out what happened next: “Cohen was suddenly interrupted by a voice crackling over a speakerphone on the table. It was Trump. He had been listening the entire time …”

In describing the 2012 race, Alberta conveys the mistaken belief held by Romney’s team that that he would win based upon pre-election polling. American Carnage, however, makes no mention of a poll circulated on the Saturday night before the election by Alex Gage, which showed Obama with at least 300 electoral votes. Gage was a veteran of the Bush 2004 re-election effort and Romney’s 2008 campaign. His then wife, Katie Packer, was Romney’s deputy campaign manager.

Alberta sheds light on Trump’s thinly reported May 2016 meeting with Rove. Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s then campaign manager, called the get-together “good” without saying more. American Carnage brings color and detail.

Trump appears both ignorant of the realities of the electoral map and appreciative of the tutorial. The two men review Trump’s path to an electoral college majority, Rove correcting his eager but pride-filled pupil. Trump poses the possibility of winning California, New York and Oregon, only to be shot down. The last time any of those states went Republican was more than 30 years ago.

Rove explains that Iowa, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are winnable if the campaign husbands its time and energy. Trump turns to Steve Wynn, a casino magnate subsequently felled by allegations of sexual misconduct, and exclaims: “Why aren’t people in my campaign talking to me about this?”

Alberta makes clear that Trump was the only candidate capable of harnessing populist fury into something more than a collection of raw emotions. Clinton’s worship at the altars of identity politics and political correctness helped cost her the election, just as Trump’s lack of a filter endeared him to his base.

Although Clinton finished with nearly 3 million more votes, Trump sits in the Oval Office. As Alberta observes, authenticity remains in high demand, more so than reality.

Trump is embattled but far from despairing. “I fucking love this job,” he “howls” to no one in particular, backstage at a rally in Columbia, Missouri, in November 2018.

He knows he is transformative.

“Honestly,” Trump tells Alberta. “Can there even be a question?”

 

Jeffrey Epstein: how US media – with one star exception – whitewashed the story

The Miami Herald exposed a vast criminal network and a government cover-up – but why the silence elsewhere

July 13, 2019

by Ed Pilkington

The Guardian

When Julie K Brown of the Miami Herald approached a former police chief of Palm Beach, Florida, in 2017, hoping to get him to open up about his investigation of the child sex crimes for which the wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein had been fleetingly jailed a decade earlier, she was surprised by how unresponsive he was.

Michael Reiter told Brown he had been down this road many times and was sick of it. As Brown recalled in a WNYC interview last month, Reiter said he had talked to many reporters and told them precisely where to find damning evidence against Epstein. But nothing ever came of it.

“He was convinced that a lot of media had squashed the story and he was fed up,” she said.

Reiter warned Brown what would happen were she to continue digging: “Somebody’s going to call your publisher and the next thing you know you are going to be assigned to the obituaries department.”

Brown did not heed his warning. She flung herself at the investigation and eventually persuaded Reiter to go on record. Her resulting, award-winning three-part series last November exposed a vast operation in which 80 potential victims were identified, some as young as 13 and 14 at the time of the alleged abuse. She persuaded eight to tell their stories.

Brown also exposed a government cover-up in which Epstein got away with an exceptionally light sentence that saw him serve only 13 months in jail. She discovered that a “non-prosecution agreement” had been negotiated secretly in 2008 by the then top federal prosecutor in Miami, Alexander Acosta, that gave Epstein and his co-conspirators immunity from federal prosecution.

In 2017, Acosta was appointed by Donald Trump as labor secretary, a post that ironically is responsible for combating sex trafficking.

The media’s handling – or mishandling – of the Epstein affair is a story of extremes.

It is a heartwarming success story, of how one intrepid reporter pierced the veil of secrecy and found the truth. Brown’s coverage has had consequences: Epstein was arrested last Saturday and indicted on new sex trafficking charges by New York prosecutors who praised her work. In the fallout, Acosta was forced to resign.

But there is also a less cheerful narrative. Why did the police chief’s appeals to the media fall on deaf ears? Why would so many years pass before the shocking extent of Epstein’s crimes and Acosta’s sweetheart deal were revealed by a local newspaper with severely limited resources?

In fact, the two extremes of the story are directly linked: Brown told WNYC one of the reasons she began looking into Epstein was that she was puzzled about the public silence surrounding him.

“There really was nobody pursuing this at all,” she said. “That was one of the things that intrigued me about this case. Why isn’t anyone standing up and screaming?”

That silence stretches all the way back to 2003, when Vicky Ward wrote a profile of Epstein for Vanity Fair. During her reporting, she was introduced to a mother and her two daughters from Phoenix, Arizona who alleged Epstein assaulted the girls, one of whom was 16 at the time.

Ward told the Guardian she spent a lot of time with the family discussing whether they should go public.

“They were frightened,” she said. “The mother told me that every night when she walked the dog she looked over her shoulder.”

Eventually, the women agreed to go on the record, Ward said, and when Epstein was told about their accounts he went “berserk”. Epstein had already threatened to get a witch doctor to put a curse on Ward’s unborn children – she was pregnant with twins at the time – and now he campaigned to stop Vanity Fair publishing the allegations, even turning up unannounced at the office of the then editor, Graydon Carter.

Publication was delayed, then Ward was told the paragraphs on the abuse of the women had been deleted.

“I was extraordinarily upset,” she said. “I asked the women what they were going to do and they said they would lick their wounds and retreat, as this was exactly what they feared would happen.”

Ward believes Carter caved under Epstein’s pressure. She recalls confronting the editor about the excised paragraphs, and said she has a note in her archives that has Carter saying: “I believe him … I’m Canadian.”

Carter remembers events very differently. In his account there were legal issues around the women’s stories that prevented publication, most significantly that the women themselves were unwilling to go on the record.

In a statement to the Guardian, Carter said: “I respected the work Vicky Ward did at Vanity Fair but unfortunately her recounting of the facts around the Epstein article is inaccurate. There were not three sources on the record and therefore this aspect of the story did not meet our legal and editorial standards.”

Ward says she has documentary evidence that shows the women were emphatically prepared to go public, including fact-checkers’ and legal emails to Epstein from Vanity Fair asking for his response to the allegations made by both sisters.

The Guardian spoke to the mother of the girls, Janice Farmer. She said all three did speak to Ward in 2003 and told her on the record what Epstein had done, including allegations he had invited her youngest daughter, then 16, to his New Mexico ranch and molested her.

“I was hesitant to go public because I was worried about the safety of my daughters – by that point I didn’t trust Jeffrey at all,” Farmer said. “But I did want him to be exposed.”

She said she recalls vividly agreeing with Ward along with her daughters for their stories to be told in her Vanity Fair profile. She also said she recalls vividly her reaction when she learnt that part of the piece was not to be published.

“I felt angry,” she said. “I felt like Jeffrey’s money, power, connections – whatever – had been put into play.”

There is another complicating element to the story. In 2011, after Epstein had gone to jail, Ward wrote a blogpost for Vanity Fair. In it she used language that was strikingly uncritical of Epstein, referring to him as “not without humor” and praising him for being highly knowledgable.

She referenced Epstein’s sex crimes as “sexual peccadilloes” and referred to her 2003 Vanity Fair profile of him, saying it had alluded to his sexual relationships with young women but “didn’t really go there, focusing instead on … how Jeffrey made his money”.

The piece went on: “This is not to say I didn’t hear stories about the girls. I did. But, not knowing quite whom to believe, I concentrated on the intriguing financial mystery instead.”

The Guardian put this blogpost to Ward and she said she regretted writing it. At that point, she said, the victims she had interviewed were not willing to talk. But nonetheless, “this blog did not need to be written – here I am toeing the Vanity Fair party line”.

‘My journalism benefited from #MeToo’

Fast forward to 2007, when Acosta reached his bizarrely lenient plea deal with Epstein. By then, investigators had identified 35 potential victims who said they had been lured into Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion and sexually assaulted.

Yet records obtained by the Miami Herald showed prosecutors led by Acosta actively worked with Epstein’s attorneys to minimize media coverage.

One of Acosta’s prosecutors wrote in an email to Jay Lefkowitz, an Epstein lawyer: “On an ‘avoid the press’ note … I can file the charge in district court in Miami which will hopefully cut the press coverage significantly. Do you want to check that out?”

That Acosta felt that he had to resign on Friday was an indication that the collective failure of US media to grapple with a story of serial sex trafficking and abuse that had been hiding in plain sight for years no longer holds true. In the wake of Brown’s exemplary reporting, the rest of the American media has fallen in line. Acosta paid the price.

That may in part be thanks to the #MeToo movement that had not erupted when Brown began her investigation but did draw attention to her work when it was published. As she told MSNBC after Epstein’s arrest last weekend: “My journalism benefited from #MeToo as we [started] giving these cases much more scrutiny.”

Mary Angela Bock, associate professor in the University of Texas at Austin’s school of journalism, said #MeToo had dented the prevailing patriarchy that has existed in newsrooms for decades and that had led to sexual crimes being overlooked as merely “the way of the world”.

“#MeToo has led to greater awareness among journalists that this is not OK,” she said. “This is not ‘boys being boys’. This is rape and sexual exploitation of children.”

 

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Robert 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.

 

Barbara Delozier

A.k.a. Rev. Bee

We’ve talked about MUFON before. Barbara Delozier is the State Section Director Northwest of MUFON. I suppose it tells you a bit about MUFON that Delozier is also a Dolphyn Wisdom of the Ancient, Metaphysical Minister, and responsible for something called the My Psychic Friends network. She actually calls herself “Dr. Barbara Delozier, Msc.D., Minister and Psychic Counselor”. It should be unnecessary to say that her education is not from an institution worth taking more seriously than your average spam mail, but at least her areas of expertise are “[p]ositivity life coach, expert dream interpretation, psychic/sensitive, advisor, Ufology, ordained metaphysical minister” (it’s not “grammar”), and her “career focus” is “paranormal sensitive, psychic counselor, metaphysician, Ufologist, minister, speaker, author”. And as a “Metaphysician” (no, she means “New age stream of consciousness fluff”, not metaphysics) she can help you ascend the ladder on which the “physical aspect of our lives is merely the bottom rung […] by delving into the heretofore ‘unknown’ of the psyche, the ethereal, interdimensional reality in which we ‘also’ operate as Soul. Whether it be understanding the mystery of your dreams, asking the ‘big’ question about God, or merely attempting to reach out and touch your Higher Self” (goodness knows what the quotation marks are for). And apparently her “weekly Positive Affirmations are highly prized bits of wisdom from her Inner Guides that come through to the physical to help you.” How? Well, at least you should start by “strik[ing] the words ‘I can’t’ and ‘I don’t know how’ from your vocabulary [no, those aren’t words, but whatever].” Well, realizing that Delozier will systematically refuse to admit that “I don’t know how” actually explains quite a bit of her behavior, doesn’t it? What do you do when you don’t have a clue? Make it up and fill in the gaps with whatever you fancy. Delozier is probably a stellar example of what can happen when you follow that rule and your mind is otherwise unfettered by the limits imposed by reality.

You can also join her “Miss Peg [apparently Peggi “Don’t allow your human intelligence to overrule your spiritual needs” Torbert] and Astoria [Brown]” for “Trinity Psychics Quantum Metaphysics and Psychic Chat” on Blog Talk Radio every Saturday night. She is also “a gifted paranormal sensitive who explores and photographs energy beings, interdimensional beings and extraterrestrial travelers.” Like “quantum”, “energy” and “dimension” are apparently words that can mean whatever she wants them to mean at any time (and usually means nothing whatsoever).

Delozier runs several webpages, and we found the webpage “Dolphinpsychic” (with one Michelle Caporale) to be perhaps particularly interesting. It features testimonies of Delozier’s powers by … one “Psychic Norbert”. She is also involved with the “Empower U Metaphysical Academy”, which is apparently a (poorly designed) webpage where you can download “home study courses and attunements blessed crystals for healing”. As for their crystal healing course, “[i]t is now possible to give a powerful crystal healing, without crystals. Through attunement you will gain access to the energy of specific crystals and be able to channel it by intention. These ethereal crystals are much stronger than those found within the Earth. You can place them on the body, just by pointing at a certain area and thinking the stone’s name. The stone will disappear when the energy is no longer needed.” I have to admit that it was almost tempting to flesh out $12 for that course package. Same thing with the “Full Spectrum Course”: “Tachyon is the source of all frequencies. Full Sprectum Healing IS all frequencies. This makes FSH much more direct and targeted than Tachyon.” Try to falsify that claim with a well-designed test, you darn skeptics

Diagnosis: Woo! WOOOO-O-O-O! And there is not a thing Delozier cannot do after she learned how to transcend coherence and sense and any sort of grounding in reality. Probably pretty harmless.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

July 14, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks. ”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

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

 

 

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. It’s 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

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