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TBR News June 26, 2019

Jun 26 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. June 25, 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 June 26:” People wishing to kill themselves ought, in my view, to show some consideration for others. If a man wants to blow whatever brains he has out of his head, wouldn’t it be better if he did it out in the woods somewhere instead of splattering his sleeping wife, the bedding and the opposite wall? The wall can be cleaned but the bedding is forever ruined and the wife traumatized…until she meets another man.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Trump’s toadyism to Saudi Arabia: a new moral low
  • Donald Trump’s Russian Connections
  • The Government-Approved Rip-Off
  • The Attack on Iran: Israel’s Plans for a US Action
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • The Sabotage Column: Revenge is sweet and flavors all our dealings
  • Europe heatwave: record high of 45C expected in France 
  • U.S. House passes border aid bill, Trump vows veto
  • Video appears to show man dumping water on homeless woman in San Francisco
  • The Empire in Collapse
  • Jockpocalypse

 

Trump’s toadyism to Saudi Arabia: a new moral low

The Saudis are good customers, Trump says – which evidently outweighs the fact they murdered and carved up a Washington Post journalist

June 25, 2019

by Richard Wolffe

The Guardian

It’s that time of a presidency when every incumbent pretends to be what he isn’t, or to do what he hasn’t. With a re-election year kicking off, everyone wants to know if the candidate can fill in the gaping holes in his record, to give voters some reason to hope or believe.

In the case of Donald Trump, that means trying to look like something he hasn’t been for the last two and a half years: presidential, sane and worthy of the world’s respect. Just for once.

So there are the TV interviews with networks other than Fox News, including the one with ABC News where he was supposed to look normal but ended up saying he’d accept more Russian dirt in the upcoming election. If only to see if it was any good. Totally presidential.

There was the decisive moment when he turned the jets around as they were about to bomb Iran: an act of leadership that overruled his hawkish aides, as well as his earlier decision to, um, bomb Iran. Totally commander-in-chief.

And then there was the interview with NBC News, where he readily admitted that he puts a higher value on arms deals with Saudi Arabia than on American values like democracy and human rights. Totally making America great again.

Pressed by NBC, Trump made it clear that he couldn’t care less about the bone saw-wielding murderers who dismembered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, allegedly on the orders of the Saudi crown prince himself. He also couldn’t care about the UN’s recommendations that the FBI investigate the murder of Khashoggi, who was a US resident and wrote for the Washington Post.

Unable to muster any human feeling, Trump couldn’t muster any rational answers either. “I think it’s been heavily investigated,” Trump said. When asked who had done all that heavy investigating, he blurted out: “By everybody … I’ve seen so many different reports.”

Seeing is normally believing, but in Trump’s case that might not be true. “Here’s where I am,” he said, warming to the subject of international relations. “You ready?”

It’s not at all clear if the world is ready for this kind of train of thought, even after all these many years of blather. You see, according to Trump there are other countries that do bad things, like Iran. And they do so many bad things that Iran is totally worth investigating.

This kind of argument somewhat undermines the presidential moment that averted war with Iran, but let’s not set our standards too high. Because there was more of this brain fart to follow.

“I’m not like a fool that says, ‘We don’t want to do business with them.’ And by the way, if they don’t do business with us, you know what they do? They’ll do business with the Russians or with the Chinese. They will buy – we make the best equipment in the world, but they will buy great equipment from Russia and from China,” he told Chuck Todd of NBC News.

“Chuck, take their money. Take their money, Chuck.”

Trump has already said that his re-election slogan is “Keep America Great,” as if the next four years will be a desperate exercise in clinging on to what he thinks he’s achieved, such as avoiding impeachment.

This is a shame because “Take Their Money” is a far more authentic one-liner about this president. At least it suggests that the Trump project is an ongoing enterprise.

To be fair, the Trump administration is hardly the first to overlook every human rights abuse by the Saudi regime in the single-minded pursuit of oil, money and power. Previous presidents and prime ministers were also surprisingly capable of ignoring the kingdom’s oppression of women and its love of state-sanctioned death by beheading.

In fact, the Saudis decapitated 37 men just a few weeks ago, most of them minority Shia Muslims who were denied a fair trial. Some of them were children at the time of their sentencing. None of them were Washington Post journalists, and the killings received far less attention.

Perhaps we care more about beheadings after Isis. Perhaps we think the Saudis should live up to the so-called reform agenda of the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Perhaps the bonesaw was just too horrific to ignore.

Whatever the reason, Trump’s desire to sell arms to the Saudis flies in the face of his own Republicans, as well as all the Democrats who already consider his foreign policy about as credible and responsible as the Saudi reforms.

Just last week Senate Republicans joined with Democrats to vote repeatedly to block US arms sales to the Saudis and the Gulf states, while the Trumpistas tried to run around Congress by declaring an emergency over Iran. It wasn’t that long ago that Congress voted to cut off US support for the brutal Saudi-backed war in Yemen.

Trump vetoed Congress before and will surely do so again. All the chest-beating about Iran, as well as all the backtracking on military strikes, needs to be seen in this context about Trump’s curious love affair with the Saudis.

It’s a romance that has left even the few close friends of Donald Trump in a position of downright opposition, including the otherwise sycophantic Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “There is no amount of oil you can produce that will get me and others to give you a pass on chopping somebody up in a consulate,” Graham said, after leading the legislation against the arms sales to the Saudis.

There is just one other country that elicits such a bizarrely determined and loyal attachment from Donald Trump: Russia. That foreign entanglement also causes head-scratching rifts with his own toadying Republicans. But nobody should find Trump’s attitudes to Russia and Saudi Arabia hard to understand.

We might not have his tax returns, but we do have Trump’s succinct summary of his motives: take the money, Chuck.

 

Donald Trump’s Russian Connections

by Christian Jürs

Trump is not an honest man by any stretch of anyone’s imagination. He has a long record of bankruptcies, business failures, very dubious business practices and extraordinarily negative behavior to staff and other employees. To catalogue the full sweep of a flood of patently dishonest business allegations against Donald Trump would require thousands of words and lump together the trivial, the blatently criminal with the truly scandalous.

Certainly, the psychological personal profile of Donald Trump could hardly be better tailored to being easily turned by a hostile intelligence agency.

The concept of Trump taking bribes from the Russians (or the PRC) is completely understandable if one applies the concept of Occam’s Razor to the tumult and disruption he is deliberately causing both domestically and in foreign areas.

Russian intelligence agencies are known to have highly compromising and often bizarre sexual material on him going back more than 30 years and they have used Trump and his elaborate network of business entites as a funnel for laundering dirty money from the Russian mafia and from post-Soviet oligarchs. The Russians are well-known to have more than enough compromising material on Trump to bend him to their will.

Trump has constantly been engaged in bribings and manipulations and has done this through second parties such as Cohen his former lawyer or Manafort, his recently convicted campaign manager, during the election.

Following Mr.Trump’s bankruptcies in the 1990s he borrowed very large sums of operating capital from Russian sources. He also obtained large loans from the Deutsche Bank (over 640 million dollars)

Other big banks, domestic and foreign, have long refused to lend to him, coining the term “the Donald risk” to refer to his repeated bankruptcies and failures to repay loans. However, Deutsche Bank, whose real-estate division continued to lend him hundreds of millions of dollars to finance his projects, seemed to have a greater risk appetite. There is a solid connection and on-going business between this bank and two Russian-based banks.

The remarkably troubled recent history of Deutsche Bank, its past money-laundering woes — and the bank’s striking relationship with Trump — became the subject of investigation by the German State Attorney’s office. The German bank loaned a cumulative total of around $2.5 billion to Trump projects over the past two decades, and the bank continued writing him nine-figure checks even after he defaulted on a $640 million obligation and sued the bank, blaming it for his failure to pay back the debt.

  • Deutsche Bank’s private wealth unit loaned Trump $48 million — after he had defaulted on his $640 million loan and the bank’s commercial unit didn’t want to lend him any further funds — so that Trump could pay back another unit of Deutsche Bank.
  • Deutsche Bank loaned Trump’s company $125 million as part of the overall $150 million purchase of the ailing Doral golf resort in Miami in 2012. The loans’ primary collateral was land and buildings that he paid only $105 million for, county land records show. The apparent favorable terms raised questions about whether the bank’s loan was unusually risky.
  • To widespread alarm, and at least one protest that Trump would not be able to pay his lease obligations, Deutsche Bank’s private wealth group loaned the Trump Organization an additional $175 million to renovate the Old Post Office Building in Washington and turn it into a luxury hotel.

Like Trump, Deutsche Bank has been scrutinized for its dealings in Russia. The bank paid more than $600 million to regulators in 2017 and agreed to a consent order that cited “serious compliance deficiencies” that “spanned Deutsche Bank’s global empire.” The case focused on “mirror trades,” which Deutsche Bank facilitated between 2011 and 2015. The trades were sham transactions whose sole purpose appeared to be to illicitly convert rubles into pounds and dollars — some $10 billion worth.

The bank was “laundering money for wealthy Russians and people connected to Putin and the Kremlin in a variety of ways for almost the exact time period that they were doing business with Donald Trump,” “And all of that money through Deutsche Bank was being channeled through the same exact legal entity in the U.S. that was handling the Donald Trump relationship in the U.S. And so there are a lot of coincidences here.”

It wasn’t just Donald Trump who maintained a warm relationship with Deutsche. The German bank looked after his entire family. Jared Kushner, Ivanka, and Kushner’s mother Seryl Stadtmauer were all Deutsche clients.

The large German financial conglomerate Deutsche Bank, later to become one of Donald Trump’s favored institutions, became entangled with Russia after the bank bought boutique investment bank UFG in order to gain entry into Moscow’s financial markets. UFG’s chairman, Charles Ryan, was an American banker; his partner was Boris Fyodorov, formerly Russia’s Finance Minister in the Yeltsin administration. Deutsche’s future co-CEO, Anshu Jain, was the one who wants Deutsche to become more involved with Russia. Other investment banks soon found Deutsche’s business practices suspicious. Christopher Barter, at the time the CEO of Goldman Sachs Moscow, said later: “They were doing some very curious things. Nobody could make sense of their business. We found the nature and concentration of their business with VTB (Vneshtorgbank) quite galling. Nobody else could touch VTB.” VTB was known to be deeply connected to Russian intelligence, the FSB.

An issue was a very large sum of money that Trump borrowed from the German bank in 2005 to fund the construction of the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago. Trump had personally guaranteed to repay the $US640 million ($828.7 million) debt.

Since then, a global financial crash had arrived. Trump had defaulted on payment, with $US330 million still outstanding. In late November 2008, Deutsche was seeking an immediate $US40 million from the tycoon, plus interest, legal fees and costs.

In 2010 Trump settled his feud with Deutsche. This was done, extraordinarily, by borrowing more money from … Deutsche Bank.

1,300 Trump condominiums have been sold to Russian-connected buyers. Even a cheap Trump condo costs over a million dollars, so there over 1,300 condos that meet all the criteria for what is normally called money laundering. Russian intelligence is using Trump real estate to launder money

In 2008 his son, Donald Trump Jr., said that Russia was an important source of money for the Trump businesses.

Trump and his entourage have made a significant number of trips to Russia in the past (a list of these along with Russian personages he was in contact with can easily be found on Google), seeking financing and permission to build luxury hotels in that country

Russian intelligence owns Wikileaks entirely and released the damning, and authentic, ‘Podesta papers’ concurrent with Hillary Clinton’s campaign in coordinated agreement with the Trump people. This did serious damage to her campaign and was a major contributory factor to her narrow defeat and Trump’s election to the presidency.

Trump’s actions, as President, are deliberate efforts to alienate both the putative allies of the US such as Germany, France, and Canada and, to a lesser degree, Mexico. Also, the tariffs suggested by Trump against China would result in retaliation by that country and many retail outlets in the United States would be forced to close because they would be unable to purchase Chinese-made goods, the bulk of their stock.

Trump has deliberately launched pointless, and destructive, attacks against Mexican and Muslim immigrants, as well as Canadian, Chinese and German imports. All this has done is to create a highly negative image of his persona primarily and secondarily, the global image of the United States. This is only to the benefit of Putin’s Russia, not the United States.

Trump’s tariffs, and threats of tariffs, have engendered counter-tariffs that will, when implemented, create serious economic problems for American businessmen and, eventually, the American public.

Trump’s politically foolish but calculated support of the Israeli far right has done, and is doing, serious damage to the US image in the Middle East. It should be noted that Russian influence in the Shiite areas of the Middle East, is growing. Also note that Iran, and parts of Iraq, both Shiite, have extensive oil reserves and that Saudi Arabia, a Sunni state, once America’s primary source of badly-need oil, is running dry. Further, his aggressive support of Israel is resulting in increasing antisemitism in the United States.

The Middle East areas where Russia now has growing influence, have oil and if Russia sets itself up as major oil merchandising source, this will give them tremendous economic leverage vis a vis the United States which is the world’s largest consumer of oil and its by-products.

By alienating America’s allies and disrupting that country’s social structure, Trump benefits only Russia and its interests.

When he is caught at this, and it is common knowledge that the FBI was deeply interested in his Russian connections long before he ran for President, either the American public will have to deal with another Dallas or Trump will suffer a fatal heart attack. Vice-President Pence, a Christian fanatic, would then have to be told to mind his manners or suffer similar terminal problems.

Trump is very well aware of the ongoing and growing official investigation into his denied but completely genuine Russian connections and is certainly also well aware of what they can find, and probably have already uncovered, so he initially fired the head of the FBI and even now, according to a very reliable source, is determined to replace the FBI with the cooperative CIA (their former head, Pompeo, is now Secretary of State) as the sole foreign and domestic intelligence agency. He, and his Russian intelligence handlers, want to nip any FBI revelations in the bud so that Trump can continue on his course of castrating the United States as a global power to the benefit of Putin’s Russia.

There was a full page ad that he took out in the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Washington Post in 1988, putting forth foreign policy points that could have been dictated by Vladimir Putin. It was an assault against NATO, and the European Union, both anathema to Russia

In 2015, Western European intelligence agencies in France and Germany began picking up solid evidence of communications between the Russian government and people in Donald Trump’s orbit. In April 2016, one of the Baltic States shared with then–CIA director John Brennan an audio recording of Russians discussing funneling money to the Trump campaign. In the summer of 2016, Robert Hannigan, head of the U.K. intelligence agency GCHQ, flew to Washington to brief Brennan on intercepted communications between the Trump campaign and Russia.

During the Soviet era, Russian intelligence cast a wide net to gain leverage over influential figures abroad. (The practice continues to this day.) The Russians would lure or entrap not only prominent politicians and cultural leaders, but also people whom they saw as having the potential for gaining prominence in the future. In 1986, Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin met Trump in New York, flattered him with praise for his building exploits, and invited him to discuss a building in Moscow. Trump visited Moscow in July 1987. He stayed at the National Hotel, in the Lenin Suite, which certainly was known to be bugged

Throughout his career, Trump has always felt comfortable operating at or beyond the ethical boundaries that constrain typical businesses. In the 1980s, he worked with La Cosa Nostra, which controlled the New York cement trade, and later employed Michael Cohen and Felix Sater, both of whom have links to the Russian Mafia. Trump habitually refused to pay his counter parties, and if the people he burned (or any journalists) got in his way, he bullied them with threats. He also used LLCs which he created for the purpose of swindling firm who, for example, laid new carpet in one of his hotels. The vendor billed the LLC which promptly went bankrupt. This has been a favorite gambit of Trump.

Trump continually acts like a man with a great deal to hide: declining to testify to anything under oath, dangling  Presidential pardons to keep potential witnesses and former employees from incriminating him, publicly chastising his attorney general for not quashing the whole Russian investigation, and endorsing Russia’s claims that it had nothing to do with the election. (“Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!” he tweeted last month, contradicting the conclusion of every U.S. intelligence and counter-intelligence agency.) Trump’s behavior toward Russia looks exactly like that of an accessory after the fact.

When, and not if, it becomes public knowledge that the President of the US is an agent of a foreign power, it would be the worst scandal in American history, far surpassing Tea Pot Dome or Watergate.

In conclusion, it is clearly obvious that President Trump was jobbed into his office with the full cooperation of Russian intelligence and that he is currently engaged in efforts to carry out their political global programs which, if allowed to continue, will wreak economic and political havoc on the American government, business community and public.

And consider that the United States has been harassing Vladimir Putin’s Russia economically and causing considerable problems for that country. Mr. Putin’s reactive countermeasures aganst the United States are certainly in response to these actions and in the long view, far more effective than sanctions and hysterical threats.

 

The Government-Approved Rip-Off

This is rapidly becoming a decade of official deceit and public disillusion.

The issue under discussion here is MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System).

MERS, set up by the government in 1995, now claims to be a privately-held company and their official function is stated to be ‘keeping track of a confidential electronic registry of mortgages and the modifications to servicing rights and ownership of the loans.’

MERS is actually a U.S. government initiated organization like Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac and its current shareholders include AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, WaMu, CitiMortgage, Countrywide, GMAC, Guaranty Bank, and Merrill Lynch.

All of these entities have been intimately, and disastrously, involved with the so-called “housing bubble,” and were subsequently quickly bailed out by the then-supportive Bush administration

In addition to its publicly stated purpose of simplifying mortgage registration MERS was also set up to assist in the creation of so-called ‘Collateralized debt obligations (CDOs)’ and ‘’Structured investment Vehicles (SIV).’

The CDOs is a type of structured asset-backed security (ABS) whose value and payments are derived from a portfolio of fixed-income underlying assets. CDOs securities are split into different risk classes, or tranches, which permits these entities to be minced into tiny tranches and sold off by the big investment banks to pensions, foreign investors and retail investors who in turn have discounted and resold them over and over.

It is well-known inside the American banking institutions that these highly questionable, potentially unsafe investment packages were deliberately marketed to countries, such as China and Saudi Arabia, that are not in favor with elements of the American government and banking industry and were, and are, marketed with full knowledge of their fragility.

A number of countries, including Germany, through the American-controlled Deutsche Bank, are involved.

MERS, set up by the U.S. government in 1995, now claims to be a privately-held company and their official function is stated to be ‘keeping track of a confidential electronic registry of mortgages and the modifications to servicing rights and ownership of the loans.’

MERS is actually a U.S. government initiated organization like Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac and its current shareholders include AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, WaMu, CitiMortgage, Countrywide, GMAC, Guaranty Bank, and Merrill Lynch. All of these entities have been intimately, and disastrously, involved with the so-called “housing bubble,” and were subsequently quickly bailed out by the supportive Bush administration

In addition to its publicly stated purpose of simplifying mortgage registration MERS was also set up to assist in the creation of so-called ‘ Collateralized’ debt obligations (CDOs) and Structured investment Vehicles (SIV). The CDOs is a type of structured asset-backed security (ABS) whose value and payments are derived from a portfolio of fixed-income underlying assets. CDOs securities are split into different risk classes, or tranches, which permits these entities to be minced into tiny tranches and sold off by the big investment banks to pensions, foreign investors and retail investors, who in turn have discounted and resold them over and over.

It is well-known inside the American banking institutions that these highly questionable, potentially unsafe investment packages were deliberately marketed to countries, such as China, Germany and Saudi Arabia, that are not in favor with elements of the American government and banking industry and were, and are, marketed with full knowledge of their fragility.

The basic problem with this MERS system that while it does organize the mortgage market, it also knowingly permits fiscal sausage-making whereby a huge number of American domestic and business mortgages, (75 million by conservative estimate) are sliced up, put into the aforesaid “investment packages” and sold to customers both domestic and foreign.

This results in the frightening fact that the holders of mortgages, so chopped and packed, are not possible to identify by MERS or anyone else, at any time and by any agency. This means that any property holder, be they a domestic home owner or a business owner, is paying their monthly fees for property they can never own. Because of the diversity of the packaging, it is totally and completely impossible to ascertain what person or organization owns a specific mortgage and as a result, a clear title to MERS-controlled property is impossible to get at any time, even if a mortgage is fully paid. No person or entity, has been, or never can be, identified who can come forward and legally release the lien on the property once the loan is paid.

In short, MERS conceals this fact from the public with the not-unreasonable assumption that by the time the owner of the home or business discovers that they have only been paying rent on property they can never get clear title to, all the primary parties;  the banks, the government agencies, the mortgage companies, or the title companies, will be dead and gone. MERS is set up to guarantee this fact but, gradually, little by little, mostly by word of mouth, the public is beginning to realize that their American dream of owning a house is nothing but a sham and a delusion.

The basic problem with this MERS system that while it does organize the mortgage market, it also knowingly permits fiscal sausage-making whereby a huge number of American domestic and business mortgages, (59 million by conservative estimate) are sliced up, put into the aforesaid “investment packages” and sold to customers both domestic and foreign.

This results in the frightening fact that the holders of mortgages, so chopped and packed, are not possible to identify by MERS or anyone else, at any time and by any agency. This means that any property holder, be they a domestic home owner or a business owner, is paying their monthly fees for property they can never own. Because of the diversity of the packaging, it is totally and completely impossible to ascertain what person or organization owns a specific mortgage and as a result, a clear title to MERS-controlled property is impossible to get at any time, even if a mortgage is fully paid. No person or entity, has been, or never can be, identified who can come forward and legally release the lien on the property once the loan is paid.

In short, MERS conceals this fact from the public with the not-unreasonable assumption that by the time the owner of the home or business discovers that they have only been paying rent on property they can never get clear title to, all the primary parties; the banks, the government agencies, the mortgage companies, or the title companies, will be dead and gone. MERS is set up to guarantee this fact but, gradually, little by little, mostly by word of mouth, the public is beginning to realize that their American dream of owning a house is nothing but a sham and a delusion.

The solution to this is quite simple. If a home or business American mortgage payer, goes to the property offices in their county and looks at their registered property, they can clearly see if MERS is the purported holder of the mortgage. This is fraudulent – MERS has never advanced any funds in the transaction and owns nothing. It is merely a registry. If MERS is the listed holder, the mortgage payers will never, ever, get clear title to their property.

In this case, the property occupier has two choices: They can either turn the matter over to a real estate attorney or simply continue pouring good money after bad.

And is there relief?

Indeed there is. In case after case (95% by record) if the matter is brought to the attention of a court of law, Federal or state, the courts rule that if the actual owner of the mortgage cannot be located after a reasonable period of time, the owner receives a clear title from the court and does not need to make any further payments to an unidentified creditor!

It will stop any MERS based foreclosure mid process and further, any person who was fraudulently foreclosed by MERS, which never held their mortgage, and forced from their home can sue MERS and, through the courts, regain their lost homes.

 

The Attack on Iran: Israel’s Plans for a US Action

 

1.The problem under consideration here is that Iran has, or will have, a nuclear weapon.. If Iran gets a nuclear bomb, Israelis are afraid Iran will use it on them.

2.Israel would have logistical problems attacking Iran. Any attack would have to be an aerial attack, using fighter-bombers to pin-point known Iranian nuclear facilities.

The current opinion in some circles, mostly in the United States, is that at some point in the near future, the growing threat or re-imposition of devastating economic sanctions on Iran will convince its radical religious leaders to terminate their pursuit of nuclear weapons. Also, there is the growing hope that the CIA’s funded Iran’s Green Movement will overthrow, a la the Ukrainian Orange Revolution and replace the Muslim fundamentalist regime, or at the very least find the means to modify and secularize the regime’s ideological extremism. It is also possible that disrupting operations  now being implemented by the intelligence agencies of Israel, the United States, Great Britain, and other Western powers—programs designed to subvert the Iranian nuclear effort through physical sabotage and, upon occasion, the carefully engineered disappearances of nuclear scientists—will have derailed Iran’s progress towards achieving the capacity to produce nuclear weapons.

It is now planned in Tel Aviv that senior Israeli officials, representing both their political and military establishments, will come to Washington for conferences both with their American counterparts and, eventually, with President Trmup. These conversations, which have been carefully planned and scripted, will have the Israelis advising their American counterparts that they are planning an attack, nuclear or non-nuclear as the situation develops, on Iran because a nuclear Iran poses the ‘gravest threat since Hitler’ to the physical survival of the Jewish people. The Israelis will also state that they believe that  by launching a preemptive strike at all possible Iranian sites suspected of participation in their nuclear program they have a reasonable chance of delaying the Iranian nuclear program for at least three to five years,. Further, talking-point secret Israeli memos state: Israel will inform their American counterparts that Israel has no other choice than to launch this attack. They will not ask for permission for this attack, because it will soon be too late to ask for permission.

Insofar as President Trump is concerned, the Israelis are considering the most important point of these interviews would be to discover as to what would be the circumstances under which President Trump would move to halt the Iranian projects. The primary point, then, is to convince the Americans that only military force, i.e., heavy bombing raids, would be able to “totally obliterate Iran’s attempts to get a nuclear weapon and, further, to prevent them from rebuilding their infrastructure in the foreseeable future.” From the Israeli point of view, all of their future actions, which also include the use of their own nuclear weapons on Tehran depends entirely upon the answers, primarily of the President but also of the American military leadership..

Also, in the possible event that the American President were to agree fully with Israeli wishes, i.e., to use American aircraft to obliterate the perceived Iranian threat by bombing specific, and even general, Iranian targets, could an Israeli-sponsored domestic American propaganda campaign to encourage sections of the American public, outside of the fully-cooperative Jewish community, to support such an American attack.

At the present time, it is well-established that Israeli agents, Mossad and others, have inserted themselves into all the instruments of power and propaganda in the United States where they have sent any pertinent information to Israel and kept up a steady offensive against the minds, and wills, of the American people. Also, many of the more prominent American newspapers, such as the New York Times is entirely Jewish-owned, this is stated to be the most receptive to the needs of both Washington and Tel Aviv.

Israel is fully prepared to take a chance on permanently alienating American affection in order to make a high-risk attempt at stopping Iran. If Iran retaliates against American troops in Iraq or Afghanistan, the consequences for Israel’s relationship with America’s military leadership could be catastrophic.

It has been seriously discussed in Tel Aviv and in the Israeli Embassy in Washington, that probably the best way to compel the American public and through them, the President, to unilateral action, would not be to launch an attack on Tehran but instead, attack America through a false-flag operation. This would consist of a believable attack, or attempted attack, on a major American target a la the 9/11 Saudi-supported attacks.

The most current plan would be for a known militant Arab anti-Israel group, Hezbollah, to actually deliver an atomic device to the city of New York, or, alternatively, to Washington.

The American Central Intelligence Agency, now seeking to reshape its negative image, would report to the Federal Bureau of Investigation the exact details of the arrival and placement of the bomb.

The actual bomb would be genuine but would have a part that was malfunctioning, thus rendering the weapon impossible to detonate. The Arabs involved in this delivery would have in their number, a Yemeni Jew, such as the ones that instigated the 9/11 Saudi attacks, and this sleeper would carry numerous forged documents “proving” that Tehran was directly behind this planned attack.

Revelation of these documents by the fully-supportive New York Times and Washington Post would immediately swing a significant bulk of the American public behind an immediate attack on Tehran with the purpose of neutralizing its atomic weapons capacity.

This program is now on the table and undercover Israeli agents, posing as top-level Iranian operatives, have located a small group of Hizbollah in Lebanon who would be willing to deliver and prepare this device in New York or, as an alternative, Washington itself. Israeli intelligence feels that the use of Hizbollah personnel would entirely justify their obliterating Hizbollah-controlled territory in southern Lebanon that now house many thousands of long-range surface to surface missiles that could easily reach Tel Aviv and other vital Israeli targets.

This action, which has already been planned in detail, would be conducted by Israel alone and would compliment the projected American attack on Tehran. Israel stresses the fact that both attacks must be simultaneous lest a forewarned Hezbollah launch rocket attacks on Israel upon hearing of the American attack. Timing here is considered to be absolutely vital.

Both Israel and Hezbollah have accused UNIFIL of bias. Israel again accused them of failing to prevent, and even collaborating with, Hezbollah in its replenishment of military power. Hezbollah, in turn, said “certain contingents” of UNIFIL are spying for, if not assisting, Israel.

Israel has long been a serious planning for a future invasion of Lebanon and such an assault would continue attacking until both Hezbollah’s membership and their system of tunnels and bunkers was completely destroyed, because Israel will never tolerate a “zone of invulnerability” occupied by a sworn enemy, or a double threat posed by Hezbollah’s rockets.

In the event that Israeli military aircraft attack Tehran, there is the vital necessity that these Israeli military aircraft would be under great pressure to return to base at once because Israeli intelligence believes that Iran would immediately order Hezbollah to fire rockets at Israeli cities, and Israeli air-force resources would be needed to hunt Hezbollah rocket teams.

Israel’s Northern Command, at its headquarters near the Lebanese border, is ordered that in the event of a unilateral Israeli or American strike on Iran, their mission would be to attack and completely destroy any and all identified Hezbollah rocket forces, by any and all means necessary, to include small nuclear devices that could destroy a number of square miles of what is called ‘terrorist territory’ and render it useless as any future base of attack against Israel. At the present time the Iranians are keeping their Hezbollah firm ally in reserve until Iran can cross the nuclear threshold.

During  the years since the 2006 Israeli attack on Lebanon Hezbollah has greatly increased its surface-to-surface missile capability, and an American/Israeli strike on Iran, would immediately provoke all-out retaliation by Iran’s Lebanese subsidiary, Hezbollah, which now possesses, by most Israeli/American intelligence estimates, as many as 45,000 surface-to-surface rockets—at least three times as many as it had in the summer of 2006, during the last round of fighting between the group and Israel. It is further known that Russia has sent large numbers of longer range surface-to-surface missiles to Syria which has, in turn, shipped them to Hezbollah forces in southern Lebanon. These missiles have the capacity to easily reach Tel Aviv and Israelis are very concerned that a massive rocket barrage deep into Israel could not only do serious damage to their infrastructure but could easily provoke a mass immigration of Israelis to other areas, thus depriving Israel of both civilian and military personnel it would certainly need in the event of increased Arab military actions against Israel.

Even if Israel’s Northern Command successfully combated Hezbollah rocket attacks in the wake of an Israeli strike, which American experts have deemed to be “nearly impossible” political limitations would not allow Israel to make repeated sorties over Iran. “America, too, would look complicit in an Israeli attack, even if it had not been forewarned. The assumption—that Israel acts only with the full approval of the United States is a feature of life in the Middle East, and it is one the Israelis are taking into account. A serious danger here to Israeli attack plans would be if the United States got wind of the imminence of such an attack and demanded that Israel cease and desist in its actions. Would Israel then stop? Though highly unlikely, this is an unpleasant and unacceptable

At this time, the Israelis have drawn up specific plans to bomb the uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz, the enrichment site at Qom, the nuclear-research center at Esfahan, and the Bushehr reactor, along with four other main sites of the Iranian nuclear program that have been identified by joint past and present Israeli-American aerial surveillance.

If Israeli aircraft succeed in destroying Iran’s centrifuges and warhead and missile plants, all well and good but even if  they fail to damage or destroy these targets ,such an attack is feared by American and other nations as risking a devastating change in the Middle East. Such an attack could initiate immediate reprisals such as a massed rocket attack by Hezbollah from southern Lebanon as well as other actions from neighboring Muslim states.

This could become a major diplomatic crisis for President Trump that will dwarf Afghanistan in significance and complexity; of rupturing relations between Jerusalem and Washington, which is Israel’s only meaningful ally; of inadvertently solidifying the somewhat tenuous rule of the mullahs in Tehran; of causing the international price of oil to spike to cataclysmic highs, launching the world economy into a period of turbulence not experienced since the autumn of 2008, or possibly since the oil shock of 1973; of seriously endangering Jewish groups around the world, and especially in the United States by making them the targets of Muslim-originated terror attacks and most certainly accelerating the growing immigration of many Israelis to what they felt might be much safer areas.

An Israeli political and military consensus has now emerged that there is a better than 50 percent chance that Israel will launch a strike by December of 2010. (Of course, it is in the Israeli interest to let it be known that the country is considering military action, if for no other reason than to concentrate the attention of the Trump administration. The Netanyahu government is already intensifying its analytic efforts not just on Iran, but on a subject many Israelis have difficulty understanding: President Trump.

The Israelis argue that Iran demands the urgent attention of the entire international community, and in particular the United States, with its unparalleled ability to project military force. This is the position of many moderate Arab leaders as well that if America allowed Iran to cross the nuclear threshold, the small Arab countries of the Gulf would have no choice but to leave the American orbit and ally themselves with Iran, out of self-protection. Several Arab leaders have suggested that America’s standing in the Middle East depends on its willingness to confront Iran. They argue, self-interestedly, that an aerial attack on a handful of Iranian facilities would not be as complicated or as messy as, say, invading Iraq. The basic question then is why the Jewish state should trust the non-Jewish president of the United States to stop Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold.

For more than a year, these White House officials have parried the charge that their president is unwilling to face the potential consequences of a nuclear Iran, and they are frustrated by what they believe to be a caricature of his position. It is undeniably true, however, that the administration has appeared on occasion less than stalwart on the issue.

One question no administration official seems eager to answer is this: what will the United States do if sanctions fail?

In Israel, of course, officials expend enormous amounts of energy to understand President Trump, despite the assurances they have received from others. Delegations from Netanyahu’s bureau, from the defense and foreign ministries, and from the Israeli intelligence community have been arriving in Washington lately with great regularity. As an alternative to cooperation by Trump, Israel, through her supporters and lobbyists in the United States are preparing to offer extensive financial and other incentives to political opponents of Trump, mostly the right-wing Republicans and American Christian groups and cults. Both of these groups are being cultivated currently with the idea that if Trump will not cooperate, the Republicans will in the future as they always have before. Also to consider is the current antipathy of American Jews for Netanyahu’s Likud Party, and these American Jews, who are, like the president they voted for in overwhelming numbers, generally supportive of a two-state solution, and dubious about Jewish settlement of the West Bank.

Both Israeli and American intelligence agencies are of the firm belief that Iran is, at most, one to three years away from having a breakout nuclear capability, which is the capacity to assemble more than one missile-ready nuclear device.. The Iranian regime, by its own statements and actions, has made itself Israel’s most zealous foe; and the most crucial component of Israeli national-security doctrine, a tenet that dates back to the 1960s, when Israel developed its own nuclear capability as a response to the Jewish experience during the Holocaust, is that no regional adversary should be allowed to achieve nuclear parity with the reborn and still-besieged Jewish state, the Iranian desire for nuclear weapons and the regime’s theologically motivated desire to see the Jewish state purged from the Middle East

Patriotism in Israel runs very high, according to numerous polls, and it seemed unlikely that mere fear of Iran could drive Israel’s Jews to seek shelter elsewhere. But one leading proponent of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, If Iran crossed the nuclear threshold, the very idea of Israel as a Zionist entity would be endangered. “These people are good citizens, and brave citizens, but the dynamics of life are such that if someone has a scholarship for two years at an American university and the university offers him a third year, the parents will say, ‘Go ahead, remain there,’ If someone finishes a Ph.D. and they are offered a job in America, they might stay there. It will not be that people are running to the airport, but slowly, slowly, the decision-making on the family level will be in favor of staying abroad. The bottom line is that we would have an accelerated brain drain. And an Israel that is not based on entrepreneurship that is not based on excellence will not be the Israel of today.”

Most critically if a Zionist Israel is no longer seen by its 6 million Jewish inhabitants and also by the approximately 7 millions of Jews resident outside of Israel that because of continuing threats from outside the country as no longer a natural safe haven for Jews then the entire concept of a Zionist haven/state is destroyed

To understand why Israelis of different political dispositions see Iran as quite possibly the most crucial challenge they have faced in their 62-year history, one must keep in mind the near-sanctity, in the public’s mind, of Israel’s nuclear monopoly. The Israeli national narrative, in shorthand, begins with shoah, which is Hebrew for “calamity,” and ends with tkumah, “rebirth.” Israel’s nuclear arsenal symbolizes national rebirth, and something else as well: that Jews emerged from World War II having learned at least one lesson, about the price of powerlessness.

If Israel is unable to change Trump’s mind, they will continue to threaten to take unilateral action against Iran by sending approximately one hundred F-15Es, F-16Is, F-16Cs, and other aircraft of the Israeli air force to fly east toward Iran—by crossing Saudi Arabia, and along the border between Syria and Turkey, and, without consulting the Americans or in any way announcing their missions by traveling directly through Iraq’s airspace, though it is crowded with American aircraft. (It’s so crowded, in fact, that the United States Central Command, whose area of responsibility is the greater Middle East, has already asked the Pentagon what to do should Israeli aircraft invade its airspace. According to multiple sources, the answer came back: do not shoot them down.)

The first belief by Israeli military planners is that Israel would get only one try. Israeli planes would fly low over Saudi Arabia, bomb their targets in Iran, and return to Israel by flying again over Saudi territory, possibly even landing in the Saudi desert for refueling—perhaps, if speculation rife in intelligence circles is to be believed, with secret Saudi cooperation.

Israel has been working through the United States to procure Saudi cooperation with an Israeli air strike against Tehran and other targets inside Iran.. The Saudis are treating this subject with great caution lest other Arab states learn of their putative cooperation in an Iranian attack with over flights of Saudi territory by Israeli military aircraft.

The current American/Israeli military plans are for the Saudis to turn off their radar after they have been noticed by the American embassy that an Israeli attack is imminent and also to permit the Israeli aircraft to land in their country for refueling The Israelis are not concerned with any kind of Iranian aircraft resistance because their airfields have been pinpointed by American satellites and one of the attacking groups would use low-yield atomic rocketry on all the identified Iranian bases. It is obvious that when, not if, the Saudis part in this becomes public, it will create immense ill-will in neighboring Muslim states, an impression the Saudi government is most anxious not to deal with.

Israel has twice before successfully attacked and destroyed an enemy’s nuclear program. In 1981, Israeli warplanes bombed the Iraqi reactor at Osirak, halting—forever, as it turned out—Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions; and in 2007, Israeli planes destroyed a North Korean–built reactor in Syria. An attack on Iran, then, would be unprecedented only in scope and complexity.

The reasoning offered by Israeli decision makers was uncomplicated: At the present moment, Israel possesses 135 nuclear weapons, most of them  mainly two-stage thermonuclear devices, capable of being delivered by missile, fighter-bomber, or submarine (two of which are currently positioned in the Persian Gulf). Netanyahu is worried about an entire complex of problems, not only that Iran, or one of its proxies, would, in all probability, destroy or severely damage Tel Aviv; like most Israeli leaders, he believes that if Iran gains possession of a nuclear weapon, it will use its new leverage to buttress its terrorist proxies in their attempts to make life difficult and dangerous; and that Israel’s status as a haven for Jews would be forever undermined, and with it, the entire raison d’être of the 100-year-old Zionist experiment.

Another question Israeli planners struggle with: how will they know if their attacks have actually destroyed a significant number of centrifuges and other hard-to-replace parts of the clandestine Iranian program? Two strategists told me that Israel will have to dispatch commandos to finish the job, if necessary, and bring back proof of the destruction. The commandos—who, according to intelligence sources, may be launched from the autonomous Kurdish territory in northern Iraq—would be facing a treacherous challenge, but one military planner I spoke with said the army would have no choice but to send them.

Netanyahu’s obvious course is to convince the United States that Iran is not Israel’s problem alone; it is the world’s problem, and the world, led by the United States, is obligated to grapple with it, not Israel alone. It is well-known that Israel by itself could not hope to deal with a retaliation against it by Iran and other Arab states but that a confederation of other nations, led, of course, by the United States could defend Israel against her enemies. The Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu, does not place and credence in the current sanctions against Iran, even the ones initiated by the United States at Israel’s urgent request. Is it known that Netanayahu is not happy with President Trumps’s reluctance to support an Israeli attack on Iran and has brought a great deal of political pressure to bear on the President by American Jewish political and business groups.

Netanyahu understands, however, that President Trump, with whom he has had a warm and friendly relationship, believes that stringent sanctions, combined with various enticements to engage with the West, might still provide Iran with a face-saving method of standing down.

If the Israelis reach the firm conclusion that Trump will not, under any circumstances, launch a strike on Iran, then the countdown will begin for a unilateral Israeli attack.

 

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Steve Scalise

No, we’re not gonna give this a pass. Steve Scalise is the US House of Representatives Minority Whip and representative for Louisiana’s 1st congressional district since 2008, victim of a deranged leftwing shooter in 2017, and wingnut. Scalise is notable for his general wingnuttery, his attempts at historical revisionism and to question the separation of church and state, and his fierce opposition to gay rights. In 2018 he blamed Obama for trying to rig the midterm elections.

For our purposes, perhaps his most important qualification for inclusion here is his climate change denialism. Sure, he is one of many climate change deniers in Congress, but that really is no excuse. In 2013, Scalise argued at CPAC that climate change is a myth that doesn’t need to be addressed, pointing out that President Obama was cold during the inauguration: “He talked about global warming at his inauguration, I found it ironic that the President was wearing a trench coat it was so cold but he’s talking about global warming,” Scalise said, spectacularly failing to grasp the basics of anything. He also noted that a snow storm later cancelled a congressional hearing on climate change: “you can’t make this stuff up.” And in 2014 he blamed a UN-backed “radical environmentalist” conspiracy: “While their global warming agenda continues to lose support, it’s ironic that radical environmentalists are at it again, less than a month after NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), announced the Great Lakes had the most widespread ice coverage in over 35 years. Thirty years ago liberals were using global cooling to push new radical regulations [they demonstrably were not, though it is unclear how changing one’s view in light of the evidence is supposed to be an indictment of science in any case]. Then they shifted their focus to global warming in an effort to prop up wave after wave of job-killing regulations that are leading to skyrocketing food and energy costs.” He is a bit short on detailing the motives of the conspiracy, but I guess we all know that science is an evil conspiracy anyways.

Steve King apparently thinks Scalise is like Jesus, though King is admittedly not particularly good at thinking.

Diagnosis: Wingnut and denialist who toys with conspiracy theories. It should scare us, but we’ve become so accustomed to it that we barely notice.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

June 26, 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. 60

Date: Wednesday, January 22, 1997

Commenced:  10:01 AM CST

Concluded:  10:21 AM CST

GD: Good day to you, Robert. Thank you for the mailing on Costello. I will send you his death certificate after the weekend. Of course it was AIDS. Lee was almost hysterical when I told him this.

RTC: I wonder why?

GD: He’ll probably rush to his doctor for a checkup.

RTC: Now, now, Gregory. Unkind.

GD: Well why get your balls into an uproar when you find out someone died of AIDS?

RTC: There could be many reasons.

GD: Yes, no doubt, but the first assumption is one of personal concern, not sympathy. I understand Costello’s brother, who is in the RN, refused to accept the body. Ah, well, in the midst of life, Robert.

RTC: Of course. Just the certificate?

GD: And the post-mortem report. It was the AIDS pneumonia that took him off on the plane. I wonder if rigor had set in when they landed? They would have to carry him off in a sitting position. Maybe they put one of their cheap blankets over him and pretended he was a broken seat.

RTC: You are in a fine mood today, I must say.

GD: I beat Jesus at poker last night and he wouldn’t pay up. He keeps hiding cards in that hole in his side.

RTC: (Laughter)

GD: I wanted to ask you about this business with Oswald. You know, shooting with two guns out of the window, shooting some Dallas cop, and so on. Can you give me any input here?

RTC: Oswald had nothing to do with the business. Nothing at all. He was an asset of ONI and he worked for both of us at Atsugi. That’s our U-2 base in Japan. He spoke Russian, after a fashion, and was instructed to act like a Marxist to rope in some Jap spies there. A clever young man but a bit of a troublemaker. No, Oswald had nothing to do with it. I said we had used him once and we had a dossier on him. He was perfect for the role of patsy. Married the niece of a top MVD officer, an avowed Marxist and so on. And, joy of joys, he worked at the book building. We had the presidential cavalcade rerouted to go right past it, to be certain. And we had a resource in the Cuban Embassy in Mexico who swore Oswald was in there trying to flee to Cuba. It does pay to have people in the right place, Gregory. Never know when you might need them.

GD: Interesting. And he was using an Argentine Mauser which magically turned into a Mannlicher-Carcano. My God, you couldn’t hit a barn with that piece of shit if you were inside it. The Mauser, on the other hand, was a good gun.

RTC: Yes. The Mauser belonged to the wrong people, so the other piece was substituted. We made sure that it could be traced to him. And we got the wife to admit seeing the wop gun. Of course in her condition, she would identify a crossbow or a polar bear.

GD: And the Ruby business. Too pat.

RTC: Of course. Ruby was from the Chicago mob and I had connections with them through my father. You see, Ruby had cancer and knew he was probably going to die soon enough so he was put up to silencing Oswald. Oswald was not involved and if it ever went to trial, it would all come out. The Navy didn’t want it to come out that they hired him and the FBI didn’t want it out that he had worked for them so everyone was happy when Ruby did his deed in the basement. Of course, later he found out they might execute him instead of letting die comfortably in a Dallas hospital so he got alarmed and was trying to get out of it. I don’t know why, Gregory. He knew all about keeping quiet, but he was a Jew and very emotional. Not stable, but he did his work as he was told. And we had some use for him earlier over sending guns to Castro. I suppose you knew that the Company was an early supporter of Castro? Put him in place, as it were. Now that was a classic mistake. I had nothing to do with that. We spent years trying to clean that one up. Kennedy found out about our role in that because he had Bissel’s phone tapped and loose lips can sink careers as well as ships.

GD: The tangled web.

RTC: What?

GD: ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

RTC: Sounds like Shakespeare.

GD: Walter Scott to be exact. Anyway, given all the loose ends, I’m amazed none of this has come out.

RTC: No, we had an army of real idiots running around with fifty different weird theories and stories, so the public had other things to amuse and entertain them. The umbrella man, the man in the sewer, the tramps in the railroad yard, shooting at General Walker and on and on.

GD: The Warren Report is an un-indexed pack of creative writing.

RTC: Of course it is. Our many friends at The New York Times have been pushing that and the really silly Posner fairytale. Well, the Times is one of our finest assets right along. Not a bad paper, but they do what they’re told. And Jerry Ford running to Hoover, tongue hanging out, with the latest news of the commission’s meetings. Of course Colonel Hoover knew the whole thing. What a huge farce all of that was.

GD: I wonder why none of the truth ever came out?

RTC: Gregory, the American public is as stupid as a post. They’ll go for fried ice cream every time. And the press knows where their bread is buttered, so we never worry about them. Bought and paid for, Gregory, bought and paid for. And we had Ben over at the Post to cinch up matters there for us. Very reliable. He and Angleton cleaned up some of the messes after Kennedy was hit. No, the press can always be counted on.

GD: My late grandfather used to say something right on point. ‘Once a newspaperman, always a whore.’

RTC: Was your grandfather a reporter?

GD: No, a banker.

(Concluded at 10:21 CST)

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

 

The Sabotage Column: Revenge is sweet and flavors all our dealings

by Ben Dova

Suggested bumperstickers designed to promote happiness and brotherhood:

  1. Jesus loves you… but everyone else thinks you are an asshole
  2. Impotence… Nature’s way of saying “No hard feelings”
  3. The proctologist called… they found your head
  4. Everyone has a photographic memory…some just don’t have any film
  5. Save your breath…You’ll need it to blow up your date
  6. Some people are only alive because it is illegal to shoot them
  7. I used to have a handle on life… but now it is broken
  8. WANTED: Meaningful overnight relationship
  9. Hang up and drive
  10. If you can read this… I can slam on my brakes and sue you
  11. Heart Attacks… God’s revenge for eating His animal friends
  12. Your ridiculous little opinion has been noted
  13. Try not to let your mind wander… It is too small to be out by itself
  14. Some people just don’t know how to drive… I call these people “Everybody But Me”
  15. Don’t like my driving… Then quit watching me
  16. Guys… just because you have one… doesn’t mean you have to be one
  17. Welcome to America… NOW speak English
  18. Hire the Handicapped: They’re fun to watch!
  19. Death is nature’s way of telling you to slow down.
  20. Asians don’t drive cars, they aim them ,,,,
  21. Jesus can’t come. He’s dried up.
  22. She lied about her age, Judge. She said she was ten
  23. Trump’s Space Program: Circling Uranus looking for Klingons
  24. George W. Bush for Queen

 

From the spring poor Willie had to
Water fetch each morn and night.
Willie to escape this labor
Blew it up with dynamite.

What they now would do for water
Willie did not know nor care;
But his heart was glad within him,
For the spring was in the air!

 

Europe heatwave: record high of 45C expected in France 

Temperature records expected to be broken as minister warns heatwaves could become norm

June 25, 2019

by Jon Henley Europe correspondent

The Guardian

National highest-ever temperature records, typically set in late July or August, are likely to be broken across Europe this week as a potentially deadly early summer heatwave sweeps across the continent.

Meteorologists expect previous June highs to be approached and possibly exceeded in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland, with all-time records likely to fall in some countries.

“The latest forecasts leave little room for doubt: we are heading for a new national record,” said Guillaume Woznica, a French forecaster, noting Météo-France was now predicting peaks of 45C (113F) in the southern towns of Nîmes and Carpentras on Friday.

The highest reliable June temperature previously recorded in France was 41.5C on 21 June 2003. The country’s highest ever temperature, recorded at two separate locations in southern France on 12 August during the same 2003 heatwave, was 44.1C.

“At our local Potsdam station, operating since 1893, we’re set to break the past June record by about 2C,” tweeted Stefan Rahmstorf, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Eastern parts of Germany, including Berlin, are already experiencing their hottest June on record.

High temperatures are expected to climb further throughout the week, from Spain to the Czech Republic, as the combination of a storm stalling over the Atlantic and high pressure over central Europe pulls very hot air northwards from the Sahara.

Scientists say heatwaves can be particularly dangerous when they occur in early summer, before people have adjusted to seasonal norms. Europe’s 2003 heatwave resulted in the premature deaths of an estimated 70,000 people.

A 2015 report on heatwaves and health, by the World Meteorological Organization and World Health Organization, found early summer heatwaves had been shown to be associated with greater impacts on mortality than later heatwaves of comparable or higher temperatures.

A heatmap for France for 27 June, tweeted by the university meteorologist Ruben Hallali, next to the Edvard Munch painting The Scream, was widely shared on social media.

From the low to mid-30Cs on Tuesday in parts of Spain, France and Italy, most weather models predict temperatures will rise by Thursday to the low to mid-40Cs in south and central France and north-east Spain, and the upper 30Cs in much of the rest of continental Europe.As authorities placed health services and retirement homes on alert, urged children and older people to stay indoors, handed out free water and recommended vigilance against dehydration and heatstroke, the French president, Emmanuel Macron said: “As you know, at times like these, sick people, pregnant women, infants and elderly people are the most vulnerable.

“We must be vigilant and have preventive measures in place in order to intervene as quickly as possible.”

France’s health minister, Agnès Buzyn, said the country was better prepared than in the 2003 heatwave, when 15,000 more people died than in a normal summer. “Our plans have got better and better,” she said. “Our alerts are more efficient.”

Societal change was going to be necessary, Buzyn said. “We will have to change the way we live, the way we act, the way we work, travel, dress … We are going to have to change our habits and stop thinking these episodes are exceptional.”

Among the first to be affected have been France’s high-school students, with the national brevet exams, sat by 15-year-olds, postponed by the education minister on safety grounds from Thursday and Friday until early next week.

Brussels halted horse-and-carriage rides for tourists because of animal welfare concerns, Le Soir newspaper reported, while in Germany media reported a 32-year-old man in Hemer, outside Düsseldorf, had stripped naked in the frozen food section of his local supermarket in an effort to escape the heat.

 

U.S. House passes border aid bill, Trump vows veto

June 25, 2019

by Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a $4.5 billion aid package to address the migrant surge along the U.S.-Mexico border, including new standards for migrants in custody following reports of poor conditions

The Democratic-led House voted 230-195, mostly along party lines, to pass the measure, but its future is uncertain. The Republican-run Senate is working on its own version of the bill, and Republican President Donald Trump has vowed to veto the House legislation, with White House officials saying it would hamstring the administration’s border enforcement efforts.

Trump on May 1 requested the aid for programs that house, feed, transport and oversee record numbers of Central American families seeking asylum in the United States and straining capacity at migrant shelters in border cities.

Attorneys raised alarms last week after finding more than 300 migrant children in an overcrowded Texas border patrol station, where they said some had been held for weeks in squalid conditions without adequate food and water.

Amid the ensuing outcry, the acting commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, John Sanders, said on Tuesday he was resigning.

Democrats emphasized on Tuesday that while they were approving the border aid to address the humanitarian crisis, they were not ratifying the administration’s attempts to restrict and discourage immigration, which Trump has made a central focus of his presidency.

“Our legislation is a vote against the cruel attitude toward children of this administration. This bill does not fund the administration’s failed mass detention policy. Instead it funds effective humane alternatives to detention that have a proven record of success,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said ahead of the vote.

WOOING PROGRESSIVES

But Democratic leaders had to work to secure votes for the bill from progressive lawmakers worried the Trump administration might use the funds for other purposes, such as deportation of migrants.

On Tuesday afternoon, Democrats added provisions to better protect the health of migrants in the custody of U.S. Border Patrol agents, including standards for medical care and nutrition. They also added language to set a three-month limit for any unaccompanied child migrant to spend at an intake shelter unless notice is given.

Another amendment said shelters run by contractors must meet standards of care within six months or risk losing their contracts. Representative Pramila Jayapal, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, agreed to back the bill after that provision was included.

The House legislation would also reinstate hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras that was cut off by the Trump administration.

The same provisions that helped win over progressive Democrats were denounced by House Republicans as “poison pills.” Republicans said they preferred the $4.6 billion Senate version of the bill, which has passed a committee on a bipartisan basis, and includes money – left out by the House – to pay overtime for Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees.

The House bill is a sham that “does not help our overstretched law enforcement authorities,” said House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy.

With administration officials warning they will soon run out of funds at the border, and a one-week congressional recess coming up next week, House Democrats hurried to pass the measure on Tuesday. But the Senate has yet to pass its version, and the two chambers must agree on the same legislation before it is sent to Trump.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Additional reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Leslie Adler and Peter Cooney

 

Video appears to show man dumping water on homeless woman in San Francisco

Witness describes ‘attack’ on woman and her belongings after person pours water from a rooftop

June 25, 2019

by Sam Levin in San Francisco

The Guardian

San Francisco is reckoning with new reports of harassment and attacks on its homeless community, after video emerged of a person dumping a bucket of water on a homeless individual from the roof of a building.

The footage, which spread on social media this week, showed someone standing on a roof of a two-story building and throwing water on a person and their belongings on the street directly below. One witness told the Guardian it was clear the dousing on Sunday afternoon was intentional, and another local resident said he had witnessed a similar dumping incident targeting a homeless person on the same street a week prior.

“It was an attack,” said Richard Alexander Caraballo, who saw the incident from the window of an apartment across the street. “He just came out of nowhere … It was upsetting to see that happen as if it was his right to do that.”

The woman was standing with a shopping cart and other belongings when a man from above dumped a large bucket of water directly on her, said Caraballo, a 44-year-old graphic designer visiting from New York. He said that he initially thought it could have been an accident, but that the man then dumped a second bucket of water on to her things as she was trying to move her belongings.

“It was a direct hit … It seems like he’s really dead set on attacking people,” he said. “If he can do that, what’s next? Rocks?” The video shared on Twitter, first reported by NBC Bay Area, captured the second round of dumping, he said.

Brett Leader, who works in the building in the city’s Mission district where the video was shot, said he had seen an almost identical incident earlier this month. He was standing a few feet away when a bucket of water came pouring down on to a homeless person who was under a tarp on the street.

“This wasn’t an accident or coincidence. This was premeditated,” said Leader, who also lives in the area. “It just seemed so aggressive and immoral … It’s just not something you should do to anyone, regardless of whether they are homeless.”

He said the individual had moved around under the tarp but had not gotten up: “It definitely soaked everything.”

Neither of the people in the video have been identified. A San Francisco police spokesperson said authorities were “aware of the incident” but that no victim had come forward to file a complaint.

The case follows a number of similar incidents in recent years in San Francisco and the surrounding northern California cities, which have struggled with a huge homeless crisis and housing shortage as the tech industry has boomed in the region.

Authorities released shocking video last year of a man in a suit kicking someone lying on the sidewalk in San Francisco, in an unprovoked attack. In Oakland, across the bay, a jogger was caught on camera grabbing a homeless man’s belongings and throwing them into a lake.

St Mary’s Cathedral, home of the Catholic archbishop of San Francisco, faced international backlash in 2015 after it installed water sprinklers above its doorways that were dousing homeless people seeking shelter there. A luxury fine arts and antiques auction faced similar criticism the following year after homeless people spoke out about the auctioneer using a sprinkler system to douse their belongings and prevent them from camping.

“This incident is indicative of the extreme level of class hatred against poor folks in San Francisco, especially hatred against unhoused residents,” said Leslie Dreyer, a local artist and organizer. She works with the Coalition on Homelessness on the Stolen Belonging project, which has been documenting raids on homeless people and incidents of the city and others trashing the belongings of people camped on the streets. “It’s just awful … There is so much hatred toward them, and they know it.”

A group of San Francisco residents in a wealthy neighborhood recently raised funds for a lawsuit to try and block a new homeless shelter from opening in the area.

Caraballo said the person who had dumped the water appeared to be an older white man with some gray hair and that his demeanor when he was pouring the water was disturbing: “This guy was just so calm … He was so cold about it.”

The woman, who was drenched, dried her belongings in the sun and set up a tent on the street that night, he added: “She could get sick, doesn’t he realize?”

A recent federal count showed vast increases of homeless people across the Bay Area, including a 20% surge in the number of unsheltered people in San Francisco, to nearly 5,200 total. The city has one of the highest concentrations of billionaires in the world.

In addition to city sweeps, businesses, private security officers and other residents also regularly bother people living on the streets, making it impossible for them to sleep or maintain their possessions, said Dreyer: “It has a mental health toll on people … It’s just horrible.”

Leader, who has lived in the city for 10 years, said he hoped the individual was caught and that this never happened again: “It’s important that folks are made aware that this is happening and it’s not OK.”

 

The Empire in Collapse

Because of the growing, and serious, public discontent that had been manifested during the course of the Vietnamese War from 1950 through 1973, the American governmental establishment resolved to take steps to recognize, infiltrate and neutralize any significant future national anti-government actions.

Once the most powerful nation, the United States is rapidly losing its premier position in the international sphere while at the same time facing a potential serious anti-government political movement developing in that country. The number of unemployed in the United States today is approximately 97,000,000. Official American sources claim that employment is ‘always improving’ but in fact it is not. Most official governmental releases reflect wishful thinking or are designed to placate the public

This situation is caused by the movement, by management, of manufacturing businesses to foreign labor markets. While these removals can indeed save the companies a great deal of expenditure on domestic labor, by sharply reducing their former worker bodies to a small number, the companies have reduced the number of prospective purchasers of expensive items like automobiles.

The U.S. government’s total revenue is estimated to be $3.654 trillion for fiscal year 2018.

  • Personal income taxes contribute $1.836 trillion, half of the total.
  • Another third ($1.224 trillion) comes from payroll taxes.

This includes $892 billion for Social Security, $270 billion for Medicare and $50 billion for unemployment insurance.

  • Corporate taxes add $355 billion, only 10 percent.
  • Customs excise taxes and tariffs on imports contribute $146 billion, just 4 percent
  • The Federal Reserve’s net income adds $70 billion.
  • The remaining $23 billion of federal income comes from estate taxes and miscellaneous receipts.
  • The use of secret offshore accounts by US citizens to evade U.S. federal taxes costs the U.S. Department of the Treasury well over $100 billion annually.

By moving from a producing to an importing entity, the United States has developed, and is developing, serious sociological and economic problems in a significant number of its citizens, and many suffer from serious health problems that are not treated.

It is estimated that over 500,000 American citizens are without any form of housing. Many of these people either are living on the streets, in public parks, living in cars or in charity shelters. There are at present over 200,000 family groups in America with over 300,000 individuals involved and 25% of the total are minor children.

Over 80,000 individuals are permanently without any residence. Many of these have physical disabilities such as chronic alcoholism or drug addiction. Many are classified as having severe mental disorders.

About 50,000 of these homeless individuals are military veterans, many of whom have serious physical or mental problems. One of the most common mental disorders is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

  • Governmental treatment for these individuals is virtually non-existent.
  • Approximately half of this number are either black or Latin American (“Hispanics” in official designation.)
  • Of the total number of the homeless individuals, approximately 10% are female.

Official but private, estimates are that there over 500,000 youths below the age of 24 in current American society that find themselves homeless for periods lasting from one week to a permanent status.

Over 100,000 of this class are young people who are defined as being homosexual. Those in this class find themselves persecuted to a considerable degree by society in general and their peer groups in specific.

Approximately 50% of this homeless population are over the age of 50, many of whom suffer from chronic, debilitating physical illnesses that are not treated.

Drug deaths in the U.S. in 2017 exceeded 60,000.  Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involved prescriptions. Opioids are a class of strong painkillers drugs and include Percocet, Vicodin and OxyContin which are synthetic drugs designed to resemble opiates such as opium derived morphine and heroin. The most dangerous opioid is Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid painkiller 50-100 times more powerful than morphine. The increasing demand for these drugs is causing them to be manufactured outside the United States.

Suicide is the primary cause of “injury death” in the United States and more U.S. military personnel on active duty have killed themselves than were killed in combat last year.

The growing instability of American families is manifested by the fact that:

  • One out of every three children in America lives in a home without a father.
  • More than half of all babies are being born out of wedlock for women under the age of 30 living in the United States
  • The United States has the highest child abuse death rate in the developed world.
  • The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the world although the numbers have declined in recent years due to the use of contraceptives.

The United States has the highest incarceration rate and the largest total prison population in the entire world. The criminal justice system in the United States holds more than 4,166,000 people in 1,719 state prisons, 102,000 in federal prisons, 901,000 in juvenile correctional facilities, and 3,163,000 in local jails. Additionally, 5,203,400 adults are on probation or on parole.

The number of people on probation or parole has increased the population of the American corrections system to more than 9,369,400 in 2017. Corrections costs the American taxpayer $69 billion a year.

There are a huge number of American domestic and business mortgages, (67 million by conservative estimate) which have been sliced up, put into so-called “investment packages” and sold to customers both domestic and foreign. This problem has been covered up by American authorities by cloaking the facts in something called MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System)

This results in the fact that the holders of mortgages, so chopped and packed, are not possible to identify by MERS or anyone else, at any time and by any agency. This means that any property holder, be they a domestic home owner or a business owner, is paying their monthly fees for property they can never own.

Another festering problem consists of the official loans made to students in colleges and universities in the U.S. the predatory nature of the $90 billion student loan industry. These so-called student loans are the most serious economic problem faced today by American university students.

This problem arose due to federal legislation originating in the mid-1990s which effectively removed basic consumer protections from student loans, thus permitting extensive penalties and the methodology for enforced collection.

Because of the highly inflated cost of higher American education, very few students from high school can afford university education. The new college graduate has, on average, a student loan in excess of $20,000 and students attending graduate programs have average debts of over $40,000.

America today has seriously failing public school systems. Upper economic class Americans are able to send their children to expensive private schools and avoid the exceedingly incompetent public systems. The average American lower school graduates are only a step above illiteracy and their lack of knowledge of world affairs is quite unbelievable.

A small number of extremely wealthy men control and operate all of the major American print and television media.

Each of the few very powerful, rich men have their own reasons for deciding what qualifies as news.

But the public in America now gets its news, without cost, from various internet sites and the circulation number of major print news has dropped dramatically. This has forced the internet editions of the print news media to erect what they call “paywalls.” This permits a very limited number of articles to be read or downloaded before the system demands money for the use of additional material.

The major print media in America is faced with imminent bankruptcy and are making frantic efforts at attempts to prevent free news sites from being aired on the internet.

Government surveillance of the American public is very widespread and at the present time, almost every aspect of an American citizen, or resident, is available for official surveillance. This includes mail, television viewing, telephone conversations, computer communications, travel, ownership of property, medical and school records, banking and credit card transactions, inheritances and other aspects of a citizen’s daily life.

This is done to circumvent any possible organization that could contravene official government policy and has its roots in massive civil resistance to governmental policy during the war in Vietnam. The government does not want a reprise of that problem and its growing surveillance is designed to carefully watch any citizen, or groups of citizens, who might, present or future, pose a threat to government policy.

Another factor to be considered is the current American attitudes towards racial issues. There has always been prejudice in the United States against blacks. In 1943 there were bloody riots in Detroit and Los Angeles, the former aimed at blacks and the latter against Mexicans. Since then, there has been chronic racial prejudice but it has been relatively small and very local. Also, there is growing anti-Semitic prejudice in American but this is officially ignored and never is mentioned in the American media. Much of this growing problem is directed at the brutal actions of Israel against Palestinians. Israelis have an undue influence in the American political scene. The very far right so-called neo-cons are almost all Jewish and most are Israeli citizens. Also, the middle-level ranks of American CIA personnel are heavily infiltrated by Israelis and it is said that any secret the CIA has is at once passed to Israel and that countries needs are assuming importance in CIA actions.

The attitudes of the working class Americans were inflamed during the last presidential elections by Mr. Trump who catered to them and encouraged rebellious attitudes. By speaking against Central American illegal immigrants, Mr. Trump has caused a polarization of attitudes and the militant right wing in America, currently small in number but well-organized and potentially very dangerous, has begun to make its views very well known in public demonstrations.

This movement has played into the hands of far-right American political manipulators.

It is their intention to clandestinely arm these groups and use them to cause violent public confrontations with the far left groups.

By causing this potential violence, the manipulators intend to use the American military to move into unstable area to, as they say, ‘establish law and order’ while in reality, they will use martial law to firm up their basic control of a potentially fractious public.

It is then intended, according to information, to incorporate organized, para-military groups into a sort of domestic Federal police force.

These people will not be punished for their actions but rewarded and utilized to ensure further right-wing control of the country.

 

Jockpocalypse

From the Ballpark to Team Trump

by Robert Lipsyte

TomDispatch

A half-century ago, the sporting Cassandras predicted that the worst values and sensibilities of our increasingly corrupted civic society would eventually affect our sacred games: football would become a gladiatorial meat market, basketball a model of racism, college sports a paradigm of commercialization, and Olympic sports like swimming and gymnastics a hotbed of sexual predators.

Mission accomplished!

The Cassandras then forecast an even more perverse reversal: our games, now profaned, would further corrupt our civic life; winning would not be enough without domination; cheating would be justified as gamesmanship; extreme fandom would become violent tribalism; team loyalty would displace moral courage; and obedience to the coach would supplant democracy.

Okay, I think it’s time for a round of applause for those seers. Let’s hear it for Team Trump!

Even as those predictions were coming true over the past two years, as a longtime sports reporter, columnist, TV commentator, and jock culture correspondent for TomDispatch, I waited with a certain dread and expectation for the arrival of the true Jockpocalypse, the prophetic revelation that Jock Culture had indeed become The Culture. There would be three clear signs, I thought, of this American sports version of a biblical Armageddon.

The first arrived last February, when a leading NFL owner was arrested, allegedly in flagrante delicto, in a Florida massage parlor before an important game. The second hit the news in March, when several dozen parents were caught spending millions of dollars to get their distinctly unathletic children admitted to elite colleges by masquerading as promising varsity sports prospects.

The third and most convincing sign came in April when the world’s greatest golfer tacitly endorsed the world’s greatest golf cheater. Admittedly, none of those signs was as blatant as ongoing outrages like the growing roster of young women athletes who had been sexually abused by their team coaches and doctors; the continuing corruption at the highest levels of European soccer (where anything goes financially speaking and, as the New Yorker’s Sam Knight put it, “The best leagues are awash in Russian oligarchs, Middle Eastern sovereign-wealth funds, and Chinese conglomerates”); or the sexism of the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport in refusing to allow Caster Semenya, a South African runner with naturally elevated testosterone, to compete against other women unless she doped down her hormone levels.

Nevertheless, the three signs I’ve noted reveal how the worst aspects of Jock Culture have indeed transcended all the traditional borders of sportsdom, ruining for many, including me, the full enjoyment of sports. How can a moral person watch games in which players are damaged and exploited? How has sports, cherished as an innocent sanctuary, become such a “guilty pleasure”?

You can argue with obvious justification, historically speaking, that sports was never anything like the chaste Oz of our fantasies, whether you’re talking about foul play in the ancient Olympics, the 1919 World Series Black Sox game-fixing scandal, or the contemporary revelations of the widespread use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs, especially in baseball, track, and bicycle racing, but those three signs I’m about to explore make, in the opinion of this sports writer, an even more damning case for the coming of the End of Days for sports as a sanctuary of innocence, joy, and pleasure of just about any sort.

Signs of the Jockpocalypse

Sign No. 1: My first instinct was to ignore the story of an aged widower, allegedly paying for some version of sex, who was scooped up after being caught on surveillance video at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, during a local police investigation of alleged human trafficking for the sex trade. However, because it was Robert Kraft, the 77-year-old owner of the New England Patriots, one of the National Football League’s most powerful figures, I grew ever more curious — and not just because he had previously liked to flaunt girlfriends half his age or because he supported Donald Trump.

After all, it was on his watch as owner that the Patriots had drafted two players of highly dubious character. In 1996, the team drafted Christian Peter, who had been arrested eight times and convicted four times of assaulting women while a star defensive lineman at the University of Nebraska, the national collegiate champion. Kraft’s late wife, Myra, successfully demanded that Peter, who ultimately had a career with other teams and has apparently turned his life around, be let go.

Then, in 2010, the team drafted Aaron Hernandez, a dominant tight end at national champion Miami, which kicked him out after his junior year for drug use and violent behavior. He played well at New England, but in 2013 was charged with murder and convicted two years later. In 2017, he committed suicide in his prison cell. Later that year, Boston University researchers dissecting Hernandez’s brain diagnosed Stage 3 Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or severe brain injury.

It’s no stretch to associate Kraft with both the murder and the suicide. He was at the very least an important bystander in the “League of Denial,” the NFL’s longstanding attempt to dismiss and obfuscate the striking connections between the game and the traumatic brain injuries that turn out to afflict hundreds of its players. Almost all NFL players whose brains have been studied, which is only possible after death, seem to have suffered grievous trauma from the hits inflicted in that game. Since all of this is now known, any time you turn on professional football, one thing is guaranteed: you are watching sponsored, encouraged assaults on screen or, if you’re in a stadium, in person. And if that isn’t end times in action, what is?

Sign No. 2: Spending upwards of a million dollars or more to enhance the lives of kids seems like a highly worthy endeavor — unless, of course, they turn out to be your own kids and the money is being fraudulently siphoned to those who can get them into prestigious colleges through fraud.  Think of it as the new Gilded Age of the twenty-first century, the one in which the rich only grow richer and the poor… well, their kids better actually be able to play sports damn well.

I’m thinking, of course, about the millionaire parents who bribed go-betweens to bribe coaches of minor college sports to help admit their kids to prestigious schools. As a sportswriter, it seems to me like the end of a long historical arc of sports corruption that began in the last century when coaches at wannabe powerhouse football and basketball schools first doctored high-school transcripts and then the college version of the same to admit potential star players and keep them eligible. (Famed Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne classically did that for his all-American George Gipp, better known from the phrase “win one for the Gipper.”) A successful team, of course, also gives its school a bump in applications and donations.

Recruiting is most obvious in big-time basketball because it’s quite literally written in black and white. Back in 1992, Richard Lapchick, director of the Center for the Study of Sports in Society, offered me these statistics: at NCAA Division 1 schools, 56% of the varsity basketball players are black; 7% of the students on campus are black; and 1.56% of the faculty is black. (Nothing much has changed since.)

When it came to the recent admission scandals, that perverted flipside of athletic recruiting, however, the racial mix was reversed — unsurprisingly, given who has the real money in America. The fraudulent future volleyball champions, tennis aces, and champion sailors were mostly white, and their parents were clearly no less desperate (and far better endowed) to get their children into their first-choice schools than the mostly African-American mothers I’ve met at the summer basketball camps run by sneaker companies as auditions for big-time coaches.

The colleges, in turn, proved themselves greedy for both the unpaid sports performers and the rich kids whose parents were ready to shell out box office prices to get in. As in the case of Robert Kraft, there will be some shaming, inconvenience, and fines for the wealthy, but undoubtedly little else. The players are the ones who, in the end, will absorb and have to live with the traumas.

Comeback for What?

Sign No. 3: To this sports writer, in the moment when a smiling Tiger Woods allowed Donald Trump to hang the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, around his neck, the Jockpocalypse was fully revealed.

The day after Woods won the 2019 Masters Tournament, Trump tweeted that he would bestow the medal to honor “his incredible Success & Comeback in Sports (Golf) and, more importantly, LIFE.” It was, of course, another chance for a president who undoubtedly thinks emoluments are hair conditioners to showcase his golf resorts. In the new normal, we’ve come Jockpocalyptically to expect nothing less from the shameless kleptocrat in the White House.

But what about Tiger, whom we sports types have known since he was a toddler hitting golf balls on TV? We watched his dad drive him relentlessly to stardom and dub him “the Chosen One.” Many fans were sympathetic, even sad, when he cracked up emotionally, physically, and professionally. And then cheered him on when, with extraordinary dedication, he made his way back. In the process, the golf industry was economically recharged.

But in this era in which championship teams and other athletes regularly reject White House invitations to protest the man who occupies the Oval Office, Tiger was hardly obliged by convention to accept the medal. Of course, he has a right to be a Trump supporter or to crave the award and the attention that goes with it. As we know — if we couldn’t have already guessed it — from a recent, acclaimed critical biography of him, Tiger is a selfish and morally challenged figure, distinctly in the presidential mode of the moment.

He is also, however, the leading face of the sport, which might lead you to think that he had a responsibility to uphold golf’s famously self-righteous posture on honest play, even when no one is looking. The sport regularly trumpets stories of players who call fouls on themselves, losing tournaments to preserve the game’s integrity.

And since integrity is marketed as the soul of golf, how can that sport — and its greatest player — ignore the barefaced dishonesty of the world’s most famous golf club owner on the course? As sportswriter Rick Reilly, who has golfed with Trump, describes the president in a hilariously depressing new book, Commander in Cheat, he routinely lies about how many tournaments he’s won, whom he’s beaten, and what his score was. He regularly sneaks his own balls off the rough and kicks his opponent’s onto it. “Somebody should point out,” writes Reilly, “that the way Trump does golf is sort of the way he does a presidency, which is to operate as though the rules are for other people.”

Well, Reilly did point that out, which should have led Tiger to assume his true role as the soul of golf. Instead, as avaricious as Robert Kraft and those golden-helicopter parents, he embraced the devil and helped bring on the Jockpocalypse.

Think of big-time sports, the stuff that makes TV hum every season of the year, as now truly being, like Tiger himself, on the Trump Team where crime, bribery, and cheating of every sort is the order of the day. No wonder this ancient sports writer has the urge to finally say goodbye to all that sweaty hoopla. It’s end times now. And don’t we have better things to do?

 

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