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TBR News March 30, 2019

Mar 30 2019

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

Washington, D.C. March 30, 2019: America today is led by the rabid lunatic fringe, to include the President and his top people. They believe that”

-the earth is flat,

-that Jesus existed and will return,

-that vaccines will kill everybody,

-that President Obama was born in Africa,

-that Planet X will be arriving at Cleveland and disembarking its cargo of Superior People to Guide Us All,

-that a former Russian intelligence officer, living in England, was poisoned by Russian nerve gas,

-that Israel has the moral right to kill Palestinian children and seize their family property for apartment construction,

-that Donald Trump is a genius and will Make America Great again,

-that sea levels are not rising but all the land is sinking,

-that Princess Diana was killed by mutant dwarves and that Russian President Putin is a robot.

-After all, former sports announcer Icke proved that President Obama and British Queen Elizabeth were actually large lizards!

-There always have been such rampant lunatics in every society but usually they are found in psychiatric facilities wearing paper nightgowns and not in the White House and Congress.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Corporations are endangering Americans. Trump doesn’t care
  • Trump wrecked summit with Kim by suggesting N. Korea give all its nukes to US – report
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons

    -Mike Pence

    -Ted Poe

    -Stephen Pidgeon

    -John Pendleton

  • The Earth isn’t flat, but you’d never know that from watching YouTube
  • It is near; it is at hand! Maybe tomorrow but probably never: Fictions for fun and profit
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Exclusive: More than 1 million acres of U.S. cropland ravaged by floods

 Corporations are endangering Americans. Trump doesn’t care

From Boeing to Monsanto and beyond: this week has revealed the tip of the iceberg of regulatory neglect

March 30, 2019

by Robert Reich

The Guardian

Why didn’t Boeing do it right? Why isn’t Facebook protecting user passwords? Why is Phillip Morris allowed to promote vaping? Why hasn’t Wells Fargo reformed itself? Why hasn’t Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) recalled its Roundup weed-killer?

Answer: corporate greed coupled with inept and corrupt regulators.

These are just a few of the examples in the news these days of corporate harms inflicted on innocent people.

To be sure, some began before the Trump administration. But Trump and his appointees have unambiguously signaled to corporations they can now do as they please.

Boeing wanted to get its 737 Max 8 out quickly because airlines want to pack in more passengers at lower fuel costs (hence the “max”). But neither Boeing nor the airlines shelled out money to adequately train pilots on the new software made necessary by the new design.

Nonetheless, Trump’s FAA certified the plane in March 2017. And after two subsequent deadly crashes, the US was slower to ground them than other countries.

Last week Facebook admitted to storing hundreds of millions of Facebook users’ passwords in plain text that could be searched by more than 20,000 Facebook employees. The admission came just a year after the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed that Facebook shared the personal data of as many as 87 million users with a political data firm.

In reality, Facebook’s business model is based on giving personal data to advertisers so they can tailor their pitches precisely to potential customers. So despite repeated reassurances by Mark Zuckerberg, the firm will continue to do what it wants with personal information.

The Federal Trade Commission has the power to force Facebook to better guard users’ privacy. But so far Trump’s FTC has done nothing – not even to enforce a 2011 agreement in which Facebook promised to do just that.

Altria (Phillip Morris) was losing ground on its sales of cigarettes, but the firm has recently found a future in vaping. Because inhaling nicotine in any form poses a health hazard, the FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb wanted to curb advertising of vaping products to teenagers.

Gottlieb thought he had Altria’s agreement, but then the firm bought the vaping company Juul. Its stock has already gained 14% this year. What happened to Gottlieb? He’s out at the FDA, after barely a year on the job.

Wells Fargo has publicly apologized for having deceived customers with fake bank accounts, unwarranted fees and unwanted products. Its top executives say they’ve eliminated the aggressive sales targets that were responsible for the fraud.

But Wells Fargo employees told the New York Times recently that they’re still under heavy pressure to squeeze extra money out of customers. Some have witnessed colleagues bending or breaking internal rules to meet ambitious performance goals.

What has Trump’s Consumer Financial Protection Agency done about this? Nothing. It’s been defanged.

This week, a federal jury awarded $80m in damages to a California man who blamed Monsanto’s (now Bayer’s) Roundup weed-killer for his cancer, after finding that Roundup was defectively designed, that Monsanto failed to warn of the herbicide’s cancer risk, and that the company acted negligently. It was the second jury in eight months to reach the same conclusion about Roundup.

Roundup contains glyphosate, a suspected carcinogen. Cases from more than 1,000 farmers and other agricultural workers stricken with non-Hodgkin lymphoma are already pending in federal and state courts.

What has Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency done about glyphosate? In December 2017 its office of pesticide programs concluded that glyphosate wasn’t likely to cause cancer – although eight of the 15 experts on whom the agency relied expressed significant concerns about that conclusion, and three more expressed concerns about the data.

These are just tips of a vast iceberg of regulatory neglect, frozen into place by Trump’s appointees, of which at least 187 were lobbyists before they joined the administration.

This is trickle-down economics of a different sort than Trump’s corporate tax cuts. The major beneficiaries of this are the same big corporations, including their top executives and major investors. But these burdens are trickling down as unsafe products, fraudulent services, loss of privacy, even loss of life.

Big money has had an inhibiting effect on regulators in several previous administrations. What’s unique under Trump is the blatancy of it all, and the shameless willingness of Trump appointees to turn a blind eye to corporate wrongdoing.

 

Trump wrecked summit with Kim by suggesting N. Korea give all its nukes to US – report

March 30, 2019

RT

US President Donald Trump reportedly proposed that North Korea transfer all its nuclear weapons to the US, a denuclearization template borrowed from Libya before the NATO intervention and brutal murder of its leader.

The second summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in February wrapped up early, ending with a big question mark over the future of the talks and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. In the wake of the Vietnam meeting, Pyongyang and Washington offered different accounts of what actually transpired, with the White House alleging that North Korea demanded all sanctions be lifted from it. Pyongyang insisted that it was talking only about partial relief. The essence of the talks was kept under a veil of secrecy.

Reuters reported on Friday that it got access to a secretive plan that, in Washington’s view, would potentially lead to a breakthrough in the stalled talks. The agency reported that the plan was similar to the one touted by US National Security Advisor John Bolton and was modelled after Libya.

Trump reportedly handed over copies of the plan, in English and in Korean, to Kim during their meeting on February 28. The North Korean side has never commented on the content of the bargain, but it apparently did not sit well with Kim, and the working lunch scheduled for the same day was cancelled.

The plan as outlined by Reuters envisions a complete dismantling of Pyongyang’s “nuclear infrastructure, chemical and biological warfare program” as well as “related dual-use capabilities.” Had North Korea given in to the US’ demands, it would also have to destroy “ballistic missiles, launchers, and associated facilities.” The US demanded that Pyongyang agree to give full account of its nuclear program and provide unimpeded access for international inspectors to the sites. Building new nuclear-related facilities would be prohibited and all scientists working at the old nuclear facilities would be assigned to the commercial sector.

After the summit ended with no deal, Washington attempted to salvage the talks, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying in early March that the US is looking to send a delegation to North Korea soon.

Pyongyang took a pause after the failed summit as hopes of rekindling the momentum between the US and North Korea faded. In the first public assessment of the meeting on March 15, a senior North Korean diplomat decried the stand the US took at the talks as “gangster-like,” hinting that Pyongyang might withdraw from the talks altogether and renew nuclear and missile tests.

If the US indeed proposed to North Korea a refurbished version of the Libyan disarmament model, it would mean that Trump backtracked on his own promise to avoid that specifically. In May last year, Trump was forced to disavow Bolton, who has been peddling the Libya-style denuclearization of North Korea since the early 2000s, after the hawkish national security advisor proposed it again, drawing anger from Pyongyang.

Libya struck a deal with the US to hand over its nuclear program components in 2003. Eight years later, it was ravaged by civil unrest backed by NATO-led bombing, which resulted in the ouster and murder of the country’s long-time leader, Muammar Gaddafi.

 

Encyclopedia of American Loons

 Sunday, November 11, 2018

#2101: Mike Pence

A.k.a. A disturbingly good reason to be hesitant about wanting President Trump impeached even if the opportunity were to arise.

Mike Pence, the 48th Vice President of the US and formerly Governor of Indiana, radio show host and Represenative from Indiana’s 6th District, is a fundamentalist science denialist and occasional conspiracy theorist. Though appearing to many to be far more balanced, stable and boring than Trump, it is possible to make a case for the claim that Pence is, in many ways, crazier.

Fundamentalism, anti-gay campaigning and anti-feminism

Claiming to have received his political mandate from Jesus himself, Pence has long campaigned to obliterate the distinction between religion and politics, and maintains a close relationship with various dominionists (although it would admittedly be an exaggeration to call him a dominionist himself). Indeed, he first received national attention when he introduced (and signed into law) a bill that would allow private individuals and companies to discriminate against LGBT people on “religious freedom” grounds.

In 2000 (Pence’s history of anti-gay campaigning is as long as it is insane), Pence stated that “Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexuals as a ‘discrete and insular minority’ entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities,” and his campaign website called for “an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus” but rather redirect resources toward institutions that “provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior”. Meanwhile, homosexuality “is incompatible with military service because the presence of homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion.” According to Pence, Obama thus wanted to “advance a radical social agenda,” and he falsely claimed that anti-discrimination efforts would mean that pastors “could be charged or be subject to intimidation for simply expressing a Biblical worldview on the issue of homosexual behavior.” As for marriage equality, Pence has reminded us that “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family”. This is incorrect.

Pence is known to adhere to the rule that men should avoid spending time alone with women to whom they are not married, ostensibly to avoid temptation. He seems less than cognizant about what the rule tells us about his character. It is worth thinking about.

As a radio show host, Pence expressed numerous notable opinions about a variety of subject matters. In 1999, he argued, in an op-ed, that the Disney film Mulanwas a piece of liberal, feminist propaganda: “Obviously, this is Walt Disney’s attempt to add childhood expectation to the cultural debate over the role of women in the military,” though he seemed very satisfied that Disney apparently undercut their own argument by letting Mulan fall in love: “Moral of story: women in military, bad idea,” said Pence.

Science

“Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill” – Mike Pence

Pence is a creationist and has a long history of advocating intelligent design creationism, arguing for instance that evolution is “just a theory” and “just one of many theories”; apparently it follows that these many theories are all equal. Also, the science of evolution hasn’t remained the same since Darwin; therefore it must obviously be bullshit. (It is, in other words, abundantly clear that Pence doesn’t have the faintest idea what a scientific theory in general, and the theory of evolution in particular, actually is). In a 2002 statement on the floor of the House of Representatives Pence told his colleagues that “… I also believe that someday scientists will come to see that only the theory of intelligent design provides even a remotely rational explanation for the known universe.” Wishful thinking comes no more delusional than that.

Pence recommends abstinence-only sex education, which demonstrably doesn’t work to achieve the stated aims. But facts be damned when purity and spiritual hygiene are at stake. For similar reasons, Pence claimed that “condoms are a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases.”

As for embryonic stem cell research, Pence is opposed to it, wants it banned, and claims that there are alternatives that “obviate” the need for embryonic research, which is bullsit.

Pence also has a long backstory as a climate change denier; he “does not accept the scientific consensus that human activity is the primary driver of climate change,” and claims that “global warming is a myth” and part of a “liberal environmentalist agenda” to raise taxes. Indeed, according to Pence “the earth is actually cooler today than it was about 50 years ago”. This is incorrect, but Pence has probably realized that with his intended audiences there really is no limit to how egregiously he can lie and get away with it; a similar example is when he imagined his way to the claim that there is “growing skepticism in the scientific community about global warming.” After all, Pence has patiently tried to explain to them that CO2 can’t cause global warming because CO2is a “naturally occurring phenomenon”. More recently, however, Pence has actually come out admitting that he, with a bit of hedging and lots of hesitation, accepts that “there’s no question” that human activity affects climate and the environment. If you expect a more reasonable voting and policy-related behavior, you probably shouldn’t hold your breath, however.

Finally, Pence is largely responsible for passing “the cruel sham known as right-to-try”, which is largely, and despite the rhetoric, an effort to limit the powers of the FDA to intervene when scams are pushed on people in desperate situations.

He denies that he is anti-science, though. He just rejects the parts he disagrees with. He likes the rest.

Miscellaneous

Keep in mind that Pence has argued at length for impeaching Trump.

Diagnosis: Fundamentalist anti-scientists are hardly uncommon; neither are fundamentalist anti-scientists in positions of power. But few of them (there are admittedly some) have more power than Mike Pence.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

#2120: Ted Poe

Lloyd Theodore Poe represented Texas’s 2nd congressional district in the US House of Representatives since the redistricting efforts in 2005 –though he did not seek reelection in 2018 – representing a number of eastern and northern Houston suburbs. Poe is famous for sponsoring – with genuinely stupid representative Steve King – one of “the stupidest bills” ever introduced to US legislation.

Poe is also well-known for his support for birther causes, and he was co-sponsor of the H.R. 1503, a bill introduced to appease the birther movement. In 2009, Poe also tried to argue that Obama’s birth certificate was of questionable provenance, given that Certifications of Live Birth issued by Hawaii State Department of Health cannot be used to obtain a U.S. passport, which is false and apparently a claim pulled out of thin air in a desperate attempt to defend his idiotic flirtings with birtherism. It is not the only time Poe has used ridiculous conspiracy theories to justify political action; far from it.

Poe is probably best known, however, for (well, apart from being dangerously clueless) his attempts to impose his religious views on those who might disagree under the deceptive (and delusional) cover of “persecution”. In 2011, for instance, he was part of an attempt (with John Culberson – an ally also in Poe’s birther theory promotion – and Michael McCaul) to remove the right of deceased soldiers’ families to choose which prayers, if any, were to be read at a soldier’s funeral, in favor of prayers chosen according to Poe’s religious convictions. Poe et al. claimed that their demands were a response to Veterans Affairs (VA) banning Christian prayers at military funerals, an allegation that was as blatantly false as allegations come. At the same time, Poe accused President Obama and his administration of promoting policies that are “anti-religious,” referring in particular to a manufactroversy over a Texas veteran’s cemetery that prohibits a volunteer group from holding religious services at a funeral unless the family requests it, a policy created by the Bush administration in 2007. To Poe, however, it is all part of the Obama administrations effort to persecute Christians by restricting their powers to force others to bend to their religious decrees and wishes. Indeed, Poe has actively tried to subvert the courts’ abilities to use the Constitution to defend religious freedom, and was for instance a cosponsor of the We the People Act.

During the 2016 election, Poe criticized Clinton for attempting to get African Americans on “government dependence” in order to control them and, not the least, to “get their vote.” The claim is admittedly so common in rightwing circles that it has become easy to forget that it is a delusional conspiracy theory. Similarly, accepting Syrian refuges into the US was apparently part of the same strategy. Poe is also on record denying that far-right extremism is a threat to the US, because Muslims. (The Obama administration taking extremist threats seriously, as they should, just shows that they hate conservatives and Christians, which at the very least tells you a bit about what Poe thinks defines “conservative” and “Christian”).

More recently, Poe has opposed Facebook and YouTube’s policy of using third-party entities to combat misinformation because “what one person may think is fake news, somebody else believes is the gospel truth,” displaying a remarkable but telling inability to distinguish fact from opinion.

Diagnosis: A rather typical specimen, we admit. Religious extremist, dumb, paranoid and prone to accept whatever conspiracy theory fits with what he has already decided to believe. That it’s pretty typical doesn’t make it less idiotic, and certainly not less frightening.

 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

#2113: Stephen Pidgeon

Stephen Pidgeon is a Washington attorney and former candidate for State Attorney General (he lost the primaries), anti-gay activist and general rightwing conspiracy theorist. There’s a decent profile of him here.

Pidgeon is a birther, and in 2008 he led a Lawsuit Challenging Obama’s Presidential Eligibility (supported by the WND, of course), which was promptly dismissed by the courts because it “clearly lacked merit”, and in 2009 he filed a petition in federal court in D.C. seeking a grand jury investigation of those claims, which was equally quickly dismissed. In 2011, Pidgeon therefore self-published a book, The Obama Error, promoting his theories and accusing Obama of committing several federal crimes for the purpose of concealing information about his birth; chapters include “The unlawful birth of Barack Obama” and “Is Obama and Agent of a Foreign Principal?”. With regard to Obama’s long-form birth certificate, Pidgeon claims that there has “been several – well there’s been, I would say probably twenty five forensic analyses of the long-form birth certificate, all which indicate the thing is completely fraudulent, from the fact is has [inaudible], from the fact that there’s page slants on the original form and not on the [inaudible] documentation. It’s just a complete fraud.” “Forensic analysis” apparently means rants on conspiracy blogs.

He also claimed to have shown that Obama legally changed his name from “Barak Mounir Ubayd” to “Barack Hussein Obama” in British Columbia in 1982, a claim that even fellow birthers have been hesitant to accept. Indeed, according to Pidgeon, “I believe Malcolm X is the true father,” and that Obama “was born in Seattle” in 1961, which would sort of undercut some of the ineligibility claims of most birthers, but to Pidgeon makes him doubly ineligible since it makes Obama “not only a communist, but a communist Muslim.” Apparently, Obama, who by 2010 was killing off his relatives to conceal information about his birth, is also “a British subject and has no business holding the office of POTUS.” We haven’t tried to figure out how that claim is supposed to fit in Pidgeon’s big picture. In 2009, he also alleged that he was being “shadowed all day” by officers from the Department of Homeland Security because of his work investigating Obama’s birth certificate.

The Obama Erroris not Pidgeon’s only self-published book about Obama, however. In 2010, Pidgeon self-published Behold! A White Horse!, an entire book comparing President Obama to the anti-Christ, as per predictions in Revelations. Mostly, however, Pidgeon thinks that Obama is a Muslim whose “ultimate objective is to establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate with him as caliph, declaring himself to be God in the temple of God that will be constructed in Jerusalem on the temple mount. That’s what he intends. That’s who he thinks he is.” Moreover, “do not think that he is not a Nazi. He is an Islamic Nazi. He is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He is engaged in economic jihad in the United States for the ultimate overthrow of this country,” since Nazis, communists, muslims and atheists are all the same. “We’re in the middle of a revolution,” asserted Pidgeon in 2011, and “Obama’s Inauguration. .. was the death knell for the Constitutional Republic.” (Most of these claims are from interviews with Rick Wiles, which we won’t link to.)

Of course the Democrats are in on the plot; liberals in general are “socialist, totalitarian, God-hating marxists” who are not only wrong but part of a deliberate conspiracy to overthrow the republic. The Democrats’ social security solution, for instance, is to “kill the elderly” and “destroy the unborn.” In 2016, before the election, Pidgeon and Alex Jones together painted a frightening picture of the country’s future, which included internment camps (“it’s gun control today and internment camps tomorrow”), martial law and dictatorship. According to Pidgeon, the Affordable Care Act and Obama’s executive actions on gun reform are both “policies that were originated in the Third Reich,” and part of Obama’s plot to “completely disarm the American public while he imports hundreds of thousands of Muslim terrorists and other paid mercenaries who come into the country unarmed to find mosques that are essentially armories.” Meanwhile, Obama is using taxpayer dollars to aid terrorist groups including “Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Liberation Army [sic], Islamic jihad,” as well as ISIS, of course. “The theory,” he said, which was ostensibly “proposed initially by Adolf Hitler,” is that “National Socialism works better in a Muslim society than it does in a Christian society, so the concept within the New World Order is to Islamify all of Western society so that the dictatorship will flow more easily and that the population will be more easily controlled.” Why, you might ask? Well, the liberal elite consists of “power-hungry people and they go to bed at night thinking about how they are going to kill 5 billion human beings,” said Pidgeon.

And of course, Pidgeon is a global warming denialist. In his – you guessed it – self-published book Behold! A Pale Green Horse!he argues at length that “man-made global warming is a lie used to justify an international totalitarian order.” The book, which is not particularly concerned with the science, is full of conspiracy theories about nefarious shadow agencies; “[s]imply put,” says Pidgeon, “the hypothesis that man’s output of CO2 is causing the earth to warm is a lie, and it is a lie that has been raised intentionall by a group of international fascists seeking to create and control an international totalitarian order and to pocket a cool fortune while doing so. They have an agenda – a green fascist agenda.” (Chapters include “Architects in the Global Warming Fraud,” “The Campaign To Destroy America’s Future,” and “The International Conspiracy,” all arguing that environmentalism is just a cover for attempts to institute totalitarianism, fascism and even “genocide”).

Pidgeon is, however, probably best known as an anti-gay activist. He was long part of Protect Marriage Washington, an anti-gay marriage group, seeking to block the release of signatures on the unsuccessful Referendum 71 campaign, and spokesman for the anti-gay Initiative 1192 in 2012, which “reaffirms the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.” As he sees things, judges in America (i.e. the Constitution) are creating “a form of totalitarianism” that “violates the fundamental freedoms of what it means to be an American” in order to “impose” same-sex marriage on him. Which is really bad since marriage equality creates an “order of death”; when “you come in and you introduce the concept of same-sex marriage or secular marriage, or any of the other rituals that have been formed by the state – and what you do is disestablish the godly order in favor of an order of death. And governments become more and more deadly when their adversary, the family, is destroyed.” That the purpose of legal protections of marriage is, by the Constitution, necessarily not to protect the order of God, seems to have escaped him. Elsewhere he has argued that “homosexual rights are about population control,” and it is effective because when you take away obstacles to living in homosexual relationships, people like Pidgeon will immediately be tempted to leave their heterosexual lives behind and jump on the gay train like they’ve always really wanted anyway.

Of course, gay marriage is not really about marriage; rather, as Pidgeon sees it, same-sex marriage is a form of “worship to the demons of Olympus.” In addition marriage equality is “moral fascism,” and an “act of war against the family,” and it will even “lower the status of women in society” because “women only achieve equality in a society that provides for monogamy in a one man, one woman marriage. Period. Every other society that has abandoned that standard – which is a Christian standard I might add [it is obviously not] – when you abandon that standard, guess what, women lose status.” He was understandably a bit short on the whys and hows.

Not the least, Pidgeon has actually written and self-published his own, strikingly bizarre version of the Bible containing a “lost” chapter of Acts, thus bringing the Bible more in line with what Pidgeon wants it to say. In particular, in addition to some judicious corrections (Pidgeon claims to have “limited working proficiency” in Hebrew and no Greek), Pidgeon has relied on the “Suninni Manuscript”, which is actually the “Sonnini Manuscript”, an obscure nineteenth century forgery created to promote British-Israelism by saying that Paul traveled to the UK to preach to lost Israelites. The effort was, of course, promoted by the WND.

Diagnosis: As always, coherence, evidence, accountability, truth and accuracy are liberal conspiracies. Pidgeon is the kind of insane wingnut conspiracy theorist that might make even James Dobson blush. We probably gave him a bit more attention than he deserves, but he does apparently have an audience.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

#2102: John Pendleton

John Morris Pendleton is one of many creationists littering youtube and traveling around giving lectures to anti-science audiences. Pendleton is apparently a chemist scientist automotive technician with a BA in chemistry, though he likes to dress up in a lab coat to read the Bible to determine how old the Earth is, and does claim to have “worked in cancer research for 1 1/2 years”. His repertoire consists of plenty of familiar creationist PRATTs – in his youtube videos these are rattled off after his standard declaration “Hello, I’m a scientist” (he’s not) – with a particular emphasis (it seems) on scientists hiding evidence for young earth creationism. For instance, according to Pendleton there are cave paintings that show humans and dinosaurs together, but scientists won’t let you see them – his evidence being primarily, it seems, that archaeologists have closed off certain caves with cave paintings to the general public, which could only be because they want to prevent them from seeing evidence that goes against the official narrative.

There is a splendid takedown of his nonsense here, which also goes into details on Pendleton’s specific claims, which we cannot be bothered to do (visit the videos if you are interested). Among Pendleton’s beliefs are, beyond the inerrancy of the Bible, the idea that the speed of light is not constant, that the Leviathan mentioned in the Bible is actually a Tyrannosaurus rex, that radiometric dating is unreliable because it yields results he doesn’t like, and that the pre-Flood average lifespan was 912 years. Among his more novel claims, however, is the claim that giants not only once roamed the Earth, but survived the Flood (Noah himself, by the way, was 3.30 meters tall) and that UFOs are nothing other than “ultra-dimensional visitors of the spiritual world;” i.e. demons, devils and fallen angels: “It is not wonder, because Satan himself he disguises himself (sic) as an angel of light (or a UFO),” says Pendleton. “Demons-UFOs”, however, aren’t actual spacecraft, but illusions used to deceive humans. Moreover, not only did dinosaurs coexist with humans (they were vegetarian back then); they are still alive in the swamps of Congo and in various lakes such as Loch Ness.

Apparently Pendleton is the founder and director of the Grupo Internacional de Científicos Creacionistas, an organization dedicated to “unmasking the lies” of evolution, and a frequent speaker at creationist conferences especially in Central and South American countries, and has produced a number of videos not only for youtube but for Christian television. Apparently, he was also part of “the team that won the debate on CREATION AND EVOLUTION at the University of Morelos in Cuernavaca, Mexico in 1994” – so it goes – and has translated booklets by Ken Ham into Spanish. Apparently Carl Baugh has been impressed by Pendleton’s work, which is not a badge of honor.

He is apparently currently living in Zacatecas, Mexico (but we include him nonetheless), where he delivers his creationist message in local churches and (for instance) public schools, something the state government apparently has allowed him to do.

Diagnosis: Laughable nonsense, of course. We think it is unlikely that he will manage to convert anyone not already lost to dimwittery, but the fact that he apparently has access to public schools should really be a cause for concern.

 

The Earth isn’t flat, but you’d never know that from watching YouTube

February 18th, 2019

by Mike Wehner

The internet makes it possible for the average person to access an incredibly vast amount of knowledge amassed over centuries, as long as they know where to look. Unfortunately, it also makes it very easy for conspiracy nuts to peddle their off-the-wall “truths” along those same information channels.

YouTube, the most popular video sharing site on the planet, is packed with more than its fair share of questionable content, and fake news is no exception. One of the darker and more bizarre corners of YouTube that continues to find an audience includes conspiracy videos that feature the “flat Earth” as a centerpiece. As it turns out, YouTube may be largely responsible for such theories catching on.

Asheley Landrum, assistant professor of science communication at Texas Tech University recently did some digging into this strange YouTube phenomenon and found that not only are Flat Earth videos getting plenty of attention, but they’re actually converting at least some of the visitors who find themselves watching conspiracy content.

As Engadget reports, Landrum presented her research at this year’s meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She detailed her own trips to a conference in North Carolina where Flat Earth believers gather, and noted that many of them credit YouTube videos with bringing them into the fold.

Landrum explained that she interviewed 30 separate Flat Earthers during her trip and a full 29 of them said they had no interest in the Flat Earth movement until watching videos on Google’s video platform. Such videos are often packed with pseudoscience and completely erroneous claims that are not only roundly decried by scientists but also easily disproved with experiments you can do yourself.

One of the biggest issues with YouTube’s search and suggestion format is that it often promotes content similar to whatever you might already be watching, sending you down a “rabbit hole” of conspiracy insanity if you happen to end up on a single Flat Earth video. Landrum argues that Google could be doing more to protect viewers from content that is patently false, and encourages actual scientists to create content debunking the dubious information floating around on the site.

 

It is near; it is at hand! Maybe tomorrow but probably never: Fictions for fun and profit

A compendium of endless predictions of the Second Coming based on period documents

An untold number of people have tried to predict the return of Jesus by using elaborate timetables. Most date setters do not realize that mankind has not kept an unwavering record of time. Anyone wanting to chart, for example, 100 BC to 2000 AD, would have to contend with the fact that 46 BC was 445 days long, there was no year 0 BC, and in 1582 we switched from Julian Years (360 days) to Gregorian (365 days). Because most prognosticators are not aware of all of these errors, their math is immediately off by at least several years if not decades.

The return of Jesus Christ for His Church will easily be the most important event in Pentecostal fictive history and long before the Pentecostal sect evolved in 1900, empty-headed religious zealots, banging on their empty drums, have been predicting the Second Coming. Herewith we present a brief compendium of the more entertaining prophesies for the entertainment of the reader.

53 AD

Even before all the books of the New Testament were invented,  there was talk that Christ’s Return had already taken place. The Thessalonians panicked when they heard a rumor that the day of the Lord was at hand, and they had missed the event..

500

A Roman priest living in the second century predicted Christ would return in 500 AD, based on the dimensions of Noah’s ark. Someone must have used a bad ruler because Jesus did not appear in 500 AD

1000

.All credulous members of what passed for normal society seemed affected by the prediction that Jesus was coming back at the start of the new millennium. The magic of the number 1000 was the sole reason for the expectation. During concluding months of 999 AD, everyone was on his best behavior; worldly goods were sold and given to the poor; swarms of pilgrims headed east to meet the Lord at Jerusalem; buildings went unrepaired; crops were left unplanted; and criminals were set free from jails. When the year 999 AD turned into 1000 AD, nothing happened. Many citizens of the world who had given their property away, but certainly not those who accepted it, were stunned but eventually hopeful that the event would be postponed until 1001. Nothing happened then, either.

1033

This year was cited as the beginning of the millennium because it marked 1,000 years since Christ’s alleged crucifixion.

1186

The “Letter of Toledo” warned everyone to hide in the caves and mountains. The world was reportedly to be destroyed with only a few spared, including the letter writer. It was not.

1420

The Taborites of Czechoslovakia predicted every city in the known world would be annihilated by fire. Only the five mountain strongholds they occupied would be saved from the Celestial Barbeque. This did not happen

1524-1526

Muntzer, a leader of German peasants, announced that the return of Christ was near. After Muntzer and his men destroyed the high and mighty, the Lord would supposedly return. This belief led to an uneven battle against government troops. He was strategically outnumbered. Muntzer claimed to have had a vision from God in which the Lord promised that He would catch the cannonballs of the enemy in the sleeves of His cloak. The prediction within the vision turned out to be false when Muntzer and his followers were mowed down by cannon fire. If one believes their stories, the disintegrated had the pleasure of going to heaven in a number of pieces which God Himself would lovingly sort out just like pious Jewish religious ambulance workers reassembling those fragmented in a Jerusalem bus attack.

1534

A repeat of the Muntzer affair occurred a few years later. This time, one greatly deluded by apparently very forceful, Jan Matthys took over the city of Münster in Germany. The city was to be the only one spared from Divine destruction. The inhabitants of Münster, evicted by Matthys and his men, regrouped and laid siege to the city. Within a year, every one of the strange occupiers in the city was dead. They also had an express ticket to Heaven.

1650-1660

In an England beset by religious fanatics, the Fifth Monarchy Men  beseeched Jesus to establish a theocracy. They took up arms and tried to seize England by force. The movement, and most of the senior leaders of it, died when the British monarchy was restored in 1660. Jesus apparently was not listening or was otherwise engaged. Heads rolled, quite literally, as England finally escaped from the unwanted attention of dim witted fanatics.

1809

Mary Bateman, who specialized in fortune telling, had a magic chicken that laid eggs with end-time messages on them. One message said that Christ was coming. The uproar she created ended when an unannounced visitor caught her forcing an egg into the hen’s oviduct. Mary later was hanged for poisoning a wealthy client. History does not record whether the offended and sodomized chicken attended the hanging.

1814

Spiritualist Joanna Southcott made the startling claim that she, by virgin birth, would produce the second Jesus Christ. Her abdomen began to swell and so did the crowds of people around her. This gathering is similar to certain ethnic groups who see visions of the Virgin Mary on refrigerator doors or reflected on rooming house walls. The time for the birth came and passed with no Jesus appearing. As for the miraculous Southcott, she died soon after. An autopsy revealed she had experienced a false pregnancy. Her followers blamed the Antichrist for this.

1836

John Wesley wrote that “the time, times and half a time” of Revelation 12:14 were 1058¬1836, “when Christ should come” John Wesley was wrong in this matter as well as a number of other items of religious thought he preached.

1843-1844

William Miller was the founder of an end-times movement that was so prominent it received its own name, Millerism. From his studies of the Bible, Miller determined that the second coming would happen sometime between 1843-1844. A spectacular meteor shower in 1833 gave the movement  excellent momentum. The buildup of anticipation continued until March 21, 1844, when Miller’s one-year timetable ran out. Some followers set another date–Oct 22, 1844. This too failed, collapsing the movement. One follower described the days after the failed predictions: “The world made merry over the old Prophet’s predicament. The taunts and jeers of the ‘scoffers’ were well-nigh unbearable.”  People in general do not suffer fools gladly.

1859

Rev. Thomas Parker, a Massachusetts minister, looked for the millennium to start about 1859. It did not. Parker subsequently was placed in a lunatic asylum when discovered running, buck naked, down the street in Bainbridge, screeching that Jesus was right behind him. What were behind the Reverend Parker were local bailiffs with nets.

1910

The revisit of Halley’s comet to the earth’s bemused vision was, for many, an indication of  Jesus’ Second Coming. The earth actually passed through the gaseous tail of the comet. One enterprising man sold comet pills to people for protection against the effects of the toxic gases. Toxic gasses, mostly vocal methane, from frantic Fundamentalists did not need pills. It might have been better if the predictors had used Thorazine tranquilizer pills but as they had not yet been invented, this is a moot point.

1914

Charles Russell, after being exposed to the lunatic babblings of William Miller, founded his own organization that evolved into the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In 1914, Russell predicted the return of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was not listening and did not appear in 1914.

1918

In 1918, new studies assisted Russell from extending his predictions to that year. Jesus Christ, or His travel agent, did not oblige.

1925

The Witnesses had no better luck in 1925. They already possessed the title of “Most Wrong Predictions.” They would expand upon it with great zeal and no sense whatsoever in the years to come.

1967

When the city of Jerusalem was captured from the Arab inhabitants by the Jews in 1967, prophecy watchers declared that the “Time of the Gentiles” had come to an end.

1970

The ‘True Light Church of Christ’ made its claim to fame by incorrectly forecasting the return of Jesus. A number of church members had quit their livelihoods ahead of the promised advent. In earlier time, such deluded creatures gave their property away to their gleeful, non-believing neighbors, donned white nightgowns and stood up on hilltops, waiting for the Celestial Elevator. It never came for them but pneumonia did.

1973

A comet that turned out to be a visual disappointment nonetheless compelled one preacher to announce that it would be a sign of the Lord’s return. It was not.

1975

The Jehovah’s Witnesses were back at it again with commendable zeal in 1975. The failure of the latest forecast did not affect the growth of the movement. The Watchtower magazine, a major Witness periodical, had over 13 million subscribers. Many of them actually are able to read, albeit very slowly, but the majority love the large pictures. However, over 40 millions have read the Left Behind books or, as they have irreverently been termed, the My Left Behind books.

1981

One author boldly declared that the rapture would occur before December 31, 1981, based on Christian prophecy, astronomy, and a dash of ecological fatalism. He pegged the date to Jesus’ promised return to earth a generation after Israel’s rebirth. He also made references to the “Jupiter Effect,” a planetary alignment occurring every 179 years that supposedly could lead to earthquakes and nuclear plant meltdowns. Also, there were saintly rumors of the Lost Continent of Atlantis suddenly emerging from the depths of Lake Baikal in Russia, or according to other enlightened cretins, Lake Michigan, New York Harbor, the Mississippi River just off of New Orleans or the main public reservoir of Phoenix, Arizona. There was no rapture and Atlantis never surfaced.

1982

The lunatic fringe was at it again in 1982 when they loudly proclaimed that the world as we all knew it was going to end in 1982, when the planets lined up and created magnetic forces that would bring “Armageddon” to the earth. Astrologers and religious predictors joined forces here and when nothing happened, all of them went back to the Ouija boards. Armageddon is, of course, pure fiction and is not found in the Bible, even in the weird rantings of the lunatic John of Patmos.

1982

A group called the Tara Centers placed full-page advertisements in many major newspapers for the weekend of April 24-25, 1982, announcing: “The Christ is Now Here!” They predicted that He was to make himself known “within the next two months.” After the date passed, they said that the delay was only because the “consciousness of the human race was not quite right…”  Obviously, this same statement can easily apply to the mental stability of the Tara Center people. Unfounded rumor had it that Jesus in fact did arrive but was arrested by New York City Vice Squad for unmentionable acts in a public lavatory in Central Park.

1984

The Jehovah’s Witnesses made sure, in 1984, that no one else would be able to top their record of most wrong doomsday predictions. The Witnesses’ record currently holds at nine. The years are: 1874, 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975, and 1984. Tired of loud public scorn and derision, the Witnesses have modestly retired from the field and now spend their time banging on doors and hawking their magazines, T-shirts and Second Coming bath mats and ashtrays.

1988

The book, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1988, came out only a few months before the event was to take place. What little time the book had left to it and its feeble minded readers, it used effectively. By the time the predicted dates, September 11-13, rolled around, whole churches were caught up in the excitement the book generated. Not unnaturally, nothing happened. The writer and publisher, however, benefited greatly from the sales.

1989

After the passing of the deadline in 88 Reasons, the author, Edgar Whisenant, came out with a new book called 89 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1989. This book sold only a fraction of the number of copies his prior release had sold.

1991

A group in Australia predicted Jesus would return through the Sydney Harbor at 9 a.m., March 31, 1991. Rumors are that He was doing the breast stroke in the Harbor but was run over by a car ferry and drowned.

1991

Menachem Schneerson, a mystic Russian-born rabbi, called for the Messiah to come by September 9, 1991, the start of the Jewish New Year. Apparently, Jesus was not listening and failed to appear. The good rabbi passed away and his followers eagerly anticipated his own return. He did not do so.

1992

A Korean group called Mission for the Coming Days had the Korea Church in a state of frenzied  excitement  in the fall of 1992. They foresaw October 28, 1992 as the date for the Glorious Rapture and arrival of the Celestial Ominbus.  Numerology was the basis for the date. Several camera shots that left ghostly images on pictures were thought to be a supernatural confirmation of the date. Careless photography was a more likely suspect.

1993

If the year 2000 is the end of the 6,000-year cycle, then the rapture must take place in 1993, because you would need seven years of the tribulation. This was the murky thinking of a number of prophecy writers. They were all wrong.

1994

In the book, 1994: The Year of Destiny , F. M. Riley foretold of God’s plan to rapture His people. The name of his ministry is “The Last Call,” and he operates out of  a Missouri that has produced both John Ashcroft and Jesse James.

1994

Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church in Los Angeles caused quite a stir when he announced he had received a vision from God that warned of apocalyptic event on June 9, 1994. Hinkle, quoting God, said, “On Thursday June the 9th, I will rip the evil out of this world.” From a proper reading of Bible prophecy, the only thing that God could possibly rip from the earth would be the Christian Church. Some people tried to interpret Hinkle’s unscriptural vision to mean that God would the rip evil out of our hearts when He Raptured us. As usual the date came and went with no heart surgery or rapture.

1994

Harold Camping, in his book Are You Ready?, predicted the Lord would return in September 1994. The book was full of numerology that added up to 1994 as the date of Christ’s return. The numbers did not crunch and Camping joined a long list of failed prophets, seers and other mountebanks in blessed oblivion.

1994

After promising they would not make anymore end time predictions, the Jehovah’s Witnesses fell off the wagon and proclaimed 1994 as the conclusion of an 80-year generation; the year 1914 was the starting point. Magazine sales are up but the ashtrays are not doing as well as expected. This group of lovelies is now selling Rapture Travel Suits, matching Rapture luggage and Dramamine pills for the trip.

1996

A self-proclaimed California psychic Sheldon Nidle predicted the end would come with the convergence of 16 million space ships and a host of angels upon the earth on December 17, 1996. Nidle explained the passing of the date by claiming the angels placed us in a holographic projection to preserve us and give us a second chance. His doctors will not let him write any more and even took away his crayons.

1997

When Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat signed their peace pact on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993, some saw the events as the beginning of tribulation. With the signing of the peace agreement, Daniel’s 1,260-day countdown was underway. By adding 1,260 days to September 1993, you arrive at February 24, 1997. Jesus, on the other hand, did not arrive nor were the Elect of the Pentecostal cults shot up into the stratosphere like so many ballistic missiles.

1997

Stan Johnson of the Prophecy Club saw a “90 percent” chance that the tribulation would start September 12, 1997. He based his conclusion on several end-time signs: that would be Jesus’ 2,000th birthday and it would also be the Day of Atonement, although it wouldn’t be what is currently the Jewish Day of Atonement. Further supporting evidence came from Romanian pastor Dumitru Duduman. In several heavenly visions, caused by the imbibing of too much plum wine,  Dumitru claimed to have seen the Book of Life. In one of his earlier visions, there were several pages yet to be completed. In his last vision, he noticed the Book of Life only had one page left. Doing some rough calculating, Johnson and friends figured the latest time frame for the completion of the book would have to be September 1997. There were, quite naturally, more bitter disappointments as the time came and passed without a sight of Jerusalem Slim.

1998

Numerology: Because 666 times three equals 1998, some people point to this year as being prophetically significant. This incredible information was posted on the internet where it stunned dozens of true believers. .

1998

A Taiwanese cult operating out of Garland, Texas predicted Christ would return on March 31 of 1998. The group’s leader, Heng-ming Chen, announced God would return and then invite the cult members aboard a UFO at group excursion rates, no meals served.

The group abandoned their prediction when a precursor event failed to take place. The cult’s leader had said that God would appear on every channel 18 of every TV in the world. Maybe God realized at the last minute, the Playboy Network was channel 18 on several cable systems, and He didn’t want to have Christians watching a porn channel.

1998 Marilyn Agee, in her book, The End of the Age, had her sights set on May 31, 1998. for the Glorious Arrival. This date was to conclude the 6,000-year cycle from the time of Adam. Agee looked for the rapture to take place on Pentecost, which is also known as “the Feast of Weeks.” Another indicator of this date was the fact that the Holy Spirit did not descend upon the apostles until 50 days after Christ’s resurrection. Israel was born in 1948; add the 50 days as years and you come up with whatever figure you like.

After her May 31 rapture date failed, Agee, unable to face up to her error, continued her date-setting by using various Scripture references to point to June 7, 14, 21 and about 10 other dates. Marilyn then set a new date for the rapture: May 21 or 22 of the same year, Again, she and the dozens of believers who read her works were doomed to disappointment. Eventually, later rather than sooner, Agnes joined the ranks of the Disproven and passed into blessed oblivion.

1999

TV newscaster-turned-psychic Charles Criswell King had said in 1968 that the world as we know it would cease to exist on August 18, 1999. It did not.

1999

Philip Berg, a rabbi at the Kabbalah Learning Center in New York, proclaimed that the end might arrive on September 11, 1999, when “a ball of fire will descend . . . destroying almost all of mankind, all vegetation, all forms of life.” Nothing happened on that date of note except that the Devil was arrested at a sex arcade in Times Square using counterfeit coins in a porn film viewer.

.2000

The names of the people and organizations that called for the return of Christ at the turn of the century is too long to be listed here. If there were a day on which Christ could not return, it must have been January 1, 2000. This day came and passed and the waiting multitude did not see Jesus descending on Dallas, arrayed like Solomon in all his splendor. Many had hangovers and the only visions they had on that day were of the double variety.

2000

On May 5, 2000, all of the planets were supposed to have been in alignment. This was said to cause the earth to suffer earthquakes, volcanic eruption, and various other nasty stuff. A similar alignment occurred in 1982 and nothing happened. People failed to realize that the other nine planets only exert a very tiny gravitational pull on the earth. If you were to add up the gravitational force from the rest of the planets, the total would only amount to a fraction of the tug the moon has on the earth.

2000

According to Michael Rood, the end times have a prophetically complicated connection to Israel’s spring barley harvest. The Day of the Lord began on May 5, 2000. Rood’s fall feast calendar called for the Russian Gog-Magog invasion of Israel to take place at sundown on October 28, 2000. It did not. Perhaps Prophet Rood might have considered the annual Harvest of the Floating Condoms from the waters of New York City as an alternative event.

2000-2001

Dr. Dale SumburËru looked for March 22, 1997 to be “the date when all the dramatic events leading through the tribulation to the return of Christ should begin” The actual date of Christ’s return could be somewhere between July 2000 and March 2001. Dr. SumburËru is more general about the timing of Christ’s second coming than most writers. He states, “The day the Lord returns is currently unknown because He said [Jesus] these days are cut short and it is not yet clear by how much and in what manner they are cut short. If the above assumptions are not correct, my margin of error would be in weeks, or perhaps months.”

2003

ARKANSAS CITY (AP) — A Little Rock woman was killed yesterday after leaping through her moving car’s sun roof during an incident best described as “a mistaken rapture” by dozens of eye witnesses. Thirteen other people were injured after a twenty-car pile up resulted from people trying to avoid hitting the woman who was apparently convinced that the rapture was occurring when she saw twelve people floating up into the air, and then passed a man on the side of the road who she claimed was Jesus. “She started screaming “He’s back, He’s back” and climbed right out of the sunroof and jumped off the roof of the car,” said Everet Williams, husband of 28-year-old Georgann Williams who was pronounced dead at the scene. “I was slowing down but she wouldn’t wait till I stopped,” Williams said. She thought the rapture was happening and was convinced that Jesus was gonna lift her up into the sky,” he went on to say. “This is the strangest thing I’ve seen since I’ve been on the force,”said Paul Madison, first officer on the scene. Madison questioned the man who looked like Jesus and discovered that he was dressed up as Jesus and was on his way to a toga costume party when the tarp covering the bed of his pickup truck came loose and released twelve blowup dolls filled with helium which floated up into the air. Ernie Jenkins, 32, of Fort Smith, who’s been told by several of his friends that he looks like Jesus, pulled over and lifted his arms into the air in frustration, and said “Come back here,” just as the Williams’ car passed him. Mrs. Williams was sure that it was Jesus lifting people up into the sky as they passed by him, according to her husband, who says his wife loved Jesus more than anything else. When asked for comments about the twelve dolls, Jenkins replied “This is all just too weird for me. I never expected anything like this to happen.”  This event is probably the most illustrative of all the great compendiums of Prophesy.

2011-2018

For the past several decades, Jack Van Impe has hinted at nearly every year as being the time for the rapture. Normally, he has only gone out one or two years from the current calendar year. However, Jack’s latest projection for the rapture goes out several years. His new math uses 51 years as the length of a generation. If you add 51 years to 1967, the year Israel seized Jerusalem from its Arab inhabitants, you get 2018. Once you subtract the seven-year tribulation period, you arrive at 2011. Dozens will be energized and will sell off their bicycle training wheels and lifetime collection of dignity pants but again, sad to say, nothing will happen.

2012

New Age writers cite Mayan and Aztec calendars that predict the end of the age on December 21, 2012.

2060

Sir Isaac Newton, Britain’s greatest scientist, spent 50 years and wrote 4,500 pages trying to predict when the end of the world was coming. The most definitive date he set for the apocalypse, which he scribbled on a scrap of paper, was 2060. The original scrap is now in the archives of Brother Pat Robertson. It appears to have been written in a ball point pen which was not invented until 1948.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

March 29, 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. 41

Date:  Sunday, October 6, 1996

Commenced:  8:45 AM CST

Concluded:    9:38 AM CST

GD: Hello to you this morning, Robert. Up and around?

RTC: Well, the sun did come up and animal instincts get us going. And then there is coffee. Are you a coffee drinker, Gregory?

GD: I never used to be, but I am now. I hate the taste of the stuff which is funny because my grandfather was a big-time coffee broker. We had coffee all over the kitchen in little bags. My uncle was an expert and when my father got out of the business, he continued long after my grandfather died. Coffee gets you going but if I drink too much of it, my wiring gets fried.

RTC: The world runs on coffee.

GD: They buy a lot of it. My grandfather wasn’t exactly poor. That’s how I know about your people and the Guatemala business. My uncle was involved in it and it was well-known around the house. Grandfather was tied up with Levi and Zentner…the United Fruit people…. and the Grace Steamship company. Uncle was born in Petropolis in Brazil and was fluent in a number of languages, including Portuguese. Yes, there seemed to have been quite a connection between American business and the CIA. And of course, the White House and Congress.

RTC: Well, you’ve seen the tip of the big iceberg, haven’t you, Gregory?

GD: How big is it?

RTC: It’s not so much the size but the power of it. This country isn’t run by little local political action groups or small town newspapers. Democracy is only a word that sounds good. The public hates to vote although I understand that in Switzerland it is mandatory. They don’t care as long as they make money. Do you know how much money it costs to run for Congress? Many millions. And where does the money come from? Aunt Anna’s cookie and mad money jar? No, it comes from corporate interests who want to keep things balanced on their side of the books.

GD: That’s not a great revelation, Robert. No one really cares, as you say, as long as they have television and a car. Back in the Depression days when people didn’t have television sets and no cars, a lot of the underpaid and overworked workers were Communists. Once Roosevelt got the war started for us, business boomed and the workers ceased to be Communists.

RTC: Oh, that’s absolutely true, Gregory, but don’t underestimate the power of the Communist bugaboo to terrify the public into letting us do what we wanted.

GD: Gehlen told me that in ’48 when he was asked by the Army brass to prepare an intelligence paper proving the Russians were about to launch a huge attack on the West, there were two forces behind all of this bullshit. The first was the Army who didn’t like to be reduced in size. Generals had to retire you know and they didn’t like that. And, business had been booming during the war and they, like the generals, didn’t much like shutting down plants and making less money. This from the horse’s mouth so to speak. Oh, and it worked. Leaked to Congress and Harry Truman, it started the Cold War.

RTC: Nicely put and remember this for Critchfield. Yes, that’s basically the long and short of it. At this moment, the United States is run by four major power sources. They are all interconnected and they have the common goal of protecting their asses and increasing their profits. We have what they call big business which consists of international companies, mostly the huge New York banking giants but some manufacturing companies as well. This country got great by being a manufacturing country but that’s slipping a bit. At the turn of the century it was railroads and steel, but that has faded a little…

GD: A little? A lot.

RTC: Yes, a question of degree, I suppose. Anyway, we have really big business as one entity. The other is the political part of our society. Most Congressmen are put into office to take care of business.

GD: And then we have Huey Long, who was not interested in business.

RTC: Yes, and Roosevelt had him shot very dead, didn’t he?

GD: Yes.

RTC: But Congress passes the laws and since most of them are on the take, they are careful not to pass too many laws to injure their business paymasters.

GD: But under Roosevelt they went the other way.

RTC: But Roosevelt is dead and when he died, we had a new dawn of commerce. And Congress knows where the money comes from and acts accordingly. Eventually we will see someone in the Oval Office who is also Chairman of the Board of Chase Bank. Just joking, but there are those who would love the concept. We have business and political and then we have the Mafia. Yes, it is a huge industry, spawning billions of dollars in revenue. Joe Kennedy turned to them to get Jack elected and then turned on them and began to persecute them using the other brother. Look at all the damage that short-sighted behavior did to the family. And that leads us into our very own CIA. We are at the top of the pyramid, Gregory, for a number of reasons. As you know, we started out as a small advisory group whose job it was to supply Harry Truman accurate international intelligence. Harry never trusted the Army and he found out about the humped Gehlen Report and wanted more facts to work with. Now we got Allen Dulles whose brother, John Foster, was a lawyer with Sullivan and Cromwell in New York. Sullivan and Cromwell was, in essence, a Nazi establishment. They were firm supporters of Hitler and worked with the Schroeder bank in Cologne. And you ought to know that when he was Ambassador to England, Joe Kennedy did business with Hitler and got huge blocks of I.G. Farben stock. It got taken away at the end of the war, seized by the Justice Department and one of the first things Joe did when Jack became President was to have him put Bobby in as AG so he could get his stock back. Oh yes, those people were for Hitler right up to the last week of the war. And even afterwards as well. Of course now that Jews are getting more power here and especially in the CIA, we do not mention any of this. Same thing with your Mueller friend. Of course we used him because he was the top Nazi expert on Communists. Why not? But, of course, if the Jews ever had to face that fact, they would come unglued. Can you imagine the huge headlines in The New York Times?

GD: Yes, I can. We called that Second Coming Type.

RTC: Wrong. The New York Times is run by Jews and sucks at Israel’s tit but they would never discuss this, let alone put it on the front page. Why? Because we have control over what they print. You see, we help our friends in business with delicate political nuisance problems. Like the nice Belgians in the Congo who had all that uranium. Kill off the left wing politicos who tried to grab it all. They really weren’t Communists planning to give uranium to Russia but that’s what we told the President and that’s what our friends who publish The New York Times heard. And that’s what they published and that’s what they condoned. Naturally, with such a dangerous menace, the CIA rushed up to save us all and kill off old Patrice. Same in Guatemala and the same in Iran with Mossadegh. The enemy is identified as dangerous to our business friends. We do studies to prove it to the rabble such as …fake documents and all that…that these enemies are vile Communists, working for the Soviet Union, and a real danger to all of America. On the one hand, get permission to destroy these enemies and on the other, launch a publicity campaign through our many friends in the media to make it just another heroic crusade.

GD: Oh, say it isn’t so, Robert.

RTC: I see you are a baseball fan, Gregory.

GD: No, that’s where it came from, but I am not a baseball fan. I was feigning shock and horror at your dastardly revelations. Do go on, though.

RTC: So we have business, the press, the mob on one side thanks to Jim Angleton’s organization, the legislative branch and that’s it. We don’t control, Gregory, we influence. A press campaign, planned in our offices here, and an assassination or bomb blast there. We have it down to an exact science. A nice balance at that.

GD: And the Mueller business?

RTC: A mere bump in the road. If you had brought this up twenty years before, they would have killed you but by now, it’s unpleasantly cold coffee. They’ll just ruin your reputation by using paid hacks. The media would never discuss this, believe me. You could have Heinrich Mueller’s body in a glass case and the press would be as silent as the grave. We would ask them nicely to drop it and guess what? They would.

GD: The machine seems to run well enough.

RTC: We’ve had time to perfect it. There are always glitches but so far, we have been able to repair them. But it isn’t like it used to be, Gregory. Then it was a band of brothers and now the whole agency has gotten too big, too compartmentalized and too stiff. The power is there but it is an old power, not a dynamic one. One of these days, parts will start falling off and then it will be replaced with another group that will march to a different drummer.

GD: Things always change, Robert, mark that.

RTC: I’m afraid I’m stuck in the old days, thinking the old thoughts and doing what I got used to doing. I told you not to get old, Gregory. I’ve seen it before. Sweet children grow up to be anarchists, faggots, drug addicts, bank robbers, drunks and so on. Wives leave you for someone else, your business changes way past recognition and you become redundant and out you go. You don’t recognize the cars in the street, the music is terrible and the trouble is you remember too much.

GD: And tend to romanticize the past instead of learning from it.

RTC: We write books, but in my case, I can’t. In the first place, I am forbidden to by contract with the Agency and in the second, I can write reports but not books. You write books, though. Of course, so do Joe and Susan. I don’t think very much of Joe, Gregory but I think you might do well to write things up. Joe can see for about two inches in front of his nose, but I find you can see for miles.

GD: It’s a blessing and a curse. I have a secret for you, Robert. You won’t believe me, of course, but here it is, For reasons I don’t even begin to understand, I can meet a new person and almost at once see right into them and know just who and what they are. They may be a professional football player, but if I talk with them for three minutes, I can see that they are gay. Or a religious leader and see he is a drunk. But only face to face. Can’t do it on the phone on by mail. And I think sometimes these people sense I am poking around inside their psyche. I never say a thing to them but some people can sense my invasion of their often rotten soul. And for no reason apparent to a, say, neutral observer, they suddenly hate me.

RTC: They’re afraid of you, Gregory. People fear the predator.

GD: Yes, I’m sure they do, but I am not predatory. I am very understanding of other people.

RTC: Trust me, Gregory, you’re a born predator. That’s one of the reasons I trust you. I prefer to know a wolf as a wolf than a yapping little dog that sneaks around and bites you in the lower leg. You would go for the throat and the kill. No, seeing into people is a gift. I ran enough agents in my time and I know. Always go for the throat.

GD: Yes. I was once confronted with six armed men who were trying to kill some people I happened to be with. I had a gun, a Belgian Browning 9mm. The High Power model with a 13 shot box mag. These fellows were shooting at my friends and at me. I had nothing to do with the business but I had the gun. I got it out and I nailed all six. Five through the head and one in the neck. Before I left the scene with my wounded friend, I went over and shot that one through the head. I didn’t want any witnesses. And I got my brass.

RTC: I never knew that one, Gregory. How old were you at the time?

GD: Seventeen and a couple of months.

RTC: You were in the service?

GD: No. A tourist.

RTC: Six at one throw?

GD: Five on the spot and one a few moments later.

RTC: A dumb question here, but did it bother you?

GD: Yes, terribly. My friend bled all over my shoes before I got him to a safe place. It took a lot of work to get the blood off. And I ruined a very good tie. He got it in the upper leg so I used the tie to keep him from bleeding out. Fortunately, the artery was spared and he survived.

RTC: And it never bothered you?

GD: Why should it? These jerks were shooting at me and in time, they might have killed me, too. Fuck them, Robert. Now they’re turning green in a box somewhere, waiting for the Last Trumpet. Yet in my flesh shall I see God? Oh, I think not. Heaven’s doormat will be a horrible, oozing mess come trumpet day.

RTC: Predatory, Gregory, in word and deed. No wonder the club does not like you.

GD: Club?

RTC: Bill, Tom, Trento and a few others. They warn me about you. I can see why. Their old warning system, the cave man one, is still fitfully working and they can sense you are a danger. Seventeen? Was that the first time?

GD: No, when I was in Germany just before that, I got jumped by a DP. He had an iron bar and I emptied a clip from a .380 into his pump. They had quite a bit of trouble from these DPs from Poland. They were all Polish Jews from the liberated camps and until the Army rounded them all up and shipped them, under guard, to Israel, they cut quite a path. And I got another one over by a putting green. He pulled a knife and his buddy had a wooden pistol. My friend got him and broke his neck and I got the one with the knife using a nine iron. I ruined the club but you should have seen his head. It looked like a cherry pie dropped on the sidewalk. Dragged both of them into the hedges and off we went. The club went into the river. I guess they found them later by the stench and all the flies.

RTC: Very predatory, Gregory.

GD: Self-defense, Robert, self-defense. What else would you call it?

RTC: Good reflexes among other things.

GD: God must hate me for making his doormat so filthy,

(Concluded at 9:38 AM CST)

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

 

Exclusive: More than 1 million acres of U.S. cropland ravaged by floods

March 30, 2019

by P.J. Huffstutter and Humeyra Pamuk

Reuters

CHICAGO/COLUMBUS, Neb. (Reuters) – At least 1 million acres (405,000 hectares) of U.S. farmland were flooded after the “bomb cyclone” storm left wide swaths of nine major grain producing states under water this month, satellite data analyzed by Gro Intelligence for Reuters showed.

Farms from the Dakotas to Missouri and beyond have been under water for a week or more, possibly impeding planting and damaging soil. The floods, which came just weeks before planting season starts in the Midwest, will likely reduce corn, wheat and soy production this year.

“There’s thousands of acres that won’t be able to be planted,” Ryan Sonderup, 36, of Fullerton, Nebraska, who has been farming for 18 years, said in a recent interview.

“If we had straight sunshine now until May and June, maybe it can be done, but I don’t see how that soil gets back with expected rainfall.”

Spring floods could yet impact an even bigger area of cropland. The U.S. government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has warned of what could be an “unprecedented flood season” as it forecasts heavy spring rains. Rivers may swell further as a deep snow pack in northern growing areas melts.

The bomb cyclone of mid-March was the latest blow to farmers suffering from years of falling income and lower exports because of the U.S.-China trade war.

Fields are strewn with everything from silt and sand to tires and some may not even be farmed this year. The water has also destroyed billions of dollars of old crops that were in storage, as well as damaging roads and railways.

Justin Mensik, a fifth-generation farmer of corn and soybeans in Morse Bluff, Nebraska, said rebuilding roads was the first priority. Then farmers would need to bring in fertilizer trucks and then test soil before seeding, Mensik said.

The flood “left a lot of silt and sand and mud in our fields, now we’re not too sure if we’re going to be able to get a good crop this year with all the new mud and junk that’s just laying here,” Mensik told Reuters.

CORN CONCERN

For farmers, “the biggest concern right now is corn planting,” said Aaron Saeugling, an agriculture expert at Iowa State University who does outreach with farmers. “There is just not going to be enough time to move a lot of that debris.”

To be fully covered by crop insurance, Iowa farmers must plant corn by May 31 and soybeans by June 15, as yields decline dramatically when planted any later. Deadlines vary state by state. The insurance helps ensure a minimum price farmers will receive when they book sales for their crops.

Nearly 1.1 million acres of cropland and more than 84,000 acres of pastureland in the U.S. Midwest had flood water on it for at least seven days between March 8 and March 21, according to a preliminary analysis of government and satellite data by New-York based Gro Intelligence at the request of Reuters. The extent of the flooding had previously not been made public.

The flooded acreage represents less than 1 percent of U.S. land used to grow corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, cotton, sorghum and barley. In 2018, some 240 million total acres of these crops were planted in the United States, USDA data shows.

Iowa, the top U.S. corn and No. 2 soy producing state, had the most water, covering 474,271 acres, followed by Missouri with 203,188 acres, according to Gro Intelligence. That was in line with estimates given to Reuters this week by government officials in Iowa and Missouri.

Gro Intelligence used satellite data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Near Real-Time Global Flood Mapping product, to calculate the approximate extent and intensity of flooding.

Gro Intelligence then identified how much of this area was either cropland or pastureland, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Gro Intelligence analysts cautioned the satellite imagery did not show the full extent of flooding in Nebraska, where officials declined to provide acreage estimates to Reuters, or in North Dakota. Nebraska’s governor has said the floods caused agricultural damage of $1 billion in his state.

Cloud cover or snow on the ground makes it difficult to identify the flood waters in NASA satellite data, said Sara Menker, chief executive of the agricultural artificial intelligence company.

LOST CATTLE

In Missouri, floodwaters covered roughly 200,000 acres in five northwest counties adjoining the Missouri River as of Wednesday morning, said Charlie Rahm, spokesman for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Columbia.

In Wisconsin more than 1,000 dairy and beef animals were lost during winter storms and 480 agricultural structures collapsed or damaged, according to an email from Sandy Chalmers, executive director of the Wisconsin state office of the USDA’s Farm Service Agency.

In the Dakotas and Minnesota, melting snows in coming months will put spring wheat planting at risk. Gro Intelligence found nearly 160 million acres have already been flooded in Minnesota.

“That’s yet to come and we will deal with that at least until the middle of April,” said Dave Nicolai, an agriculture expert at the University of Minnesota.

Reporting by P.J. Huffstutter in Chicago and Humeyra Pamuk in Nebraska; Additional reporting by Tom Polansek and Karl Plume in Chicago; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Simon Webb and Matthew Lewis

 

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