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TBR News November 13, 2019

Nov 13 2019

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. November 13, 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.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.
Commentary for November 13: “Climate change is certainly u[pn usbut fer not, Congress will pass a law and all will be well! And fear not. Donald will survive and grow even stronger because God Himself has elevated Donald to become the new king of America and God will, unlike the CIA, protect his hand puppets.”

The Table of Contents
• Donald Trump Jr caught in the middle of far-right insurgency
• Analysis: Confronted by impeachment, Trump adds to the chaos
• Protesters blockade universities, stockpile makeshift weapons as chaos grips Hong Kong
• Violent hate crimes in US reach highest levels in 16 years, FBI reports
• Tariffs threaten 1.5M jobs: Study
• Arctic blast: US temperatures plummet to record lows
• Venice floods: Climate change behind highest tide in 50 years, says mayor
• Coming Attractions: Smallpox
• The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
• Encyclopedia of American Loons

Donald Trump Jr caught in the middle of far-right insurgency
Extremists are using many of the same gadfly tactics Trump deployed against Democrats, and allies fear 2020 fallout
November 12, 2019
by Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
The Guardian
The far-right activists who jeered Donald Trump Jr off a stage in California on Sunday are part of a bloc of white nationalists who embraced Trump’s father on his ascent to the White House but are now causing multiple headaches for the president’s friends, allies and family as his campaign for re-election gathers pace.
The extremists have launched an insurgent campaign to thrust their views in the faces of key Trump supporters – some of whom have reputations of their own for political views flirting with the fringes of the permissible. Seeking to command attention and force a response, they are using many of the same gadfly tactics Trump has deployed against Democrats and the left.
Their fury at being denied an opportunity to ask questions at an event promoting Trump Jr’s book Triggered, and their willingness to shout the house down, are just the latest sign of acrimony ripping at the right flank of the fabled Trump base.
In the last two weeks alone, followers of Nick Fuentes – a 21-year-old YouTube provocateur who offers supporters a diet of derogatory remarks about black, gay and Jewish people and has questioned the Holocaust – have repeatedly heckled the head of a key pro-Trump student organization, Turning Point USA; accused the Trump administration, however improbably, of being soft on immigration; and picked a fight with the erstwhile White House adviser and Trump loyalist Sebastian Gorka.
When Gorka – who has himself been accused of antisemitism, among other sins – said he found Fuentes’s views on the Holocaust “chilling”, Fuentes responded in a tweet that Gorka was “a fat mutton-headed buffoon and a prostitute for Israel”.
Gorka is one of a number of Trump surrogates and supporters who have found such provocations impossible to ignore. They have been particularly concerned to put as much daylight as possible between their own positions and those of the extremists who variously call themselves alt-right, paleoconservative or foot soldiers in a “groyper war”, a reference to a rightwing meme.
“Donald Trump has nothing to do with these so-called, self-proclaimed America First asshats,” the former editor of Breitbart News, Ben Shapiro, told a conservative forum at Stanford University last week in a speech originally intended to target Trump’s more familiar adversaries on the political left.
Shapiro quoted Fuentes without naming him and described his supporters as a “bunch of masturbating losers living in your mother’s basement” who only pretended to support Trump and were out for as much attention as they could muster.
“Trump is many things,” Shapiro insisted. “He is not a white supremacist, and he is not an antisemite.”
Shapiro’s problem in making this argument is that the racist far right was in fact openly enthusiastic about Trump when he ran for president in 2016, and Trump initially punted when invited to disavow their support.
Later, when the notorious “Unite the Right” protest in Charlottesville in 2017 resulted in the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer, Trump’s reaction was to say there were “very fine people on both sides” – a widely condemned expression of moral equivalence Trump himself has recently sought to play down.
Shapiro faced his own band of Fuentes-admiring hecklers at Stanford, but kept talking as they were escorted out by security guards.
“I’m literally condemning Nazis,” he said, incredulously, “and you’re telling me to leave? Do you hear yourselves?”
Trump Jr and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, had notably less success in maintaining control in the university lecture hall where they appeared on Sunday. Guilfoyle told the protesters they were being “rude and disruptive and discourteous” and added: “I bet you engage in … online dating because you’re impressing no one here to get a date in person.”
She and Trump Jr abandoned the event moments later.
A triumphant Fuentes denied that he was only a pretend Trump supporter and said the person his followers were targeting was not Trump Jr but the Turning Point USA founder, Charlie Kirk, who appeared on stage as a featured speaker but did not say a word.
“Our problem is not with Donald Trump Jr who is a patriot – we are supporters of his father!” Fuentes wrote on Twitter. “Our problem is with Charlie Kirk’s TPUSA organization that SHUTS DOWN and SMEARS socially conservative Christians and supporters of President Trump’s agenda.”
Trump’s allies worry that this public feuding can only dampen his base’s enthusiasm and embolden his Democratic party challengers for the presidency. It seems likely, too, that the more extreme elements who backed Trump last time might think twice before doing so again. Two Fuentes supporters at Sunday’s book event said they were likely to sit out 2020 and not bother to vote at all.

Analysis: Confronted by impeachment, Trump adds to the chaos
October 19, 2019
by Julie Pace
Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump has thrust Washington into a political crisis. And Trump keeps adding to the chaos.
In the four weeks since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., launched the investigation, Trump has taken steps that have drawn more criticism, not less, repeatedly testing the loyalty of his stalwart Republican allies. His actions have both intensified the questions at the center of the inquiry and opened new areas of concern.
Trump angered GOP leaders and U.S. allies by clearing the way for Turkish attacks on Syrian Kurdish fighters, key American partners in the fight against the Islamic State group. He brazenly announced plans to hold next year’s Group of Seven summit at one of his own Florida properties, prompting an outcry from ethics experts and members of both parties that led him to reverse course late Saturday. And Trump and his advisers have repeatedly muddied their defense on the Democratic-led impeachment, initially denying some of the central allegations against the president only to acknowledge them, out loud and on camera.
It is his persona to surround himself with chaos,” said Alice Stewart, a Republican strategist who advised Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Chaos has indeed been a hallmark of Trump’s presidency. Each controversy bleeds into the next — often so fast that the public doesn’t have time to absorb the details of any one issue. Whether that is a deliberate Trump strategy or simply the consequence of Americans electing a highly unconventional, nonpolitician as commander in chief remains one of the fundamental questions of his presidency.
The most pressing question now is how the cascading controversies will impact Trump at one of his most vulnerable moments since taking office.
Already saddled by low approval ratings, he could face reelection with the dubious distinction of being just the third American president ever impeached. Though conviction and removal from office by the Republican-controlled Senate seems virtually impossible, Trump’s handling of the coming weeks could linger with some of the voters he needs to hold in order to win in 2020.
His response thus far has been pulled from the standard Trump playbook : hurling deeply personal, sometimes vulgar, insults at his opponents, questioning the legitimacy of the investigations into his actions and distracting with other jarring decisions.
For example, there was his public call for China to investigate baseless corruption claims against Democrat Joe Biden just days after Democrats launched impeachment proceedings to probe Trump’s similar request of Ukraine.
There are some signs that Trump’s words and actions are being received differently, both in Washington and across the country, from other points in his presidency.
Polls now show more Americans in favor of opening the impeachment inquiry than those who are opposed, a shift since earlier this year. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that 54% of Americans approved of the House decision to conduct an inquiry, while 44% disapproved. In a Pew poll conducted a few weeks earlier, the public was evenly divided on the question.
A few prominent Republicans have moved in favor of the investigation, which centers in part on whether Trump used his office for personal political gain by asking Ukraine to investigate the unfounded accusations against former Vice President Biden.
John Kasich, the former Republican governor of Ohio, is among the Republicans who now back an impeachment inquiry, though he told The Associated Press in an interview that he isn’t ready to call for Trump’s removal from office.
“This is an extremely serious matter,” Kasich said. “I wrestled with it for a very long time.”
Kasich was persuaded by the White House’s shifting story on why Trump withheld $400 million in military aid for Ukraine, one of the issues under investigation by the House.
After insisting there was no quid pro quo at play — and allowing Republicans to use that as a rationale for opposing the impeachment inquiry — acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Thursday that one of the reasons the aid was held up was that Trump wanted Ukrainian officials to investigate a debunked conspiracy involving the Democratic National Committee. Mulvaney later tried to back away from that statement.
His televised news conference left some Republicans flabbergasted. Many in the party were already reeling from Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria, allowing Turkey to move into the country and attack Kurdish forces aligned with Washington. Reliable Trump allies such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., panned the president’s move as dangerous and deeply flawed.
And Mulvaney opened his news conference by announcing another controversial decision: Trump plans to host world leaders next year at his golf resort near Miami, putting him in position to personally profit from his office. Some Republicans found the move difficult to defend as well.
“I am not surprised at all that the president wanted to hold the G-7 at Doral. Never occurred to me that he would want to do anything different,” Stewart said. “I am surprised there’s no one in there who would advise him against doing that.”
After two days of intense criticism for his choice of Doral, the president tweeted late Saturday that he would begin the search for a new site “based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility.” In fact, the criticism had been bipartisan.
For now, the Republican frustration with Trump’s actions over the past few weeks isn’t affecting the party’s views on the impeachment investigation, which is opposed by the majority of GOP lawmakers and voters.
“Republicans have already shown that they’re compartmentalizing this,” said Brendan Buck, an adviser to former House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. “They’re able to be very upset about Syria in the morning and rationalize the other issues in the afternoon.”
Associated Press writer Alexandra Jaffe in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report.

Protesters blockade universities, stockpile makeshift weapons as chaos grips Hong Kong
November 12, 2019
by Kate Lamb and Jessie Pang
HONG KONG (Reuters) – Anti-government protesters dug in at several university campuses across Hong Kong on Wednesday, setting the stage for further confrontations as police said violence in the Chinese-ruled city had reached a “very dangerous and even deadly level”.
Protesters – many of them young students – spent much of Wednesday fortifying barricades and stockpiling food and makeshift weapons, as other roving bands of masked protesters disrupted transport and businesses in many areas.
Demonstrators have been protesting since June about what they see as meddling by Beijing in the freedoms guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” formula put in place when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997. Allegations of police brutality have fueled protesters’ anger.
China denies interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs and has blamed Western countries, including Britain and the United States, for stirring up trouble.
In the heart of the city’s Central business district on Wednesday night, police used an armored vehicle with an officer firing less-than-lethal rounds from the roof to ram a barricade and disperse protesters who had been blocking traffic.
Earlier in the day, about 1,000 protesters blocked roads in the Central district at lunchtime. Wearing now-banned face masks and dressed in office wear, they marched and hurled bricks onto roads lined with some of the world’s most expensive real estate and luxury flagship stores.
Scores of riot police tried to disperse the crowds near the stock exchange, wrestling some people to the ground and beating others with batons.
At the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), where multiple people were injured in clashes between riot police and protesters on Tuesday, police accused protesters of running a “weapons factory” making hundreds of petrol bombs that were thrown at officers.
“A university is supposed to be a breeding ground for future leaders, but it became a battlefield for criminals and rioters,” Hong Kong police spokesman Tse Chun-chung told reporters.
Police confirmed that they had evacuated a number of mainland Chinese university students from Hong Kong by boat, while Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said dozens of Taiwanese students were also due to leave the city due to safety concerns.
“The youngsters are really the future of Hong Kong so even though I’m worried about being checked by the police I still want to come and support them,” said Cheung, a 30-year-old alumni bringing supplies including food to one campus.
Rows of riot police, some in trucks, watched the students but did not try to break through. The protests typically get more violent as night falls.
Protesters and police had battled through Tuesday night at university campuses only hours after a senior police officer said the city had been pushed to the “brink of a total breakdown”.
Hong Kong’s Education Bureau said all schools would shut on Thursday. Several universities said they would be introducing online learning and other assessment methods for the remaining weeks of the term.
The flare-ups came after police shot a protester at close range on Monday and police said “rioters” doused a man with petrol and set him on fire in some of the worst violence so far.
“Rioters’ violence reached a very dangerous and even deadly level,” police spokesman Tse told a media briefing. “Nowhere in Hong Kong is a lawless land.”
The turmoil caused delays for thousands of commuters who queued at metro stations across the city early on Wednesday, after some railway services were suspended and roads closed.
“It is very painful to watch my city turn into this. Look at everyone, how angry they are,” said Alexandra, a 42-year-old insurance executive who had been trying to get to work.
“We all want to return to normal, but how can the government do that if they don’t listen to what Hong Kongers have been asking for.”
Police said 142 people had been arrested since Tuesday, bringing the total number of arrests to more than 4,000.
Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority said 81 people had been injured since Monday, with two in serious condition. The youngest was 10 months old, but the cause of the infant’s injuries was not known.
Many banks and shops in bustling commercial areas shut on Wednesday, while Hong Kong’s Jockey Club canceled its evening races.
The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines announced on Wednesday that it would cancel the Assembly of Presidents meeting scheduled to take place in Hong Kong later in November. The decision comes a week after major back-to-back conferences on air finance, a key growth area for Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s stock market dropped 2% to a three-week low in early trade, outpacing falls elsewhere in Asia.
Chinese state media condemned the violence, with the China Daily newspaper saying young protesters were reveling in a “hormone-fueled ‘rebellion’”.
Reporting by Marius Zaharia, Sarah Wu, Josh Smith, Jessie Pang, Sumeet Chatterjee, Donny Kwok, Twinnie Siu, Clare Jim, Felix Tam, Ryan Chang, Scott Murdoch and James Pomfret in Hong Kong; John Ruwitch in Shanghai and Tom Westbrook in Singapore; Writing by Farah Master and Josh Smith; Editing by Paul Tait, Robert Birsel and Alex Richardson

Violent hate crimes in US reach highest levels in 16 years, FBI reports
Data from more than 16,000 US law enforcement agencies shows surge in attacks against Latinos and transgender people
November 12, 2019
by Sam Levin in Los Angeles
The Guardian
Violent hate crimes and threats have reached their highest levels in the US in 16 years, with a surge in attacks against Latinos and transgender people in 2018, according to new FBI data.
The data comes from more than 16,000 law enforcement agencies. Overall, the agencies reported a slight decrease in total hate crime reports, which include crimes against property, from 7,175 incidents in 2017 to 7,120 last year. But the number of reports of hate crimes against people, increased from 4,090 to 4,571, a roughly 12% jump.
In other words, the most serious and violent forms of hate crimes are increasing to dramatic levels, said Brian Levin, the director for the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, who analyzed the data.
“This is really significant,” said Levin, noting that the 16-year high has occurred despite an overall decline in crime across the country. In recent years, the spikes in incidents have consistently correlated with political attacks against specific marginalized groups, he said: “The more we have these derisive stereotypes broadcasted into the ether, the more people are going to inhale that toxin.”
There were a total of 485 reports of anti-Latino crimes last year, a 14% increase from 2017, and 168 crimes targeting trans and gender-nonconforming people, marking a 41% increase. Reported attacks against Sikhs also tripled, from 20 incidents in 2017 to 60 in 2018, according to the FBI statistics. Attacks against people with disabilities also surged by 37% to 159 incidents last year.
The FBI’s data found a decrease in hate crimes against Muslims and Arab-Americans last year as well as a decrease in antisemitic incidents. Reported hate crimes against African Americans also decreased in 2018.
The data, which experts caution is incomplete and likely a significant undercount, comes amid growing white nationalist threats and racist violence across the globe.
The Trump administration has also escalated its policy attacks and rhetoric targeting Latinos, immigrants, asylum seekers and undocumented people. As the FBI released its new data Tuesday, the president tweeted falsehoods about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) recipients, known as Dreamers, saying some were “hardened criminals”. Dreamers, who were brought to the country at young ages, are not eligible for Daca if they have serious criminal records.
Trump has also repeatedly pushed anti-LGBT policies, and he and and other Republicans have aggressively targeted trans rights and advocated for discriminatory laws.
Increased visibility of trans people has made them more vulnerable to attacks and violence, said Khloe Rios, a manager at Bienestar, a Los Angeles not-for-profit that provides services to trans people: “We as trans individuals suffer the backlash of this awareness … Visibility harms people if it’s not done with care.”
Rios experienced this firsthand when she and a group of other trans women were forcibly dragged out of a downtown LA bar in September: “As a trans woman of color, I still fear for my life walking down the streets,” she said.
Jorge Gutierrez, the executive director of Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, a national LGBTQ immigrant rights group, said the president’s “white supremacist rhetoric and talking points that vilify people” were encouraging racist violent attacks.
“Every day, people are afraid to come together in public spaces. People are afraid to be proud of who they are,” he said.
Levin said his review of preliminary 2019 data has found continued increases in hate crimes in cities across the US this year. He predicted it could get worse: “We are going through a presidential election and an impeachment … We expect to see a spike in hate crimes and violent political confrontations.”

Tariffs threaten 1.5M jobs: Study
November 12, 2019
by Niv Elis
The Hill

President Trump’s trade war is putting 1.5 million U.S. jobs at risk, according to a study commissioned by the Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s largest container port.
“Very simply put, less cargo means less jobs,” said the port’s Executive Director Gene Seroka at a Washington, D.C., press conference.
The report, which was conducted by consulting firm BST Associates, limited its scope to the effects of the trade war on cargo that goes through the LA port, meaning the overall effects of the trade war could be larger.
The report found that 52.7 percent of the goods coming through the port, based on value, were affected by tariffs.
Of the jobs that could be affected, about 1.26 million, were in danger due to tariffs that Trump imposed, while the remaining 206,790 were threatened by retaliatory tariffs from U.S. trade partners.
The group also found that areas key to Trump’s 2020 reelection strategy are hard hit. The Great Lakes region, for example, was in danger of losing 358,000 jobs.
Hoping to pack a political punch, the group further broke down the effects of the trade war by state and Congressional district.
Colorado, for example, where Sen. Cory Gardner(R) expects a tough reelection battle, was in danger of losing 3,970 jobs from the trade war.
One problem, the group said, was that Trump was fighting multiple trade wars at once instead of building a coalition against China.
“I don’t recall a time where we’ve ever been in a 360-degree trade negotiation,” Seroka said.
Trump faces a Wednesday deadline to decide whether to impose new auto tariffs on the European Union or postpone the decision by six months. He is also negotiating details for a partial “phase one” deal with China and battling House Democrats over the terms of an updated North American Free Trade Agreement.

Arctic blast: US temperatures plummet to record lows
November 12, 2019
BBC News
An Arctic air mass has brought record-breaking low temperatures to several places in the US.
The Arctic blast, which began in Siberia, has brought heavy snow and ice to many areas.
Daily records have been set in states including Kansas and Illinois. Forecasters say hundreds of records could be matched or broken this week.
Four traffic deaths have been linked to the bad weather and more than 1,000 flights have been cancelled.
Schools have also been closed in some areas.
The National Weather Service (NSW) said the air mass was continuing to spread from the Plains towards the East Coast.
It warned that the cold front would make it feel like “the middle of winter” rather than November for much of the eastern two-thirds of the country.
Several cities in Kansas set record low temperatures on Tuesday, when compared to the same date in previous years. The lowest temperature was recorded in Garden City, where it dropped to -1F (-18C), breaking the record of 7F set last year.
Chicago recorded a low of 7F, breaking the previous record of 8F set in 1986, the NWS said. The city also set a daily record for snowfall on Monday.
A recording of 8F in Indianapolis marked the city’s earliest recorded autumn temperature in single digits.
Rare snowfall was even seen in the Texas town of Brownsville, on the US-Mexico border.
NWS meteorologist Kevin Birk said the air mass was “more typical for the middle of January than mid-November.”
“It is pretty much about the coldest we can be this time of year [and] it could break records all over the region,” he added, according to AP news agency.
Numerous schools and businesses remained shuttered on Tuesday because of the unusual cold weather.
The cold weather has also affected road conditions.
An eight-year-old girl was killed in Kansas on Monday after a truck lost control on an icy highway, officials said. In Michigan, three people were killed in a crash thought to be caused by poor road conditions, according to the local sheriff’s office.

Venice floods: Climate change behind highest tide in 50 years, says mayor
November 13, 2019
BBC News
Severe flooding in Venice that has left much of the Italian city under water is a direct result of climate change, the mayor says.
The highest water levels in the region in more than 50 years will leave “a permanent mark”, Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted.
“Now the government must listen,” he added. “These are the effects of climate change… the costs will be high.”
The waters in Venice peaked at 1.87m (6ft), according to the tide monitoring centre. Only once since official records began in 1923 has the tide been higher, reaching 1.94m in 1966.
Images showed popular tourist sites left completely flooded and people wading through the streets as Venice was hit by a storm.
St Mark’s Square – one of the lowest parts of the city – was one of the worst hit areas.
St Mark’s Basilica was flooded for the sixth time in 1,200 years, according to church records. Mr Brugnaro said the famous landmark had suffered “grave damage”. The crypt was completely flooded and there are fears of structural damage to the basilica’s columns.
Pierpaolo Campostrini, a member of St Mark’s council, said four of those floods had now occurred within the past 20 years.
The city of Venice is made up of more than 100 islands inside a lagoon off the north-east coast of Italy.
Two people died on the island of Pellestrina, a thin strip of land that separates the lagoon from the Adriatic Sea. A man was electrocuted as he tried to start a pump in his home and a second person was found dead elsewhere.
Mr Brugnaro said the damage was “huge” and that he would declare a state of disaster, warning that a project to help prevent the Venetian lagoon suffering devastating floods “must be finished soon”.
“The situation is dramatic. We ask the government to help us,” he said on Twitter, adding that schools would remain closed until the water level subsides.
He also urged local businesses to share photos and video footage of the devastation, which he said would be useful when requesting financial help from the government.
People throughout the city waded through the flood waters.
A number of businesses were affected. Chairs and tables were seen floating outside cafes and restaurants.
In shops, workers tried to move their stock away from the water to prevent any further damage.
One shopkeeper, who was not named, told Italy’s public broadcaster Rai: “The city is on its knees.”
Three waterbuses sank in Venice but tourists continued their sightseeing as best they could.
One French couple told AFP news agency that they had “effectively swum” after some of the wooden platforms placed around the city in areas prone to flooding overturned.
On Wednesday morning, a number of boats were seen stranded.
A project to protect the city from flooding has been under way since 2003 but has been hit by soaring costs, scandals and delays.
The so-called Mose project – a series of large barriers or floodgates that would be raised from the seabed to shut off the lagoon in the event of rising sea levels and winter storms – was successfully tested for the first time in 2013.
The project has already cost billions of euros in investment. According to Italy’s infrastructure ministry, the flood barriers will be handed over to the Venice city council at the end of 2021 following the “final phase” of testing.
Italy was hit by heavy rainfall on Tuesday with further bad weather forecast in the coming days. Venice suffers flooding on a yearly basis.
Is climate change behind Venice flooding?
by BBC meteorologist Nikki Berry
The recent flooding in Venice was caused by a combination of high spring tides and a meteorological storm surge driven by strong sirocco winds blowing north-eastwards across the Adriatic Sea. When these two events coincide, we get what is known as Acqua Alta (high water).
This latest Acqua Alta occurrence in Venice is the second highest tide in recorded history. However, if we look at the top 10 tides, five have occurred in the past 20 years and the most recent was only last year.
While we should try to avoid attributing a single event to climate change, the increased frequency of these exceptional tides is obviously a big concern. In our changing climate, sea levels are rising and a city such as Venice, which is also sinking, is particularly susceptible to such changes.
The weather patterns that have caused the Adriatic storm surge have been driven by a strong meridional (waving) jet stream across the northern hemisphere and this has fed a conveyor belt of low pressure systems into the central Mediterranean.
One of the possible effects of a changing climate is that the jet stream will be more frequently meridional and blocked weather patterns such as these will also become more frequent. If this happens, there is a greater likelihood that these events will combine with astronomical spring tides and hence increase the chance of flooding in Venice.
Furthermore, the meridional jet stream can be linked back to stronger typhoons in the north-west Pacific resulting in more frequent cold outbreaks in North America and an unsettled Mediterranean is another one of the downstream effects.

Coming Attractions: Smallpox
by Gregory Douglas
November 13, 2019
At the present time, the United States’ national stockpile of smallpox vaccine is a collection of four cardboard boxes that sit on a single pallet behind a chain-link fence inside a walk-in freezer in a warehouse in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, near the Susquehanna River, at a facility owned by Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories. The vaccine is slowly deteriorating. The Food and Drug Administration has put a hold on the smallpox vaccine, and right now no one can use it — not even emergency personnel or key government leaders.
The vaccine is owned by the federal government and is managed by Wyeth-Ayerst, which is the company that made it, twenty-five to thirty years ago. It is stored in glass vials. The vials contain freeze-dried nuggets of live vaccinia virus. Vaccinia is a mild virus. When you are infected with it by vaccination, it causes a pustule to appear, and afterward you are immune to smallpox for some years. People who have been vaccinated have a circular scar the size of a nickel on their upper arm, left by the vaccinia-virus pustule they had in childhood after vaccination. Some adults can remember how much the pustule hurt.
People from Wyeth periodically open the boxes and send some of the vials out for testing, to see how the vaccine is doing. The vials once held fifteen million good doses, but now moisture has invaded some of them. The nuggets are normally dry and white in color, but when moisture invades they turn brown and look sticky, and the vaccine may be weakened. The vaccine was made by a traditional method: the manufacturer had a farm where calves were raised. The calves’ bellies were scratched with vaccinia virus, and their bellies developed pustules. Then the calves were killed and hung up on hooks, the blood was drained out of them, and the pustules were scraped with a knife. The resulting pus was freeze-dried. The vaccine is dried calf pus. According to one virologist who examined it under a microscope, “It looks like nose snot. It’s all hair and wads of crap.” It was a good vaccine for its time, but the F.D.A. would never clear it for general use today except in a national emergency. Furthermore, some people have bad or fatal reactions to the vaccine. There is an antidote, but the supplies of it have turned strangely pink, and the F.D.A. has put a hold on the use of these supplies, too. If there’s a bioterror event, and someone releases enough smallpox to create a hundred cases — let’s say in the Baltimore area — it would be a national emergency. The demand for vaccine would be beyond all belief. In Yugoslavia in 1972, the outbreak was started by one man, and eighteen million doses of vaccine were needed — one for almost every person in the country.
That first wave after the bioterror event could be a hundred people with smallpox. It takes two weeks after exposure before doctors can diagnose smallpox. Meanwhile, those hundred people will give smallpox to a thousand or two thousand people. That’s the second wave. Some of those first hundred people will go to other cities — to Washington, to New York, all over. So the second wave will include cases in other American cities, and probably in foreign countries. By then, it’ll be too late to treat them, and we’ll lose the second wave. We’ll be well into the third wave — ten to twenty thousand people with smallpox — before we can really start vaccinating people. By then, we’ll begin to pick up so many cases in the Baltimore area that we won’t be able to track cases, and we’ll just have to vaccinate everybody around Baltimore. A lot of people in Baltimore work in Washington. And so you’re going to have a whole lot of people in Washington with smallpox. You can see the deal. Immediately, you would have to vaccinate Washington. At least a hundred million doses of vaccine would be needed in the United States alone to stop a surging outbreak triggered by a hundred initial cases of smallpox from a bioterror event. That much vaccine could be stored in the space occupied by a one-car garage.
The way air travel is now, about six weeks would be enough time to seed cases around the world. Dropping an atomic bomb could cause casualties in a specific area, but dropping smallpox could engulf the world
They discovered that the virus rose and fell in seasonal waves, like flu. This led to an idea to attack the virus with a ring assault when it was at its ebb. The virus was a wild organism that lived only in humans. It needed to find and invade a susceptible human every fourteen days or it would die. If each outbreak of the virus could be surrounded by a ring of immune people during the virus’s low season, the virus would not be able to complete its fourteen-day life cycle. It would be cut off, unable to move to the next human host, and its chain of infection would be broken.

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
November 13, 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. 71
Date: Friday, February 28, 1997
Commenced: 9:50 AM CST
Concluded: 10:12 AM CST

RTC: Top of the morning to you, Gregory. How are you today?
GD: Functioning, Robert. And with you?
RTC: The usual. Listen, Gregory, I had a phone call yesterday from someone at the Agency about you. I am afraid I became annoyed with this creature and said harsh things to them.
GD: Anyone I know?
RTC: I doubt it. Aside from a few broken down academics, a blank face. Someone named Hayden Peake. Have you ever heard of him?
GD: No. Is he someone important?
RTC: No, except in his own mind. He’s one of our librarians. He whined to me that you were pure evil and I shouldn’t talk to you. He’s a friend of Critchfield who is frantically trying to shut off your comments about Mueller’s survival and, worse, work for us after the war. I don’t know whether Peake got put up to this by Jim or by Kimmel. Maybe both. At any rate, when he told me that he had proof that Mueller died in ’45, I told him he was fuller of shit than a Christmas turkey and that I knew personally, and could prove, that Mueller not only worked for the Swiss after the war but for Jim after ’48. I told him that I personally had met Mueller in the late ‘40s, here in D.C and that whatever his so-called proof consisted of he could shove it up his ass. For a denizen of P Street here, he might have enjoyed that exercise.
GD: P Street?
RTC: That’s a street much beloved by many of our leading lights here, Gregory. Leather bars, whipping salons, way-stations for muscular young servicemen wanting to make a few dollars on the side, or on their backs. You know what I mean. I asked Bill about this asshole and he did some checking and mentioned an establishment called the Fireplace. You know, the Company used to be an inspiring place to work when we got started. Hell, if the D.C. police ever raided the P Street places, half the senior people at Langley would be in custody, along, of course, with a number of top military people and not to mention certain key Congressmen. The other half of our new leadership would be in synagogues. Jews and fairies, Gregory. It’s sad. At any rate, I have had it up to here with these people.
GD: What does this Peake person do?
RTC: I said he was a librarian.
GD: Wolfe is a librarian.
RTC: A pair of scumbags, Gregory. Peake thinks he’s a great historical writer and Wolfe has dreams of glory as a fake PhD. And they all loathe and despise you. Why? Because, Gregory, you are a much better writer, and certainly a researcher, than either of them and for some unknown reason, they think their useless opinions impress me. I know you and they don’t. Kimmel is probably behind some of this and he does the same thing. You see, as I said once before, if the Jews get it into their slimy heads that the evil chief of the Gestapo worked for our CIA, they would leave shit all over the sidewalks in D.C. I know for a fact they are screeching, like the rest of the old faggots, to the Army to keep Mueller’s files closed from the likes of you. You see, you are not part of the game, Gregory. The game? They all run around in circles, bent over with their trousers down around their ankles and their noses stuck up the asshole of the one in front. A bunch of incompetent idiots. They can squeal like little pigs to each other but by God, I won’t have them squealing to me and I told Peake, and I will call up Tom with the same message which is to stop bothering me with their envy or I will be forced to take some action against them.
GD: A machinegun?
RTC: No, worse. I know enough about these whiners to destroy them and if they want some fun and games, they can just continue their feeble trashing attempts. And I am now determined to go through my files and send you a number of them. That way, if anything happens to me, you will have lots of ammunition for your gun.
GD: Oh, I doubt if they’ll shoot you.
RTC: Shoot me? No, I mean if God calls me. That’s what I mean. I am not as well as I could be, Gregory, and one day, I won’t be around. I would like to think you are provided for. I know why they are yammering at me and why odious little shits like Wolfe and bombastic frauds like Kimmel and pubcrawlers like old Peake keep whining at me. They know I am someone who knows too much and they are terrified that I am getting senile and am talking to you.
GD: Well, you’re talking to me but I doubt if you’re senile, Robert.
RTC: Well, thank you for the consideration but I am getting a little forgetful at times and it’s harder to get around these days. No, I’m not ga-ga yet but if I get any more calls from the rat brigade members, they’ll find out how senile I am. If I chose to do so, there would be bodies heaped up chest high on the Mall. Ah, well, Gregory, a bit of my Irish temper clears the air.
GD: I heard from someone that you were a terrifying person, Robert, but I never saw it.
RTC: You did once. That was when Bill wanted to get your son a job at the CIA to try to stop your publishing things they didn’t like. You remember that?
GD: Oh yes. You were not nasty to me, though.
RTC: I said terrible things to Bill and I thought he would cry when I was done. My God, all the weird stories floating around about you. Fifteen different names, robbing banks, selling nuns
to Arabs, faking official documents on an old Remington, anti-Semitism, loving the Nazis and on and on. No, Jim is absolutely livid I put him in touch with you. Jim is a shit and I understand he wrote you compromising letters that he wants back. Is that true?
GD: Oh, yes, quite true. Ink-signed. In the original envelopes as well.
RTC: A word of advice here, Gregory. Put them in a very safe place. And not in a safe deposit box either. Our people can get into those with ease. No, some really safe place. Jim wants to lay his hands on these so bad he can taste them. They don’t know what to do with you, Gregory. They can’t con you because you are way smarter than they are and, to be honest, they are all dumb as posts.
GD: And how about Trento?
RTC: Oh, God, another one. They won’t attack you to your face because not only are they third class assholes but they are also cowards and you have a reputation for ferocity equaled only by a very hungry lion. No, they sneak around, like that turd from Justice that Kimmel got to yammer at me about you. I gave you his number just after he called me. You did call him back as I recall.
GD: Oh yes, I did. He was shocked that you gave me his number and I had a conversation with him.
RTC: Now you mustn’t threaten a Justice Department man, Gregory. What did you say to him?
GD: Only that I would credit him with the writing of some awful article. I say that to many people and since I have done this from time to time, they usually get the message.
RTC: The all remind me of a bunch of old women. Just like old aunties chattering and gossiping about everyone else. Chatter, chatter and shit. People wear bullet proof vests on their backs here inside the Beltway because the standard game is to stab everyone in the back. Starting with your friends and moving outwards.
GD: And upwards?
RTC: I think the brass keeps some of these yammering turds around for the same reason that a whore keeps a pimp around. She wants someone she can look down on. Not like it used to be, Gregory. We were men then, not old gossiping queers. Oh yes, and bitter, treacherous old Jews like Wolfe and his friends. I don’t know what is worse, a treacherous and plotting Jew or a spiteful old queer. Ah well, let us go on to other things less annoying. How is the next Mueller book coming along? Did you get the file on Diem and his brother?
GD: I did. I don’t know where I can fit it in but perhaps a footnote on officially sanctioned assassinations.
RTC: And JFK has become a blessed saint in heaven. He ordered the Diems offed just like Nixon and Kissinger ordered Allende done in. Pious frauds, one and all. Now that’s what I mean by my being able to do terrible damage to them and their precious jobs. I was in the Army during the war and I would like to think that I and my friends were able to help this country, even if just a little but I found it was easier to cope with the professionals from the KGB rather than the rank amateurs we have now. Peake once wanted me to ghost write a paper on the KGB and I told him I would not. If I write something now, based on my experience and knowledge, I am not going to let some pseudo-academic try to take credit for it.
GD: Oh, the academic world is just the same. More backstabbing, gossip, innuendo and pure malice than you could imagine. And these academic papers are worthless for anything but to use as toilet paper. Bad, stilted writing and full of official lies which most of them write to impress their grandchildren and awed middle-class morons with. Robert, in my research, I have learned to totally discount any of these academic papers.
RTC: Oh yes, Peake told me breathlessly….
GD: Some sailor giving him a run for his money.
RTC: (Laughter) No, but I have been told that the great David Irving says you are a fraud. My God, what a compliment.
GD: Irving is the fraud and writes at a high school level. Historian? Gas bag. I had dealings with him once and I would never let something like that in my house other than to fix the plumbing. Or around my children, either. Peake actually used Irving as a prop?
RTC: The blind leading the blind. I’ve never read any of Irving’s material but they do tell me that he’s a lightweight.
GD: A legend in his own mind. It is said his ma was Jewish but I don’t think that’s been proven. Lower middle class oaf with delusions of grandeur and reference.
RTC: Ah, my, what a wonderful morning, full of the milk of human kindness.
GD: I think the milk has gone bad, Robert.
RTC: It’s too bad you weren’t around in the early days, I mean actually old enough to work for me. We would have gotten along wonderfully well. I would have had to warn you to be a little restrained in some areas but I think we could have worked well together.
GD: Well, I do respect you Robert, which is more than I can say for the rest of the zoo creatures I’ve encountered since I started tilting at D.C. shithouses. Oh and yes, do you know how many fairies you can get on a bar stool?
RTC: I assume this is a joke.
GD: Why of course, Robert, always the jester. If you turn it upside down, you can seat four comfortably.
RTC: (Prolonged laughter) Well, now I’m back in a good mood.
GD: Don’t pass this on to your callers. You might hurt their feelings.

(Concluded at 10:12 AM CST)


Encyclopedia of American Loons

Patricia Moore-King

A.k.a. Psychic Sophie
Patricia Moore-King is one of many people making a living out of charging gullible people money in return for Tarot card readings, for psychic and clairvoyant readings, and for answering strangers’ personal questions in person, over the phone, or by email. Her answers and advice – “spiritual counseling” – are apparently based on astrology, “psychic/clairvoyant/medium development,” and energy healing, and will, according to herself, bring “forth the inherent wisdom of the God-self within each of her client’s souls in order to help them achieve spiritual enlightenment.” In addition, she does Reiki, which is Eastern faith healing that supposedly “produces beneficial effects by strengthening and normalizing certain vital energy fields held to exist within the body.” Nothing she does has even the remotest connection to reality, but neither have her customers. She is apparently also willing, for a fee, to come to parties and entertain guest with her psychic tricks.
So, ok, there is nothing special with regard to the bullshit she offers compared to others in her profession . The only reason we encountered her name, is because of her legal complaint challenging county ordinances in Virginia that require psychics and fortune tellers to get licenses and submit to regulation, alleging that the fact that she needed a business license violates the Free Speech clause, the Free Exercise clause and the Equal Protection clause, as well as the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. The courts were not impressed (details here). She also tried to explain why she doesn’t consider herself a “fortune teller”, to no avail. In fact, the most interesting thing about the ruling is not that the courts agree that fortune telling is “inherently deceptive”, which it is, and therefore that the county is free to regulate it as it pleases (in addition to outright banning it), but their ruling that it does not constitute religious practice, which raises some interesting and rather thorny issues (good discussion here).
Diagnosis: It is tempting in these cases to give the candidate the benefit of doubt and dismiss her as a “fraud”, but it’s safer to go for deranged lunatic. The critical thinking abilities of those who pay for her services aren’t much to write home about either.

Gene Moody

Yes, there are people who follow advice on exorcising demons from youtube clips presented by that guy.
A deliverance ministry is a fundamentalist organization that tries to cure peoples’ ills by casting out demons. More colorful and nefarious than, but otherwise essentially similar to, faith healing, the movement gained momentum with the publication of Pigs in the Parlor: A Practical Guide to Deliverance by Frank and Ida Mae Hammond in 1973. One of the current, grand, delusional and frothingly insane old men of the movement is Gene Moody, a disciple of the Hammonds (and mentor of Stan and Elizabeth Madrak, whom we have already covered).
Moody is the author of Deliverance Manual (“Every Christian should be able to cast out demons at least in their own family”), which is readily available online. The basic idea is the same as that described in Pigs in the Parlor: “Demon spirits can invade and dwell in human bodies” to cause all sorts of ills, from from murderousness to schizophrenia, sleepiness, intellectualism and homosexuality, but can fortunately be exorcised by faithful fundies who write incoherent rants in ALL CAPS on the Internet. Moody adds instructions on “Cleaning Your House (of Demons)” and describes for instance a case where someone threw out their kid’s Big Bird toy because it gave Satan “legal grounds”, which is, of course, an idea of a kind we’ve had the opportunity to cover before. There are some illustrative quotes here.
Like the Hammonds, Moody provides an extensive list of potential demons by name. For instance, “BOYCE and BOICE are two demons that interfere with any electronic equipment, i.e., phone, computer, printer, automobile, etc. If something malfunctions, command these two demons to leave your equipment, in the name of Jesus. We get many emails saying this worked. If it does not work, demons are not causing the problem.” Easy as that.
And like all other deliverance ministry promoters, Moody has serious problems distinguishing fantasy from reality; indeed, it seems that Moody and his ilk take any piece of fiction to either document reality or provide instructions for how to deal with it. An example: “The Necronomicon (legendary occult text) has its place in modern black magic and Transyuggothian metaphysics. […] For example, there is now a whole line of materials based on the hellish Lovecraft Cthulhu mythos (author Howard Phillips Lovecraft), a form of magic practiced in the darkest Satanism – a system of magic prominently featured in The Satanic Rituals. The Necronomicon and the Cthulhu mythos are quite real. Lycanthropy (shape shifting) is the clinical term for being or believing yourself to be a werewolf. The magical act of changing into any wild animal. These are immensely complicated worlds of magic, spells and violence.” That he has some trouble following a single line of thought, is not the most serious shortcoming of Moody’s thinking on display in that passage.
Diagnosis: Clinically insane, and he ought to be mostly harmless. But there are, in fact, people who take his advice, and whose children will probably be scarred for life.

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