Among the many strange and suspicious statues, fountains, facades and structures that occupy Vatican City, the Pope’s Audience Hall stands out for its uncanny resemblance to a snake. Completed in 1971, the peculiar structure sits only partly within the actual boundary of the City/State, and the whole building, inside and out is unmistakably reptilian.
It’s officially named the Paul VI Audience Hall, after Pope Paul the Sixth, who reigned from 1963 to 1978. Apparently he was a decent Pope, although he has been implicated in covering up or ignoring the sexual abuse of young boys by members of the Catholic clergy. He was alerted to these scandals in a letter by Rev. Gerald M.C. Fitzgerald in August 1963, and was advised to take serous action against pedophiles, although he never did anything.
In this overhead photo, the building stands out for its unusual shape, which is innocuous enough until juxtaposed with a viper’s head.
Notice the similarities in the shape, the roofing and scaly skin, and the placement of eyes
Designed by award-winning Italian architect Pier Luigi Nervi, the building is designed to seat 6300 people for conference with the Pope himself, who presents from a stage in front of a giant Satanic looking sculpture. Named The Resurrection, La Resurrezione, the sculpture was designed by or Pericle Fazzini. and was inspired by the idea of Christ rising from the blast of a nuclear explosion.
Suddenly there came to me the idea of Christ preaching peace for 2,000 years, and the place where He prayed for the last time: the olive grove of Gethsemane,” said Mr. Fazzini in a book about the work. ”I had the idea of depicting Christ as if He were rising again from the explosion of this large olive grove, peaceful site of His last prayers. Christ rises from this crater torn open by a nuclear bomb; an atrocious explosion, a vortex of violence and energy.” [Source]
Oddly, from an angle, the head of Christ looks suspiciously like the head of a snake with its fangs open, prepared to bite.
The interior of the Audience Hall also closely resembles a serpent, strikingly with two fangs positioned over the stage. Both from the stage, and from the audience’s entry way, the room unmistakably resembles a snake, even though some write this off as delusional thinking, warning people away from considering it’s deeper meaning.
Human pattern recognition is wonky. We tend to see faces in clouds and rock formations. Same here. Pareidolia it is called. The photographer specifically selected lens and position as to invoke snake imagery. There is no snake in the real hall. There is only one in the distorted picture, because it was a neat feature to put into the picture.” [Source]
Here is the view from the entry way. Is this just a trick on the eyes?
And from the Pope’s position on stage… with more teeth.
The massive stained-glass windows on the sides of the hall are also quite reptilian in their design, featuring vertical slits in oval-shaped eyes.
Symbolism and Esoteric Meaning
The Vatican, while located in Rome, is it’s own sovereign nation state, and a look around the grounds reveals unimaginable wealth and a plethora of strangely symbolic pieces. The famous Fontana della Pigna is a massive pine cone which is believed by many to represent the pineal gland, a tiny gland within the human brain believed to be the source of spiritual experience.
Of course, the Vatican itself is easily recognizable from above as a giant keyhole, symbolizing the gates of heaven. Design like this does not happen per chance, and the world’s capital of great architecture, Rome, it is ludicrous to think that a famous architect could design a building that just accidentally looks like a giant snake’s head, even though the Vatican denies the resemblance.
For years, independent investigators have worked to point out the dark symbolism of the Catholic Church, noting that symbolism in architecture has long been used ton convey hidden meaning.
6 YHWH sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many people of Israel died. 7 The people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against YHWH, and against you. Pray to YHWH, that he take away the serpents from us.” Moses prayed for the people.
YHWH said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard: and it shall happen, that everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9 Moses made a serpent of brass, and set it on the standard: and it happened, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked to the serpent of brass, he lived.” ~The Bible, Numbers 21:4b-9
In the Bible, the snake symbolizes both wisdom, as in the Adam and Eve tale, but more commonly it represents the presence of evil.
Perhaps most common is the portrayal of the serpent as an enemy in general, or as Satan in particular.” [Source]
If you add to this the story of the Illuminati bloodlines and the theory that the global elite are part of a reptilian hybrid race on non-humans who rule over us with powerful institutions like the church, then the Pope’s Audience Hall invokes even more curiosity. Either way, the Audience hall definitely has an evil vibe to it, and this is no accident.
About the Author
Buck Rogers is the earth-bound incarnation of that familiar part of our timeless cosmic selves, the rebel within. He is a surfer of ideals and meditates often on the promise of happiness in a world battered by the angry seas of human thoughtlessness. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com.
NY TIMES: RESTORING ELEANOR ROOSEVELT’S CHILDHOOD HOME ON THE HUDSON
This story about the ongoing renovations to the brick mansion on the Hudson River in which the immensely wealthy St.Eleanor Roosevelt grew up in is of no concern to Sugar and me, er, “The Editorial Board” of The Anti-New York Times. We’d much prefer to see it demolished as a symbolic condemnation of the many evil deeds committed by that rotten family of elitist gangsters — the Wretched Roosevelts. But the story does offer us a good opportunity to debunk the myth of this nasty Marxist hag that the PRC (((Predatory Ruling Class)))has sainted for us to worship.
Eleanor the Red was not just a Roosevelt by marriage to her distant cousin St. Franklin Roosevelt, but also an actual Roosevelt herself. She was the niece of St. Theodore Roosevelt — that vile arch-criminal, elephant slaughterer, repugnant warmonger and murderous false-flagger who blew up the USS Maine while serving as acting Naval Secretary in 1898.If you haven’t already read “The Real Roosevelts” — an epic beatdown of the odious trio of St. Teddy, St. Frankie & St. Ellie, by yours truly — then you really should. What follows here is a bullet point summary of just some of the little known dirt which we dug up on Eleanor the Globalist Red.
1 & 2. PBS commie film-maker Ken Burns published, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. M S King responded with, The Roosevelts: An Omitted History. (Here) 3. Eleanor Roosevelt in later years (the one on the left).
Ten Nastiest Facts About Eleanor Roosevelt:
(Refer to book for source documentation)
1. She had more Communist front affiliations than you could shake a hammer & sickle at. Eleanor was, at the very least, a conscious “fellow traveler” of subversive Communists of America — but quite possibly, an actual secret member of the Party.
2. She was a lesbian.
3. She arranged for the FBI to investigate Westbrook Pegler, an award-winning journalist and harsh critic of hers that she sought to intimidate.
1. Throughout the 1950’s — years after Franklin had died — FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover kept a file on her subversive activities. 2. Who let the dogs out? Eleanor Roosevelt with dyke companion, the journalist Lorena Hickok. 3. Westbrook Pegler’s columns trashed Eleanor routinely — referring to her as “La Boca Grande” (the Big Mouth). Eleanor had him investigated for “sedition,” but he was cleared.
5. She publicly and proudly stood up for the infamous Communist traitor, Alger Hiss, even after he was proved to be a Communist/Soviet agent.
6. In spite of her immense wealth and “do-gooder” facade, her charitable donations — even during the depths of the Great Depression and WW 2 hardships — were minimal.
7. She was a pro-U.N. Globalist fanatic until her dying day.
1. The Great One on Eleanor: “Then, the honorable wife [Eleanor] took his place. She and her sons, she said, refused to live in a world such as ours. That is at least understandable, for ours is world of work and not one of deceit and racketeering.” 2. Alger Hiss — known Communist traitor, defended by Eleanor even after many libtards had abandoned him. 3 & 4. At the U.N., Ambassador Eleanor was all about the “human rights.”
8. She became an early and outspoken promoter of the anti-White “Civil Rights” movement.
9. She was also an early “environmentalist” — a scam to promote more and more government land grabs.
10. She was an advocate of “Children’s Rights” — a scam to undermine parents and bring children under the total educational control and corruption by the New World Order, via UNESCO.
1. The blessing of St. Eleanor bestowed undeserved prestige to the up and coming rabble-rouser, Marxist Loser King 2. For “the children” — “the children” — always about “the children.” 3. “Dang! You sho-nuff be one ugly-ass White lady.” (Out of the mouth of babes)
In short, Eleanor Roosevelt was an earlier incarnation of another nasty Communist lesbian, Killary Rotten Clinscum — just uglier. Indeed, back in 1992, Killary, who has long been suspected of dabbling in witchcraft, once said that she “communed with” the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt. (here) It wouldn’t surprise us if those two demented dykes “communed” in ways that we cannot mention on this family-friendly forum.
Sick and Sicker
Boobus Americanus 1: I read in the New York Times today that the childhood home of Eleanor Roosevelt is being renovated.
Boobus Americanus 2: That’s good to know. She was an icon of American history and a positive role model for women.
Sugar: Boobusss, you frickin’ brainlesss cretin! Eleanor Roossevelt was nuthin’ but a donkey-faced $%#@*& *&^%$ lessbian $%&$ communisst $#*&^!!!
Editor: Oh well, we were once a family-friendly site — until that fateful day when the Mrs. manipulated me into bringing this feline lunatic home from the animal shelter.
In January, 1943, President Roosevelt embarked on a secret mission that would determine the course of World War Two, and ultimately the world we live in today. His destination – Casablanca, Morocco. His goal – to finalize Allied military plans with the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. It was a precedent shattering odyssey. No president had ever left the United States during wartime, or ever visited Africa, or even ever traveled in an airplane. No president since Lincoln had visited an active battlefield. And FDR did all of those things without the press finding out.
The Allies had landed in North Africa just two months earlier, and after a series of bloody setbacks had Germany’s Field Marshall Erwin Rommel – the Desert Fox – on the run. The looming question was – what to do next? The conference would force top military leaders of Great Britain and the United States to hash out their differences and agree on a strategy for victory.
Although hundreds of pages of detailed plans and contingencies were written during the Casablanca Conference, two words stand out as perhaps the most significant of any uttered during the entire war. Two words that defined President Roosevelt’s pledge that “…the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.” Two words that would set an almost impossible target for the greatest military force the world has ever known – “Unconditional Surrender.”
President Roosevelt’s journey began on January 9th in Washington, D.C. when he boarded his special train and headed north. Because of wartime security it was not unusual for the President’s travel plans to remain classified, and the press assumed he was headed to his home in Hyde Park, New York. In Baltimore he secretly changed direction and headed south for Miami. In all of his previous voyages across the Atlantic FDR had traveled by his favorite means of transportation – ship. But the dark waters of the Atlantic had turned into a killing zone, a deadly hide-and-seek between German submarines and Allied transports. Hundreds of cargo ships and thousands of sailors had been lost to torpedoes in the preceding months as Nazi submarine “wolf packs” prowled the seas. Their mission was to strangle Great Britain by cutting off the vital supplies those cargo ships carried. Even traveling by battleship was considered too dangerous for the President. The only “safe” means of travel to Africa was by plane. So in Miami he boarded a Pan American seaplane, the Dixie Clipper, and at 6:30 am FDR became the first president to fly while in office.
FDR with Otis Bryan aboard aircraft enroute to North Africa.
The route was convoluted and dangerous. The first stop was Port au Spain, Trinidad, a ten hour flight from Miami. FDR and his closest advisors spent the night at the Macqueripe Hotel and took off at 5:30 am the next morning.
One of two Boeing Clippers (“Dixie Clipper”) which carried the Presidential Party from Miami, FL, to North Africa (Casablanca Conference)
Nine hours later they landed on the Para River near Belem, Brazil. After a brief stop and refueling, they began the most dangerous leg of the journey – 2100 miles over the Atlantic Ocean. Any mechanical failure over the open ocean would be a deadly disaster. Strong head winds and turbulence forced the pilots to fly low, between 1,000 and 3,000 feet. After a grueling 19 hours they finally saw the African coast, and at 4:45 pm on January 13 they arrived at the mouth of the Gambia River in British controlled Gambia.
Credit: State Library of Victoria
The USS Memphis was anchored and waiting for the Commander in Chief. The President insisted on seeing the local area, and boarded a small motorboat. The nearby community of Bathurst was a “squalid and disease ridden town” according to one of the officers who accompanied FDR. The terrible living conditions of the native population reinforced Roosevelt’s strong belief that the age of Imperialism had to come to an end.
The Presidential party dined aboard the USS Memphis and the next morning boarded two C-54 transport planes for the final 1,600 miles to Morocco. They flew over Dakar, the Senegal River, across the Sahara Desert and over the legendary Atlas Mountains. They finally landed in Casablanca at 5:00pm on January 14th.
Casablanca was well within the range of German bombers, so secrecy was a top priority. Lt. Colonel Elliot Roosevelt met his father when he arrived, but even he had not been told why he was going to Morocco. The presidential party made its way to the Anfa Hotel where the conference would take place. The guest book reveals the names of some of the attendees: Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Gen George Patton, FDR’s closest advisor Harry Hopkins and many others.
That evening the British and American leaders had dinner, and FDR and Churchill stayed up until 3am discussing strategy, drinking and smoking like long lost friends. The villa FDR was staying in was called “Dar Es Saada” which Churchill translated as “Abode of Divine Favor.”
The meetings began the next morning, January 15th. While there were many areas of discussion, the main topic was the “second front.” Although the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was not there, he had made it very clear that he was furious the Allies had not opened a second front in Europe. The Red Army was suffering tremendous casualties as they fought to defend Moscow, Stalingrad and Leningrad from a ferocious German assault. Nearly four million German troops and thousands of tanks were deep within Russia and Stalin was insistent that the British and Americans launch a cross channel invasion to draw off some of the Nazi war machine that was devouring Russia. While the tide was starting to turn in Stalin’s favor, an estimated 10 million Russians had already died.
FDR and Churchill at a conference with the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Casablanca Conference.
The British and American military leaders had been at odds for more than a year about when they should invade France. The British had convinced the American’s to attack North Africa first, and they now wanted to invade Sicily and take control of the Mediterranean. Some of the Americans wanted to focus on the war in the Pacific against the Japanese. The German submarine attacks had made it very difficult to supply Britain and the Soviet Union with all of the supplies they needed. Now that the war in Africa was moving toward a conclusion, it was essential that the Allies develop a clear plan for victory.
The meetings went on for ten days, and tempers flared on more than one occasion. Adding to the complexity was the role of the French, who had initially fought the Americans when they came ashore in Morocco. There were two French factions, one led by General Henri Giraud, and one by General Charles De Gaulle. One British general noted that they hated each other more than they hated the Germans.
This was the first time since the Civil War that an American president had been in a battle zone and FDR was determined to review the troops, despite the objections of the Secret Service. The battle of Morocco had ended just two months earlier, and hundreds of thousands of American troops were now coming ashore and heading into battle in Tunisia. But none of them knew their Commander in Chief was in their midst.
On January 18th President Roosevelt reviewed the 30th Infantry Battalion near Casablanca, and on the 21st he traveled up the coast to Rabat, where some of the fiercest fighting had taken place, to review the 3rd Infantry Division. The GIs were “shocked and thrilled” to see FDR as he saluted from his jeep. The president visited the new military cemetery at Mehdia, and had lunch with Harry Hopkins, Gen. Patton and his troops. FDR ate standard army rations from a mess kit: boiled ham, sweet potatoes, string beans and coffee.
The Army band played his favorite songs, including “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and “Deep in the Heart of Texas.” Roosevelt was deeply moved by the experience and when he returned home he wrote dozens of personal letters to the families of servicemen he met and to the families of the soldiers buried at Mehdia.
On January 22, the Sultan of Morocco and the 13 year old crown prince hosted FDR and Churchill for dinner. It was an opulent affair, with the traditional exchange of state gifts. In this case a jewel encrusted tiara and a magnificent ceremonial sword.
Finally on January 24th the conference came to an end. About 40 British and American war correspondents were flown in from Algiers and Tunisia. They were not told why they were going, and were stunned to find out that the President, the Prime Minister and their combined Chiefs of Staffs and military leaders had been in North Africa for more than a week. FDR demonstrated once again his genius in using the media to tell the story he wanted told.
FDR – with Winston Churchill at Casablanca, seated on lawn
It was a beautiful day, the Moroccan skies a deep clear blue as the North African sun blazed brightly overhead. Security was extremely tight, the area was surrounded with barbed wire and armed guards every 20 feet. Fighter planes circled overhead. Roosevelt and Churchill invited the reporters to sit on the grass and then they read their statements and took questions.
One of the first things that FDR said was that Premier Stalin had been invited to join them, but he could not come because of the battles raging in Russia. It was during this press conference that FDR first publicly brought up “unconditional surrender” of Germany, Italy and Japan. That phrase generated enormous discussion and controversy. There are still those who say that it startled Prime Minister Churchill (including Wikipedia) because he had not expected FDR to use those words. That is simply not true. The idea of “unconditional surrender” had first come up with American military leaders in May, 1942, and Churchill himself had used the phrase in a telex to his war cabinet and had approved its use in the press release which was drafted on January 18th.
What might have startled Churchill, and led to later confusion, is FDR’s inclusion of Italy because Churchill had argued that they should leave the door open for a separate peace treaty with Italy. The manner in which FDR said it might also have surprised Churchill as it was a departure from the approved statement. After saying rather formally that “peace can come to the world only by the total elimination of German and Japanese war power” FDR lapsed into his folksy storytelling mode. “Some of you Britishers know the old story — we had a General called U.S. Grant. His name was Ulysses Simpson Grant but in my, and the Prime Minister’s, early days he was called “Unconditional Surrender” Grant. The elimination of German, Japanese and Italian war power means the unconditional surrender by Germany, Italy and Japan.”
Prime Minister Churchill reiterated the President’s statements, describing the ten day meetings as “the most important and successful war conference which I have ever attended or witnessed.” He called himself FDR’s “active and ardent Lieutenant” and described the great success the Allies were having in North Africa. He called Field Marshall Rommel “the fugitive of Egypt and Libya” and described the British 8th Army’s pursuit of him this way: “I can give you this assurance – everywhere that Mary went the lamb is sure to go.” The press roared with laughter.
Although they played only a minor role in the military discussions, the political crisis of the two opposing French leaders was also eased by FDR’s media savvy. After FDR, Churchill, De Gaulle and Giraud posed for photographs, FDR suggested the two leaders shake hands for the camera. Although De Gaulle at first refused, he did eventually agree. A photograph of the two French leaders shaking hands was a coup for FDR, though it did little to resolve the animosity between them.
The conference ended with high hopes and great expectations. But Churchill had one last request for the president – accompany him to Marrakesh, “simply the nicest place on Earth to spend an afternoon.” At 1:30 pm on the 24th a well-armed caravan left Casablanca and headed south for the walled city of Marrakesh. FDR and Churchill drove past camel caravans, olive and orange groves, and arrived at a Villa being used by the American Vice Consul. The villa’s surroundings were described as a “garden from a Maxfield Parish painting.”
Churchill told the villa’s servants to form a chair with their arms and carry President Roosevelt up to the top of the villa’s small tower. They two great leaders watched the peaks of the Atlas Mountains turn pink as the sun set over the Moroccan desert.
Franklin D. Roosevelt with Winston Churchill at Marrakech, Morocco following the Casablanca Conference.
The next day FDR started his return voyage home, and Winston Churchill came to the airfield to say his good-byes dressed in bedroom slippers and a silk robe. The President’s entourage stopped at Gambia, Liberia, and Brazil finally arriving in Trinidad on January 29th. The news had finally broken about the Casablanca Conference, and huge crowds turned out to see the President when he arrived in Port au Spain. President Roosevelt flew the final leg to Miami on his 61st birthday, and enjoyed birthday cake with his closest advisors.
FDR celebrating his 61st birthday aboard the Clipper between Trinidad and Miami on returning from Casablanca Conference. FDR is cutting cake with Admiral Leahy seated next to him, Harry Hopkins across the table.
He boarded his private train in Miami and was back at the White House by 6:30 pm on January 31st.
The Casablanca Conference was a smashing success, and it inspired the world with its boldness and audacity. There were still many months of bitter fighting ahead, but in every way, the tide was turning in the Allies favor. Even FDR’s most stalwart opponents conceded his success. The Republican newspaper editor William Allen White wrote, “…we are compelled to admit that Franklin Roosevelt is the most unaccountable and on the whole the most enemy-baffling President that this United States has ever seen… a certain vast impudent courage… Well damn your smiling old picture, here it is… We, who hate your gaudy guts, salute you.”
The mainstream media is absolutely giddy that the U.S. unemployment rate has hit a “four-year low” of 7.7 percent.
But is unemployment in the United States actually going down? After all, you would think that it should be.
The Obama administration has “borrowed” more than 6 trillion dollars from future generations of Americans, interest rates have been pushed to all-time lows, and the Federal Reserve has been wildly printing more money in a desperate attempt to “stimulate” the economy. So have those efforts been successful? Well, according to the mainstream media, the U.S. unemployment rate is falling steadily. Headlines all over the nation boldly declared that “236,000 jobs” were added to the economy in February, but what they didn’t tell you was that the number of Americans “not in the labor force” rose by 296,000. And that is how they are getting the unemployment rate to go down – by pretending that huge numbers of unemployed Americans don’t want jobs. Sadly, as you will see below, the truth is that the percentage of working age Americans that have a job is just 0.1% higher than it was exactly three years ago. And we have not even come close to getting back to where we were before the last economic crisis. For example, more than 146 million Americans were employed back in 2007. But today, only 142.2 million Americans have a job even though our population has grown steadily since then. So where in the world is this “economic recovery” that they keep talking about?
At this point, the “unemployment rate” has become so meaningless that it really isn’t even worth paying much attention to. If you really want to know what the employment picture looks like in the United States, you need to look at the employment-population ratio.
As Wikipedia tells us, many economists consider the employment-population ratio to be far superior to other measurements of employment…
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development defines the employment rateas the employment-to-population ratio. The employment-population ratio is many American economist’s favorite gauge of the American jobs picture. According to Paul Ashworth, chief North American economist for Capital Economics, “The employment population ratio is the best measure of labor market conditions.” This is a statistical ratiothat measures the proportion of the country’s working-age population (ages 15 to 64 in most OECD countries) that is employed. This includes people that have stopped looking for work.
A chart of the employment-population ratio in the United States over the past several years is posted below…
As you can see, the percentage of Americans with a job fell from about 63 percent to below 59 percent during the last economic crisis. Since that time, it has not risen back above 59 percent. This is the first time in the post-World War II era that we have not seen the employment rate bounce back following a recession. At this point, the employment-population ratio has been below 59 percent for 42 months in a row.
Yes, we should be thankful that things have stabilized, but as you can see there has been no recovery. The percentage of Americans with a job is essentially exactly where it was three years ago. Despite the trillions of dollars that the U.S. government has borrowed, and despite the reckless money printing that the Federal Reserve has been doing, the employment situation in the U.S. has not turned around.
Most Americans understand that the Dow has been pumped up with all of the funny money that the Fed has been printing. Most Americans understand that the stock market really does not accurately reflect the health of the U.S. economy as a whole.
Just consider these numbers…
-The number of homeless people sleeping in homeless shelters in New York City has increased by 19 percent over the past year.
-The number of Americans on food stamps has risen from 32 million to 47 million while Barack Obama has been in the White House.
No, the truth is that everything is most definitely not fine.
If everything is fine, then why did the Federal Reserve inject another 100 billion dollars into foreign banks during the last full week of February?
The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve are desperately trying to prop up the entire global economy. Unfortunately, the global financial system has been built on a foundation of sand and the tide is coming in.
Back in 2008, a derivatives crisis was one of the primary causes of the worst financial panic since the Great Depression.
So did we learn our lesson?
No, the boys on Wall Street are back at it again as a recent article by Jim Armitage described…
Historically, stock markets, being driven by humans, have tended to have a similar length memory of catastrophes, before making the same dumb mistakes again.
But it hasn’t even been five years since derivatives (on that occasion based on daft mortgages) blew up the world, and yet these exotic creatures have already returned. With a vengeance.
Research from Thomson Reuters declared that banks were creating more derivatives known as asset-backed securities than at any time since before the Lehman Brothers crash. Of those, 22 percent were made up of – and forgive me the alphabet soup here – CDOs and CLOs. The very type of derivatives that exploded last time. At this stage last year, only 6 percent fell into those categories.
In other words, banks are creating more of the riskiest types of the riskiest products.
At some point, we will have another derivatives crisis even worse than the last one.
When that happens, financial markets all over the globe will crash, economic activity will grind to a standstill and unemployment will go skyrocketing once again.
But as you saw above, we have never even come close to recovering from the last crisis.
So you can believe the mind-numbing propaganda that the mainstream media is trying to feed you if you want. Unfortunately, the reality of the matter is that we have not recovered from the last major economic crisis, and another one is rapidly approaching.
Put yourself back in 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War, the height of the Cold War and the race wars flaring up across the United States in the late 1960’s.
Who wouldn’t want to believe that the moon landing was anything other than how it was reported via NASA?
That should set the scene…
It was the crowning achievement of mankind.
Yet, according to many alternative researchers, there are problems with many of the official images associated with the moon landing.
The great space mission was launched under a Nixon Administration whose immorality and deceit knew no limits. The race for space supremacy was a heated one. Only a month previous, the USSR had already reached the moon with an unmanned craft.
Was a Nixon government capable of lying to the American people, and to the world? Sadly, history has already confirmed the answer to that question. So what about the Apollo Mission, at a price tag of $500 billion in today’s money? Failure was surely not an option.
MOON HOAX NARRATIVE: OJ Simpson in the Hollywood production ‘Capricorn One’.
Hollywood has taken a stab at the idea of a staged moon landing with the production of Capricorn One, starring O.J. Simpson, looking at the political motivations during the cold war, and looking at how such an event could be staged.
Speculation is also rife as to whether famed iconic film director Stanley Kubrick was in fact hand-picked to produce a Capricorn-style Apollo moon landing for TV audiences. Was Capricorn showbiz insiders’ way of hinting at a Gov’t-Kubrick conspiracy? Because Kubrick is so steeped in Hollywood lore, do not expect this mystery to die anytime soon.
This 21WIRE post is not about any “moon landing hoax”, rather, this is about the examination of the images which have been presented as the Official Moon Landing historic record. We are not sure where the Apollo astronauts went or what they did during the Apollo Mission – other than what was reported at the time.
However, after reviewing the photographic and video evidence, it’s difficult to believe that all of these images were taken on the moon…
This is a very short bit about a topic that can be covered in encyclopedic depth.
Here’s the cut to the chase – and the ultimate bottom line on this story…
Whether or not the astronauts went to the moon or not, there is no way on earth or (on the moon) that the “moon photos” were taken on the moon. It is completely, utterly and incontrovertibly fact of reality. The weird shadows, the strange light artifacts, the impossible lighting are only the tip of the iceberg.
But facts are facts: You can’t take perfectly framed and focused pictures on the moon (or anywhere else) without a viewfinder, without auto-focus, and wearing thick gloves. The world’s greatest photographer could not have pulled this off.
Marcus Allen with famed BBC Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson…
If the sound of BBC stooge Jeremy Clarkson’s voice makes you physically sick, then watch this – a much better, more recent and more detailed interview with UK-based photographic expert and Nexus Magazine UK publisher Marcus Allen with Edge TV host Andy Thomas (worth listening to full interview)…
Rob Leathern, the company’s product management director, said the ads were a problem for users because they are “frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”
We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception,” Leathern said. “That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.”
Leathern said the policy was designed to be “intentionally broad” while the company “works to detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices.” The policy will be enforced on Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network, an ad network that extends Facebook campaigns to third-party apps. Facebook said they will revisit its decision and how they enforce it once their “signals improve.”
“This policy is part of an ongoing effort to improve the integrity and security of our ads, and to make it harder for scammers to profit from a presence on Facebook,” Leathern said.
Adverts for cryptocurrency-related investments have surged as bitcoin prices skyrocketed. With an average two billion monthly users, Facebook has been one of the sector’s largest markets.
After the announcement, bitcoin’s price tumbled by more than 10 percent Tuesday, slipping below $10,000 for the first time in over two months.
Many other cryptocurrencies also took a hit Tuesday. According to Cryptocurrency Market Capitalizations, the price of the top 50 major cryptocurrencies dropped, with each of the top 10 losing between seven and 15 percent of their value.
The announcement follows a Bloomberg report that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) sent subpoenas to cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex and Tether last month.
Tether mints coins they claim are pegged one-to-one to US dollars held in reserve. However, according to unnamed sources, the company has never provided any evidence of its nearly $2.3 billion in total assets to the public nor have its accounts been audited. Some are skeptical that the money is even there
Tether and Bitfinex both share the same top five executives, including chief executive and chief financial officer, according to theirwebsites.
The announcement comes on the heels of the Japanese government’s announcement last week that it had suspended trading and withdrawals at the cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck. The move came after hackers stole some 500 million NEM tokens worth around $532 million, the biggest ever theft from a cryptocurrency exchange.
Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan Chase, and Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway announced they would attempt to “disrupt” the health insurance industry by creating their own independent healthcare company, first serving their employees and potentially other Americans. The plan was met with skepticism from single-payer healthcare advocates. (Photo: NBC News)
A newly-announced plan by three of the most prominent billionaires in the U.S. to “disrupt” the American health insurance industry was met with extreme skepticism from advocates of a government-run healthcare system on Tuesday.
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and J.P. Morgan Chase released a statement saying they would partner to create an independent healthcare company for their employees that would be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints.”
“Our goal is to create solutions that benefit our U.S. employees, their families and, potentially, all Americans,” said J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.
“The ballooning costs of healthcare act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy,” added Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, one of the wealthiest people in the world.
The plan, which is in its early stages, represents a sharp turn away from a single-payer healthcare system which would provide care for all Americans, said critics including the Democratic Socialists of America.
While the three companies appear ready to capitalize on Americans’ dissatisfaction with the for-profit health insurance sector by promising an alternative, a growing majority support a government-run or single-payer healthcare system like the ones enjoyed by every other industrialized nation in the world.
Fifty-three percent now support a plan like Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) Medicare for All proposal, up from just 50 percent in 2016.
At Jacobin—in a piece titled “You Can’t Trust Capitalists”—Meagan Day and Dustin Guastella warned after Sanders’ Town Hall on Medicare for All last week that single-payer advocates should be wary of any attempts by corporations to wade into the national debate over how healthcare should be provided in the U.S.
“When progressive and left-wing politicians and political organizations neglect to keep capitalists at arm’s length, the latter’s outsize resources give them outsized influence—often resulting in weakened policy and a diluted program,” they wrote. “In order to ensure the eventual passage of comprehensive policy that benefits workers, not just employers, proponents of Medicare for All need to walk a fine line, stoking divisions within the capitalist class without giving the business community a seat at the table.”
Journalist Natalie Shure argued that the only true “disruption” of the health insurance industry would involve covering every American and rejecting a for-profit model altogether.
Others on social media advocated for a single-payer healthcare system and scoffed at the notion that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Buffett, and Dimon, are qualified to or truly interested in offering a public service.
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Returning from a short business trip to Greece on Sunday, it was with deep shock and emotion that I learnt of the death of Robert Parry, one of the greatest journalists of this time or indeed of any time.
Most of the obituaries I have read about Parry, including ones in the Washington Post and the New York Times, refer to him as an investigative journalist with particular stress given to his absolutely critical role in exposing the Iran-Contra affair.
Whilst this is of course true, for me and I suspect for many others Robert Parry was much more than this.
First and foremost and as was very obvious from his writings Robert Parry saw his work as that of bearing witness to the truth, and it is there that he saw his first duty as a journalist.
A convinced democrat, journalism for Parry was about informing the people truthfully about what was going on so that they could make informed decisions of the sort they have a right to make in a democracy. A failure of journalism to fulfil that duty puts democracy at risk.
That is what drove Parry to expose scandals like Iran-Contra, but also to refute fake and concocted scandals like Whitewater and Russiagate.
Note that though Parry’s writings show him to have been a man of centre-left views he worked impartially and objectively, confirming or refuting stories irrespective of whether they harmed or benefited Republicans or Democrats.
A person like that is obviously a human being of granite integrity. Suffice to say that Robert Parry was one of the very few journalists I know of who when reporting what he said he was told by an anonymous source I could absolutely trust to tell it true.
Along the way Robert Parry brought to his work qualities of masterly insight and analysis, which in my opinion deepened and grew stronger with time.
Suffice to say that for anyone genuinely interested in the political life and contemporary history of the United States Parry’s writings were quite simply indispensable.
There is another reason to regret his passing.
Robert Parry launched Consortium News in 1995 precisely because he was becoming concerned that the US media was no longer coming close to fulfilling the high journalistic standards required of it in a democracy.
Unfortunately in his last years the US media gave him ever greater reason for concern. Especially in the last months, as Russiagate gathered pace, his writings became a litany of entirely justified complaints and of alarm at the collapse of journalistic standards across the US media.
Possibly the cruelest blow of all was to have his own site Consortium News included in a preposterous list of supposed Kremlin controlled websites cobbled together by the anonymous group PropOrNot which was then disgracefully published by the Washington Post, one of the newspapers which has now published Parry’s obituary (The Duran was also on the list).
For a man whose writings show him to have been a deeply patriotic American that must have been a particularly bitter blow.
That whole ghastly episode shows just why we have never needed Robert Parry more. He will be sorely missed. Unfortunately there are no one around of his stature to replace him.
His death is a tragedy, but also a call to arms to follow his example and to continue his work.
On behalf of all of us at The Duran I extend our deepest and most heartfelt sympathies to his family.
Robert Parry’s Legacy and the Future of Consortiumnews
Robert Parry, editor and publisher of Consortiumnews.com, died peacefully Saturday evening. In this tribute, his son Nat Parry describes Robert’s unwavering commitment to independent journalism.
Robert Parry, 1949-2018
By Nat Parry
ƒIt is with a heavy heart that we inform Consortiumnews readers that Editor Robert Parry has passed away. As regular readers know, Robert (or Bob, as he was known to friends and family) suffered a stroke in December, which – despite his own speculation that it may have been brought on by the stress of covering Washington politics – was the result of undiagnosed pancreatic cancer that he had been unknowingly living with for the past 4-5 years.
He unfortunately suffered two more debilitating strokes in recent weeks and after the last one, was moved to hospice care on Tuesday. He passed away peacefully Saturday evening. He was 68.
Those of us close to him wish to sincerely thank readers for the kind comments and words of support posted on recentarticles regarding Bob’s health issues. We read aloud many of these comments to him during his final days to let him know how much his work has meant to so many people and how much concern there was for his well-being.
I am sure that these kindnesses meant a lot to him. They also mean a lot to us as family members, as we all know how devoted he was to the mission of independent journalism and this website which has been publishing articles since the earliest days of the internet, launching all the way back in 1995.
With my dad, professional work has always been deeply personal, and his career as a journalist was thoroughly intertwined with his family life. I can recall kitchen table conversations in my early childhood that focused on the U.S.-backed wars in Central America and complaints about how his editors at The Associated Press were too timid to run articles of his that – no matter how well-documented – cast the Reagan administration in a bad light.
One of my earliest memories in fact was of my dad about to leave on assignment in the early 1980s to the war zones of El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala, and the heartfelt good-bye that he wished to me and my siblings. He warned us that he was going to a very dangerous place and that there was a possibility that he might not come back.
I remember asking him why he had to go, why he couldn’t just stay at home with us. He replied that it was important to go to these places and tell the truth about what was happening there. He mentioned that children my age were being killed in these wars and that somebody had to tell their stories. I remember asking, “Kids like me?” He replied, “Yes, kids just like you.”
Bob was deeply impacted by the dirty wars of Central America in the 1980s and in many ways these conflicts – and the U.S. involvement in them – came to define the rest of his life and career. With grisly stories emerging from Nicaragua (thanks partly to journalists like him), Congress passed the Boland Amendments from 1982 to 1984, which placed limits on U.S. military assistance to the contras who were attempting to overthrow the Sandinista government through a variety of terrorist tactics.
The Reagan administration immediately began exploring ways to circumvent those legal restrictions, which led to a scheme to send secret arms shipments to the revolutionary and vehemently anti-American government of Iran and divert the profits to the contras. In 1985, Bob wrote the first stories describing this operation, which later became known as the Iran-Contra Affair.
Contra-Cocaine and October Surprise
Poster by street artist and friend of Bob, Robbie Conal
Parallel to the illegal arms shipments to Iran during those days was a cocaine trafficking operation by the Nicaraguan contras and a willingness by the Reagan administration and the CIA to turn a blind eye to these activities. This, despite the fact that cocaine was flooding into the United States while Ronald Reagan was proclaiming a “war on drugs,” and a crack cocaine epidemic was devastating communities across the country.
Bob and his colleague Brian Barger were the first journalists to report on this story in late 1985, which became known as the contra-cocaine scandal, and became the subject of a congressional investigation led by then-Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) in 1986.
Continuing to pursue leads relating to Iran-Contra during a period in the late 80s when most of Washington was moving on from the scandal, Bob discovered that there was more to the story than commonly understood. He learned that the roots of the illegal arm shipments to Iran stretched back further than previously known – all the way back to the 1980 presidential campaign.
That electoral contest between incumbent Jimmy Carter and challenger Ronald Reagan had come to be largely dominated by the hostage crisis in Iran, with 52 Americans being held at the U.S. embassy in Tehran since the 1979 Iranian Revolution. The Iranian hostage crisis, along with the ailing economy, came to define a perception of an America in decline, with former Hollywood actor Ronald Reagan promising a new start for the country, a restoration of its status as a “shining city on a hill.”
The hostages were released in Tehran moments after Reagan was sworn in as president in Washington on January 20, 1981. Despite suspicions for years that there had been some sort of quid pro quo between the Reagan campaign and the Iranians, it wasn’t until Bob uncovered a trove of documents in a House office building basement in 1994 that the evidence became overwhelming that the Reagan campaign had interfered with the Carter administration’s efforts to free the hostages prior to the 1980 election. Their release sooner – what Carter hoped would be his “October Surprise” – could have given him the boost needed to win.
Examining these documents and being already well-versed on this story – having previously travelled three continents pursuing the investigation for a PBS Frontline documentary – Bob became increasingly convinced that the Reagan campaign had in fact sabotaged Carter’s hostage negotiations, possibly committing an act of treason in an effort to make sure that 52 American citizens continued to be held in a harrowing hostage situation until after Reagan secured the election.
Needless to say, this was an inconvenient story at a time – in the mid-1990s – when the national media had long since moved on from the Reagan scandals and were obsessing over new scandals, mostly related to President Bill Clinton’s sex life and failed real estate deals. Washington also wasn’t particularly interested in challenging the Reagan legacy, which at that time was beginning to solidify into a kind of mythology, with campaigns underway to name buildings and airports after the former president.
At times, Bob had doubts about his career decisions and the stories he was pursuing. As he wrote in Trick or Treason, a book outlining his investigation into the October Surprise Mystery, this search for historical truth can be painful and seemingly thankless.
“Many times,” he wrote, “I had regretted accepting Frontline’s assignment in 1990. I faulted myself for risking my future in mainstream journalism. After all, that is where the decent-paying jobs are. I had jeopardized my ability to support my four children out of an old-fashioned sense of duty, a regard for an unwritten code that expects reporters to take almost any assignment.”
Nevertheless, Bob continued his efforts to tell the full story behind both the Iran-Contra scandal and the origins of the Reagan-Bush era, ultimately leading to two things: him being pushed out of the mainstream media, and the launching of Consortiumnews.com.
I remember when he started the website, together with my older brother Sam, back in 1995. At the time, in spite of talk we were all hearing about something called “the information superhighway” and “electronic mail,” I had never visited a website and didn’t even know how to get “on line.” My dad called me in Richmond, where I was a sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University, and told me I should check out this new “Internet site” he and Sam had just launched.
He explained over the phone how to open a browser and instructed me how to type in the URL, starting, he said, with “http,” then a colon and two forward slashes, then “www,” then “dot,” then this long address with one or two more forward slashes if I recall. (It wasn’t until years later that the website got its own domain and a simpler address.)
I went to the computer lab at the university and asked for some assistance on how to get online, dutifully typed in the URL, and opened this website – the first one I had ever visited. It was interesting, but a bit hard to read on the computer screen, so I printed out some articles to read back in my dorm room.
I quickly became a fan of “The Consortium,” as it was called back then, and continued reading articles on the October Surprise Mystery as Bob and Sam posted them on this new and exciting tool called “the Internet.” Sam had to learn HTML coding from scratch to launch this online news service, billed as “the Internet’s First Investigative ‘Zine.” For his efforts, Sam was honored with the Consortium for Independent Journalism’s first Gary Webb Freedom of the Press Award in 2015.
X-Files and Contra-Crack
At some point along the way, Bob decided that in addition to the website, where he was not only posting original articles but also providing the source documents that he had uncovered in the House office building basement, he would also take a stab at traditional publishing. He compiled the “October Surprise X-Files” into a booklet and self-published it in January 1996.
Original Consortium merchandise from 1996.
He was also publishing a newsletter to complement the website, knowing that at that time, there were still plenty of people who didn’t know how to turn a computer on, much less navigate the World Wide Web. I transferred from Virginia Commonwealth University to George Mason University in the DC suburbs and started working part-time with my dad and Sam on the newsletter and website.
We worked together on the content, editing and laying it out with graphics often culled from books at our local library. We built a subscriber base through networking and purchasing mailing lists from progressive magazines. Every two weeks we would get a thousand copies printed from Sir Speedy and would spend Friday evening collating these newsletters and sending them out to our subscribers.
The launching of the website and newsletter, and later an even-more ambitious project called I.F. Magazine, happened to coincide with the publication in 1996 of Gary Webb’s “Dark Alliance” series at the San Jose Mercury-News. Webb’s series reopened the contra-cocaine controversy with a detailed examination of the drug trafficking networks in Nicaragua and Los Angeles that had helped to spread highly addictive crack cocaine across the United States.
The African-American community, in particular, was rightly outraged over this story, which offered confirmation of many long-standing suspicions that the government was complicit in the drug trade devastating their communities. African Americans had been deeply and disproportionately affected by the crack epidemic, both in terms of the direct impact of the drug and the draconian drug laws and mandatory minimum sentences that came to define the government’s approach to “the war on drugs.”
For a moment in the summer of 1996, it appeared that the renewed interest in the contra-cocaine story might offer an opportunity to revisit the crimes and misdeeds of the Reagan-Bush era, but those hopes were dashed when the “the Big Media” decided to double down on its earlier failures to cover this story properly.
Big Papers Pile On
The Los Angeles Times launched the attack on Gary Webb and his reporting at the San Jose Mercury-News, followed by equally dismissive stories at the Washington Post and New York Times. The piling on from these newspapers eventually led Mercury-News editor Jerry Ceppos to denounce Webb’s reporting and offer a mea culpa for publishing the articles.
The onslaught of hostile reporting from the big papers failed to address the basic premises of Webb’s series and did not debunk the underlying allegations of contra-cocaine smuggling or the fact that much of this cocaine ended up on American streets in the form of crack. Instead, it raised doubts by poking holes in certain details and casting the story as a “conspiracy theory.” Some of the reporting attempted to debunk claims that Webb never actually made – such as the idea that the contra-cocaine trafficking was part of a government plot to intentionally decimate the African-American community.
Gary Webb holds up a copy of the San Jose Mercury-News with his front-page story.
Gary Webb and Bob were in close contact during those days. Bob offered him professional and personal support, having spent his time also on the receiving end of attacks by journalistic colleagues and editors who rejected certain stories – no matter how factual – as fanciful conspiracy theories. Articles at The Consortium website and newsletter, as well as I.F. Magazine, offered details on the historical context for the “Dark Alliance” series and pushed back against the mainstream media’s onslaught of hostile and disingenuous reporting.
Bob also published the book Lost History which provided extensive details on the background for the “Dark Alliance” series, explaining that far from a baseless “conspiracy theory,” the facts and evidence strongly supported the conclusion that the Reagan-Bush administrations had colluded with drug traffickers to fund their illegal war against Nicaragua.
But sadly, the damage to Gary Webb was done. With his professional and personal life in tatters because of his courageous reporting on the contra-cocaine story, he committed suicide in 2004 at the age of 49. Speaking about this suicide later on Democracy Now, Bob noted how painful it is to be ridiculed and unfairly criticized by colleagues, as his friend had experienced.
“There’s a special pain when your colleagues in your profession turn on you, especially when you’ve done something that they should admire and should understand,” he said. “To do all that work and then have the New York Times and the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times attack you and try to destroy your life, there’s a special pain in that.”
In consultation with his family, Bob and the Board of Directors for the Consortium for Independent Journalism launched the Gary Webb Freedom of the Press Award in 2015.
The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush
The presidency of George W. Bush was surreal for many of us, and no one more so than my dad.
In covering Washington politics for decades, Bob had traced many stories to “Dubya’s” father, George H.W. Bush, who had been implicated in a variety of questionable activities, including the October Surprise Mystery and Iran-Contra. He had also launched a war against Iraq in 1991 that seemed to be motivated, at least in part, to help kick “the Vietnam Syndrome,” i.e. the reluctance that the American people had felt since the Vietnam War to support military action abroad.
As Bob noted in his 1992 book Fooling America, after U.S. forces routed the Iraqi military in 1991, President Bush’s first public comment about the victory expressed his delight that it would finally put to rest the American reflex against committing troops to far-off conflicts. “By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all,” he exulted.
The fact that Bush-41’s son could run for president largely on name recognition confirmed to Bob the failure of the mainstream media to cover important stories properly and the need to continue building an independent media infrastructure. This conviction solidified through Campaign 2000 and the election’s ultimate outcome, when Bush assumed the White House as the first popular-vote loser in more than a century.
Despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court had halted the counting of votes in Florida, thus preventing an accurate determination of the rightful winner, most of the national media moved on from the story after Bush was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2001. Consortiumnews.com continued to examine the documentary record, however, and ultimately concluded that Al Gore would have been declared the winner of that election if all the legally cast ballots were counted.
At Consortiumnews, there was an unwritten editorial policy that the title “President” should never precede George W. Bush’s name, based on our view that he was not legitimately elected. But beyond those editorial decisions, we also understood the gravity of the fact that had Election 2000 been allowed to play out with all votes counted, many of the disasters of the Bush years – notably the 9/11 tragedy and the Iraq War, as well as decisions to withdraw from international agreements on arms control and climate change – might have been averted.
As all of us who lived through the post-9/11 era will recall, it was a challenging time all around, especially if you were someone critical of George W. Bush. The atmosphere in that period did not allow for much dissent. Those who stood up against the juggernaut for war – such as Phil Donahue at MSNBC, Chris Hedges at the New York Times, or even the Dixie Chicks – had their careers damaged and found themselves on the receiving end of death threats and hate mail.
While Bob’s magazine and newsletter projects had been discontinued, the website was still publishing articles, providing a home for dissenting voices that questioned the case for invading Iraq in late 2002 and early 2003. Around this time, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and some of his colleagues founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and a long-running relationship with Consortiumnews was established. Several former intelligence veterans began contributing to the website, motivated by the same independent spirit of truth-telling that compelled Bob to invest so much in this project.
At a time when almost the entire mainstream media was going along with the Bush administration’s dubious case for war, this and a few other like-minded websites pushed back with well-researched articles calling into question the rationale. Although at times it might have felt as though we were just voices in the wilderness, a major groundswell of opposition to war emerged in the country, with historic marches of hundreds of thousands taking place to reject Bush’s push for war.
Neck Deep was published by the Media Consortium in 2007.
Of course, these antiwar voices were ultimately vindicated by the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the fact that the war and occupation proved to be a far costlier and deadlier enterprise than we had been told that it would be. Earlier assurances that it would be a “cakewalk” proved as false as the WMD claims, but as had been so often the case in Washington, there was little to no accountability from the mainstream media, the think tanks or government officials for being so spectacularly wrong.
In an effort to document the true history of that era, Bob, Sam and I co-wrote the book Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, which was published in late 2007. The book traced the work of Consortiumnews, juxtaposing it against the backdrop of mainstream media coverage during the Bush era, in an effort to not only correct the record, but also demonstrate that not all of us got things so wrong.
We felt it was important to remind readers – as well as future historians – that some of us knew and reported in real time the mistakes that were being made on everything from withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol to invading Iraq to implementing a policy of torture to bungling the response to Hurricane Katrina.
By the Obama presidency, Consortiumnews.com had become a home to a growing number of writers who brought new perspectives to the website’s content. While for years, the writing staff had been limited primarily to Bob, Sam and me, suddenly, Consortiumnews was receiving contributions from journalists, activists and former intelligence analysts who offered a wide range of expertise – on international law, economics, human rights, foreign policy, national security, and even religion and philosophy.
One recurring theme of articles at the website during the Obama era was the enduring effect of unchallenged narratives, how they shaped national politics and dictated government policy. Bob observed that even a supposedly left-of-center president like Obama seemed beholden to the false narratives and national mythologies dating back to the Reagan era. He pointed out that this could be at least partially attributed to the failure to establish a strong foundation for independent journalism.
In a 2010 piece called “Obama’s Fear of the Reagan Narrative,” Bob noted that Obama had defended his deal with Republicans on tax cuts for the rich because there was such a strong lingering effect of Reagan’s messaging from 30 years earlier. “He felt handcuffed by the Right’s ability to rally Americans on behalf of Reagan’s ‘government-is-the-problem’ message,” Bob wrote.
He traced Obama’s complaints about his powerlessness in the face of this dynamic to the reluctance of American progressives to invest sufficiently in media and think tanks, as conservatives had been doing for decades in waging their “the war of ideas.” As he had been arguing since the early 1990s, Robert insisted that the limits that had been placed on Obama – whether real or perceived – continued to demonstrate the power of propaganda and the need for greater investment in alternative media.
He also observed that much of the nuttiness surrounding the so-called Tea Party movement resulted from fundamental misunderstandings of American history and constitutional principles. “Democrats and progressives should be under no illusion about the new flood of know-nothingism that is about to inundate the United States in the guise of a return to ‘first principles’ and a deep respect for the U.S. Constitution,” Bob warned.
He pointed out that despite the Tea Partiers’ claimed reverence for the Constitution, they actually had very little understanding of the document, as revealed by their ahistorical claims that federal taxes are unconstitutional. In fact, as Bob observed, the Constitution represented “a major power grab by the federal government, when compared to the loosely drawn Articles of Confederation, which lacked federal taxing authority and other national powers.”
Motivated by a desire to correct falsified historical narratives spanning more than two centuries, Bob published his sixth and final book, America’s Stolen Narrative: From Washington and Madison to Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes to Obama, in 2012.
Along with revenues from book sales, growing donations from readers enabled Bob to not only pay writers but also to hire an assistant, Chelsea Gilmour, who began working for Consortiumnews in 2014. In addition to providing invaluable administrative support, Chelsea also performed duties including research, writing and fact-checking.
Political Realignment and the New McCarthyism
Although at the beginning of the Obama era – and indeed since the 1980s – the name Robert Parry had been closely associated with exposing wrongdoing by Republicans, and hence had a strong following among Democratic Party loyalists, by the end of Obama’s presidency there seemed to be a realignment taking place among some of Consortiumnews.com’s readership, which reflected more generally the shifting politics of the country.
In particular, the U.S. media’s approach to Russia and related issues, such as the violent ouster in 2014 of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, became “virtually 100 percent propaganda,” Bob said.
He noted that the full story was never told when it came to issues such as the Sergei Magnitsky case, which led to the first round of U.S. sanctions against Russia, nor the inconvenient facts related to the Euromaidan protests that led to Yanukovych’s ouster – including the reality of strong neo-Nazi influence in those protests – nor the subsequent conflict in the Donbass region of Ukraine.
Bob’s stories on Ukraine were widely cited and disseminated, and he became an important voice in presenting a fuller picture of the conflict than was possible by reading and watching only mainstream news outlets. Bob was featured prominently in Oliver Stone’s 2016 documentary “Ukraine on Fire,” where he explained how U.S.-funded political NGOs and media companies have worked with the CIA and foreign policy establishment since the 1980s to promote the U.S. geopolitical agenda.
Bob regretted that, increasingly, “the American people and the West in general are carefully shielded from hearing the ‘other side of the story.’” Indeed, he said that to even suggest that there might be another side to the story is enough to get someone branded as an apologist for Vladimir Putin or a “Kremlin stooge.”
The PropOrNot logo
This culminated in late 2016 in the blacklisting of Consortiumnews.com on a dubious website called “PropOrNot,” which was claiming to serve as a watchdog against undue “Russian influence” in the United States. The PropOrNot blacklist, including Consortiumnews and about 200 other websites deemed “Russian propaganda,” was elevated by the Washington Post as a credible source, despite the fact that the neo-McCarthyites who published the list hid behind a cloak of anonymity.
“The Post’s article by Craig Timberg,” Bob wrote on Nov. 27, 2016, “described PropOrNot simply as ‘a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds [who] planned to release its own findings Friday showing the startling reach and effectiveness of Russian propaganda campaigns.’”
As Bob explained in an article called “Washington Post’s Fake News Guilt,” the paper granted PropOrNot anonymity “to smear journalists who don’t march in lockstep with official pronouncements from the State Department or some other impeccable fount of never-to-be-questioned truth.”
The Post even provided an unattributed quote from the head of the shadowy website. “The way that this propaganda apparatus supported [Donald] Trump was equivalent to some massive amount of a media buy,” the anonymous smear merchant said. The Post claimed that the PropOrNot “executive director” had spoken on the condition of anonymity “to avoid being targeted by Russia’s legions of skilled hackers.”
To be clear, neither Consortiumnews nor Robert Parry ever “supported Trump,” as the above anonymous quote claims. Something interesting, however, did seem to be happening in terms of Consortiumnews’ readership in the early days of the Trump presidency, as could be gleaned from some of the comments left on articles and social media activity.
It did appear for some time at least that a good number of Trump supporters were reading Consortiumnews, which could probably attributed to the fact that the website was one of the few outlets pushing back against both the “New Cold War” with Russia and the related story of “Russiagate,” which Bob didn’t even like referring to as a “scandal.” (As an editor, he preferred to use the word “controversy” on the website, because as far as he was concerned, the allegations against Trump and his supposed “collusion” with Russia did not rise to the level of actual scandals such as Watergate or Iran-Contra.)
In his view, the perhaps understandable hatred of Trump felt by many Americans – both inside and outside the Beltway – had led to an abandonment of old-fashioned rules of journalism and standards of fairness, which should be applied even to someone like Donald Trump.
“On a personal note, I faced harsh criticism even from friends of many years for refusing to enlist in the anti-Trump ‘Resistance,’” Bob wrote in his final article for Consortiumnews.
“The argument was that Trump was such a unique threat to America and the world that I should join in finding any justification for his ouster,” he said. “Some people saw my insistence on the same journalistic standards that I had always employed somehow a betrayal.”
He marveled that even senior editors in the mainstream media treated the unproven Russiagate allegations as flat fact.
“No skepticism was tolerated and mentioning the obvious bias among the never-Trumpers inside the FBI, Justice Department and intelligence community was decried as an attack on the integrity of the U.S. government’s institutions,” Bob wrote. “Anti-Trump ‘progressives’ were posturing as the true patriots because of their now unquestioning acceptance of the evidence-free proclamations of the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies.”
An Untimely End and the Future of Consortiumnews
My dad’s untimely passing has come as a shock to us all, especially since up until a month ago, there was no indication whatsoever that he was sick in any way. He took good care of himself, never smoked, got regular check-ups, exercised, and ate well. The unexpected health issues starting with a mild stroke Christmas Eve and culminating with his admission into hospice care several days ago offer a stark reminder that nothing should be taken for granted.
And as many Consortiumnews readers have eloquently pointed out in comments left on recentarticles regarding Bob’s health, it also reminds us that his brand of journalism is needed today more than ever.
“We need free will thinkers like you who value the truth based on the evidence and look past the group think in Washington to report on the real reasons for our government’s and our media’s actions which attempt to deceive us all,” wrote, for example, “FreeThinker.”
“Common sense and integrity are the hallmarks of Robert Parry’s journalism. May you get better soon for you are needed more now then ever before,” wrote “T.J.”
“We need a new generation of reporters, journalists, writers, and someone always being tenacious to follow up on the story,” added “Tina.”
As someone who has been involved with this website since its inception – as a writer, an editor and a reader – I concur with these sentiments. Readers should rest assured that despite my dad’s death, every effort will be made to ensure that the website will continue going strong.
Indeed, I think that everyone involved with this project wants to uphold the same commitment to truth-telling without fear or favor that inspired Bob and his heroes like George Seldes, I.F. Stone, and Thomas Paine.
That commitment can be seen in my dad’s pursuit of stories such as those mentioned above, but also so many others – including his investigations into the financial relationship of the influential Washington Times with the Unification Church cult of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the truth behind the Nixon campaign’s alleged efforts to sabotage President Lyndon Johnson’s Paris peace talks with Vietnamese leaders in 1968, the reality of the chemical attack in Syria in 2013, and even detailed examinations of the evidence behind the so-called “Deflategate” controversy that he felt unfairly branded his favorite football team, the New England Patriots, as cheaters.
Reviewing these journalistic achievements, it becomes clear that there are few stories that have slipped under Consortiumnews.com’s radar, and that the historical record is far more complete thanks to this website and Bob’s old-fashioned approach to journalism.
But besides this deeply held commitment to independent journalism, it should also be recalled that, ultimately, Bob was motivated by a concern over the future of life on Earth. As someone who grew up at the height of the Cold War, he understood the dangers of allowing tensions and hysteria to spiral out of control, especially in a world such as ours with enough nuclear weapons to wipe out all life on the planet many times over.
As the United States continues down the path of a New Cold War, my dad would be pleased to know that he has such committed contributors who will enable the site to remain the indispensable home for independent journalism that it has become, and continue to push back on false narratives that threaten our very survival.
“The President has committed, as a matter of strategy, that we will not leave Syria. We are not going to declare victory and go. And that is not my opinion; that’s the President’s strategic judgment. We’re going to stay for several reasons: stabilization and assistance in the vital north and northeast, protection of our allies the Syrian Democratic Forces, who have fought so valiantly against ISIS in the northeast, try to work to help transform the political structures in that area to a model for the rest of Syria, and capable of being credibly represented in a new Syrian state; but for other reasons as well, including countering Iran and its ability to enhance its presence in Syria, and serving as a weight or force helping us to achieve some of those broader objectives.”
That’s as spoken by David M. Satterfield, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, and Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State, 11 January 2018, addressing the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on the topic of “U.S. Policy Toward Syria.” You can see it in this clip from C-Span.
His statement hasn’t been reported in U.S. newsmedia; so, it’s still news; and this means that it’s news to the American people, and to all others who, though this news wasn’t reported to them, trust U.S. media to report any important American news (such as this U.S. Government policy-statement to the U.S. Senate certainly is).
“Again, to our very foolish leader, do not attack Syria — if you do, many very bad things will happen & from that fight the U.S. gets nothing!”
The many people who had voted for Trump because of such anti-neoconservative (otherwise-called anti-imperialist) statements from him as that (and which thus also caused neocons to gang up against him in 2016 and publicly to support the overtly neocon Hillary Clinton instead), can reasonably raise the question as to whether a country in which people (such as Trump has done on this matter) routinely lie their way into elective offices, constitutes a democracy, or is instead actually a dictatorship of lies, by liars — and, if it’s the latter, then the inevitable questions are: 1: Whom are those liars actually serving; and, 2: Are the media also serving those same people and therefore hiding such crucial news as this U.S. Government policy-statement certainly is.
Furthermore, anyone to whom this official statement that was made to U.S. Senators on January 11th by the U.S. Government comes as news (and as news which still hasn’t yet been reported — much less debated — in America’s existing ‘news’ media) might reasonably cease subscribing to and paying and otherwise subsidizing those fake ‘news’ media, and instead start to seek out and subsidize honest ones such as the present site where you’re now reading this important news, so as not to be drowned by the propaganda and deceptions from whomever the people are who hide from the public the real news (such as this). Whereas the mainstream media, and even small media that serve the same owners, attack ‘fake news’, they’re actually reporting a lot of fake news themselves, and are hiding this fact from their subscribers. That fact presents a challenge to each person in their audience, as to whether to do whatever that individual can, to overcome this regime, and how to do it.
Just in case it might possibly be the case that U.S. and allied newsmedia have, ever since January 11th, failed to report this important news due only to their incompetence instead of in order to suppress it, the present news-report, including its links, and most especially the link here to the C-Span clip, is being submitted free of charge to all of them, so as to inform them all, of this important news; so that, going forward from now, all newsmedia that fail to report it are definitely suppressing it, and so that every reader who somehow does encounter it, can know with certainty, that the ‘news’media that don’t are actively and intentionally suppressing this news-item. All newsmedia are now being informed of, and linked to, that C-Span clip; so, all of them now know of its existence and can write about it. And, of course, everyone knows of its importance; so, there will be no excuse for not reporting on it, at least from the present time forward.
President Trump disembarked from the helicopter at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Here, preceded by the brass players of the orchestra of Friborg, he announced that «The world is witnessing the resurgence of a strong and prosperous America», thanks to the tax cuts and reforms implemented by his administration on the principle of «America First», that is puting America in the first place.
This «does not mean America alone: when the United States grows, so does the world». But, he added, «we cannot have free and open trade if some countries exploit the system at the expense of others». The reference is especially clear to China and Russia, accused of «distorting global markets» through «industrial subsidies and a pervasive state-led economic planning».
The crux of the question consequently emerges. The United States is still the world leading economic power, especially thanks to the capitals they use to dominate the global financial market, the multinationals which they exploit resources with in every continent, their owned technological patents, the pervasive role of their multimedia groups influencing people’ opinions and ways on a planetary scale.
Their economic supremacy (including the dollar), however, is being increasingly endangered by new States and social actors emerging. First of all China: its gross national income rose up to the second world place after the US. China is the «factory of the world» in which also many large US groups produce. It has therefore become the world leading exporter of goods. In return, China is increasing investments both in the US and in the EU, and in Africa, Asia and Latin America (in these areas on infrastructures above all).
The most ambitious project, launched by China in 2013 and shared by Russia, is that of the New Silk Road: a land (road and rail) and maritime network connecting China to Europe through Central and Western Asia and through Russia. If the project (which does not include military components) is accomplished according to the original idea, it would reshape the geopolitical architecture of the whole Eurasia, creating a new network of economic and political relations between the States of the continent.
The globalization that United States promoted, confident of dominating it, now turns against them. The increasing of 50% on duties for washing machines and solar panels, set by the Trump administration to affect China’s and South Korea’s export, are not a sign of strength but weakness.
Losing ground on the economic globalization level, United States is focusing on military globalization: «We are making historic investments in the American military – announced Trump in Davos – because we cannot have prosperity without security».
The US already has bases and other military installations in over 70 countries, especially around Russia and China. There are more than 170 countries where US troops are deployed. European powers of NATO join in this strategy, despite having contrasts of interest with the US, and line up under US leadership when it comes to defending the economic and political order dominated by the West.
This is the scenario of the increasingly dangerous US / NATO escalation in Europe against Russia, represented as the enemy threatening us from the East. Any debate on the European Union and on the Euro ignoring this issue, means playing a game with rigged cards in front of the voters, as they do in the current electoral campaign.
Alan Hoffman, CEO of the Israeli-government backed settler-colonization organization the Jewish Agency, bemoaned the “extremely worrisome” finding that support for Israel among American Jewish college students has plunged 32 percent between 2010 and 2016.
This is according to a new survey by the Brand Israel Group, and it confirms trends that the consortium of pro-Israel lobbyists has found in earlier polls.
“In the year since Trump was elected, the situation has only been exacerbated,” Hoffman told a gathering of Israel lobby leaders in New York on Monday, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “Jewish college students in the United States, not including those who are Orthodox, see Israel, justifiably or not, as something opposed to their basic liberal and progressive values.”
The numbers, Hoffman said, are “like nothing we have ever seen before.”
Israel loves Trump
Hoffman is right to be worried. Trump’s tight embrace of Israeli leaders is undoubtedly further alienating young, predominantly progressive American Jews from Israel.
But it’s important to understand that Israel is also galloping away from them.
In another new survey measuring the impact of Donald Trump’s presidency on global perceptions of the US, Gallup finds that “US leadership approval ratings declined substantially.”
One year into the new administration, the report finds that “the median global approval rating of the job performance of US leadership across 134 countries stands at a new low of 30 percent.”
This is down nearly 20 points from the last year of the Obama administration and four points lower than the last year of the George W. Bush administration.
There were only four countries where US leadership approval increased by 10 points or more: Belarus, Macedonia, Liberia and Israel.
Moreover, according to Gallup, “Israel was the only country in Asia in which US approval increased substantially” – with Israeli approval of US global “leadership” surging to 67 percent – a 14 point jump from 2016.
Gallup points out that interviews with Israeli respondents were done before Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, suggesting that approval of the Trump-led US might be even higher if the poll were taken today.
The poll does not give a breakdown of the opinions of Israeli Jews versus Palestinian citizens of Israel, but it’s a safe bet that support for Trump among the former is considerably higher.
For comparison, in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, Gallup found just 12 percent of Palestinians approving, and 72 percent disapproving, of US leadership – scarcely changed from 2016 undoubtedly because Palestinian opinions of Israel’s biggest backer were already near rock bottom.
American Jews strongly oppose Trump
The Israeli love affair with Trump contrasts sharply with the opinions of an overwhelming 77 percent of American Jews who disapproved of his performance, according to an American Jewish Committee survey in September.
“Those are considerably worse numbers for the president than in the general population,” the JTA news agency observed.
Undoubtedly many have been turned off by the Trump administration’s open embrace of white supremacists, anti-Semites and even neo-Nazis.
Mainstream Jewish communal groups have acquiesced to this alliance with traditional anti-Jewish forces because the latter are often also virulently pro-Israel.
And internationally, Israeli politicians are in a mutual embrace with Europe’s rising far-right, including ascendant neo-Nazi parties in Germany and Austria.
And while many American Jews have been on the frontlines of the struggle against the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant and anti-refugee policies, they can certainly see that Israel, the self-declared “Jewish state,” is intensifying its war on refugees from African states.
Protest of Pence
Pence’s visit provided dramatic visuals highlighting the growing gulf.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu smiled broadly and applauded as lawmakers from the Joint List, parties largely representing Palestinian citizens of Israel, were hustled out of the Knesset chamber by security guards for having the temerity to protest the American vice president.
Even a big-name mainstream journalist, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, had difficulty suppressing a comparison that would trouble many American viewers.
“The 13 Israeli-Arab members of Israel’s parliament held up signs saying ‘Jerusalem is the Capital of Palestine’ and were forcibly removed by security as Pence started to speak,” she tweeted. “Can you imagine Capitol Police dragging members of the Congressional Black Caucus off the House floor?”
Pence, meanwhile, took the opportunity to announce that the Trump administration is bringing forward plans to open the US embassy in Jerusalem by the end of 2019.
There are even indications in the US that young evangelical Christians are cooling toward Israel.
Israel is also increasingly a partisan issue, with strong support concentrated among Republicans, while more than half of Democrats say they are ready to back sanctions or tougher measures against Israel because of its settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
A new poll released by the Pew Research Center on Tuesday confirms many of these trends, including that the partisan divide is wider than ever: 79 percent of Republicans now say they sympathize more with Israel than with Palestinians, compared with just 27 percent of Democrats.
According to Pew, the sharp erosion in support for Israel is taking place not only among “liberal” Democrats, but also “moderates” and “conservatives” within the party. And, almost half of Democrats say that Trump favors Israel too much.
It’s the product, not the marketing
In response to the latest survey results among young American Jews, Jewish Agency CEO Alan Hoffman reportedly recommended new strategies to engage the alienated youth.
This is typical of Israel lobby leaders, who tend to view Israel’s toxic “brand” as a PR problem, not as an inherent flaw in the product.
Republican Jewish Committee board member and arch-Neocon warmonger for Israel David Frum hates Republican party for paving the way for Trump
Disgusted with the current state of affairs, Frum refuses to walk past the White House anymore. ‘It’s too upsetting,’ he says…’You just look at it and say to yourself ‘It’s in hands of someone who should not be in there…There are people who are working in that building who would not be allowed in on a visitor’s pass during a normal presidency…It’s going to take a lot of fumigation afterwards to make that building decent again…’
ed note–For those who have forgotten or else who never cared to know, Frum was/is an arch-NeoCon, rabid supporter of Israel, devoted fan of the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ and is considered part of the ‘dirty denisons’ of Jewish policy advisers/spies working in the Bush White House who engineered the invasion/destruction of Iraq and whose main mission is seeing the entire Middle East destroyed for the benefit of Israel.
He is also part of a rather long list of arch-Neocons who hate Trump and–after unsuccessfully preventing his election, are now working vociferously with those on the left side of the Judaic spectrum in seeing him removed, including other notable names such as William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams, Elliot Cohen, and others of similar species.
Now, as we have pointed out here for close to 2 years, to any rookie cop, intelligence analyst or even just a semi-literate/ semi-intelligent watcher of modern day political events, things such as this are what are known as CLUES in helping solve a riddle. When you have Frum and his aforelisted partners in crime all kvetching in near-unison that ‘Trump has to go’, this is an indicator that there is more going on behind the scenes than what the most superficial analysis of the most superficial data suggests concerning Trump being ‘owned’ by Israel.
A few notable quotables from the interview with Frum–
1. He refers to Trump as a ‘nationalist’ in disparaging terms. So much for him being a tool of the ‘New World Order’ globalists.
2. Frum is quoted saying ‘If Donald Trump were to retire tomorrow, the forces that brought him to power would all still exist and we would remain in danger.’
Almost word for word–minus of course the negative connotations Frum used–in describing the behind-the-scenes forces who brought Trump to power that we predicted 2 years ago ahead of virtually everyone else in ‘duh muuvmnt’. For those blinking their eyes in confusion, we are of course talking about those forces within the US Intelligence community, Military, the financial sector, Law Enforcement and others who understand just how close to the edge America has been driven as a result of the toxic nature of Judaic/Zionist influence over American foreign and domestic policy and now who are attempting–too late in the game probably–to pull back from the edge of the abyss.
We’ve put the challenge out there now somewhere between a million and a billion times but with no takers as of yet from those making up the ‘Trump is owned by the Jooz’ brigade, but for the sake of posterity, we’ll do it again–
Please explain to us this obvious discrepancy, and not with pictures of Trump’s Jewish son in law or him wearing the pancake on top of his head at the Whining Wall.
Go ahead, take your time formulating your theory and your thesis. We’ll wait patiently.
Times of Israel
It’s not easy being David Frum these days. A lifelong Republican and former speechwriter for US president George W. Bush, Frum is living with layers of indignation — against the man who now occupies the Oval Office and, perhaps even more so, against his fellow Republicans who helped put him there.
Disgusted with the current state of affairs, Frum refuses to walk past the White House anymore. ‘It’s too upsetting,’ he he says…’You just look at it and say: ‘It’s in hands of someone who should not be in there.’
His new book “Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic,” unpacks, in his words, the way Donald Trump’s presidency threatens the integrity of American democracy. It also aims to prescribe some remedies for what can be done to stop it — or at least ameliorate the damage.
Emanating from his March 2017 cover story for The Atlantic, where he is now a senior editor (and frequent Trump critic), Frum warns his fellow citizens that the corrosion of a liberal democracy happens less like a heart attack and more like gum disease. It happens slowly and systematically. Or as Ernest Hemingway once wrote of going bankrupt, it happens “gradually, and then suddenly.”
Below is a condensed and edited version of our conversation, in which Frum — who grew up in a Jewish family in Toronto, Canada and now sits on the Republican Jewish Coalition’s board — de-constructs the Trumpian manifestation of the gingivitis infecting the US body politic.
He also explains why, in the midst of what he deems the GOP’s widespread complicity and moral rot, he remains a Republican.
The Times of Israel: You’ve been writing a lot of scathing articles about Trump for a while now. Why a book now?
David Frum: I’ve been writing a lot, obviously, not just about Donald Trump, but about authoritarian nationalism and repressive autocracy since 2014. With events moving so fast, people just forget a lot of the things that are important.
You’re so busy with the latest astonishing story — you know, the president hating sharks — that you forget the things that are most important. I wanted to bring all of the information that we needed into one place.
The title of this book is “Trumpocracy.” We’re now at the one-year mark of his presidency. What exactly is a Trumpocracy?
In recent highly sensational stories about Trump’s personality, from the Stormy Daniels interview to the Michael Wolff book, all of them make the story of Trump’s presidency very much about him personally. But a president does not rule by himself. He rules as part of a system of power, with the support of his political party, with the support of elements of the bureaucracy. And if you want to understand why we’re in so much trouble right now, you cannot just study Donald Trump alone. If Donald Trump were to retire tomorrow, the forces that brought someone like him to power would all still exist and we would remain in danger.
One of the points you make in this book is that if Trump were to truly spur the collapse of American democracy, it would not happen like a heart attack, it would happen like gum disease. What did you mean by that?
Some people have been writing about Donald Trump like his presidency would have some comparison to the total collapse of democracy that happened in the 1930s in Europe. You know: Storm troopers, arrests, shutdown of the press. That is not going to happen. These modern, complicated bureaucratic states don’t go wrong that way.
Viktor Orbán in Hungary has never improperly arrested anyone, and he’s as oppressive a ruler as there is in the world. What happens instead is that the law is perverted, that special favors are carved out. Secrecy is established to protect corrupt financial transactions. And a big segment of the political system, not just one man, but a whole political party starts fooling around with the electoral system making it harder for people to vote, because they have lost confidence that they can use power the way they want to in an election system.
You talk about the system, and I want to come back to that, but you also say in the book that the ascendancy of Trump has been less a failure of the system than it has been a failure of people.
President Trump is likely receiving millions of dollars in undisclosed payments from foreign business partners, from the Philippines, from Turkey, from the United Arab Emirates. Those business partners are subject to pressure from their own governments. So the president of the United States is then beholden to people like [Turkey’s] Erdogan and [the Philippines’] Duterte for big chunks of his personal income. He’s able to do that because Congress has not changed the rules.
Congress could change the rules to stop all that: They could request to make public his income tax returns; they could make the disclosure requirements for the president stronger; they could simply convene hearings and demand to know what’s going on. They could change his behavior. They don’t — because they’ve struck a bargain with him.
The bargain that Republicans in Congress have struck is that if Trump will sign their bills, they will protect his wrongdoing.
What explains the fact that so many of your fellow Republicans have been complicit to this man, as you suggest?
Power. There are things they want to do. They are striking a bargain: Give me my tax cut, I’ll protect your income tax returns. Lighten environmental regulations, and we’ll help you shut up the investigation into your Russia connection.
I know this is a common observation, but have you heard ever any Republicans in Congress actually articulate that rationalization?
You see it happen in front of your eyes. Politicians don’t talk that bluntly. Very few people admit to themselves when they’re doing the wrong thing. They come up with language for it.
They have to create these fake stories and fake controversies about the unmasking memos and now the terrible scandal of Fusion GPS and how dare they investigate Trump’s Russia connection? You do these things to distract yourself, you find ways to rationalize your behavior. They don’t forthrightly say what they’re doing, but they do forthrightly do it.
It seems like they’ve made a utilitarian justification, in their view, that by going alone with this presidency, they can get these things done, which they believe are for the greater good, and thus its worth putting up with all these other things.
For sure, but what they’ve signed up for is an ever-escalating set of demands. We now have met people in Congress demanding themselves the abuse of the FBI to investigate Trump’s political opponents.
Let me just give you one concrete example of how this works.
The head of the FBI is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The last president to fire a director of the FBI was Bill Clinton. When he fired him, there was first a credible accusation of wrongdoing. It was disputed how Sessions had used his expense accounts. And there was a process for investigating the wrongdoing. There was a record of the investigation. It was shared with the relevant members of Congress. There were weeks of consultation. Only after there was a real consensus between Congress and the president that Sessions had done something wrong, was he then fired. Trump, of course, did not of that with the firing of Jim Comey.
And he so obviously fired him, as he himself said, to shut down a criminal investigation — and that would normally be wrong — but Republicans started saying, “Well, the president has a right to fire the head of the FBI for any reason at all.” Well, that was never true before. The president did not have the power to fire the head of the FBI for any reason; Bill Clinton did not have that power. He had to fire the FBI director for cause and with consultation. So now there’s a new rule that the FBI director can be fired at any time for any reason, even to pretty blatantly protect himself from a criminal investigation. We changed that rule — and that’s dangerous. In no other democracy does the head of the state police force serve the personal interests of the head of government. The theory Republicans are using to defend the firing of Comey is a theory you only hear in undemocratic states.
Do you think there’s a point when Republicans get enough of what they want out of Trump and then decide Pence is one of their own, why not work to remove him and install Pence instead?
Not for a long time to come, because they will end up having to protect him. The more trouble he is in, the more they will have to protect him. If Republicans were to lose control of the House of Representatives or the Senate or both, they would need him more.
We could imagine that if he’s shown to be guilty, that he’s forced to resign, Mike Pence becomes president and everything is normal. But the questions won’t stop at that point. We’ll then start to say, “Well, gee, Mr. Pence, what did you know about all of this? You kept saying things on television that turned out not to be true?”
What happens is that when a party gets into trouble like this, you can’t just isolate the president and load all the guilt onto him and send him away. They will know that and stay protective; they will protect him because that’s the only way to protect themselves.
You speak with such contempt about the Republican Party of today and the behavior of its leaders. Why are you still a Republican?
Well first, I am a conservative person. I live in the District of Columbia, where we don’t really have a state government, but if we did, I’d want to have a Republican governor. I do prefer generally the priorities of the Republican Party to the Democratic Party.
Second, I think it’ really important — we need an honest, democratic, uncorrupt right-of-center party. And I’m committed to staying and fighting for such a party.
Do you think the Republican Party can recover from this? Is the damage irreversible?
Irreversible is a long time. We’ll have a Republican Party in 30 years. We’re going to have two parties and it’s very hard to re-invent them from the ground up; so in time, yes. But the immediate question is not one about the Republican Party. It’s one about the country.
Americans often have this idea where the story of democracy is one where things just go up and up and up. Andrew Jackson gets the vote for all white men, then the Civil War comes and blacks are freed and with the long period of struggle, black men get to participate in politics, and then comes the Women’s Suffrage movement and women join, then vote is lowered to 18-year-olds and more and more democracy all the time. But that’s not really how it happened. It goes forward and it goes backward. It went backward in the period after Reconstruction. In important ways, democracy went backward after the First World War.
We’re in a period right now around the world, and here in the United States, too, where democracy is on a backward trend. It is harder for people to vote in the United States in 2018 than it was in 2002. And Republicans are actively engaged in making it harder still.
I remember you were as vociferous a critic of Trump’s during the campaign as you are now.
And yet, amazingly enough, the great and good American people did not take my advice.
So how did Trump do it? How did he pull off the greatest political upset in modern history?
It’s not amazing that Trump won the election. Once you get the party nomination, you have, at worst, a 40-60 chance of winning the presidency. So he won the presidency for a variety of reasons, including Russian help.
The important question, the strange question, is how did he win a Republican Party nomination?
Because the whole party system exists — I mean, there are always demagogues, there are always malign personalities — the party system exists to screen those people out, to keep them away from the presidency.
That’s why there are so many primaries, there is such a process. It is so long, you have to raise so much money, all of that is designed to bias the president toward being a person that is accessible to everybody. So all of that failed. And that’s the important question.
I’ve heard that you won’t even walk past the White House anymore since Trump’s inauguration.
I try to avoid walking past it, yeah.
It’s too upsetting. You just look at it and say, “It’s in hands it should not be in.” There are people who are working in that building who would not be allowed on a visitor’s pass in a normal presidency. It’s going to take a lot of fumigation afterwards to make that building decent again.