Editor's Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative January 2016 news and views
CBS 60 Minutes, Anonymous, Inc., part I; See what happens when hidden cameras capture New York lawyers being asked to move highly questionable funds into the U.S., Steve Kroft, Jan. 31, 2016. The following is a script from "Anonymous, Inc." which aired on Jan. 31, 2016. Steve Kroft is the correspondent. Graham Messick and Kevin Livelli, producers.
If you like crime dramas and movies with international intrigue, then you probably have a basic understanding of money laundering. It's how dictators, drug dealers, corrupt politicians, and other crooks avoid getting caught by transforming their ill-gotten gains into assets that appear to be legitimate. They do it by moving the dirty money through a maze of dummy corporations and offshore bank accounts that conceal their identity and the source of the funds.
And most of it would never happen without the help -- witting or unwitting -- of lawyers, accountants and incorporators; the people who actually create these anonymous shell companies and help move the money. In fact, the U.S. has become one of the most popular places in the world to do it. Tonight, with the help of hidden camera footage, we're going to show you how easy it seems to have become to conceal questionable funds from law enforcement and the public.
You need look no further for evidence than the changing skyline of New York City, where much of the priciest residential real estate is being snapped up not by individuals, but by anonymous shell companies with secret owners. There's nothing illegal about it as long as the money's legitimate, but there's no way to tell, if you don't know who the real buyers are. It is one of the reasons Global Witness, a London-based nonprofit organization that exposes international corruption, came to New York City 19 months ago. It wanted to see how helpful U.S. lawyers would be in concealing questionable funds.
ISIS terrorists bomb Syrian capital of Damascus Jan. 31, 2016 (Syrian government photo distributed via Associated Press)
Guardian, Discord intensifies at Syria talks after dozens killed in Damascus blasts, Ian Black, Jan. 31, 2016. Fifty people were killed and dozens more injured on Sunday in coordinated bombings near a Shia Muslim shrine in Damascus as Syrian government and opposition officials exchanged accusations at long-awaited UN peace talks in Geneva. The attacks were claimed by Islamic State (ISIS). Syrian state media said the first blast was caused by a car bomb and then two suicide bombers blew themselves up near the revered Sayyida Zeinab mosque in the south of the capital, a site of pilgrimage for Shia Muslims from Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere. Broadcasts from the scene showed footage of burning buildings, a huge crater in the road, and charred and wrecked vehicles.
It was one of the worst attacks in a government-controlled area of Damascus and one where there has been a strong presence of Hezbollah and other Shia militia forces in recent months. It served as another vicious and bloody reminder of what is at stake in the Geneva talks, which are yet to produce anything more than anodyne statements by both parties.
Former Department of Justice attorney Thomas Tamm reveals his first-hand knowledge of illegal spying on Americans (Image by YouTube Channel under DMCA license)
Reader Supported News, The Case Against Whistleblower Thomas Tamm, Ethics or Retribution? John Kiriakou, Jan. 31, 2016. The Washington DC bar announced recently that it would lodge ethics charges against Thomas Tamm, a Justice Department attorney who blew the whistle against the National Security Agency's illegal warrantless wiretapping program. This is despite the fact that the Justice Department ruled in 2010 that Tamm had not committed a crime.
Tamm came to the Department's attention in 2008 when he revealed that he had been one of the sources for a 2004 New York Times article on the wiretapping program, which President George W. Bush had begun in 2001. Tamm had learned that information gathered from the warrantless wiretaps was making its way into applications that the Justice Department was filing with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court asking to conduct legal wiretaps. Fruit from the forbidden tree.
Tamm, believing correctly that his superiors were in on the program, elected to go to the press, rather than up the chain of command. This act was prescient. The Times later revealed that Attorney General John Ashcroft had approved of the program from the start. Tamm has moved on with his life and is now a public defender in Maryland. He faces disbarment if found guilty.
Politico, George Soros donates $8 million to boost Hillary, Kenneth P. Vogel, Jan. 31, 2016. The billionaire financier had dialed back his political giving after his failed 2004 effort to oust George W. Bush. George Soros in December donated $6 million to the leading super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, marking the return of the billionaire financier as among the biggest givers in all of American politics. The massive check brings to $8 million the Hungarian-born investor's total 2015 giving to pro-Clinton groups. The super PAC that received the $6-million check, Priorities USA Action, raised $25 million in the second half of 2015, according to a report it filed Sunday evening with the Federal Election Commission. The haul brings the PAC’s tally to $41 million for the year, and left it with a strong $36 million in the bank headed into the year.
PaulCraigRoberts.org, The Times Endorses Hillary Clinton with a Banner Ad from Citigroup, Pam Martens and Russ Martens, Jan. 31, 2016. Today’s digital edition of the New York Times captures the essence of the cancer eating away at our democracy: a leading newspaper is endorsing a deeply tarnished candidate for the highest office in America while a major Wall Street bank that has played a key role in her conflicted candidacy runs a banner ad as if to salute the endorsement. The slogan on Citigroup’s ad, “cash back once just isn’t enough,” perfectly epitomizes the frequency with which the Clintons have gone to the Citigroup well.
Des Moines Register, Clinton keeps slim edge over Sanders in latest Iowa Poll, Donnelle Eller and Jennifer Jacobs, Jan. 30, 2016. Hillary Clinton has kept a tight grip on her slim lead over Bernie Sanders in the waning hours leading into the Iowa caucuses, a new Iowa Poll shows. Clinton is the top pick for 45 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers, with Sanders at 42 percent, The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll shows. Clinton's support is up 3 percentage points from earlier this month, and Sanders' is 2 percentage points higher.
Washington Post, Respected Iowa poll: Trump 28, Cruz 23, Rubio 15, Sean Sullivan, Jan. 30, 2016. The most respected poll in Iowa showed Donald Trump leading Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) in the Republican race here 48 hours before the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) running third. Trump leads the way with 28 percent among likely Republican caucus-goers, according to the Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics survey released Saturday. Cruz clocks in at 23 percent while Rubio is at 15 percent. Ben Carson is fourth with 10 percent. The rest of the field registered single-digit support.
Washington Post, Cruz mailer, inspired by political scientists, is condemned by Iowa secretary of state, David Weigel, Jan. 30, 2016. Today, a letter from Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Tex.) to Iowa Republicans is becoming a mini-scandal. On Saturday morning, Republican strategist and writer Sarah Rumpf found a tweet (now deleted) from Iowa voter Tom Hinkelday, displaying a Cruz mailer meant to look like a "VOTER VIOLATION."
"CAUCUS ON MONDAY TO IMPROVE YOUR SCORE," read the mailer, patterned after a report card, "and please encourage your neighbors to caucus as well. A follow-up notice may be issued following Monday’s caucuses." Cruz's campaign quickly confirmed the origins of the mailer, even as Cruz endorser and radio host Steve Deace pronounced it fake. And Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican, condemned it.
"Accusing citizens of Iowa of a 'voting violation' based on Iowa Caucus participation, or lack thereof, is false representation of an official act," he said in a statement. "There is no such thing as an election violation related to frequency of voting. Any insinuation or statement to the contrary is wrong and I believe it is not in keeping in the spirit of the Iowa Caucuses."
Huffington Post, African-American Community and the 2016 Elections, Clarence B. Jones, Jan. 30, 2016. Diversity Visiting Professor, University of San Francisco; and Scholar Writer in Residence, MLK, Jr. Institute, Stanford University. In our blog of January 26, 2016 we wrote about the unique historical opportunity presented to African-American, Hispanic, and young voters in the 2016 State and national elections. We now want to revisit this issue.
The primary and presidential election and re-election of Barack Hussein Obama remain the template to follow that best serves the interests of African-American communities in the forthcoming election contests. Remember in 2008 and again in 2012 we were told the unlikelihood that Obama could be elected and re-elected. Now we are told that electing Hillary Rodham Clinton as the first woman president presents us again with a unique historical opportunity in contrast to only a remote possibility that a white male "democratic socialist" Senator from Vermont can be elected.
We are told that while Senator Sander's ideas may be intriguing, imaginative, and popular, in the "real world" of politics in Washington, DC they have only a remote possibility of ever being implemented. Moreover, they are far too costly to enact.
In several recent speeches to various public interest groups in connection with commemorating the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., I say that a new definitional paradigm is needed to characterize or evaluate what is "moral" and "ethical" in America today. As an example, I ask: How is it possible for people to be sleeping on the sidewalks of the streets in San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, etc., in 2016, in the richest country of the world? How can our default silence to this public squalor amidst unprecedented private wealth be characterized other than morally and ethically obscene?
WhoWhatWhy, Suppressed Documentary Part 12 — It’s All or Nothing for Trump, Staff report, Jan. 30, 2016. Trump exists in a world of extremes — there is winning and then there is everything else. And 25 years ago a prescient journalist offered a chilling vision of how it all might end.
Linked In, Can John Kasich Win by Championing Electoral Reform? NYT Endorsement Opens the Way, Robert David Steele Vivas, Jan. 30, 2016. The endorsement of John Kasich (shown in a file photo) by the New York Times -- and the varied reasons for disqualifying Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio -- open the way for the only candidate that has been a governor and created a balanced budget to first win the Republican nomination and then win over all others, most of whom are not Democratic party loyalists.
OpEdNews, You have now landed in Geneva, Syria, Pepe Escobar (shown at right), Jan. 30, 2016. The alleged Syrian peace process now enters its Geneva charade stage. This could last months; get ready for lavish doses of posturing and bluster capable of stunning even Donald Trump. So in the interest of providing context, here's an extremely concise recap of recent, crucial facts on the Syrian ground which the "new capital" Geneva may ignore at its own peril.
The Russian Air Force campaign turned out to be the ultimate game-changer. It is in the process of securing the Damascus-Homs-Latakia-Hama-Aleppo network -- the urban, developed Western Syria that holds 70 percent of the country's population. ISIS/ISIL/Daesh and/or Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria, have zero chances of taking over this territory. The rest is mostly desert.
As if this was not messy enough, U.S. "Think Tankland" is now spinning there is an "understanding" between Washington and Ankara for what will be, for all practical purposes, a Turkish invasion of northern Syria, under the pretext of Ankara smashing ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in northern Aleppo. This is utter nonsense. None of this has anything to do with fighting ISISL/ISIL/Daesh.
Associated Press via Huffington Post, Kenny Sailors, Jump Shot Pioneer, Dies At 95, Staff report, Jan. 30, 2016. A basketball legend, a veteran, a mentor, and a beloved friend and family man. Kenny Sailors, the college basketball Hall of Famer credited by some with being the first to use the modern jump shot, died Saturday. He was 95. He died in his sleep at an assisted living center in Laramie, the University of Wyoming said. Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman called Sailors a great representative for the university and the state.
Hartford Courant, Former City Treasurer Kathleen Palm Devine Dies At 68, Kristin Stoller, Jan. 30, 2016. Former city Treasurer Kathleen Palm Devine died suddenly Friday at the age of 68, surrounded by her family. As a fiduciary, she was a fearless advocate for the people of Hartford, said Christine Palm, sister of Palm Devine. "I think my family would agree that the most remarkable thing about her was her devotion to civil service and the city of Hartford in her personal life and her professional life," Palm said. "She was extremely accomplished in protecting the city's aspects."
Palm Devine died at 6 p.m. Friday of a cerebral hemorrhage, Palm said. Palm Devine left office in February 2011 after 16 years with the city, 12 of them as treasurer. She was one of 30 city employees who opted to participate in a voluntary retirement incentive program. Treasurer Adam Cloud said Palm Devine was, and will always be, one of the city's greatest public servants.
"She was a champion for Hartford and all of its residents," Cloud said in statement that was included in a release from the mayor's office. "Her passing is particularly difficult for me as she was both my friend and my mentor. On behalf of my staff and the Pension Commission, I wish to express our deepest condolences to her family. She will truly be missed."
Palm Devine was a part of a team of civic leaders who helped raise money to build a memorial to remember the 168 people killed in the Hartford circus fire of 1944. "I'm sure in her lifetime she rubbed some people the wrong way, as outspoken advocates often do. She was passionate, deeply passionate, and extremely hardworking," Palm said. "I would use the word ferocious, and to me, that was a compliment. She was devoted to her work."
Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura speaks to the press on the Intra-Syrian discussions which will take place in Geneva on 29 January 2016. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré
BBC, Syria conflict: Key opposition group to join Geneva talks, Staff report, Jan. 29, 2016. Syria peace talks are due to get under way in Geneva amid confusion over whether opposition groups will attend. UN envoy Staffan de Mistura said he would open the talks by meeting the Syrian government's delegation.
Huffington Post, Senator Wonders How Much Longer U.S. Will Blindly Support Saudi Arabia, Jessica Schulberg and Akbar Shahid Ahmed, Jan. 29, 2016. Sen. Chris Murphy describes how the kingdom has helped ISIS grow and made Yemen suffer. The U.S.'s relationship with Saudi Arabia has weathered disagreements over how to rein in Iran, regime change across the Middle East and several large military adventures. Now it faces a new question, which was crystallized Friday in a speech by influential progressive Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) "No one has a particularly credible long term strategy [for the Middle East] because it would involve facing some very uncomfortable truths -- about the nature of the fight ahead of us, and imperfections of one of our most important allies in the Middle East,” Murphy said in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
The Atlantic, Why Isn't Bernie Sanders's Superior Foreign-Policy Judgment a Decisive Edge? Conor Friedersdorf, Jan. 29, 2016. The Vermont senator seems far less likely to start a war of choice as president, but that doesn’t seem to count for much in the Democratic primary.
Washington Post, Clinton emails include ‘top secret’ material, State Dept. says, Rosalind S. Helderman and Carol Morello, Jan. 29, 2016. The Obama administration concluded there is "top secret" material in email correspondence from the time Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, indicating that some of her emails will never be released, even in heavily redacted form, because they are too sensitive for the public to view. The State Department's conclusion came as it has worked to process 55,000 pages of Clinton's correspondence for public release, including about 1,000 pages that will be released Friday evening.
Responding Friday, Clinton’s campaign took the unusual step of criticizing the intelligence community, accusing spy agencies of engaging in “overclassification run amok.” Some Clinton allies suggested that intelligence officials were politically motivated. Clinton’s spokesman, Brian Fallon, presented the findings as the latest turn in an ongoing struggle between government officials over whether to retroactively classify emails that were not marked as sensitive when they were sent and that Clinton thinks should be made public.
“After a process that has been dominated by bureaucratic infighting that has too often played out in public view, the loudest and leakiest participants in this interagency dispute have now prevailed in blocking any release of these emails,” Fallon said. “This flies in the face of the fact that these emails were unmarked at the time they were sent, and have been called ‘innocuous’ by certain intelligence officials.”
Politico, Clinton email prober had deeper role in inquiry into 2000 Clinton campaign, Josh Gerstein, Jan. 29, 2016. An official overseeing State Department investigations stemming from Hillary Clinton's email practices had a greater role than previously acknowledged in a probe of Clinton's first Senate campaign, according to a subpoena reviewed by Politico.
Washington Post, Ted and Heidi Cruz: Ambition enough for two, Chico Harlan, Jan. 29, 2016. Ted Cruz’s decision to move 1,500 miles from his wife in pursuit of his political career proved to be one of their toughest tests. A “team partnership,” Ted calls their relationship — a driven husband and wife who, like the Clintons a generation ago, have set their eyes on occupying the most important family home in America.
“I know why I got on board with Ted 15 years ago,” Heidi said onstage, introducing her husband, “and before he comes up here, I want to share some of that with you.” They’d met on the 2000 George W. Bush campaign, when they worked three cubicles apart, and in the years since, they’d gone from an apartment in Northern Virginia to a 19th-floor condo in Houston to a series of three-star hotels in early-primary states. Heidi had taken an unpaid leave from her lucrative job at Goldman Sachs to join Ted on the trail.
United Nations, Ahead of Geneva talks, UN envoy addresses all Syrians in video message, Staff report, Jan. 29, 2016. On the eve of scheduled intra-Syrian talks in Geneva to seek an end to five years of internecine fighting, the top United Nations official for the war-torn country took to the airwaves today to speak directly to the Syrian people, vowing that the world Organization will never abandon them. “My message today is meant to reach every single man, woman, child of Syria, inside Syria and outside, in the refugee camps, or wherever you are,” Special UN Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said in a video recording.
CNN, Clinton commits to more debates, avoids specifics, Dylan Byers and Tom LoBianco, Jan. 28, 2016. Hillary Clinton said Thursday she would debate Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire next week -- but didn't specifically say whether she would agree to the three more debates that the Vermont senator is seeking. Sanders offered earlier Thursday to do the New Hampshire debate on the condition that Clinton would agree to three additional debates in March, April and May.
Washington Post, On (and off) a stage in Des Moines, the Republican race in a nutshell, Dan Balz, Jan. 28, 2016. Donald Trump was a no-show for the final Republican debate before Monday’s Iowa presidential caucuses, not just physically absent from the stage but also barely mentioned by seven candidates who are fighting to deny him the party’s nomination. In his absence, the other hopefuls struggled with only limited success to distinguish themselves as the best of the rest.
What was most striking was the degree to which the candidates chose to ignore Trump — even though he has led the national polls for months, he could win here on Monday, and he holds bigger leads in New Hampshire and South Carolina. No one even bothered to make a case as to why Trump should not be the nominee. The two candidates with the most to gain were Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida. Cruz is battling Trump for first place in Iowa. Rubio is looking for a strong third-place finish as a way to separate himself from the other mainstream conservatives in the race. But instead of seizing the moment, both Rubio and Cruz found themselves under attack and on the defensive.
DailyMail, The truth really IS out there: CIA releases thousands of declassified 'X-files' on aliens, flying saucers and other unexplained phenomena, Staff report, Jan. 28, 2016. The CIA has released thousands of declassified documents on flying saucers, aliens and other unexplained phenomena. 'We've decided to highlight a few documents both skeptics and believers will find interesting,' the agency said on its website. The post continued: 'Below you will find five documents we think X-Files character Agent Fox Mulder would love to use to try and persuade others of the existence of extraterrestrial activity.'
All of the documents are dated from the late 1940s to the 1960s, but were top-secret until now. However the CIA seemed to side more with Agent Dana Scully, the character played by Gillian Anderson, who for the entire succession of the cult Sci Fi series denounced her belief in the supernatural. In releasing the documents, the CIA said they were proving that 'there is a scientific explanation for UFO sightings.'
Swedish Doctors For Human Rights (SWEDHR0, Dr Armando Popa – In Memoriam, Jan. 28, 2016. With deepest sadness we communicate the decease of Dr. Armando Popa, late editor of SWEDHR Research & Reports, as well a publisher-coordinator of the magazine The Indicter. He suffered form incurable lung cancer [but] decided to continue his human rights activities unabated. JIP editor's note: The portrait of Popa by a fellow 1973-74 prisoner of the Chile's Pinochet dictatorship, in Quiriquina Island, 1973-1974. The Justice Integrity Project contributes as a board member to The Indicter, an online commentary site for human rights topics.
Huffington Post, Massive Shakeup At Politico With Co-Founder Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen Set To Leave, Michael Calderone, Ryan Grim, Sam Stein, Jan. 28, 2016. Politico CEO Jim VandeHei is expected to leave the company he co-founded later this year in what staffers believe will be a major shake-up, with other top journalists and executives also leaving the news organization later this year. Beyond VandeHei, at least four other high-level departures are expected. Staffers say VandeHei and Politico owner Robert Allbritton have clashed over money and a possible split was the talk of the newsroom Thursday, just four days before the Iowa caucuses. Staffers said that Politico star Mike Allen could also leave after the election.
The Intercept, Spies in the Sky, Cora Currier, Henrik Moltke, Jan. 28 2016. American and British intelligence secretly tapped into live video feeds from Israeli drones and fighter jets, monitoring military operations in Gaza, watching for a potential strike against Iran, and keeping tabs on the drone technology Israel exports around the world.
Under a classified program code-named “Anarchist,” the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, working with the National Security Agency, systematically targeted Israeli drones from a mountaintop on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. GCHQ files provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden include a series of “Anarchist snapshots” — thumbnail images from videos recorded by drone cameras. The files also show location data mapping the flight paths of the aircraft. In essence, U.S. and British agencies stole a bird’s-eye view from the drones.
The Weekly Standard is one of two major conservative opinion magazines with cover stories this week assembling arguments for a Stop Trump movement.
RealClearPolitics, Iowa Reckonings for Clinton, Cruz, Caitlin Huey-Burns and Alexis Simendinger, Jan. 27, 2016. In just a handful of days, Iowa caucus-goers will set a course for the presidential contest, and few candidates have more at stake there than Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton. The two campaigns couldn't be more different in substance and vision. Yet, each candidate approached Iowa with a precision unmatched by rivals in either party.
In Iowa, Trump has been tormenting Cruz with a series of hits and endorsements meant to undermine the senator among his core base of support -- evangelicals, who make up nearly 60 percent of the GOP electorate in Iowa.The RealClearPolitics polling average finds Trump leading Cruz by 5.7 points in Iowa. The Hawkeye State is traditionally volatile -- and open to surprises. On Tuesday, Trump announced the endorsement of Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., son of the late prominent televangelist.
Washington Post, The admiral in charge of Navy intelligence has not been allowed to see military secrets for years, Craig Whitlock, For more than two years, the Navy’s intelligence chief has been stuck with a major handicap: He’s not allowed to know any secrets. Vice Adm. Ted “Twig” Branch has been barred from reading, seeing or hearing classified information since November 2013, when the Navy learned from the Justice Department that his name had surfaced in a giant corruption investigation involving a foreign defense contractor and scores of Navy personnel. Worried that Branch was on the verge of being indicted, Navy leaders suspended his access to classified materials. They did the same to one of his deputies, Rear Adm. Bruce F. Loveless, the Navy’s director of intelligence operations.
AP via Fox News, Russia hunts for pilot's killer in Syria-Turkey border town, Jennifer Griffin and Associated Press, Jan. 27, 2016. Seeking "revenge," Russian forces stormed a Syrian town on the border with Turkey hunting for the attacker who claimed he shot and killed the pilot of a downed Russian jet, state media reported Monday. A Turkish F-16 fighter jet shot down the Russian aircraft near the Turkish border north of Latakia, Syria on Nov. 24, a senior U.S. official tells Fox News. Soon afterwards, Turkish citizen Alparslan Çelik said in a video that he killed the pilot on the ground because Russia had been dropping bombs minutes before the jet was downed.
Reuters, Syria peace talks derailed as opposition stays away, Suleiman Al-Khalidi, John Davison and Stephanie Nebehay, Jan. 27, 2016. The Syrian opposition said it will not attend peace talks due to begin in Geneva on Friday, derailing the first attempt in two years to hold negotiations aimed at ending the five-year-long war.
Reuters, Syrian opposition demands answers before joining talks, Tom Perry, Tom Miles and John Irish, Jan. 27, 2016. Syrian peace talks were clouded by uncertainty on Wednesday as the Saudi-backed Syrian opposition demanded a response to its demands from the United Nations and a powerful Kurdish group said its exclusion meant the negotiations would fail. The Syrian government has already agreed to join the talks that U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura hopes to convene in an indirect format in Geneva on Friday with the aim of ending the five-year-old war that has killed 250,000 people.n.
New York Times, What Happened to a Journalist Who Covered the Kochs, Jim Dwyer, Jane Mayer, a New Yorker writer and author of the new book Dark Money, says she was falsely accused of plagiarism and investigated by the firm of Howard Safir, ex-New York police commissioner.
Washington Post, FBI blockades Oregon wildlife refuge, urges remaining occupiers to leave, Sarah Kaplan, Adam Goldman and Mark Berman, Jan. 27, 2016. Federal agents sealed off an Oregon wildlife refuge occupied by armed protesters Wednesday, hours after authorities arrested several members of that group and killed one of the most prominent occupiers.
U.S. News & World Report, Ted Cruz Isn't a 'Natural Born' Citizen, Robert Clinton, Jan. 27, 2016. Robert N. Clinton is the foundation professor of law at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. As expected, the question of whether Sen. Ted Cruz is eligible to hold the office of the president based on his Canadian birth is now front-and-center thanks to Cruz's GOP presidential nominee rival Donald Trump. Constitutional scholars are dusting off their crystal balls as they are asked to discern what the Founding Fathers really meant by "natural born" citizen. Let me join the chorus of opinions by saying that based on the original framework of the Constitution and the 14th Amendment, Sen. Ted Cruz does not appear to be constitutionally eligible to hold the office of the president.
Huffington Post, Bloomberg Editor Quits Over Fear The Company Can't Cover Michael Bloomberg Aggressively, Michael Calderone, Jan. 27, 2016. "The bottom line is, you can’t cover the circus unless you can write about one of the biggest elephants in the room," said Kathy Kiely. Kathy Kiely, the Washington news director for Bloomberg News, resigned Wednesday over concerns the company could not adequately cover owner Michael Bloomberg's considerations about whether to run for president as an independent candidate. "I did not feel we could cover the Bloomberg trial balloon in the aggressive way I thought it deserved," Kiely told HuffPost. "I think there are a lot of good people at Bloomberg making an honest effort to work this out," she said. "I just feel very strongly that the rules of the game should be the same for everybody."
New York Times, Wounded Warrior Project Spends Lavishly on Itself, Insiders Say, David Phillips, Jan. 27, 2016. The charity, which raised $372 million in 2015, has embraced aggressive styles of fund-raising, marketing and management — and has spent a significant proportion on overhead.
WhoWhatWhy, Disinformation Part 1: How Trolls Control an Internet Forum, Milicent Cranor, Jan. 27, 2016. This is the first of a three-part series on feds, saboteurs, provocateurs, and disinformants. As you read about these dirty tricks, you may have a sense of deja-vu: Cointelpro Techniques for Control of an Internet Forum. This is from an over-the-transom copy of a purported official document. There are several techniques for the control and manipulation of an internet forum. Most involve dilution and misdirection. We will go over each technique and demonstrate that even a minimal number of operatives can eventually gain control of an “uncontrolled forum.”
“Forum Sliding.” If a very sensitive posting of a critical nature has been posted on a forum, it can be quickly removed from public view by “forum sliding.” This maneuver brings unrelated postings to the top of the forum, and the critical posting “slides” down the front page — out of public view.
A second highly effective technique is what we call “consensus cracking.” Here’s how we develop a consensus crack: Under the guise of a fake account, a posting is made which looks legitimate — but the critical point is that it has very weak back-up. [Ed.: We assume this counterfeit posting contains some of the same points being made by those attempting to reveal the truth, but in a weaker form. Think of it as an “inoculation.”
Daily Caller, Who is the real Ted Cruz? Roger Stone with Paul Nagy, Jan. 26, 2016. Former Nixon and Reagan White House aide Roger Stone is a best-selling author who consulted on the Donald Trump for president campaign until August, when he left in advance of his new books on the Clinton and Bush families.
Webster's definition of a scoundrel is a dishonest or unscrupulous person, and Cruz has become quite adroit at saying one thing while his history shows him doing the other. Rather than the outsider he claims to be, Ted Cruz (shown in a file photo) is the ultimate insider, former top Bush 41 policy aide and globalist, Ivy Leaguer, and establishment insider.
There is no better example of this than Calgary Ted's actions surrounding the big Wall Street banks and their secret funding of his political ascension. Cruz has been gorging at the table of the ultimate insider of all insiders – Goldman Sachs and Citibank.
And perhaps the ultimate hypocrisy of the native born Canadian is that his spouse, Heidi, by all accounts a lovely wife and mother, has been employed by Goldman Sachs since 2005. She is on leave as managing director and regional head of private wealth management. Heidi is a proud member of the lefty Council on Foreign Relations, advocates of one world government and the New World Order. Yet we are to believe that the big Wall Street banks have no leverage over Ted Cruz? Why didn't Heidi Cruz resign from Goldman Sachs instead of taking a leave of absence? That's like saying Bill Ayers and Saul Alinsky have had no influence on Barack Obama.
The other inside connection that hits one like a baseball bat is the Bush connection.Ted and Heidi brag about being the first "Bush marriage" – they met as Bush staffers which ultimately led to marriage. Cruz was an adviser on legal affairs while Heidi was an adviser on economic policy and eventually director for the Western Hemisphere on the National Security Council under Condoleezza Rice. Condi helped give us the phony war in Iraq.
Huffington Post, Trump Will Not Attend Thursday's GOP Debate, Marina Fang, Jan. 26, 2016. The Republican frontrunner was unhappy with the choice of Megyn Kelly (shown in a file photo) as a moderator, and after lobbying for days to have her removed from the debate to no avail, he has decided not to attend. Fox News said it would not "give into terrorizations toward any of our employees."
PJ Media, With Fox News Debate Boycott, Has Trump Finally Jumped the Shark? Walter Hudson, Jan. 26, 2016. Here's a guy who claims he can somehow "cut deals" with America's greatest rivals. Here's a guy who claims that he will somehow "make America great again" through sheer force of will. Yet, when confronted by the skepticism of a 130-pound woman, he turns tail and runs.
Huffington Post, Militants Arrested, One Killed In Oregon, Nick Visser, Jan. 25, 2016. Ammon Bundy (shown in a file photo), leader of the month-long militant , Otheroccupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon, was arrested Tuesday in a highway confrontation with law enforcement that killed one of his followers and wounded another FBI. Killed was Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, who had acted as spokesman for the militants.
National Law Journal, DOJ Lawyer Who Exposed Bush-Era Surveillance Faces Ethics Charges, Zoe Tillman, Jan. 26, 2016. Thomas Tamm, a former U.S. Department of Justice lawyer who leaked information to the press about warrantless domestic spying under President George W. Bush, is facing legal ethics charges in Washington. In charging papers released on Tuesday, the District of Columbia Office of Disciplinary Counsel accused Tamm of violating local ethics rules when he went to a New York Times reporter — instead of his superiors at the Justice Department — in 2004 with concerns about the surveillance program. When Tamm told colleagues about the program, they said it was “probably illegal.” Tamm in 2004 contacted The New York Times about the program. The Times won a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for its reporting on the surveillance program, which permitted the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States without a warrant. The Justice Department announced in 2011 that it would not prosecute Tamm for revealing information to the press.
Washington Post, Pushing Cruz won’t get rid of Trump, Jennifer Rubin, Jan. 25, 2016. On Meet the Press Sunday, Donald Trump said, “I mean, the biggest problem [Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.)] has, he’s a nasty guy and nobody likes him. Not one Republican senator, he works with them every day, not one Republican senator has endorsed Ted Cruz. I mean, when you think of it, that’s actually a shocking thing to believe. . . .” He’s got a point, and moreover, highlights why in their zest to get rid of Trump too many staunch conservatives are looking to the wrong alternative.
Cruz apologists say he is unliked in the Senate because he’s such a principled, devoted, sincere conservative. Oh, puleez. There are wonderfully principled conservatives — Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) come to mind. They are not backing him; no one in the Senate is.
CNN, Report: Syria's al-Nusra 'more dangerous' than ISIS, Ryan Browne, Jan. 25, 2016. Al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, is a greater threat to the United States in the long term than is ISIS, making the United States' current single-minded focus on the latter group misguided, a new report is charging. The report was released last week by the Institute for the Study of War and American Enterprise Institute. However, the chief of staff of the U.S. Army, Gen. Mark Milley, in a speech Wednesday said that only Russia constituted a potential "existential" threat due to its possession of a large nuclear arsenal capable of striking the U.S.
The report's authors include Fred Kagan, considered an architect of the 2007 "surge" strategy in Iraq, which increased American troops and engagement with local tribes to stabilize that country, and Kim Kagan, a former adviser to Gen. David Petraeus on Afghanistan strategy and the president of the Institute for the Study of War. The State Department has said that over 35,000 foreign fighters from 100 countries have traveled to Syria to participate in the conflict and that the al-Nusra Front attracts the second-most foreign fighters, ranking only behind ISIS, according to Nick Heras of the Center for a New American Security.
Advance Indiana, Rubio Mocks Washington Post Story Discussing Misdemeanor Arrest As 18-Year Old, Gary R. Welsh, Jan. 25, 2016. A few days ago, the Washington Post ran a rather lengthy story on Marco Rubio discussing what seems like a very benign misdemeanor arrest at a Miami park one night in the summer of 1990 after closing time with two other male teen-age friends, who were found in a car drinking beer. The two Post reporters put a lot of time into investigating an arrest that's not particularly unusual for teen-aged kids or offensive. Rubio's campaign wasted no time in producing an ad mocking his crime spree as a teen-ager. So it begs the question of why The Post felt compelled to write so much about it? Not surprisingly, there seems to have been a sub rosa purpose behind the story.
Politico, Reporter fights Hillary Clinton email delay, Josh Gerstein, Jan. 25, 2016. Lawyers for a journalist seeking release of Hillary Clinton's email trove are objecting to the State Department's request for a month-long delay to complete disclosure of the final set of the former secretary of state's messages, warning that allowing the process to drag out until the end of February could deprive voters in early caucus and primary states of information on the Democratic presidential candidate. State asked for an extension last week , telling U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras that State officials overlooked more than 7,000 pages of emails that were in need of interagency consultation and that the weekend's winter storm was complicating efforts to process the records.
Washington Post, Creator of anti-Planned Parenthood videos faces felony charge, Danielle Paquette, Jan. 25, 2016. A Houston grand jury that was investigating accusations of criminal misconduct against Planned Parenthood on Monday instead indicted the leader of an anti-abortion group that recorded covert videos of the organization’s employees. Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said David Daleiden, the director of the Center for Medical Progress, faces a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record and a misdemeanor count related to buying human tissue.
Washington Post, How David Petraeus avoided felony charges and possible prison time, Adam Goldman, Jan. 25, 2016.People familiar with the case provide a detailed look at the internal debates with Petraeus’s lawyers that took place before the retired general entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor.
Legal Schnauzer, U.S. Supreme Court restricts judge's discretion in Florida death-penalty sentencing, while ignoring an almost identical issue in the Don Siegelman case, Roger Shuler, Jan. 25, 2016. We have new evidence that our nation's highest courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, are failing miserably. I joined Andrew Kreig for a discussion last week about inconsistency in the courts on the Peter B. Collins Show (PBC) out of San Francisco.
The issue began to take shape when SCOTUS refused on January 11 to hear the latest appeal in the case of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Attorneys for Siegelman argued that trial judge Mark Fuller improperly based sentencing, in part, on conduct for which the defendants were acquitted. That, Siegelman argued, interfered with his Sixth Amendment right to a trial by jury. Consider the irony when SCOTUS, one day after refusing to hear the Siegelman case, released Hurst v. Florida, which involved almost the identical judge-vs.-jury question present in Siegelman.
OpEdNews, Presidential Crimes Then And Now, Paul Craig Roberts, Jan. 25, 2016. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, a conservative pundit and historian shown in a file photo below, was assistant Treasury secretary during the Reagan Administration. It is doubtful that journalists and historians are capable of providing accurate understandings of any presidential term. Even those personally involved often do not know why some things happened. I have been in White House meetings from which every participant departed with a different understanding of what the president’s policy was. This was not the result of lack of clarity on the president’s part, but from the various interests present shaping the policy to their agendas.
Many Americans regard the White House as the lair of a powerful being who can snap his fingers and make things happen. The fact of the matter is that presidents have little idea of what is transpiring in the vast cabinet departments and federal agencies that constitute “their” administration.
Many parts of government are empires unto themselves. The “Deep State,” about which Mike Lofgren, formerly a senior member of the Congressional staff has written, is unaccountable to anyone. But even the accountable part of the government isn’t. For example, the information flows from the cabinet departments, such as defense, state, and treasury, are reported to Assistant Secretaries, who control the flow of information to the Secretaries, who inform the President.
The Stone Zone, Will the GOP Establishment Steal the 2016 Nomination From Trump? Roger Stone, Jan. 25, 2016. Will the GOP establishment steal the 2016 nomination from Donald Trump even if the magnate arrives in Cleveland with the most pledged delegates but short of the 50 percent he'd need to be nominated? Is a back-room deal in the works to have a "brokered convention" to deny Trump the GOP nod? I think there is such a plan and it must be exposed.
I am a veteran of nine national Republican presidential campaigns, including the floor of the 1976 Republican National Convention for Ronald Reagan. My sources inside the Republican party are warning me: The insiders have a stunning plan to stop Trump even if he wins the primaries.
The plan involves stalling Trump short of a majority on the first ballot, since many of the delegates pledged to him would no longer be legally bound to support him on subsequent ballots. There are many, many Trojan Horse delegates inserted by the GOP establishment who could bolt from Trump after that first ballot. There are 278 Super Delegates who are GOP establishment insiders, likely opposed to Trump. They constitute 4 percent of the convention. Thus, Trump must win 54 percent of delegates elected in caucuses and primaries to guarantee he could block a plot to stop him.
For example, Trump could win every primary, but the Bush-Rubio-Christie-Kasich-McConnell-Ryan-wing of the GOP could block Trump and seize the nomination for an establishment alternative.
American Thinker via The Stone Zone, The Sweetheart Deal For Bill Clinton's Orgy Island Pal May Be Exposed And Overturned, Thomas Lifson, Jan. 25, 2016. Tick, tick, tick…the highly suspicious deal that gave Bill Clinton's billionaire buddy Jeffrey Epstein a slap on the wrist for paying underage girls for sex may finally be subjected to pubic scrutiny and even overturned, bringing with it the possibility of bargaining against real punishment in exchange for testimony against a bigger fish. This development is thanks to a court filing on the last day of 2015 that received only limited local publicity. Shockingly, the deal that handed out token punishment to the statutory rapist has been hidden from the public and from the victims themselves.
Federal prosecutors in Florida intentionally kept underage victims of billionaire perv Jeffrey Epstein in the dark about his plea deal, newly unsealed court papers reveal. The documents also show prosecutors wanted to keep the extent of Epstein's alleged sex crimes away from a judge reviewing the deal.
Washington Post, Poll: Donald Trump gained 15 points on Ted Cruz in Iowa in two weeks, Philip Bump, Jan. 24, 2016. Earlier this month, Fox News released a poll showing Ted Cruz leading Donald Trump by four points. The two had a sizable lead over everyone else in the state, and the poll was confirming what others were showing: Cruz had an advantage. On Sunday, Fox released another Iowa poll, with substantially different results. Now, Trump is up by 11 points, a 15-point swing in the two weeks between surveys. This poll, too, mirrors the recent trend: Trump has regained the advantage.
Daily Mail (London), Legendary Iowa senator speaks at Trump rally and urges voters to 'make America great again' as The Donald attacks Megyn Kelly again and says 'maybe she'll drop out' of next GOP debate, David Martosko, Jan. 23, 2016. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley (shown in a file photo) was a surprise speaker at a Donald Trump rally on Saturday, urging his constituents – in The Donald's now-famous words – to 'make America great again.' 'I'm excited to be invited to be here,' he said before the billionaire appeared at a college auditorium in the town of Pella.
When The Donald took the stage, he hammered Fox News Channel anchor Megyn Kelley for having 'hatred' and 'bias' toward him, and said her 'conflict of interest' might lead her to withdraw from co-moderating Thursday's upcoming Iowa debate. 'Maybe she'll drop out as a professional. And she's a professional,' he said. Grassley, whose endorsement is sought by every Republican running for president, said pointedly that he was 'happy to be here with such an enthusiastic group, to be here with this candidate.'
'And I want Mr. Trump to know that I appreciate his support for me,' Grassley told hundreds of Trump fans, 'and most importantly for Iowa being "first in the nation" – our all-important Iowa caucus.'
Washington Post, Des Moines Register endorsement is a boost for Marco Rubio, déjà vu for Hillary Clinton, Callum Borchers, Jan. 23, 2016. Say what you want about the Des Moines Register’s presidential primary endorsements of Hillary Clinton and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida released Saturday night, but you’ve got acknowledge this: Iowa’s leading newspaper ain’t no bandwagon fan. Rubio, the Register’s pick on the Republican side, is polling third in the Hawkeye State — far, far behind front-runners Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas with barely a week remaining before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. Clinton sits atop Democratic polls but she faces a far tougher than expected race against Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Washington Post, Mired in third, Marco Rubio prepares for a long, drawn-out Republican race, Sean Sullivan, Jan. 23, 2016. At a Capitol Hill social club earlier this month, Marco Rubio’s top advisers huddled with supportive House members to deliver a sober update about the Florida senator’s chances. The aides, led by campaign manager Terry Sullivan, told the group that they were not expecting to win Iowa or New Hampshire, the first two states to vote. They said they were hopeful that things would turn their way by the next two, South Carolina and Nevada, but that, realistically, Rubio’s path to victory would be a months-long grind. With just over a week until the Iowa caucuses, Rubio has stalled out, neither rising nor falling much from where he’s been in the polls for months.
Daily Howler, Flint's poisoned children, then versus now! Bob Somerby, Jan. 23, 2016. Does USA Today's David Mastio know what he's talking about? More specifically, does Mastio know what he's talking about concerning elevated levels of lead in the blood of the children of Flint, Michigan? Mastio is deputy editorial page editor of USA Today. In an earlier life, he was an environmental reporter for the Detroit News. According to [his] clear, concise report, 4.0 percent of children in Flint now show elevated levels of lead in their blood. Before the switch in Flint's water supply which produced the current story, the figure stood at 2.1 percent, according to that report.
According to that pair of statistics, a figure of 4.0 percent was so upsetting that it touched off a national front-page story about the poisoning of Flint's low-income children. By way of contrast, the pre-existing figure, 2.1 percent, had been accepted, by one and all, in a state of complete total silence. Near the end of his piece he says this: "What happened in Flint starting in 2013 needlessly risked the health of thousands of people...Of this, there is no question. But it also true that the health threat in Flint is being exaggerated."
New York Times, U.S. Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels, Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo, Jan. 23, 2016. When President Obama secretly authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to begin arming Syria’s embattled rebels in 2013, the spy agency knew it would have a willing partner to help pay for the covert operation. It was the same partner the C.I.A. has relied on for decades for money and discretion in far-off conflicts: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Since then, the C.I.A. and its Saudi counterpart have maintained an unusual arrangement for the rebel-training mission, which the Americans have code-named Timber Sycamore. Under the deal, current and former administration officials said, the Saudis contribute both weapons and large sums of money, and the C.I.A takes the lead in training the rebels on AK-47 assault rifles and tank-destroying missiles.
The support for the Syrian rebels is only the latest chapter in the decades-long relationship between the spy services of Saudi Arabia and the United States, an alliance that has endured through the Iran-contra scandal, support for the mujahedeen against the Soviets in Afghanistan and proxy fights in Africa. Sometimes, as in Syria, the two countries have worked in concert. In others, Saudi Arabia has simply written checks underwriting American covert activities.
BBC, Biden: US and Turkey prepared to seek Syria military solution, Staff report, Jan. 23, 2016. US Vice President Joe Biden said the US and Turkey are prepared to seek a military solution in Syria if a political agreement proves impossible. Biden said a political deal "would be better" but "if that's not possible" the US would pursue alternatives.
RT, Russian military protects int’l team of journalists as they tour liberated Salma, Syria, Staff report, Jan. 23, 2016. The Russian military has shown the freed Syrian town of Salma to international media. Once they were in Salma, journalists got the opportunity to move freely and ask people in the town any questions they liked, media outlet Vesti.ru reported. About 500 people currently live in Salma, a hilltop town which had been a resort before it was seized by militants. Over the past four months, Russian military planes have carried out almost 6,000 missions to help the Syrian authorities.
Donald Trump is shown in a Gage Skidmore photo at last year's CPAC convention
Huffington Post, National Review Booted From GOP Debate After 'Against Trump' Issue, Jason Linkins, Jan. 22, 2016.The magazine's publisher said it was a "small price to pay for speaking the truth about The Donald." Editors of the National Review on Thursday night published their "Against Trump Symposium," a collection of essays in which conservative luminaries teamed up to decry the prospect of Donald Trump becoming the GOP's presidential nominee and, by extension, the party's standard-bearer of conservatism. There were immediate consequences: The magazine was "disinvited" from participating in an upcoming debate.
National Review publisher Jack Fowler posted the news to The Corner. As he relates, the magazine was a media partner to the Feb. 25, pre-Super Tuesday debate -- already noteworthy for having been given to CNN after NBC News fell into disfavor with the Republican National Committee following the Oct. 28 debate on CNBC, which was widely held to have been a debacle. The National Review was to have joined Telemundo and Salem Radio Network in this endeavor.
RealClear Politics, Cruz Sees Opportunity in GOP Opposition to His Bid, Caitlin Huey-Burns, Jan. 22, 2016.Ted Cruz has made his mark in the Senate by making enemies. Now, those enemies are coming back to bite him by working against his presidential campaign. But the Texas senator sees the growing opposition from his party's statesmen as a prime opportunity. With the Iowa caucus just days away, establishment-aligned Republicans have ramped up criticisms of Cruz, fearing he would be a worse standard bearer for their party in the general election than Donald Trump.
The signs of party figures warming to Trump, even if within a lesser-of-two-evils scenario, mark a notable transformation from the days of handwringing over how to take down the GOP frontrunner. It doesn't exactly exude confidence that their favorite candidates will break out of the pack any time soon, either. And that's precisely why Cruz views comments this week by 1996 GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, and many others as a badge of honor.
Washington Post, How Ted Cruz’s best friend drew him into Jamaican politics and business, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger, Jan. 22, 2016. The episode is one part of an unusual chapter in Cruz’s life — a foray into Jamaican society and politics amid his otherwise straightforward rise from the Ivy League to the top tier of the Republican presidential field.
RealClearPolitics, Cruz: The GOP Primary's $50 Million Man, Rebecca Berg, Jan. 22, 2016. As the Republican race for president intensifies, Ted Cruz is hitting pay dirt -- even as more traditional party donors remain wary of him and have held off opening their wallets for the Texas senator. Despite that handicap, Cruz has become an unlikely fundraising juggernaut of the GOP primary, and Wednesday he marked another milestone, announcing that his campaign has surpassed $50 million raised for the election cycle.
Washington Post, A YUGE number of conservatives just shredded Donald Trump in the National Review, Callum Borchers, Jan. 22, 2016. He must be stopped! That's the theme binding an avalanche of essays by conservative thought leaders — 22 in all — that the National Review sent thundering down the political mountain onto GOP voters.
Washington Post, Here are 76 of Donald Trump’s many campaign promises, Jenna Johnson, Jan. 22, 2016. Here's exactly what the mogul says he would like to do if he were elected commander-in-chief. (Gage Skidmore Trump photo from 2015 CPAC convention.)
Washington Post, Republican elites surrender to Trump, Dana Milbank, Jan. 22, 2016. Late Thursday night, the National Review, the storied conservative magazine founded by William F. Buckley, published an issue denouncing Donald Trump. “Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones,” the editors wrote. The Republican National Committee reacted swiftly -- immediately revoking the permission it had given National Review to host a Republican presidential debate next month.
Huffington Post, Voters Wanna Rumble, And They're Looking For A Bruiser-In-Chief, Jason Linkins and Christine Conetta, Jan. 22, 2016. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are competing to see who can slam the GOP establishment harder. This has become a dreadful period for Republican elites, who now find themselves in a pickle: Do they go with Donald Trump, a candidate with no obvious fealty to or facility with the philosophical underpinnings of conservative governance, or Ted Cruz, the dutiful student of those philosophical underpinnings who's managed to alienate nearly every single one of his colleagues? South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham characterized the choice like this: "It's a lot like being shot or poisoned: I think you get the same result." But other Beltway notables, too personally stung by Cruz's egomaniacal predilections, are starting -- to use Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch's words -- to "come around a little bit on Trump." One wonders what sort f monster Cruz is to work with, given Trump's obvious egomania.
TPM, Anyone But Him! Top GOPers Openly Support Donald Trump Over Ted Cruz, Caitlin MacNeal, Jan. 22, 2016. Now that it appears that the Republican presidential primary may boil down to a choice between Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), terrified Republicans have started to openly state that they would have to support Trump over the Texas senator, arguing that Trump's nomination would damage the party less.
National Review, Against Trump, Editors and 22 conservatives, Jan. 21, 2016.
Washington Post, GOP establishment warms to Trump — and remains cool toward Cruz, Robert Costa, Philip Rucker and David A. Fahrenthold, Jan. 21, 2016. The Republican establishment — once seen as the force that would destroy Donald Trump’s outsider candidacy — is now learning to live with it, with some elected and unelected leaders saying they see an upside to Trump as the nominee.
In the past few days, Trump has received unlikely public praise from GOP luminaries who said they would prefer him to his main rival, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. In private, some veteran conservative Republicans have been reaching out to Trump. And Trump himself called the ultimate establishment figure in Washington, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, for a talk late last year.
“If it came down to Trump or Cruz, there is no question I’d vote for Trump,” said former New York mayor and 2008 presidential candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani (shown in a file photo), who has not endorsed a candidate. “As a party, we’d have a better chance of winning with him, and I think a lot of Republicans look at it that way.” This warming toward Trump comes after establishment favorites such as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida governor Jeb Bush have failed to reach the top tier. It signals that, among the party’s entrenched elites, there is a growing fear that none of those candidates may be able to beat both Trump and Cruz.
WLIS-AM, WMRD-AM and streaming worldwide, Host Phil Mikan interviews Washington author/reporter Andrew Kreig on the presidential race for the show's full hour, Jan. 21, 2016. News pegs: "Cruz Faces Campaign Ruin Over His Canadian Birth, Wall Street Loans." Also, what do the polls portend? Latest results from RealClearPolitics.
- Iowa Democratic Presidential Caucus KBUR Clinton 48, Sanders 39, O'Malley 7
- Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus KBUR Trump 25, Cruz 27, Rubio 9, Carson 11, Bush 7, Christie 4, Paul 3, Kasich 3, Huckabee 4, Fiorina 3
- Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus Loras Col. Trump 26, Cruz 25, Rubio 13, Carson 8, Bush 6, Christie 3, Paul 3, Kasich 4, Huckabee 3, Fiorina 2
New York Times, Chasing Votes for Hillary Clinton Among Iowa’s Undecided and Indifferent, Trip Gabriel, Jan. 20, 2016. On the coldest day of winter so far, Cindy Pollard skittered up icy walkways in her white nurse’s sneakers, trying to persuade undecided, indifferent and sometimes hostile voters to caucus for Hillary Clinton. It was not easy. There was occasional enthusiasm, but more often rejection, and for familiar reasons: Voters raised doubts about Mrs. Clinton’s trustworthiness and her ability to reach across the aisle.
“There’s that dynasty that people talk about,” said Sarah McCuen, a retired mental health administrator who favored Martin O’Malley, a former Maryland governor. Richard Colbert, a member of the plumbers and steamfitters union, said his wife supported Mrs. Clinton, but that he would caucus for Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. “Right now, I’m voting for what feeds my family the best,” he said, citing Mr. Sanders’s strong support for organized labor. “He’s actually walked a picket line.”
Washington Post, Stop it, Sen. Cruz. Just stop, Jennifer Rubin, Jan. 21, 2016. We get it. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is rattled. He’s afraid of losing Iowa. He doesn’t know how to deal with Donald Trump. But he sure isn’t helping matters with embarrassing arguments. His latest: “Right now, the Washington establishment is abandoning [Sen.] Marco Rubio. They made the assessment that Marco can’t win this race, and the Washington establishment is rushing over to support Donald Trump.” Thunk. Let’s consider the ways in which this is unhelpful.
Washington Post, The Koch brothers’ impact on the American political system, Tom Hamburger, Jan. 15, 2016. Tom Hamburger is a Washington Post reporter covering the intersection of money and politics. To understand the motives of the conservative billionaire Koch brothers, look to their childhood — and what a rigid, harrowing youth it was, according to a new book by New Yorker writer Jane Mayer. In Dark Money, Mayer relies on interviews and previously undisclosed documents to trace a family fortune that was built in part on business ties with the Third Reich, and an early childhood colored by a fearsome German governess and a strict, demanding father who favored corporal punishment.
Washington Post, Putin implicated in fatal poisoning of former KGB spy at posh London hotel, Griff Witte and Michael Birnbaum, Jan. 20, 2016. Russian President Vladimir Putin likely approved the fatal poisoning of a former KGB operative-turned-British intelligence agent at a post London hotel, according to a highly anticipated British inquiry released Thursday. The findings — nearly a decade after Alexander Litvinenko succumbed to the effects of the radioactive polonium slipped into his cup of green tea at London’s Millennium Hotel — is sure to raise tensions between London and Moscow and possibly sharpen the focus on other suspicious deaths among Putin’s foes. The Russian Foreign Ministry quickly dismissed the report’s conclusions Thursday as “politically motivated.”
Contrary view to above: OpEdNews, They Tell Us Nothing But Lies, Paul Craig Roberts (shown at right), Jan. 22, 2016. A British governmental inquiry has concluded that Russian President Putin "probably approved" the killing of Alexander Litvinenko by polonium poisoning. As no evidence is provided for the surmise, we can conclude that this report on an unresolved event that happened a decade ago is part of the lies being used by the West to demonize Putin, just as the lies about MH-17 and "the Russian invasion of Ukraine." Litvinenko's brother and father say that they "are sure that the Russian authorities are not involved. It's all a set-up to put pressure on the Russian government."
Maksim Litvinenko dismisses the British report as a smear on Putin. And that is what it is. "Our" government not only lies to us about the economy and the wars, it also lies about literally everything. For example, do you remember the Rwanda genocide? The story we were told is the exact opposite of the truth. Today the perpetrator of the genocide, Paul Kagame, is the President of Rwanda.
RT, 500 families returning home as ISIS & Nusra jihadists withdraw from Damascus suburbs, Staff report, Jan. 21, 2016. Some 500 families are set to return to the devastated southern suburbs of Damascus, after ISIS and Al-Nusra fighters were allowed to withdraw from the area unharmed, as part of a “national reconciliation” deal with the Syrian government. More than 1,000 jihadists on Wednesday were provided with a safe passage to the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria. Al-Nusra fighters are making their way to Idlib, also in the north of the country, RR Arabic reports. Overall some 4,000 people, including the family members of extremist fighting units, were placed on the buses to head north. Fighters had to surrender their arms. Besides leaving the southern suburbs of Damascus, IS and Al-Nusra militants, mostly of foreign nationalities, have also moved out of the Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp, which the fighters had been holding under their control since April 2015.
National Review, Branstad’s Ethanol Attack on Cruz: Will Iowans Choose Politics or Principle? Jeremy Carl, Jan. 21, 2016. Cruz tries for a respectable showing in Iowa with Trump and the governor against him. There are few things that energy-policy experts of all political stripes can agree on — but one of them is that mandates and subsidies to promote the use of corn ethanol (a policy first implemented by Jimmy Carter) are wasteful boondoggles that harm our environment and food supply while imposing billions of dollars of hidden costs on consumers.
However, most energy-policy experts are not running for president in the Iowa caucuses. Ted Cruz, however, is running in the Iowa caucuses, and this week he found out what happens when you try to take on Big Corn. The results of this battle may tell us a great deal about the future of free-market policies in the GOP. It’s a process that even voters who are not enthusiastic about any of the leading candidates should pay close attention to.
Iowa governor Terry Branstad (shown in a file photo) lit into Cruz this week, breaking with the longstanding neutrality of governors in the caucus process. Branstad urged Cruz’s defeat, noting that Cruz “hasn’t supported renewable fuels and I think it would be a big mistake for Iowa to support him.” When asked to clarify, he doubled down on his statement. A few hours after Branstad attacked Cruz, Trump demonstrated his continued willingness to be Branstad’s errand boy, joining in Branstad’s attack on Cruz’s ethanol position while pandering to Big Corn at a renewable-fuels forum.
Washington Post, How Trump got religion — and why his legendary minister’s son now rejects him, Paul Schwartzman, Jan. 21, 2016. Norman Vincent Peale, the Christian minister whose book “The Power of Positive Thinking” was a pillar of American self-help culture during the 1950s and beyond. Or “the great Norman Vincent Peale,” as the Republican front-runner refers to the preacher, who ministered to Trump and his parents before his 1993 death.
The feeling toward Trump is not exactly mutual among Peale’s offspring. John Peale, 79, the minister’s son, said he winces when Trump invokes his father’s name, as the candidate has several times since launching his presidential campaign.
Fred Trump joined Peale’s church in the 1970s with his wife, Mary. Donald Trump later had his son baptized there but is not an active member, church officials say. Despite their different realms — the church and business — Norman Vincent Peale and Donald Trump share similarities that extend beyond mutual admiration.
Ted Cruz with Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, whom Mr. Cruz clerked for in 1996 (Photo via Cruz campaign)
New York Times, As Supreme Court Clerk, Ted Cruz Made Death Penalty His Cause, Jason Horowitz, Jan. 20, 2016. The memos of Supreme Court clerks evaluating death row petitions usually consist of a brief review of the facts and then a dispassionate legal analysis as to whether the court should hear the case. Not so for Ted Cruz. Mr. Cruz, the most ardent death penalty advocate of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist’s clerks in the 1996 term, became known at the court for his signature writing style. Nearly two decades later, his colleagues recall how Mr. Cruz, who frequently spoke of how his mentor’s father had been killed by a carjacker, often dwelled on the lurid details of murders that other clerks tended to summarize before quickly moving to the legal merits of the case.
In interviews with nearly two dozen of Mr. Cruz’s former colleagues on the court, many of the clerks working in the chambers of liberal justices, but also several from conservative chambers, depicted Mr. Cruz as “obsessed” with capital punishment. Some thought his recounting of the crimes — “dime store novel” was how one described his style — seemed more appropriate for a prosecutor persuading a jury than for a law clerk addressing the country’s nine foremost judges.
As Texas solicitor general from 2003 to 2008, five of Mr. Cruz’s eight appearances before the Supreme Court were death penalty cases, including his successful advocacy for the preservation of the death penalty for a Mexican citizen convicted of raping and murdering two teenage girls. That case became a talking point in his campaign for Senate, just as his eye-for-an-eye sense of justice appeals to voters looking for a tough president.
Washington Post, Michigan governor apologizes for Flint water crisis, says he will release emails, Mark Berman, Jan. 20, 2016. High levels of lead in Flint have prompted outrage, federal scrutiny and lawsuits.
New York Times, Bob Dole Warns of ‘Cataclysmic’ Losses With Ted Cruz, and Says Donald Trump Would Do Better, Maggie Haberman, Jan. 20, 2016. Bob Dole, the former Kansas senator and 1996 Republican presidential nominee (shown at left), has never been fond of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. But in an interview Wednesday, Mr. Dole said that the party would suffer “cataclysmic” and “wholesale losses” if Mr. Cruz was the nominee, and that Donald J. Trump would fare better.
“I question his allegiance to the party,” Mr. Dole said of Mr. Cruz. “I don’t know how often you’ve heard him say the word ‘Republican’ — not very often.” Instead, Mr. Cruz uses the word “conservative,” Mr. Dole said, before offering up a different word for Mr. Cruz: “extremist.” “I don’t know how he’s going to deal with Congress,” he said. “Nobody likes him.”
Real Clear Politics, Cruz's Iowa Gut Punch, Caitlin Huey-Burns, Jan. 20, 2016. Ted Cruz suffered a one-two gut punch Tuesday in Iowa, a state considered friendly territory for the Texas senator. While Cruz can spin the Branstad blow into a reinforcement of his message, the Palin snub could burn a little.
Politico, Clinton Library set to release Donald Trump records, Josh Gerstein, Jan. 20, 2016. President Bill Clinton's presidential library is set to make public nearly 500 pages of records pertaining to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, according to an official notice from the National Archives. The records will detail the Clinton White House's interactions with Trump and his Trump Organization, as well as how Clinton aides prepared to field questions about Trump's entry into the 2000 presidential race, where he sought the nomination of the Reform Party for a few months before dropping out.
Associated Press via Yahoo News, Oregon governor calls on feds to act against armed group, Kristena Hansen and Terrence Petty, Jan. 20, 2016. Oregon's governor expressed frustration with federal authorities' handling of the continuing occupation of a national wildlife refuge in southeastern Oregon by an armed group and said it's time to end it. "The residents of Harney County have been overlooked and under-served by federal officials' response thus far. I have conveyed these very grave concerns directly to our leaders at the highest levels of our government: the U.S. Department of Justice and the White House," Gov. Kate Brown said at Wednesday news conference. She said the occupation has cost Oregon taxpayers nearly half a million dollars.
Peter B. Collins Radio Show, In-Depth Interview: Update on the Siegelman Case with Journalist Roger Shuler and Author/Attorney Andrew Kreig, host Peter B. Collins, Jan. 20, 2016. (Preview of members-only channel.) In its recent refusal to hear the latest appeal from former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, the Supreme Court should have applied a principle about sentencing it used in a fresh decision on Florida's death penalty sentencing process. Roger Shuler and Andrew Kreig return to talk about the continuing injustice to Siegelman. Shuler is the courageous blogger who has covered the Siegelman case and the cesspool of Alabama's legal system for many years. Kreig is the founder of the DC-based Justice Integrity Project, and the author of Presidential Puppetry.
Legal Schnauzer, Will Joseph Siegelman's lawsuit against Justice Department produce evidence that officials admitted to wrongdoing in prosecution of his father? Roger Shuler, Jan. 20, 2016. Joseph Siegelman, an attorney with The Cochran Firm in Birmingham, has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking documents about the prosecution of his father, former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. The new lawsuit suggests certain DOJ officials have admitted to misconduct during the course of the Siegelman investigation and trial.
Infowars.com, Louis Farrakhan: Angel or Devil? Alex Jones, Jan. 20, 2016. In an exclusive interview, Alex Jones and the Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan bulldoze the hollow barriers of race and religion and create a dialogue to merge the divide which prevents an ultimate path to truth. If we exacerbate the separation of humanity, we allow the globalists’ tactic of divide & conquer to defeat us all. The time has come to look beyond our petty differences and strengthen the fight for freedom in this exceedingly authoritarian nation. Alex Jones (AJ): Minister Farrakhan, thank you for having me here in your home. Why did you agree to this interview? I know you refused so many others.
Huffington Post, Blood In The Streets: Coping with Menstruation While Homeless, Jennifer Weiss-Wolf with photos by Laura Epstein-Norris, Jan. 19, 2016. Around the globe there is growing awareness of, and demand for solutions to, the financial and physical burdens of menstruation. In developing countries the consequence of poor menstrual hygiene can be devastating, even deadly -- linked to skyrocketing rates of reproductive infection and illness. An added dose of stigma and shame often keeps girls from attending school during their periods and otherwise living healthy lives. Here in the United States, many low-income women and girls share a similar struggle -- especially those who are experiencing homelessness. Inability to afford tampons or pads, or to access hygiene facilities, can severely compromise women's health, productivity and dignity.
Washington Post, Former NFL receiver Antwaan Randle El regrets ever playing football, Jacob Emert, Jan. 19, 2016. Former Washington Redskins and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antwaan Randle El is perhaps best remembered for his 43-yard touchdown pass in Super Bowl XL that aided a Pittsburgh win over Seattle, but a decade later, the physical and mental drawbacks have been so significant that he regrets ever playing in the NFL. “Right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if football isn’t around in 20, 25 years.”
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks at a rally after endorsing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa on Jan. 19, 2016. (Credit: Alex Hanson via Flickr)
The Atlantic, Trump-Palin: An Alliance of the Aggrieved, David Frum, Jan. 19, 2016. David Frum is an Atlantic senior editor and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush from 2001-02. Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Donald Trump is a bet on the triumph of identity over ideology. Sarah Palin's star may have dimmed since 2008. Republican pundits and donors may have wearied of her. But Republican pundits and donors don’t typically vote in the Iowa caucuses. To many, many of the people who do vote there, Palin remains a heroine and a martyr. Endorsements are usually said not to matter much in today’s politics — but if any endorsement in any contest ever can matter, Palin’s endorsement in the Republican Iowa caucuses will.
In 2012, Romney and Santorum finished only 34 votes apart in Iowa. If Palin tips a few hundred votes toward Trump in 2016’s neck-and-neck Trump-Cruz contest, she could set in motion a dynamic where Trump may win both Iowa and New Hampshire — a stunning and once-unimagined result.
Since Donald Trump entered the race, one opponent after another has attacked him as not a real conservative. They’ve been right, too! And the same could have been said about Sarah Palin in 2008. Palin knew little and cared less about most of the issues that excited conservative activists and media. She owed her then-sky-high poll numbers in Alaska to an increase in taxes on oil production that she used to fund a $1,200 per person one-time cash payout—a pretty radical deviation from the economic ideology of the Wall Street Journal and the American Enterprise Institute. What defined her was an identity as a “real American” — and her conviction that she was slighted and insulted and persecuted because of this identity.
Although Palin did finish college, her life story resembled the lives of non-college white America in a way that the personal lives of the Bushes, of John McCain, of Mitt Romney, or of Paul Ryan never did or could. The themes and commitments that define Movement Conservatism—free-market ideology, organized religiosity—are increasingly upmarket themes … and increasingly remote from downmarket America. Sarah Palin did get rich in the end, but like Donald Trump, she didn’t get wealth or enjoy wealth in the way that the hated elite got and enjoyed wealth.
Meanwhile, Trump is battling against Ted Cruz of Princeton and Harvard Law School, a Supreme Court practitioner married to an investment banker, who insists that the dividing line between “us” and “them” is not life story, not personal experience, but ideas and values. His conservatism is defined not by personal wrongs but by a complicated set of principles, that connect opposition to abortion to support for the gold standard; missile defense to cuts in the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency; and gun rights to a lower corporate tax rate.
Associated Press via ABC News, Bill Would Require South Carolina Journalists to Register, Meg Kinnard, Jan. 19, 2016. South Carolina journalists would be required to register with the government before reporting the state's news under a bill introduced Tuesday by a Republican state lawmaker. The proposal would establish a "responsible journalism registry" with requirements that journalists must meet before working for a news outlet in the state. JIP Editor's Note: This clearly unconstitutional bill is noted not for its potential to pass but instead as an indicator of at least one legislator's attempt to obtain publicity.
PaulCraigRoberts.org, Martin Luther King, Paul Craig Roberts, Jan. 19, 2016 Like all false flag attacks and assassinations, the 1968 murder of Martin Luther King was covered up. In the King case, James Earl Ray was the framed-up patsy, just as Oswald was in the case of President John F. Kennedy and Sirhan Sirhan was in the case of Robert Kennedy.
The King family, along with everyone who paid attention to the evidence, knew that they and the public were officially handed a cover-up. After years of effort, the King family managed to bring the evidence to light in a civil case. Confronted with the real evidence, it took the jury one hour to conclude that Martin Luther King was murdered by a conspiracy that included governmental agencies. Martin Luther King, like John F. Kennedy, was a victim of the paranoia of the Washington national security establishment.
New York Times, Standoff on Oregon Land Inspires a Counterprotest, Kirk Johnson, Jan. 19, 2016. Tensions have run high in eastern Oregon since an armed group seized the headquarters of a national wildlife refuge early this month, but the primary opponents in the standoff have been pretty clear cut: The antigovernment protesters are facing off against law enforcement agents, who are trying to figure out a peaceful end to the illegal occupation. But in recent days, as the standoff has dragged toward its third week, a new element has been added to the chemistry: counterprotesters who are converging here to denounce the occupying faction — in person at the refuge headquarters — and demand that federal public lands remain open for all. The newcomers include environmental activists, retired federal workers and a couple of long-distance hikers.
WGBH-FM (Boston), Silverglate: Remembering King And The March On Washington. He Was There, Marilyn Schairer, Jan. 18, 2016. In 1963, as a young college student and budding reporter, Harvey Silverglate, a Cambridge-based civil-liberties and criminal-defense attorney, had the gut instinct to report on what resulted in one of the major events in U.S. history. On August 28, 1963, Silverglate joined more than 200 thousand Americans to travel to Washington D.C for a political rally, called, “The March on Washington” for jobs and freedom.
Silverglate says something inside him told him to go to the march. He tells WGBH Morning Edition host Bob Seay, “I had a sense that the country was ready for something big to happen, by way of enforcement of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees equality under the law to all Americans. I also had the sense that this particular event was going to be an historical one…and I convinced my editor to let me go as a reporter and report on the event.” At the time, Silverglate was working as a cub reporter for the Ridgewood ( N.J.) Herald-News.
The event was a key moment in the civil rights moment and as Silverglate said, “galvanized a nation."The day culminated with the memorable and impromptu, “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr., which became a spirited call for racial injustice and equality. As the nation’s pauses to observe its annual commemoration of King, who would have turned 87 on his Birthday, January 15, Silverglate spoke with Seay about King’s legacy and the significance of the march.
He says he was most impressed by how tightly organized the event was…calling it was a huge, sprawling demonstration. “What was most noticeable to me was that the who people who showed up were from all social classes and all political stripes…radical student groups, and very established groups such as the NAACP, and they were all acting in unison…. just an amazing event.”
He tells Seay, “there were fears violence could break out, and it was surprising to many observers that there wasn’t violence, because some of the marchers were treated quite badly by people who showed up as provocateurs and by people who lived in Washington. The group, he says, managed to not take the bait. The discipline he says was just amazing.”
It was a significant day in many aspects. In discussing Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, Silverglate says, “if you look at that speech very carefully, and take it phrase by phrase, you can see what he was getting at. He was getting at the notion of enforcement of provision of the 14th Amendment which guarantees all of us equality under the law. He says King emphasized equality, and wasn’t looking for special favors…but equality. Silverglate says it was an inspiring message. The day changed the life of Silverglate, and the focus of his career. He who went on to law school and became a civil liberties lawyer, in addition to successful parallel writing career on the subject as a book author and columnist.
Los Angeles Times, Backed by Russian air power, Syria's army builds on gains, Nabih Bulos, Jan. 18, 2016. Syrian army units, backed by dozens of Russian airstrikes, soon swept through a onetime rebel bastion, Salma. Government forces have consolidated their hold over strategic swaths of mountainous territory while driving the rebels back to their rear-guard bases across the Turkish border. The Latakia attack mirrors similar government gains across the country, as forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, backed by Russian air power, have been on the offensive. Even Islamic State, whose fighters are regarded as some of the fiercest in the conflict, appears to be on its back foot. In November, the Syrian army broke a crippling three-year siege by Islamic State at Kuweires military airport outside Aleppo and is now poised to move in on nearby Al Bab, a city held by the extremist group since late 2013.
Observer, Marco Rubio: Poor Little Rich Boy Runs Into Real Estate Trouble, Ken Silverstein, Jan. 18, 2016.The Senator's three houses, various lady friends, assorted con artist pals and piles of unexplained income.
OpEdNews, The 21st Century: An Era Of Fraud, Paul Craig Roberts, Jan. 18, 2016. In the last years of the 20th century, fraud entered US foreign policy in a new way. On false pretenses, Washington dismantled Yugoslavia and Serbia in order to advance an undeclared agenda. In the 21st century this fraud multiplied many times. Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Libya were destroyed, and Iran and Syria would also have been destroyed if the President of Russia had not prevented it.
As a former professor of economics, Wall Street Journal editor and Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy, I am astonished at the corruption that rules in the financial sector, the Treasury, the financial regulatory agencies, and the Federal Reserve. In my day, there would have been indictments and prison sentences of bankers and high government officials. Even the government’s statistical agencies have been corrupted. The official unemployment rate is 5%, but no one can find a job. How can the unemployment rate be 5% when half of 25-year olds are living with relatives because they cannot afford an independent existence?
Ebony, Martin Luther King's Decades Old "Lost" Speech Surfaces, Charles Robinson, Jan. 18, 2016. Charles F. Robinson, III, is an award-winning journalist who works in television, radio, and print. An address given to the National Press Club in 1962, but lost to time, has been unearthed and made available on digital audio. As the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday approached this year, the National Press Club recently went public last week with excerpts from remarks delivered 53 years ago by the slain Civil Rights leader to the organization. The club is a longstanding professional institution for journalists and has played host to a number of world newsmakers, but in July 1962, was the first African American invited to speak there.
It was probably the first time many White journalists got the opportunity to see and listen to the King first hand. As a student of Mahatma Ghandi, he urged his supporters to adhere to non-violence. Not an easy request to make in the wake of lynchings, fire bombings and the freedom rides where Whites and Blacks tried to end the practice of segregation. Unbeknownst to them, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had King and others in the Civil Rights Movement under surveillance during this time, indicating the U.S. government’s clear interest in his increasing power.
Guardian via Information Clearing House, An Oligarchy Has Broken Our Democracy. It Must Be Dislodged, Mike Lofgren,Jan. 18, 2016. Mike Lofgren is a writer and former staff member in the US Congress. He retired in June 2011 after 28 years service, latterly (since 2005) as a staff member of the Senate budget committee. I define the American Deep State as a hybrid association of elements of government and top-level finance and industry that is able, through campaign financing of elected officials, influence networks and co-option via the promise of lucrative post-government careers, to govern the United States in spite of elections and without reference to the consent of the governed.
These operatives use their proximity to power and ability to offer high-paying jobs to government officials to achieve outcomes foreclosed to ordinary citizens. America’s growing income disparity is not the inevitable result of impersonal forces like globalization or automation. It is the outcome of hundreds of trade, tax and regulatory measures that achieved the preferred outcome – enrichment – of economic elites who contribute to politicians. Since the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision, big money dominance of politics has gone into overdrive. Over half the money given to presidential candidates in the 2016 campaign comes from just 158 families.
The calculus of the Deep State has been upset by Donald Trump, a narcissistic pseudo-populist billionaire, who, ironically, is a symptom of all the pathologies within the Deep State. His followers may be misguided, and Trump is all too ready to offer them scapegoats, but they instinctively sense that there is something deeply wrong with the status quo. At the other end of the political spectrum, Bernie Sanders has overthrown the current model of elite financing of candidates. Tens of thousands of his energetic followers – Sanders’s average contribution is under $30 – actively seek a return to the New Deal and the Great Society.
Washington Post, The reverential task of keeping Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy alive, DeNeen L. Brown, Jan. 17, 2016. For one guide at King's memorial on the Mall, answering visitors' questions and offering them context about the civil rights leader is a personal mission. At his monument on the Mall (portrayed at left), keepers of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy work hard to keep his story alive, imparting lessons to crowds, recalling his speeches, and acknowledging civil rights foot soldiers who arrive here, literally walking through the statue’s split in the “Mountain of Despair.”
Here, National Park Service guide John W. McCaskill often greets civil rights icons visiting the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. They are older now. Many in the crowds of tourists fail to recognize them or their sacrifices.
“I have seen so many people who were part of the struggle come through this ‘Mountain of Despair,’ ” McCaskill says, pointing to the walkway carved in the sculpture, which is called the “Stone of Hope” and draws its name from a line in King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech: “With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.” The statue is portrayed at left.
WhoWhatWhy, He Told Us So: President Eisenhower’s Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Russ Baker and staff, Jan. 17, 2016. Today is the 55th anniversary of a remarkable event: an American president, a former general no less, speaking to the nation about how the country was being held hostage by an undemocratic alliance he called the “military-industrial complex.” That’s a theme you hear regularly here at WhoWhatWhy. We not only explore the continued (and increasing) domination of this country by these elements, we also look at how the corporate media discourages us from even talking about it.
Richard McClary (Photo by Noel St. John, used with permission)
Real Clear Politics, For Press Club Bartender, It's Last Call After 49 Years, Ellie Potter, Jan. 17, 2016. The National Press Club recognizes members who have been part of the organization for 25 and 50 years or more as Silver Owls and Gold Owls, respectively. On Wednesday, it honored a man who served many of these members for decades by awarding him the esteemed Gold Owl status and a free lifelong membership to the club.
This new member, Richard “Richie” McClary, served as a bartender for 49 years in The Reliable Source, the press club’s 13th floor bar, before retiring on Dec. 31. The club welcomed him into the Gold Owls despite his career falling just short of the 50-year mark. “He was a living tradition, if you will,” NPC President John Hughes said. “I mean, 49 years, think about it -- to imagine what he has seen and the people that he has seen come through the club. He’s a walking and living encyclopedia of the history of the National Press Club in a major way, and that’s why we really salute him.” McClary has left behind a legacy of class, a legacy that has made the club a better place for all who walk through its doors, Hughes said.
“Richie was here every single day, and his commitment to quality and being such a top-class individual, I think, resulted in the entire Reliable Source becoming such a great place to be — just a real classy, friendly place,” Hughes said. Raul Mansilla worked as a fellow bartender with McClary for 18 years, which were always a pleasure, he said. The duo never argued or had any problems, and McClary’s easiness to work with was especially appealing. The D.C. resident knew many of the members and their drink preferences, Mansilla said. For some members, he was like family. Mesfin Mekonen, manager of The Reliable Source, said some members came to the bar just to visit with the bartender, and have been asking for him since he retired. “Everybody has been saying they miss him,” Mekonen said. “Richie’s a friend of everybody I can say. Everyone.”
Huffington Post, Rise Like Lions, Clarence B. Jones with Eric Kasum, Jan. 17, 2016. What if Dr. Martin Luther King had lived? What if he had not walked out onto the balcony in Memphis that day? Or, what if the assassin's bullet had missed?
On the occasion of Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday (Jan. 15) and a national holiday to honor his memory (Jan. 18), it's appropriate to ask: To what cause would he have dedicated the rest of his life? What was his unfinished business?
As a friend, advisor and personal lawyer who spent countless hours with him, marched with him, witnessed the events of Selma and Birmingham first-hand, and contributed a key portion of his momentous "I Have a Dream" speech, I believe I know the answer.
If my friend Martin is looking down upon us right now -- and I believe he is -- he would say that ending poverty is THE existential issue for us today. Public squalor in the presence of unprecedented private wealth is morally obscene and ethically unacceptable.
Does his dream live on?
The heartbreaking truth: Poverty is undiminished -- just as real and oppressive as prejudice ever was. It is a wound in our American soul that is rotting and festering. Our prisons are full-to-bursting with poor people. They weren't born in prison, they were born free -- but into a system impacted by the earlier institution of slavery and the contagious virus of white supremacy.
New York Times, Iran Complies With Nuclear Deal; Sanctions Are Lifted Nuclear Compliance Will Allow Iran to Join World Economy, David E. Sanger, Jan. 16, 2016. A U.S. inspector confirmed that Iran shipped most of its nuclear fuel out of the country, destroyed the innards of a plutonium-producing reactor and mothballed more than 12,000 centrifuges.
For President Obama, the lifting of the sanctions — a step attacked by Republicans in Congress, who voted unanimously against the nuclear deal — is a major step in ending more than three decades of hostility between the two countries. In the waning months of his presidency it fulfills a promise Mr. Obama made to reverse course in the countries’ relations, and will clearly be one of the defining elements of his legacy.
Washington Post, Iranian reports: Post’s Jason Rezaian, 3 other Americans to be freed in swap, Carol Morello and William Branigin, Jan. 16, 2016. Iran will release Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian and three other detained Iranian Americans on Saturday in exchange for at least six people imprisoned or charged in the United States, Iranian officials said, a swap linked to the imminent implementation of a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers.
Rezaian, 39 (and shown in a file photo), was freed from Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison after 18 months of captivity and was to be promptly flown out of the country with the three other released detainees, one of whom was not previously known to be held. Also scheduled to be on the Swiss plane were Rezaian’s Iranian wife, his mother and accompanying doctors. Iran’s judiciary announced the release in Tehran as part of an exchange, according to Iranian news media. In return, the United States was scheduled to release at least six people charged with violating sanctions against Iran, the Iranians said. Prosecutor Abbas Jaafari said the United States will no longer pursue the extradition of 14 Iranians alleged to have been involved in trafficking arms to Iran.
Huffington Post, Four American Prisoners Released By Iran, Ryan Grim, Jan. 16, 2016. Iranian news outlets are reporting that four Americans have been released by Iranian officials.
Politico, Obama grants clemency to seven in Iran deal, Josh Gerstein, Jan. 16, 2016. As part of a prisoner swap with Iran, President Barack Obama granted clemency to seven men of Iranian origin either facing criminal charges in U.S. courts or already serving time in U.S. prison, an American official confirmed Saturday. Iran's Fars news agency released seven names, which correspond with U.S. court records on pending or recent cases. Obama appeared to have granted rare, pre-trial pardons to three men awaiting trial in Houston for violating U.S. export laws by shipping high-tech equipment to Iran: Bahram Mechanic and Tooraj Faridi of Houston and Khosrow Afghahi of Los Angeles.
Until Saturday, Obama had never granted a pre-trial pardon to anyone, nor had his predecessor, President George W. Bush. "It's really unusual," said former Justice Department pardon attorney Margaret Love, noting that President George H. W. Bush did some in the Iran-Contra probe and President Bill Clinton did as well. President Gerald Ford famously issued an unconditional pardon not only pre-trial, but without any charges having been filed, for former President Richard Nixon in the Watergate affair.
Huffington Post, Bernie Sanders Demands Resignation Of Michigan Governor Over Flint Water Crisis, Sam Levine, Jan. 16, 2016. The presidential candidate said that an apology was not enough. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called for the resignation of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) on Saturday for the state's lead in the Flint water supply crisis.
In 2014, the state switched the city's water source to the Flint River to save money and residents began to complain about the quality of tap water. Michigan officials insisted it was safe to drink, even though an internal memo at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services warned that lead poisoning rates were higher than usual for children under 16. The state continued to say the water was safe until a Flint pediatrician reported in September that there was an unusually high level of lead in Flint children. Lead is an extremely dangerous neurotoxin and can cause children to suffer brain damage.
Snyder has apologized for the incident, activated the national guard, called for President Barack Obama to declare an emergency and accepted the resignation of the head of the state's Department of Environmental Quality. Obama declared an emergency on Saturday.
Fifth Estate (Indonesia), Jakarta Terror: One Militant Killed After Attack, Robert Finnegan, Jan. 16, 2016. Dragnet continues throughout the country for attackers and their accomplices. Police killed one suspected militant and arrested two more in raids across the country on January 15, a day after an attack by Islamic State suicide bombers and gunmen in the heart of the Southeast Asian nation's capital.
Just seven people were killed in Thursday's late-morning siege near a busy shopping district, despite multiple blasts and a gunfight, and five of the dead were the attackers themselves.
Nevertheless, it was the first time the radical group has targeted the country with the world's largest Muslim population, and the brazenness of the attack suggested a new brand of militancy in a country more used to low-level strikes on police. Police chiefs across the country were on high alert, some embassies in Jakarta were closed for the day and security was stepped up on the resort island of Bali, a draw for tourists from Australia and other Asian countries. "It's clear that the (Jakarta attackers) didn't set this up themselves. For this, we are searching for the networks and who was involved in this action," said Anton Charliyan, national police spokesman.
Experts agree that there is a growing threat from radicalized Muslims inspired by Islamic State, some of whom may have fought with the group in Syria. However, they said the low death toll on Thursday pointed to the involvement of poorly trained local militants whose weapons were crude. An Indonesian and a man of dual Canadian-Algerian nationality were killed along with the attackers. Twenty-four people were seriously wounded, including an Austrian, a German and a Dutchman.
Indonesia has seen attacks by Islamist militants before, but a coordinated assault by a team of suicide bombers and gunmen is unprecedented and has echoes of the siege in Mumbai seven years ago and in Paris last November.
CNN, Email may derail case against Bill Cosby, Michael Smerconish and Steve Almasy, Jan. 16, 2016. A former district attorney in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, claims he agreed more than a decade ago that his office wouldn't use a civil deposition given by Bill Cosby in any criminal matters, an email obtained by CNN shows -- a revelation that could call into question the viability of the criminal case against the comedian.
The 2015 email -- sent by former District Attorney Bruce Castor to successor Risa Vetri Ferman -- details an apparent verbal agreement the prosecutor had a decade earlier with Cosby's attorneys for Cosby to testify in a civil sexual assault case brought against him in 2005. In the email, Castor writes that his intent in making the deal was to create an atmosphere in which Cosby accuser Andrea Constand would have the best chance of prevailing in her civil suit against the 78-year-old comedian by removing the prospect of Cosby invoking his 5th Amendment right.
Washington Post, It’s time to remove the ‘natural born citizen’ requirement from the Constitution, Editorial board, Jan. 16, 2016. The rule shuts qualified people out of the presidency for no reason.
Codefore Zap, Cruz’s Mother Eleanor Darragh Birth Certificate in Question, Administrator, Jan. 16, 2016. We at Codefore were amused with the birth certificate posted by the Breitbart Blog. Breitbart claims that the mother of Ted Cruz, Eleanor Darragh, was born in Wilmington Delaware and therefore Ted Cruz is a U.S. citizen. Breibart says, (Darragh Ted Cruz’s mother) “was born in Delaware on Nov. 23, 1934, establishing her citizenship by birth – and, according to U.S. law, that of her son, even though he was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on Dec. 22, 1970.”
Not so fast Breitbart. The national news media is assuming that since his mother was born in Delaware and that makes her a U.S. citizen therefore Ted Cruz is a U.S. citizen. But is the Darragh birth certificate credible? There are several items on this document that indicate that the document has been created after the advent of photograph editing capabilities. There are also items on this document that indicate that one of the date stamps has been altered, and that both date stamps existed on the document before the document form was created and the hand written information was added.
In the opinion of Codefore, this copy of a birth certificate is not a copy of an original unchanged 1934 document. It is a copy of a document that has been changed using modern photograph editing software. Additionally, it appears that the changes were not made by a professional photograph software editor. There is more. When it became probable that the document was fraudulent, we made further inquiries into the information contained in the document.
With all of this information taken into consideration, the question of birth certificates should be expanded to include Ted Cruz's mother. If his mother’s birth certificate is fraudulent then she may not have been a U.S. citizen. If that is the case Ted Cruz himself is not a U.S. citizen naturalized or not and cannot possess a passport nor can he hold a seat in Congress. We at Codefore are concerned that if Ted Cruz used the above Certificate of Birth to prove citizenship and/or obtain a passport, who performed his background investigation? We are waiting for a copy of the official Eleanor Darragh birth certificate from the State of Delaware. If it turns out to be the same one that is posted by Breitbart there may certainly be more questions to be answered.
Daily Mail, The forgotten Kennedy: The tragic tale of JFK's rebellious and promiscuous favorite sister Kick - who scandalized her family by marrying a Protestant English aristocrat and whose untimely death the family tried to conceal, Kelly Mclaughlin, Jan. 16, 2016. The life story of John F Kennedy's free-spirited sister Kick is filled with rebellion, cross-continent love and tragic death, it has been revealed. The unpublicized story of Kathleen 'Kick' Kennedy is a haunting tale that ends with her funeral in which the only Kennedy to attend was her father.
JFK's sister was a rebellious yet charming woman who defied her family for love and lost her brother and husband to war. At 28, she died in a tragic plane crash alongside her married lover.
Kathleen 'Kick' Kennedy was the fourth daughter of Rose and Joseph Kennedy. Her scandalous life was widely unpublicized after her untimely death in 1948 at the age of 28. Despite her parent's wishes, Kick (right) married William Cavendish, Marquess Of Hartington (left) in 1944. The only Kennedy in attendance was her brother, Joe Jr.
'She was the only rebel of the family,' Lynne McTaggart, author of 1983's Kathleen Kennedy: Her Life and Times, told the New York Post. 'If you look at all nine [Kennedy] children, she was the only one who didn't march down the prescribed road.' Kick's story will soon be featured on the Smithsonian Channel, in a series titled Million Dollar American Princesses. Robert F Kennedy Jr's 27-year-old daughter Kathleen was named after her great aunt. 'When I was little, I wondered why I had a funny name,' Kathleen 'Kick' Kennedy, 27, told The Post. 'I was named after my great-aunt, who was a lot of fun. She was a 'kick'!'
The elder Kick, like her brother the future president, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts as the fourth child of Rose and Joseph, future ambassador to the UK. Kick was a charmer -- though she once called herself 'tree-stump legs' according to McTaggert -- and never failed to catch the attention of the opposite sex.
New York Times, Republicans Intensify Attacks After a Pitched Debate, Jeremy W. Peters, Jan. 15, 2016. The harshest and most antagonistic phase of the Republican presidential race began in earnest on Friday as the candidates departed the debate hall for the campaign trail, leaving behind any pretense of good will that might have remained. Donald J. Trump, whose rivalry with Senator Ted Cruz finally erupted onstage Thursday into a bitterly personal spat over each other’s values and constitutional eligibility to be president, captured this new and more unpredictable phase of the campaign, lamenting, “I guess the bromance is over.”
How aggressively the two men continue to feud is likely to be the theme that dominates the campaign before the Iowa caucuses in just over two weeks. And as the candidates nursed grudges still fresh from the debate just 12 hours earlier, they kept up the sparring.
Bloomberg Business, Cruz’s ‘Natural-Born Citizen’ Status Tested in Birther Suit, Laurel Brubaker Calkins and Kevin Cirilli, Jan. 15, 2016. Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz should be disqualified from the race because he isn’t a “natural-born citizen,” a fellow Texan claims in a “birther” challenge filed against the senator in a U.S. court. The suit seeks a court definition of the term to clarify whether Cruz -- who was born in Canada to an American mother -- can or can’t serve if elected. “This 229-year question has never been pled, presented to or finally decided by or resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court,” Houston attorney Newton B. Schwartz Sr. said in his 28-page complaint. “Only the U.S. Supreme Court can finally decide, determine judicially and settle this issue now.”
New York Times, Justices to Hear Appeal by Bob McDonnell, Ex-Governor of Virginia, Adam Liptak, Jan. 15, 2016. The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear an appeal from Bob McDonnell, the former governor of Virginia who was convicted of public corruption and faces two years in prison in a case that offers an important test of what kinds of official conduct amount to forbidden corruption. The Supreme Court took no action in a second case, United States v. Texas, No. 15-674, in which the Obama administration asked the court to revive a sweeping immigration program blocked by lower courts. The Supreme Court is most likely to announce next week whether it will hear the case.
Mr. McDonnell, a Republican (shown in a file photo), was prosecuted on charges that he had used his office to help a businessman, Jonnie R. Williams Sr., who had showered the governor and his wife with luxury products, loans and vacations. The gifts themselves were legal, and the question in the case was whether they were part of a corrupt bargain in which Mr. McDonnell reciprocated by using the power of his office to help Mr. Williams.
PaulCraigRoberts.org, The FBI’s Two-Pronged Investigation of Hillary Clinton, Paul Craig Roberts, Jan. 15, 2016. Judge Napolitano in the article below explains the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton. There are two aspects of the investigation. The original source of her trouble is the charge that she failed to safeguard national security secrets. In fact, it is unlikely that either Wall Street or the military/security complex wants Hillary indicted as both have invested too many millions of dollars in her presidential candidacy, and both interest groups are more powerful than the Justice (sic) Department and the White House.
In my opinion, it is the second FBI investigation of Hillary that should be pursued. This is a much more serious possible offense. There is suspicion that Bill and Hillary privatized their public offices and turned them into a money faucet for themselves.
AP via Yahoo News, Cruz's story of White House rejection leaves out job offer, Will Weissert, Jan. 15, 2016. Ted Cruz has said that after working on George W. Bush's 2000 campaign, being passed over for a senior position with the new administration was "a crushing blow." Turns out, it was his own choice. Cruz was offered a job as White House associate counsel shortly after Al Gore conceded the race in December, but he rejected it, members of the Bush transition team told The Associated Press. Cruz thought he was in line for the more senior role of deputy White House counsel.
Unz Review, The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall, Peter Lee, Jan. 15, 2016. In the case of Martin Luther King, America's deep state intersected with politics and civil rights and Thurgood Marshall's strategy for African American legal equality in some ugly and dangerous ways. And they intersect at a most unpleasant and unhappy point, one that is largely ignored when putting an optimistic, feel-good gloss over Dr. King's struggle for civil rights: the infamous MLK sex tape gambit cooked up by the FBI.
The most uncomfortable issue raised by the existence of tapes is not the matter of Dr. King’s human appetites and deficiencies in the area of marital fidelity. It is the potential for blackmail, the leverage that the FBI and the US government could have brought to bear against Dr. King and his direction of the civil rights movement by exploiting the tapes. And the case of the tapes also shines an awkward light on the relationship between America’s deep state and another African-American civil rights giant: Thurgood Marshall.
For background, I highly recommend Gilbert King’s Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America. The book also offers some more fascinating insights into the relationship between J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, the political civil rights movement served by Dr. King, and the “lawfare” civil rights legal battle fought with similar dedication and personal courage by Thurgood Marshall.
Trump Campaign Analysis, Debate: Cruz's Indignation Won't Save Him, Gregory Buls, Jan. 15, 2016. Cruz played his best hand in the Thursday Fox debate; the champion debater had two weeks to prepare after years of knowing some kind of challenge would be forthcoming. He dismissed the eligibility issue derisively, while defending the idea that a person born of an American mother and alien father in a foreign country shares the highest level of citizenship with those born on U.S. soil to two citizen parents.
The entire purpose of the natural born citizen (NBC) clause is not lost on Cruz. He simply pretends that the purpose doesn't exist. As detailed in my post listing Cruz's unanswered eligibility concerns, the clause exists to preclude divided loyalties. There are close to 300 million NBCs in America, we don't need to abandon the founders intentions so that Ted can rule, we can find another leader without the baggage. No one seriously suspects Mr. Cruz of being an agent of another power, but the law applies nonetheless.
Mr. Cruz has just one of the four bulwarks against divided loyalties: His mother was (apparently, even this is unclear) an American citizen at the time of his birth. The other three bulwarks are an American citizen father, birth in America, and allegiance to only America (dual citizenship was never discussed in the the context of the Presidency at the constitutional convention, likely because no one was foolish enough to raise the issue, had they even been inclined). The only way his case could be flimsier would be to remove his one bulwark, making him a foreigner. The idea that one out of four of the possible protections would have been considered by the founders as being equal to all four is nonsense, and Cruz knows it.
Washington Post, The Koch brothers’ impact on the American political system, Tom Hamburger Jan. 15, 2016. Tom Hamburger is a Washington Post reporter covering the intersection of money and politics. To understand the motives of the conservative billionaire Koch brothers, look to their childhood — and what a rigid, harrowing youth it was, according to a new book by New Yorker writer Jane Mayer. In Dark Money, Mayer relies on interviews and previously undisclosed documents to trace a family fortune that was built in part on business ties with the Third Reich, and an early childhood colored by a fearsome German governess and a strict, demanding father who favored corporal punishment.
She obtained a confidential history of Charles Koch’s effort to shape American politics that was commissioned by his brother Bill. The report, written by George Mason University historian Clayton Coppin, suggested that Charles has “a hatred of the government so intense that it could only be understood as an extension of childhood conflicts with authority.”
Playing a potentially formative role, Mayer suggests, was a governess hired for the eldest Koch sons, Charles and Frederick, who have since gone separate ways. Frederick has pursued his interest in the arts and philanthropy in New York City while Charles has run Wichita-based Koch Industries, one of the world’s largest privately held corporations.
The boys’ father, Fred Koch, cared about his sons, Mayer writes, but could be a terrifying disciplinarian. He built the family fortune through early deals in Stalin’s Russia and, Mayer reveals for the first time, through business relationships in Nazi Germany. Fred was involved in building Germany’s third-largest oil refinery, a project Mayer says was encouraged personally by Hitler.
The book quotes letters Koch wrote as late as 1938 favorably comparing Germany’s work ethic with what he saw as the indolent attitude in the United States after the New Deal. When the United States entered World War II in 1941, Mayer reports, Fred Koch sought to enlist in the U.S. military but was instructed instead to use his engineering skill to develop high-octane fuel for U.S. warplanes. In Allied bombing raids in 1944, American B-17s finally destroyed the Hamburg refinery that he helped build, Mayer writes.
Business Insider, The US is considering a new plan for Syria — and the Kurds 'will not be happy about it,' Natasha Bertrand, Jan. 15, 2016. The Pentagon is weighing a new request from Turkey to train and equip Arab rebels battling government forces in northern Syria, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. The request, which reportedly came just one week before an ISIS-linked suicide bomber killed 10 people in Istanbul, is evidently an attempt to seal a vulnerable stretch of the Turkish-Syrian border that continues to serve as a transit point for foreign fighters and weapons. A newly empowered, US-backed Arab rebel brigade aimed at enabling larger groups of Arab forces fighting in Syria would presumably serve as a counterweight to Kurdish territorial ambitions in the north. That's according to Aaron Stein, a Turkey expert and senior resident fellow at the Atlantic Council who spoke with Business Insider on Wednesday.
Washington Post, 10 reasons that Goldman Sachs loan is a nightmare for Ted Cruz, Jennifer Rubin, Jan. 14, 2016. This New York Times story could not have come at a worse time for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who had already been knocked off-balance by Donald Trump, is falling in his must-win state of Iowa and is being attacked as a slick politician who won’t level with voters: “As Ted Cruz tells it, the story of how he financed his upstart campaign for the United States Senate four years ago is an endearing example of loyalty and shared sacrifice between a married couple.”
But the couple’s decision to pump more than $1 million into Mr. Cruz’s successful Tea Party-darling Senate bid in Texas was made easier by a large loan from Goldman Sachs, where Mrs. Cruz works. That loan was not disclosed in campaign finance reports. Those reports show that in the critical weeks before the May 2012 Republican primary, Mr. Cruz — currently a leading contender for his party’s presidential nomination — put “personal funds” totaling $960,000 into his Senate campaign. Two months later, shortly before a scheduled runoff election, he added more, bringing the total to $1.2 million — “which is all we had saved,” as Mr. Cruz described it in an interview with The New York Times several years ago.
This is a big problem for any candidate, but a bigger one for Cruz than most. Here’s why: 1) He is still indebted to Goldman....
The Atlantic, Memorandum: Is Ted Cruz Eligible for the Presidency? Bryan A. Garner, Jan. 14, 2016. A legal scholar offers a thorough look at a complicated question. All in all, it seems highly likely that the Supreme Court would today hold that the foreign-born child of a mother-citizen is eligible for the Presidency under Article II of the Constitution.
Talk To Action, Bill Gothard, Prominent Evangelical Christian Leader, Accused of Sexual Abuse and Harassment, Bill Berkowitz, Jan. 14, 2016. Welcome to the world of Bill Gothard, where at least ten women have thus far filed lawsuits accusing the founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) of sexual abuse and harassment. According to the Washington Post, "Each of the 10 plaintiffs are seeking at least $50,000 in damages, alleging that Gothard and the organization, claiming intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, willful and wanton and civil conspiracy. "The lawsuit in DuPage County Circuit Court in Illinois, where IBLP's headquarters is located, charges that IBLP, its employees and board members received reports of sexual abuse, sexual harassment and `inappropriate/unauthorized touching' from women and girls. But, the women allege, the defendants never reported the `potentially criminal allegations' to law enforcement authorities or the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services as required by state law."
Washington Post, Militants said to be linked to ISIS stage Paris-style attacks in Jakarta, Fred Barbash and Brian Murphy, Jan. 14, 2016. Five attackers were among the seven dead. A message purportedly posted by the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Washington Post, States Attorney Investigates O'Malley, Ovetta Wiggins, Jan. 14, 2016. Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley is being investigated by the Anne Arundel County state’s attorney office for purchasing furniture from the state at a discount after serving two terms as governor. The investigation stems from the O’Malley family taking dozens of items with them when they moved out of the Annapolis mansion last January, pieces of furniture that O’Malley’s administration had deemed “excess property,” according to state records. The family paid $9,638 for beds, chairs, desks, lamps, mirrors and other items from the mansion’s living quarters that originally cost taxpayers $62,000, according to The Baltimore Sun, which first reported on the furniture purchase and, on Thursday night, the investigation.
National Press Club, Panel explores context of MLK's 1962 speech at NPC, Julia Haskins, Jan. 13 2016. On July 19, 1962, Martin Luther King Jr. became the first African American to address the National Press Club. Nearly fifty-three years later on Jan. 12, portions of the speech were played for the first time since being delivered in the Club ballroom where King stood.
The event also marked the unveiling of a plaque commemorating King’s speech that will hang outside the ballroom. Human and civil rights activist Joe Madison, the radio host known on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel as "The Black Eagle,” moderated a panel that provided context and insight into King’s remarks.
King’s speech came at a pivotal moment; just days before he had been released from jail in Albany, Ga., only to address the audience at an organization where he was not entirely welcome. It was panelist Simeon Booker -- the NPC’s 1982 Fourth Estate Award winner and second African American member -- who advocated for King’s visit as a member of the Club’s speakers committee. Booker was joined onstage by his wife, Carol McCabe Booker.
“It wasn’t just the Press Club, it was the whole environment, it was the whole society for the black community, and for Simeon to take that stand took a whole lot of courage,” said panelist Courtland Cox, a Mississippi organizer during the Civil Rights movement and President of the SNCC Legacy Board.
King’s 1962 visit to the Club was fraught with tension, a point that his friend and advisor, Clarence B. Jones, hoped he would address in his speech.
Speaking by phone with Madison, Jones said, “I wanted him to say as part of the speech, ‘Why has it taken so long for a Negro to speak at the Press Club?’”
However, Jones said King believed his speech was well-received for an audience that had little grasp of the struggles faced by African Americans in the 1960’s. King’s presence in and of itself held major significance, Jones said, and his discussion of racism was important, if not uncomfortable, for a white audience. Recordings and a transcript of King’s speech are available on the NPC website.
NBC News, Cruz Dismisses Report on Undisclosed Loan as a 'Filing Error,' Vaughn Hillyard, Jan. 13 2016. Ted Cruz on Wednesday night dismissed a New York Times report that he failed to properly disclose a loan from Goldman Sachs during his 2012 bid for the U.S. Senate, calling the matter merely a "filing error." "It is an inadvertent filing question," he told reporters at a press conference in Dorchester, S.C. "The facts of the underlying matter have been disclosed for many, many years. It is not complicated. Our finances are not complicated."
The Times reported that the Cruz family took out a hefty low-interest loan from the bank, from which the candidate's wife took a leave of absence as a managing director at Goldman Sachs at the launch of the Texas senator's presidential run. That loan did not appear in the reports Cruz filed with the Federal Election Commission during his 2012 run. "If it was the case that it was not filed exactly as the FEC requires, we'll amend the filings," Cruz said. "But all of the information has been public and transparent for many years." Earlier Wednesday, the Cruz campaign called the charge an "issue of semantics." The loan, which was for just under $500,000, was from his own assets, "not borrowed money," the campaign said. But a story often part of Cruz's speech on the road is his family's decision to invest in the campaign with the family's own finances. Cruz says on the stump that he and his wife "liquidated" their life savings to put into the Senate run.
Real Clear Politics, Cruz's Iowa Game Plan Gets High Marks, Rebecca Berg, Jan. 13, 2016. In the early stages of Ted Cruz’s campaign for president, his ally, Republican Rep. Steve King, suggested a few tweaks to Cruz’s candidacy. King, a prominent Iowa conservative, warned Cruz against opposing the Renewable Fuel Standard, which has increased the share of biofuels in gasoline and given a huge boost to one of Iowa’s major industries. King tried to act as a legitimizing force for the freshman lawmaker, insisting to constituents that Cruz would not hold oil interests above their own.
Washington Post, Obama looks back at legacy, takes veiled shots at Trump, David A. Fahrenthold, Jan. 12, 2015. President Obama used his final State of the Union address to consider himself as an ex-president — talking in conversational, contemplative terms at the country he would leave behind, and warning not very subtly that the country shouldn’t pick Donald Trump to take his place. “As frustration [with politics] grows, there will be voices urging us to fall back into tribes, to scapegoat fellow citizens who don’t look like us, or pray like us, or vote like we do, or share the same background,” Obama said, one of several moments when he seemed to be referencing the Republican front-runner’s suspicious attitude toward immigrants and Muslims. “We can’t afford to go down that path. It won’t deliver the economy we want, or the security we want, but most of all, it contradicts everything that makes us the envy of the world.”
Washington Post, Ted Cruz is not eligible to be president, Mary Brigid McManamon, Jan. 12, 2015. Mary Brigid McManamon is a constitutional law professor at Widener University’s Delaware Law School. Donald Trump is actually right about something: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is not a natural-born citizen and therefore is not eligible to be president or vice president of the United States.Cruz is, of course, a U.S. citizen. As he was born in Canada, he is not natural-born.
Washington Post, Deadly suicide blast hits Istanbul tourist area; Officials claim Islamic State links, Erin Cunningham and Brian Murphy, Jan. 12, 2016. A Syrian suicide bomber believed linked to the Islamic State set off a powerful blast Tuesday in the heart of one of Istanbul’s main tourist districts, officials said, killing at least 10 people and injuring 15 with reports citing Germans as among the main casualties.The attack was a further sign of the country’s deepening instability in a region wracked by war and the widening reach of groups such as the Islamic State. The blast also struck directly at a hub of Istanbul’s important tourism trade, reflecting similar tactics used by militants against popular internationally known sites in countries including Tunisia and Egypt.
Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Bomb blast near Hagia Sophia in Istanbul targets Western tourists, Wayne Madsen (former Navy intelligence officer and NSA analyst shown below), Jan. 12, 2016 (Subscription required for reading. Excerpt used with permission). A jihadist suicide bomber struck a group of Western tourists near the Hagia Sophia cathedral in Constantinople (what the Muslims now call "Istanbul") with deadly results.
The Hagia Sophia is the one-time seat of Eastern Christianity and it is the target of the Islamist government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to be re-converted into an active mosque.
The suicide bomber is claimed to have been a Syrian, one of thousands of jihadists armed and supported by the Erdogan government in its attempt to overthrow Syrian president Bashar al Assad.
The bombing occurred less than 24 hours after WMR reported [in Monday's WMR column, The coming war over Hagia Sophia] that there is a coming war between Turkey and Eastern Christian Orthodoxy over Erdogan's plans to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
Politico, House passes FOIA reform, again, Josh Gerstein, Jan. 12, 2016. A bill aimed at speeding and broadening the release of information under the Freedom of Information Act passed the House Monday afternoon on a voice vote. The FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act is similar to but more expansive than a FOIA reform bill that passed the House in 2014, but died after the Senate passed a non-identical version of the bill and the House failed to act on it before that Congress ended.
The measure seeks to buttress the presumption of disclosure that agencies and federal court sometimes impose when handling FOIA requests. The administrations of Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton issued executive directives impose such a policy, but President George W. Bush's administration issued contrary memo seeking to roll back that presumption.
TPM Muckraker, Meet The White Supremacists Who See Trump As Their 'Great White Hope,' Allegra Kirkland, Jan. 12, 2016. William Daniel Johnson has a vision for America. The Los Angeles-based lawyer thinks that the United States will see the creation of a white ethno-state within his lifetime. Johnson is the chairman of the American Freedom Party, a white nationalist political party, and the founder of a super PAC that plans to blanket early voting states with robocalls encouraging voters to turn out for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
National Press Club via YouTube, Martin Luther King’s Legacy Enhanced By Historic Discovery, Jan. 12, 2016 (video below of 2016 panel, 1:34:34 mins). The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is forever enhanced by discovery of a recording of his first meeting with the national media. To help celebrate King’s birthday Jan. 18, the National Press Club unveiled the recording last week in the nation’s capital along with dramatic commentary by other civil rights pioneers.
An audio recording was made of the speech and filed away in the Club’s Archives and later transferred to the Library of Congress. No television footage of the speech in its entirety exists. The Club's History and Heritage Committee recently retrieved the recording and found it is of significant historical value. Coming just days after Dr. King was released from jail in Albany, Ga., the civil rights leader outlined his vision for non-violent protest as the best way to achieve racial equality. The national media's first interaction with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is preserved in a recently discovered 1962 audiotape of 24 mins., aired below as part of a panel discussion.
National Press Club, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 'Lost' Speech, Gil Klein, Jan. 11, 2016. Excerpts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s National Press Club speech will be aired for the first time since they were delivered 53 years ago at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, in the National Press Club's ballroom in Washington, DC. SiriusXM Radio will broadcast on its Urban Channel the program for the sold-out event.
In July 1962 Dr. King became the first African American to speak at the Club. An audio recording was made of the speech and filed away in the Club’s Archives and later transferred to the Library of Congress. No television footage of the speech in its entirety exists. The Club's History and Heritage Committee recently retrieved the recording and found it is of significant historical value. Coming just days after Dr. King was released from jail in Albany, Ga., the civil rights leader outlined his vision for non-violent protest as the best way to achieve racial equality.
On Jan. 12, portions of the speech will be played and experts on the civil rights movement will add context and perspective to what Dr. King said. Press Club President John Hughes will unveil a permanent Club memorial to Dr. King's speech. "Martin Luther King's 1962 speech was one of the most important events to ever happen at the National Press Club," Hughes said. "I am honored this event at long last is getting proper recognition with such distinguished guests."
Joe Madison, the human and civil rights activist and prominent African American radio host known on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel as "The Black Eagle," will moderate the program.
AP via WFSA-TV, High court won't hear appeal from former Alabama governor, Staff report, Jan. 11, 2016. The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman over his prison sentence for bribery and obstruction of justice. The justices had no comment Monday on their order letting stand a lower court ruling that rejected his request for a new sentencing hearing. Siegelman argued that a judge wrongly factored in accusations that the jury didn't convict him of when handing down a 6½ year prison sentence. He was convicted in an influence-peddling scheme with HealthSouth Corp. founder and former CEO Richard Scrushy, who already has finished his sentence. The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Siegelman's sentence, which included an enhancement for "systematic and pervasive corruption." Siegelman is projected to get out of prison in 2017.
New York Times, The Ethics of Penn’s Interview With a Mexican Drug Lord, Ravi Somaiya, Jan. 10, 2015. The way Rolling Stone magazine handled an article written by the actor Sean Penn about Joaquín Guzmán Loera, also known as El Chapo, has drawn scrutiny. The 10,000-word article includes accusations of cooperation between the military and Mr. Guzmán’s Sinaloa cartel, as well as Mr. Guzmán’s acknowledgment of his status as a drug dealer and his thoughts about the ethical implications of his business. Mr. Guzmán, whose escape from prison — his second — made him one of the most wanted fugitives in the world, was caught on Friday, before the article was published.
New York Times, Supreme Court Seems Poised to Deal Unions a Major Setback, Adam Liptak, Jan. 10, 2015. The unions’ best hope in the California case rested with Justice Antonin Scalia, but he was consistently hostile when considering whether government workers who choose not to join unions may be required to help pay for collective bargaining.
Huffington Post, Chris Hughes Selling The New Republic After Rocky Stewardship, Michael Calderone, Jan. 11, 2016. The Facebook co-founder says he "underestimated the difficulty of transitioning an old and traditional institution into a digital media company." New Republic owner Chris Hughes announced Monday he's selling the liberal politics and policy magazine nearly four years since purchasing it and after overseeing sweeping changes that resulted in two top editors resigning, a staff exodus and a couple of relaunches.
"After investing a great deal of time, energy, and over $20 million, I have come to the conclusion that it is time for new leadership and vision at The New Republic," Hughes, a Facebook co-founder worth an estimated $700 million, told staff in a memo obtained by the Huffington Post.
In the memo, Hughes said that he "underestimated the difficulty of transitioning an old and traditional institution into a digital media company in today's quickly evolving climate." He also questioned whether the New Republic, which had historically lost money before Hughes took over, could find a sustainable business model.
Politico, State Department to release Huma Abedin email trove, Josh Gerstein, Jan. 11, 2016. The State Department has agreed to process for public release an archive of 29,000 pages private emails longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin sent or received while working as deputy chief of staff to Clinton from 2009 to 2013. Abedin turned over the collection of emails to State last year at the agency's request following the controversy over the disclosure of Clinton's exclusive use of a private email account while secretary of state. Unlike Clinton, Abedin had an official email account, but she was among senior officials asked to provide any work-related messages in their personal accounts.
Boston Globe, Under Ted Cruz’s own logic, he’s ineligible for the White House, Laurence H. Tribe, Jan. 11, 2016. Lawrence Tribe is a professor at Harvard Law School. There’s more than meets the eye in the ongoing dustup over whether Ted Cruz is eligible to serve as president, which under the Constitution comes down to whether he’s a “natural born citizen” despite his 1970 Canadian birth. Senator Cruz contends his eligibility is “settled” by naturalization laws Congress enacted long ago. But those laws didn’t address, much less resolve, the matter of presidential eligibility, and no Supreme Court decision in the past two centuries has ever done so.
People are entitled to their own opinions about what the definition ought to be. But the kind of judge Cruz says he admires and would appoint to the Supreme Court is an “originalist,” one who claims to be bound by the narrowly historical meaning of the Constitution’s terms at the time of their adoption. To his kind of judge, Cruz ironically wouldn’t be eligible, because the legal principles that prevailed in the 1780s and ’90s required that someone actually be born on US soil to be a “natural born” citizen. Even having two US parents wouldn’t suffice. And having just an American mother, as Cruz did, would have been insufficient at a time that made patrilineal descent decisive.
The Hill, Paul: Cruz eligibility may reach SCOTUS, Jonathan Easley, Jan. 11, 2016. Sen. Rand Paul on Sunday pressed questions about GOP presidential rival Ted Cruz’s eligibility to be president, saying he believes that the issue will have to be resolved by the Supreme Court if Cruz gets elected president. “The thing is, all experts agree that he was naturally born in Canada,” Paul said on CBS’s "Face the Nation." “And so the question is — can you be naturally born in Canada and also be considered to be a natural born citizen? It hasn’t been decided.”
Daily Howler, Cooper pretends to stage town hall forum! Bob Somerby, Jan. 11, 2016. As the week begins, let's focus on the horrid performance staged by Anderson Cooper last Thursday night. Cooper pretended to stage a "town hall meeting" on the subject of guns, with MSNBC offering its latest dosage of live fresh Trump, cast as the bait in its corporate counter-programming. That "town hall meeting" on CNN was as bad a cable event as we've ever seen.
First, though, a quick review of yesterday's Meet the Press, where Chuck Todd once again pretended to interview Candidate Trump. That was imitation questioning, as was most of Todd's lengthy session with Trump, in which Todd conducted a string of superficial pseudo-exchanges on an endless range of topics. Todd scattershot his way through a long list of such superficial pseudo-exchanges....Trump wants to fix our health care system, which is going to fail very soon. But how would he fix our health care system? Needless to say, Trump wasn't asked. Todd simply scattershot his way ahead to the next superficial pseudo-exchange. Todd always "interviews" Trump this way, presumably for business reasons. In our view, that lengthy Meet the Press interview was imitation — Potemkin. That said, it was an act of intellectual genius compared to the Potemkin "town hall meeting" Anderson Cooper and CNN staged last Thursday night.
New York Times, The Ethics of Penn’s Interview With a Mexican Drug Lord, Ravi Somaiya, Jan. 10, 2015. The way Rolling Stone magazine handled an article written by the actor Sean Penn about Joaquín Guzmán Loera, also known as El Chapo, has drawn scrutiny. The 10,000-word article includes accusations of cooperation between the military and Mr. Guzmán’s Sinaloa cartel, as well as Mr. Guzmán’s acknowledgment of his status as a drug dealer and his thoughts about the ethical implications of his business. Mr. Guzmán, whose escape from prison — his second — made him one of the most wanted fugitives in the world, was caught on Friday, before the article was published.
WhoWhatWhy, Tribute to the Man Who Exposed the Pentagon Papers, Peter Dale Scott, Jan. 11, 2016. Peter Dale Scott Pays Tribute to Daniel Ellsberg — Stresses Growing Role of Whistleblowing. At WhoWhatWhy, we’re proud that Dan Ellsberg a great patriot and American hero, has been on our Editorial Advisory Council since our earliest days. We’re also proud that we regularly feature the work and ideas of Peter Dale Scott, another figure of tremendous importance — and one whose name deserves to be a household word for his own ground-breaking studies in the dynamics of power. In 1971, Ellsberg released to the New York Times documents revealing how the US had secretly enlarged the war in Vietnam by bombing Cambodia and Laos, and with coastal raids on North Vietnam — none of which was reported in the mainstream media. And President Johnson lied about it. Here, we present a transcript of a recent talk delivered by Scott in honor of Ellsberg.
Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Independent, Prince Mohammed bin Salman: Naive, arrogant Saudi prince is playing with fire, Patrick Cockburn, Jan. 10, 2016. German intelligence memo shows the threat from the kingdom’s headstrong defense minister. At the end of last year the BND, the German intelligence agency, published a remarkable one-and-a-half-page memo saying that Saudi Arabia had adopted “an impulsive policy of intervention.” It portrayed Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – the powerful 29-year-old favorite son of the aging King Salman, who is suffering from dementia – as a political gambler who is destabilizing the Arab world through proxy wars in Yemen and Syria.
The BND lists the areas in which Saudi Arabia is adopting a more aggressive and warlike policy. The overreaching gets worse by the day. At every stage in the confrontation with Iran over the past week Riyadh has raised the stakes. The attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad might not have been expected but the Saudis did not have to break off diplomatic relations. Then there was the air strike that the Iranians allege damaged their embassy in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen.
OpEdNews, The Proof Is In: The US Government Is The Most Complete Criminal Organization In Human History, Paul Craig Roberts, Jan. 10, 2016. Unique among the countries on earth, the US government insists that its laws and dictates take precedence over the sovereignty of nations. Washington asserts the power of US courts over foreign nationals and claims extra-territorial jurisdiction of US courts over foreign activities of which Washington or American interest groups disapprove. Perhaps the worst results of Washington's disregard for the sovereignty of countries is the power Washington has exercised over foreign nationals solely on the basis of terrorism charges devoid of any evidence. Consider a few examples. Try to imagine a world in which every country asserted the extra-territoriality of its law. The planet would be in permanent chaos with world GDP expended in legal and military battles.
Huffington Post, Mitch McConnell Makes Clear That He Won't Authorize War Under Obama, Sam Stein, Jan. 10, 2016. The next president, he says, deserves his own authorization. It's been well over a year since the Obama administration began its bombing campaign against the Islamic State. But beyond the occasional pining from some members of Congress, there has been little indication that lawmakers will vote on legislation formally authorizing what is objectively viewed as an act of war.
On Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made the prospects of passing an Authorization for Use of Military Force even more remote when he said he had no interest in doing so with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office. From his interview with ABC's "This Week" (emphasis ours):
Well, the problem with what the president submitted for authorization to use military force restricted what he could do. I can't imagine that I would be voting for an authorization for the use of military force that Barack Obama would sign because the one he submitted for us to take a look at restricted his activities, what he could do based upon conditions on the ground.
What this means, effectively, is that U.S. operations will continue in western Iraq and Syria for at least another year before the Senate actually votes to support or oppose it. The administration says it has the legal authority to do this, based on the 2001 AUMF to go after those who committed the 9/11 terror attacks or harbored the terrorists. And though that argument has been criticized as dubious, it hasn't been challenged seriously enough to impede our campaign against ISIS. Still, the White House has submitted a new AUMF for that specific campaign, in part to have firmer legal ground and in part to put Congress on record in support of the operation. McConnell has now effectively said he won't give them either.
Agence France Press via Yahoo News, Al-Qaeda abducts media activists from Syria rebel town, Staff report, Jan. 10, 2016. Syria's Al-Qaeda affiliate abducted two of the country's most prominent media activists from a radio station in the northwestern Idlib province on Sunday, opposition officials told AFP. "Al-Nusra Front kidnapped activists Hadi al-Abdallah and Raed Fares in the offices of Fresh FM where they work and live in Kafranbel," said Soner Taleb, head of media at the Syrian National Coalition. Fares, Fresh FM's director, has previously been detained by Al-Nusra fighters, who disapprove of what they term the station's "secular tendency and support of apostates," Taleb said.
According to a statement published by Fresh FM, Al-Nusra fighters stormed the radio station and confiscated its broadcasting and technical equipment as well as its electricity generators. Al-Nusra is part of a powerful alliance known as the Army of Conquest that captured Idlib earlier this year, and it has a strong presence in other parts of the country.
Atlantic Council via Newsweek, Christians Face Total Purge From Syria, Flavius Mihaies, Jan. 10, 2016. Flavius Mihaies is a consultant at the World Bank and a journalist. In May and August 2015 he traveled to Syria, where he visited Damascus, Homs and the Kurdish-controlled region in northwest Syria. Syrian Christians face the difficult question of how to preserve their communities. ISIS and other Islamist groups target Christians for a variety of reasons, including to gain credibility as the implementers of “true” Islam and for economic reasons, forcing Christians to pay higher taxes (Jizya), seizing their property and even capturing Christians as slaves. Christians in regime territories are safe from immediate danger, but struggle to keep their communities together.
The Guardian, ISIS 'ran sophisticated immigration operation' on Turkey-Syria border, Shiv Malik, Alice Ross, Mona Mahmood and Ewen MacAskill, Jan. 10, 2016. Exclusive: Passenger manifests seized by Kurdish forces at Tel Abyad have same stamp marks as other Isis documents the Guardian has been able to verify.
William Weyland Turner (Photo: Spartacus Educational)
WhoWhatWhy, William Turner: From G-Man to Newsman: Obituary Tribute to a Courageous FBI Agent Turned Critic, Joseph E. Green, Jan. 9, 2016. I first met William Weyland Turner at a political conference, in a hotel bar in Los Angeles. He was 71, and Parkinson’s disease made his every move a staggering, slow-motion effort; walking, taking a sip of a drink, even laughing. Yet his brain remained sharp.
William Turner – or, forever after, Bill – was in the final chapter of one hell of a life. He stayed with the Bureau from 1951 to 1961, becoming increasingly dubious about its tactics and the curious obsessions of its leader, J. Edgar Hoover. Turner had become increasingly uncomfortable with the director’s focus on rooting out a largely illusionary Communist threat, the beginnings of COINTELPRO (a program that targeted mostly black organizations, such as the Black Panthers, as well as Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King), wiretapping and illegal “black-bag” jobs. In Turner’s opinion, the FBI seemed to be little more than the church of J. Edgar Hoover, which was dangerous for national security.
Oregon Live, Heavily armed 'security detail' shows up at Bundy encampment, guns drawn, Kelly House, Jan. 9, 2016. Update at 2 p.m. Armed members of the Pacific Patriot Network are leaving the occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Joseph Rice, a spokesman for the network, told reporters that his group presented occupation leader Ammon Bundy and other protesters with "articles of resolution." He didn't say what was in the document, but noted that his group wants to move the sides to an end to the standoff. Then network members got into most of the cars and trucks they'd parked nearby and started heading out of the reserve.
Rice didn't address whether his group would return, saying only: "We are moving on to present them (the articles of resolution) to other government agencies." The network is maintaining a neutral stance in the dispute, he said. Todd MacFarlane, a Utah lawyer acting as a mediator, said occupation leader Ammon Bundy doesn't want the armed visitors there.
Oregon Live, Oregon standoff: FBI stages at Burns airport, Luke Hammill, Jan. 9, 2016. A law enforcement presence was noticeable at the BLM Single Engine Air Tanker (SEAT) base adjacent to the Burns Municipal Airport on Jan. 9, 2016. While the airport itself remained open to the public, heavy vehicles blocked several roads leading to nearby buildings, and men who appeared to with the FBI stood guard in a parked SUV outside of the BLM base. The men declined to answer questions or identify themselves and asked a reporter not to enter the SEAT Base on foot. SEAT stands for "single engine air tanker," a small agricultural airplane used to drop fire retardant on wildfires. Law enforcement officials have been posted there for days.
My News LA.com, Forget Watergate? Nixon library renovation launched, Staff report, Jan. 9, 2016. Richard Nixon may be remembered by many Americans as “Tricky Dick” driven from office by the Watergate scandal, but he’s still honored in Yorba Linda. Construction is scheduled to begin Saturday on a new Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library and Museum at the current site in Yorba Linda, coinciding with the 103rd anniversary of his birth.
The laying of a memorial wreath sent by President Barack Obama will follow, along with a formal presentation of the colors by U.S. Marines, remarks by Navy Region Southwest Commander Rear Adm. Mark Rich, Cox, senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to then-President George W. Bush and Nixon Foundation President and CEO William Baribault and performances by the Navy Band Southwest Quintet.
OpEdNews, Yet Another Fabricated Jobs Report, Paul Craig Roberts, Jan. 9, 2016. According to Friday's (January 8) payroll jobs numbers, almost 300,000 new jobs were created in December. As I have pointed out almost monthly for what I think could be approaching two decades, the alleged job growth always takes place in non-tradable domestic services, that is, in areas that do not produce exports and have no competition from imports. This is the job profile of a Third World country. The reported unemployment rate does not include "discouraged workers," that is, workers who unable to find jobs have ceased looking for work. Currently, there are 94,691,000 Americans of working age who are not in the labor force.
About half of the alleged new jobs -- 142,000 -- went to the 55 years old and over age group. This age group consists primarily of retirees who have found it necessary to supplement their retirement income and of those near retirement who are working in order to compensate for the lack of interest on their savings due to the Federal Reserve's zero interest rate policy. Americans of prime working age, 25 years old to 54 year old, only received 16,000 or 5% of the new jobs. Those aged 46 to 54 lost 165,000 jobs. In other words, middle aged people are losing their jobs before they can provide for their retirement.
Update: There is more bad news to be added to this dismal picture. The news release is always the seasonally adjusted number, which is the number that my column examines. However, the seasonally adjusted number is concocted. Seasonal adjustments accounted for 281,000 of the 292,000 reported jobs. There is a case for making seasonal adjustments, but not when seasonal adjustments account for 96% of the jobs gain.
Washington Post, Lawyers for U-Va. dean: Jackie lied to Rolling Stone about gang rape, ‘invented’ story, T. Ross Shapiro, Jan. 8, 2016. Lawyers representing a University of Virginia associate dean in a defamation suit against Rolling Stone magazine say a sensational account of a fraternity gang rape at the school was based on a series of lies told by the story’s main subject, according to new court documents.
The Alexandria-based law firm representing U-Va. administrator Nicole Eramo has filed motions seeking communications between Rolling Stone and “Jackie,” a U-Va. student whose haunting tale as the alleged victim of a vicious gang-rape at a fraternity house stunned the nation and invigorated a widespread discussion on college sexual assault. But in new filings submitted in federal court, Eramo’s lawyers claim that Jackie is “a serial liar who invented” her account of being raped by seven fraternity brothers participating in a hazing ritual that had left her bloodied and emotionally scarred.
Washington Post, At least 21 asylum seekers suspected in New Year’s Eve sexual assaults in Germany, Anthony Faiola and Stephanie Kirchner, Jan. 8, 2016. The mounting scandal over a rampage of sexual assaults and thefts in Cologne was quickly threatening to ignite a new wave of anti-refugee sentiment in Europe. In Germany, a record 1.1 million asylum seekers and economic migrants arrived last year. Their numbers slowed as winter set in, but a surge is expected again by spring. Chancellor Angela Merkel has resisted calls to follow other European nations by tightening border controls and limiting entries. But in the wake of the New Year’s Eve attacks, she is facing mounting pressure to act.
Politico, Cruz, trolled by Trump, releases his mother's birth certificate, Nick Gass, Jan. 8, 2016. In another attempt to quash Trump-fueled speculation that he is not eligible for the presidency based on his Canadian birth, Ted Cruz's campaign released his mother's birth certificate to Breitbart News on Friday, showing that Eleanor Darragh was born Nov. 23, 1934, in Wilmington, Delaware. In separate statements to Breitbart, a Cruz strategist said that the candidate's mother had never been a citizen of Canada. The fact is a point of contention because while most legal scholars agree that Cruz is eligible for the presidency because his mother was born in the United States, thus making him a "natural born citizen," the question of whether his mother had ever been a Canadian citizen lingered.
Daily Beast, Obama Birthers Now Want Ted Cruz’s Head, Gideon Resnick, Jan. 8, 2016. Some of the original people behind the birther movement have declared the Canadian-born senator ineligible for the presidency. In 2008, they went after Barack Obama. In 2016, they’re going after Ted Cruz. WorldNetDaily, a site that has touted both Donald Trump and Cruz and been essential reading for their fans, is supporting the cause as well.
The senator from Texas was born in Calgary, Canada, to an American mother and a Cuban father. Cruz released his birth certificate in 2013 and renounced his Canadian citizenship a year later in advance of his presidential campaign, in an attempt to put the issue to bed before it reached national headlines in this campaign cycle. And that might have resolved it, if Donald Trump had not questioned his legitimacy as a candidate. “I’m doing this for the good of Ted… I like him. He likes me,” Trump asserted.
While this reads as a witch hunt to most eyes—akin to Trump’s previous efforts to get Obama’s birth certificate released—many of the original founders of the 2008 movement seem to agree with the leading Republican candidate. Unlike Obama, they like Cruz and they want him to clear the air on this birth issue before it’s too late. Joseph Farah, the editor-in-chief of conservative site WorldNetDaily: It’s not as if Farah doesn’t want Cruz to succeed — in fact he’s raising these issues to ensure that he can. “The day that Rubio emerges as a super threat, the questions will be raised about him,” Farah said, echoing a similar sentiment that many birthers share about the legitimacy of the Florida senator’s citizenship status. “It just depends on whose ox is being gored.”
Cruz’s national spokesperson, Rick Tyler, told The Daily Beast, “It’s all nonsense. Ted Cruz has never breathed a breath where he was not an American citizen.” But for the so-called birthers, a term that is pejorative depending on which member is talking, this situation is of dire importance — especially for the people who want to see Cruz win.
Los Angeles Times, Hold the 'birther' controversy: Ted Cruz is a natural born American, Editorial board, Jan. 8, 2016. A telltale sign that Sen. Ted Cruz is rising in the GOP presidential polls is that some of his opponents — one billionaire casino mogul in particular — are suggesting that the Canadian-born conservative can't legally hold the office because he was, ahem, born in Canada. This kind of attack has become a rite of passage for presidential aspirants in recent years; witness the “birther” controversy that dogged Barack Obama (born in Hawaii to an American mother and Kenyan father) long into his presidency, as well as the sniping from the fringes about Republican nominees John McCain (born in the Panama Canal zone to American parents) and Mitt Romney (who also encountered “birthers” who doubted that he was born in the U.S. to actual citizens, which he was). Under U.S. law, anyone born to a U.S. citizen is a citizen too, no matter how far outside the borders they draw their first breaths.
Just as with Obama, McCain and Romney, the eligibility questions about Cruz are laughable. His father is a Cuban emigre who was working in Calgary at the time of Cruz's birth, but his mother is an American from Delaware. Under U.S. law, anyone born to a U.S. citizen is a citizen too, no matter how far outside the borders they draw their first breaths. Canada, meanwhile, grants citizenship to anyone born there, regardless of how well they handle a puck. As a result, Cruz had dual citizenship automatically from the day he was born in 1970 until he renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2014.
The U.S. Constitution requires the president to be a “natural born Citizen,” which simply means that he or she was born a citizen, as Cruz was. He also meets the Constitution's two other requirements for the White House: He's more than 34 years old and has lived at least 14 years in the United States. So he's clearly eligible for the office. Whether he's qualified is an entirely different question, although the Republicans who declared Obama unprepared because he was a first-term senator when he sought to become Commander in Chief don't seem to be phased by that aspect of Cruz's resume.
Some have agitated for a more narrow interpretation of “natural born Citizen” in an effort to rule out more candidates. But voters need better choices, not fewer of them. As we've argued before, this is a nation that champions meritocracy. Its values and bountiful opportunities are a magnet for smart, capable people from around the world. We should amend the Constitution to open the Oval Office to naturalized citizens as well as those who have been citizens from birth. The real measure of candidates isn't where they were born or to whom, it's how well they can do the difficult job of leading the country.
Washington Post, Abolish the ‘natural born citizen’ test, Ruth Marcus, Jan. 8, 2016. The constitutional requirement for presidential eligibility is unnecessary, harmful — and un-American. Donald Trump has us all spun up in a bogus debate over the meaning of what constitutes a “natural born” citizen and whether Canadian-born Ted Cruz is thereby ineligible for the presidency. The conversation we should be having is about how stupid and cruel the requirement is in the first place, and how the Constitution should be changed to abolish what is arguably its worst remaining provision.
Washington Post, Heidi Cruz was a star as her husband floundered. She gave it up to make him one, Katie Zezima, Jan. 7, 2016. Since Hillary Clinton, few political spouses have redirected their ambitions to the degree Heidi Cruz has for her husband, Ted (shown in an official photo). Most visibly, she is the traditional campaign spouse. But she is also her husband’s chief fundraiser, a surrogate who hopscotches across the country asking voters, one meet-and-greet at a time, for their support — and in private meetings imploring political and faith leaders for theirs. On leave from her career at Goldman Sachs in Houston, she has embarked on a journey unlike any she has navigated before — rearranging her entire life and applying her own substantial experience to serve the ambitions of her husband.
Cruz is not the only Republican spouse this cycle with notable professional accomplishments. Mary Pat Christie was a longtime bond trader before quitting after her husband declared his candidacy, and she, too, has helped raise money. Karen Kasich spent nearly 20 years working in public relations, and Frank Fiorina was a telecommunications executive.
The Washington Post, Trump’s nomination would rip the heart out of the Republican Party, Michael Gerson, Jan. 7, 2016. Nationally syndicated columnist Michael Gerson was a White House speechwriter for President George W. Bush. Every Republican of the type concerned with winning in November has been asking the question (at least internally): “What if the worst happens?”
The worst does not mean the nomination of Ted Cruz, in spite of justified fears of political disaster. Cruz is an ideologue with a message perfectly tuned for a relatively small minority of the electorate. Uniquely in American politics, the senator from Texas has made his reputation by being roundly hated by his colleagues — apparently a prerequisite for a certain kind of anti-establishment conservative, but unpromising for an image makeover at his convention. Cruz’s nomination would represent the victory of the hard right — religious right and tea party factions — within the Republican coalition. After he loses, the ideological struggles within the GOP would go on.
No, the worst outcome for the party would be the nomination of Donald Trump. It is impossible to predict where the political contest between Trump and Hillary Clinton would end up. Clinton has manifestly poor political skills, and Trump possesses a serious talent for the low blow. But Trump’s nomination would not be the temporary victory of one of the GOP’s ideological factions. It would involve the replacement of the humane ideal at the center of the party and its history. If Trump were the nominee, the GOP would cease to be.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
RT, State Dept confirms ‘working document’ laid out timeline for Syria regime change, Staff report, Jan. 7, 2016. A “working paper” written by US diplomats envisions Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ceding power to a new government by March 2017. The State Department confirmed the document was authentic, but denied that it represented official US policy. The key points of the policy paper were published on Wednesday by the Associated Press. It envisions an 18-month political process, starting with talks in Vienna next month and ending in Assad’s resignation next year.
According to the document, by April there would be a “security committee” composed of members of the current government and opposition groups. By May, the Syrian parliament would be dissolved and a new transitional authority established, with the mission to draft a new constitution and pass reforms. The Syrians would vote on the constitution in a referendum scheduled for January 2017. Two months later, the paper says, Assad “relinquishes presidency; inner circle departs.” At the press conference on Wednesday, State Department spokesman John Kirby (shown in a Wikimedia photo from his previous post as Pentagon spokesman) acknowledged the paper was authentic, but tried to dismiss it as a working-level document written by a staff member.
Kirby’s efforts to dismiss the document, and AP’s coverage of it, as somehow irrelevant irked AP diplomatic correspondent Matt Lee, who at one point asked: “Isn’t it time to recognize these things for what they are and not live in this in this illusion, or fantasy, where you pretend that things that are, are not?” Lee asked, to chuckles in the briefing room.
“The short answer is, no,” Kirby retorted, denying that Washington lived in a fantasy world.
RT, Turkey confesses fears to US of Syrian Kurds making territorial gains, Staff report, Jan. 7, 2016. Turkey has expressed its fears to the US concerning Kurdish expansion in northern Syria. Ankara is worried about Kurdish territorial gains, but Washington wants to ensure Turkey’s southern border is sealed to stop Islamic State fighters getting into Syria. Ankara is not happy as it believes the Syrian Kurds are looking to create a corridor along the northern border with Turkey, which would cut off Turkey from sharing a boundary with Syria. The Hurriyet Daily reports that Ankara has brought the matter up with General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who is Washington’s top military figure.
Washington Post, Iran claims embassy in Yemen damaged in Saudi airstrike, Brian Murphy, Jan. 7, 2016.The Iranian accusation, which could not be independently confirmed, comes amid growing diplomatic confrontations between the two countries and threaten to widen sectarian rifts around the region.
CBS News, Rand Paul: Is Ted Cruz eligible to run for president? Reena Flores, Jan. 7, 2016. Rand Paul doesn't know whether Ted Cruz meets the citizenship requirements for the presidency, but he offered another suggestion for the Texas senator. "I think without question he is qualified and would make the cut to be prime minister of Canada. Absolutely, without question," Paul deadpanned Wednesday about his Canadian-born rival during a Fox News Radio interview. "I'm not an expert on the natural-born clause in the Constitution and people have various opinions," he added. "And we've had some previous cases of it, but I don't think we've ever gone through the court system for the Supreme Court to decide one way or another."
Harper’s Bazaar, Melania Trump's American Dream, Alex Kuczynski, Jan. 6, 2016. Donald Trump's first lady talks candidly about her husband's controversial presidential bid, the secrets to their happy marriage, and why she's stayed out of the spotlight—until now. Melania Trump gazes out of her living room window over the gold tapestry of New York's Central Park. It's late November, and from her spacious apartment, which occupies the top three floors of the 68-story Trump Tower, in Midtown Manhattan, the 843 acres nestled among the gray sea of buildings below seem small, like a wet towel left on the bathroom floor by a teenager.
In person, Melania (shown from her Twitter photo) is incandescently beautiful, her skin a dusty bronze, and her eyes wider and less squinchy-posed than they can appear in red-carpet pictures. She is tall, a lithe and limber five foot eleven, and wears a startling 25-carat diamond ring on her left hand, a gift from Donald for their 10th wedding anniversary.
From the outside, it would be easy to imagine that for Melania, one of the more challenging aspects of the campaign might be Donald's ardent anti-immigration stance: In addition to making derogatory remarks about immigrants, he has proposed building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and even suggested a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. Melania first arrived in the U.S. from her native Slovenia on a work visa in 1996 and became an American citizen in 2006, the year after she and Donald were married. If her husband is elected, she would become only the second first lady born outside the U.S. (after John Quincy Adams's wife, Louisa, who was born in England). However, Melania believes that her naturalization process—which she says she carefully adhered to—was fair. "I followed the rules," she explains.
For her own part, Melania has remained largely in the shadows of her husband's campaign. Even when she has joined him on the trail — or for interviews, like the couple's sit-down with Barbara Walters in November — she has been conspicuously quiet. That, Melania tells me, is all by design. "Because of who my husband is, and our life, and also he is number one in the polls — well, you take that all together, and people are very curious about me," she says in her soft, Slovenian accent, her voice set at the level of an aristocrat who knows she doesn't need to speak loudly to be heard. "I'm choosing not to go political in public because that is my husband's job. I'm very political in private life, and between me and my husband I know everything that is going on. I follow from A to Z," she affirms. "But I chose not to be on the campaign. I made that choice. I have my own mind. I am my own person, and I think my husband likes that about me."
The choice for Donald to run was a collective one, Melania says, and not easy: "We decided as a family it was something we would do," she offers. "I explained it to my son a lot. I said, 'Daddy will run for president,' so he knew about it. I prepared him before school started … his life is as normal as possible." She tries to be with her husband as often as she can. "Especially at the debates, I am always there to support him," she says, pulling out her cell phone to show a video of Donald, taken the night before in Tennessee. "Look at those crowds!" she marvels. "He's getting 10, 20, 30,000 people. It's really amazing."
RT, 'Convert or die': Yazidi refugees speak of ISIS assaults, Murad Gazdiev, Jan. 6, 2016. The ethnically-Kurdish Yazidi minority in Iraq is on the run from Islamic State in Syria, which continues to systematically hunt down and enslave them. RT’s Murad Gazdiev made the perilous journey to Nowrooz camp in Syria to hear their stories firsthand. The camp is home to hundreds of Yazidis lucky enough to have escaped the intolerant wrath of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). Syrian Kurds with the YPG in Al-Hasakah gave them shelter, where the camp is located. Called "devil worshippers" by IS, groups of Yazidis huddle together around a single source of warmth inside temporary accommodation.
BBC, Syria conflict: Thousands of refugees stranded at Jordan border, Staff report, Jan. 6, 2016. Jordan has acknowledged that thousands of Syrian refugees are stranded in a remote desert area on its northern border with Syria awaiting entry. Government spokesman Mohammed Momani told the Associated Press "the number is 12,000, but it is increasing." Last month, he said a similar estimate by the UN was "greatly exaggerated." Mr Momani said about 50 to 100 refugees were being allowed into Jordan each day, with priority given to women, children, and elderly and sick people. Mass entry was unlikely because of security concerns, he added.
On 8 December, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the number of Syrians stranded in deteriorating humanitarian conditions, beside an earthen berm on the Syria-Jordan border, had tripled. About 11,000 people were massed at Rukban, about 8km (5 miles) to the west of the point at which the Iraq, Syria, and Jordan borders meet, and 1,000 at Hadalat, some 90km further west, spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told reporters. They included children, women and others who were "vulnerable and really need help", she added.
Stone Zone, The MSM sure does not want to talk about Bill Clinton’s rapes & violent sex assaults or Hillary’s criminal terror campaigns, Roger Stone and Robert Morrow (co-authors The Clintons War Against Women), Jan. 6, 2016. Washington Post Debunked; CNN's Don Lemon Exposed. The Clintons are criminals and this has nothing to do with any consensual oral sex that Bill had with Monica Lewinsky, martial infidelity or adultery. Like Bill Cosby, Bill Clinton is a sexual predator - and Hillary used strong-arm tactics to run the cover up. In fact, Hillary is an accessory after the fact in all of her husband’s sex crimes. The Main Stream Media is trying to deflect this story to be about Bill's cheating rather than what it is- rape, intimidation and a cover-up run by Hillary.
RT, Hundreds rally against sexual violence after NYE attacks in Cologne, Staff report, Jan. 6, 2016. Organized via social networks, hundreds of men and women demonstrated against the intolerable levels of abuse witnessed by women at the hands of certain male refugees at Cologne’s main train station on New Year’s Eve. So far 90 women have reported being sexually molested, threatened and robbed outside Cologne Cathedral by men of “Arab or North African” origin, police said on Tuesday. Those gathered at the scene of the crimes slammed the government's open door refugee policy, enacted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel (shown in file photo) in September. Women held up signs reading, “Mrs. Merkel – Where are you?”
Foreign Policy In Focus, The Ultimate Blowback from U.S. Foreign Policy? Donald Trump, Walden Bello, Jan. 6, 2016. How the CIA, bad trade deals, and wanton military intervention caused the social crises that gave us the Donald. (Really.) When the late Chalmers Johnson introduced the word “blowback” to describe the adverse consequences of Washington’s actions in the world, he wasn’t referring simply to the victims of U.S. imperial interventions striking back on American soil. More importantly, he saw the resulting destabilization of the American democratic process as the most dangerous blowback of all.
Seen in this light, Donald Trump’s “M&Ms campaign” — which relies heavily on broadsides against Mexicans and Muslims — is unquestionably a disturbing blowback from Washington’s policies abroad. In her brave expose on the rise of Mexican drug cartels, Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers, the celebrated Mexican investigative journalist Anabel Hernandez writes that when the U.S. Congress prohibited the use of government money to fund the overthrow of the Sandinistas, the CIA made a deal with the cartels to allow large-scale cocaine sales into the United States, but on condition that part of the proceeds would be diverted to support the Contras. Instead of aggressively challenging the Republican candidates’ inflamed rhetoric and pointing to U.S. political and economic programs as the cause of the blowback, most liberal leaders are on the defensive.
Richard McClary (Photo by Noel St. John, used with permission)
National Press Club, Club bartender Richard McClary hangs up the bar towel, Ferdous Al-Faruque, Jan. 6, 2016. After 49 years at the Club, McClary retired on Dec. 31. The Club is hosting a reception to honor McClary at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, in the First Amendment Lounge. Richard has also been an eyewitness to some of the most critical moments in Washington’s and the country's history. He watched journalists diligently carry on with their duties, such as in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the Washington riots following Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination.
Washington Post, Donald Trump’s Bogus Attack on Ted Cruz, Ruth Marcus, Jan. 6, 2016. The issue of whether Ted Cruz is constitutionally eligible to be president could not be more bogus. He is. Case closed. I say this as someone who could scarcely be more concerned about the prospect of President Cruz. So concerned, in fact, that I have concluded, after much “angsting,” that President Trump would be preferable, given that nightmare choice.
The best analysis of this topic comes from two former U.S. solicitors general — Neal Katyal, who served President Obama, and Paul Clement, who worked for President George W. Bush — writing in the Harvard Law Review forum. They conclude in On the Meaning of “Natural Born Citizen”:
All the sources routinely used to interpret the Constitution confirm that the phrase ‘natural-born citizen’ has a specific meaning: namely, someone who was a U.S. citizen at birth with no need to go through a naturalization proceeding at some later time. And Congress has made equally clear from the time of the framing of the Constitution to the current day that, subject to certain residency requirements on the parents, someone born to a U.S. citizen parent generally becomes a U.S. citizen without regard to whether the birth takes place in Canada, the [Panama] Canal Zone or the continental United States.
While the field of candidates for the next presidential election is still taking shape, at least one potential candidate, Senator Ted Cruz, was born in a Canadian hospital to a U.S. citizen mother.
Despite the happenstance of a birth across the border, there is no question that Senator Cruz has been a citizen from birth and is thus a “natural born Citizen” within the meaning of the Constitution. Indeed, because his father had also been resident in the United States, Senator Cruz would have been a “natural born Citizen” even under the Naturalization Act of 1790.
While some constitutional issues are truly difficult, with framing-era sources either nonexistent or contradictory, here, the relevant materials clearly indicate that a “natural born Citizen” means a citizen from birth with no need to go through naturalization proceedings.
Washington Post, Trump says Cruz’s birthplace could be ‘a big problem’ for GOP, Robert Costa and Philip Rucker, Jan. 5, 2016. Trump said that the party might face a legal headache if it nominates Sen. Ted Cruz, a U.S. citizen who was born in Canada. But he insisted he isn't trying to attack his chief rival or revive the "birther debate" he led against President Obama. Donald Trump said in an interview that rival Ted Cruz’s Canadian birthplace was a “very precarious” issue that could make the senator from Texas vulnerable if he became the Republican presidential nominee. “Republicans are going to have to ask themselves the question: ‘Do we want a candidate who could be tied up in court for two years?’ That’d be a big problem,” Trump said when asked about the topic. Cruz responded to Trump’s comments on Twitter later Tuesday evening by referring to an iconic episode of the sitcom “Happy Days,” in which the character Fonzie jumps over a shark on water skis. The image has become a symbol of something shopworn and overdone.
The Constitution requires a president to be a “natural-born citizen.” Anyone born to a U.S. citizen is granted citizenship under U.S. law, regardless of where the birth takes place, as long as the citizen parent has resided in the United States or its territories for a certain period of time. At the time of Cruz’s birth, the required period was at least 10 years, including five years after the age of 14. Legal scholars agree [the Washington Post reported] that Cruz meets the Constitution’s natural-born citizenship requirement, though it is untested in the courts.
JIP Editor's note: The question appears to be more complicated than the Washington Post commented indicated, according to a 2011 Congressional Research Service reported that surveyed relevant law and concluded: "Although the eligibility of native born U.S. citizens has been settled law for more than a century, there have been legitimate legal issues raised concerning those born outside of the country to U.S. citizens."
Washington Post, FBI takes lead on investigating armed takeover of federal building in Oregon; ranchers turn themselves in, Carissa Wolf and Mark Berman, Jan. 4, 2016. The FBI is leading the investigation into the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon and says it will work with local and state authorities to seek “a peaceful resolution to the situation.” Photo: FBI Director James Comey.
Washington Post, White House unveils new gun restrictions, bypassing Congress, David Nakamura and Juliet Eilperin, Jan. 4, 2016. The 10-provision package will require more gun sellers to be licensed and would force them to conduct background checks on potential buyers, and all federally licensed dealers will have to report any lost or stolen firearms.
New York Times, Saudi Arabia’s Barbaric Executions, Editorial Board, Jan. 4, 2016. The execution of the popular Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 other prisoners on Jan. 2 was about the worst way Saudi Arabia could have started what promises to be a grim and tumultuous year in the kingdom and across the Middle East. It is hard to imagine that the Sunni rulers of the kingdom were not aware of the sectarian passions the killings would unleash around the region.
Saudi Arabia’s rulers may even have counted on the fierce reaction in Iran and elsewhere as a distraction from economic problems at home and to silence dissenters. America’s longstanding alliance with the House of Saud is no reason for the administration to do anything less than clearly condemn this foolhardy and dangerous course.
New York Times, European Sympathies Lean Toward Iran in Conflict with Saudi Arabia, Sewell Chan, Jan. 4, 2016. In the days since Saudi Arabia inflamed tensions with Iran by executing 47 people, including a Shiite cleric, European observers have been quick to condemn the action, reflecting broader concern across the Continent about Saudi policy and its role in the tumult rolling through the Middle East.
Opposition in Europe to the death penalty — and harsh corporal punishment, including the flogging of a Saudi blogger who has become something of a cause célèbre in Europe — is just one element of the criticism of the Saudi monarchy. Even as European governments continue to view Saudi Arabia [whose flag is shown] as a vital if problematic stabilizing force in the region, as well as a rich market for European arms and other products, European opinion has grown increasingly critical of Saudi support and financing for Wahhabist and Salafist preachers who have contributed to the Sunni extremist ideology that has fueled Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. In addition, the European Union and six major world powers reached a deal in Vienna over the summer to contain Iran’s nuclear program, and Iran is seen as essential to ending the five-year-old civil war in Syria, which has fueled a surge of migrants to the Continent, the highest number since World War II.
Deutsche Welle, #SueMeSaudi: Twitter users taunt Saudi Arabia, Staff report, Jan. 4, 2016. Deutsche Welle (DW) is Germany’s international broadcaster, with 3,000 employees and freelancers from 60 countries. The hashtag #SueMeSaudi is soaring after a source at the Saudi Arabian justice ministry reportedly said he would sue a Twitter user who compared Saudi Arabia to the terror group 'Islamic State.' The justice ministry official was quoted by the government-aligned Al Riyadh newspaper as saying "The justice ministry will sue the person who described ... the sentencing of a man to death for apostasy as being 'ISIS-like,'" Reuters reports. The official did not define who the Twitter user was or what the potential punishment would be, but he did succeed in accidentally creating two hashtags: #SaudiArabiaIsISIS and #SueMeSaudi.
Middle East Eye, US military leadership resisted Obama's bid for regime change in Syria, Libya, Gareth Porter, Jan. 4, 2016. Seymour Hersh’s recent revelations about an effort by the US military leadership in 2013 to bolster the Syrian army against jihadist forces in Syria shed important new light on the internal bureaucratic politics surrounding regime change in US Middle East policy. Hersh’s account makes it clear that the Obama administration’s policy of regime change in both Libya and Syria provoked pushback from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Strategic Culture Foundation, US Congress Reacts with Horror to NSA Surveillance of Israel, Wayne Madsen, Jan. 4, 2016. Members of the US Congress have reacted in horror to published reports that the US National Security Agency ensnared a number of House of Representatives and Senate members in communicating directly with members of the Israeli government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (shown in a file photo) on sabotaging President Barack Obama and the P5+1 agreement with Iran on nuclear power development. Some members of the Congress who receive significant campaign contributions from Israeli and Jewish lobbying organizations -- such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and the Zionist Organization of America -- are calling for hearings and official investigations.
President Barack Obama and his daughters, Malia, left, and Sasha, watch on television as First Lady Michelle Obama begins her speech at the Democratic National Convention, in the Treaty Room of the White House, Sept. 4, 2012 (White House Photo by Pete Souza).
Liberals Unite, Let’s Compare Obama And Bush Vacations, Samuel Warde, Jan. 4, 2016. President Obama and his family completed their annual vacation returning to the White House this Sunday and – once again – conservatives are up in arms about the “Vacationer in Chief.”
Just how many vacations has Obama taken since he assumed office in January of 2009 and how does that compare to George W. Bush’s record? Last December, CBS News reported that the number of vacation days President Obama has taken since the beginning of his presidency stood at 161 days. If you add the 28 days of vacation he has taken this year his total comes to 189 days.
However his predecessor, two-term President George W. Bush, took 879 days of vacation, including 77 trips to his Texas ranch according to a report by the Washington Post. According to The Washington Post, “No modern president took less vacation than Jimmy Carter (79 days), while Ronald Reagan spent 335 days at his beloved California ranch.”
Washington Post, Inside the GOP’s bizarre, tumultuous year, Dan Balz, Philip Rucker, Robert Costa and Matea Gold, Jan. 3, 2016. For Republicans, one of the most compelling years in American politics was split in two: Before Trump and After Trump. This is the story of how Republicans got to where they are today, told through the impressions and recollections of those who lived it — the candidates.
CBSNews.com, Oregon ranchers reject Cliven Bundy family occupation, CBS and Associated Press staff, Jan. 3, 2015. A group of angry anti-government protesters have occupied a building at a national wildlife refuge in Oregon in what they say is an act of solidarity for a pair of ranchers facing jail time for burning government land. However, the Hammond family, the Oregon ranchers at the center of the dispute, say they don't want them there, reports CBS affiliate KOIN in Portland, Ore. Ammon Bundy -- the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in an armed standoff with the government over grazing rights -- told the Oregonian on Saturday that he and two of his brothers were among a group of dozens of people occupying the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (near Burns in eastern Oregon).
Ammon Bundy (shown in a file photo) posted a video on his Facebook page asking for militia members to come help him. He said, "This is not a time to stand down. It's a time to stand up and come to Harney County," where Burns is located. The Hammonds said they have not welcomed the Bundy's help. Dwight Hammond, 73, and Steven Hammond, 46, said they lit the fires in 2001 and 2006 to reduce the growth of invasive plants and protect their property from wildfires.
OpEdNews, Protests or Terrorists? -- Bundy Spawn Invade, Take Over Federal Building, Rob Kall, Jan. 3, 2015. Cliven Bundy's three sons, as part of a band of six to twelve gun-toting right-wing militia types, apparently mostly out of state domestic terrorist instigators, have taken over a federal building in Oregon, using the pretext of the impending returning to jail of two arsonists convicted of burning over 130 acres of federal land.
There was a peaceful protest by about 300 marchers protesting against the re-incarceration of two Harney County ranchers, Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond, who were convicted for starting fires on federal land -- fires that put life at risk and damaged over 130 acres of land.
The two criminals, who purportedly started the fires to hide poaching that they'd been perpetrating, had already served four months for one man and a year for the other, but an appeals court found that the sentence had been too lenient and they were not allowed to avoid serving the minimum sentence of five years. Details in video below:
Reuters via Huffington Post, Saudi Arabia Cuts Diplomatic Ties With Iran, Foreign Minister Says, Staff report, Jan. 3, 2016. The announcement comes after increased
tensions following the execution of a prominent cleric. Saudi King Salman bin Abdull Aziz
Independent (London), Saudi Arabia's executions were worthy of ISIS – so will David Cameron and the West now stop their grovelling to its oil-rich monarchs? Robert Fisk, Jan. 3, 2015. Saudi Arabia’s binge of head-choppings – 47 in all, including the learned Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, followed by a Koranic justification for the executions – was worthy of ISIS. Perhaps that was the point. For this extraordinary bloodbath in the land of the Sunni Muslim al-Saud monarchy – clearly intended to infuriate the Iranians and the entire Shia world – re-sectarianised a religious conflict which ISIS has itself done so much to promote.
Had ISIS chopped off the heads of Sunnis and Shias in Raqqa, we can be sure that [UK Prime Minister] Dave Cameron (shown in a file photo) would have been tweeting his disgust at so loathsome an act. But the man who lowered the British flag on the death of the last king of this preposterous Wahabi state will be using weasel words to address this bit of head-chopping.
Outside the political implications, however, there is also an obvious question to be asked – in the Arab world itself — of the self-perpetuating House of Saud: have the Kingdom’s rulers gone bonkers?
Mondoweiss via Global Research, Israel and Its Lobby Lose the Iran Deal All over Again in News of Damning Wiretaps, James North and Philip Weiss, Jan. 1, 2015. You’d think that there would be widespread outrage over the story everyone’s talking about today, the Wall Street Journal scoop that the Obama administration spied on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu (shown at left) during the Iran Deal negotiations so as to counter his efforts to sink it. The wiretaps reveal that Israeli officials were up to their necks in the US political process; they “coordinated talking points with Jewish-American groups against the deal; and asked undecided lawmakers what it would take to win their votes, according to current and former officials familiar with the intercepts.”
The president approved the wiretaps.Privately, Mr. Obama maintained the monitoring of Mr. Netanyahu on the grounds that it served a “compelling national security purpose,” according to current and former U.S. officials. That’s right; there’s a compelling national interest in stopping the Israel lobby.
Many have said that President Obama lacks spine? Well, it sure looks like the leak to reporters Adam Entous and Danny Yadron came from the administration, and it’s hard to believe that a leak of this magnitude was not approved by the president. Just when the Israel lobby thought that it was starting to get back to business as usual, the Obama administration has reminded them that something has fundamentally changed in the U.S.-Israel relationship. Not only did we beat the lobby and Israel on the Iran Deal, but: we’re exposing your tactics, and patriotic Americans are going to be very upset by what they see.
TelesurTV via OpEdNews, Terror Fear Trumps Populist Anger: a Corporate Media Triumph, Paul Street, Jan. 2, 2016. Good news for Trump and Hillary, bad news for Bernie. A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll notes a recent development in the opinion and focus of the United States electorate. "Heightened fear of terrorism is rippling through the electorate, thrusting national-security issues to the center of the 2016 presidential campaign."
Fear of terrorism has Trumped (pun intended) economic inequality and insecurity as the electorate's primary concern, potentially helping the rightmost wing of the nation's corporate and imperial two party system. Good news for the leading Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump (advocate of a ban on Muslim immigration) and Ted Cruz, bad news for Bernie Sanders. It's good news also for Sanders' Democratic primary opponent Hillary Clinton.
The Saudi Kingdom's flag
Washington Post, Saudi Arabia executes prominent Shiite cleric and 46 others in 12 cities, Liz Sly, Jan. 2, 2016. Prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr was among 47 people executed by Saudi Arabia on Saturday, triggering an angry response from across the Shiite world, including the kingdom’s archenemy, Iran. The official Saudi Press Agency listed Nimr’s name among 47 people who were executed on Saturday morning in the capital Riyadh and 12 other cities. Some were beheaded, others were killed by firing squads, according to Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry. Nimr, 56, was a key figure in the protests that erupted among Sunni Saudi Arabia’s Shiite minority in 2011, inspired by the Arab spring revolts elsewhere in the region.
Reuters via Huffington Post, Iranian Protesters Attack Saudi Embassy After Prominent Shiite Cleric Executed, Sam Wilkin and Angus McDowall, Jan. 2, 2016. Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran early on Sunday morning as Shi'ite Muslim Iran reacted with fury to Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent Shi'ite cleric. Demonstrators who had massed at the embassy gates to protest at Nimr al-Nimr's execution broke into the embassy and started fires before being cleared away by the police, Iran's ISNA news agency reported.
Pictures were tweeted that showed parts of the interior on fire and smashed furniture inside one office. Iran's hardline Revolutionary Guards had promised "harsh revenge" against the Saudi Sunni royal dynasty for Saturday's execution of Nimr, considered a terrorist by Riyadh but hailed in Iran as a champion of the rights of Saudi Arabia's marginalized Shi'ite minority. Although most of the 47 men killed in the kingdom's biggest mass execution for decades were Sunnis convicted of al Qaeda attacks in Saudi Arabia a decade ago, it was Nimr and three other Shi'ites, all accused of involvement in shooting police, who attracted most attention in the region and beyond. Despite the regional focus on Nimr, the executions seemed mostly aimed at discouraging jihadism in Saudi Arabia, where dozens have died in the past year in attacks by Sunni militants.
Washington Post, Sanders chastises Trump, responds to heckler during rowdy Massachusetts swing, John Wagner, Jan. 2, 2016. Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders pressed his case that Republican front-runner Donald Trump is a divisive "demagogue" and verbally sparred with one of the billionaire's supporters during a pair of boisterous rallies Saturday in Massachusetts that drew overflow crowds.
In recent weeks, Sanders, who faces Hillary Clinton in the contest for the Democratic nomination, has increasingly used Trump as a foil in his speeches. At both events Saturday, Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, drew crowds that far exceeded the size of the venue, and overflow areas were set up. Nearly 3,400 people showed up in Amherst, while 3,000 attended the event here in Worcester, according to Sanders’s campaign.
AP via Huffington Post, A Militia Has Taken Over A Federal Building In Oregon, Staff report, Jan. 2, 2016. A peaceful protest Saturday in support of an eastern Oregon ranching family facing jail time for arson was followed shortly afterward by an occupation of a building at a national wildlife refuge. Dwight Hammond (shown in a KOIN-TV interview) has said he and his son plan to peacefully report to prison Jan. 4 as ordered by the judge.
Ammon Bundy, the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a standoff with the government over grazing rights, told the Oregonian he and two of his brothers were among a group of dozens of people occupying the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Ammon Bundy said the group planned to stay at the refuge indefinitely. Ammon Bundy and a handful of militiamen from other states arrived last month in Burns, some 60 miles from the Hammond ranch.
Nikkei Asian Review, Saudi royal succession: Tensions in ruling family could bring more chaos to Mideast, oil market, Hirofumi Matsuo, Jan. 1, 2016. The question of the royal succession in Saudi Arabia looms over large over the Middle East and the world, given the kingdom's influence over two major geopolitical issues: the continuing slide in crude oil prices and the rise of the Islamic State militant group.
Mohammed bin Salman's growing influence over the country's defense, economic and oil policies is creating tension in the ruling elite. The kingdom's diplomacy is "shifting toward more impulsive, interventionist policies," according to a recent German intelligence report. Riyadh is seeking to bolster its influence in the Arab world as the prince gains more power. This has damaged the country's relations with allies, the report said.
OpEdNews, Jeb Bush, discussing the decision not to prosecute the police officer who shot Tamir Rice, said, "The process worked," Rob Kall, Jan. 1, 2015. Yep. The process worked for the bankers and finance people who gave us the world's 2008 economic collapse. The process worked for OJ Simpson. "The process" is a system that routinely preempts justice with power and plutocracy.
The process is broken because it is rotten at the head -- in the White House, with all the past presidents, except, possibly, Jimmy Carter. In the DOJ, certainly with Eric Holder, who chose to never prosecute a single banker. In the Supreme Court, where five justices destroyed the US election system opening the doors to billionaires and foreign money. It's the process that is broken and the process is a direct manifestation of the system. Minor tweaks to the system will not resolve the problems.
Strategic Culture Foundation via OpEdNews, Russia's military intervention to help its Arab ally at the end of September has been the seminal event of the year, Finian Cunningham, Jan. 1, 2015. After three months of sustained Russian aerial operations in support of the Syrian Arab Army against an array of foreign-backed mercenaries, there is an unmistakable sense that the terrorist backbone has been broken, as Russian President Vladimir Putin recently put it.
This past week sees several local truces being implemented across Syria with evacuation of militants from towns which they have held under armed siege. The civilian populations in these locations have been effectively held hostage as human shields by the militants, thus preventing Syrian army advances up to now. The Western media, such as US government-owned Voice of America, invert reality by claiming that it is the mercenaries themselves who have been under siege from the Syrian army. Thousands of anti-government insurgents are being bused out of locations around Damascus.
Palm Beach Post, Sex-abuse victims want to depose feds involved in Jeffrey Epstein deal, Michele Dargan, Jan. 1, 2016. Two underage victims of Palm Beach billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein (shown in a file photo) have filed court papers asking to depose top federal officials who were involved in inking the secret deal that saved Epstein from serious federal charges. FBI agents, current and former federal prosecutors, and Alexander Acosta, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, are named in the motion filed by attorneys Brad Edwards and Paul Cassell on behalf of Jane Doe No. 1 and Jane Doe No. 2. The girls were 14 and 13, respectively, at the time of the sex abuse.
The victims filed the motion, in part, because of a new argument Assistant U.S. Attorney Dexter Lee made during a routine status check hearing in November, as reported in Epstein victims “complicit” so not truly victims, government says. Lee said the girls aren’t really victims because they procured other minor girls for Epstein and received money for it so they’re not protected under the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act.
“Apparently, the government believes that because Epstein pressured some of his young victims into performing sexual acts, those victims themselves were complicit in Epstein’s crimes and, therefore, are barred from seeking relief under the CVRA,” the motion says. “There has never been any public document (or other private document that we have seen) in this or any related case that has ‘accused’ Epstein’s young victims of committing ‘the crime’ that Epstein committed.”
Filed in 2008, the lawsuit says the U.S. Attorney’s Office violated the federal Crime Victim’s Rights Act by failing to confer with the victims before signing a non-prosecution agreement with Epstein in September 2007. The agreement saved Epstein from serious federal charges and extensive prison time. Edwards and Cassell are fighting to overturn the agreement.
Doe 1 and 2 received monetary settlements in civil cases. They are among more than two-dozen underage girls who filed lawsuits or settled claims against Epstein, alleging they were lured to his Palm Beach mansion to give him sexually charged massages and/or sex in exchange for money. Epstein, now 62, pleaded guilty in June 2008 to state charges of soliciting minors for sex. He served 13 months of an 18-month state sentence in a vacant wing at the Palm Beach County Stockade with liberal release privileges.
Mary Ferrell Foundation, 2015 Books, Staff report, Jan. 1, 2016. Several books of interest to our readers were published in 2015. Here are eight of the more notable ones:
The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government, by David Talbot. The author of the acclaimed Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years has written here a decidedly unflattering portrait of CIA spymaster Allen Dulles, who along with his brother Foster defined an era of coup-driven foreign policy. Talbot paints a portrait of Dulles as a leader in the anti-Kennedy national security camp even while out of office, building on the theme first developed in Brothers. In this book, Talbot argues the case for Dulles as leader of the plan to assassinate JFK.
Dallas '63: The First Deep State Revolt Against the White House, by Peter Dale Scott. Scott is one of the pre-eminent thinkers and writers on the JFK assassination and its "deep politics," and this book is in some ways the culmination of his thoughts on the case. This e-book continues where Deep Politics II left off in its analysis of Oswald, Mexico City, and the handling of the Oswald files. It then turns in new directions, looking at previously-ignored gaps in military records on Oswald, exploring the deep enmity between Kennedy and his military team and the evidence for coup-planning on their part, and making connections to the Watergate affair. The title of the book harkens to Scott's notion that the overt government is paired with, and at times overshadowed by, a "deep state".
John F. Kennedy's Head Wounds: A Final Synthesis - and a New Analysis of the Harper Fragment, by Dr. David W. Mantik. This e-book by JFK medical expert David Mantik makes the case that the Harper fragment, found in Dealey Plaza after JFK's assassination, was occipital bone. Mantik uses this conclusion to challenge the interpretation of autopsy photos as indicating a single head shot from behind, and makes the argument for shots from the right-front of the presidential limousine.
Allen City TV (Texas), Dr. Robert McClelland -- JFK's Last Doctor, Staff report, Dec. 16, 2015 (video). Dr. Robert N. McClelland, who gives his first-hand account of the dramatic scene inside the Parkland Hospital trauma room after President Kennedy had been shot.
Washington Post, How Trump got religion — and why his legendary minister’s son now rejects him, Paul Schwartzman, January 21, 2016.