September 2016 News Reports


 

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Editor's Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative September 2016 news and views

Sept. 30

Foreign News

SouthFront, Overview of Military Situation in Aleppo City on Sept. 30, Staff report, Oct. 1, 2016. The Syrian Ministry of of National Reconciliation has offered militant groups operating in Aleppo city 3 options:

  •     To drop weapons, surrender and settle legal status;
  •     To evacuate them out of eastern Aleppo to any location of their choice (the ministry will ensure giving them a safe passage);
  •     To evacuate the civilians out of the militant-controlled parts of Aleppo.

This suggestion by the government clearly indicates that the Syrian military foresees heavy clashes in eastern Aleppo and seeks to avoid major civilian casualties. Unfortunately, such a move looks unlikely acceptable for the so-called “opposition” because Western and Middle Eastern states, sponsors of militant groups, are not interested in cessation of hostilities in the “capital of revolution”.

Campaign News

USA TODAY, Editorial Board: Trump is 'unfit for the presidency,' Editorial board, Sept. 30, 2016. In the 34-year history of USA TODAY, the Editorial Board has never taken sides in the presidential race. Instead, we’ve expressed opinions about the major issues and haven’t presumed to tell our readers, who have a variety of priorities and values, which choice is best for them. Because every presidential race is different, we revisit our no-endorsement Donald Trump and Mike Pence logopolicy every four years. We’ve never seen reason to alter our approach. Until now.

This year, the choice isn’t between two capable major party nominees who happen to have significant ideological differences. This year, one of the candidates — Republican nominee Donald Trump — is, by unanimous consensus of the Editorial Board, unfit for the presidency. From the day he declared his candidacy 15 months ago through this week’s first presidential debate, Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he lacks the temperament, knowledge, steadiness and honesty that America needs from its presidents.

USA TODAY's editorial opinions are decided by its Editorial Board, separate from the news staff. Most editorials are coupled with an opposing view — a unique USA TODAY feature. Related story: Washington Post, USA Today thinks Trump is so ‘unfit for the presidency’ that it just wrote an historic anti-endorsement.

Washington Post, Trump’s unusual conflict: Millions in debts to German bank now facing federal fines, Drew Harwell, Sept. 30, 2016. Donald Trump’s business empire owes hundreds of millions of dollars to a giant German bank cast into crisis by settlement negotiations with the Justice Department, a relationship some lawyers say sheds light on the massive financial entanglements he could face as president. Federal regulators are seeking a $14 billion fine from Deutsche Bank, Trump’s top lender, to settle claims that the bank issued toxic mortgages amid the housing crisis. German media have suggested the bank has sought a state bailout that could lead to partial ownership of the bank by the German government.

Donald Trump button open mouthA settlement could be reached before a new president takes office, but government-ethics experts say the Deutsche Bank situation is a stark reminder of how Trump could face a conflicting set of interests as the nation's negotiator in chief.

As head of the executive branch, he’d oversee the Justice Department and the United States' relations with the rest of the world. But he’d still have a lengthy series of financial relationships with private institutions and countries with business before the United States. “It’s certainly foreseeable that he could intervene with the DOJ so as to not upset the financing of his companies,” said Trevor Potter, a former Federal Election Commission chairman and general counsel of George H.W. Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

It’s “unthinkable in recent history,” Potter said, that “there’s the possibility of a president being able to affect his own personal financial interests, conceivably to the detriment of the general public.” Alan Garten, executive vice president and general counsel of the Trump Organization, said, “I don’t see the conflict,” and drew a parallel to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s global philanthropy. “Under your theory, no one who has ever done anything before can be elected to the highest office,” he said.

Ethics advisers have called for Trump, if elected, to sell his business interests or sequester them in an independent holding company to lower the risk of him being beholden to foreign powers while in the White House. But Trump has resisted. The candidate, Garten said, has pledged only to give his companies to his children, a transition that lawyers say would not be enough to sever Trump’s financial ties. In the Deutsche Bank case, it’s impossible to predict exactly how the bank’s settlement discussions could intersect with Trump’s financial interests if he wins the election — or if they would. But lawyers say the bank could have unusual leverage over him as it searches for a way out of its current crisis.

Donald and Melania TrumpGOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump, who claimed this week that a former Miss Universe made a "sex tape" (with the allegation apparently based on a racy film scene in 2005), is shown above in a magazine photo shoot with his third wife, Melania. The New York Post in a cover story reported this summer that Melania Trump participated in a sexually suggestive nude photo shoots herself during her modeling career.

Washington Post, Trump-Miss Universe feud escalates with his accusation of a 'sex tape,' Jose A. DelReal, Sept. 30, 2016. Trump accuses Clinton of helping ‘disgusting’ beauty queen, falsely cites ‘sex tape.’  Donald Trump disparaged former Miss Universe Alicia Machado's character during an early morning tweet storm Friday and accused her of having a "sex tape.”

Melania TrumpHis attack on Machado, which appeared to be based on rumors circulating the Internet, came amid an ongoing controversy over his comments about her weight gain in the months after she won the Miss Universe pageant in 1996. Trump’s public treatment of Machado at the time has been at the center of intense scrutiny since his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, brought up Machado during Monday’s presidential debate.

Alicia MachadoIn a series of tweets sent from the real estate developer's Twitter account, Trump called Machado "disgusting," a "con" and raised questions about her past. The tweets — which were sent between 3 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. — are the latest in a series of negative statements Trump has made about Machado.

The allegation that Machado (shown at right in a screen shot from a Clinton ad) had a “sex tape” appears to be false.

Trump appears to have been referring to racy footage from a Spanish-language reality television show called “La Granja,” on which she appeared in 2005. Trump also alleged that Clinton helped Machado become a U.S. citizen in order to attack him. There is no evidence supporting that claim.

Daily Howler, Did Gennifer Flowers "have an affair with [Hillary] Clinton's husband?" Bob Somerby, Sept. 30, 2016. Last week, the Washington Post spilled with such claims, both in its hard-copy editions and in its endless array of blogs. At the New York Times, things were somewhat different. First, a bit of background: Excitement grew when Donald J. Trump suggested that he might ask Flowers to attend last Monday night's dance. Agreeably, Flowers announced that she would be in attendance. The children simply love stories like this!

Let's establish some basic facts. Back in 1992, Flowers declared that she'd enjoyed a torrid twelve-year affair with Bill Clinton, the only man she ever loved. She received several six-figure paydays along the way as she told her story. All in all, she took in more than $500,000 for her thrilling claims, which she was never able to document in any discernible way. Our roster of lazy pseudo-journalists will tell you that Bill Clinton eventually confessed to the affair. It's easy enough to establish what Bill Clinton did say. In January 1998, he testified in the Paula Jones case. Under oath, here's what he said about the torrid, twelve-year affair.

CLINTON: "The answer to your question, if the definition is Section One there in the first piece of evidence you gave me, is yes.

QUESTION: On how many occasions?

 CLINTON: Once.

 QUESTION: In what year?

 CLINTON: 1977.

 QUESTION: Did you ever make sexual advances to Gennifer Flowers after that occasion which did not culminate in sexual relations?

 CLINTON: No.

Politico, Trump deposition video set for release, Josh Gerstein, Sept. 30, 2016. A video of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his provocative rhetoric about Mexicans and other Latinos is set to go public as soon as Friday, drawing new attention to those comments just weeks before voters cast their ballots in the presidential race.

Trump gave the testimony in June at a law office in Washington in connection with one of two lawsuits he filed last year after prominent chefs reacted to the controversy over his remarks by pulling out of plans to open restaurants at his new D.C. hotel. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in an order issued Thursday evening that fears the testimony might show up in campaign commercials were no basis to keep the public from seeing the video.

"This Court finds that Plaintiff has not demonstrated that any subject video deposition contains scandalous, libelous, or other unduly prejudicial material warranting denial of media access," Holeman wrote. "The public shall not be held captive by the suggested eventuality of partisan editing in a manner unfavorable to Plaintiff or the deponents."' Lawyers for Trump previously requested that the video of his deposition, as well as those of his son Donald Jr. and his daughter Ivanka, be sealed, but the judge denied that request. However, the videos remained inaccessible because they were filed directly with judge's chambers and the court's docketing system doesn't allow access to exhibits like videos.

The judge's decision to release the deposition videos is at odds with the result reached last month by a federal judge Trump repeatedly excoriated. U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is handling a pair of federal lawsuits alleging fraud in the Trump University real estate seminar program, declined a similar media request for the videos of Trump's depositions in those cases. Curiel said there was no substantial public interest served by releasing the videos, since transcripts in those cases were also public. Holeman, an appointee of President George W. Bush, said the D.C. case was different, in part because no jury trial is expected.

BBC, US election 2016: Trump mic malfunctioned, debate organizers confirm, Staff report, Sept. 30, 2016.

Washington Post, Trump’s bad week is a ‘nightmare’ for the GOP, Philip Rucker, Robert Costa and Sean Sullivan, Sept. 30, 2016. Republican leaders and strategists are unnerved by Donald Trump’s erratic attacks on a Latina beauty queen and other outbursts this week, increasingly fearful that the GOP nominee is damaging his White House hopes and doing lasting harm to the party in the campaign’s final stretch. Party officials said they are newly embarrassed by Trump’s impulsive behavior and exasperated by his inability to concentrate on his change message and frame the race as a referendum on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, according to interviews with more than two dozen of them.

Foreign News

The Nation, The US-Russia Backed Cease-Fire in Syria Hangs in the Balance: Will Cooler Heads Prevail?  James Carden, Sept. 30, 2016. The only way to end the conflict is through a political settlement, which House Democrats now are wisely urging on the administration.  The unraveling of the September 9 cease-fire deal between the US and Russia in Syria comes amidst allegations and counter-allegations of ceasefire violations and war crimes. UN Ambassador Samantha Power, who habitually mistakes moral posturing for diplomacy, told the UN Security Council on September 25 that “what Russia is sponsoring and doing is not counter-terrorism, it is barbarism”—before storming out of the UN chamber during the remarks by the Syrian ambassador.

 

RT,  ‘US had never had ‘Plan A’ for Syria, West a root cause of crisis’ – Syrian UN envoy to RT, Staff report, Sept. 30, 2016. Washington never had a so-called ‘Plan A’ to resolve the Syrian crisis, Syrian envoy to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari told RT, adding that the West is one of the root causes of the Syrian war. In the wake of the worsening security situation in Syria, Washington has blamed Damascus and Russia for jeopardizing efforts to peacefully resolve the ongoing civil war.

However, al-Jaafari told RT that Washington on its part never had a solid plan to settle the war inside Syria. “The United States had never had a ‘Plan A’ to move to ‘Plan B’, Washington had a ‘Plan B’, they never worked out a ‘Plan A’,” the Syrian UN envoy said.

In February this year US Secretary of State John Kerry vowed to bring in a ‘Plan B’ for Syria if peace talks and government transition in the country failed. The same month, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would be removed either way. "He will either leave by a political process or he will be removed by force," al-Jubeir said.

“The root cause of this conflict in Syria ravaging the country is due to mainly speaking this imposed terrorist war on the Syrians, governments and people as well. And this imposed terrorist war is backed by the western countries as well as Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia" al-Jaafari said. He added that the US-led international coalition is not really engaged in battling terrorists like al-Nusra. “The American campaign called the international coalition… never targeted al-Nusra front for instance, never ever.”

President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit on Sept. 5, 2016President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit on Sept. 5, 2016

Moon of Alabama, U.S. Propaganda shams now openly fail, Staff report, Sept. 30, 2016. The Obama administration, and especially the CIA and the State Department, seem to be in trouble. They shout everything they can against Russia and allege that the cleansing of east-Aleppo of al-Qaeda terrorist is genocidal. Meanwhile, no mention is ever made of the famine of the Houthis in Yemen, which the U.S. and Saudi bombing and their blockade directly causes. 

But more and more major news accounts support the Russian allegation that the “moderate rebels” the U.S. is coddling in Syria are actually in cahoots with al-Qaeda if not al-Qaeda itself. Reuters reports (though only at the end of a longer story): "In Aleppo, rebels in the Free Syrian Army are sharing operational planning with Jaish al-Fatah, an alliance of Islamist groups that includes the former Syrian wing of al Qaeda. Meanwhile, in nearby Hama province, FSA groups armed with U.S.-made anti-tank missiles are taking part in a major offensive with the al Qaeda-inspired Jund al-Aqsa group."

As the facts accumulate, how long can the New York Times and Washington Post keep up with their propaganda claims? One has to admit, they really try their best. Unfortunately for them, their best is only mediocre.

The NYT today found out that Vladimir Putin Relishes His Role as Disrupter. How does the NYT know what Putin “relishes”? The reporter did not ask Putin himself. But he did ask some knowledgeable experts with insight into Putin’s inner mind and those assured the author that this is indeed the case. They know exactly how Putin feels. They are Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, and Robert Kagan, leading voice of of the neocons and Clinton promoter. Some “experts.”

SouthFront, Syrian War Report: Who Instigating Global War? Staff report, Sept. 30, 2016. Palestinian pro-Syrian government militia from the Al-Quds brigade and the Syrian army recaptured the tumultuous Handarat refugee camp north of Aleppo city. 

Mark Stone at U.S. Department of State (C-SPAN screen shot)

Mark Toner, U.S. Department of State (via C-SPAN screen shot)

BBC, US protecting Syria jihadist group: Russia's Lavrov, Staff report, Sept. 30, 2016. The US is trying to spare a jihadist group in its attempts to unseat Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, Russia's foreign minister has told the BBC. Sergei Lavrov said the US had broken its promise to separate the powerful Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) and other extremist groups from more moderate rebels. Jabhat Fateh al-Sham is linked to al-Qaeda.

A US state department spokesman said the Russian allegations were "absurd."

Mark Toner told journalists that the US had not targeted al-Nusra for months because they had become "intermingled" with other groups and civilians. And he accused the Russians of forcing moderate elements within the Syrian opposition into the hands of extremists with their attacks. Mr Lavrov was speaking to Stephen Sackur on BBC World News TV on the first anniversary of the beginning of the Russian air campaign in Syria. "They [the US] pledged solemnly to take as a priority an obligation to separate the opposition from Nusra," he said.

OpEdNews, Bring Back The Cold War, Paul Craig Roberts (shown in a file photo), Sept. 30, 2016. Pundits have declared a "New Cold War." If only! The Cold War was a time when leaders focused on reducing tensions between Paul Craig Robertsnuclear powers. What we have today is much more dangerous: Washington's reckless and irresponsible aggression toward the other major nuclear powers, Russia and China. During my lifetime, American presidents worked to defuse tensions with Russia. And then the neoconservatives, rehabilitated by the Israeli influence in the American press, went to work to destroy the peace that Reagan and Gorbachev had achieved.

It was a short-lasting peace. Peace is costly to the profits of the military/security complex. Washington's gigantic military and security interests are far more powerful than the peace lobby. Since the advent of the criminal Clinton regime, every American president has worked overtime to raise tensions with Russia and China. China is confronted with the crazed and criminal Obama regime's declaration of the "pivot to Asia" and the prospect of the US Navy controlling the sea lanes that provision China.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been broken and tamed by the neoconservatives, recently displayed the same point of view with his "ultimatum" to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. In effect, Kerry told Lavrov that Russia must stop helping Syria resist the jihadist forces and allow the US-supported ISIS to regain the initiative and reduce Syria to the chaos in which Washington left Libya and Iraq. Otherwise, Kerry said that the agreement to cooperate is off.

There can be no cooperation between the US and Russia over Syria, because the two government's goals are entirely different. Russia wants to defeat ISIS, and the US wants to use ISIS to overthrow Assad. This should be clear to the Russians. Yet they still enter into "agreements" that Washington has no intention of keeping. Washington breaks the agreements and blames Russia, thus creating more opportunities to paint Russia as untrustworthy. Without Russia's cooperation in setting themselves up for blame, Russia's portrait would not be so black.

Consortium News, A Victory in Mosul Could Help Clinton, Joe Lauria (shown in a file photo), Sept. 30, 2016. If a U.S.-backed coalition drives the Islamic State from Mosul, Iraq, before the U.S. elections, the victory could boost Hillary Joe LauriaClinton’s campaign and undercut Donald Trump’s criticisms, writes Joe Lauria. The liberation of Mosul ahead of the Nov. 8 U.S. election would boost Hillary Clinton’s chances and enhance the legacy of her chief proponent, Barack Obama. As preparations continue to intensify for a major military operation to free Iraq’s second largest city from ISIS’s grip, talk here 55 miles away in Erbil is that the operation could be launched on Oct. 15.

A source who speaks regularly to residents of Mosul told me that ISIS militants have virtually disappeared from the streets of the city. Where before they were out in numbers enforcing their extreme version of Sharia law (you could be executed for smoking a cigarette), they are now hardly to be seen. The residents aren’t sure what’s going on. But it could mean ISIS fighters have begun evacuating ahead of the attack.

This is what happened in June when, after initial fighting, ISIS deserted Fallujah allowing the Iraqi army and Shia militias to take the city. Then last month, ISIS extremists abandoned the oil town of Qayyara, just 48 miles south of Mosul, ahead of advancing Iraqi army units. The militants released petroleum into the streets and set it on fire as they retreated.

Preparations are being made outside Erbil for an influx of refugees from Mosul that could number as many as 500,000, according to Stephen O’Brien, the U.N.’s under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs. Another million people could flee elsewhere to the Kurdish region.

Around the Nation

Al.com, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore suspended for rest of term, Kent Faulk, Sept. 30, 2016. Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has been suspended from the bench for telling probate judges to defy federal orders regarding gay marriage. It's the second time Moore has been removed from the chief justice job for defiance of federal courts - the first time in 2003 for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building.

Roy MooreThe Alabama Court of the Judiciary (COJ) issued the order Friday suspending Moore (shown in an official photo) from the bench for the remainder of his term after an unanimous vote of the nine-member court. "For these violations, Chief Justice Moore is hereby suspended from office without pay for the remainder of his term. This suspension is effective immediately," the order stated.

Roy Moore's 10 CommandmantsThe court found him guilty of all six charges of violation of the canons of judicial ethics. Moore's term is to end in 2019, but because of his age, 69, he cannot run for the office again. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley will not have an appointment, said Yasamie R. August, press secretary for the governor. Justice Lyn Stuart will continue in the role of Acting Chief Justice and that court will continue with eight justices, she said. Moore issued this statement:

"This decision clearly reflects the corrupt nature of our political and legal system at the highest level....This was a politically motivated effort by radical homosexual and transgender groups to remove me as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court because of outspoken opposition to their immoral agenda."

Note: 2003, the chief justice was removed from the state supreme court for failure to follow a U.S. Supreme Court decision to remove a monument to The Ten Commandments that Moore had installed at the state Supreme Court rotunda "to acknowledge the sovereignty of God." Later, Moore was re-elected to the judicial post. The monument is portrayed in a file photo.

Washington Post, How a high-profile Texas sheriff is tied to a rogue Navy unit facing a criminal probe, Craig Whitlock, Sept. 30, 2016. Prosecutors suggested that Navy officials sought to funnel military equipment to rural Hudspeth County and set up a secret training base near the Mexican border. Even among the colorful pantheon of Texas lawmen, Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West has seized his share of the limelight. In his 16-year career patrolling the West Texas outback, he has busted crooner Willie Nelson for pot, accused the Mexican army of invading U.S. territory and repeatedly ripped the federal government on television over border security.

Less well known are the country sheriff’s strange connections to a rogue Navy intelligence office at the Pentagon that has been under criminal investigation for the past three years. The former director of the intelligence unit, David W. Landersman, a civilian, is facing federal conspiracy charges for allegedly orchestrating a mysterious scheme to equip Navy commandos with hundreds of untraceable AK-47 rifle silencers.

OpEdNews, Sioux Activists and Backers Prepare for Cold Winter of Resistance at Standing Rock, ND, Dave Lindorff, Sept. 30, 2016. Levi Rickert, founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online, talked with "This Can't Be Happening!: radio host Dave Lindorff about the latest developments at Standing Rock, North Dakota, where the Sioux People are still taking a rock-solid stand against efforts by the federal government and the oil industry to run a crude oil pipeline from North Dakota's Bakkan oilfield south to St. Louis through Sioux lands and sacred sites.

Rickert also talked about a meeting of tribal representatives from the 500 recognized Indian tribes in the US with Washington government agencies to hammer out a protocol for having "substantive" discussions between tribes and government agencies whenever a decision is going to impact them.

UPDATE: Shortly after this program was aired, and after this article linking to the podcast was posted, a group of praying Lakota at the Standing Rock protest site were confronted by at least 40 deputies of the Monroe County ND Sheriff's office. They reported that the deputies -- in full riot gear -- aimed their guns at the unarmed men, women and children, and arrested 21 of them. One elderly Lakota woman in her 80s reported that in all her life living on the reservation "I never had a gun pointed at me until these sheriff's did it." She called the experience "terrifying."

A Vietnam-era veteran living abroad who is Lakota said he fears that the current Standing Rock resistance movement could end in another massacre. He says that a friend from the days of the '73 AIM occupation in Wounded Knee wrote him saying, "Standing Rock is not Wounded Knee 1973 --- they're not armed, they have no cover, no security. This is more like the first Wounded Knee." That Wounded Knee was when US Army troops in 1890 raided a Lakota encampment and massacred some 300 Lakota men, women and children.

Hopefully such an atrocity will not happen again, but the Monroe County Sheriff's action is not a good sign. Increased support and solidarity, and demands for more media attention to this standoff, are the best defense in this latest struggle of America's indigenous people.

The Nation, A Federal Court Orders Wisconsin to Stop Suppressing the Vote, Ari Berman, Sept. 30, 2016. The state must investigate the DMV’s failure to issue voter IDs in time for the November election. On
Wednesday, The Nation published an exclusive story showing how the DMV in Wisconsin was systematically failing to provide the voter IDs required to cast a ballot this election. We told the story of two African-American voters, Zack Moore and Claudell Boyd, who brought multiple documents with them to the DMV confirming their identities but were still turned away without the necessary voter ID. Recordings from the DMV provided to The Nation detailed how Moore and Boyd were not offered certificates for voting within six business days, as required by Wisconsin law.

Today federal district court Judge James Peterson ordered the state to investigate the DMV and the voter-ID process. “Recent news stories in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and The Nation have reported that DMV personnel have provided incorrect information to persons who have applied for Wisconsin IDs for voting,” Peterson wrote. “These reports, if true, demonstrate that the state is not in compliance with this court’s injunction order, which requires the state to ‘[p]romptly issue a credential valid as a voting ID to any person who enters the IDPP or who has a petition pending.’”

He ordered the state to report back to the court by October 7. “The report should explain the scope of the investigation, its results, and any corrective action to be taken,” Peterson wrote.

Sept. 29

Campaign News

Gary Johnson, center, under questioning by MSNBC host Chris Mattherws, left, with Bill Weld looking onnLibertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson, center, under questioning by MSNBC host Chris Matthews, left, with Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate Bill Weld at right Sept. 28

MSNBC via TPM, Johnson Fails To Name Single Foreign Leader: ‘I’m Having An Aleppo Moment,’ Allegra Kirkland, Sept. 29, 2016. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson made another jaw-dropping blunder on foreign policy during an MSNBC town hall on Wednesday night, failing to name a single foreign leader. Moderator Chris Matthews pressed Johnson (shown below left in a file photo) to identify a foreign leader that he admired, prodding him with examples.

Gary Johnson"Any one of the continents, any country. Name one foreign leader that your respect and look up to. Anybody," Matthews said, as a flustered-looking Johnson sputtered audibly. Vice Presidential pick Bill Weld tried to interject, but Matthews kept pushing.

“You gotta do this,” he said. “Anywhere. Any continent. Canada, Mexico, Europe over there, Asia, south America, Africa. Any foreign leader that you respect.”

"I guess I'm having an Aleppo moment," Johnson said eventually, referring to his recent failure to identify the city at the heart of Syria’s refugee crisis in a live interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Johnson tried to explain that gaffe, in which he asked panelist Mike Barnicle “What is Aleppo?”, by claiming he thought Barnicle was referring to an acronym.

On Wednesday, Johnson finally named “the former president of Mexico” as his pick. “Which one?” Matthews asked. “I’m having a brain freeze,” Johnson replied. With Weld’s assistance, Johnson settled on Vicente Fox, Mexico’s president from 2000 to 2006.

Those results are broadly in line with other scientific post-debate polls, which also found a sizable advantage for Clinton. (A spate of online reader “polls,” which Trump has touted as showing him ahead, have no scientific grounding whatsoever.) Seventy-seven percent of those polled, including a majority in both parties, said that Clinton prepared well enough for the debate, compared to just 27 percent who said the same for Trump. Even 43 percent of Republicans said that Trump should have done more preparation.

Washington Post, Trump under intense scrutiny after report about his firm’s expenses in Cuba, Jose A. DelReal, Sept. 29, 2016. A story published in Newsweek said Donald Trump’s company spent as much as $68,000 on a “foray” exploring business possibilities in Cuba in 1998, which would be a clear violation of the strict embargo in place at the time. Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway suggested in a television interview Wednesday that Trump had indeed spent money exploring business ventures in Cuba. But Conway later told The Washington Post that she “did not say he broke the law or violated the embargo.”

Washington Post, Student arrested after wearing gorilla mask, handing out bananas at Black Lives Matter protest, Susan Svrluga, Sept. 29, 2016. An East Tennessee State University student was arrested Wednesday after going to a Black Lives Matter protest on campus wearing a gorilla mask and handing out bananas. It was the latest in a series of ugly incidents on campuses across the country as the school year begins with racial tensions high. An 18-year-old freshman wore overalls and a gorilla mask and, wandering barefoot while holding a burlap sack with a Confederate flag and a marijuana leaf on it, offered bananas to students who were protesting, according to a report by ETSU police. He was arrested and charged with civil rights intimidation.

Roll Call, Obama Signs Stopgap Spending Bill Into Law, Staff report, Sept. 29, 2016. President Barack Obama on Thursday signed into law a package to keep government agencies funded into December that also includes $1.1 billion to respond to the Zika virus outbreak, $500 million for flood relief in Louisiana and other states and fiscal 2017 appropriations for military construction and veterans' programs. The continuing resolution was cleared by the House on Wednesday night on a 342-85 vote and earlier in the day was passed by the Senate, 72-26. The legislation extends government funding until Dec. 9, when lawmakers are expected to be in Washington for a lame-duck session after the election.

Washington Post, Trump is on a roll, downhill, Jennifer Rubin, Sept. 29, 2016.  Donald Trump had a rotten debate. That was the best part of his week. Is Trump nuts? We are compelled to return to the subject of his temperamental stability and emotional wherewithal. If he is going to freak out, going on a self-destructive rhetorical binge for 48 hours, how is he supposed to be, you know, president? He surrounds himself with people equally erratic (Giuliani), which only heightens his paranoia and anger.

You don’t have to render a medical diagnosis to see what is going on. Trump cannot bare [sic] to lose. He cannot stand to be attacked, especially successfully! He has to make himself feel in control and superior, so he claims that the fix is in. He was politically bloodied by Clinton, so he has to insist that she is frail and weak. (How did such a delicate flower beat him so decisively, then?) To make himself feel better, he must belittle everyone else. This is the personality of an 8-year-old bully.

None of this is rational, and Trump — contrary to his claim — does not have a “very good brain.” He couldn’t study up for the debate, let alone for the campaign as a whole or the presidency. He is a prisoner to his own impulsiveness and lacking any sense of self-awareness or empathy for others. We have no idea how long it will take for Trump to compose himself — or if he will before the campaign is over. The impression from Monday, however, has now hardened: This is a seriously damaged person who shouldn’t be allowed near the Oval Office.

Huffington Post, Trump's favorite Amendment: The Fifth! Christina Wilkie, Sept. 29, 2016 Pleaded The Fifth 97 Times To Avoid Admitting To Adultery! Threatens To Go After Hillary’s Marriage. But he has no problem attacking Clinton over her husband’s infidelity. In the summer of 1990, at the height of his bitter divorce from his first wife, Donald Trump was carrying on a very public extramarital affair with a former beauty queen, Marla Maples.

As part of the couple’s divorce proceedings, Ivana Trump’s lawyers asked him under oath about his dealings with other women and whether he had been faithful to his wife. Instead of answering, Donald Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Over the course of five depositions that summer, he was asked approximately 100 questions related to marital infidelity. He pleaded the Fifth on 97 of them.

“Donald preaches about his devotion to the Second Amendment, but it was the Fifth Amendment that was his favorite when he was deposed in the divorce with Ivana,” wrote biographer Wayne Barrett in his 1992 book, Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth. A New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement report later verified Barrett’s reporting on those depositions, which are still sealed.

For Trump, taking the Fifth seemed to work out well. He later bragged that he managed to settle the divorce without giving his first wife a penny more than required by the prenuptial agreement.

Now, with less than six weeks to go until Election Day, Trump is again focused on questions of marital infidelity and invoking Fifth Amendment rights. Only this time, the GOP presidential nominee has cast himself as the judge. Following Trump’s disappointing debate performance Monday night, he said he deserved credit for not attacking his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, over her husband’s infidelity. His advisers and campaign surrogates fanned out across the airwaves to make the same case.

Richmond Times-Dispatch, Investigation launched after dead people are registered to vote in Harrisonburg, Graham Mooman, Sept. 29, 2016. Harrisonburg officials and the FBI are investigating allegations of voter registration fraud after officials say almost 20 voter applications were turned in under the names of dead people. Harrisonburg Registrar Debbie Logan said Thursday that investigators have found from 18 to 20 potentially fraudulent registrations. The Rockingham County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office confirmed Thursday that an investigation is underway, but offered no additional details on the case. The applications were turned in by a voter registration group called HarrisonburgVOTES, officials said. The group’s representatives could not be reached for comment Thursday. No charges have been filed.

FBI logoThe Breeze, the student newspaper of James Madison University, reported that the applications were submitted by a student working for the group. The problem came to light when an employee in the registrar’s office noticed a new registration had come in from Richard Claybrook Sr., the late father of a well-known local judge. “When they used a distinguished resident of Harrisonburg’s name and address, it came to the attention of an employee who has worked in the city for many years,” Logan said.

“We were pretty disgusted that they would use his name,” Richard Claybrook Jr. said of his father, who died in 2014. “He was a retired educator and had served in World War II. He was always a law-abiding citizen.” Logan said applications using a deceased person’s real name and address but a false social security number would not be flagged in the voter system. The fraudulent voters are still technically registered as the investigation continues, Logan said, but if her office receives an absentee ballot from one of the dead voters, it would react appropriately. Logan said she expects the State Board of Elections and her local electoral board will allow her to cancel the registrations before the Nov. 8 election.

Foreign News

BBC, US protecting Syria jihadist group: Russia's Lavrov, Staff report, Sept. 30, 2016. The US is trying to spare a jihadist group in its attempts to unseat Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, Russia's foreign minister has told the BBC. Sergei Lavrov said the US had broken its promise to separate the powerful Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) and other extremist groups from more moderate rebels. Jabhat Fateh al-Sham is linked to al-Qaeda.

A US state department spokesman said the Russian allegations were "absurd." Mark Toner told journalists that the US had not targeted al-Nusra for months because they had become "intermingled" with other groups and civilians. And he accused the Russians of forcing moderate elements within the Syrian opposition into the hands of extremists with their attacks. Mr Lavrov was speaking to Stephen Sackur on BBC World News TV on the first anniversary of the beginning of the Russian air campaign in Syria. "They [the US] pledged solemnly to take as a priority an obligation to separate the opposition from Nusra," he said.

Washington Post, As Russia escalates role in Syria, no sign of the ‘quagmire’ Obama predicted, Liz Sly, Sept. 30, 2016. A year into Russia’s intervention, the violence is escalating and there is no end in sight as Moscow shows no signs of tiring of its military engagement and instead seems to be doubling down on its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Sept. 29

Foreign News

Wall Street Journal, Syria Rebels Draw Closer to al Qaeda-Linked Group, Staff report, Sept. 29, 2016. Move follows collapse of cease-fire and devastating strikes on rebel-held parts of Aleppo. Some of Syria's largest rebel factions are doubling down on their alliance with an al Qaeda-linked group.

Press TV, Syria slams US-led coalition for destroying two bridges, Staff report, Sept. 29, 2016. Syria has slammed the US-led coalition purportedly fighting Daesh for destroying two bridges over Euphrates River in the eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr, where the same alliance recently killed 83 Syrian soldiers. The attacks “confirm the so-called international coalition’s intent to bomb and destroy Syrian infrastructure and economic and social establishments through repeated aggressive acts,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in two letters to the UN chief and the Security Council on Thursday.

Russian SU-34The ministry said said terror groups are the only beneficiaries of the US-led coalition’s attacks, which come under the pretext of a war against Daesh. The letters reiterated that the US-led alliance’s raids run contrary to international rules and the UN Charter, calling on the world body to condemn this “deliberate” act of aggression. The official SANA news agency reported that the bridges of al-Asharah and al-Mayadin in the eastern countryside of the provincial capital city of Dayr al-Zawr were hit by the coalition’s warplanes on Wednesday. A Russian SU-34 is shown at right.

Syria’s ambassador to the UN Bashar Ja’afari said the bridges had been used by hundreds of thousands of civilians in the area. Meanwhile, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based rights group advocating militants in Syria, said the two bridges are now unusable, a situation which would impede aid deliveries and hamper movement of civilians.

Instead of helping to rein in the Takfiri terrorists, the air raids have killed many civilians, and caused extensive damage to the country’s infrastructure. On September 17, a Syrian army airbase in Dayr al-Zawr came under attack by US-led warplanes in violation of a nationwide ceasefire deal, which had been mediated by Russia and the US. More than 80 Syrian soldiers lost their lives and some 100 others were wounded in the US-led airstrikes, which helped Daesh terrorists make some gains in the area.

Speaking to reporters after a Thursday UN Security Council meeting on Syria, Ja’afari further dismissed accusations that the Damascus army targets civilians, saying it is the terrorists who have been killing Syrians and hampering relief operations. On September 19, an airstrike targeted a UN aid convoy near Aleppo, killing 20 people. The US claimed Syria and Russia were behind the raids, an allegation they strongly rejected. The comments came after UN Secretary General blamed the government in Damascus for most civilian deaths in Syria since the outbreak of the foreign-sponsored crisis there in early 2011.

Sept. 28

Barack Obama head shot Aug. 4, 2014President Obama shown in a White House file photo

Washington Post, In a first for Obama, Congress overrides veto on 9/11 bill, Karoun Demirjian and Juliet Eilperin, Sept. 28, 2016.The House and Senate overrode President Obama’s veto of legislation that would let the families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks sue the Saudi government over its alleged support for the attackers. In suffering its first veto setback, the White House called the vote “the single most embarrassing” move by senators in years.

The votes in the House and Senate amounted to a sweeping, bipartisan rejection of pleas from the White House to back the president, with administration officials arguing the legislation poses a national security threat by exposing U.S. officials to similar lawsuits abroad.

“Overriding a presidential veto is something we don’t take lightly, but it was important in this case that the families of the victims of 9/11 be allowed to pursue justice, even if that pursuit causes some diplomatic discomforts,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who co-authored the bill with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), said in a statement. The Senate vote was 97 to 1 and the House tally was 348 to 77.

Related news earlier: Roll Call, Senate Overrides Obama's Veto of 9/11 Bill, John T. Bennett, Sept. 28, 2016. Lawmakers in favor of reversing the president's position easily mustered the required supermajority of more than two-thirds of senators present, with Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., casting the only no vote.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia with his entourage prepare to greet President and Mrs. Obama in Riyadh Jan. 27, 2015 (White House photo)

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.)

Financial Times, Saudi Arabia faces growing pressure from western allies, Geoff Dyer and Simeon Kerr, Sept. 28, 2016. Saudi Arabia is facing a potential sea change in its relations with western governments as it confronts growing pressure over the conduct of the war in Yemen and its alleged connection to religious extremism. While Riyadh is still considered by the US and British governments as a critical partner in counter-terrorism operations and in the fight against Isis, the Saudis are having to adjust to a more openly critical political mood in many capitals.

“We have begged them to be better about targeting [in air strikes in Yemen]. We have told them the targets not to hit and they have not listened,” said Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat. “I would absolutely argue that we should be sending messages to the Saudis that our support for them is conditional.” US analysts say rising Sunni militancy in Yemen, fueled by Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the war, is feeding anti-Saudi sentiment in Washington.

“Some in the Senate are looking at ways of linking problematic elements of the Saudi campaign in Yemen with 9/11 to create a larger narrative that Saudi is an ally that we need to look into,” said Andrew Bowen, a fellow at the Wilson Center’s Middle East program.

“There is a directly proportional relationship between the amount of Saudi and Wahhabi money that goes into parts of the globe and the success of terrorist recruiters,” said Mr Murphy. “I think we have largely turned the other way and allowed for the Saudis to create a version of Islam which has become the building blocks for the very groups which we are fighting today.”

SouthFront, US Troops Enter Areas near Aleppo City, Staff report, Sept. 28, 2016. US troops have entered the Syrian towns of of Marea and Azaz located north of Aleppo city, Lebanese Al Mayadeen channel American Flagreported. According to report, the US servicemen are embedded with ‘moderate rebels’ from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and are going to prepare the US-backed advance on ISIS in the area.

The appearance of US servicemen also caused tensions between Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra or al-Nusra Front) and the FSA. Jabhat Fatah al-Sham militants called for “a fight with the Americans” and burnt several FSA flags, according to Al Mayadeen. Some pro-government experts believe that the deployment of US servicemen in Marea and Azaz are not linked with the fight against ISIS and is likely the move in order to strengthen the US influence in the area of strategic Aleppo city where the Syrian government forces have recently launched a full-scale advance against terrorists.

Los Angeles Times, Kerry warns that U.S. may suspend cooperation with Russia in Syria, Tracy Wilkinson, Sept. 28, 2016. Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Wednesday threatened to suspend U.S. cooperation with Russia John Kerryconcerning the conflict in Syria, following heavy Russian and Syrian airstrikes on civilian neighborhoods in the divided city of Aleppo. The warning signaled growing frustration and anger in the Obama administration at what it sees as a widening Russian effort to prop up Syrian President Bashar Assad, rather than focus on defeating Islamic State and other extremist groups in the country’s multi-sided civil war.

In a telephone conversation with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, Kerry “expressed grave concern” over the “drastic escalation” of air attacks since the breakdown of a ceasefire last week, State Department spokesman John Kirby said. In recent days, airstrikes with bunker-buster and incendiary bombs have killed hundreds of civilians in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, and targeted hospitals, water supplies and air raid shelters, U.S. officials say.

In addition to the devastation, desperately needed convoys of food, medicine and other supplies have been blocked to many besieged enclaves because conditions are deemed too dangerous. At least one aid convoy was attacked. Asked later if Kerry (shown in an official photo) had set a deadline for action, Kirby said the secretary had "made clear ... the sense of urgency" that was expected in a response from the Russians.

Kirby said Russia's failure to heed the warning would lead to greater chaos in Syria. Extremists will fill the void, he said, and Russia will have to "send its troops home in body bags.”

An estimated 250,000 people live in eastern Aleppo, an area that is controlled by rebel forces and has been the chief target of the onslaught by Syrian and government forces and their Russian allies.

Russia and the United States lead an international task force aimed at ending the civil war, and diplomats from Moscow and Washington helped broker a partial ceasefire early this year and again this month. Both efforts soon collapsed.

Kirby said the suspension of cooperation would include the so-called joint implementation center, which was supposed to function as a hub for greater U.S. and Russian cooperation in the war, including shared targeting and intelligence gathering.

The Pentagon privately opposed creation of the joint center.

Huffington Post, Hillary Clinton Won The First Presidential Debate, Polling Finds, Ariel Edwards-Levy, Sept. 28, 2016. Donald Trump was viewed as ill-prepared. Hillary Clinton scored a decisive debate victory over Hillary Clinton Donald Trump Post debateDonald Trump, coming off as more presidential and better prepared, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. By a 27-point margin, 49 percent to 22 percent, Americans who had heard at least something about Monday’s presidential debate said that Clinton did a better job than Trump. Twenty-two percent said neither had done a better job, while 8 percent were unsure.

Washington Post, Red-state newspaper endorsements of Clinton are not as pointless as they look, Margaret Sullivan, Sept. 28, 2016. They may even change voters’ minds — even if readers cancel subscriptions. As if local newspapers did not have enough problems, with plummeting circulation and shrinking staffs, some recent endorsements of Hillary Clinton by editorial boards look like more self-inflicted wounds by an industry that specializes in them.

When the Arizona Republic endorsed Clinton this week, longtime readers threatened to cancel their subscriptions — and many others trashed the paper on Facebook. When the Dallas Morning News endorsed the Democratic presidential nominee this month, cancellations followed, and protesters picketed the building. “We’ve paid a price for our presidential recommendation,” Dallas Morning News editor Mike Wilson told Poynter.org, a site for news about the media, but he would not say exactly how many subscriptions had been lost.

In both cases (and quite a few others, including the Cincinnati Enquirer), these papers had not endorsed a Democrat for president in generations.

Washington Post, In White House briefing, Fox News’s James Rosen attacks … Lester Holt, Erik Wemple, Sept. 28, 2016. In a briefing Tuesday, Fox News correspondent James Rosen asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest about the performance of NBC News’s Lester Holt in moderating the first presidential debate at Hofstra University. Earnest responded that Holt didn’t become the story. “The fact that we’ve gone through a good 40 minutes or so of the briefing without mentioning Mr. Holt’s name I think is a pretty good endorsement of his performance,” said Earnest. Determined to extract accountability from the White House regarding an NBC News anchor, Rosen pressed on.

Washington Post,Trump Foundation lacks certification needed to raise funds, David A. Fahrenthold, Sept. 28, 2016.​ The foundation — sustained for years by donors outside the Trump family — never obtained the registration that New York requires to solicit money from the public, state officials said. Charities as large as Trump’s must also submit to an annual audit that asks, among other things, whether the charity spent funds for the personal benefit of its officers.

Associated Press via Washington Post, Trump turned over tax returns — for lawsuits, loans, casinos, Chad Day and Jeff Horwitz, Sept. 28, 2016. While Donald Trump won’t publicly release his income tax returns, the New York businessman has turned them over when it suited his needs — if he stood to make a profit, needed a loan or when a judge forced him.

WhoWhatWhy, Wars, Conspiracies and Sidney Blumenthal, Casey Gane, Sept. 28, 2016. How Hillary Clinton’s Relationship with Blumenthal Helped Drive a Disastrous War. While both the war in Libya and Hillary Clinton’s handling of her private email server have been a focus of the media since the primaries, little has been made of how her emails shed light on the build-up and ultimate failure of the war in Libya. At the center of those emails is Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime Clinton ally and aide. Though it is not clear that any of the emails sent between them suggest illegal conduct, their correspondence raises serious ethical concerns — including the possibility that Blumenthal was pushing Clinton to support a war whose pursuit might end up benefiting him financially.

Washington Post, Dutch probe: Missile brought from Russia downed Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine, Andrew Roth, Sept. 28, 2016. A Dutch-led investigation said Wednesday that the surface-to-air missile that downed a passenger jet over eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 people aboard, came from Russia and was fired from territory held by pro-Moscow separatists. Investigators stopped short of directly accusing Russia of complicity in the attack on the Malaysia Airlines jet, and declined to name any suspects publicly. Both Russia and the rebels in Ukraine deny any role in the July 2014 attack Flight MH 17 bound from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Business Insider via SouthFront, 14 Cutting Edge Firms Funded by the CIA, Staff report, Sept. 28, 2016. The Central Intelligence Agency has its own investment capital arm, and it’s been pumping money into CIA Logosome of Silicon Valley’s most innovative companies for years. In-Q-Tel (named after “Q” in the James Bond films) invests in companies that can deliver useful technology to the intelligence community within 36 months. But since it’s structured as an independent, non-profit organization, it’s rather unique: It’s a VC firm that doesn’t really need to make money back for outside investors, and it can tap into the deep pockets of the intelligence “black budget.”

Its involvement in a startup is also a stamp-of-approval of sorts, often bringing in more money from other VC firms, to the tune of $11-$15 for every dollar the CIA kicks in. In-Q-Tel typically does not disclose the amount it invests, though a Washington Post story from 2005 says the funding is often relatively small $500,000 to $2 million investments. Here are some of the cutting edge companies the CIA has found useful.

National Press Club, National Press Club Book Rap reveals stolen art secrets, cultural impacts, Andrew Kreig, Sept. 28, 2016. The longtime director of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore riveted a National Press gary Vikan Noel St. JohnClub Book Rap audience Sept. 27 with his journey of discovery into the netherworld of stolen art and its cultural impacts. Gary Vikan, director of the museum from 1994 to 2013 (and shown in a photo by Noel St. John), used his new book Sacred and Stolen: Confessional of a Museum Art Director to describe “the messy underbelly of museum life: looted antiquities, crooked dealers, deluded collectors, duplicitous public officials, inside thefts and failed exhibitions.”

Sept. 27

Democratic-Republican Campagne logos

Washington Post, Trump says he may ‘hit her harder’ in next debate; Clinton hammers back with web spot, Philip Rucker, Anne Gearan and Matea Gold​, Sept. 27, 2016. ​Donald Trump insisted that Hillary Clinton did not get under his skin during their debate Monday night and said he held back because the Clintons’ daughter, Chelsea, was in the audience. Donald Trump on Tuesday insisted that Hillary Clinton did not get under his skin during their first debate and suggested he may “hit her harder” in their next encounter by raising the subject of former President Bill Clinton’s infidelities.

Hillary Clinton Button“I really eased up because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings,” Trump said on Fox News, saying he would have brought up “the many affairs that Bill Clinton had,” but held back because the Clintons’ daughter Chelsea was in the audience. But such a strategy could further open Trump to blows from Clinton over his personal life, including comments seen as deeply degrading to women.

After spending much of Monday night on the defensive, the GOP presidential nominee maintained that his rival did not unnerve him. “No, not at all,” he said. “I didn’t see it that way.”

Huffington Post,Trump’s Debate Performance Was The Worst Ever, Howard Fineman, Sept. 27, 2016. ​I’ve been traveling to presidential debates since 1988, and the one I just saw here at Hofstra University Doanld Trump for Presidentwas historic. Republican nominee Donald Trump turned in the worst ― and I mean worst ― debate performance in modern times. It was so bad that in a normal year, it would disqualify him from getting anywhere near the White House. But this is 2016, a year so weird, unsettled and unsettling, that even the spectacle of an unprepared and almost incoherent Trump, reeling from blow after blow from Democrat Hillary Clinton, may not be enough to slow him down.

Huffington Post, Trump Doubles Down On Nauseating Miss Universe Attack: ‘She Gained A Massive Amount Of Weight,' Alana Horowitz Satlin, Sept. 27, 2016. This is low, even for Trump. Donald Trump dug himself further into a hole of disgusting sexism when he told “Fox & Friends” that a former Miss Universe winner’s weight gain was a “real problem.” During Monday night’s presidential debate, Hillary Clinton attacked the GOP presidential nominee for his many negative comments about women’s appearances. One of the women Clinton referenced was Alicia Machado, a Venezuelan beauty queen who says that Trump’s insults left her with crushing body image issues.

Trump defended himself Tuesday morning by arguing that Machado deserved every bit of his attacks. “She was the worst we ever had,” he said. “She was the winner, and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem. We had a real problem with her.”

MSNBC, Howard Dean Stands By Cocaine Tweet About Donald Trump, Sept. 27, 2016. Donald Trump's sniffles during Monday's debate became a social media sensation. Vermont Gov. Howard Dean tweeted: "Notice Trump sniffing all the time. Coke user?"

Huffington Post, Trump Suggests There Was A Plot To Sabotage His Debate Microphone, Daniel Marans, Sept. 27, 2016. “I don’t want to believe in conspiracy theories, of course.”

Washington Post, Liberals predictably panned the GOP nominee’s performance, but some of the harshest reviews are coming from conservative thought leaders who had been starting to come around on his candidacy, James Hohmann, Sept. 27, 2016. The consensus that Donald Trump badly lost the first debate gelled overnight. Liberals predictably panned the GOP nominee’s performance on Long Island, but some of the harshest reviews are coming from conservative thought leaders who had been starting to come around.

Republican pollster Frank Luntz conducted a focus group of undecided voters in Pennsylvania. Sixteen said Hillary Clinton won. Five picked Trump, per CBS News.
In a Florida focus group organized by CNN, 18 of 20 undecided voters picked Clinton as the winner. Not one of 29 undecided voters in an Ohio focus group organized by Park Street Strategies thought Trump prevailed, while 11 picked Clinton and the rest said neither. By a two-to-one margin, the group thought Clinton had the better tone and, by a three-to-one margin, they thought she came across as more knowledgeable candidate on the issues.

Trump was supposed to stop by the Nassau County Republican Committee’s watch party on his way home. He skipped it. Clinton, meanwhile, celebrated with hundreds of supporters in Westbury. And Rudy Giuliani, a top Trump surrogate, even suggested that Trump should skip the next two debates unless he gets concessions. “If I were Donald Trump I wouldn’t participate in another debate unless I was promised that the journalist would act like a journalist and not an incorrect, ignorant fact checker,” he said.

RealClear Politics, Clinton Dominated Debate, Pa. Focus Group Says, Rebecca Berg, Sept. 27, 2016.  More than two dozen undecided Pennsylvania voters began watching the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Monday feeling deeply dissatisfied with their choice, describing Trump as “scary” and an “egomaniac” and Clinton as “corrupt” and “disingenuous.” But they overwhelmingly believed Clinton had seized the moment, coming off as “firm” and “knowledgeable,” the more presidential of the two. Trump, they said, was “defensive” and “bombastic,” leaving “unanswered questions” while dilly-dallying on difficult topics. The focus group, moderated by the pollster Frank Luntz, comprised 27 undecided voters from one of the key battleground states in this election, which recent polling has shown to be deadlocked between Clinton and Trump.

Politico, Comey Denies Obstruction of Justice in Clinton email probe, Josh Gerstein, FBI Director James Comey said Tuesday his investigators looked very intently at whether there was obstruction of justice in FBI logothe investigation into Hillary Clinton's email account, but concluded they could not prove a criminal case against anyone. "We looked at it very hard to see if there was criminal obstruction of justice," Comey said at a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing, under questioning by Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) "We could not make an obstruction case against any of the subjects we looked at," Comey said. He did not identify those whose conduct the FBI investigated for potential obstruction.

Huffington Post, Rudy Giuliani: Clinton ‘Too Stupid’ To Be President Because She Stayed With Bill, Sebastian Murdock, Sept. 27, 2016. Just a reminder: Giuliani dumped his wife in a press conference. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani called Hillary Clinton “too stupid” to be president while defending Donald Trump as a “feminist” in one dizzying statement after another. The remarks came following Monday night’s presidential debate, during which Clinton discussed working for the middle class while Trump bragged about not paying his taxes and sniffled a lot. In a video from Elite Daily, Giuliani criticized Clinton for standing by her husband after his extramarital affair with intern Monica Lewinsky.

Russian President Vladimir Putin talks to President Obama during a meeting at the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Hangzhou, China. Among the issues they discussed was Syria. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool)

Russian President Vladimir Putin talks to President Obama during a meeting at the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Hangzhou, China. Among the issues they discussed was Syria. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool)

Unz Review, Putin Ups the Ante, Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo, Mike Whitney, Sept. 27, 2016. The attack on Deir Ezzor was a flagrant act of betrayal. For the first time in the five year-long war, US warplanes targeted an SAA military outpost, killing 62 Syrian regulars. The surprise attacks — which lasted for the better part of an hour and were followed by a coordinated ground assault by members of ISIS– were intended to torpedo the fragile ceasefire agreement and send a message to Moscow that the US was prepared to achieve its strategic objectives in Syria whether it had to launch direct attacks on defenders of the regime or not.

The attacks – for which the Pentagon eventually accepted responsibility – were followed by a callous and thoroughly-unprofessional tirade by the administration’s chief diplomat at the United Nations, Samantha Power. Power dispelled any doubt that either she or anyone else in the Obama administration cared at all about the people who lost their lives in the bombing raid. She also made it clear that she didn’t care if the US had violated the terms of the ceasefire just two days before critical parts of the agreement were scheduled to be implemented.

Naturally, Moscow was taken aback by Washington’s reaction, its blatant disregard for the soldiers they killed, and its obvious determination to sabotage the ceasefire. Having reflected on Obama’s de facto rejection of the agreement, Putin pursued the only viable option left open to him; more war. As a result, he has intensified his efforts on the battlefield particularly around Aleppo where the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and crack-units from Hezbollah have launched a three-prong attack that will dispose of the US-backed jihadists that have destroyed much of Syria over the last half-decade and displaced over 7 million civilians.

Bottom line: Having foreclosed the political option for reducing the violence, the Obama administration will now face the consequences for its rejection.

SouthFront, Washington Unmasks Plans to Arm Syrian Militants With MANPADS to ‘Get the Russians to Back Off,’ Staff report, Sept. 27, 2016. There is a possibility that “Gulf states” [after the US authorization, for sure] might arm Syrian rebels with shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, US officials told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. According to the report, the US has kept high numbers of man-portable air American Flagdefense systems (MANPADS) out of Syria by uniting Western and Arab allies behind sending training and infantry weapons to moderate opposition groups.

However, now, when the ceasefire is collapsed, the US Middle Eastern allies may sooner or later silently agree to wealthy individuals supplying MANPADS to militants in Syria.

“The Saudis have always thought that the way to get the Russians to back off is what worked in Afghanistan 30 years ago – negating their air power by giving MANPADS to the Mujahideen,” Reuters cited an unnamed US official. “So far, we’ve been able to convince them that the risks of that are much higher today because we’re not dealing with a Soviet Union in retreat, but a Russian leader [Putin] who’s bent on rebuilding Russian power and less likely to flinch.”

Another anonymous administration official told Reuters that, “The opposition has a right to defend itself and they will not be left defenseless in the face of this indiscriminate bombardment.”

Sept. 26

TPM, Conway Insists Trump 'Didn't Lie' About Lester Holt's Party Affiliation, Caitlin MacNeal, Sept. 26, 2016. The Gist: "I don’t know that he knew what Lester Holt’s voter registration was," she said when asked about Trump's claim.

Unz Review, American Pravda: The Destruction of TWA Flight 800, Ron Unz, Sept. 26, 2016. Soon after taking off from New York’s JFK Airport on July 17, 1996, TWA Flight 800 suddenly exploded in the air just off Long Island. So enormous a loss of life naturally produced an immediate scrambling of numerous federal agencies to investigate the cause, and with widespread fears of terrorism, the FBI launched the largest, most complex investigation in its entire history, deploying some 500 field agents to the area. The investigators soon gathered a copious quantity of seemingly consistent evidence.

Large numbers of local witnesses were immediately interviewed by the swarm of federal agents, with 278 of them reporting that they saw a streak of light, much like a missile, shoot up into the sky in the direction of the aircraft just before the huge explosion. Employees at the local FAA radar installation immediately reported to the government that they had seen what appeared to be a missile closing with the airliner just before it exploded, and other installations produced similar radar records. When tests were eventually performed on the plane wreckage, traces of explosive chemicals were found, exactly the sort used in the warhead of a missile, as well as some reddish-orange chemical residue that a laboratory later identified as likely missile exhaust propellant. An enormous effort was made to locate every possible piece of the wreckage, and for many of these, the contours of the damage indicated an initial explosion external to the plane.

Based on all this initial evidence, many of the early news stories reported that the plane had probably been destroyed by a missile, with widespread speculation about whether the calamity was due to terrorist action or instead accidental “friendly fire” from one of the U.S. naval warships operating in the vicinity. Given the extreme sensitivity of the topic, government officials urged the media to keep an open mind until the full investigation was completed. However, the public debate sometimes turned rancorous, with some individuals soon alleging that a government cover-up was in the works. Eventually, the CIA was brought into the investigation, given its tremendous expertise in certain matters.

After more than a year of detailed research, the government investigation finally concluded that no missile could possibly have been involved, with all the eyewitnesses having been misled by what amounted to an optical illusion caused by the explosion of the aircraft. The vast majority of our sheep-like population absorbed the simple media message “No Missile” and went back to watching their football games and celebrity music videos, being greatly relieved to know that well-maintained 747 jumbo jets flown by leading national airlines can occasionally explode in mid-air without any external cause.

TWA However, various disgruntled “conspiracy theorists” refused to accept these conclusions, and returned to their “crazy missile conspiracy theories,” thereby earning the hearty ridicule of the entire mainstream media, led by the New York Times. The entire remarkable history of this incident is persuasively set forth in a excellent twentieth-anniversary book published earlier this year by investigative journalist Jack Cashill, who has been following the case since the late 1990s, having co-authored a previous book in 2003 and also produced an earlier 2001 television documentary Silenced, now available in its entirely on YouTube.

Cashill is strongly affiliated with conservative publications, but the question of whether an American jetliner was destroyed by a missile, and the facts then covered up by the government is a non-ideological matter, so their perspectives seem almost identical.

For anyone having less than absolute faith in the official pronouncements of our government and our media, the likely reality of what happened is hardly difficult to guess, and for those who currently maintain such naivete, I suspect it will quickly dissipate if they choose to watch the documentaries or read the books. But the loss of TWA Flight 800 is surely of no great importance to our country. Accidents do happen. A large and energetic military, eager to test its latest missile weapons, perhaps carelessly and fatally crossed paths with hundreds of unlucky travelers on their way to Paris. Some 30,000 Americans die each year in fatal car crashes, and risks are inevitable in our modern industrial society.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Editorial: Vote yes on Amendment 3, raising Missouri's tobacco tax, Editorial board, Sept. 25, 2016. A constitutional amendment to increase the state’s tobacco tax is limping toward the November elections in Missouri, hobbled by multiple lawsuits aimed at keeping it off the ballot and confusion with a separate tobacco tax proposition.

Missouri’s 17-cents-a-pack tax is the lowest in the nation. Missouri and Virginia have the lowest price-per-pack costs in the nation — $5.25 on average — and among the highest numbers of smokers. By comparison, Chicago has the nation’s highest tax, at $6.16 per pack. Missouri’s low price encourages people to smoke and ruin their health. Increasing the tax by 60 cents creates a major financial smoking disincentive and discourages future smokers from embarking down a road of high medical expenses that ultimately get passed on to us all.

About 20.6 percent of Missouri adults smoke. The national average is 15.1 percent. The anti-smoking advocacy group, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, says about 11,000 Missourians die from their own smoking every year, and that annual related health care costs are $3.03 billion.

Supporters say the proposition, Amendment 3, would raise about $305 million a year, with 75 percent of the revenue pledged to early education programs. Up to 15 percent would be used for children’s health care, and up to 10 percent to help people stop smoking.

This newspaper originally leaned in favor of the amendment but later determined that “poison-pill” wording could threaten funding for stem-cell research, making it unacceptable....If we really want people to stop lighting up — and saddling the rest of us with medical costs — Amendment 3 is voters’ best option.

Sept. 25

Washington Post, First debate a pivotal moment for Clinton and Trump, John Wagner, Jose A. DelReal and Abby Phillip, Sept. 25, 2016. Much of the nation is expected to tune in amid great uncertainty about what they’ll see — including which version of Donald Trump will be on stage. With polls showing the candidates in a virtual tie six weeks out from Election Day, the stakes in Monday’s debate could hardly be higher. Clinton’s aides studied Trump’s personality to prepare her for debate

Kölner Stadtanzeiger (German daily newspaper in Cologne) via Moon of Alabama, Todenhöfer: Interview With Al-Nusra Commander “The Americans stand on our side,” Jürgen Todenhöfer, Sept. 25, 2016.
This interview by Jürgen Todenhöfer was first published in German on September 26 2016 by the Kölner Stadtanzeiger, a major newspaper in the Cologne region of Germany. (The interview was copied and translated to English by Bernhard for educational and academic purposes.)

We conducted the interview ten days ago with a commander of the al-Qaida branch “Jabhat al-Nusra.” Abu al-Ezz reported quite openly about his financiers Saudi-Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. We were able to exactly research the identity of the man and know practically everything about him. The interview was arranged by a rebel from Aleppo. I have had contacts to Syrian rebels for years. It was conducted outside of Aleppo in a quarry in direct sight- and shooting-distance of Jabhat al-Nusra and could only be reached safely by a member of al-Nusra.

His fighters were partially not masked, i.e. easily identifiable. Part of his statements were nearly verbally confirmed shortly thereafter by a mufti in Aleppo. Other assertions about the lack of interest of rebels towards a ceasefire and an international aid-convoy also bore out. Just like his predictions about planned military activities in several cities of Syria.

Abu al-Ezz, commander, says about Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Qaeda): “We are one part of al-Qaeda. Our principles are: Fighting vice, pureness and security. Our affairs and our way have changed. Israel, for example, is now supporting us, because Israel is at war with Syria and with Hizbullah.

America also changed its opinion about us. Originally “IS” and us were one group. But “IS” was used in the interests of big states like America, for political reasons, and was steered away from our principles. It became clear to us that most of their leaders work with secret security services. We, Jabhat al-Nusra, have our own way. In the past they with us, they were our supporters.

Jürgen Todenhöfer: How is the relation between you and the United States? Does the U.S. support the rebels?

Abu al-Ezz: Yes, the U.S. support the opposition, but not directly. They support the countries which support us. But we are not yet satisfied with this support. They should support us with highly developed weapons. We have won battles thanks to the “TOW” missiles. We reached a balance with the regime through these missiles. We received the tanks from Libya through Turkey. Also the “BMs” – multiple rocket launchers. The regime excels us only with their fighter jets, missiles and missile launchers. We captured a share of its missile launchers and a large share came from abroad. But it is through the American “TOW” that we have the situation in some regions under control.

To whom did the U.S. hand those missiles before they were brought to you? Were those missiles first given to the Free Syrian Army by the U.S. and from there to you?

No, the missiles were give directly to us. They were delivered to a certain group. When the “road” was closed and we were besieged we had officers here from Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States.

Washington Post, The Latest: UN takes no action after arguments over Aleppo, Staff report, Sept. 25, 2016. An emergency session of the U.N. Security Council on Syria has ended with no action taken as Russia clashed openly with representatives from the United States, Britain and France. All three Western powers heaped blame on Moscow Sunday for supporting the offensive by its close ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, which has been the deadliest of the 5 1/2-year war. And when Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari was called to speak, all three ambassadors walked out of the council chamber in protest.

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin blamed Syria’s rebels for sabotaging the Sept. 9 cease-fire agreement by shoring up its forces. And he accused the Western coalition of failing to separate the moderate forces it backs from “terrorist” groups including the al-Qaida-linked Fatah Sham Front.  “Bringing a peace is almost an impossible task now,” Churkin said. But he told the council that Russia still wants a cease-fire along with renewed negotiations between the Syrian parties.

New York Times, Why Donald Trump Should Not Be President, Editorial Board, Sept. 25, 2016. Donald Trump is a man who dwells in bigotry, bluster and false promises.

Washington Post, Suspect in custody in Washington state mall killings, Lornet Turnbull, Amy B Wang, Louisa Loveluck and Darryl Fears, Sept. 25, 2016. The suspected gunman who is believed to have killed five people in a mall in Burlington, Wash., is now in police custody. Police detained Arcan Cetin, 20, on Saturday, Sept. 24, about 30 miles from the mall where the shooting happened.

Cetin’s Facebook page says he is originally from Adana, a city in southern Turkey, but that he went to high school in Oak Harbor and formerly worked as a bagger at the Whidbey Island Commissary. He is a legal permanent U.S. resident, officials said. Cetin is expected to appear in Skagit County Court on Monday.

Sept. 24

Al Masdar News via Southfront, Syrian Air Force unleashes hell on jihadists in Deir Ezzor and Hama, Staff report, Sept. 23, 2016. Heavy airstrikes by the Syrian Arab Air Force proved devastating to the Islamic Syria FlagState’s terrorists on Friday as the terror group lost seven technical vehicles, three tanks, and dozens of fighters. Meanwhile, jihadist groups splintered across the northern countryside of Hama did not rest up either.

The aforementioned strikes have been the deadliest for the Islamist factions for a very long time, especially after the abysmal failure of the Russian-American ceasefire that had only managed to escalate violence all across Syria from Quneitra to northern Hama and Deir Ezzor where US airstrikes killed and injured about 200 Syrian soldiers, enabling ISIS to capture Mt. Thardah, which overlooks the imperative Deir Ezzor Airport (surrounded by ISIS and near Syria's Iraq border).

OpEdNews, Movie Review: Greg Palast,The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Marta Steele, Sept. 24, 2016. Our Truth Sleuth (Greg Palast) weaves together into a seamless labyrinth his two major concerns that have absorbed his renowned and versatile genius since the turn of the century: voting and its raptors vulture capitalists. We get the facts, on film, of the mauling of oil-soaked wilderness that once nurtured life, a shore covered with once-benevolent whales, now upside-down carcasses. And we meet the vultures drooling over the billions they squeeze out of this and more, much more.

Sept. 23

Middle East Eye, How the Pentagon sank the US-Russia deal in Syria – and the ceasefire, Gareth Porter, Sept. 23, 2016. Another US-Russian Syria ceasefire deal has been Gareth Porterblown up. Whether it could have survived even with a US-Russian accord is open to doubt, given the incentives for al-Qaeda and its allies to destroy it. But the politics of the US-Russian relationship played a central role in the denouement of the second ceasefire agreement.

The Saker, Why the Recent Developments in Syria Show that the Obama Administration Is in a State of Confused Agony, The Saker, Sept. 23, 2016. The latest developments in Syria are not, I believe, the result of some deliberate plan of the USA to help their “moderate terrorist” allies on the ground, but they are the symptom of something even worse: the complete loss of control of the USA over the situation in Syria and, possibly, elsewhere.  

First, after days and days of intensive negotiations, Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov finally reached a deal on a cease-fire in Syria, which had the potential to at least “freeze” the situation on the ground until the Presidential election in the USA and a change in administration (this is now the single most important event in the near future; therefore no plans of any kind can extend beyond that date).

Then the USAF, along with a few others, bombed a Syrian Army unit, which was not on the move or engaged in intense operations, but which was simply holding a key sector of the front. The US strike was followed by a massive offensive of the “moderate terrorists,” which was barely contained by the Syrian military and the Russian Aerospace forces.  Needless to say, following such a brazen provocation the cease-fire was dead.

What happened in Syria is painfully obvious: the Pentagon sabotaged the deal made between Kerry and Lavrov and when the Pentagon was accused of being responsible, it mounted a rather crude false flag attack and tried to blame it on the Russians. All this simply goes to show that the Obama Administration is in a state of confused agony. The White House apparently is so freaked out at the prospects of a Trump victory in November that it has basically lost control of its foreign policy in general and, especially, in Syria. 


RT Via the Saker, Crosstalk: The Media’s Syria, Host Peter Lavelle crossyalking with Jonathan Steele, Scott Bennett, and Daniel Lazare, Sept. 23, 2016 (24:46 min. video). Conflicting narratives and competing agendas – this is the tragedy of the Syrian conflict. Western media coverage is focused on forcing political outcomes. In the process, the truth is often overlooked and even denied. Another casualty of war.

Washington Post, Ferocious assault on Aleppo suggests U.S. may be wrong on Syria, Liz Sly​, Sept. 23, 2016. Waves of planes struck rebel-held Aleppo on the first day of a new offensive announced by the government, which calls into question the entire premise of the painstakingly negotiated cease-fire agreement: that Russia shares the Obama administration’s view that the conflict cannot be solved with a military solution.

SouthFront, Graphic Video: Turkish-backed ‘Moderate Rebels’ Torture Boy in Northern Aleppo, Staff report, Sept. 23, 2016. On September 22, a pro-Kurdish media outlet, Hawar News Agency, released a footage of Turkish-backed ‘moderate rebels’ tourtoring a boy during an alleged interrogation session. The video depicts Turkish-backed ‘moderate oppositioneers’ that are beating a handcuffed boy (likely 10-14 y.o.) in order to force him to ‘talk’ (it’s unclear on which topic). A shot from the AK-47 rifle was also fired by moderates to ‘motivate’ the boy.

Some sources suggest that the militants from the video belong to Sham Legion or Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement. The both groups are described by the Wstern media as a part of the ‘moderate opposition’ and backed by Turkey and the United States. The video was reportedly filmed in the Syrian border town of Jarablus in northern Aleppo that had been seized by the Ankara-led forces from the ISIS terrorist group.

President Obama with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al Saud in Riyadh, April 20, 2016 (Saudi Press Agency)

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud receives President Barack Obama in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on April 20, 2016 (EPA/Saudi Press Agency)

Roll Call, Obama Vetoes Terrorism Bill as Override Votes Loom, John T. Bennett, Sept. 23, 2016. Democrats are sympathetic to his concerns, but likely to vote with GOP. President Barack Obama on Friday vetoed a bill that would allow families of the victims of terrorist attacks in the United States to sue foreign governments believed to be linked to the strikes, setting up a difficult election-year decision for congressional Democrats. Obama cited concerns that the legislation, which passed both the House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, could prompt other nations to pass look-alike laws, leading to more lawsuits and inconsistent standards for what constitutes state support for terrorist attacks. Proponents, however, call it "narrowly" crafted to guard against such things.

Aides say Obama fully understands why convincing Democrats to block an override of his veto will likely be tough in an election year. "The president's not blind to the politics of the situation," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Friday. "The president understands that the talking points that are being prepared for the proponents of this bill have … political upside," Earnest said. "But if we're focused on the substantive long-term impact on our nation's national security … that's what's driving the president's decision to veto this bill. Not because it's politically convenient. It's not."

The Senate's No. 3 Democrat, Charles E. Schumer of New York, a co-sponsor of the measure, called the veto a "a disappointing decision," predicting that it will be "swiftly and soundly overturned in Congress."

“If the Saudis did nothing wrong, they should not fear this legislation," Schumer said in a statement. "If they were culpable in 9/11, they should be held accountable. The families of the victims of 9/11 deserve their day in court, and justice for those families shouldn’t be thrown overboard because of diplomatic concerns.”

Obama used up every day he had under law from the time the House unanimously passed the bill, formally dubbed the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” to reject it. The move now sets up a decision for House and Senate leaders on when they will hold override votes.

“Now that we have received the veto message from the president, the Senate will consider [an override vote] as soon as practicable in this work period," said David Popp, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a statement on Friday.

Rakeyia Scott with Keith Scott, in a photograph posted to Rakeyia’s Facebook in February.

Keith Scott and Rakeyia Scott Charlotte Shooting September 2016Huffington Post, Video Shows Police Fatally Shooting Keith Scott Despite Wife’s Pleas, Andy Campbell, Sept. 23, 2016. A video released to NBC News shows the moment when police in Charlotte, North Carolina, shot Keith Scott. In the video, which lasts two minutes and 12 seconds, Scott’s wife pleads with an officer not to fire his weapon. At the same time, the officer is pointing a gun in Scott’s direction, screaming at him to “drop the gun.”

“Don’t shoot him, he has no weapon,” Rakeyia Scott says several times. She tells the officers that her husband has a TBI, or a traumatic brain injury, and then assures them, “He’s not gonna do anything, he just took his medicine.” She then yells toward Scott, “Keith, don’t you do it!” It’s unclear whether she is telling him not to get out of the vehicle he’s in.

Police fire their weapons, and Scott can be seen lying on the ground. “Did you shoot him?” Rakeyia Scott asks officers. “He better live. He didn’t do nothing to them.”

Keith Scott was waiting in his truck for his young son to come home from school, his lawyer told NBC News’ Gabe Gutierrez, but his wife had gone inside their apartment to grab a cell phone charger. She was gone for about three minutes and began recording once she emerged from the apartment.

Huffington Post, USA Today Columnist Urges Motorists To ‘Run Down’ Protesters On North Carolina Highway, Ed Mazza, Sept. 23, 2016. Conservative USA Today columnist and University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds caused an uproar on Twitter when he urged motorists to drive over protesters blocking a highway in North Carolina. “Run them down,” Reynolds, who also produces the Instapundit website, tweeted late Wednesday with an image of the protesters on I-277. Twitter suspended the account, but the Huffington Post preserved a screenshot of the tweet. His post inspired many on the social media network to suggest that USA Today and the university drop Reynolds, [a graduate of Yale Law School and Oxford University who built a large following with ultra-right Instapundit commentary].

AP via Washington Post, Cruz to vote for Trump, whom he once called ‘utterly amoral,’ Steve Peoples and Will Weissert, Sept. 23, 2016. Ted Cruz (portrayed on the cover of his memoir published early this year) announced Friday he will vote for Donald Trump, a dramatic Ted Cruz "A Time For Truth"about-face that may help unite a deeply divided Republican Party months after the fiery Texas conservative called Trump a “pathological liar” and “utterly amoral.”

Huffington Post, After Backing Republicans For Almost A Century, Cincinnati Enquirer Endorses Hillary Clinton, Paige Lavender, Sept. 23, 2016. “But this is not a traditional race, and these are not traditional times.” The Cincinnati Enquirer endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race, breaking from a nearly century-long tradition of backing Republicans. Several conservative editorial boards have backed Clinton in this year’s presidential race. The board called Trump “a clear and present danger to our country,” citing his lack of foreign policy experience and exclusionary remarks about women and minorities as some of their “fears” about his candidacy.

Washington Post, Federal appeals court rules against Ohio voter-roll purges, Sean Sullivan and Sari Horwitz, Sept. 23, 2016. The decision is a victory for voting rights advocates in a key state for the presidential race.

Washington Post, Evan McMullin gets a lift, Jennifer Rubin, Sept. 23, 2016. Conservative independent candidate Evan McMullin got an eye-catching endorsement from #NeverTrump conservative activist Erick Erickson. Erickson acknowledges McMullin is extremely unlikely to win.

Washington Post, They wanted to rob the pizza guy. They did not expect a 250-pound, ex-NFL linebacker to deliver the pie, Ben Guarino, Sept. 23, 2016. The plan was simple: Order a pizza, rob whoever showed up to deliver the pie. But the caper did not go as the four men expected. That was because Napoleon Harris III, arrived with the pizza in hand. Harris is a man of many hats.

Washington Post, Augusto Pinochet, Missy Ryan, Sept 23, 2016. The CIA concluded that former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet (shown in a portrait at left) personally ordered the 1976 murder of a top dissident, according to newly released government documents that show U.S. confidence about a key ally’s responsibility for a shocking attack in Washington.

Chilean Gen. Augusto Pinochet and Secretary of State Henry KissingerThe latest revelations about the Cold War-era case come on the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Orlando Letelier, a leading opponent of the Pinochet regime and onetime Chilean foreign minister, and his think-tank colleague, Ronni Moffitt, in a car bomb on D.C.’s Embassy Row. he CIA assessment released Friday is part of a suite of documents presented in 1987 to President Ronald Reagan by his national security adviser, Frank Carlucci, regarding U.S. government policy on Chile.

In the document, the CIA states that “a review of our files on the Letelier assassination has provided what we regard as convincing evidence that President Pinochet personally ordered his intelligence chief to carry out the murder.” Chilean Gen. Augusto Pinochet and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1976.

Wikipedia bio: Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte (1915 – 2006) was a Chilean politician who was President of Chile between 1973 and 1990 and Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army from 1973 to 1998. He was also president of the Government Junta of Chile between 1973 and 1981. His rule of Chile has been described as a dictatorship.  Pinochet assumed power in Chile following a United States-backed coup d'état on 11 September 1973 that overthrew the elected socialist Unidad Popular government of President Salvador Allende and ended civilian rule.

According to a government commission report that included testimony from more than 30,000 people, Pinochet's government killed at least 3,197 people and tortured about 29,000. Two-thirds of the cases listed in the report happened in 1973. Pinochet was arrested under an international arrest warrant on a visit to London on 10 October 1998 in connection with numerous human rights violations. Following a legal battle he was released on grounds of ill-health, and returned to Chile on 3 March 2000.

Sept. 22

Washington Post, Yahoo says 500 million accounts hacked by ‘state-sponsored actor,’ Hayley Tsukayama, Craig Timberg and Brian Fung, Sept. 22, 2016. The stolen data "may have" included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, passwords and security questions for verifying an accountholder’s identity.

Politico, After Trump remarks, Lynch airs concerns on stop-and-frisk, Josh Gerstein, Sept. 22, 2016. Attorney General Loretta Lynch publicly questioned the wisdom of broad-based stop-and-frisk policies as a crime-fighting tool Thursday, in the wake of comments from Donald Trump urging use of the technique to cut down on gun violence. Asked about her views on the practice, Lynch clearly disagreed with the GOP presidential Donald Trump button open mouthnominee by insisting that the use of the tactic had been counterproductive in New York City.

In an interview Wednesday, Trump called for broader use of stop-and-frisk and specifically praised its success in combating crime in New York. "I see what's going on here, I see what's going on in Chicago," Trump said in Cleveland during a taping of Fox News' "Hannity " "I think stop-and-frisk, in New York City, it was so incredible the way it worked. And, we had a very good mayor. But New York City was incredible the way that worked. So, I think that would be one step you could do." In comments Thursday, Trump revised his earlier remarks, insisting he was only advocating the practice in murder-plagued Chicago.

SouthFront, Syrian Army Starts Massive Operations to Clean Maardas from Terrorists, Staff report, Sept. 22, 2016. The Syrian Armed Forces have started large-scale operations in the northern parts of Hama in Syria Flagorder to drive out terrorists from Maardas town. Large-scale operations were started by the Syrian Army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) in the northern parts of Hama in order to drive out terrorists from Maardas town, located near the important fortified village of Maan.

The end of the ceasefire was declared by the Syrian Army on Monday due to the fact that terrorists did not adhere to any of provisions, stated in the truce agreement. The Syrian Armed Forces have once again confirmed its commitment to combating terrorism after the end of the truce.

SouthFront, Syrian Air Force Strikes Positions of Foreign Militants in Aleppo, Staff report, Sept. 22, 2016. The Syrian Air Force carried out a series of airstrikes on positions of the so-called Caucasian Battalion in the south-west of Aleppo. At least 8-9 terrorists were killed, and the same number of gunmen was wounded, as well as their military equipment was destroyed. Official sources reported dead and wounded terrorists were mostly natives of Dagestan, Chechnya and Kyrgyzstan.

Washington Post, Inquiry launched into Anthony Weiner’s alleged suggestive online messages with teen, Matt Zapotosky, Sept. 22, 2016. The New York Police Department and a U.S. attorney in North Carolina have begun examining former congressman Anthony Weiner’s alleged sexually suggestive online messages with a teenage girl that were reported by a British media outlet, authorities said Thursday. The exact parameters of the investigation remain unclear, but officials said that investigators are interested in a report from DailyMail.com that Weiner chatted with a 15-year-old girl for some months last year.

Sept. 21

Reuters, Obama administration arms sales offers to Saudi top $115 billion: report, Yara Bayoumy, Sept. 7, 2016. U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has offered Saudi Arabia more than $115 billion in weapons, other military equipment and training, the most of any U.S. administration in the 71-year U.S.-Saudi alliance, a report seen by Reuters has found. The report, authored by William Hartung of the U.S.-based Center for International Policy, said the offers were made in 42 separate deals, and the majority of the equipment has yet to be delivered. Hartung told Reuters the report would be made available publicly on Sept. 8.

Donald Trump for President logoWashington Post, This is why Donald Trump’s tax returns haven’t been leaked, Justin Wm. Moyer and Lisa Rein, Sept. 21, 2016. Donald Trump has maintained for seven months that he cannot release his tax returns because he is being audited by the Internal Revenue Service, making him the first major-party nominee for president since President Gerald Ford to withhold such records from the public.

Last week, his son Donald Trump Jr. gave a different excuse for not releasing the documents, saying the returns would be “distracting.” With so much speculation surrounding them, the GOP nominee and wealthy businessman’s tax filings may just be the most wanted information of the 2016 campaign.

Washington Post, CNN commentator Lewandowski remained on Trump payroll in August, Paul Farhi, Sept. 21, 2016. Lewandowski was paid $20,000 in August by the campaign for what it described as “strategy consulting,” raising anew the conflict of interest issue that has dogged the cable network.

Flag of TurkeyWashington Post, Turkey’s ties with Western allies threatened in failed coup aftermath, Michael Birnbaum and Karen DeYoung, Sept. 21, 2016. A surge of Turkish anger about the reactions of NATO allies in Europe and the United States to the failed coup in July has challenged alliance ties. In addition, Turkey believes that Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish imam who lives in the U.S., was the mastermind behind the coup.

MSNBC via Youtube, How The US Can Help Refugees Rebuild Lives, Andrea Mitchell, Sept. 21, 2016. President of the International Rescue Committee David Miliband joins NBC's Andrea Mitchell to explain the most effective ways to help refugees.

Muckrock, Help release the FBI file on Watergate burglar (and alleged CIA asset) Frank Sturgis, Michael Best, Sept. 21, 2016. Despite numerous denials from the CIA and assertions that Frank Sturgis was never employed by the Agency, a pair of documents have surfaced that clearly contradict this and show the Justice Department was aware of it. We won’t know the full extent of the file -- which is more than four times as long as the 17,000 page FBI file on Watergate -- until it’s released, but there are a number of things that are certain to be in it and which have very little official documentation available to the public.

Despite numerous denials from the CIA and assertions that Frank Sturgis was never employed by the Agency, a pair of documents have surfaced that clearly contradict this and show the Justice Department was aware of it. We won’t know the full extent of the file - which is more than four times as long as the 17,000 page FBI file on Watergate - until it’s released, but there are a number of things that are certain to be in it and which have very little official documentation available to the public.

Sturgis’ career began in Cuba before Castro’s rise to power, when he was an ally to the Castro brothers in their opposition to Batista. During this period, he was a paramilitary who fought the government and made friends with a number of other Cuban paramilitaries, as well as the American government. According to Sturgis, he began making contact with the FBI and CIA in 1959. By 1961, he was opposed to Castro and became involved in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and other CIA sponsored and tolerated anti-Castro activities. According to Sturgis, his CIA control officer was Jose Joaquin Sanjenis Perdomo AKA Sam Jenis.

The Agency has continued to deny this, but it’s known that Jenis did have a relationship with the Agency. Some of the papers relating to him are still being withheld in National Archives as part of the JFK Assassination records. These activities are specifically mentioned in the lawsuit that led to uncovering the Iran-Contra scandal as the beginning point for the modern nexus between paramilitary operations, assassinations, and the trafficking of weapons and narcotics.

Sept. 20

Washington Post, Trump used $258,000 from his charity to settle legal problems, David A. Fahrenthold, Sept. 20, 2016. The settlements were among four newly documented expenditures in which Trump may have violated laws against “self-dealing” — which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to benefit themselves or their businesses.

Donald Trump spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses, according to interviews and a review of legal documents. Doanld Trump for PresidentThose cases, which together used $258,000 from Trump’s charity, were among four newly documented expenditures in which Trump may have violated laws against “self-dealing” — which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to benefit themselves or their businesses.

In one case, from 2007, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club faced $120,000 in unpaid fines from the town of Palm Beach, Fla., resulting from a dispute over the size of a flagpole. In a settlement, Palm Beach agreed to waive those fines — if Trump’s club made a $100,000 donation to a specific charity for veterans. Instead, Trump sent a check from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a charity funded almost entirely by other people’s money, according to tax records.

​“I represent 700 nonprofits a year, and I’ve never encountered anything so brazen,” said Jeffrey Tenenbaum, who advises charities at the Venable law firm in Washington. After The Post described the details of these Trump Foundation gifts, Tenenbaum described them as “really shocking.”

Politico, Sunlight Foundation scales down, may merge, Josh Gerstein, Sept. 20, 2016. One of Washington's leading voices for transparency and public access to government data, the Sunlight Foundation, is planning to shut down much of its operation and may merge into another organization. In an unusual blog post Tuesday, Sunlight Foundation chairman and co-founder Mike Klein said an unsuccessful search for a new executive director for the decade-old organization led its board to reconsider the group's viability.

The board has not found a candidate for executive director who persuaded us of both a compelling new strategic vision and of their capacity to lead Sunlight to its achievement," Klein said. "Accordingly, we have determined to explore alliances with other organizations similarly motivated, perhaps merging with one of them, in an arrangement that advances and preserves Sunlight's mission and identity with increased efficiency and effectiveness."

Sunlight was an early innovator at easing online public access to campaign finance and legislative information, but earlier this year it shut down its OpenCongress database, saying others were providing similar tools. Klein said Tuesday that Sunlight plans to no longer maintain its government databases and will be seeking to transfer some projects to others. The original executive director of Sunlight, co-founder Ellen Miller, retired in 2014. Klein said some of the organization's aspirations for tracking the influence of money in the political system had been dashed by the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling. While the majority in that case insisted it was not tampering with disclosure laws, other legal rulings have produced a flood of cash into so-called dark money groups whose donors are not disclosed publicly.

"The board had to recognize that Sunlight's initiating objective -- to build support for better legislation against and regulation of the power of money in politics -- has been significantly limited by the US Supreme Court's 5-4 Citizens United decision," Klein added. The group's 2014 tax filing showed annual expenses of about $6.6 million and revenue of $4.2 million, down from $8.9 million in 2013.

 

CNN via YouTube, “CNN Politics Campaign 2016: Like, Share, Elect” With Wolf Blitzer at Newseum, Sept. 20, 2016 (video above). A week before the highly anticipated first presidential debate between GOP candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, CNN’s lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer moderated a lively discussion Sept. 19 in the Newseum’s Walter and Leonore Annenberg Theater about the issues involved in the unprecedented 2016 election and the media’s coverage of it.

During Q&A beginning at the 49:57 min. mark, retired U.S. Customs and Border Service Special Agent Karl Golovin described how his assigned to search World Trade Center 7 debris following 9/11 at a New Jersey landfill persuades him that it was as part of an effort to cover-up evidence of "controlled demolition." At point, approximately at the 50:45 min. mark, Blitzer breaks in to ask Golovin's question. The former agent then asked whether CNN would consider covering the evidence. That part of the segment ended at 51:07 min.

Washington Post, A Trump presidency would be ethically compromised, Richard Painter and Norman Eisen, Sept. 20, 2016. Richard Painter, a professor of law at the University of Minnesota, was the chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007. Norman Eisen, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, was the chief White House ethics lawyer for President Obama from 2009 to 2011.  

As government ethics lawyers who have, respectively, counseled the most recent Republican president and the most recent Democratic one, we have watched Donald Trump’s campaign with increasing concern. We have come to believe a Trump presidency would be ethically compromised for the following reasons:

Opacity. Trump’s refusal to disclose his tax returns shields critical information about his finances that is not found in the basic details he is required to provide on his candidate financial disclosure. For example, his disclosure form does not cover his tax deductions and exemptions and any loopholes he takes advantage of; each represents a policy issue on which he has a potential conflict.

Lack of divestment. Domestic conflicts. Foreign conflicts. Legal exposure. Veracity.

To be sure, counsel for a President Hillary Clinton would have to address actual or apparent conflicts posed by the Clinton Foundation, but those have been disclosed and publicly vetted. They are nowhere near as obscure, profound and dangerous as Trump’s. The ethics lawyer who would have President Trump as his or her client would face a far more daunting task than either of us — or any of our colleagues in recent years — has ever confronted.

Salon, Congressman seeks to block arms sale to Saudi Arabia, citing U.S.-backed war crimes in Yemen, Ben Norton, Sept. 20, 2016. Exclusive: Rep. Ted Lieu introduces House resolution to block U.S.-Saudi weapons deal, as bipartisan campaign grows. The bipartisan campaign to block American arms sales to Saudi Arabia is growing, both within and outside the government. Rep. Ted Lieu, D-California, introduced a new bill on Tuesday morning that would block a $1.15 billion U.S. weapons deal with the Saudi regime.

“The reason we’re doing this is because there is now overwhelming evidence that war crimes are being committed in Yemen, and that most of them appear to be done by Saudi Arabia-led air strikes,” Lieu told Salon in an interview on Monday.
 
A minimum of 10,000 Yemenis have been killed in the war, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick reported in August. Approximately 3,800 civilians have been killed, and more than 6,000 have been injured — an average of 13 civilian casualties per day since the coalition launched its bombing campaign in Yemen in March 2015. The new joint resolution sponsored by Rep. Lieu is the House companion to the bill introduced by Senators Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Al Franken (D-Minnesota) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) earlier this month. Explaining the motivation behind their joint resolution, all four senators cited the atrocities committed by the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, and how the destructive Yemeni campaign has strengthened extremist groups like al-Qaida and ISIS.

President Obama prepares for his last UN General Assembly address on Sept. 20, 2016 (WH Photo)President Barack Obama waits backstage before making his last address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, N.Y., Sept. 20, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Washington Post, U.N. suspends aid convoys in Syria after deadly attack on relief shipment, Erin Cunningham and Karen DeYoung​, Sept. 20, 2016. The 31-truck aid convoy carrying United Nations supplies to a village west of Aleppo was hit by an airstrike killing at least 12 drivers and aid workers and sparking outrage from the United States and the U.N.

Moon of Alabama via SouthFront, Deir Ezzor Attack Enables The “Salafist Principality” As Foreseen In The 2012 DIA Analysis, Staff report, Sept. 20, 2016. Two recent attacks against the Syrian Arab Army in east-Syria point to a U.S. plan to eliminate all Syrian government presence east of Palmyra. This would enable the U.S. and its allies to create “Sunni entity” in east-Syria and west-Iraq which would be a permanent thorn in side of Syria and its allies [as predicted by a 2012 U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency analysis]. Note that the described plan mentions exactly two cities – Hasakah and Deir Ezzor.

On August 18 Kurdish YPK units suddenly attacked Syrian government positions in the center of Hasakah in the north-east of Syria. On Saturday U.S. airplanes attacked the most important Syrian government position in Deir Ezzor. Nearly a hundred Syrian soldiers were killed and most of the heavy equipment the Deir Ezzor garrison had left was destroyed. Immediately after the attack fighters of the Islamic State occupied the bombed out government positions. These Islamic States fighters now own the heights above the Deir Ezzor airport. A day later the Islamic State shot down a Syrian government plane near Deir Ezzor.

The city and its 150,000+ inhabitants are surrounded by the Islamic State. They had been supplied from Damascus by nightly flights to the airport. As the Islamic State now has fire-control over the airport as well as anti-air weapons those supply flights are no longer possible. The U.S. air attack practically closed down the Syrian government ability to supply the city. If this situation continues the city will fall to the Islamic State.

The U.S. plan is to eventually take Raqqa by using Turkish or Kurdish proxies. The two recent moves by U.S. forces in east-Syria are consistent with the plan for a “Sunni entity” or “Salafist principality” described in the 2012 DIA document. Such an entity blocks the land connection of the “Shia crescent” which connects Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. This is the “isolation” of Syria foreseen in the DIA analysis. A “Sunni entity” in east-Syria also provides a path for the gas pipeline from Qatar via Turkey to Europe. The Syrian government had rejected the construction of such a line which goes against the fundamental interests of its ally Russia.

Jason KanderRealClearPolitics, Democrats Pin Senate Hopes on Missouri Win,  James Arkin, Sept. 20, 2016. National Democrats, confident Missouri’s Senate race is winnable, are investing new money in the contest, hoping to make the conservative "Show Me" State part of their path to retaking the upper chamber. The increased attention to Missouri (via candidate Jason Kander, shown in a file photo) comes as Democrats have pulled money out of Senate races in the perennial swing states of Florida and Ohio after polls have consistently shown Sens. Marco Rubio and Rob Portman outpacing their Democratic challengers.  

Sept. 19

President Obama with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al Saud in Riyadh, April 20, 2016 (Saudi Press Agency)

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud receives President Barack Obama in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on April 20, 2016 (EPA/Saudi Press Agency) 

Washington Post, Saudi Arabia appears to be using U.S.-supplied white phosphorus in its war in Yemen, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Sept. 19, 2016. Saudi Arabia appears to be using U.S.-supplied white phosphorous munitions in its war in Yemen, based on images and videos posted to social media, raising concerns among human rights groups that the highly incendiary material could be used against civilians.

Under U.S. regulations, white phosphorous sold to other countries is to be used only for signaling to other troops and creating smoke screens. When the munition explodes, it releases white phosphorous that automatically ignites in the air and creates a thick white smoke. When used against soldiers or civilians, it can maim and kill by burning to the bone. It is unclear exactly how the Saudis are using the munitions, but the government has already received widespread condemnation for its indiscriminate bombing in civilian areas since its campaign against rebel forces in Yemen began in 2015.'

New York Times, Humanitarian Aid Is on Its Way to Besieged Parts of Syria, John Kerry Says, Michael R. Gordon, Sept. 19, 2016. Humanitarian aid has begun to flow to besieged areas in Syria, Secretary of State President Obama greets Secretary of State John Kerry Dec. 16, 2015John Kerry said on Monday morning, a rare sign of progress after the agreement he struck to reduce violence in that country appeared to be on the brink of collapse.

On Sunday, Mr. Kerry accused President Bashar al-Assad’s government of blocking the delivery of aid to Aleppo. “The humanitarian assistance is supposed to be flowing,” Mr. Kerry said in an interview with CNN. “The regime once again is blocking it. So Russia’s client, Russia’s supported friend, is the single biggest blockade to the ability to move forward here.” Mr. Kerry is in New York along with leaders and foreign ministers for the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly. 

In a White House file photo, President Obama greets Secretary of State John Kerry Dec. 16, 2015

PaulCraigRoberts.org, Deconstructing Samantha Power’s Big Lies, Stephen Lendman, Sept. 19, 2016. She’s Obama’s neocon UN envoy, a despicable character (shown below), complicit in his high crimes by outrageously supporting them. She glorifies US-sponsored genocides outrageously called humanitarian interventions, ignoring or shamelessly justifying Washington’s sordid record of repeated supreme crimes against peace. Samantha Power

She disgraces the office she holds, part of Obama’s permanent war criminal cabal. Her notion of responsibility to protect is mass slaughter and destruction to advance America’s imperium.

Responding to Russia’s calling an emergency Saturday Security Council session to address US naked aggression against Syrian forces earlier in the day, flagrantly breaching Geneva ceasefire terms, she shamelessly changed the subject, turned truth on its head, bashed Russia’s “uniquely hypocritical and cynical” attempt to make her explain her government’s lawless aggression.

“Why are we having this meeting tonight,” she asked? “It is a diversion from what is happening on the ground. If you don’t like what is happening on the ground then you distract.” “It is a magician’s trick…(W)e encourage the Russian Federation to have emergency meetings with the Assad regime and deliver them to this deal.”

Playing the blame game instead, she disgracefully holds Assad and his democratic government responsible for Obama’s genocidal war – typical US arrogance and hubris. Power is paid to lie for Washington’s criminal cabal in charge. Her despicable remarks show she does it with relish.

SouthFront, End of Truce: Russia Says Unilateral Ceasefire Observance by Syrian Government Forces Is Senseless, Staff report, Sept. 19, 2016. The head of the main operations department of Russia’s General Russian FlagStaff, Lt. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy declared during a press briefing on Monday that there is no reason for the Syrian government forces to observe the ceasefire, unilaterally. “Taking into account the fact that militants are not observing the regime of cessation of hostilities, we believe its unilateral observance by Syrian government forces is senseless,” Rudskoy said. The Russian military official emphasized the United States and US-backed opposition groups have not met any of the commitments of the agreements. Rudskoy added the US has failed to provide the Russian military with precise data on the deployment of the US-controlled armed groups while the data, handed over to Russia on September 13, did not meet the bilateral agreement – it was merely a general list of the militant groups agreed to join the truce.

SouthFront, Syrian Army Declares End of the Ceasefire, Staff report, Sept. 19, 2016. The Syrian army command has declared the end of the nationwide ceasefire in Syria. “It was assumed that the ceasefire will Syria Flagpresent a real chance to end the bloodshed, but terrorist groups did not adhere to any of the points of the agreement on a ceasefire, the number of violations on their part has exceeded 300,” SANA news cites the statement. The statement says the Syrian army has “shown the highest level of endurance in confronting the abuses by terrorist groups.” In turn, “armed terrorist groups took advantage of the declared ceasefire” in order to regroup and mobilize forces. Now, the terrorists are aimed to launch attacks on “residential areas” and the government forces positions in several regions, including Aleppo.

New York Times, Chris Christie Knew About Bridge Lane Closings as They Happened, Prosecutors Say, Kate Zernike, Sept. 19, 2016. The assertion at trial was the first time the New Jersey governor had been accused of knowing about the scheme at the George Washington Bridge to punish a local mayor. 

Chris ChristieFrom Washington Post, Prosecutor: Chris Christie was told about plan to close lanes on bridge, Katie Zezima and Matt Zapotosky, Sept. 19, 2016. During opening statements Monday in Newark, federal prosecutors said one of the former aides, William E. Baroni Jr., the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and a third Christie associate, David Wildstein, a former Port Authority executive, informed the governor about the traffic shutdowns during a Sept. 11 memorial service in 2013. “The evidence will show that . . . they bragged about the fact that there were traffic problems in Fort Lee and that Mayor Sokolich was not getting his calls returned,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Vikas Khanna said.

Christie, a former U.S. attorney, is a prominent backer of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. The allegation that he knew despite years of public proclamations to the contrary could cause a headache for the Trump campaign, which routinely deploys Christie as a campaign surrogate and has tasked him with managing a transition if Trump wins in November. Alan Zegas, Wildstein’s attorney, wrote in a 2014 letter that there is evidence “tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures” as they were closed. Zegas did not return a call seeking comment. The trial comes just over three years after what first appeared to be a small-scale problem that people in New Jersey face every day: snarled traffic on one of the world’s busiest bridges.

The way federal prosecutors told it at the start of their trial, the two Christie allies — Baroni and Bridget Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff for legislative and intergovernmental affairs — wanted to punish Sokolich for refusing to support Christie’s gubernatorial reelection bid. Wildstein will allege that he and Baroni told Christie of the reason behind the traffic snarls. Together with Wildstein, who has pleaded guilty and is expected to testify against Baroni and Kelly, the pair allegedly orchestrated shutting down the lanes and toll booths on the George Washington Bridge.

Roll Call, As Maine's 2nd District Goes, So Goes the Nation? Simone Pathé, Sept. 19, 2016. Every presidential year after Labor Day, Maine's 2nd District pops up on the national political radar as territory Republicans will put in play. Maine is one of just two states that split its electoral votes by congressional district, and the Trump campaign believes that its rural, blue-collar 2nd District is ripe for the picking.

Suddenly, national reporters were tweeting about a district with 657,000 people and one electoral vote. Vulnerable GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin is facing a rematch here against Democrat Emily Cain — one of the most competitive House elections in the country.

U.S. News & World Report, Watch This Senate Hopeful Assemble an Assault Rifle Blindfolded to Defend His Stance on Guns, Rachel Dicker, Sept. 19, 2016. Jason Kander seeks to show he's qualified to demand background checks on guns.

Naked Capitalism, Wells Fargo’s Management by Magical Thinking Comes Up Short in the Cover-Up Category, Yves Smith, Sept. 19, 2016. As the Wells Fargo fake accounts scandal escalates, it has been delicious to see a full-blown corporate pathology on display. With impressive speed, the press has eviscerated the pious mythology that Wells has peddled over the years. Somehow, no one in the top brass was alert enough to realize that creating a boiler room that churned employees, both the ones fired and the one disgusted with the culture, would leave a lot of eye witnesses who’d be delighted to tell their stories. And even by the standards of corporate misconduct, they are wowsers.

The media reports paint Wells as having leaders with their brains rotted by too many TED talks, leadership gurus, motivation coaches, and management information experts. They seemed to believe that boring old banking could become the next Apple…without any iPhone, that the mere force of corporate will could get the American public to buy more Wells banking services, in the absence of any evidence of customer appetite or Wells having better financial mousetraps.

Washington Times ad on 9/11 by Karl Golovin Newseum, CNN Politics Campaign 2016: Like, Share, Elect With Wolf Blitzer at Newseum, CNN campaign coverage team, Sept. 19, 2016. During the Q&A of a CNN panel on presidential campaign coverage and the network's desire for more public input, former U.S. Customs special agent Karl Golovin requested more coverage for 9/11 research issues, citing his own role in seeking evidence following the WTC collapses. Earlier in the month, the retired agent had bought a full-page advertisement in the Washington Times casting suspicion on the 9/11 official accounts. The ad on Page 3 of the newspaper's Sept. 9 edition was headlined: Congress Receives '48 Pages' 9/11 Reading Assignment. That referenced a 48-page AE911 Truth booklet. Golovin had purchased enough copies to personally deliver one to each of the nation's 541 U.S. Senators and House members.

Below is a transcript of the Q&A, extending from 49:55 to 51:07 mins. in the above video:

Blitzer: Go ahead with your question please.

Golovin: Yes sir. My name's Karl Golovin. I'm a 9/11 responder. As a special agent with U.S. Customs, I helped go through the rubble of World Trade Center 7 in November of that year, a building, the third tower, that collapsed in New York, most people have never even heard of.

And I have to go slightly beyond a question to lay a foundation here, that, I have a gift for you here, a "situation" that I would like to have raised to the candidates, to have raised in the media: I've raised the same question here with Jeff Zucker, also with John King. In fact, I gave both of them copies of what I call the "48 Pages" written by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth that, scientifically, demonstrates -- and I, as a retired criminal investigator I will say -- there is abundant evidence, all three towers in New York were brought down, not just by two airplanes with jet fuel, but by controlled demolition, and this is an astonishing truth....

Blitzer: Alright, well, I'll take your information, but do you have a question?

Golovin: Yes. Will you raise this issue in the media? Will you raise it to the candidates? Here is a full page ad taken out in The Washington Times documenting delivery of that same information to every Member of Congress in the last two weeks.

Blitzer: Alright, give your papers to the man behind you.

Golovin: Yes sir.

Blitzer: I'll be happy to take a look at that.

Golovin: Thank you.

Blitzer: Next question.

The Other Side of Midnight, 15th 9/11 Anniversary Conference Sept. 10-11, 2016, host Richard Hoagland interviewed 9/11 investigator, author and whistleblower Barbara Honegger, Sept. 20, 2016.

On a show that reached 160 countries, she detailed the historic 9/11 Justice in Focus Conference
held at Cooper Union Great Hall in New York City from Sept. 10-11, the vital importance of Congress overriding the President's veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), and current perspectives on the ongoing search for incontestable forensic facts about the 9/11 attacks and justice for the real perpetrators -- the focus of the NYC conference. The audio of the two-hour radio show, including for 200 past programs, can be heard by subscribing to 'Club 19.5' at www.theothersideofmidnight.com. The NYC conference-related photos and website links that accompanied the show can be viewed here by scrolling down to 'Barbara's items.' Her presentation at the conference can be viewed on YouTube under the title: The 28 Pages & JASTA: Turning Point in History.

Sept. 19

U.S. News & World Report, Watch This Senate Hopeful Assemble an Assault Rifle Blindfolded to Defend His Stance on Guns, Rachel Dicker, Sept. 19, 2016. Watch This Senate Hopeful Assemble an Assault Rifle Blindfolded to Defend His Stance on Guns. The Senate race in Missouri is a close one, but Democratic challenger Jason Kander is hoping a new campaign ad will give ammo to his effort to defeat Republican incumbent Roy Blunt. On Thursday, Kander released an ad in which he discusses his views on background checks for firearms while assembling an AR-15 assault rifle.

Oh, and one more thing: He does it blindfolded. "Sen. Blunt has been attacking me on guns," Kander explains. "In the Army, I learned how to use and respect my rifle. In Afghanistan, I'd volunteer to be an extra gun in a convoy of unarmored SUVs, and in the state legislature, I supported Second Amendment rights." As he speaks, his hands deftly find the different parts of the rifle, and he clicks them into place.

Sept. 18

Intercept, WashPost Makes History: First Paper to Call for Prosecution of Its Own Source (After Accepting Pulitzer), Glenn Greenwald The InterceptGlenn Greenwald, Sept. 18, 2016. Three of the four media outlets that received and published large numbers of secret NSA documents provided by Edward Snowden — The Guardian, the New York Times, and The Intercept –– have called for the U.S. government to allow the NSA whistleblower to return to the U.S. with no charges. That’s the normal course for a news organization, which owes its sources duties of protection, and which — by virtue of accepting the source’s materials and then publishing them — implicitly declares the source’s information to be in the public interest.

But not the Washington Post. In the face of a growing ACLU and Amnesty-led campaign to secure a pardon for Snowden, timed to this weekend’s release of the Oliver Stone biopic “Snowden,” the Post editorial page today not only argued in opposition to a pardon, but explicitly demanded that Snowden — the paper’s own source — stand trial on espionage charges or, as a “second-best solution,” accept “a measure of criminal responsibility for his excesses and the U.S. government offers a measure of leniency.”

In doing so, the Washington Post has achieved an ignominious feat in U.S. media history: the first-ever paper to explicitly editorialize for the criminal prosecution of its own source — one on whose back the paper won and eagerly accepted a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. But even more staggering than this act of journalistic treachery against the paper’s own source are the claims made to justify it.

The Post editors concede that one — and only one — of the programs that Snowden enabled to be revealed was justifiably exposed — namely, the domestic metadata program, because it “was a stretch, if not an outright violation, of federal surveillance law, and posed risks to privacy.” Regarding the “corrective legislation” that followed its exposure, the Post acknowledges: “We owe these necessary reforms to Mr. Snowden.” But that metadata program wasn’t revealed by the Post, but rather by The Guardian.

Other than that initial Snowden revelation, the Post suggests, there was no public interest whatsoever in revealing any of the other programs. In fact, the editors say, real harm was done by their exposure. In arguing that no public interest was served by exposing PRISM, what did the Post editors forget to mention? That the newspaper that (simultaneous with The Guardian) made the choice to expose the PRISM program by spreading its operational details and top-secret manual all over its front page is called … the Washington Post. Then, once they made the choice to do so, they explicitly heralded their exposure of the PRISM program (along with other revelations) when they asked to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

SouthFront, Syrian Army Seizes Most of Turdah Mountain from ISIS despite US Air Strikes against Government Forces, Staff report, Sept. 18, 2016 (typo-corrected). The Syrian army and the National Defense Syria FlagForces, supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces, have seized the most of Turdah mountain south of the strategic city of Deir Ezzor from the ISIS terrorist group. The pro-government forces were able to do this despite ‘accidental’ air strikes of the US-led coalition air power against the Syrian army in the area.

The US-led air power’s actions resulted in significant casualties among the Syrian army: 62 soldiers were killed and about 100 injured. The Pentagon denied that the air strikes were aimed on the Syrian army. However, some experts suggest that this was not be a common mistake.

According to pro-government sources, some 1,000 soldiers of the Syrian Republican Guard (an elite formation of the Syrian army) had arrived Deir Ezzor in order to support operations against ISIS in the area prior to the US-led air strikes.

AP via Boston Globe, No evidence blast was terrorism, but it was ‘intentional act,’ NYC mayor says, Staff report, Sept. 17, 2016. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says there is no reason to think that an explosion in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood had a terrorist connection, but he did call the blast an ‘‘intentional act.’’ The mayor also said there is no specific connection to a pipe bomb explosion in the New Jersey shore town of Seaside Park earlier Saturday at a charity run. There were no injuries in that incident.

Sept. 17

Washington Post, At least 25 people injured after explosion in New York City, officials say, Mark Berman, Sept. 17, 2016. The explosion in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood brought onlookers and closed down a major roadway. It did not stem from gas or a gas leak, according to a law enforcement official. Authorities in New York said that dozens of people were injured in an explosion Saturday night in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. At least 25 people suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to officials with the New York Fire Department.

Police officers, firefighters and other first responders rushed to the blast scene, which closed a major roadway, forced people out of nearby buildings and brought onlookers to the area. The New York Police Department’s counterterrorism bureau also said it was responding to the explosion, which came hours after a pipe bomb exploded in a Jersey Shore garbage can shortly before a scheduled charity race there benefiting Marines and Navy sailors. In addition, the FBI said it was involved in the response and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said its arson and explosives task force was being dispatched to the explosion scene.

The explosion in Chelsea did not stem from gas or a gas leak, according to a law enforcement official who asked not to be identified discussing the investigation. Police in New York also said shortly after 11 p.m. that they had found “a possible secondary device” a few blocks away from the explosion scene.

 

Ashton Carter

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter,  Pentagon (shown below) accused of conducting 'mistaken' bombing run that killed 62 anti-ISIS Syrian forces, helping ISIS In Syria

Washington Post, U.S. admits carrying out airstrike that Syria claims killed 62 soldiers, Karen DeYoung and Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Sept. 17, 2016. The U.S.-Russia deal to bring peace to Syria seemed near collapse late Saturday, as the two countries publicly accused each other of double-dealing and atrocities in the wake of an apparently mistaken U.S. airstrike that killed dozens of Syrian soldiers. The U.S. Central Command acknowledged the strike, in eastern Syria’s Deir al-Zour province, saying it was “halted immediately” when U.S. forces were informed by Russia “that it was possible the personnel and vehicles targeted were part of the Syrian military.” Central Command said the intended target had been Islamic State forces in the area.

A U.S. Defense official said the strike “appears to be an intelligence failure.” Russia and Syria asserted that 62 were killed and about 100 others were injured. Although the Central Command statement did not mention casualties, a senior administration official said the United States had “relayed our regret” through Russia “for the unintentional loss of life of Syrian forces fighting ISIL,” an acronym for the Islamic State, and had launched an internal investigation.

It marked the first time the United States has engaged the Syrian military since it began targeting the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq two years ago. The strike also came at a particularly sensitive time in U.S. and Russian efforts to forge a cease-fire in Syria’s civil war, as each has accused the other of failing to comply with an agreement they struck a week ago for a cease-fire, to be followed by coordination of their counterterrorism strikes.

The incident quickly sparked one of the most hostile diplomatic exchanges between Washington and Moscow in recent years. Russia, after calling an emergency Saturday night meeting of the U.N. Security Council, suggested that the strike was “not accidental” and that it was designed to derail the deal.

Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, also said the strike could be evidence of U.S. support for the Islamic State and an al-Qaeda affiliate fighting the Syrian government, which the United States has sought to help oust. Both Russia and Syria said the Syrian forces at the time were engaged in combat with the militants, which then overran nearby areas.

Samantha PowerChurkin spoke outside the Security Council chamber after his U.S. counterpart, Samantha Power (shown in an official photo), appeared before reporters as the meeting was starting, and scornfully called the closed-door session a Russian “stunt.” “Seriously?” she said. “And they’re calling this emergency meeting? Really? Because of a single airstrike . . . in error . . . which we have quickly called for investigating?” Power said. “Now, of all times, Russia calls for an emergency meeting, so it can stand up here and express outrage.”

Earlier Washington Post story:

The U.S. military’s Central Command admitted it had been carrying out a strike against a suspected Islamic State position in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, but said it called off the assault after Russia said it was Syrian army positions that were being attacked, and not the Islamic State.

Russia called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, to be held later Saturday evening. Deir al-Zour province, where the strike took place, is far from the populated western region where Centcom logothe separate civil war that is the subject of the cease-fire is focused. But administration officials acknowledged that the incident was “not helpful” to efforts to stop that fighting, deliver humanitarian aid to besieged Syrians and ultimately coordinate counterterrorism efforts with Russia under the new agreement.

Under the Tampa-based Central Command (whose commander Gen. Joseph Votel is shown below in a Defense Department file photo Aug. 22), coalition airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are coordinated through planning cells located in the Middle East. Target tracking is done through a variety of means, including aerial reconnaissance by surveillance drones and communications intercepts.

In a statement reported by the state-run news agency, the Syrian military said that its troops had been surrounded by Islamic State fighters and that the U.S. strike “paved the way for ISIS terrorists to attack” a nearby hilltop. In details the Pentagon did not confirm, it said the strike was carried out by four U.S. jets — two F-16 fighters and two A-10 ground-attack aircraft — flying from the Iraqi border.

The statement said the airstrikes were “conclusive evidence that the United States and its allies support ISIS and other terrorist organizations.”

Centcom Commander Gen. Joseph Votel Aug. 22, 2016 (DOD Photo)

Centcom Commander Gen. Joseph Votel at Pentagon briefing on Aug. 22, 2016 (Defense Department Photo)

Pentagon

RT, ‘US is defending ISIS’: Russia convenes UNSC meeting after US coalition strike on Syrian army, Staff report, Sept 17, 2016. Moscow has called an urgent UN Security Council meeting after US-led coalition hit Syrian forces, killing 62 soldiers and wounding 100 more. The Russian FM spokeswoman blasted Washington over the indiscriminate airstrike that she said serves the interests of ISIS terrorists. 'If previously we had suspicions that Al-Nusra Front is protected this way, now, after today's airstrikes on the Syrian army we come to a really terrifying conclusion for the entire world: The White House is defending IS [Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL]," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Rossiya 24.

“We demand a full and detailed explanation from Washington. That explanation must be given at the UN Security Council,” Zakharova added. The Foreign Ministry has demanded full and detailed explanation from Washington over the incident in Deir ez-Zor, in which 62 Syrian troops were killed and over 100 injured. The Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that US air strikes against Syrian government forces jeopardize the Syrian ceasefire deal reached between Moscow and Washington on September 9. Earlier on Saturday Russia’s Defense Ministry said that four strikes against Syrian positions had been delivered by US-led coalition aircraft – two F-16 jet fighters and two A-10 support aircraft.

Reuters via Haaretz (Israel), U.S. Says It Believed It Was Attacking ISIS in Strike That Reportedly Killed Dozens of Syrian Soldiers, Angus McDowall, Sept. 17, 2016. U.S. military said it halted airstrikes after Russia informed it that Syrian military personnel may have been hit; Russia accuses U.S. of stubborn refusal to coordinate military action in Syria.

U.S.-led coalition forces bombed Syrian troops near Deir al-Zor airport on Saturday, the Syrian army said, allowing Islamic State fighters to briefly overrun their position and putting new strains on a ceasefire in effect elsewhere in the country. The United States military said it had ceased airstrikes against what it had believed to be Islamic State positions after Russia informed it that Syrian military personnel and vehicles may have been hit.

The ceasefire, which took effect on Monday, is the most significant peacemaking effort in Syria for months but has been undermined by repeated accusations of violations on both sides and by a failure to bring humanitarian aid to besieged areas. Russia, along with Iran and Arab Shi'ite militias backs President Bashar Assad, while some of the Sunni rebels seeking to unseat him are supported by the United States, Turkey and Gulf Arab states. All those warring parties are also sworn enemies of the Islamic State jihadist group, whose territory extends along the Euphrates valley from the Iraqi border, including around Deir al-Zor, up to land near Syria's frontier with Turkey.

In its sixth year, the conflict has cost hundreds of thousands of lives, displaced half of Syria's pre-war population, prompted a refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe and inspired a wave of jihadist attacks across the world.

Washington Post, Tommy Chong wants a White House pardon for selling bongs, Christopher Ingraham, Sept. 17, 2016. In an unprecedented late-term clemency push, President Obama has commuted the sentences of 673 offenders and pardoned 70 more. Now Tommy Chong, of Cheech and Chong fame, hopes to be one of them.

Chong, who rose to prominence with Cheech Marin in the 1970s with their joint stand-up routines and stoner buddy comedy films, spent nine months in federal prison in the early 2000s for selling bongs over the internet. Last month, he started a White House petition encouraging the president to pardon him. To date, it's received over 13,000 signatures, and needs more than 80,000 more by Sept. 25 to ensure a White House response.

Chong's arrest and subsequent conviction were part of then-Attorney General John Ashcroft's push codenamed "Operation Pipe Dreams," an effort to crack down on the distribution of drug paraphernalia like glass pipes and bongs. One of the U.S. attorneys involved in the case, Mary McKeen Houghton, said at the time that Chong was selected for prosecution partly because he "used his public image to promote this crime." Chong and his lawyers maintained that authorities simply wanted to make a high-profile example out of him.

Chong didn't fight the charges, instead pleading guilty in a deal to ensure that his wife and son, who were also involved in the business, wouldn't face prosecution.

Edtior's note: Chong was thus an example of a "political prosecution" of the kind this site has been examining for years.

Sept. 16

Huffington Post, Trump Admits Obama Was Born In The United States After 5 Years Of Racist Denials, Christina Wilkie, Sept. 16, 2016. The admission was wrapped in a veil of falsehoods, but it was still Donald Trump for President logothere. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Friday said he believes President Barack Obama was born in the United States. The statement followed a chaotic 24 hours during which Trump’s campaign spokesman said the nominee believed Obama was a natural born citizen, but Trump himself refused to answer the question.

“President Obama was born in the United States, period,” Trump said on Friday. “Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.” Trump’s announcement was an abridged version of the one put out by his campaign spokesman late Thursday, which falsely claimed that Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, started the birther conspiracies.

Huffington Post, Donald Trump Falsely Calls Hillary Clinton The Original Birther, Jennifer Bendery, Sept. 16, 2016. Donald Trump is lying again. The epublican presidential nominee Donald Trump falsely claimed Friday that his opponent Hillary Clinton started the conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

Hillary Clinton“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy,” Trump said at a press event at his new luxury hotel in Washington, D.C. “I finished it. You know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period.” Trump’s claim is staggeringly false because he has long been the biggest “birther” in American politics. For the last five years, Trump has espoused birtherism in interviews and used his Twitter feed to stoke the theory that Obama was born in Africa instead of Hawaii.

In 2011, the White House released the president’s long-form birth certificate, prompting Trump to declare at a press conference that he was very proud of himself. But he didn’t quit birtherism, as his Twitter feed shows. 

DailyMail, Trump starts campaign rally WITHOUT the media and calls it 'really good news' as his staff and his schedule strand reporters on airport tarmac, David Martosko, Sept. 16, 2016. Donald Trump's fondest wish came true Thursday, as he conducted nearly an entire campaign rally without his hated national media in tow. He called it 'really good news.'

Donald Trump button open mouthTrump publicly mocked his own traveling press corps for showing up late, a turn of events that his own campaign staff caused. 'I have really good news for you,' Trump told about 1,000 people in a New Hampshire middle school gymnasium. 'I just heard that the press is stuck on their airplane.' 'They can't get here. I love it! So they're trying to get here now. They're gonna be about 30 minutes late.'

'They called us and said, "Could you wait?" he claimed. 'I said absolutely not. Let's get going, right? Let's get going, New Hampshire!' Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump landed a heavy punch on the national press corps Thursday, holding nearly an entire campaign rally before they could arrive. The crowd, accustomed to hearing about his near-daily sparring matches with reporters, roared with approval.

While Trump, the Republican nominee for president whose contentious relationship with journalists has become the stuff of legend, started the event, the traveling press was still on an airplane tarmac at the end of a charter flight.

Huffington Post , How Donald Trump Played The Press, Sam Stein, Sept. 16, 2016. It was masterful, crazy and maddening all at once. Members of the political press corps are not nimble beasts. So it was probably a bit exhausting for them as they stepped on top of their bronze chiavari chairs in the aptly named Presidential Ballroom of the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. late Friday morning to shriek questions at Donald Trump.

Donald Trump Old Post OfficeBut this is what they were reduced to: As they stood on those chairs, atop soft, white-padded seats, exhausting their lungs to scream questions at a suddenly reticent presidential candidate ― Will you apologize to President Obama? When did you stop believing in birtherism? Mr. Trump?! Mr. Trump!” ― the realization surely dawned on them that they had been played.

An event billed as a major statement on Trump’s long history as a birther devoted a mere 33 seconds (pauses included) to the subject matter. Instead, it featured a live tour of Trump’s new hotel and a lengthy, nearly uninterrupted series of testimonials from veterans supporting Trump about just what a courageous, clear-sighted commander-in-chief he would be.

A press conference this surely was not. It was merely a promotional exercise for a newly opened property capped off by a disingenuous attempt to deflect blame, all done behind the human shield of decorated veterans. Not only did Trump seek to gain absolution, he wanted the moral high-ground too, since any complaint about Friday’s event could subsequently be spun as disregard for the veterans in attendance.

Photographers and television cameramen were ushered along to tour his hotel with him, through the high-ceilinged ballrooms and the sumptuous lounge. It’s a lavish place, one that Trump predicted will be known as the best hotel in the country, if not the world. But it’s also a complicated matter for a candidate presenting himself as a champion of working America. A spoonful of wine ― yes, a spoonful ― costs between $15 and $140, rooms currently cost just under $900 a night, and there is gold trim on the urinals (fake gold, but still). The hotel cost $212 million to build.

None of this likely matters to Trump’s supporters, who regarded questions about his wealth and his dalliance with the birthers with a mix of contempt and indifference. There was one woman from Maryland who said Trump’s continued birtherism wasn’t important since Obama “is so close to leaving office anyway.” 

Jimmy Fallon and Donald Trump NBC Tonight Show Sept. 15, 2016Atlantic, The Embarrassment of Jimmy Fallon, David Sims, Sept. 16, 2016. Donald Trump appeared on The Tonight Show and wasn’t asked a single substantive question in 10 minutes. Fallon is a comedian who plays it extremely safe on The Tonight Show, and his kid-gloves treatment of Trump was fairly predictable. Hillary Clinton has a similarly easy time of it on the show; Fallon has never been one to ask a celebrity a remotely challenging question, let alone a political candidate.

But his platform as a beloved entertainer is a powerful one. It makes it even easier for him to ask about some of Trump’s more shocking statements without coming off as a “gotcha” interrogator. Fallon’s whole persona is rooted in empathy for his wide audience, which is especially large among younger viewers; he could have reflected that on Thursday by illuminating issues they care about.

CNN, Johnson, Stein fail to qualify for first debate, Karl de Vries and Daniella Diaz, Sept. 16, 2016. Gary Johnson, Jill Stein don't qualify for first debate. Libertarian Gary Johnson (shown in a file photo) and Green Party nominee Jill Stein will not participate in the first presidential debate, and their running mates will not be in the vice presidential debate, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Friday.

Gary JohnsonThe decision means Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump will be the only two candidates on the stage on September 26, and Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, their respective running mates, will be the only participants on October 4.

Jill SteinThe candidates needed to make a 15% polling threshold across several major national polls in order to qualify for the debates. The commission determined that the polling averages for the candidates had Clinton at 43%, Trump at 40.4%, Johnson at 8.4% and Stein at 3.2%.

Johnson has publicly said that being excluded from the debates would doom his campaign. Johnson said he wasn't surprised by the decision to "exclude" him from the first debate. "There are more polls and more debates, and we plan to be on the debate stage in October," Johnson said in a statement. Stein said in a statement that she plans to show up with "hundreds" of supporters outside the event.

Washington Post, Trump: Clinton’s bodyguards should ‘disarm immediately’ and ‘see what happens to her,’ Sean Sullivan and Jenna Johnson, Sept. 16, 2016. Donald Trump said Friday evening that the bodyguards assigned to his rival Hillary Clinton should "disarm immediately" and "see what happens."

"She goes around with armed bodyguards like you have never seen before. I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons. They should disarm. Right? Right?" Trump said during a campaign rally here as the crowd cheered the idea. "I think they should disarm immediately. What do you think? Yes? Yes. Yeah. Take their guns away. She doesn't want guns. ... Let's see what happens to her. Take their guns away, okay? It would be very dangerous."

The remarks were a version of a pro-gun argument that the country would be safer if more people were armed.

But the insinuation of gun-related violence against a rival is unprecedented in modern presidential politics. Trump also routinely claims that Clinton wants to ban all guns or repeal the Second Amendment, which is false. In a statement, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said, "Donald Trump has a pattern of inciting people to violence. Whether this is done to provoke protesters at a rally or casually or even as a joke, it is an unacceptable quality in anyone seeking the job of commander in chief."

Huffington Post, Trump Belittles Harry Reid’s Injury, Gets Deserved Response, Michael McAuliff, Sept. 16, 2016. Trump quipped Reid should go back to doing the exercise that blinded one eye, and won a sizzling broadside from the pugnacious Democrat.

Better to suffer a disabling injury than to be a con man like Donald Trump, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) suggested Friday after the Republican presidential nominee belittled an accident that left the Nevada Democrat blind in one eye. Reid has been hammering away in recent days and weeks at Trump’s morals, hypocrisy, lack of fitness to lead America and even his physical fitness, with the latter attack stemming from Trump’s criticism of Hillary Clinton’s health.

Reid said earlier this week that Trump wasn’t in much of a position to criticize his Democratic rival because he “is 70 years old, he’s not slim and trim, he brags about eating fast food every day.”

Asked about that remark in a Washington Post interview, Trump, who once infamously mocked a disabled reporter, responded with a similar sort of wit, belittling Reid for the injury the senator suffered while working out with exercise bands more than a year ago.

“Donald Trump can make fun of the injury that crushed the side of my face and took the sight in my right eye all he wants. I’ve dealt with tougher opponents than him,” Reid said in a statement Friday. “I may not be able to see out of my right eye, but with my good eye, I can see that Trump is a man who inherited his money and spent his entire life pretending like he earned it.” He continued in a statement:

Trump rips off working people with scams like Trump University. And while the people he ripped off suffer, Trump sits at the posh resort he bought with his daddy’s money, with no understanding of the misery he caused. Now, Trump’s business interests in foreign countries and his Ponzi-scheme fraud of a ‘charity’ make clear that Trump intends to scam all of America just like he rips off hard-working people.

Trump can insult me all he wants but the American people deserve answers to these questions:

Why did Trump appear to use his charity to enrich himself and bribe elected officials who were investigating his scams?

Unz Review, Weekly Digest, Ron Unz, Sept. 16, 2016. By a wide margin our most popular article this last week was the Saker’s detailed evaluation of the so-called “9/11 Truth Movement” on the fifteenth anniversary of the historical events in question. In The 9/11 Truth Movement 15 Years Later: Where Do We Stand?  he concludes that although the movement has been enormously successful in demonstrating the massive flaws and impossibilities in the official story of those terrorist attacks, it has been much less successful at bringing those important facts to general public attention or persuading our media or political elites to take them seriously. As might be expected, such a contentious topic produced an outpouring of nearly 400 comments, amounting to well over 50,000 words of text.

Ranking second was a lengthy indictment of one of those very elite media outlets, The New York Times, by journalist Johannes Wahlstrom, a close colleague of Wikileaks impressario Julian Assange. He discusses [in An Obituary of The New York Times] his personal meeting with some of the top officials of the Times several years ago, and the extent to which that august publication has increasingly become a mere propaganda outlet for government leaders.

Paul Craig Roberts, Western Media Credibility In Free Fall Collapse, Paul Craig Roberts, Sept. 16, 2016.  he latest from the Gallup Poll is that only 32% of Americans trust the print and TV media to tell the truth. Republicans, 18 to 49 year old Americans, and independents trust the media even less, with trust rates of 14%, 26%, and 30%.

The only group that can produce a majority that still trusts the media are Democrats with a 51% trust rate in print and TV reporting. The next highest trust rate is Americans over 50 years of age with a trust rate of 38 percent. The conclusion is that old people who are Democrats are the only remaining group that barely trusts the media. It is not difficult to see why trust in the media has collapsed. The corrupt Clinton regime, which we might be on the verge of repeating, allowed a somewhat diverse and independent media to be 90% acquired by six mega-corporations. The result was the disappearance of independence in reporting and opinion.

Telegraph, American commandos 'forced to run away' from US-backed Syrian rebels, Raf Sanchez, Sept. 16, 2016. Video footage appears to show US commandos fleeing a Syrian town under a barrage of abuse and insults hurled at them by fighters from the American-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebel group. The video appears to be the first evidence of US special forces cooperating with Turkish troops in their battle against Islamic State. The incident illustrates the complex web of alliances and enmities in Syria, where many of America’s allies are fighting each other and some rebel groups that receive US support still harbour strong anti-American sentiments.

The footage shows a crowd of rebel fighters in the town of al-Rai near the Turkish border, which was captured from Isil by Syrian rebel groups with the backing of Turkey. Turkey, which launched a military incursion into Syria in late August, has been backing the FSA.

Syria US commandos at al-bai-screen shot Sept. 16, 2016Syria US commandos at Al Rai screen shot Sept. 16, 2016

SouthFront, US Special Forces Arrived Al-Rai in Northern Syria, but Were Kicked Out by Turkish-backed Militants (2:18 min. video), Staff report, Sept. 16, 2016. Four US Special Forces officers have been spotted in the town of Al Rai in the Syrian province of Aleppo. The town is now controlled by the Turkish Armed Forces and Turkish-backed militants. According to reports, in total 25 US soldiers were working with the Turkey-led forces as they advanced on al-Rai. However, US special forces officers were forced to flee Al Rai after Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants threatened to “slaughter” them for their “invasion.”

WhoWhatWhy, Former FBI Whistleblower Calls for New 9/11 Investigation, Jeff Schechtman, Sept. 16, 2016. Coleen Rowley, who exposed the FBI’s initial 9/11 cover-ups, argues that we still don’t know the WhoWhatWhytruth and that the Bureau was not the only agency that attempted to conceal something.

Coleen Rowley was the whistleblower who exposed the FBI’s cover-up of the information from the Minneapolis FBI field office that might have prevented the 9/11 attacks. Rowley tells WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman that in her view, we still don’t know the truth about who was behind the attacks and she urges a new independent investigation. She argues that not just the FBI but other agencies also ignored a whole range of early warning signs.

Sept. 15

Washington Post, Trump tells Post he is unwilling to say Obama was born in the U.S., Robert Costa, Sept. 15, 2016. Despite Donald Trump's refusal to say so, his campaign said late Thursday that he does, in Donald Trump Logo Make America Great Againfact, believe Obama was born in Hawaii. Trump was once a vocal proponent of the debunked conspiracy theory that the nation’s first black president was born overseas and ineligible for the White House, and has never disavowed those claims. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said in an interview here that he remains unwilling to say that President Obama was born in the United States, that he is more bullish than ever on his chances to win and that he is not exploring the launch of a new media company in case he loses the race.

Trump also made a far-from-subtle push — in the interview and in a letter from his doctor released Thursday — to be seen as vigorous and healthy, as his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, returned to the campaign trail after being treated for mild pneumonia.

In the interview, conducted late Wednesday aboard his private plane as it idled on the tarmac here, Trump suggested he is not eager to change his pitch or his positions even as he works to reach out to minority voters, his positions even as he works to reach out to minority voters, many of whom are deeply offended by his long-refuted suggestion that Obama is not a U.S. citizen. Trump refused to say whether he believes Obama was born in Hawaii.

Washington Post, Trump’s campaign says he recognizes Obama’s U.S. birth, but layers it with falsehoods, Philip Bump​, Sept. 15, 2016. The Trump campaign and the candidate aren't delivering the same messages when it comes to Obama's birthplace. The Fix On Thursday night, Donald Trump finally acknowledged an obvious, proven fact: President Obama was born in the United States. Or, rather, Trump's campaign said that he acknowledged it, in a statement that was itself riddled with falsehoods.

Roll Call, Warren Wants FBI Transparency About Financial Crisis, Fires off letters to FBI director and Justice Department inspector general, Niels Lesniewski, Sept. 15, 2016. Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants the FBI FBI logoto explain why people involved in causing the 2008 financial crisis didn't face criminal prosecution. And in a new letter to FBI Director James Comey, the Massachusetts Democrat is calling for the kind of transparency the bureau showed after its decision to recommend no criminal charges against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in connection with her use of a private email system while serving as secretary of State.

Elizabeth Warren"Your recent actions with regard to the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton provide a clear precedent for releasing additional information about the investigation of the parties responsible for the financial crisis," Warren wrote in a letter expected to be sent today and obtained by Roll Call.

Warren's letter to Comey came with a separate request to Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general. In that letter, Warren said she wanted a review of what DOJ actually did with referrals from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

Warren, shown in an official photo, explained that her staff reviewed FCIC documents that came available earlier in 2016, and among the more interesting findings to Warren was the potential that fraud had been committed by the leaders of a variety of financial institutions. While being clear to stress that referrals alone may not mean there was actual criminal wrongdoing, the letter to the inspector general does name nine prominent executives from Wall Street at the time of the crisis, including individuals with AIG, Citigroup and Merrill Lynch, as well as the government-backed lending giant Fannie Mae.

Washington Post, Clinton regrets her Iraq vote, but opting for force was a pattern, Michael Kranish, Sept. 15, 2016. It would take years for the Democratic nominee to acknowledge that the decision was misguided, eventually calling it “my mistake.” But it was little surprise to many who watched her evolution as a hawk.

Hillary Clinton ButtonWashington Post, Clinton returns to the trail: ‘I’m not great at taking it easy,’ Abby Phillip and Anne Gearan, Sept. 15, 2016. The Democratic nominee, who had been diagnosed with pneumonia last week, held a rally in North Carolina after three days of rest, giving an address on improving the welfare of children and families.

Politico, Watchdog: FBI impersonation of journalist in 2007 didn't violate policy, Josh Gerstein, An FBI agent's impersonation of an Associated Press editor in a bomb threat investigation in Washington state nearly a decade ago did not violate the FBI's policies at the time, a Justice Department Inspector General report has found. "FBI policies in 2007 did not expressly address the tactic of agents impersonating journalists," the report from Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz's office said. "We further found that the FBI's undercover policies then in effect provided some guidance, but were less than clear. As a result, we believe that the judgments agents made about aspects of the planned undercover activity in 2007 did not violate the undercover policies in place at the time."

Washington Post, Should we let 9/11 victims sue Saudi Arabia? Not so fast, Editorial Board, Sept. 15, 2016. A basic precept of international law is that sovereign nations, or their government officials, should not be liable for official actions in the civil courts of other sovereign nations. Sovereign immunity has stood the test of time because it makes practical sense. And it makes practical sense because the international deeds and misdeeds of governments are more equitably dealt with through state-to-state negotiations than by hauling one country’s officials in front of the judges and juries of another.

Alas, the Senate and the House have unanimously voted to weaken this principle in the noble-sounding cause of justice for American victims of alleged state-sponsored acts of terrorism. The legislation, sparked by much-ballyhooed but so-far-unsubstantiated claims of official Saudi collusion in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, would permit victims of acts of terrorism in the United States to sue alleged state sponsors for monetary damages in federal court. Under current law, such suits are permissible only against governments that the State Department has already designated as sponsors of terrorism: Iran, Syria and Sudan. The bill would enable private individuals and their lawyers to add oil-rich Saudi Arabia, perhaps the ultimate deep-pocketed defendant, to that list. Someday, other countries could find themselves in the dock, too.

Proponents describe the bill as a “narrow” adjustment to existing law, and, to be sure, they have watered down more sweeping earlier versions in the face of veto threats from President Obama and criticism from international-law and national-security experts.

Note, however, that this would require the executive branch to conduct negotiations so it could make the certification, even if it didn’t think such talks were warranted. And the bill leaves it up to a court whether to grant the initial stay. This is still too much power to give unelected, inexpert judges over a core function of the political branches. 

Roll Call, Senate Rating Change: Blunt on the Bubble in Missouri, Nathan L. Gonzales, Sept. 15, 2016. Polls in Missouri consistently show GOP Sen. Roy Blunt with an advantage over Democratic Secretary of State Jason Kander, but some Republicans are concerned that the race could get tighter. 

Jason KanderAnd the race could be bellwether for whether Republicans have a bad night or a terrible one. Democrats remain confident in the bio of their candidate, a young attorney who served a tour in Afghanistan with the Army National Guard, in contrast to a longtime politician. Democrats have also been critical of Blunt’s connections to lobbyists, including family members. But Kander’s wife once listed “assisting in lobbying efforts” on her professional biography. Democrats noted that she has never been a registered lobbyist but awkwardly called it an “aspirational bio.”

Kander (shown in an official photo) stands to benefit from less of a focus on defeating Rob Portman in Ohio or Marco Rubio in Florida because it would free up party funds to be spent elsewhere, including Missouri. Politico first announced the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee independent expenditure arm’s $1.5 million ad buy against Blunt. Democratic strategists are more excited about defeating Blunt than John McCain in Arizona.

CounterPunch, Boycotts, Now and Then: an Open Letter on BDS to the City Council of New York, Stanley L. Cohen, Like the religion of my youth and the country of my birth, I just don’t know the City of my life any more. Several days ago in what can only be described as a one sided political prisoner exchange, a quid pro quo of suffering, the craven New York City Council held a session to “debate” a proposed resolution on how best to convert constitutionally protected BDS speech and activity into per se anti-Semitism… a perverse leap of faith similar to the sinister shroud of supremacy worn by the Reichstag supporters of the 30’s at a time when today’s Palestinians, were yesteryear’s Jews.

CraigMurray.org, Mr. Murray Goes to Washington, Craig Murray, Sept. 15, 2016. After a 16,000 person petition to the State Department and letter writing and lobbying including by Jeremy Corbyn, Roger Waters and Daniel Ellsberg, I have been granted a 10-year US visa. I will be going to Washington in a week to have the great honor to chair the presentation of the Sam Adams Award to John Kiriakou – the CIA agent who blew the whistle on waterboarding, and was jailed for it as part of the disgraceful Obama/Clinton War on Whistleblowers. I shall also be speaking at the World Beyond War conference at American University on the subject of peaceful conflict resolution.

Sept. 14

Washington Post, Trump has all the momentum in national and key swing state polls, Chris Cillizza​, Sept. 14, 2016. Something very interesting has happened over the past two weeks in the campaign: Donald Donald Trump for President logoTrump is climbing back into contention.

Washington Post, What Donald Trump is doing on the campaign trail, Editorial Board, Sept. 14, 2016. The Trump campaign believes this editorial is not journalism. It is “badgering.” That is how campaign manager Kellyanne Conway described on Tuesday some simple questions The Post and others have asked Mr. Trump and his circle over the past several months about his supposed philanthropic activities.

If anyone has an authenticity problem, it is Mr. Trump. The facts on the table suggest he is not a great philanthropist — he is a scam artist. Mr. Trump has cultivated the persona of a generous man, repeatedly claiming on television he would donate to charity “out of my wallet” and accepting honors from groups he appeared to support. In fact, an exhaustive investigation by Post reporter David A. Fahrenthold shows that Mr. Trump retooled his foundation about a decade ago to act as an intermediary for other people’s charitable giving, a racket from which Mr. Trump gained in reputation and from which he may even have occasionally profited.

Newsweek, How the Trump Organization's Foreign Business Ties Could Upend U.S. National Security, Kurt Eichenwald, Sept. 14, 2016. Trump’s global deals would make it impossible for him to conduct foreign policy in many countries without padding or depleting his wallet. A close examination by Newsweek of the Trump Organization, including confidential interviews with business executives and some of its international partners, reveals an enterprise with deep ties to global financiers, foreign politicians and even criminals, although there is no evidence the Trump Organization has engaged in any illegal activities.

It also reveals a web of contractual entanglements that could not be just canceled. If Trump moves into the White House and his family continues to receive any benefit from the company, during or even after his presidency, almost every foreign policy decision he makes will raise serious conflicts of interest and ethical quagmires.

Donald Trump 2016 buttonWashington Post, Despite gestures, Trump still not very transparent about health, taxes, wife’s immigration, Jenna Johnson and Mary Jordan, Sept. 14, 2016. Donald Trump remains the least transparent major presidential nominee in modern history. At the same time, Trump and his aides are criticizing rival Hillary Clinton as secretive and demanding more information from her about her emails and health.

270 to Win, Gary Johnson Qualifies for Ballot in All 50 States, Staff report, Sept. 14, 2016. Libertarian party nominee Gary Johnson will appear on the November ballot in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Gary JohnsonThe Wall Street Journal reports. This marks the first such occurrence for a third party nominee since 1996, when Ross Perot (Reform Party) and Harry Browne (Libertarian) were successful. Perot received 8.4% of the vote that year, while Browne saw only 0.5% support.

Rhode Island was the final state to approve Johnson (shown in a file photo).

Johnson is currently averaging 9% in national polls, although he is well into double digits in several states. To qualify for the debates, Johnson would need to average 15%. The campaign is taking out a full-page ad in the New York Times to encourage the debate commission to allow him to participate. No 3rd party candidate has earned electoral votes since 1968, when George Wallace won five states in the deep South. Will this year be different? You can game it out with our three-way map that includes Gary Johnson.

Washington Post, Clinton releases doctor’s letter describing ‘mild’ pneumonia, Abby Phillip and Anne Gearan, Sept. 14, 2016. Hillary Clinton’s campaign released a letter from her doctor Gregory Hauenstein photo, Hillary Clinton in Des Moines, IA, June 14, 2015 FlickrWednesday describing her treatment for “mild, non-contagious bacterial pneumonia” and noting that she received a CT scan confirming the illness and she is now halfway through a regimen on the antibiotic Levaquin.

The letter, from Clinton’s doctor, Lisa Bardack, is intended to put to rest concerns about the Democratic presidential nominee’s health after the illness caused her to stumble out of a memorial service Sunday and forced her off the campaign trail for days. Clinton’s campaign said the information would update a health history released last year.

The details in the letter show that Clinton has normal-ranging vital statistics, according to several doctors who reviewed the information but have never treated her. Her blood pressure and cholesterol levels are “good” or “excellent” and place her at low risk for illness for a woman her age, the doctors said.

Unz Review, An Obituary of The New York Times, Johannes Wahlstrom, Sept. 14, 2016. Working with the government to suppress stories, covering up election fraud in the ruling party and ruthlessly campaigning against the main US opposition leader, The New York Times has sentenced itself to wither away into irrelevance. Remembered only in history books as a relic of the Cold War, much like its sister newspaper Pravda of the Soviet Union. The New York Times R.I.P.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. and Bill Keller at The New York Times building on Manhattan. Keller was the long time editor in chief of the newspaper and Sulzberger its proprietor. We met at what must have been the 50th floor of the company headquarters, on 8th Avenue. I write company headquarters, instead of newspaper, because this part of the building was accessible only through a separate elevator-system and was strictly off-limits for the regular New York Times reporters. We spoke for about an hour and a half for the film Mediastan that I was shooting at the time, and now in hindsight, I’m both grateful and surprised by how honestly the administrative and real heads of the enterprise described the nature of their work. Grateful, because the degree of openness they exhibited is a rarity in the backrooms of journalism. Surprised, because what they were doing wasn’t journalism, at least not in the sense that I had been taught in journalism school in Sweden.

Boston Globe, Frustrating the War lobby, Stephen Kinzer, Sept. 14, 2016. Stephen Kinzer is a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. By trying to block a $1.15 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, a bipartisan group of US senators is challenging one of the key forces that shape American foreign policy: the arms industry. Their campaign shines a light on the role that this industry plays in whipping up fears of danger in the world. How do Americans know that Saudi Arabia is a peace-loving country dedicated to fighting terrorism? The same way we know that Russia is a snarling enemy on a rampage of conquest: The arms industry tells us so.

“We must respond to the rise of ISIS terrorism, Russian aggression on NATO’s doorstep, provocative moves by Iran and North Korea, and an increasingly powerful China,” the Aerospace Industry Association recently declared. Issuing warnings through its own mouthpieces, though, is not enough to shape public opinion. The industry also sponsors “think tanks” that obligingly issue alarming reports warning of increasing peril everywhere. Many are run by former diplomats or military commanders. Their scary warnings, which seem realistic given the warners’ personal prestige and the innocent-sounding names of their
think tanks, are aimed at persuading Americans and foreign governments to spend more billions of dollars on weaponry.

The ludicrously misnamed United States Institute for Peace, for example, is run by Stephen Hadley, a former national security adviser who also earns hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for his service on the board of Raytheon, a leading arms maker. Another arms maker, Lockheed Martin, which has just sold Poland an air-to-surface missile system and wants to sell more, has given the institute $1 million. It’s been a good investment. Hadley has urged that the United States “raise the cost for what Russia is doing in Ukraine” because “even President [Vladimir] Putin is sensitive to body bags.” The Institute of Peace wants European countries to double their military spending and also favors sending more weapons into the Ukraine powder keg.

Washington Post, Ehud Barak: Netanyahu’s reckless conduct endangers Israel, Ehud Barak, Sept. 14, 2016. Ehud Barak, shown in a file shot from a CNN appearance, was prime minister of Israel from 1999 to 2001 and defense minister from 1999 to 2001 Ehud Barakand 2007 to 2013. During the past two years, a sense of gloom has taken over my country, as pride in Israel’s accomplishments and self-confidence grounded in reality have given way to fear-mongering, victimhood and internal quarrels.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enabled a militant, nationalist minority to carry out a hostile takeover of his party, Likud; to form a majority in his cabinet; and thus to hijack our national agenda in the service of a messianic drive toward, as it’s often put, “a single Jewish state, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.” This overarching ambition is bound to culminate in either a single, binational state, which, within a generation, may have a Jewish minority and likely a Bosnia-like civil war, or else an apartheid reality if Palestinian residents are deprived of the right to vote. Both spell doom for the Zionist dream.

Israel FlagNetanyahu’s reckless conduct has also undermined Israel’s security. Israel has reached a new military-aid agreement for the next decade with the United States. The damage produced by Netanyahu’s irresponsible management of the relations with the White House is now fully manifest. Israel will receive $3.8 billion a year — an important contribution to our security but far less than what could have been obtained before the prime minister chose to blatantly interfere with U.S. politics.

Moreover, given the more than 20 percent cumulative rise in the cost of arms since the last 10-year agreement entered into force (in 2007), the newly agreed-upon amount represents no greater purchasing power — and even these funds will be conditioned on Israel refraining from requesting additional funding from Congress. Accentuating the degree of mistrust, according to new details reported Wednesday, the administration secured an Israeli written commitment to return any additional money that Congress might provide. In the past, Congress has added — with White House consent — $600 million to $700 million every year for Iron Dome and other defense systems.

Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, George Mitchell, Rahm Emanuel at White House

President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right), with George Mitchell and Rahm Emanuel at the White House during Obama's first term (White House Photo)

USA Today, U.S. agrees to landmark $3.8B military aid deal with Israel, U.S. $38B military aid package to Israel sends a message, Oren Dorell, Sept. 14, 2016. The United States agreed Wednesday to provide Israel a record $38 billion in new military aid over the next decade. The pact is a sign of the two nations' close alliance despite major differences over Iran's nuclear program and other policies.

Israel FlagThe agreement, which equates to $3.8 billion a year, is the largest bilateral military aid package ever and includes $5 billion for missile defense, additional F-35 joint strike fighters and increased mobility for its ground forces. The aid package “is just the most recent reflection of my steadfast commitment to the security of the state of Israel,” President Obama said in a statement.

It will make “a significant contribution to Israel’s security in what remains a dangerous neighborhood,” Obama said. “The continued supply of the world’s most advanced weapons technology will ensure that Israel has the ability to defend itself from all manner of threats.”

National Security Adviser Susan Rice said the package was good for the U.S. as well. "When our partners and allies are more secure, the United States is more secure," Rice said at a signing ceremony Wednesday at the State Department. Some critics faulted details of the agreement, which they said will hurt Israel’s ability to ask for more assistance in emergencies or as security conditions change.

“The U.S. is sending a message to the region that despite all the differences between us and Israel over last few years, none of Israel’s adversaries have a patron willing to commit as much money to their defense as the United States,” said David Makovsky, an analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank in Washington, D.C.

Washington Post, Here are the juiciest Colin Powell comments about Trump and Clinton from his hacked emails, Aaron Blake, Sept. 14, 2016. Newly released emails reportedly hacked from former Secretary of State Colin Powell's account show him calling Donald Trump a quote "national disgrace" and "international pariah." He also reportedly criticizes Hillary Clinton's camp for trying to drag him into her email scandal.  

Colin Powell (2005In new emails leaked by a hacker, former secretary of state Colin L. Powell (shown in a file photo) offers unvarnished and highly negative opinions about both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. He calls Trump "a national disgrace and an international pariah" who led a "racist" birther movement. And he says that he resented Clinton's dragging him into her email problems and that "everything [she] touches she kind of screws up with hubris."

The emails were first reported by BuzzFeed and the Intercept after being posted under password protection on DCLeaks.com, a site with ties to other recent hacks of U.S. political figures and groups. A Powell spokeswoman confirmed to The Washington Post that the emails are Powell's. "We have confirmed that the general has been hacked and that these are his emails," spokeswoman Peggy Cifrino said. "We have no other comment at this time."

The Washington Post has also accessed the emails. While they are still being combed through, here are the highlights of what we've seen:

Of the birther movement, which Trump led earlier this decade by publicly questioning whether President Obama was born in the United States, Powell said its underpinnings were clear. “Yup, the whole birther movement was racist,” Powell wrote to journalist and former aide Emily Miller on Aug. 21. "That’s what the 99% believe. When Trump couldn’t keep that up he said he also wanted to see if the certificate noted that he was a Muslim.” Powell added: "As I have said before, ‘What if he was?’ Muslims are born as Americans every day." Powell added in August 2015, according to the Intercept: Trump "appeals to the worst angels of the GOP nature and poor white folks."

The Hill, Powell in leaked email slams Bill Clinton on continuing affairs with 'bimbos,' Ben Kamisar, Sept. 14, 2016. A website claiming to have hacked former Secretary of State Colin Powell's private emails has published correspondence that appears to show Powell accusing President Bill Clinton of adultery. The emails are housed on password-protected DCLeaks.com, a website that security experts told Bloomberg News appears to have some connection to Russian intelligence operatives.

One email posted by CBS News editor Will Rahn shows Powell (shown in a 2005 file photo) telling Democratic donor Jeffrey Leeds that he hopes to avoid having to vote for Hillary Clinton for president, pointing to the New York Post's coverage of her husband's alleged affairs. "I would rather not have to vote for her, although she is a friend I respect," he writes in the email dated July 26, 2014. "A 70-year-old person with a long track record, unbridled ambition, greedy, not transformational, with a husband still dicking bimbos at home (according to the NYP)."
 
Former President Clinton has been dogged by allegations of adultery for years, and his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky culminated in impeachment proceedings. It's the latest controversial email stemming from the leak — other conversations show Powell chiding GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and sharing concerns about Clinton's health with Leeds.

Lawfare, In Defense of Jim Comey: Politico's Bizarrely Shoddy Attack on the FBI Director, Benjamin Wittes, Sept. 14, 2016. An astonishingly bad piece appeared in Politico this week under an admittedly arresting headline: “The Case Against James Comey: Not Since Hoover Has an FBI Director Shown Such a Lack of Accountability.”

Sept. 13

Democratic-Republican Campagne logosRealClearPolitics.com, Transparency Issue Clouds Clinton, Trump Campaigns, Alexis Simendinger and Caitlin Huey-Burns, Sept. 13, 2016. If Hillary Clinton kept her respiratory illness under wraps too long, and Donald Trump still refuses to reveal his tax returns, which of the presidential nominees pays the higher price with voters on the question of transparency?

On Monday, the answer appeared to be Clinton, much to Democrats’ consternation. Clinton campaign officials admitted during television interviews Monday that the Democratic nominee and her team withheld pertinent information about her illness for three days. They tried to argue, with little evident success, that Trump’s secretiveness, including about his tax returns, made him less transparent than Clinton.

Donald Trump Apprentice promoDonald Trump in a promotional photo from his "reality" show "The Apprentice" 

New York Times, Why Are The Media Objectively Pro-Trump? Paul Krugman, Sept. 13, 2016. Because they are, at this point. It’s not even false equivalence: compare the amount of attention given to the Clinton Foundation despite absence of any evidence of wrongdoing, and attention given to Trump Foundation, which engaged in more or less open bribery — but barely made a dent in news coverage. Clinton was harassed endlessly over failure to give press conferences, even though she was doing lots of interviews; Trump violated decades of tradition by refusing to release his taxes, amid strong suspicion that he is hiding something; the press simply dropped the subject.

Brian Beutler argues that it’s about protecting the media’s own concerns, namely access. But I don’t think that works. It doesn’t explain why the Clinton emails were a never-ending story but the disappearance of millions of George W. Bush emails wasn’t, or for that matter Jeb Bush’s deletion of records; the revelation that Colin Powell did, indeed, offer HRC advice on how to have private email the way he did hasn’t even been reported by some major news organizations.

And I don’t see how the huffing and puffing about the foundation — which “raised questions”, but where the media were completely unwilling to accept the answers they found — fits into this at all. No, it’s something special about Clinton Rules. I don’t really understand it. But it has the feeling of a high school clique bullying a nerdy classmate because it’s the cool thing to do.

And as I feared, it looks as if people who cried wolf about non-scandals are now engaged in an all-out effort to dig up or invent dirt to justify their previous Clinton hostility. Hard to believe that such pettiness could have horrifying consequences. But I am very scared.

Reuters via New York Times, Former AIG Chief Hank Greenberg Finally Goes on Trial, Sept. 13, 2016. Opening arguments are set to begin on Tuesday in the trial of former American International Group Inc Hank Greenbergchairman Maurice "Hank" Greenberg (shown in a file photo) over accounting fraud at the insurance giant some 16 years ago. Greenberg, 91, is facing civil charges of orchestrating a $500 million transaction to conceal the insurer's financial difficulties from shareholders. He is expected to testify during the trial.

The case, filed by then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in 2005 and which also names former AIG chief financial officer Howard Smith as a defendant, did not go to trial for more than a decade, thanks to legal wrangling that twice made its way to the Court of Appeals, the state's highest court. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has said he continued to pursue the case to show "no one, no matter how rich or powerful can evade responsibility for misconduct."

David Boies, Greenberg's lawyer, plans to argue the lawsuit was politically motivated. "This case was brought by Eliot Spitzer expressly because he was angry at Hank Greenberg," Boies said in an interview on Monday. He plans to enter evidence that Spitzer was irate about statements Greenberg made about the attorney general's overly aggressive approach towards alleged corporate misconduct.

JIP Editor's note: AIG and Greenberg are widely reported in books and the alternative media, but not the mainstream media, to have been heavily involved in covert CIA activities around the globe for many decades.

EurophysicsGlobal Research, Fifteen Years Later, Physics Journal Concludes All Three WTC Towers Collapsed on 9/11 Due to Controlled Demolition, Jay Syrmopoulos, Sept. 13, 2016. Over the past 15 years many highly respected academics and experts have come forward to challenge the official narrative on the collapse of the WTC towers forwarded by the U.S. government. The official government position holds that the collapse of all three towers was due to intense heat inside of the buildings.

But a new forensic investigation into the collapse of the three World Trade Center towers on 9/11, published in Europhysics News – a highly respected European physics magazine – claims that “the evidence points overwhelmingly to the conclusion that all three buildings were destroyed by controlled demolition.” While many in the mainstream have attempted to label anyone questioning the official narrative as “tin foil hat” conspiracy theorist, many highly respected experts have come forward to lampoon the idea that the buildings collapsed due to the intense heat and fires following two terrorist-directed plane crashes.

“Given the far-reaching implications, it is morally imperative that this hypothesis be the subject of a truly scientific and impartial investigation by responsible authorities,” the four physicists conclude in the damning report.

The new study is the work of Steven Jones, former full professor of physics at Brigham Young University, Robert Korol, a professor emeritus of civil engineering at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, Anthony Szamboti, a mechanical design engineer with over 25 years of structural design experience in the aerospace and communications industries and Ted Walter, the director of strategy and development for Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, a nonprofit organization that today represents more than 2,500 architects and engineers.

Politico, Glenn Beck reaches settlement with Saudi student over Boston Marathon accusations, Josh Gerstein, Sept. 13, 2016. Conservative media personality Glenn Beck and several related companies have reached an out-of-court settlement with a Saudi Arabian student Beck accused of involvement in financing the deadly 2013 bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Abdulrahman Alharbi sued Beck, his firms The Blaze and Mercury Radio Arts, as well as distributor Premiere Networks for defamation in federal court in Boston over his assertions that Alharbi-who was injured in the attack-served as "the money man" for the operation.

While numerous news organizations speculated publicly about Alharbi's involvement, Alharbi's suit filed in 2014 said Beck persisted in his statements even after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano publicly cleared the Saudi student of any involvement. The settlement was disclosed Tuesday in a brief order from U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris dismissing the case. No dollar amount was revealed.
"The parties in this matter have reached a settlement of the pending action. The terms of the settlement are confidential," both sides in the suit said in a joint statement.

Sept. 12

President Obama meets with Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi Sept. 12, 2016President Barack Obama meets with Congressional leadership, from left, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in the Oval Office, Sept. 12, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Washington Post, Clinton wanted to ‘power through’ with pneumonia, setting off problems, Philip Rucker and Anne Gearan, Sept. 12 2016. The Democratic nominee’s decision to not widely disclose her illness and ignore her doctor’s advice to get rest set in motion perhaps the most damaging cascade of events for her in the general-election campaign — giving fresh ammunition to Republican nominee Donald Trump before their first debate.

Donald Trump for President logoWashington Post, Trump campaign says he’s given ‘tens of millions’ to charity, but offers no proof, David A. Fahrenthold, Sept. 12 2016. Spokeswoman Hope Hicks provided no documentation but said the gifts included donations from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which a months-long Post investigation showed has been funded almost entirely with other people’s money in recent years.

Washington Post, Trump says Clinton is running ‘hate-filled campaign’ at N.C. rally where violence flares up, Sean Sullivan, Sept. 12 2016. The GOP nominee sought to keep the focus squarely on Hillary Clinton's comment that half of his supporters are a "basket of deplorables." He was interrupted repeatedly by protesters and, at one point, a man pushed and grabbed male protesters during a verbal exchange.

Washington Post, Bad-check charge dropped against renowned civil rights leader Walter Fauntroy, Lynh Bui, Sept. 12, 2016. Prosecutors on Monday dropped a bad-check charge against renowned civil rights leader Walter E. Fauntroy after he paid his debt, clearing up a legal mess that had left the 83-year-old a fugitive overseas for several years. A Prince George’s County judge had ordered Fauntroy to pay $19,800 he owed to Karen Bryant, a Maryland business consultant he hired to plan an ill-fated private inauguration ball for President Obama in 2009. By last week, Fauntroy had paid back $20,000, said John Erzen, a spokesman for the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office.

 Firefighters await the arrival of President George W. Bush Friday, Sept. 14, 2001, to Port Authority in New York City. Photo: The US National Archives / Flickr Firefighters await the arrival of President George W. Bush Friday, Sept. 14, 2001, to Port Authority in New York City. Photo credit: National Archives / Flickr

WhoWhatWhy, DC Partisanship Nearly Derailed Health Care for 9/11 First Responders, Michael Rock, Sept. 12, 2016. Providing health care to the first responders who risked their lives on 9/11 should have been easy. But then Washington politics came into play.

The story of last year’s reauthorization of the Zadroga Act, which advocates for injured emergency personnel, could have served as an example of bipartisanship resulting in an effective government program that helps some universally admired Americans — the first responders to the 9/11 attacks.

Instead, the legislation to provide health care and other benefits to those who answered the call of duty on that day was held up by lack of will and empathy in Congress. Those unfamiliar with the Zadroga Act by name may know it as the 9/11 first responders’ bill, which required television personality Jon Stewart’s shaming of Congress to get passed and reauthorized.

Sept. 11

Huffington Post, Why This FBI Whistleblower Seconds Jill Stein’s Call For A New 9/11 Investigation, Coleen Rowley, former FBI Special Agent, Sept. 11, 2016. After the events of September 11, 2001, as a longtime FBI agent and division legal counsel, I blew the whistle on the FBI’s failure to act on information provided by the Minneapolis field office that could have prevented the attacks.

9/11 Commission Report coverOn this sad 15th anniversary of 9/11, I am encouraged to see that Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein put out a statement calling for a new investigation not afflicted by all the limitations, partisan obstacles and other problems that adversely affected the 9/11 Commission.

It’s what so many of us have long called for, including me personally as someone with a front row seat to the FBI’s initial cover-ups. The FBI was only one of the agencies and political entities which strived to cover up the truth of why and how they all ignored a “system blinking red” in the months before the attacks. So successful had this been that when I testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2002, I actually felt I had to explain why the truth was important. That we “owed it to the public, especially the victims of terrorism, to be completely honest” and “learning from our mistakes” were two of the reasons I came up with.

But the biggest mistake, the launching of the ruinous, counter-productive “war on terror,” had already broken out even before my testimony (and long before the 9/11 Commission was allowed to begin work), along with its attendant war crimes such as torture, which were secretly “legalized.” Not only had truth again become the first casualty, but Cicero’s adage was playing out: “in times of war, the law falls silent.”

Missouri Times, 'Aspirational biography' raises questions about Diana Kander's desire to lobby in increasingly personal U.S. Senate race, Rachael Herndon, Sept. 11, 2016. Jason Kander’s campaign for U.S. Senate against incumbent U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt has plastered the airwaves with ads attacking Blunt over his family’s work in lobbying. However, Jason Kander’s wife Diana’s biography provided by her then-employer Lathrop & Gage reads that she was assisting in lobbying efforts herself before Kander was in public office.

Abigail Blunt and Diana KanderThe candidates both present impressive resumes to Missouri voters. Kander has served in the Missouri House and is currently Missouri’s Secretary of State. While Blunt is one of only two people in the history of the country to serve in both house and senate leadership. However, as impressive as their resumes are, their wives’ accomplishments are perhaps more impressive. Blunt’s wife Abigail, shown at left of Kander in the file photos at right, is a high ranking executive with the Kraft Heinz corporation, while Diana Kander (featured, right) is a best-selling author, entrepreneur, and public speaker.

“I’m running to be Missouri’s senator because it is time we had someone who stood up for the middle class, not millionaires, corporations, and lobbyists,” Jason Kander said at the Boone County Democrats Chili Dinner in February 23, 2015.

While Kander has spent millions of dollars attacking Blunt for his wife’s occupation, new facts are coming to light that suggest that the Kanders haven’t always had such a pessimistic view of the lobbying profession. Diana Kander worked for Lathrop & Gage from 2005 to 2006, following a law school internship in Washington with the prestigious firm, which features a large government relations practice. During her time at the firm, Mrs. Kander’s biography, listed on the Lathrop & Gage website, stated that she assisted in lobbying efforts before Congress.

“She has also spent time working with the Washington D.C. affiliate of Lathrop & Gage by assisting in the lobbying efforts of major Midwest companies before the U.S. Congress,” reads her biography. “This work includes finding and advocating for new funding opportunities for special projects and monitoring critical developments in specific areas of the law.”

While Kander has spent millions of dollars attacking Blunt for his wife’s occupation, new facts are coming to light that suggest that the Kanders haven’t always had such a pessimistic view of the lobbying profession.

Sept. 10

NJ.com/Advance Media, Whitman admits she was wrong to call Ground Zero air safe after 9/11 attacks, report says,  Noah Cohen, Sept. 10, 2016. Former Environmental Protection Agency chief and ex-governor Christine Todd Whitman apologized over her claim that the air around Ground Zero was safe in the days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Guardian reported Saturday.

"Whatever we got wrong, we should acknowledge and people should be helped," Whitman told the newspaper ahead of ceremonies Sunday marking 15 years since the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil. "I'm very sorry that people are sick." Whitman, who was the EPA administrator from 2001 to 2003, said she was commenting based on information provided by scientists at the time and did not lie about the air quality. "I'm very sorry that people are dying and if the EPA and I in any way contributed to that, I'm sorry," Whitman told the Guardian.

Days after the World Trade Center towers in lower Manhattan collapsed, covering the area in a massive plume of ash, Whitman reassured the public the air was safe. "Given the scope of the tragedy from last week," Whitman said in a 2001 statement, reported by Greenwire. "I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington, D.C., that their air is safe to breathe and their water is safe to drink."

In 2003, the EPA's inspector general found the environmental agency didn't have the data required to make the sweeping statement about air quality and was influenced by the White House, Greenwire and the Center for Public Integrity reported.

Lead and asbestos were among the toxins in the debris from the World Trade Center towers and workers were cautioned to use respirators, Whitman said. Because city officials were in charge at the scene, the former New Jersey governor added she couldn't force workers to use the protective gear, according to the Guardian.

According to the Guardian's report, more than 37,000 people are sign up with the federal World Trade Center Health Program, which serves first responders and others who were impacted by toxins and other illnesses related to the terror attacks. At least 1,000 of those have died.

A report this month found more than 200 Sept. 11 first responders from New Jersey were being treated for cancer, including rare types.

PaulCraigRoberts.org, 9/11: 15 Years Of A Transparent Lie, Paul Craig Roberts (shown in file photo), Sept. 10, 2016. There are many conspiracy theories about 9/11. The US government’s own explanation of 9/11 is a conspiracy theory in which a few Saudi Arabians outwitted the American national security state. Little doubt that many of the more imaginative conspiracy theories were created for the purpose of stigmatizing any skepticism, no matter how well reasoned and supported, of the official story.

Paul Craig RobertsAmong the expert opinion are 2,600 structural engineers and high-rise architects who comprise Architects & Engineers for 9/11 truth and have written to Congress asking for a real investigation, Firefighters for 9/11 truth, Pilots for 9/11 truth, physicists and chemists who analyzed the dust from the twin towers and report finding reacted and unredacted materials used in controlled demolitions, and former government officials who understand that a security failure as great as 9/11 would have produced an immediate and exacting investigation.

These groups of qualified and experienced people say that the official story of 9/11 is false. In other words, the hard evidence simply does not support the official story.

We don’t know who is responsible or the purpose the event was intended to serve. However, circumstantial evidence strongly supports suspicion of the neoconservatives whose high positions in the government would have enabled them to succeed with a false flag attack and to delay and divert any investigation until the official story was set in stone. We also know from the “dancing Israelis” that elements in the Israeli government had advance notice of the attack as Israeli agents were set up ready to film the destruction of the twin towers.

Guardian, Russia and US reach tentative agreement for Syria ceasefire, Julian Borger, Sept. 10, 2016. Pause in fighting to begin on Monday night, allowing humanitarian aid to flow – with Russian and US forces set to launch joint airstrikes US and Russia announce agreement on Syria ceasefire. The US and Russia have agreed a tentative ceasefire deal for Syria, intended to lead the way to a joint US-Russian air campaign against Islamic State and other extremist groups and new negotiations on the country’s political future. The deal was announced by John Kerry, the US secretary of state, and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, on Friday night after 13 hours of talks in Geneva and a tense wait while Kerry consulted others in his administration with a phone call to Washington.

Both were cautious in describing the deal but said it was a possible “turning point” after more than five years of a brutal war that has killed more than 400,000 people. “No one is building this based on trust,” Kerry said. “It is based on oversight, compliance, mutual interest. This is an opportunity, and not more than that until it becomes a reality.”

Sept. 9

The Hill, Jill Stein calls for new 9/11 investigation, Harper Neidig, Green Party candidate Jill Stein on Friday called for a new inquiry into the 9/11 terror attacks, saying that the commission that conducted the Jill Steininitial investigation was stonewalled by the Bush administration. “Led by the families of those who died on 9/11, the American people wanted — and deserved — a comprehensive and independent inquiry into the attacks,” Stein said in a statement, according to MSNBC.

Indian American Times, Former Senate Intelligence Chair Graham Seeks More 9/11, Saudi Disclosures, Andrew Kreig, Sept. 9, 2016. The former chairman of the US Senate’s Intelligence Committee called for more pressure on Congress to disclose Saudi Arabian ties with 9/11 hijackers in a speech this week that marked growing criticism of the kingdom, the White House, and official US investigators. As the 15th anniversary of the terror attacks approaches, former Sen. Bob Graham of Florida urged his audience at the Washington, DC-based National Press Club Aug. 31 to persuade the US House of Representatives to enable 9/11 victim families to sue Saudi entities suspected of complicity.

Graham’s speech attacking the White House, the State Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shows the increasing prominence of US critics of the Saudi kingdom and its U.S. government defenders. Graham, a Harvard-trained veteran of 18 years in the senate and eight years as Florida’s governor, attacked in his usual low-key manner the FBI’s investigation of the attacks. He called it secretive and at times as “incorrect.”

Zero Hedge, Obama Faces Humiliation After House Unanimously Passes Bill Allowing Sept 11 Lawsuits Against Saudi Arabia, Tyler Durden, Sept. 9, 2016. Two days before the 15 year anniversary of the September 11 attack, moments ago the House unanimously passed -- to thunderous applause -- legislation allowing the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts. The bill, which passed the Senate unanimously in May, now heads to President Obama’s desk. And that's where things get tricky for Obama.

The White House has fiercely opposed the bill, arguing it could both strain relations with Saudi Arabia and also lead to retaliatory legislation overseas against U.S. citizens. Obama has lobbied fiercely against the bill, and has hinted strongly it will veto the measure.

He is not alone: the Saudi government has likewise led a vocal campaign in Washington to kill the legislation. Those efforts have been fruitless in Congress, however. Meanwhile, the legislation saw broad support from both parties, and Congress could override an Obama veto for the first time if he rejects the legislation. Such an outcome would undoubtedly embarrass Obama and divide Democrats ahead of the 2016 elections and a crucial lame-duck session of Congress.

For now, Obama is adamanat: "The Saudis will see this as a hostile act," said Dennis Ross, Obama’s former Middle East policy coordinator. "You’re bound to see the Obama administration do everything they can to sustain a veto."

How Obama will spin such a pro-Saudi, and anti-US decision, which may be overriden anyway, to the US population is unclear.

To an extent, Obama finds himself between a rock and a hard place. As we reported in April, Saudi officials threatened the enactment of the law could lead them to sell off the kingdom’s U.S. Treasury debt and other American assets, which the officials told lawmakers and U.S. officials totaled $750 billion, according to the New York Times. The Saudi government held $117 billion in U.S. Treasury debt in March, according to Treasury figures obtained by Bloomberg. The kingdom may have additional holdings not included in the data on deposit with the New York Federal Reserve Bank, in entities in third countries, or through positions in derivatives.

According to the Hill, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are unsure whether Obama will actually use his veto pen on the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.  “I presume they would have to think very carefully about a veto because it might very well be overridden,” said Nadler.

To override the president, supporters would need a two-thirds majority in each chamber. “I think the votes will be there to override it,” said Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), who introduced the bill in the House.

As a result of potentially facing a lose-lose outcome, many on Capitol Hill do not believe that the veto is a done deal. The White House has not issued an official position on the bill and spokespeople have been careful with their language, stopping short of issuing a full veto threat. “We have serious concerns with the bill as written,” a White House official said Wednesday.

New York Times, Judge in 9/11 Suits Feels No Regret That None Ever Went to Trial, Benjamin Weiser, Sept. 9, 2016. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, scores of victims’ family members decided to pursue lawsuits in federal court, bypassing a dedicated compensation fund in order to seek not only millions of dollars in damages, but also answers and accountability. Many had wanted to compel a public soul-searching, and to have the airlines and others reveal in court how their policies and actions might have allowed 19 armed hijackers to pass through airport security, board planes and carry out the attacks.
The families had amassed a trove of internal documents and depositions. But none of the material was ever aired before a jury: Each of the 96 victims’ cases filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan was settled confidentially under the direction of Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, who oversaw all the cases (and is shown in a file photo).

Judge Alvin HellersteinAlthough that meant there would be no Sept. 11 civil trial, Judge Hellerstein, in his first public interviews about the wrongful death cases and settlements, said that he had no regrets over the outcome. Settlements had become more important for the plaintiffs than “getting information and promoting accountability of airlines,” he said. “They decided they’d take money rather than get information,” Judge Hellerstein said. “And it’s a debatable question,” he added, “if a trial would have produced greater accountability of the airlines.”

The judge acknowledged the criticism of those who sought to place the aviation industry on trial; one family accused him of trying to squelch a trial so that the truth about the attacks would never be made public. And he also acknowledged that by not holding a trial, there was a “loss of information” to the public.
 
“But it pales in my mind,” he said, “with the fact that the people who were suing for money got their money.”

It is rare for a sitting judge to discuss his cases, perhaps even more so when they carry the significance and emotional import of the Sept. 11 attacks. But after the last of the 96 wrongful death and injury lawsuits was settled in 2011, Judge Hellerstein agreed to a series of interviews with The New York Times about his handling of the cases. He spoke in two interviews a few years ago and a third on Sept. 2 in his chambers. In the interviews, he said that he had been ready to hold a trial if the plaintiffs had ultimately wanted one, but he remained skeptical they “would get their accounting in the end,” nor was he certain they would win.

“There was great risk in these cases,” he said, adding that he encouraged families to apply to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund for a quicker recovery. The vast majority of victims’ families did just that, receiving money through the fund that wound up paying more than $7 billion.Other suits related to the Sept. 11 attacks were filed, including by ground zero workers citing health injuries and other plaintiffs claiming property damages. All went before Judge Hellerstein; only one, a property damage case, remains unsettled.

Sept. 8

Washington Post, Trump praises Putin, battles with Clinton on national security, John Wagner, Jose A. DelReal and Anne Gearan, Sept. 8, 2016.  At a primetime forum that offered a potential preview of the Donald Trump button open mouthupcoming debates, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin is more worthy of praise than President Obama. Democrat Hillary Clinton offered herself as a model of “absolute rock steadiness” on foreign policy and navigated tough questions about her use of a private email server as secretary of state.

Washington Post, Matt Lauer’s widely panned performance shows the perils for debate moderators, James Hohmann​, Sept. 8, 2016. Donald Trump has proved adept at not letting interlocutors nail him down on specifics, which will be frustrating for moderators who don’t want to be the center of attention. The reviews are in, and last night’s biggest loser was Matt Lauer. No one is happy with the host of NBC’s “Today” show, who interviewed each presidential candidate back-to-back for 30 minutes during the network's “Commander-in-Chief Forum” in prime time. The most galling moment came when Donald Trump repeated his demonstrably false claim that he was “totally against the war in Iraq,” and Lauer never pressed him on it.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is angry that the NBC host devoted one-third of her time on stage to asking a series of follow-up questions about her email practices as secretary of state and then gave her little time to talk about pressing national security issues.

Trump’s allies, meanwhile, insist that he took it too easy on her. “Six Obvious Follow-Up Questions NBC’s Matt Lauer Failed to Ask Hillary Clinton” is the headline on Breitbart News (which is controlled by Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon).

RealClearPolitics, Trump Needs Florida to Shine in Presidential Race, Alexis Simendinger and Carl M. Cannon, Sept. 8, 2016. In 2012, President Obama won nearly every contested swing state, including Florida, which he carried by less than one percentage point. With 29 electoral votes, Florida was the most coveted battleground, a calculation that hasn’t changed in four years. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump don’t see eye to eye on much, but they agree that if Republicans lose the Sunshine State, Trump has no realistic chance of moving into the White House next January.

Washington Post, Prosecutors to drop case against former Va. governor McDonnell, Rachel Weiner and Matt Zapotosky​, Sept. 8, 2016. Prosecutors will not attempt to retry Robert McDonnell and his wife, Bob McDonnell and Maureen McDonnell flickrMaureen (shown in a file photo), on corruption charges, ending a four-year saga that rocked the commonwealth’s political class and cut short the rise of a Republican star. The decision is a major victory for the former governor, who has always maintained that he did nothing illegal in his relationship with a nutritional supplement salesman. It’s a blow to both the U.S. Attorney’s Office — which had recommended pressing forward with the case to Justice Department higher-ups — and advocates for strict enforcement of anti-corruption legislation. ​

PaulCraigRoberts.org, Washington Escalates Punishent Of Truth-Tellers, Paul Craig Roberts, Sept. 8, 2016. Former British Ambassador Craig Murray, a truth-teller, has been banned from entering the United States of America. Craig Murray former UK AmbassadorWashington is so afraid of truth that the most honorable man in Great Britain cannot be allowed into the USA.

Amb. Murray (shown in a file photo) exposed the torture regime that the US and UK were running in Uzbekistan. Amb. Murray was to be the Master of Ceremonies for an award to be given to former CIA official John Kiriakou, who blew the whistle on the CIA torture program. Kiriakou went to prison for blowing the whistle on the US government’s violation of both US law and international law, despite the legal protection that US law gives to whistleblowers.

The criminals who broke the law and engaged in torture did not go to prison, only Kiriakou and two lowly enlisted US Army personnel who were prominent in the torture photos from Abu Ghraib. This is Amerika today. A gangster police state. 

 Vice President Cheney with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby in the President's Emergency Operations Center (PEOC), September 11, 2001.  Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives / Flickr

9/11, President's Emergency Operations Center    
Vice President Cheney with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby in the President's Emergency Operations Center (PEOC), September 11, 2001.  Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives / Flickr

WhoWhatWhy, 9/11’s Known Knowns, Jeff Clyburn, Sept. 11, 2016. While a majority of claims made by skeptics of the official 9/11 story remain highly debatable, it’s important to note some essential truths — and they are disturbing. Years of willful deception, the sands of time, and simple neglect all tend to cloud our perception of the reality of history. This is especially true for politically radioactive topics like 9/11.

With the debate over 9/11 heating up as the 15th anniversary of that fateful day draws near, it’s a good time to get back up to speed. WhoWhatWhy believes there are essential pillars of the 9/11 debate that must be acknowledged by all parties before any healthy discussion of that paradigm-changing topic can take place.

What follows is a refresher list of “known knowns” — select, broad aspects of 9/11 that are at present beyond reasonable doubt.

New York Times, What Is Aleppo?’ Gary Johnson Asks, Alan Rappeport, Sept. 11, 2016. On “Morning Joe,” Mr. Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate, indicated that he really was not aware of the Syrian city engulfed in civil war. Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor and Libertarian Party presidential nominee, revealed a surprising lack of foreign policy knowledge on Thursday that could rock his insurgent candidacy when he could not answer a basic question about the crisis in Aleppo, Syria.

Gary Johnson“What is Aleppo?” Mr. Johnson said when asked on MSNBC how, as president, he would address the refugee crisis in the war-torn Syrian city.

When pressed as to whether he was serious, Mr. Johnson (shown ni a file photo) indicated that he really was not aware of the city, which has been widely covered during the years that Syria has been engulfed in civil war. After Mike Barnicle, an MSNBC commentator who is often part of the “Morning Joe” program panel, explained that Aleppo was the center of Syria’s refugee crisis, Mr. Johnson struggled to recover.

“O.K., got it,” he said, explaining that he thinks that the United States must partner with Russia to diplomatically improve the situation there. “With regard to Syria, I do think that it’s a mess.”

Syria FlagThe stumble could be a serious blow to Mr. Johnson’s campaign, just as he is making a final push to improve his standing in the polls. His support needs to reach 15 percent in a series of major national polls to be included in the presidential debates.

Mr. Johnson’s support has been hovering around 10 percent. He and his running mate, former Gov. Bill Weld of Massachusetts, have been aggressively making the case that they represent a viable alternative for voters who are not happy with the major party nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump.

Justice Integrity Project Editor's Note: The New York Times story excerpted above contained two corrections that were remarkable given the story's topic: "An earlier version of this article misidentified the de facto capital of the Islamic State. It is Raqqa, in northern Syria, not Aleppo....An earlier version of the above correction misidentified the Syrian capital as Aleppo. It is Damascus."

Unz Review,The 9/11 Truth Movement 15 Years Later: Where Do We Stand? The Saker, Sept. 11, 2016. Note: the purpose of this article is not to debunk the official conspiracy theory about how 2 aircraft brought down 3 buildings and other such nonsense, or to present an alternative theory, but to evaluate how much the 9/11 Truth movement has achieved in the past 15 years.

It has been 15 years since the terrible events of 9/11 and it is now a good time to look back at what the 9/11 movement did achieve, but also at where it failed. The biggest and most obvious failure was, of course, the failure to prevent the bloodbath the Empire calls the “GWOT” (Global War on Terror) and all the other wars which the GWOT, in turn, generated in Northern Africa, the Middle-East and elsewhere. Yes, at that we did fail, but I am not quite sure that the blame for it can be put on the 9/11 Truth movement. Let me explain.

The intelligence process is sometimes described by the “three As”: acquisition, analysis and acceptance. If we compare the 9/11 Truth movement with an intelligence agency working on behalf of the people of our planet, then I would argue that we brilliantly succeeded in the first “A”: acquisition.

Acquisition:

We now have made public many Gigabytes of video, audio, texts, radar, seismic and other materials recorded on 9/11 – more than enough to establish at the very least a “probable cause” to demand a new, independent and legally empowered investigation of the events of 9/11. From the dust of the WTC buildings in DC to the exact radar track of AA77, UA175 and AA11 – the 9/11 Truth movement has collected an enormous amount of forensic data which is now publicly available for analysis.

Analysis:

On the analysis aspect, after a rather long series of false starts, due mainly to the enthusiastic efforts of well-intentioned but technically incompetent volunteer researchers, the 9/11 Truth movement eventually began to recruit an impressive array of scientists, engineers, architects, pilots, military officials, etc. And the result of their work has been nothing short of formidable. At lot of that (peer-reviewed) analysis is now available on the website of the Journal of 9/11 Studies (http://www.journalof911studies.com/) and has even resulted in an impressive “consensus findings list” (http://www.consensus911.org/the-911-consensus-points/) which is also publicly available.

Acceptance:

Most intelligence analysts would agree that acceptance, be it by a government or by a deliberately misinformed public, is often the most difficult one of the three “A’s” of the intelligence process. This is, alas, where the 9/11 Truth movement has mostly failed. And yet, even the hyper-official and super-politically correct Wikipedia has to admit, most people do simply not believe that al-Qaeda did it. The problem is that this general disbelief has had no result whatsoever on the US political landscape. In a way, this makes sense: 9/11 happened in the beginning of a Republican Administration which, in turn, means that it was planned under a Democratic Administration. Not that I believe that there is much of a difference between the Demoblicans and the Republicrats (Pepsi vs Cola, really), but this simply illustrates two basic facts of the US political system:

  • The US “deep state” is not affected by changes in the White House
  • The US “deep state” is equally embedded in both factions of the “1% Party” in power

SouthFront, EU Migration Crisis: Irresistible Force Meets the Immovable Object, Daniel Deiss, J.Hawk and Edwin Watson, Sept. 8, 2016. The EU migration crisis is still at the top of the agenda. Various political forces are trying to use this problem for their own benefit, often forgetting that most of the refugees from the Middle East and Africa who arrived in the EU German Flagin the last two years did so out of fear for their lives. They traded their modest but stable and predictable lives for chaos, loss of loved ones, poverty of refugee camps, criminality of city outskirts, and ostracism by the EU populace. In reality, the second decade of the 21st century, which only a quarter century ago was predicted to be socially progressive and technologically creative, saw millions of people displaced from their homelands due to their desire to simply survive physically.

The EU saw the arrival of 1,353,000 migrants in 2015. Germany received 539 thousand, Sweden 152 thousand, Hungary 149 thousand, and Italy and Austria 90 thousand apiece, according to Eurostat. Over 3,700 migrants have perished on the way to Europe in 2015.

Angela MerkelIn 2016, the EU has so far seen the arrival of 262,039 migrants using the “Mediterranean route” according to data from the International Migration Organization, as of August 2016, which is a quarter of the previous year’s total levels. Approximately 3,132 migrants perished or went missing.

Meanwhile, Germany will not reconsider its migration policies even after the series of terrorist attacks, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s statement on July 28. She (shown in a file photo) emphasized that Germany will do everything possible to ensure security in a way consistent with humanitarian values.

Given the dire circumstances among the displaced persons, their societal marginalization and inability or unwillingness to assimilate, humanitarian efforts are failing. Crime and inter-ethnic conflict is on the rise, and terrorists’ appeals are finding willing recruits among the youth.

Organized crime groups in large German cities are trying to recruit the refugees living in shelters into their ranks. They are mainly interested in young, strong, and fit males who are to perform the dirty work, such as drug trade, robberies, and burglaries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin talks to President Obama during a meeting at the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Hangzhou, China. Among the issues they discussed was Syria. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool)

Russian President Vladimir Putin talks to President Obama during a meeting at the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Hangzhou, China. Among the issues they discussed was Syria. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool)

President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin at UN Sept.Washington Post, Obama administration says deal with Russia over Syria at make-or-break moment, Karen DeYoung and Liz Sly, Sept. 7, 2016. Officials say they want a sustained period of calm before joint counterterrorism operations. The Obama administration has told Russia that it is at the end of its patience in trying to arrange a cease-fire in Syria, along with proposed joint U.S.-Russia counterterrorism operations, and that it expects a decision from Moscow in the next several days. A final proposal was given to the Russians as President Obama met with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin on Monday in China, senior administration officials said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Secretary of State John F. Kerry would meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Geneva on Thursday and Friday. The State Department, while acknowledging that the two spoke by telephone Wednesday morning, declined to confirm the meeting. The proposal calls for a cease-fire in civil-war fighting throughout the country, including in and around the besieged city of Aleppo, and the safe, sustained delivery of humanitarian assistance. Once the truce is in place for a specified time period, the Syrian air force is to be officially grounded. Then the United States and Russia are to initiate a joint air campaign against counterterrorism targets.

 

Robert F. Kennedy, Dolores Huerta, Paul Schrade Photo: Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund Robert F. Kennedy flanked by union organizers Dolores Huerta, left, and Paul Schrade, right. Huerta co-founded what would become the United Farm Workers. Schrade, also a union organizer, was one of five others wounded when RFK was assassinated in 1968. Photo: Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund

Litchfield County Times and Cool Justice Report, RFK Jr. points to forensic evidence of second gunman in his father’s assassination, Andy Thibault, Sept. 8, 2016. RFK Jr. points to forensic evidence of second gunman in his father’s assassination. Buried on page 271 of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s new book on the Skakel murder case in Greenwich is a quick, but telling reference to his father’s assassination. Kennedy family members rarely have spoken publicly about the assassinations of either President John Kennedy or U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy, much less criticized the official findings. The passage is noteworthy for the simple fact it is memorialized in a book. It is not just a comment in an interview.

This angle deserves serious attention, and so it wasn’t shoehorned into the column published Aug. 5 on the Greenwich murder case, RFK Jr. attacks prosecutors, cops, courts for willful misconduct as he asserts cousin Skakel’s innocence.” Following are two paragraphs from Kennedy’s book, Framed, Why Michael Skakel Spent Over A Decade In Prison For A Murder He Didn’t Commit, leading up to the clincher paragraph on the RFK assassination:

“I sympathize deeply with Dorthy Moxley [Martha’s mother]. I have seen up-close the agony of a mother’s grief over the loss of her child. my mother lost her husband to murder and two of her sons to violent, untimely deaths in the bosom of their youth. I was with her when my father died. I stood beside her 29 years later as my little brother Michael died in her arms.

“My mother told us that we needed to let go of our impulse for revenge and allow the cycle of violence to end with our family. This, she said, was the lesson of the New Testament, which swapped the savage eye-for-an-eye tribalism of the Old Testament for the ethical mandate that we turn the other cheek. But forgiveness wasn’t just ethics. It was salutary. Revenge and resentments, my mother said, are corrosive. Indulging them is like swallowing poison and hoping someone else will die. By opposing the death penalty for Sirhan, we diluted these poisonous passions.

“And what if, God forbid, the object of our revenge turns out to be innocent? For several decades, my father’s close friend Paul Schrade, who took one of Sirhan’s bullets, has argued that Sirhan Sirhan did not fire the shot that killed my father. Recent forensic evidence supports him. How would we have felt now, if our family had demanded his execution?”

Sept. 7

Politico, House plans to vote to allow 9/11 lawsuits against Saudi Arabia, Rachael Bade and John Bresnahan, Sept. 7, 2016. The House will vote this week on a controversial bill allowing the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts, a Republican leadership source said Wednesday. The legislation, approved unanimously by the Senate in May, is expected to clear the House on Friday, just two days before 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

President Barack Obama is likely to veto the measure, known as the "Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act," or JASTA. A potential veto override would not occur until an expected lame-duck session after Election Day.

Washington Post, In every state, pessimism about Trump, Clinton and election’s impact, Dan Balz and Emily Guskin, Sept. 7, 2016. The presidential campaign has intensified Doanld Trump for Presidentlong-standing Hillary Clinton Buttonpolitical divisions, but there is one area of broad agreement among voters in both red states and blue states — a pervasive pessimism that no matter the outcome, the election will do little to unify the country, according to a Washington Post-SurveyMonkey survey of all 50 states.

Washington Post, After months of isolationist talk, Trump calls for more military spending, Jose A. DelReal​, In a sharp nod to the conservative foreign policy establishment, the GOP presidential nominee made an effort to draw contrasts with President Obama and Hillary Clinton by calling for a robust expansion of U.S. military capabilities and an end to budget sequestration on defense spending. Hill Republicans finally find something to love about Trump.

"We will rebuild our military,” Trump said Wednesday during a speech at the Union League in Philadelphia. “This will increase certainty in the defense community as to funding and will allow military leaders to plan for our future defense needs.”

The American Conservative, Phyllis Schlafly: An Anti-War Conservative, Jon Basil Utley (Publisher, the American Conservative), Sept. 7, 2016. Phyllis Schlafly was a giant of the conservative movement. And she opposed America's recent wars. An early fighter, who started up with opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution, died at 92 years old.

I knew her for 30 years and she had known my mother, Freda Utley, before that. Much is written about her including nearly a full page in the New York Times. But very little is reported about her opposition to America's recent, disastrous wars.

She began life as a dedicated opponent of international communism and was an early supporter of Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign with her book, A Choice, Not an Echo. It sold 3 million copies.

She had a long record of support for traditional conservative "family values," although at her marriage ceremony in 1949 she did not promise to obey her husband, only to cherish him....She also was named as opposing the First Gulf War in 1991 in Lew Rockwell's famous list of pro and antiwar conservatives.

Her last book, The Conservative Case for Trump, just published but written in March, urges support for Trump for President. Criticizing National Review magazine last January she said, "Trump is the only hope to defeat the Kingmakers....because everybody else will fall in line."

New York Times, Florida Gift Is Trump’s Latest Brush With Finance Rules, Steve Eder and Megan Twohey, Sept. 7, 2016. Donald J. Trump is defending himself against claims that he Pam Biondidonated $25,000 to a group supporting the Florida attorney general, Pam Biondi, to sway her office’s review of Trump University. It is the latest episode in a decades-long record of shattering political donation limits and circumventing the rules on contributions and lobbying.

War Is A Crime, Trump and Clinton Prep to Strut before an Audience of Soldiers and Vets, Gar Smith, Sept. 7, 2016. On September 7, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are set to appear on the same stage in a broadcast NBC is calling the“Commander-in-Chief Forum," an event devoted to "national security, military affairs and veterans issues." The candidates will not debate face-to-face. They will appear separately, back-to-back.

For an event that marks the beginning of one of the most critical presidential debates in US history, NBC is mounting a disturbing preamble. Instead of focusing on the full range of domestic issues that are roiling the electorate – lack of good jobs, declining wages, rising housing costs, failing schools, crumbling infrastructure, mass incarceration, and the tandem proliferations of gun possession and police violence -- the lead issue selected by the National Broadcasting Corporation, is war-fighting.

Under NBC's marching orders, the two candidates will vie for the allegiance of "an audience consisting mainlyofmilitaryveteransandactiveservicemembers." The evening is being sponsored by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veteransof America, an organization that has received a respectable 86% Charity Navigator rating and whose mission is to "connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans."

Wouldn't the national dialog benefit from a series of similar debates held before audiences composed of (1) the unemployed and under-employed, (2) the homeless, (3) the elderly, (4) the disabled, (5) the ill and infirm?

Consortium News, New York Times and the New McCarthyism, Robert Parry, Sept. 7, 2016. The New Cold War and its fellow-traveler, the New McCarthyism, are arriving on the hawkish wings of The New York Robert ParryTimes and other mainstream U.S. media outlets, writes Robert Parry (shown in file photo). Traditional U.S. journalism and the American people are facing a crisis as the preeminent American newspaper, The New York Times, has fully lost its professional bearings, transforming itself into a neoconservative propaganda sheet eager for a New Cold War with Russia and imposing a New McCarthyism on public debate. The crisis is particularly acute because another top national newspaper, The Washington Post, is also deeply inside the neocon camp.

The Times’ abandonment of journalistic principles has become most noticeable with its recurring tirades about Russia, as the Times offers up story after story that would have embarrassed Sen. Joe McCarthy and his 1950s Red-baiters. Operating without any actual evidence, a recent Times article by Neil MacFarquhar sought to trace public challenges to official U.S. government narratives on world events to a massive “disinformation” campaign by Russian intelligence. Apparently, it is inconceivable to the Times that independent-minded people might simply question some of the dubious claims made by Official Washington.

Perhaps most stunningly, the Times sought to prove its point by citing the slogan of Russia’s English-language television network, saying: “RT trumpets the slogan ‘Question More.’”

So, now, presumably if someone suggests questioning a claim from the U.S. government or from the NATO alliance, that person is automatically a “Russian agent of influence.” For a major newspaper to adopt such a position is antithetical to the tenets of journalism which call on us journalists to question everything.

The Times’ position is particularly outrageous because many key claims by the U.S. government, including some used to justify aggressive wars against other countries, have turned out to be false. Indeed, the Times has been caught peddling some of these bogus claims, often fed to the “newspaper of record” by U.S. government officials or from think tanks funded by American military contractors.

Washington Post, Mural depicting Gov. Paul LePage in KKK regalia sparks painting fight in Maine’s biggest city, Sarah Larimer, Sept. 7, 2016. The mural, which showed up on a wall this week in Portland, Maine, depicted the state’s governor, Paul LePage(shown in a file photo.

In the painting, the Republican governor with a penchant for making controversial comments had his mouth agape. He was also, notably, dressed like a member of the Ku Klux Klan, in a white hood and a robe emblazoned with a red Klan insignia. Next to his visage were the words: “RACIST, HOMOPHOBE, MORON.” The series ended with one more word: “Governor,” crossed through with a red line.

Paul Lepage Maine governor file photoOn Tuesday, the city’s Democratic mayor said it should be removed. It was unclear whether the city would remove the mural from the wall near a wastewater treatment plant. Portland Water District spokeswoman Michelle Clements told The Washington Post in an email Tuesday evening that the agency was “talking with the City of Portland to see what can be done” but that the city and the water district agreed years ago to allow graffiti art on the site.

Update: A graffiti mural of LePage originally had him dressed as a KKK leader, but this morning he has Mickey ears.

Washington Post, Swedish medicine scandal touches Nobel Prize as two committee members are asked to resign, Travis M. Andrews, Sept. 7, 2016. Two high profile members of the Nobel Assembly were asked to resign as part of the fallout from the scientific scandal centered on Paolo Macchiarini — a scandal that left two people dead and tarnished the reputation of the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine.

Macchiarini was the first surgeon to perform a transplant of a biosynthetic trachea, but two of three patients to receive such a transplant have died. Swedish prosecutors are investigating Macchiarini on potential charges of involuntary manslaughter — charges which the surgeon has previously disputed, according to the Associated Press.

Swedish flagOn Tuesday, the Nobel Assembly, which is in charge of choosing the recipient of the institution’s prize for physiology or medicine, asked Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson and Anders Hamsten, two of its 50 judges, to resign. Both are former vice chancellors of the Karolinska Institute, the Swedish medical university associated with the Karolinska University Hospital that employed Macchiarini.

PaulCraigRoberts.org, The Tide is Turning: The Official Story Is Now The Conspiracy Theory, Paul Craig Roberts, Sept. 7, 2016. In a few days it will be the 15th anniversary of 9/11, and this November 13 will be the 53rd anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. These two state crimes against democracy destroyed American democracy, accountable government, and the Constitution’s protections of civil liberty.

Years after the damage done by these events the American people no longer believe the official stories. Neither does the government, but the government will never validate the distrust that Americans now share of the oligarchs’ government by acknowledging the truth.

BBC News‎, Syria conflict: Opposition unveils transition plan, Staff report, Sept. 7, 2016. The umbrella group representing Syria's political and armed opposition factions has set out a plan for a political transition to end five years of war. The High Negotiations Committee (HNC) proposed holding six months of negotiations with President Bashar al-Assad, accompanied by a full ceasefire. Mr. Assad would then hand over power to a unity government that would run Syria for 18 months and organize elections.

Analysis by Jeremy Bowen, BBC Middle East editor, Damascus: If the document on a transition in Syria had been produced by the political leaders of a victorious army at the gates of Damascus, it could be seen as an enlightened blueprint for the future. But the regime in Damascus will dismiss it, because President Bashar al-Assad seems more secure in the capital than at any other time since the war started.

Sept. 6

Democratic-Republican Campagne logosWashington Post, Clinton accuses Trump of concealing ‘scams’ as he scrutinizes her appearance, John Wagner and Jose A. DelReal, Sept. 6, 2016. In intensified and highly personal attacks, the Democrat prodded the business mogul to explain his past donation to Florida’s attorney general, and the Republican said in an interview, “I just don’t think she has a presidential look.”

Hillary Clinton escalated her attacks on Donald Trump’s character and qualifications for the presidency Tuesday, seizing on renewed scrutiny over an improper political donation that Trump made to Florida’s attorney general as she accused him of concealing “scams.”

The Democratic presidential nominee called on her rival to reveal details about his communication with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R), to whom Trump made a $25,000 political contribution in 2013 as Bondi was considering investigating claims against Trump University, the embattled for-profit education business. Critics say the donation crossed ethical lines.

“Of course, as we know, there was a phone conversation between them. They contradict each other. The American people deserve to know what was said, because clearly the attorney general did not proceed with the investigation,” Clinton told reporters Tuesday during a question-and-answer session on her campaign plane.

Trump lobbed attacks of his own. In an interview with ABC that aired Tuesday, Trump scrutinized Clinton’s appearance: “Well, I just don’t think she has a presidential look, and you need a presidential look,” he told ABC’s David Muir.

Associated Press via Huffington Post, Fox News Settles With Gretchen Carlson Amid Growing Sexual Harassment Scandal, Alana Horowitz Satlin, Sept. 6, 2016. The former “Fox and Friends” host sued the network’s former chief, Roger Ailes. Fox News has reached a settlement with former “Fox and Friends” host Gretchen Carlson over allegations that the network’s disgraced former CEO sexually harassed her, the network said in a statement Tuesday.

Fox will pay Carlson $20 million to end her lawsuit against Roger Ailes, Vanity Fair reported. Ailes received a $40 million severance package.

Gretchen Carlson Fox“We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve,” Fox said in the statement. Carlson had said in her lawsuit that Ailes made sexual advances toward her. She alleged her former co-host, Steve Doocy, also mistreated her.

She said in a statement Tuesday that she was “gratified” that Fox took decisive action after she filed her complaint. “I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my life in which I will redouble my efforts to empower women in the workplace,” Carlson said. “I want to thank all the brave women who came forward to tell their own stories and the many people across the country who embraced and supported me in their #StandWithGretchen. All women deserve a dignified and respectful workplace in which talent, hard work and loyalty are recognized, revered and rewarded.”

Huffington Post, Roger Ailes Hires Lawyer For Possible Lawsuit Against New York Magazine, Kim Bellware, Sept. 5, 2016. Ailes’ lawyer has represented figures like Hulk Hogan and Melania Trump. Roger Ailes, the co-founder and recently ousted CEO of Fox News, has hired a well-known libel lawyer for a possible suit against New York magazine and its reporter Gabriel Sherman. Ailes has retained Charles Harder, a Hollywood lawyer who most recently helped former pro-wrestler Hulk Hogan win a $140 million lawsuit that bankrupted the news and gossip website Gawker. The hiring was first reported by the Financial Times.

A New York magazine spokeswoman confirmed to The Huffington Post that Harder has contacted the publication and Sherman on Ailes’ behalf and has requested they “preserve documents” related to the Ailes stories for a possible defamation suit.

“The letter sent by Harder was not informative as to the substance of their objections to the reporting,” the spokeswoman said. “Sherman’s work is and has been carefully reported.”

Huffington Post, Greta Van Susteren Is Leaving Fox News, Michael Calderone, Sept. 5, 2016. The host’s abrupt departure comes just as 21st Century Fox settles a lawsuit with Gretchen Carlson over sexual harassment claims. Greta Van Susteren left Fox News on Tuesday after 14 years at the network, an abrupt departure that comes with just two months left in the 2016 election.

It’s highly unusual for a network host to leave so suddenly, and the move was announced right after 21st Century Fox settled a lawsuit with former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson. Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in July against Fox News chairman Roger Ailes that opened the floodgates to more than 20 women reportedly coming forward, including primetime star Megyn Kelly. Within weeks, Ailes resigned in disgrace from the top-rated cable network he launched and led for two decades.

Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine, who were recently named co-presidents following Ailes’ departure, said in a statement that they were “grateful for Greta’s many contributions over the years and wish her continued success.” They also announced that political analyst Brit Hume, a former evening news anchor and staple at the network throughout its existence, would take over Van Susteren’s 7 p.m. show “On the Record” through the election.

She described Carlson as “a disgruntled employee” to People magazine and said she’d never seen Ailes behave in the inappropriate manner described in media reports. Van Susteren again defended Ailes to the Daily Beast in an article in which she described having “a long-term deal” with the network.

Last week, Van Susteren defended herself in response to criticism of how she handled questions about Carlson’s suit. Van Susteren said she was only speaking about her experience with Ailes and that she hadn’t personally heard the sexual harassment allegations against her former boss.

Washington Post, ITT Technical Institutes shut down after 50 years in operation, Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, Sept. 6, 2016. ITT Educational Services, one of the largest operators of for-profit technical schools, ended operations at all of its ITT Technical Institutes.

Washington Post, Clinton should stop pretending she’s not elite, David Ignatius, Sept. 6, 2016. Hillary Clinton can overwhelm Trump in experience — so she should embrace her insider status.

PaulCraigRoberts.org, Conspiracy Theories Are True, Paul Craig Roberts, Sept. 6, 2016. Ron Unz, one of America’s most precious and rare assets—a public intellectual—describes how he came to believe true accounts mislabeled “conspiracy theory” in his in-depth review of Lance deHaven-Smith’s book, about which I recently reported.

I described how the CIA flummoxed insouciant Americans. Ron Unz gives you the intellectual history of how two foreign intellectuals, Karl Popper and Leo Strauss, shoved aside the truth-telling American intellectual, Charles Beard, who, like our founding fathers, had his finger on government’s propensity to deceive the people with conspiracies. Popper said that conspiracies couldn’t happen, and Strauss said they were necessary so that the government could pursue its agendas despite the public’s opposition.

Sept. 5

PaulCraigRoberts.org, If any of my readers are still brainwashed about 9/11, they need to attend this conference, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts (conservative scholar and former Reagan administration assistant Treasury secretary and shown Paul Craig Robertsin file photo) Sept. 5, 2016. Tickets are still available.

A 2-Day Symposium | Sept. 10-11, 2016 | Cooper Union New York City.
 
Fifteen years after the events of 9/11, wars and cultural conflicts caused by the U.S. response and questionable alliances continue to create global tensions. Furthermore, questions of how the attacks took place continue to surface. For these reasons, a historic conference will be held to highlight the blatant discrepancies between the official narrative and the science-based evidence of the most consequential event of our time.

A stellar lineup of credentialed experts will also review new evidence of a cover up and raise the bar – literally, with an unprecedented level of legal analysis.  As you'll see, this event has an international component, since 9/11 was such a world-changing event. Full details and tickets are at www.911justiceinfocus.org.
 
U.S. Supreme Court Eight Members 2016Washington Post, Without conservative Supreme Court majority, voter-law challengers score big wins, Robert Barnes, Sept. 5, 2016. Civil rights groups, Democratic lawyers and the Obama administration have made gains in overturning strict voting laws, highlighting how Antonin Scalia’s death has removed the Supreme Court as a conservative backstop for such measures.

A coalition of civil rights groups, Democratic lawyers and the Obama administration has scored significant victories in overturning strict voting laws, highlighting how the death of Justice Antonin Scalia has removed the Supreme Court as a crucial conservative backstop for such measures.

With the presidential election approaching, the challengers have rung up wins against their two top targets. Texas and North Carolina are now under judicial order to shelve comprehensive voting laws, passed by Republican legislators, that appeals courts said discriminated against African Americans and Hispanics.

Truthout, The "Shocking" Truth About Election Rigging in the United States, Victoria Collier, Sept. 5, 2016. If there is anything positive to say about the 2016 elections, it's that they have finally forced an end to the official denial of computerized election rigging. In the past month, the fact that our voting technology is a hacker's paradise has been validated by no less than all the major TV news networks: NBC, ABC, CBS, Reuters, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, USA Today, The Hill, The Guardian, Mother Jones, Politico, and a dozen other outlets.

Of course, the corporate media and political parties are now professing "shock" at the very prospect that US elections can be manipulated, and yes, even stolen.

Yet it has long been an open secret that game-changing races have been decided not by voters, but by insiders; from the presidential race of 1960, appropriated for John Kennedy by Democratic muscle in Chicago, to the two victories secured for George W. Bush by GOP fixers in Florida and hackers in Ohio. Among other suspect elections in recent years are key Congressional races hijacked by combinations of voter suppression, gerrymandering, dark money and the ugly little secret of American elections: rigged voting machines.

Washington Post, Inside Bill Clinton’s nearly $18 million job as ‘honorary chancellor’ of a for-profit college, Rosalind S. Helderman and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Sept. 5, 2016. The guest list for a private State Department dinner on higher- education policy was taking shape when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered a suggestion. In addition to recommending invitations for leaders from a community college and a church-funded institution, Clinton wanted a representative from a for-profit college company called Laureate International Universities, which, she explained in an email to her chief of staff that was released last year, was “the fastest growing college network in the world.”

Bill Clinton TwitterThere was another reason Clinton favored setting a seat aside for Laureate at the August 2009 event: The company was started by a businessman, Doug Becker, “who Bill likes a lot,” the secretary wrote, referring to her husband, the former president. Nine months later, Laureate signed Bill Clinton to a lucrative deal as a consultant and “honorary chancellor,” paying him $17.6 million over five years until the contract ended in 2015 as Hillary Clinton launched her campaign for president.

There is no evidence that Laureate received special favors from the State Department in direct exchange for hiring Bill Clinton, but the Baltimore-based company had much to gain from an association with a globally connected ex-president and, indirectly, the United States’ chief diplomat. Being included at the 2009 dinner, shoulder to shoulder with leaders from internationally renowned universities for a discussion about the role of higher education in global diplomacy, provided an added level of credibility for the business as it pursued an aggressive expansion strategy overseas, occasionally tangling with foreign regulators.

Details of Bill Clinton’s compensation are found in the couple’s tax returns, which were made public by his wife’s presidential campaign and provide an unusual glimpse into the way a former president can make millions in the private sector. Bill Clinton has proved particularly marketable because of his global celebrity, enhanced by his foundation, his continued visibility on the political scene and his wife’s stature as a senator, Cabinet official and potential president.

Washington Post, Outgoing police chief decries District’s ‘broken’ criminal justice system, Peter Hermann and Clarence Williams, Sept. 5, 2016. D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier leaves her post in two weeks with high popularity and crime down over her tenure but frustrated by a system that she said allows repeat violent offenders back on the street time after time. In a far-ranging interview, the chief of nearly 10 years unleashed a blunt rebuke of the myriad local and federal agencies responsible for keeping offenders in check, saying there are too many failures and too little accountability.

“The criminal justice system in this city is broken,” Lanier said, citing what she sees as the lack of outrage over repeat offenders as a key reason for her decision to take a job as head of security for the National Football League. “It is beyond broken.”

New York Times, Hillary Clinton Gets Gored, Paul Krugman, Sept. 5, 2016. Americans of a certain age who follow politics and policy closely still have vivid memories of the 2000 election — bad memories, and not just because the man who lost the popular vote somehow ended up in office. For the campaign leading up to that end game was nightmarish too.

George W. BushYou see, one candidate, George W. Bush, was dishonest in a way that was unprecedented in U.S. politics. Yet throughout the campaign most media coverage gave the impression that Mr. Bush was a bluff, straightforward guy, while portraying Al Gore — whose policy proposals added up, and whose critiques of the Bush plan were completely accurate — as slippery and dishonest. Mr. Gore’s mendacity was supposedly demonstrated by trivial anecdotes, none significant, some of them simply false. No, he never claimed to have invented the internet. But the image stuck.

And right now I and many others have the sick, sinking feeling that it’s happening again.

Here’s a pro tip: the best ways to judge a candidate’s character are to look at what he or she has actually done, and what policies he or she is proposing.

Mr. Trump’s record of bilking students, stiffing contractors and more is a good indicator of how he’d act as president; Mrs. Clinton’s speaking style and body language aren’t. George W. Bush’s policy lies gave me a much better handle on who he was than all the up-close-and-personal reporting of 2000, and the contrast between Mr. Trump’s policy incoherence and Mrs. Clinton’s carefulness speaks volumes today.

NBC News Channel 4 (Washington, DC), A Mystery Solved: Where is Scalia Buried? Staff report, Sept. 5, 2016. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's funeral was attended by thousands and carried on live television, but when the hearse Antonin Scalia Supreme Court photopulled away from the church and headed to his burial site, his family asked for privacy and Supreme Court officials declined to say where Scalia was being laid to rest.

Within months of his death in February, the location of Scalia's grave, at Fairfax Memorial Park in Virginia, was recorded on the cemetery website Findagrave.com with precision: Garden of the Crucifixion, Lot 870, Site A. A contributor to the site added photos, too. Recently Wikipedia added the location and a photo to Scalia's page.

Moon of Alabama, Syria: Who Wins In The Turkish-Russian Deal? Staff report, Sept. 5, 2016. Two headlines today support the claim that "western" media reporting often defies the observable reality. Washington Post: For the first time since 2013, ISIS has no border with NATO; Independent: Isis 'cut off from rest of world' as rebels expel Islamists from Turkish border. From the last one: "Isis has lost control of its last territories on the border with Turkey, monitoring groups say, in a major blow to the group's ability to receive foreign fighters from the rest of the world."

Neither is ISIS cut of from the world, nor from NATO. Fighters as well as goods can still cross to and from Turkey like they did throughout the last years. Turkey will probably try to annex the area it has taken. There are plans to build new cities on the Syrian side to house refugees currently in Turkish camps. Turkey could thereby offload a major burden its war on Syria has brought onto it.

Russia and Iran had agreed to the Turkish move into the area after Turkey promised to end its support for attacks on Aleppo city. It has yet to be seen if Turkey will stick to this promise. Some of the Turkish proxy fighters involved in the attack on Aleppo were pulled back and moved to the now occupied border strip. But material support for the attack in form of ammunition and other supplies seems to continue.

Sept. 4

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RealClearPolitics, Kaine Pushes Back Against Charges Hillary Clinton Has Not Held A Press Conference In 274 Days, Tim Hains, Sept. 4, 2016. Hillary Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine told 'This Week' host Martha Raddatz that claims that Hillary Clinton is avoiding the press are not true. He also compared Donald Trump's relationship with the press to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. "Secretary Clinton has not held a press conference in 274 days," Raddatz noted. "Our campaign reporters and others say she doesn’t really answer that many questions. Is this going to change?"

"She’s had hundreds interviews in the last year," Kaine replied. "And I've got to push back on the notion that she hasn’t done a press conference." Kaine referred to Clinton's appearance last month at the Association of Black and Hispanic Journalists convention where "members of mainstream media outlets" were allowed to ask Clinton questions. "She did a press conference there," Kaine said. Kaine also slammed Donald Trump for "banning press outlets from even attending public events," saying that Trump is "acting like Putin." "We are not banning press outlets from covering public events," he said.

Raddatz asked one more time: "So we can expect a press conference, yes or no?"

JIP Editor's Note: Raddatz, an ABC host selected to moderate one of the presidential debates, appeared in this interview to be dense as a rock. She neither realized in advance that Clinton had held a widely seen press conference nor had the wits to adapt to the information once Kaine pointed it out.

New York Times, U.S. Presses for Truce in Syria, With Its Larger Policy on Pause, Mark Landler and Mark Mazzetti, Sept. 4, 2016. The image of a 5-year-old Syrian boy, dazed and bloodied after being rescued from an airstrike on rebel-held Aleppo, reverberated around the world last month, a harrowing reminder that five years after civil war broke out there, Syria remains a charnel house.

But the reaction was more muted in Washington, where Syria has become a distant disaster rather than an urgent crisis. President Obama’s policy toward Syria has barely budged in the last year and shows no sign of change for the remainder of his term. The White House has faced little pressure over the issue, in part because Syria is getting scant attention on the campaign trail from either Donald J. Trump or Hillary Clinton.

The lack of substantive political debate about Syria is all the more striking given that the Obama administration is engaged in an increasingly desperate effort to broker a deal with Russia for a cease-fire that would halt the rain of bombs on Aleppo. Those negotiations moved on Sunday to China, where Secretary of State John Kerry met for two hours with the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, at a Group of 20 meeting. At one point, the State Department was confident enough to schedule a news conference, at which the two were supposed to announce a deal.

In October, Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, proposed enforcing a partial no-fly zone over Syria to create safe zones for civilians in places like Aleppo. She has said little about the plan in recent months, and people familiar with her thinking say she now acknowledges that the complexity of the battlefield — with Russian planes flying raids — would make it far more difficult.

Reuters via Huffington Post, Theresa May Breaks With Brexiteers Over Immigration Proposals, Staff report, Sept. 4, 2016. May also declined to commit to Leave campaign promises to increase healthcare spending. British Prime Minister Theresa May cast doubt on Sunday on the effectiveness of ‘points-based’ immigration systems that screen applicants on the basis of factors like education and skills, setting up a potential conflict with some of her own ministers.

Foreign minister Boris Johnson and trade minister Liam Fox were part of the ‘Brexit’ camp that argued that voting to leave the European Union would free Britain from the duty to admit all EU nationals who want to live and work here, enabling it to cut immigration by introducing an Australian-style points system.

Sept. 3

"For one bright moment back in the late 1960s, we actually believed that we could change our country. We had identified the enemy. We saw it up close, we had its measure, and we were very hopeful that we would prevail. The enemy was hollow where we had substance. All of that substance was destroyed by an assassin’s bullet."

William Pepper (Page 15, The Plot to Kill King)

William Pepper The Plot To Kill KingTruth and Shadows, Martin Luther King survived shooting, was murdered in hospital: An interview with William Pepper, Craig McKee, Sept. 3, 2016. The revelations are stunning. The media indifference is predictable. Thanks to the nearly four-decade investigation by human rights lawyer William Pepper, it is now clear once and for all that Martin Luther King was murdered in a conspiracy that was instigated by then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and that also involved the U.S. military, the Memphis Police Department, and “Dixie Mafia” crime figures in Memphis, Tennessee. These and many more incredible details of the King assassination are contained in a trilogy of volumes by Pepper culminating with his latest and final book on the subject, The Plot to Kill King. He previously wrote Orders to Kill (1995) and An Act of State (2003).

With virtually no help from the mainstream media and very little from the justice system, Pepper was able to piece together what really happened on April 4, 1968 in Memphis right down to who gave the order and supplied the money, how the patsy was chosen, and who actually pulled the trigger.

Without this information, the truth about King’s assassination would have been buried and lost to history. Witnesses would have died off, taking their secrets with them, and the official lie that King was the victim of a racist lone gunman named James Earl Ray would have remained “fact.”

Instead, we know that Ray took the fall for a murder he did not commit. We know that a member of the Memphis Police Department fired the fatal shot and that two military sniper teams that were part of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group were sent to Memphis as back-ups should the primary shooter fail. We have access to the fascinating account of how Pepper came to meet Colonel John Downie, the man in charge of the military part of the plot and Lyndon Johnson’s former Vietnam briefer. We also learn that as part of the operation, photographs were actually taken of the shooting and that Pepper came very close to getting his hands on those photographs.

Unfortunately, the mainstream media has ignored all of these revelations and continues to label Ray as King’s lone assassin. In fact, Pepper chronicles in detail how a disinformation campaign has featured the collaboration of many mainstream journalists over almost half a century. He says he suspects that those orchestrating the cover-up, which continues to this day, are no longer concerned with what he writes about the subject.

“I’m really basically harmless, I think, to the power structure,” Pepper said in an interview.

“I don’t think I threaten them, really. The control of the media is so consolidated now they can keep someone like me under wraps, under cover, forever. This book will probably never be reviewed seriously by mainstream, the story will not be aired in mainstream – they control the media. It was bad in the ’60s but nowhere near as bad as now.”

And the most stunning revelation in The Plot to Kill King – which some may question because the account is second hand – is that King was still alive when he arrived at St. Joseph’s Hospital and that he was killed by a doctor who was supposed to be trying to save his life.

“That is probably the most shocking aspect of the book, that final revelation of how this great man was taken from us,” Pepper says.

Washington Post, Burns’s painfully bad attempts to defend his inflated resume, Aaron Blake, Sept. 3, 2016 (7:36 min. video). Mark Burns's very bad week just got much worse. Days after the top Trump backer and Republican convention speaker was forced to apologize for tweeting a cartoon of Hillary Clinton in blackface, CNN did some digging into his apparently inflated bio claims.

The televangelist on Friday night admitted to overstating some of his claims on his Facebook page. Then, on Saturday morning, CNN aired this brutal interview with Burns, in which he struggles to explain his readily apparent résumé inflation. It gets tough to watch at certain points.

Politico, Tarmac altercation, press dispute mar opening of Obama's trip to China, Rebecca Morin, Sept. 3, 2016. President Barack Obama's trip to China for the G20 summit Saturday opened with an unusual tarmac altercation involving Chinese and U.S. officials, including national security adviser Susan Rice. After Air Force One landed in Hangzhou, a Chinese official began shouting at White House staff after the traveling American press contingent was brought onto the tarmac, according to pool reports. The Chinese official also attempted to block Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes after they lifted a blue rope holding back press and walked to the other side of it, closer to Obama.

The press pool was brought under a wing of Air Force One where the pool was supposed to stay behind a blue rope. However, a member of the Chinese delegation began shouting at White House staff, demanding the pool leave the arrival scene. A White House official said Obama was our president and Air Force One was our plane and that the press was not going to move from the designated area. The Chinese official responded, "This is our country."

When asked later what happened at the airport, Rice said, "They did things that weren't anticipated." Disagreements between Chinese and American officials did not just stay on the tarmac.

Sept. 2

Democratic-Republican Campagne logosNew York Times, Presidential Debate Moderators Are Set, With Lester Holt for the First, John Koblin and Alexander Burns, Sept. 2, 2016. Lester Holt, Martha Raddatz, Anderson Cooper and Chris Wallace have been selected to moderate this year’s presidential debates, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced on Friday. Mr. Holt, the anchor of the “NBC Nightly News,” will moderate the first debate on Sept. 26; Ms. Raddatz of ABC and Mr. Cooper of CNN will moderate the town hall debate on Oct. 9; and Mr. Wallace of Fox News will handle the final debate on Oct. 19. All are first-time presidential debate moderators.

Additionally, the CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano will moderate the vice-presidential debate on Oct. 4. For Mr. Holt, the assignment is another prestigious step in his rise since succeeding Brian Williams on NBC’s evening news show 18 months ago. And Mr. Wallace will become the first Fox News anchor to host a presidential debate. The selections also make for a considerably more diverse slate than in previous election cycles, with an African-American, two women, including a Filipino-American (Ms. Quijano), and an openly gay man.

Washington Post, Inside the GOP creation of the North Carolina voting bill dubbed the ‘monster’ law, William Wan, Sept. 2, 2016. Documents show that Republican leaders launched a meticulous effort to deter black voters. The law, created and passed entirely by white legislators, evoked the state’s ugly history of blocking African Americans from voting.

Reuters via Huffington Post, FBI Releases Documents Related To Its Clinton Email Investigation, Julia Edwards and Jonathan Allen, Sept. 2, 2016. Hillary Clinton, under questioning by federal investigators over whether she had been briefed on how to preserve government records as she was about to leave the State Department, said she had suffered a concussion, was working part-time and could not recall every briefing she received.

Gregory Hauenstein photo, Hillary Clinton in Des Moines, IA, June 14, 2015 FlickrClinton, the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, raised the health scare during her 3-1/2-hour interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department prosecutors on July 2, according to an FBI summary released on Friday. Besides the 11-page interview summary, the FBI also released other details of its investigation into her use of an unauthorized private email system while running the State Department, in which it concluded she mishandled classified information but not in a way that warranted a criminal prosecution.

Clinton told investigators she could not recall getting any briefings on how to handle classified information or comply with laws governing the preservation of federal records, the summary of her interview shows. “However, in December of 2012, Clinton suffered a concussion and then around the New Year had a blood clot,” the FBI’s summary said. “Based on her doctor’s advice, she could only work at State for a few hours a day and could not recall every briefing she received.” A Clinton campaign aide said Clinton only referenced her concussion to explain she was not at work but for a few hours a day at that time, not that she did not remember things from that period.

Washington Post, 12 things to learn from the FBI report on Clinton’s email, Chris Cillizza, Sept. 2, 2016. Among the findings: Hillary Clinton had 13 mobile devices and five iPads during her four years at the State Department. She found three of the iPads but was unable to find any of mobile devices to turn over to the FBI.

Washington Post, John McCain wins his primary, promptly gives up on Donald Trump, Amber Phillips, Sept. 2, 2016. Literally one day after winning his primary, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) gave up on Donald Trump. In fact, McCain now sounds a bit like he's betting on Trump losing — or, at least, looking like a loser for the rest of the campaign season — to help him win a sixth term in the Senate.

In a gauzy, five-minute YouTube video released Wednesday, McCain looks directly at the camera and says: "My opponent, Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, is a good person. But if Hillary Clinton is elected president, Arizona will need a senator who will act as a check — not a rubber stamp — for the White House." In two sentences, McCain is betting that people believe Clinton is going to win in November. And that many voters in Arizona who don't like Trump aren't keen on Clinton either. (A recent national Washington Post-ABC News poll found a record number of Americans dislike Clinton, though she's still more popular than Trump.)

RealClearPolitics, After Trump Speech, Signs of a Latino Adviser Exodus, Caitlin Huey-Burns, Sept. 2, 2016. Donald Trump alienated members of his own Hispanic leadership council by ignoring their advice and instead choosing a hardline approach to immigration, which he reiterated during a speech Wednesday in Phoenix. The decision not only narrows the GOP nominee’s path to victory in November but also threatens to infringe the party's efforts to expand its appeal over the long term.

Donald Trump for President logoTrump’s immigration speech signals he is charting a course to the White House that relies heavily on a loyal but narrow following and requires increased turnout among white voters. Moreover, it goes against the counsel of Republican campaign experts, polling data trends, and demographic arithmetic.

GOP strategists said that while several pieces of the policy outline may jibe with conservative thought, the candidate’s harsh tone and rhetoric, specifically on the issue of deportation, figures to repel not only Latino voters but also moderate Republicans and independents he will need to win the White House.

“If self-deportation threw Mitt Romney’s Hispanic support from 44 percent down to 27 percent in 2012, Lord only knows what Trump’s ‘forced deportation’ will do to his Hispanic vote in 2016,” said Whit Ayres, a veteran Republican pollster.

BBC, Melania Trump sues Daily Mail and US blogger for $150m over sex worker claims, Staff report, Sept. 2, 2016. Melania Trump is suing a British newspaper and a US blogger for $150m (£114m) over allegations she was a sex worker in the 1990s, her lawyer says. The Daily Mail suggested Mrs. Trump may have worked as a part-time escort in New York, and met husband Donald Trump, who is now running for the White House, earlier than previously reported.

Melania Trump Twitter photoThe claims were "outright lying," lawyer Charles Harder said. Both the blogger and the Daily Mail have since retracted their articles. "These defendants made several statements about Mrs. Trump that are 100% false and tremendously damaging to her personal and professional reputation," Mr. Harder said in a statement. "Defendants' actions are so egregious, malicious and harmful to Mrs. Trump that her damages are estimated at $150m," Mr. Harder's statement said. He has filed the complaint before the Circuit Court for Montgomery County in the US state of Maryland.

The document states that Melania Trump (shown in her Twitter photo) asks the court to rule against all defendants "in an amount in excess of Seventy Five Thousand Dollars ($75,000) in compensatory and punitive damages." There has been no explanation of the discrepancy [with the $150 million figure].

Blogger Webster Tarpley had written that Mrs. Trump feared her past becoming public. The article on the Daily Mail's website quoted claims published in Slovenian magazine Suzy that the modelling agency Mrs. Trump was working for also functioned as an escort agency, court papers show.

Webster TarpleyThe newspaper also quoted Slovenian journalist Bojan Pozar, author of an unauthorized biography, who claimed Mrs. Trump had posed for nude photos in New York in 1995 and alleged that she had met Mr. Trump that year, three years before their reported first meeting in 1998. Her lawyers say she moved to the US in 1996.

Tarpley (shown in a file photo) responded separately:

"Melania Trump’s lawsuit against me is without merit. Mrs. Trump is a public figure actively engaged in the Trump for president campaign. We are confident that Mrs. Trump will not be able to meet her high burden of proving the statements published about her on my website were defamatory in any way.

Her lawsuit is a blatant attempt to intimidate not only me but journalists of all stripes into remaining silent with regard to public figures. This lawsuit is a direct affront to First Amendment principles and free speech in our democratic society."

Washington Post, Prosecutor recommends second trial for former governor McDonnell, Matt Zapotosky, Sept. 2, 2016.​ The recommendation does not guarantee that McDonnell will once again have to battle corruption charges in court. The final call rests with higher-ups from the Department of Justice, who must make a decision by Sept. 19.

From the case came a unanimous Supreme Court ruling that experts say makes prosecuting corrupt politicians substantially more difficult than it was before. It is possible more successful challenges could lead to a further narrowing of corruption laws and hamper other investigations.

The Supreme Court’s ruling dealt a critical blow to the case against McDonnell but not an immediately fatal one. The court decided that jurors were wrongly instructed on the meaning of the term “official act” — the thing that prosecutors were required to prove McDonnell did or tried to do for Williams in exchange for the businessman’s favors — and offered a definition far more narrow than what jurors had considered.

For the purposes of a bribery case, an official act “must involve a formal exercise of governmental power that is similar in nature to a lawsuit before a court, a determination before an agency, or a hearing before a committee,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote. He said it must be “something specific and focused” and that the public official must make a decision or take an action on it, or at least agree to do so. “Setting up a meeting, talking to another official, or organizing an event — without more — does not fit that definition of ‘official act,’ ” Roberts wrote.

National Press Club, Freedman tells Broadcast Committee the way it was, Bill McCloskey, Sept. 2, 2016. Imagine being able to call on legendary CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite to do a radio broadcast when you needed to emphasize the importance of an historic event. As general manager of CBS Radio Network News, National Press Club board member Mike Freedman had that authority and used it judiciously.

Sept. 1

Donald Trump button open mouthWashington Post, How Trump went from Point A to Point A on immigration, Jenna Johnson, Robert Costa and Philip Rucker, Sept. 1, 2016. For nearly two weeks, Donald Trump has publicly and privately debated how best to describe his position, especially when it comes to the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. On Wednesday, he decided to stick with the far-right positions that were key to his success in the GOP primaries.

Washington Post, Trump paid IRS penalty for his foundation’s donation to aid Florida attorney general, David A. Fahrenthold, Sept. 1, 2016. The $25,000 gift to a group supporting Pam Bondi was made from a foundation account by mistake, a Trump official said. The donation was also omitted from the foundation's tax filings. Donald Trump paid the IRS a $2,500 penalty this year, an official at Trump's company said, after it was revealed that Trump's charitable foundation had violated tax laws by giving a political contribution to a campaign group connected to Florida's attorney general.

The improper donation, a $25,000 gift from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, was made in 2013. At the time, Attorney General Pam Bondi was considering whether to investigate fraud allegations against Trump University. She decided not to pursue the case. Earlier this year, The Washington Post and a liberal watchdog group raised new questions about the three-year-old gift. The watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a complaint with the IRS — noting that, as a registered nonprofit, the Trump Foundation was not allowed to make political donations.

Washington Post, Trump enlists veteran operative David Bossie as deputy campaign manager, Robert Costa, Sept. 1, 2016. Trump enlists veteran operative David Bossie as deputy campaign manager, Robert Costa, David N. Bossie, the veteran conservative operative who has investigated the Clintons for more than two decades, has been named Donald Trump’s deputy campaign manager. Bossie will also work on crafting attacks against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, mining past controversies involving her and former president Bill Clinton, and cultivating Trump’s bond with conservative activists. The addition of Bossie, who first gained notice in the 1990s as the Republican congressional staffer who aggressively delved into the Clintons’ finances and dealings, is the latest sign that the Trump campaign’s new leadership team is embracing right-wing figures whose ties to the party’s elected leadership have been tenuous or even hostile.

National Press Club, Former Senate Intelligence Chair Graham Seeks More 9/11, Saudi Disclosures, Andrew Kreig, Sept. 1, 2016. Former Senator Bob Graham urged pressure on Congress for more disclosure about Saudi Arabian interaction with 9/11 hijackers at an NPC Newsmaker event on Aug. 31. The public should pressure Congress for more disclosure about Saudi Arabian interaction with 9/11 hijackers, said former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham, D-Fla., Wednesday to a National Press Club Newsmaker audience.

Former Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) Aug. 31, 2016 at NPC (Noel St. John photo)The U.S. House of Representatives, he said, must enable 9/11 victim families to sue Saudi entities suspected of complicity. “These almost 3,000 American victims and their families deserve justice,” said Graham (shown in a photo image by Noel St. John). “They deserve the right, in a court of law, to present the evidence they have gathered, which is voluminous, that will link the kingdom and other entities of Saudi Arabia to the 19 hijackers.”

The Senate unanimously passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) in May. The legislation would enable terrorism victims to overcome court rulings backed by the Executive Branch that Saudi defendants receive sovereign immunity from disclosure and liability. The bill is stalled in the House Judiciary Committee. Graham, a three-term Florida Democrat who retired in 2005 from the Senate, said in remarks broadcast by C-SPAN and NPR that the House has not scheduled a vote on JASTA. Get involved in that fight, he urged the audience.

WhoWhatWhy, Coverup of Saudi 9/11 Connection Continues, Charges Graham, Celia Wexler, Sept. 1, 2016. The co-chair of a Joint Congressional Inquiry into the 9/11 terror attacks charged that the US government continues to turn a blind eye to evidence that the government of Saudi Arabia may have aided the terrorists.

The July release of 28 pages — still substantially redacted — of previously classified material from the Joint Inquiry report of 2002 does not put the matter to rest, said former Senator Bob Graham, (D-FL) at the National Press Club on Thursday. On the contrary, he said, those pages raise significant new questions. Harassed at one point by the FBI, his investigation blocked by the Department of Justice and the State Department, Graham urged the media to support his struggle.

Of the 19 hijackers, 15 were Saudi citizens. Still, US officials, the Saudi government, and the chairs of a separate commission that looked into the attacks all have insisted allegations about Saudi involvement have been pursued, and no evidence has been found to support them.

The former senator said he can understand why President George W. Bush “submerged” information about Saudi connections to the hijackers. Bush was intent on invading Iraq, and linking Iraq — falsely — to 9/11. Blaming Saudi Arabia, Graham said, would have interfered with that narrative. The US had maintained a long relationship with the royal family, he added, one that was conditioned on the US providing security to the Saudi regime — and the Saudis providing oil to the US.

But Graham can’t explain why the Obama administration has continued to stonewall. He concedes that the US might be concerned that investigating Saudi involvement would make an already unstable Middle East even more unstable. But he said that any real relationship between two countries “needs honesty” if it is to be “positive and fruitful.”

Huffington Post, Syrian Rebels Wage Major Offensive In Hama Province, Tom Perry, Sept. 1, 2016. It’s the largest coordinated attack on government forces in the area since 2014.  Areas of Syria’s Hama province captured by Syrian insurgents came under heavy air attack on Thursday as government forces sought to counter a major rebel assault in an area of strategic importance to President Bashar al-Assad. The rebel thrust in Hama marks a new challenge to Assad and his allies in a part of Syria where he has tried to consolidate his grip on power against a more than five-year-old insurgency. 

Fifth Estate, Andrew Kreig: Fox News Spews Mind-Changing Propaganda, Sept. 1, 2016. Fox News and co-propagandists at CNN lead the pack of "mainstream media" frauds and corporate shills in shoveling dirt over into the grave of what was once The 4th Estate in America. The sex scandals and political bias revealed at Fox News in recent weeks provide proof positive that the network functions as a propaganda operation that is even worse than its competitors.

September Update

Sept. 2

RealClearPolitics, After Trump Speech, Signs of a Latino Adviser Exodus, Caitlin Huey-Burns, Sept. 2, 2016. Donald Trump alienated members of his own Hispanic leadership council by ignoring their advice and instead choosing a hardline approach to immigration, which he reiterated during a speech Wednesday in Phoenix. The decision not only narrows the GOP nominee’s path to victory in November but also threatens to infringe the party's efforts to expand its appeal over the long term.

Donald Trump for President logoTrump’s immigration speech signals he is charting a course to the White House that relies heavily on a loyal but narrow following and requires increased turnout among white voters. Moreover, it goes against the counsel of Republican campaign experts, polling data trends, and demographic arithmetic.

GOP strategists said that while several pieces of the policy outline may jibe with conservative thought, the candidate’s harsh tone and rhetoric, specifically on the issue of deportation, figures to repel not only Latino voters but also moderate Republicans and independents he will need to win the White House.

“If self-deportation threw Mitt Romney’s Hispanic support from 44 percent down to 27 percent in 2012, Lord only knows what Trump’s ‘forced deportation’ will do to his Hispanic vote in 2016,” said Whit Ayres, a veteran Republican pollster.

Sept. 1

Donald Trump button open mouthWashington Post, How Trump went from Point A to Point A on immigration, Jenna Johnson, Robert Costa and Philip Rucker, Sept. 1, 2016. For nearly two weeks, Donald Trump has publicly and privately debated how best to describe his position, especially when it comes to the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. On Wednesday, he decided to stick with the far-right positions that were key to his success in the GOP primaries.

Washington Post, Trump paid IRS penalty for his foundation’s donation to aid Florida attorney general, David A. Fahrenthold, Sept. 1, 2016. The $25,000 gift to a group supporting Pam Bondi was made from a foundation account by mistake, a Trump official said. The donation was also omitted from the foundation's tax filings. Donald Trump paid the IRS a $2,500 penalty this year, an official at Trump's company said, after it was revealed that Trump's charitable foundation had violated tax laws by giving a political contribution to a campaign group connected to Florida's attorney general.

The improper donation, a $25,000 gift from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, was made in 2013. At the time, Attorney General Pam Bondi was considering whether to investigate fraud allegations against Trump University. She decided not to pursue the case. Earlier this year, The Washington Post and a liberal watchdog group raised new questions about the three-year-old gift. The watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a complaint with the IRS — noting that, as a registered nonprofit, the Trump Foundation was not allowed to make political donations.

Washington Post, Trump enlists veteran operative David Bossie as deputy campaign manager, Robert Costa, Sept. 1, 2016. Trump enlists veteran operative David Bossie as deputy campaign manager, Robert Costa, David N. Bossie, the veteran conservative operative who has investigated the Clintons for more than two decades, has been named Donald Trump’s deputy campaign manager. Bossie will also work on crafting attacks against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, mining past controversies involving her and former president Bill Clinton, and cultivating Trump’s bond with conservative activists. The addition of Bossie, who first gained notice in the 1990s as the Republican congressional staffer who aggressively delved into the Clintons’ finances and dealings, is the latest sign that the Trump campaign’s new leadership team is embracing right-wing figures whose ties to the party’s elected leadership have been tenuous or even hostile.

National Press Club, Former Senate Intelligence Chair Graham Seeks More 9/11, Saudi Disclosures, Andrew Kreig, Sept. 1, 2016. Former Senator Bob Graham urged pressure on Congress for more disclosure about Saudi Arabian interaction with 9/11 hijackers at an NPC Newsmaker event on Aug. 31. The public should pressure Congress for more disclosure about Saudi Arabian interaction with 9/11 hijackers, said former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham, D-Fla., Wednesday to a National Press Club Newsmaker audience.

Former Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) Aug. 31, 2016 at NPC (Noel St. John photo)The U.S. House of Representatives, he said, must enable 9/11 victim families to sue Saudi entities suspected of complicity. “These almost 3,000 American victims and their families deserve justice,” said Graham (shown in a photo image by Noel St. John). “They deserve the right, in a court of law, to present the evidence they have gathered, which is voluminous, that will link the kingdom and other entities of Saudi Arabia to the 19 hijackers.”

The Senate unanimously passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) in May. The legislation would enable terrorism victims to overcome court rulings backed by the Executive Branch that Saudi defendants receive sovereign immunity from disclosure and liability. The bill is stalled in the House Judiciary Committee. Graham, a three-term Florida Democrat who retired in 2005 from the Senate, said in remarks broadcast by C-SPAN and NPR that the House has not scheduled a vote on JASTA. Get involved in that fight, he urged the audience.

WhoWhatWhy, Coverup of Saudi 9/11 Connection Continues, Charges Graham, Celia Wexler, Sept. 1, 2016. The co-chair of a Joint Congressional Inquiry into the 9/11 terror attacks charged that the US government continues to turn a blind eye to evidence that the government of Saudi Arabia may have aided the terrorists.

The July release of 28 pages — still substantially redacted — of previously classified material from the Joint Inquiry report of 2002 does not put the matter to rest, said former Senator Bob Graham, (D-FL) at the National Press Club on Thursday. On the contrary, he said, those pages raise significant new questions. Harassed at one point by the FBI, his investigation blocked by the Department of Justice and the State Department, Graham urged the media to support his struggle.

Of the 19 hijackers, 15 were Saudi citizens. Still, US officials, the Saudi government, and the chairs of a separate commission that looked into the attacks all have insisted allegations about Saudi involvement have been pursued, and no evidence has been found to support them.

The former senator said he can understand why President George W. Bush “submerged” information about Saudi connections to the hijackers. Bush was intent on invading Iraq, and linking Iraq — falsely — to 9/11. Blaming Saudi Arabia, Graham said, would have interfered with that narrative. The US had maintained a long relationship with the royal family, he added, one that was conditioned on the US providing security to the Saudi regime — and the Saudis providing oil to the US.

But Graham can’t explain why the Obama administration has continued to stonewall. He concedes that the US might be concerned that investigating Saudi involvement would make an already unstable Middle East even more unstable. But he said that any real relationship between two countries “needs honesty” if it is to be “positive and fruitful.”

Huffington Post, Syrian Rebels Wage Major Offensive In Hama Province, Tom Perry, Sept. 1, 2016. It’s the largest coordinated attack on government forces in the area since 2014.  Areas of Syria’s Hama province captured by Syrian insurgents came under heavy air attack on Thursday as government forces sought to counter a major rebel assault in an area of strategic importance to President Bashar al-Assad. The rebel thrust in Hama marks a new challenge to Assad and his allies in a part of Syria where he has tried to consolidate his grip on power against a more than five-year-old insurgency. 

Fifth Estate, Andrew Kreig: Fox News Spews Mind-Changing Propaganda, Sept. 1, 2016. Fox News and co-propagandists at CNN lead the pack of "mainstream media" frauds and corporate shills in shoveling dirt over into the grave of what was once The 4th Estate in America. The sex scandals and political bias revealed at Fox News in recent weeks provide proof positive that the network functions as a propaganda operation that is even worse than its competitors.

DavidSwanson.org, Public Relations Firm Claims to Have Ghost Written Thousands of Op-Eds in Major U.S. Newspapers, David Swanson (shown in a file photo), Sept. 1, 2016. Laura Bentz of Keybridge David SwansonCommunications describes her company as "a boutique PR firm -- founded by a former writer for the Wall Street Journal -- that specializes in writing and placing op-eds. With some of the country's most influential trade groups and global corporations as clients, we run many of the major op-ed campaigns in the U.S. We place roughly 3,000 op-eds per year."

On its website, Keybridge openly claims to be able to "brand a CEO" by putting op-eds into newspapers in "virtually every major city." For a mere $5,000, Keybridge offers this service in the PDF: "First, we write a 500-800 word op-ed. Then we place it in one or more newspapers around the country. If we're pitching to a national audience, we guarantee that we'll reach at least 50,000 readers. Includes media monitoring."

Washington Post, More than 6 million immigrants could be deported under latest Trump plan, Jose A. DelReal, Sept. 1, 2016 The Republican nominee spelled out hard-line Donald Trump 2016 buttonimmigration priorities in a fiery speech in Phoenix that could target millions of individuals for immediate removal, according to a Post analysis. His proposals represented his most specific comments on a deportation policy.

Boston Globe, ‘Profoundly disturbing’ abuse documented at St. George’s, Bella English, Sept. 1, 2016. After a months-long investigation of sexual abuse at St. George’s School, a report released Thursday described the elite Rhode Island prep school in the 1970s and 80s as a cauldron of sexual exploitation of students. Sixty-one alumni gave investigators first-hand accounts of the abuse they say they suffered, with 51 saying the abusers were faculty or staff and an additional 10 reporting abuse by classmates.

“The picture that emerges from this investigation is profoundly disturbing,” wrote attorney Martin F. Murphy in a preface to the 390-page report. Murphy, a partner at the Boston firm Foley Hoag, was appointed in January by St. George’s and the victims’ group SGS for Healing to investigate sex abuse at the elite prep school in Middletown, R.I.

For many of the alumni interviewed by Murphy’s team, the school was a place “where their abusers created a kind of private hell for them, a place where they suffered emotional wounds and trauma that for many remain unhealed,” according to the report.

Washington Post, Hacker who revealed Clinton’s use of private email address sentenced to 52 months in prison, Rachel Weiner and Spencer S. Hsu​, Sept. 1, 2016. He also leaked pictures of former President George W. Bush’s paintings. Marcel Lehel Lazar, known online as “Guccifer,” had admitted to victimizing nearly 100 Americans from his home in Romania, pleading guilty to identity theft and unauthorized access to a protected computer.

“The extent of the harm caused by defendant’s conduct is incalculable,” federal prosecutors wrote in seeking a maximum penalty of 41/2 years under U.S. sentencing guidelines.
Contrary to Lazar’s own claims, authorities say that he never obtained access to Clinton’s email account.

SouthFront, Syrian War Report – September 1, 2016: Syrian Army Overruns Militant Defenses in Aleppo, Staff report, Sept. 1, 2016. On August 31, the Syrian army and its allies, supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces, captured the village of Qarasi, about 60% of Al Amiriya and the strategic hill of Tal Al Sanoubrat, smashing the Jaish al-Fatah defenses along the road between Khan Tuman and the Ramouseh Neighborhood of Aleppo city. By September 1, the road has been physically cut off north of the Um Qara hill.

The liberation of the Air Force Technical Base is an important victory that in addition to cutting off the road to Khan Tuman poses a threat of reestablishing of the Aleppo pocket. In general, the recent developments in Aleppo city can be described as a tactical success of the pro-government forces that could lead to a strategic victory in the area.