October 2017 News Reports


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Editor's Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative October 2017 news and views

Oct. 31 Retrospective: Halloween In Kennedy Oval Office

President John F. Kennedy with children on Halloween

President John F. Kennedy with children on Halloween

Oct. 31

Terror Act Hits New York Cit, Kills Eight

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Washington Post, Manhattan vehicle attack kills at least 8, injures 12 in ‘act of terror,’ Mark Berman and Devlin Barrett, Oct. 31, 2017. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the attack on a cyclist path in Lower Manhattan was "an act of terror." The driver jumped out of a Home Depot rental truck with what appeared to be a weapon before he was taken into custody.

Law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an open investigation, identified the suspect as Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant, who had been living in Tampa, Fla.

Saipov moved to the United States from Uzbekistan about five or six years ago, said Dilnoza Abdusamatova, 24, who said that Saipov stayed with her family in Cincinnati for his first two weeks in the country because their fathers were friends

2016 Campaign Facebook Danger Revised Up to 126 Million Impressions

ny times logofacebook logoNew York Times, Russian Influence Reached 126 Million Through Facebook, Mike Isaac and Daisuke and Wakabayashi, Oct. 31, 2017 (print edition).  Facebook and Google, ahead of congressional hearings, disclosed details about “insidious” Russian efforts to sow discord in the U.S. The new information reveals the scope of the agents’ use of their platforms.

ny times logoNew York Times, What Can Be Done to Fix Facebook? We Asked 9 Experts, Farhad Manjoo and Kevin Roose, Oct. 31, 2017 (print edition).  Technologists, academics, politicians and journalists suggested ways to improve Facebook — as a product, a company or both.

More On Special Prosecutor's Probe

Donald Trump and George Papadopoulos campaign meeting2016 Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos, third from the left, sits during a meeting that includes then-Sen. Jeff Sessions at far left and Donald Trump (at center top of photo, via NBC News)

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Belittles Aide Caught in Russia Inquiry; Calls Him ‘Liar,’ Peter Baker, Oct. 31, 2017. President Trump tried to diminish the significance of a former adviser who admitted to lying to the F.B.I. about how he sought to meet with Russians during last year’s campaign. Mr. Trump said “few people knew” George Papadopoulos and that he “has already proven to be a liar.” Jeff Sessions leads a Trump campaign foreign-policy meeting in 2016, with George Papadopoulos two chairs to his left.

Wilbur RossDaily Kos, The Former Chairman of Manafort's Money-Laundering Bank Is Now Our Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Jen Hayden, Oct 31, 2017. Paul Manafort is now under indictment after a grand jury approved tax fraud and money laundering charges against Trump’s former campaign manager, who also happens to be a longtime resident of Trump Tower. In fact, Manafort and Trump have been friends dating all the way back to 1980. Here’s a quick summary from the New York Times:

The tax and money laundering case against Mr. Manafort describes a complicated scheme in which he lobbied for a pro-Russia party in Ukraine and its leader, Viktor F. Yanukovych, and hid proceeds in bank accounts in Cyprus, the Grenadines and elsewhere. Prosecutors say he laundered more than $18 million, and spent the money extravagantly. A home improvement company in the Hamptons was paid nearly $5.5 million, according to the indictment. More than $1.3 million more went to clothing stores in New York and Beverly Hills, Calif.

Looking through the detailed records in Manafort’s indictment reveals that the Bank of Cyprus and shady Cyprus-based LLCs were his preferred offshore money laundering venues, and Manafort is not the only one who moved money through Cyprus. Donald Trump and Russian oligarchs favor the venue as well.

From Mother Jones:

wilbur ross"Many of Trump’s business dealings involve Deutsche Bank or the Bank of Cyprus — both known for their connections with Russian oligarchs. Deutsche Bank is also Trump’s biggest lender; he owes the bank some $300 million, as first reported by Mother Jones‘ Russ Choma and David Corn. The Guardian reported that Deutsche Bank paid $630 million in fines for failing to prevent $10 billion in Russian money laundering between 2012 and 2015. The Bank of Cyprus is also well known as a money-laundering haven for Russian oligarchs.

"Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (shown at right) has invested heavily in the Bank of Cyprus (some $424 million in 2014, giving him an 18% stake) and he was once vice-chairman of the bank, according to the Guardian. Ross presided over deals that raise questions about his tenure at the bank and his ties to politically connected Russian oligarchs."

 Legal Schnauzer, Manafort, Gates, and Papadopoulos take body blows for Team Trump, but Jeff Sessions might prove to be the big loser as "Mueller Monday" kicks off with a bang, Roger Shuler, Oct. 31, 2017. "Mueller Monday" produced indictments against two Trump campaign officials, and a plea deal for a third. But the biggest loser might be a Trumpista who was not named in yesterday's criminal unveilings.

Trump attorney general and former U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) might have had the worst day of all -- even though he is not facing criminal charges, yet. That's because the most damaging news for Team Trump was the guilty plea of campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. And his direct supervisor during the Trump campaign was . . . Jeff Sessions.

Multiple legal experts noted that Papadopoulos was described in legal documents as a "proactive cooperator" and suggest he likely has been helping gather evidence for Special Counsel Robert Mueller. A former Watergate prosecutor "guaranteed" Papadopoulos has been wearing a wire and playing "dial-a-crook" for months. CNN's Jeffrey Toobin said Papadopoulous has been wearing a wire since his arrest in July, through October.

Legal journalist Marcy Wheeler writes that Papadopoulos could help prove that Sessions lied to Congress. And Jill Simpson, a prominent activist and opposition researcher, says that could shine a dreadful light on Alabama's toxic legal and political environment.

Consortium News, The U.S. mainstream media finally has its “smoking gun” on Russia-gate — incriminating information from a junior Trump campaign adviser — but a closer look reveals serious problems with the “evidence,” Robert Parry, Oct. 31, 2017. Russia-gate special prosecutor Robert Mueller has turned up the heat on President Trump with the indictment of Trump’s former campaign manager for unrelated financial crimes and the disclosure of a guilty plea from a low-level foreign policy adviser for lying to the FBI.

 Donald Trump (Defense Department photo by Dominique Pineiro)

President Trump (Defense Department photo by Dominique Pineiro)

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Washington Post, ‘This is a nothing burger’: How conservative media reacted to the indictments, Eli Rosenberg​, Oct. 31, 2017. In the highly politicized environment, where news is increasingly targeted to partisan audiences, the story played out very differently on sites such as Fox News, Breitbart and the Daily Caller.

sam clovis fox news CustomPolitico, Clovis said to be 'cooperative witness' in Senate Russia probe, Catherine Boudrea and Josh Dawsey, Oct. 31, 2017. Sam Clovis, President Donald Trump’s controversial nominee to be the Agriculture Department’s chief scientist, has been “a fully cooperative witness” in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts told Politico.

Clovis, a former co-chair and policy adviser to Trump’s campaign, knew that another campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, was talking to Russians, according to news reports based on documents released Monday as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

george papadopoulos linked in croppedPapadopoulos (shown at right) was arrested in late July and pleaded guilty to a charge that he made false statements to the FBI about his contact with a professor who has ties to the Kremlin and promised thousands of pages of emails related to Hillary Clinton.

Clovis’ nomination to the top scientific job at the Agriculture Department has already drawn significant opposition from Democrats and scientists who have raised concerns about his climate-change skepticism, his credentials and his history of making disparaging statements about blacks, women, LGBT individuals and others. But there's been no public opposition from Republicans.

Roberts said Monday that he planned to continue with a planned Nov. 9 confirmation hearing. But on Tuesday, when asked whether he'd consider delaying the hearing amid the Russia developments, he said that was "to be determined."

Sam Clovis background via Wikipedia: Samuel H. Clovis Jr. (born September 18, 1949) is a former United States Air Force officer, former economics professor, talk radio host, and political figure. Clovis is currently the senior White House adviser to the United States Department of Agriculture. Clovis served in the Air Force for 25 years, from 1971 to 1996. He was a fighter pilot and instructor, and also served in the Pentagon, the Middle East, and as commander of the 70th Fighter Squadron.

In January 2010, Clovis started hosting his own radio talk show[3] "Impact With Sam Clovis" on KSCJ-AM. About the same time, he became active in the Republican Party and served as a delegate to the state convention in 2010. In 2012, he supported and campaigned with Rick Santorum, who won the Iowa caucuses. He was chairman of the 4th District Republican convention as well as an alternate delegate to the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Clovis has described climate research as "junk science." In August 2017, CNN reported on the existence of a now-defunct blog that Clovis had maintained primarily between 2011 and 2012. In blog posts accessed via the Wayback Machine, Clovis was critical of President Barack Obama and the progressive movement, accusing Obama of being a socialist and writing that progressives were "liars, race traders and race 'traitors.'"

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Manafort's lawyer covered up massive tax evasion by VIPs, Wayne Madsen, Oct. 31, 2017 (Subscription required; excerpted with permission).

Paul Manafort, the indicted former campaign manager for President Trump, should feel at ease knowing that Kevin Downing [pictured, right] is his criminal defense attorney for his upcoming trial for tax evasion and other criminal counts. Downing, who until recently was a partner with the Washington, DC law firm of Miller & Chevalier, is an expert in white collar crime, particularly issues relating to offshore tax avoidance schemes, money laundering, and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act bribery payments. Before entering private practice, Downing served as a federal prosecutor for 15 years in the Department of Justice's Tax Division, the law enforcement arm for the Internal Revenue Service.

Down With Tyranny, Paul Manafort’s Lawyer Kevin Downing is Yet Another Department of Justice Prosecutor Who Took a Spin Through the Revolving Door, Skip Kaltenhauser, Oct. 31, 2017. Here's Where We've Met Him Before -- And What It Tells Us About The Swamp.

kevin downing head portraitBirds of a feather. Ever notice the gravitational pull that brings sleaze together in the legal world, how those of similar ilk find each other? Now we have the dramedy of Paul Manafort and his lawyer, Kevin Downing to ponder.

DWT readers might recall his Oct. 21st, 2016 appearance in A Devil’s Advocate Rings in a Bad Night for Bankers, a piece on Swiss bank whistleblower Brad Birkenfeld and his book Lucifer’s Banker.

bradley birkenfeld cover mugI interviewed Birkenfeld some time back for a still-in-progress essay on the revolving door. Birkenfeld went to the US government to reveal the jaw-dropping extent of US tax evasion via Swiss bank enablers. In a frightening insight into how the fix was in for banks, even foreign banks, at the Department of Justice under the Eric Holder crowd, the only person to go to jail was whistleblower Birkenfeld.

Downing was lead DOJ prosecutor putting the screws to Birkenfeld. It appeared to this writer that an example was made of Birkenfeld, warning others who might throw light on or otherwise inconvenience the Big Money that lubricates so much of Washington’s political machinery.

The whole book is an entertaining if alarming read, but at least zip through Devil’s Advocate and/or explore Birkenfeld’s site for the flavor of what happened. And don’t miss surprise guest appearances such as then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, which raises important questions that to my amazement media has thus far ignored.

Related news: National Law Journal, Paul Manafort's Lawyer Leaves His Firm Two Weeks After Taking Case, Katelyn Polantz, Aug. 25, 2017. Kevin Downing, a tax partner at Miller & Chevalier in Washington, D.C., left the firm Thursday. He will continue to advise President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who reportedly received subpoenas Friday from a federal grand jury probing a public relations firm that did work for Ukraine.

About two weeks after Paul Manafort Jr. swapped his lawyers from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr for Miller & Chevalier, the former campaign manager for President Donald Trump saw another change in his legal representation.

Kevin Downing, a Miller & Chevalier partner advising Manafort in the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation into alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia, left the firm Thursday. “We conducted a conflicts check and analysis,” the firm said Friday through an outside spokeswoman. “We subsequently determined that an existing client matter prevents the firm from representing Mr. Manafort at this time.”

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Washington Post, Professor named in court papers says he has ‘clear conscience,’ Karla Adam, Oct. 31, 2017. An academic at a Scottish university confirmed Tuesday he is the “professor” mentioned in the probe over suspected Russian interference in U.S. politics, but claimed the allegations are exaggerated.

 According to court papers unsealed Monday, George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, told federal investigators that a professor in April 2016 promised him “dirt” on Hillary Clinton compiled by Russians, including thousands of emails.

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Washington Post, Opinion: Trump and his allies are laying the groundwork for a Saturday Night Massacre, Greg Sargent, Oct. 31, 2017. Let’s be clear on what’s happening in our politics right now. President Trump and his media allies are currently creating a vast, multi-tentacled, largely-fictional alternate media reality that casts large swaths of our government as irredeemably corrupt — with the explicitly declared purpose of laying the rationale for Trump to pardon his close associates or shut down the Russia probe, should he deem either necessary.

 We often hear that Trump and his allies are trying to “distract” from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s intensifying investigation. That’s true, but this characterization inadequately casts this in terms ordinarily applied to conventional politics. Instead, Trump’s trafficking in this stuff should be seen as another sign of his fundamental unfitness to serve as president. Similar efforts by his media allies should be labeled as a deliberate effort to goad Trump into sliding into full-blown authoritarianism, and to provide the air cover for him if he does do so.

The Associated Press reports that people who have spoken to Trump say that he has recently revisited the idea of trying to remove Mueller, now that Mueller appears to be digging into Trump’s finances. Meanwhile, CNN reports that former Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon is privately urging Trump to try to get Republicans to defund Mueller’s probe.

JFK Document Release Update

WhoWhatWhy WhoWhatWhy, Trumped: The Mandate, the Media, and New Clues Amid the JFK Document (Un)-Dump, Dick Russell, Oct. 31, 2017. Dick Russell (shown below) is the author of "The Man Who Knew Too Much" and "On the Trail of the JFK Assassins." Veteran JFK assassination researcher and author Dick Russell explores the drama surrounding President Donald Trump’s delay of the majority of JFK assassination records, and highlights some of the most interesting and revealing documents.

Dick RussellFor those of us waiting since passage of the JFK Act of 1992 for release of the last withheld documents on President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the news last Thursday was beyond anti-climactic. It was infuriating — and illegal.

Given that President Donald Trump seized the opportunity to be in Dallas for a GOP fundraiser, it was also an insult to the memory of Kennedy’s assassination in the same city almost 54 years before.

Clearly, elements of the CIA and FBI had done some last-minute arm-twisting. As night fell, Trump penned a memo saying: “I have no choice — today — but to accept [their] redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our nation’s security.”

Mary Ferrell Foundation, Formerly withheld-in-full documents released on Oct. 26, 2017, Rex Bradford, Oct. 30, 2017. These 52 documents, all formerly withheld in full, were released on October 26, 2017. (25 years after the passage of the JFK Records Act). They come from a variety of agencies. An additional 2,839 formerly-redacted documents were also released on that day. See the 2017 Documents project page under the Resources menu for more information.

Sort by: Title Date NARA RIF Number Agency File Number

1. [No Title]RIF#: 124-10208-10333 (08/05/1964) FBI#: 105-98177-32

2. [No Title]RIF#: 124-10291-10043 (11/08/1976) FBI#: CR 109-12-223-6308

3. [No Title]RIF#: 124-10291-10044 (06/09/1976) FBI#: CR 109-12-223-6322 (etc.)

Global News: Lies On Syrian Troop Strength?

The Hill, Military commanders says 4,000 troops in Syria, then backtracks, Ellen Mitchell, Oct. 31, 2017. The commander of the US-led special operations task force responsible for defeating ISIS on October 30 said more than 4,000 US troops were in Syria, then quickly retracted the figure when it was pointed out the Pentagon officially insists only 503 troops are deployed on the ground there.

Centcom logo“We have approximately … I think it’s a little over 4,000 US troops in Syria right now” supporting efforts against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,” US Army Major General James Jarrard told Pentagon reporters from Baghdad via satellite,  The Hill reported.

When asked to confirm the number, Jarrard quickly corrected himself: “I’m sorry, I misspoke there, there are approximately 500 troops in Syria.”

It’s fair to assume that there are more US soldiers stationed in Syria and Iraq than the Pentagon officially admits. Due to troop caps set by the Obama administration, the public troop count is kept artificially lower by moving forces around in the region and using specific personnel accounting methods.

In April of 2017, the US President Donald Trump claimed that the US is “not going into Syria”, although the US had already had a military presence in the country since early 2016 to train and advise Kurdish and Arab rebel forces fighting ISIS in northern and eastern Syria.

Back in March, the US stepped up its deployment of troops to Syria to 900 soldiers and Marines, with a temporal authority to exceed the formal troop cap of 503, planning to deploy up to 1,000 more troops into northern Syria.

Global News: War

ron paul jan 3 2017Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity viaGlobal Research, Neocons Hijack Trump’s Syria Policy, Ron Paul (former Republican congressman from Texas, shown at right), Oct. 31, 2017. Does anyone in the Trump Administration have a clue about our Syria policy?

rex tillerson suggests regime change venezuelaIn March, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (shown in a file photo at left calling for regime change in Venezuela) appeared to be finally pulling back from President Obama’s disastrous “Assad must go” position that has done nothing but prolong the misery in Syria. Then out of the blue this past week, Tillerson did another 180 degree policy turn, telling a UN audience in Geneva that, “[t]he reign of the Assad family is coming to an end. The only issue is how that should that be brought about.”

Washington’s interventionists have long believed that they have the unilateral right to determine who is allowed to head up foreign countries. In Syria, Assad has been seen as a protector of Christians and other minorities against the onslaught of in many cases US-backed jihadists seeking his overthrow. While the Syrian system is obviously not a Switzerland-like democracy, unlike our great “ally” Saudi Arabia they do at least have elections contested by different political parties, and religious and other minorities are fully integrated into society.

Why has the Trump Administration shifted back to “Assad must go”? One reason may be that, one-by-one, the neocons who opposed Trump most vociferously during the campaign have found themselves and their friends in positions of power in his Administration. The neocons are great at winning while losing.

The real story behind Washington’s ongoing determination to overthrow the Syrian government is even more disturbing.

qatar mapIn a bombshell interview last week, a former Qatari Prime Minister confessed that his country, along with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United States, began shipping weapons to jihadists from the very moment Syrian unrest began in 2011.

The well-connected Qatari former minister was trying to point out that his country was not alone in backing al-Qaeda and even ISIS in Syria. In the course of defending his country against terrorism charges leveled by Saudi Arabia he has spilled the beans about US involvement with the very groups claimed to be our arch-enemies. As they did in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the CIA supported radical Islamic terrorism in Syria.

Global News: Israel

ny times logoNew York Times, Is the End of Israeli Democracy Nigh? Israelis Debate Its Future, Isabel Kershner, Oct. 31, 2017. Arabs, peace activists and Israel’s left wing have long challenged as undemocratic the right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (shown in a file photo).

benjamin netanyahu frownBut now that criticism is being leveled by former security officials and members of the right-wing establishment itself, including veterans of Mr. Netanyahu’s own political party and his Justice Department.

They say that the government’s efforts to control the news media, curtail the authority of the Supreme Court and undermine once-hallowed institutions like the military threaten the future of Israeli democracy. Their warnings have thrown Israel into an impassioned debate over what kind of country it is becoming, and if its democracy — now in its 70th year — can survive.

Global Media News: Brazil Media Concentration

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Media Oligopolies Controlled by “Colonel” Dynasties: RSF and Intervozes present Media Ownership Monitor Brazil, Staff report, Oct. 31, 2017. The Media Ownership Monitor (MOM) draws a detailed picture of the Brazilian media landscape and the strings attached to it. It illustrates the level of concentration of ownership, but also shows a significant geographical cluster of media power in the south of the country and a number of regulatory shortcomings.

brazil flag waving“In principle everybody here knows what is the problem”, said André Pasti, Intervozes’ lead researcher. “What’s new is that we are very specific about names and stakes and about the collusion of power at all levels.” The investigation, which took the team four months to complete, comprises the 50 most important media outlets in Brazil and the 26 corporate groups owning them.

Inside Washington

ny times logojerome powellNew York Times, Trump Is Said to Have Made ‘Safe’ Pick for Fed Chief, Maggie Haberman and Binyamin Appelbaum, Oct. 31, 2017 (print edition). Jerome H. Powell, a Fed governor, is expected to be appointed the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, two people familiar with the plans said. The Republican has deep roots in the party and in the financial industry.

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, The Feds’ Secret Workforce, Celia Wexler, Oct. 31, 2017. The federal workforce is at the same level as it was in the days of John F. Kennedy, while the use of federal contractors has surged. That trend may only get worse with expected federal budget cuts.

Last week, Congress was shocked to learn that a tiny energy company in Montana had received a $300 million no-bid contract to help restore Puerto Rico’s electric grid. The public momentarily caught sight of a system in which contractors are doing more and more of what we consider to be the government’s responsibility.

The company, Whitefish Energy Holdings, is based in the hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who admits knowing its chief executive officer. (Zinke’s son also worked at a Whitefish construction site one summer.) Although Whitefish investors include major Republican donors, Zinke denies that he had anything to do with approving the contract, which reportedly proposed to charge the beleaguered island high rates for its work.

How Whitefish got its contract, and who approved it, will be the subject of congressional inquiries and an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General. The Governor of Puerto Rico already has nixed the deal.

But most of the time, legions of federal contractors operate in the shadows and largely escape public scrutiny. Indeed, when he was running for office, candidate Donald Trump promised to freeze the federal payroll as a way to reduce corruption. He did not train his fire on contractors.

New Capital Restrictions On Media

Roll Call, Capitol Police Tighten Security on Media Access, Hill reporters grumble, Griffin Connolly, Oct. 31, 2017. Congressional reporters faced unexpected access restrictions Tuesday on the second floor of the Senate as they waited for weekly party luncheons to end. A number of reporters tweeted that the U.S. Capitol Police shooed them away from their usual stakeouts outside the rooms where GOP and Democratic leaders meet separately to set the agenda for the upcoming week. Vice President Mike Pence ate with GOP senators Tuesday.

Sexual Insensitivity Claims Against Business Celebrities

 

paul tudor jones sunshine state news

Paul Tudor Jones (via Sunshine State News)

Sunshine State News, Paul Tudor Jones, Harvey Weinstein, Sexual Harassment and the Florida Legislature, Nancy Smith, Oct. 31, 2017. South Florida investigative reporter Jose Lambiet, in his Sunday edition of Gossip Extra, exposed [in Women Protest Palm Beach Billionaire Paul Tudor Jones At Everglades Foundation Shindig!] the character of Everglades Foundation founder and benefactor Paul Tudor Jones. Not a pretty picture. And don't think for a moment Jones isn't influencing the lives of every single Floridian -- or, at least trying to. But more about that later.

While we've known for years the billionaire hedge fund manager milked the environmental movement like a Guernsey udder, Lambiet's story shed a light on something Jones has been able to downplay for who-knows-how-long -- something even his admirers wouldn't guess:

His incredibly low view of women, as shown on this page in a CNN clip of a 2013 University of Virginia symposium he participated in; and his high tolerance of buddy-billionaire movie producer and severally-accused sexual abuser Harvey Weinstein, in his role as a board member of the Weinstein Company.

Gossip Extra, Women Protest Palm Beach Billionaire Paul Tudor Jones At Everglades Foundation Shindig! Jose Lambiet, Oct. 29, 2017. Palm Beach billionaire Paul Tudor Jones has become the target of protests for his slow and, by some standards, wishy-washy response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal and statements about women with children.

By the same token the Everglades Foundation, a pro-environment non-profit that hedge-fund manager Jones started in 1993, and Palm Beach Atlantic University, where Jones hosted a symposium, have been hearing it from the public.

Several dozen women gathered outside the downtown West Palm Beach university during a symposium on Everglades restoration hosted on campus by the Everglades Foundation Oct. 21. Members of the “great unwashed” protesting a usually-haughty financial whiz who lives in a $72 million-beach house and counts rocker Bono and singer Jimmy Buffett among his closest friends, his foundation and a private college isn’t something you see often in this area.

But in the new era ushered by movie maker Weinstein’s sex-for-acting-roles scandal and the #metoo and #womendeserverespect grass root movements, Paul Tudor Jones isn’t coming across as the squeaky-clean benevolent environmentalist do-gooder he’s been made out to be.

Crackdowns On American Free Speech

 

Philip GiraldiUnz Review, Opinion: Pandering to Israel Has Got to Stop; Pledges of loyalty to Israel are un-American, Philip Giraldi (conservative commentator and former CIA officer), Oct. 31, 2017. Most Americans have no idea of just how powerful Israeli and Jewish interests are. Two recent stories out of Kansas and Texas illustrate exactly how supporters of Israel in the United States are ready, willing and able to subvert the existing constitutional and legal protections that uphold the right to fair and impartial treatment for all American citizens.

The friends of Israel appear to believe that anyone who is unwilling to do business with Israel or even with the territories that it has illegally occupied should not be allowed to do business in any capacity with federal, state or even local governments. Constitutional guarantees of freedom of association for every American are apparently not valid if one particular highly favored foreign country is involved.

 

One particular pending piece of federal legislation that is also currently making its way through the Senate would far exceed what is happening at the state level and would set a new standard for deference to Israeli interests on the part of the national government. It would criminalize any U.S. citizen “engaged in interstate or foreign commerce” who supports a boycott of Israel or who even goes about “requesting the furnishing of information” regarding it, with penalties enforced through amendments of two existing laws, the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Act of 1945, that include potential fines of between $250,000 and $1 million and up to 20 years in prison

According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, the Senate bill was drafted with the assistance of AIPAC. The legislation, which would almost certainly be overturned as unconstitutional if it ever does in fact become law, is particularly dangerous and goes well beyond any previous pro-Israeli legislation as it essentially denies free of expression when the subject is Israel.

 

 

 Oct. 30

paul manafort lawnewz dcma

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 Washington Post, Three former Trump campaign officials charged in Russia probe, Matt Zapotosky, Rosalind S. Helderman and Carol D. Leonnig​, Oct. 30, 2017. Ex-campaign chair Paul Manafort (shown in a file photo) faces money laundering and tax charges, pleads not guilty.

george papadopoulos linked in croppedGeorge Papadopoulos, shown in a Linked-In photo and who served as a foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty earlier this month to making a false statement to FBI investigators who asked about his contacts with a foreigner who claimed to have high-level Russian connection. The agreement was unsealed Monday.

News of the plea came as Manafort and his longtime business partner Rick Gates were charged in a 12-count indictment with conspiracy to launder money, making false statements and other charges related to their work advising a Russia-friendly political party in Ukraine.

The indictment, unsealed Monday, marked the first criminal allegations to come from Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 election. The two men are expected to make their first court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson at 1:30 p.m.

kevin downing head portraitThe charges did not reference the Trump campaign. Instead, they focused on Manafort’s and Gates’s work advising a Russia-friendly political party in Ukraine. The special counsel alleged that for nearly a decade, the two men laundered money through scores of U.S. and foreign corporations, partnerships and bank accounts, and gave false statements to the Justice Department and others when asked about their work on behalf of a foreign entity. (Manafort's attorney Kevin Dowling, shown at right, denied wrongdoing.)

All told, more than $75 million flowed through offshore accounts, the special counsel alleged. Manafort, the special counsel said, laundered more than $18 million, using his wealth acquired overseas to “enjoy a lavish lifestyle” in the United States, purchasing multi-million dollar properties and paying for home renovation. In back-to-back tweets,

Trump tried to distance his campaign from the charges. “Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????” he wrote. “....Also, there is NO COLLUSION!” he said in a follow-up tweet.

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Washington Post, Papadopoulos met with Russian who sought to broker relationship with Trump campaign, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger, Oct. 30, 2017. Prosecutors say a Russian-connected professor whom George Papadopoulos met with in early 2016 said he had information on Hillary Clinton that included thousands of the Democrat's emails.

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Washington Post, Who did George Papadopoulos email? The court documents don’t name names. But we do, Rosalind S. Helderman, Oct. 30, 2017. The Post has identified several of the unnamed individuals who were in contact with the Trump campaign adviser, who pleaded guilty to lying to FBI investigators.

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Washington Post, Probe shakes both parties as Tony Podesta, whose brother led Hillary Clinton’s campaign, leaves his lobbying firm, Tom Hamburger and Carol D. Leonnig,​ Oct. 30, 2017.The Podesta Group is not named in the newly released court documents, but Tony Podesta is resigning amid the indictments that cast a shadow on work his firm had done with Paul Manafort that may have benefited a Ukrainian regime friendly to the Kremlin.

The Podesta Group is not named in the newly released indictments, but the company is one of two indirectly referenced in the charges. Podesta and another lobbying firm, Mercury Public Affairs, were working with Manafort and his partner Rick Gates from 2012-2014 in lobbying to improve the image of the Ukrainian government. In the indictment, the firms are referred to as “Company A and Company B,” according to people familiar with the companies’ involvement.The courtroom drama that never had a chance to occur will now be held live. Featuring world-renowned J.F.K assassination experts.

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Washington Post, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates indictment, Staff report, Oct. 30, 2017. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his longtime business partner Rick Gates have been charged in a 12-count indictment (shown here) with conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money and making false statements. Here is the indictment from the Justice Department.

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Washington Post, Lawyers say charges send a message to other potential targets: Prosecutors aren’t bluffing, Devlin Barrett, Sari Horwitz and Ellen Nakashima, Oct. 30, 2017. “This is the way you kick off a big case,” a lawyer said after the one-two punch delivered today by the special counsel.

President Trump signing papers oval

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Washington Post, Upstairs in the White House, with the TV on, Trump fumed over Russia indictments, Robert Costa, Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker, Oct. 30, 2017. Separated from most of his West Wing staff — who fretted over why he was late getting to the Oval Office — President Trump clicked on the television Monday morning and digested the news of the first indictments in Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe with exasperation and disgust, according to several people close to him.

ny times logogeorge papadopoulos linked in croppedNew York Times, Trump Adviser Met Russian for Clinton ‘Dirt,’ Matt Apuzzo, Oct. 30, 2017. The adviser, George Papadopoulos, has pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about that April 2016 conversation, according to documents unsealed Monday. A professor with close ties to the Russian government told an adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in April 2016 that Moscow had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails,” according to court documents unsealed Monday.

The adviser, George Papadopoulos, has pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about that conversation. The plea represents the most explicit evidence connecting the Trump campaign to the Russian government’s meddling in last year’s election.Mr. Papadopoulos repeatedly tried to arrange a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials, court records show. Attempts to reach Mr. Papadopoulos were not successful.

Mr. Papadopoulos told the F.B.I. in January that the professor was “a nothing.” But Mr. Papadopoulos now acknowledges that he knew the professor had “substantial connections to Russian government officials.” The United States government has concluded that Russia hacked Democratic email accounts and released thousands of embarrassing emails related to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.

ny times logoNew York Times, Editorial: Is the White House Scared Yet? Editorial board, Oct. 30, 2017. You know it’s a bad day for the White House when the president’s former campaign chairman is charged with money laundering, tax fraud, making false statements and failing to register as a foreign agent — and that is only the second most damaging story of the morning.

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hillary clintonWashington Post, Opinion: Trump’s meltdown in anticipation of indictments is telling, Jennifer Rubin, Oct. 30, 2017. President Trump and his surrogates — most especially the Fox News lineup (which includes a fleet of conservative pundits who disgrace themselves by facilitating a political distraction game for Trump), obsequious Republicans in Congress, old allies such as Roger Stone (who wound up getting banned by Twitter) and the talk radio crowd — have been frantically fanning Hillary Clinton non-scandals about Uranium One (it was baseless before and baseless now) and the dossier’s funder.

(Fusion GPS initially was hired by the conservative Free Beacon, which at one time claimed not to know the identity of the Republican outfit that first hired Fusion.) The unhinged rants from Trump’s defenders demanding Clinton be locked up for one or both of these reveal how tightly Trump and the right-wing ecosystem that supports him rely on Clinton as an all-purpose distraction.

  ny times logoNew York Times, Manafort Told to Surrender in Special Counsel Investigation, Matt Apuzzo, Oct. 30, 2017. Paul Manafort, who is a former campaign chairman to President Trump, and his former business associate Rick Gates were told to surrender to federal authorities on Monday morning, according to a person involved in the case.

fbi logoThe charges against Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, and Mr. Gates, a business associate of Mr. Manafort, were not immediately clear but represent a significant escalation in a special counsel investigation that has cast a shadow over the president’s first year in office. Mr. Gates is a longtime protégé and junior partner of Mr. Manafort. His name appears on documents linked to companies that Mr. Manafort’s firm set up in Cyprus to receive payments from politicians and businesspeople in Eastern Europe, records reviewed by The New York Times show.

Mr. Manafort had been under investigation for violations of federal tax law, money laundering and whether he appropriately disclosed his foreign lobbying.

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Washington Post, Analysis: With this Paul Manafort indictment, Trump’s ‘fake news’ defense has zero credibility, Amber Phillips, Oct. 30, 2017. The independent investigation into Trump-Russia collusion just made its most serious move since it began in May. Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his former business partner, Rick Gates, have been ordered to surrender to federal authorities.The Justice Department announced that both men are charged with 12 counts relating to financial crimes, including  conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money and making false statements.

hillary clintonIn other words, this Russia investigation is very real. Neither President Trump nor the White House has commented on the indictments yet. But given that Trump has consistently claimed that this investigation is fake and a hoax, it's possible — even likely — he'll try to rebut this escalation of the investigation in similarly absolute terms. Over the weekend, as news organizations reported charges were coming, Trump fired off nearly half a dozen tweets trying to pivot to Hillary Clinton.

chuck grassley officialRoll Call, K Street Reels Amid Indictments in Russia Elections Probe, Kate Ackley, Oct. 30, 2017. 12 counts include conspiracy, tax evasion and money laundering. “I’ve been raising concerns about lackluster enforcement of this foreign influence disclosure law for years now, regardless of administration or political party,” said Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, shown at left. “The dirty little secret is that lots of people across the political spectrum in Washington have skirted their FARA registration obligations for years with little to no accountability.”

Roll Call, John McCain's Unapologetic Message to the Naval Academy, Niels Lesniewski, Oct. 30, 2017. Wiping away tears, Sen. John McCain’s message for the Naval Academy’s Midshipmen was rooted in the spirit of service. But the Republican from Arizona had a not-too-veiled message for the current commander-in-chief.

“We have to fight against propaganda and crackpot conspiracy theories. We have to fight isolationism, protectionism, and nativism. We have to defeat those who would worsen our divisions,” McCain said. “We have to remind our sons and daughters that we became the most powerful nation on earth by tearing down walls, not building them.”

“I’ve seen these scandals before, and it’s a centipede. Every few days another shoe drops, and so the latest news today of these indictments, I could have predicted these months ago,” McCain said of the indictments of Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, and Rick Gates, Manafort’s close aide.

TV Ownership Rule, Merger Threaten Local Newsrooms

Tampa Bay Times, Opinion: FCC move could close local TV newsrooms, Daniel Ruth, Oct. 30, 2017. Trying to keep up with current events out of Washington — or down the street — is about to become a whole lot harder.

But then again, those noble public servants at the Federal Communications Commission probably don’t want to bother you with needless, unpleasant stuff like the news. News, it can be so annoying.

Last week, in a 3-2 partisan vote, Republican appointees on the FCC rescinded a nearly 80-year-old rule that required radio and broadcast stations to maintain a local main studio in the communities they serve.

Ajit Pai FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (shown at right) argued that requiring local broadcast outlets to maintain production studios imposed an undue burden on radio and television stations because "the public these days is more likely to interact with stations (including accessing stations’ public access files) online. Additionally, technology allows broadcast stations to produce local news without a local studio."

Now there’s some poppycock, wrapped in phooey, enveloped in balderdash for you.

The decades-long requirement for local broadcast entities to maintain production studio capabilities was grounded in the quaint notion that over-the-air broadcast signals are owned by the public and therefore stations had a public service obligation to provide strong local content.

But Pai reasoned the elimination of the local studio rule would allow broadcasters to upgrade programming, improve equipment and news operations and other services that benefit consumers. Piffle.

sinclair broadcast logo customLocal newspaper columnists and editorial boards across the country are noticing how the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger would stifle local and independent media voices.

If, as expected, the FCC approves a nearly $4 billion merger of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group and Tribune Media Co., Sinclair would become the largest broadcaster in the nation with over 200 television stations in 108 markets, covering roughly 72 percent of all households.

This week, Florida’s Tampa Bay Times, Ohio’s Ironton Tribune, and Texas’ Port Arthur News and Amarillo Globe-News called the proposed mega-merger “alarming,” and “trouble[ing]” and utilized strong analogies including, “CBS News legend Edward R. Murrow, long considered one of the founding fathers of aggressive broadcast journalism, must be spinning in his grave.” 

Natural Disasters

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Washington Post, A massive storm flooded Houston. Experts say California’s state capital could be next, Tim Craig, Oct. 30, 2017 (print edition).  As Northern Californians recover from wildfires, officials in Sacramento are struggling to prevent another type of natural disaster: flooding. Levee failure could submerge parts of the city under as much as 20 feet of water — a state of vulnerability that is surpassed among American cities only by New Orleans.

JFK Investigation Follow-up

ray mcgovernnConsortium News, The Deep State’s JFK Triumph Over Trump, Ray McGovern (former CIA analyst, shown in a file photo), Oct. 30, 2017. Fifty-four years after President Kennedy’s assassination, the CIA and FBI demanded more time to decide what secrets to keep hiding – and a chastened President Trump bowed to their power.

It was summer 1963 when a senior official of CIA’s operations directorate treated our Junior Officer Trainee (JOT) class to an unbridled rant against President John F. Kennedy. He accused JFK, among other things, of rank cowardice in refusing to send U.S. armed forces to bail out Cuban rebels pinned down during the CIA-launched invasion at the Bay of Pigs, blowing the chance to drive Cuba’s Communist leader Fidel Castro from power.

It seemed beyond odd that a CIA official would voice such scathing criticism of a sitting President at a training course for those selected to be CIA’s future leaders. I remember thinking to myself, “This guy is unhinged; he would kill Kennedy, given the chance.”

Global Research, JFK Files: US Officials Plotted Destruction of Cuban Crops with Biological Agents, Kevin Gosztola, Oct. 30, 2017. The newly released JFK files offer a vivid representation of the flagrant and immoral disregard U.S. officials had for international law, sovereignty and human life.

JFK Countercoup, Adam Gopnik/New Yorker Annotated, Bill Kelly, Oct. 30, 2017. JIP Editor's Note: Assassination research expert Bill Kelly, board member of Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA), debunks the pro-Warren Commission, lone-nut-did-it propaganda of New Yorker columnist Adam Gopnik. Gopnik authored The J.F.K. Files, Trump, and the Deep State, published on Oct. 29, in which he reviewed in superficial fashion documents released last week by the Trump administration in partial compliance with a law requiring release of JFK assassination documents by Oct. 26. Gopnik claimed that the documents reaffirm his 2013 analysis that accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and killed President Kennedy with three shots fired from the rear. Kelly (whose comments below are identified with "BK" contradicted Gopnik's claims, beginning with those below:

So far, the newly released documents on John F. Kennedy’s assassination seem only to confirm the wisest conclusions about the President’s death.

BK – Yes, that he was not murdered by one man alone.

The release last Thursday of previously classified, or at least unseen, government files of all kinds relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy is being heralded as Donald Trump’s decision—though it was simply his decision not to prevent their release, which had long been scheduled. In fact, at the last minute, Trump listened to requests from the intelligence services not to release some three hundred of the remaining three thousand files.

BK: You got your numbers wrong Gopnik – get it right please – this is important.

Georgetowner, Conspiracy Theories Old and New, Peggy Sands, Oct. 30, 2017. It’s Halloween 2017 and, perhaps appropriately, old and new mysteries of murder, collusion and conspiracy involving the highest realms of government — including the White House — have taken center stage.

On Friday, Oct. 27, the National Archives and Records Administration released 2,800 documents, held by the FBI and the CIA for 25 years, relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Hotly anticipated, this final document dump was supposed to definitively confirm or deny the Warren Commission’s official and controversial single-shooter, single-bullet conclusion about who shot JFK and why. But at the last minute on Friday, the National Archives held back the release of some records “for national security reasons”; these will be reviewed, re-redacted and released (perhaps) six months from now.

Celebrity Scandal

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Kevin Spacey in a publicity shot for his hit show "House of Cards," which is being cancelled at the end of this season after sex scandal claims

HuffPost, Zachary Quinto Slams Kevin Spacey For Coming Out Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations, Cavan Sieczkowski, Oct. 30, 2017. “I am sorry that Kevin only saw fit to acknowledge his truth when he thought it would serve him.”

Zachary Quinto is not having Kevin Spacey’s attempt at deflecting attention away from sexual harassment allegations made against him by “Star Trek: Discovery” actor Anthony Rapp. Quinto posted a statement on Twitter Monday criticizing Spacey for coming out in response to allegations made against him by Rapp. In an interview with BuzzFeed, Rapp accused Spacey ― who he met while they were both acting on Broadway ― of sexually harassing him at a party in 1986 when he was just 14 years old and Spacey was 26.  

“It is deeply sad and troubling that this is how Kevin Spacey has chosen to come out,” the “Star Trek” film actor, who came out publicly in 2011, wrote. “Not by standing up as a point of pride - in the light of all his many awards and accomplishments thus inspiring tens of thousands of struggling LGBTQ kids around the world [-] but as a calculated manipulation to deflect attention from the very serious accusation that he attempted to molest one.”

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Washington Post, ‘I’m the victim here’: Corey Feldman defends himself in contentious ‘Today’ interviews, Stephanie Merry, Oct. 30, 2017. Last week, 1980s child star Corey Feldman announced he would start naming names — revealing the men who he alleges molested him and other young Hollywood actors — but only once he raises $10 million to create a feature film that will be the “most honest and true depiction of child abuse ever portrayed.”

Blowback followed, especially because he said that at least one of the men is still powerful in Hollywood. While Feldman spends time raising money and making a movie, could this person still be abusing children? That’s a concern for, among others, the mother of the late Corey Haim, who Feldman claims was raped at 11.

On Monday morning, before Feldman appeared on “Today,” Matt Lauer read a statement from Judy Haim, who told NBC News that if Feldman decides to expose abusers now “for the sake of more victims, I’ll be 100 percent behind that. But if he’s waiting to release the names in the movie, I don’t support that. He doesn’t need $10 million to do it.”

Election Fraud

WhoWhatWhy WhoWhatWhy, New California Law Strikes Blow to Election Audits, Sean Steinberg, Oct. 30, 2017. Thanks to a bill’s “last minute” amendment, California counties no longer have to manually inspect ballots received after election night. It’s a setback for those seeking accountability in elections.

Global News

Consortium News, How America Spreads Global Chaos, Nicolas J.S. Davies, Oct. 30, 2017. Nicolas J. S. Davies is the author of "Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq." The U.S. government may pretend to respect a “rules-based” global order, but the only rule Washington seems to follow is “might makes right” — and the CIA has long served as a chief instigator and enforcer.

CIA logoLosing the war in Vietnam was a heavy blow to the CIA and the U.S. Military Industrial Complex, and it added insult to injury for every American who had lost comrades or loved ones in Vietnam, but it ushered in more than a decade of relative peace for America and the world. If the purpose of the U.S. military is to protect the U.S. from the danger of war, as our leaders so often claim, the “Vietnam syndrome,” or the reluctance to be drawn into new wars, kept the peace and undoubtedly saved countless lives.

Half a century after Vietnam, we have tragically come full circle. With the CIA’s politicized intelligence running wild in Washington and its covert operations spreading violence and chaos across every continent, President Trump faces the same pressures to maintain his own and his country’s credibility as Johnson and Nixon did. His predictable response has been to escalate ongoing wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and West Africa, and to threaten new ones against North Korea, Iran and Venezuela.

The CIA’s Pretexts for War

fletcher prouty portraitU.S. Air Force Colonel Fletcher Prouty (shown at right) was the chief of special operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1955 to 1964, managing the global military support system for the CIA in Vietnam and around the world.

fletcher prouty secret2 coverProuty’s book, The Secret Team: The CIA and its Allies in Control of the United States and the World, was suppressed when it was first published in 1973. Thousands of copies disappeared from bookstores and libraries, and a mysterious Army Colonel bought the entire shipment of 3,500 copies the publisher sent to Australia. But Prouty’s book was republished in 2011, and it is a timely account of the role of the CIA in U.S. policy.

Prouty surprisingly described the role of the CIA as a response by powerful people and interests to the abolition of the U.S. Department of War and the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947.

Once the role of the U.S. military was redefined as one of defense, in line with the United Nations Charter’s prohibition against the threat or use of military force in 1945 and similar moves by other military powers, it would require some kind of crisis or threat to justify using military force in the future, both legally and politically. The main purpose of the CIA, as Prouty saw it, is to create such pretexts for war.

ABA Journal, JFK assassination documents digitized and made searchable by e-discovery firm, Jason Tashea, Oct. 31, 2017. The legal review software company iCONECT has digitized some JFK assassination records and is offering free access for 60 days. Launched Oct. 30, the company imported 6,701 public documents from the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection to its Xera platform, including audio files. A user can now search various fields to find relevant information. This is an improvement over the National Archives’ repository of these documents, which are in PDF format and non-searchable, according to a press release.

iCONECT also “built a search index, charts, graphs, quick-search folders and word-highlight reports for all the records,” according to the release. A user can even auto-mark CIA cryptonyms found throughout the document set.

The federal government released 2,800 new documents last week, according to CNN, after President Donald Trump declared on Twitter that he would do so.

“I am doing this for reasons of full disclosure, transparency and in order to put any and all conspiracy theories to rest,” Trump tweeted.

Full disclosure has so far proved illusive because of concerns from national security agencies that have kept many documents classified.

Not including the recent release of documents, “five million pages of assassination-related records” and other artifacts were already available online, according to the National Archives. All of the public records in the archive are free to the public.

Oct. 29

Puerto Rican Deal

ny times logoNew York Times, Puerto Rico Cancels Grid Contract With Small Montana Firm, Frances Robles and Deborah Acosta, Oct. 29, 2017. The move came after members of Congress and FEMA expressed concerns about how Whitefish Energy won a contract for up to $300 million to rebuild part of the island’s hurricane-ravaged electrical grid.

wayne madsen screen shotRelated columns: Wayne Madsen Report, (WMR), Something is rotten in Whitefish, Montana, Wayne Madsen (author, columnist and former Navy intelligence officer shown in file photo), Oct. 25, 2017 (Requires subscription for full article, excerpted below with permission). Federal government sources have told WMR that there is a close relationship between Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke; Zinke's wife Lolita ("Lola") Hand Zinke [both pictured below right in a file photo]; and Whitefish Energy owner Andy Techmanski.

ryan zinke lolita zinkeSecretary Zinke is a native of Whitefish and his neighbor and family friend Techmanski, also a resident of Whitefish, received a $300 million no-bid contract from the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) to repair the electrical grid of Puerto Rico that was virtually wiped out by Hurricane Maria. The day Maria struck Puerto Rico, Whitefish Energy had just two employees and during this past summer, Zinke's son worked at one of Techmanski's construction sites in Montana.

Andy TechmanskiOur sources report that Mrs. Zinke was the main intermediary between Techmanski [pictured left] and her husband in steering the PREPA contract to Whitefish Energy.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz said the Whitefish Energy contract "should be voided right away, and a proper process which is clear, transparent, legal, moral and ethical should take place."

After Maria dealt a major blow to Puerto Rico's infrastructure, Whitefish Energy, almost overnight, picked up two Dallas investment groups as significant financial backers. One of the firms reportedly is closely tied to former president George H. W. Bush.

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 Ricardo RosselloWashington Post, Puerto Rico governor calls for cancellation of $300 million contract with small Montana firm to repair power lines, Steven Mufson, Oct. 29, 2017. Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (shown in a file photo) said that the contract with Whitefish Energy was a distraction after critics in the electric power industry, Congress and the Federal Emergency Management Agency raised questions.

The governor of Puerto Rico called for the cancellation of a controversial $300 million contract the island’s utility signed with a small Montana-based company tasked with a central role in repairing the territory’s hurricane-ravaged electric power grid.

Rosselló said that the contract was a distraction after critics in the electric power industry, Congress and the Federal Emergency Management Agency raised questions about whether the company, Whitefish Energy, was well equipped to respond to the hurricane damage.

Thirty-nine days after Hurricane Maria hit the territory, Rossello said that he would request assistance from Florida and New York under mutual aid arrangements that utilities traditionally activate to help other states during an emergency. About 80 percent of the people living on the island still have no electricity.

Inside Washington

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Washington Post, Frustrated with the Russia investigation, Trump demands Democrats, Hillary Clinton face scrutiny, Jenna Johnson, Oct. 29, 2017. The president's Sunday morning tweets come as CNN reports that a federal grand jury has approved the first charges in the investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. The charges are sealed, and it's unclear who could be charged and for what.

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Washington Post, Republicans, desperate for a win, already face setbacks as they prepare to unveil tax bill this week, Mike DeBonis and Damian Paletta, Oct. 29, 2017. The Republican effort to overhaul the tax code suffered a bruising setback over the weekend when a powerful corporate interest group came out against the proposal just days ahead of House leaders’ planned release of the legislation to the public.

President Trump and GOP leaders are casting the measure as a once-in-a-generation rewrite of the federal tax code, one they say will stimulate the economy, create millions of jobs and give voters a reason to stick with their party in next year’s midterm elections. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is scheduled to reveal the House version of the bill on Wednesday.

A discouraging clue emerged for House Republicans on Saturday, when the National Association of Home Builders came out against the bill after Brady informed the group’s chief executive about key details. “We will do everything we can to defeat this thing,” said Jerry Howard, chief executive officer of the National Association of Home Builders.

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Washington Post, Book Review: Blurring the line between citizen and journalist at the New York Times, Carlos Lozada, Oct. 29, 2017 (print edition).  Review of "Just a Journalist: On the Press, Life, and the Spaces Between" by Linda Greenhouse. Harvard University Press. 169 pp. $22.95.

Linda Greenhouse "Just A Journalist" coverLinda Greenhouse, who stepped down in 2008 after decades as the Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times, calls herself an “accidental activist” in the cause of breaking barriers between the role of journalist and that of citizen. But after reading her new book, Just a Journalist (shown at right), I think only half of the description really holds.

Greenhouse is indeed an activist. There just doesn’t seem to be much accidental about it.

It’s a good moment for works examining the practices and conventions of American political journalism. News organizations are covering a president whose rhetoric mixes brazen falsehoods with incessant attacks on the integrity of the press. During his campaign and even more so since taking office, Trump has openly vilified journalists and sought to delegitimize the industry. While major news outlets tirelessly report on the new administration’s policies, fact-check the president’s misstatements and investigate Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, they also consider how far they can go in calling out the White House and fret over what views journalists can express about the president on social media.

Greenhouse looks upon her old colleagues in the fray and seems thrilled. “I watched with fascination as editors and reporters struggled with how to respond to Donald J. Trump’s exaggerations and outright lies,” she writes. “It was with relief that I saw loyalty to the old rules erode and eventually buckle as editors and writers met their higher obligation to tell their audiences the truth as they understood it.”

She feels relieved, however, because she argues that journalists ill-serve their audience with some of their profession’s habits and techniques. Among these are “false equivalence,” or the equal presentation of positions of unequal merit merely for the sake of balance. Greenhouse also decries the “distancing techniques” journalists deploy, such as when a reporter writes that Fox News has “a reputation” for conservative programming, rather than simply branding it a conservative news organization. And she cites New York University media critic Jay Rosen’s argument against the journalistic “view from nowhere,” the tone and approach of middle-of-the-road impartiality that seeks to preempt accusations of bias.

See related story: Washington Post, Opinion: NYT’s Linda Greenhouse boasts of monthly Planned Parenthood donations, Erik Wemple, Oct. 27, 2017.

Pre-Teen Attempting Suicide Kills Guidance Counselor By Coincidence

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Washington Post, Police: Overpass plunge that killed driver was a suicide attempt, Faiz Siddiqui, Oct. 29, 2017. An incident that left a driver dead when her vehicle was struck by a person who had plunged from an Interstate 66 overpass Saturday is being investigated as an attempted suicide, Virginia State Police said Sunday.

Police said a 12-year-old boy jumped from the Cedar Lane overpass and landed on an SUV being driven by 22-year-old Marisa W. Harris, of Olney, Md., who died on the scene. The boy was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, police said.

Harris, who lived in Arlington, was pursuing her master’s degree in clinical counseling at Marymount University, her parents said Sunday from Olney. She had a passion for working with children with severe behavioral problems, they said. “She was caring — I mean she had an absolute love for children,” Harris’s mother, Leigh Miller said.

Given her work with children, the circumstances of her death — after a suicide attempt by a 12-year-old — were not lost on the family.

Trump Planning More JFK Disclosure Soon?

jeff sessions ag oRealClearPolitics, Sessions Full Interview With Bret Baier: Uranium One, Trump Dossier, JFK Files, Fourth Amendment & More, Ian Schwartz, Oct. 28, 2017. Bret Baier interviews Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the Friday edition of Special Report. Full transcript, via FOX News:

    BAIER: Let's talk about the FISA issue and other topics. Joining us now, here at the Department Of Justice, Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Attorney General, thanks for having us.

    SESSIONS: Thank you, Bret. It's good to have you in our courtyard. Great building and great history, I work every day to be worthy of this great tradition to this department.

    BAIER: Let me talk about the piece we just saw and that issue about FISA. There are concerns on Capitol Hill, a number of law makers think their need to be changes. What is your take, what is the administration's take?

    SESSIONS: My view, and I’ve had it really embedded in me since I’ve been here in – in the department, is that this is a really important issue. We have to protect the fundamentals of 702. I really think if people understood it, they wouldn't think any changes needs to be made. But Congress is working at it, giving intensive review of it.

     BAIER: Speaking of taking time, big story today, these JFK papers. The president says he wants to put them out. Then they come out redacted because of concerns from the CIA and FBI and there's a lot of people saying that after all these years, weren't you ready for this day?

    SESSIONS: It's time to get it done, Bret. I've talked with the FBI. We've talked with our staff here. I think the president's right to say, let’s get these materials out. they are moving today very quickly. Some of documents have already been produced today and they will be moving faster, there will not be, I believe, any significant redactions – redaction that may have been suggested will not be in there. There's going to be virtually complete disclosure. Some people who are alive may not need their names or their current address’s revealed. Lot of it is extraneous entirely.

    BAIER: You are trying to expedite it?

    SESSIONS: We are working this weekend. We are going to be working every way possible to expedite the production of these documents as completely as possible and they will be virtually, completely revealed from the FBI files.

Global News

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Spain flagWashington Post, Hours after a divided Catalan parliament declared independence from Spain, it was an open question who was really in charge of the region, William Booth, Oct. 29, 2017 (print edition).  ​Spain on Saturday began to assert control over Catalonia, sacking the region’s president, his ministers, diplomats, police chiefs and transferring all authority to the central government in Madrid.But it was an open question who was really in charge of the breakaway “Republic of Catalonia” in the hours after a divided Catalan parliament declared independence.

JFK Assassination

President Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy, Dallas limo

Secret Service Special Agent Clint Hill, at top left, seeks to climb onto bumper of President Kennedy's limousine in Dallas after the fatal shooting in 1963. The president's wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, meanwhile reaches for brain matter on the car trunk in forlorn hope it could help doctors.

OpEdNews, Opinion: The Kennedy Assassination, Paul Craig Roberts (conservative scholar and former Reagan Assistant Treasury Secretary), Oct. 29, 2017. J. Edgar Hoover, along with LBJ, Earl Warren and the members of the Warren Commission understood that it was impossible to tell the American people that their president has been assassinated by the US military and US security agencies. At a dicey time of the Cold War, clearly it would have been reckless to destroy Americans' trust in their own government.

james douglass unspeakable coverSome are pushing me to continue with the Las Vegas shooting story while others are asking to know what to make of the release of files pertaining to President Kennedy's assassination. My answer is that we already know, thanks to exhaustively researched books such as James W. Douglass' JFK and the Unspeakable (Simon & Schuster, 2008), far more than is in the released files. My answer is also that it doesn't matter what we know or what the facts are, the official story will never be changed.

Douglass concludes that Kennedy was murdered because he turned to peace. He was going to work with Khrushchev to end the Cold War. He refused the CIA US air cover for the Bay of Pigs invasion. He rejected the Joint Chiefs' Operation Northwoods, a plan to conduct false flag attacks on Americans that would be blamed on Castro to justify regime change. He refused to reappoint General Lyman Lemnitzer as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He told US Marine commandant General David Shoup that he was taking the US out of Vietnam. He said after his reelection he was going to "break the CIA into 1,000 pieces."

All of this threatened the power and profit of the military/security complex and convinced military/security elements that he was soft on communism and a threat to US national security.

Global News

SouthFront, Intra-Kurdish Violence Erupts In Iraqi Kurdistan As Its President Resigns, Staff report, Oct. 29, 2017. On Sunday, angry protestors stormed the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Parliament after it accepted Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani resignation, and his plan to distribute his powers between the Kurdistan Region Government (KRG), the Parliament and the Judicial Council temporarily, according to Reuters News Agency.

In a related development, an Iraqi official told France Press Agency (AFP) that the Iraqi Army and the Kurdish Peshmerga force reached a deal during the Mosul meeting that was sponsored by the US. The timing of the deal suggests that Barzani wanted it to happen after he announced his resignation from the Kurdistan Region presidency. Barzani is clearly trying to avoid the responsibility for the negative results of the September 25 independence referendum that was organized by him and his party.

Moon of Alabama, UN On Khan Sheikhoun - Victims Hospitalized BEFORE Claimed Incident Happened, B, Oct. 29, 2017. A UN commission concluded that the Syrian government is responsible for a widely discussed incident in Khan Sheikhoun. An alleged gas attack by air happened in April in an al-Qaeda controlled area in Syria. It was used by the White House to justify its bombing of a Syrian airbase.

The now released report was made to fit the narrative. The details below show that it was not the result of a serious investigation. This explains why Russia blocked the extension of the mandate of the reporting commission.

Insensitivity Claims Against Dignataries, Celebrities

Gossip Extra, Women Protest Palm Beach Billionaire Paul Tudor Jones At Everglades Foundation Shindig! Jose Lambiet, Oct. 29, 2017. Palm Beach billionaire Paul Tudor Jones has become the target of protests for his slow and, by some standards, wishy-washy response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal and statements about women with children.

By the same token the Everglades Foundation, a pro-environment non-profit that hedge-fund manager Jones started in 1993, and Palm Beach Atlantic University, where Jones hosted a symposium, have been hearing it from the public.

Several dozen women gathered outside the downtown West Palm Beach university during a symposium on Everglades restoration hosted on campus by the Everglades Foundation Oct. 21. Members of the “great unwashed” protesting a usually-haughty financial whiz who lives in a $72 million-beach house and counts rocker Bono and singer Jimmy Buffett among his closest friends, his foundation and a private college isn’t something you see often in this area.

But in the new era ushered by movie maker Weinstein’s sex-for-acting-roles scandal and the #metoo and #womendeserverespect grass root movements, Paul Tudor Jones isn’t coming across as the squeaky-clean benevolent environmentalist do-gooder he’s been made out to be. [One point of contention has been his remarks reported by CNN in 2013 in CNN, Billionaire rips women in financial industry, Brook Baldwin, May 24, 2013 (3:24 mins.).]

Oct. 28

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NBC News logoNBC News, Robert Mueller’s Office Will Serve First Indictment Monday, Sources Confirm, Ken Dilanian, Phil Helsel and Phil McCausland, Oct. 28 2017.  A federal grand jury in Washington has approved the first criminal charges in the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference, two sources told NBC News, marking a significant milestone in an inquiry that has roiled Donald Trump’s presidency.

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Mueller's Office of the Special Counsel will make public an indictment on Monday, a U.S. official with firsthand knowledge of the process confirmed to NBC News, without disclosing the name of the target or the nature of the charges. Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn have been said to be key figures in Mueller's probe, law enforcement sources familiar with the matter have told NBC News in the past.

NBC News has reported that White House adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner has come under scrutiny in the probe, as has Michael G. Flynn, the son of the former national security adviser. Mueller has also been investigating whether Trump obstructed justice when he asked Comey to drop the Flynn investigation and then fired him in May.

JFK Assassination Documents

Rex Bradford C-SPAN 2013

Mary Ferrell Foundation, Featured: What Happened Thursday with the JFK Records? Rex Bradford, Oct. 28, 2017. Rex Bradford (shown above in a 2013 interview on C-SPAN) is president of the Mary Ferrell Foundation, the world's largest private collection of JFK-related assassination documents. It is named for a late Dallas secretary, shown at right, who started it by collecting newspapers and documents out of disbelief in official reports.

mary ferrell foundation logoA travesty. Most news reports correctly noted the release of about 2800 documents, but added that only a few were held back, in some cases saying "300 documents" remain withheld (see CNN, and Washington Post for example). They are off by a factor of 100. In fact, tens of thousands of documents, possibly as many as 30,000, remain sealed at the National Archives.

If President Trump had gone golfing at Mar-A-Lago and done absolutely nothing on Thursday, the National Archives (NARA) was set to release all the documents. See the relevant language in the Assassination Records Review Board's Final Report, quoting from the 1992 JFK Records Act.

This includes 3,147 "withheld in full" records never seen, and an unknown number of redacted documents estimated at about 30,000. Intensely lobbied by federal agencies including the CIA, Trump instead authorized the withholding of well over 90% of these documents. 52 of the 3,147 withheld-in-full records were released and put online by NARA, less than 2%, and 2,839 of the redacted documents were released, which is probably less than 10% of that set.

From the public metadata available for all these records, it's clear that the most-desired records were held back. Still withheld-in-full records among the 98% of those still withheld include, for example:

* Still-withheld Church Committee interview transcripts not included in the 1990s releases, including one with none other than CIA CounterIntelligence chief James Angleton.

* Lengthy CIA files on officers who played a role in Castro assassination plotting and/or the JFK story, including William Harvey, David Philips, E. Howard Hunt, James O'Connell, Richard Synder, and several others.

* A 167-page CIA document on Valeriy Kostikov, the Soviet agent stationed in Mexico whose name was used as part of the "World War III" scenario that the Warren Commission we now know was created to push back against.

* An interview the House Select Committee on Assassinations conducted with Orest Pena, the New Orleans bar owner who told the Committee that Oswald was an FBI informant and he often saw Oswald in the company of a particular FBI agent.

RT, Let's try this again: Trump vows full JFK files release to ‘put conspiracy theories to rest,’ Staff and wire reports, Oct. 28, 2017. Following Thursday's limited declassification of files relating to the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy, President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that a complete release is imminent. “After strict consultation with General Kelly, the CIA and other Agencies, I will be releasing ALL JFK files other than the names and addresses of any mentioned person who is still living. I am doing this for reasons of full disclosure, transparency and in order to put any and all conspiracy theories to rest,” Trump tweeted.

President Trump signing papers ovalAssociated Press, Trump frustrated by secrecy with JFK files, Staff report, Oct. 28, 2017. Thursday's release of 2,800 records from the JFK files was anything but smooth. An irritated Trump resisted signing off redaction requests, according to an account by two White House officials. It was a showdown 25 years in the making: With the world itching to finally get a look at classified Kennedy assassination files, and the deadline for their release just hours away, intelligence officials were still angling for a way to keep their secrets.

President Donald Trump, the one man able to block the release, did not appreciate their persistence. He did not intend to make this easy.

The tale of the final hours before the congressionally mandated 25-year release deadline adds a new chapter to the story of Trump's troubled relationship with his spy agencies. He again flashed his skepticism and unpredictability in dealing with agencies long accustomed to a level of deference. Intelligence officials, meanwhile, were again left scratching their heads about a president whose impulses they cannot predict.

And those officials had their own story tell, some rejecting the notion they were slow to act on Trump's expectations for the documents. The CIA began work months ago to get its remaining assassination-related documents ready for release on Thursday, according to a person familiar with the process. The person, who was not authorized to publicly to discuss the process and spoke only on condition of anonymity, said the goal was to have all the agency's documents ready to be released in full or with national security redactions before the deadline.

Late last week, Trump received his first official briefing on the release in an Oval Office meeting that included Chief of Staff John Kelly, White House Counsel Don McGahn and National Security Council legal adviser John Eisenberg. Trump made it clear he was unsatisfied with the pace of declassification. Trump's tweets, an official said, were meant as a signal to the intelligence community to take seriously his threats to release the documents in their entirety.

According to White House officials, Trump accepted that some of the records contained references to sensitive sources and methods used by the intelligence community and law enforcement and that declassification could harm American foreign policy interests. But after having the scope of the redactions presented to him, Trump told aides he did not believe them to be in the spirit of the law.

Los Angeles Times, Opinion: The latest JFK documents still don't show a Russian conspiracy, James Reston Jr., Oct. 28, 2017. The partial release of the remaining documents in the government’s Kennedy assassination archive has revived an old legend: the Russian orchestration of the president’s murder. All it took was a few new tidbits from CIA and FBI reports about Lee Harvey Oswald’s visit to the Soviet embassy in Mexico City in September 1963.

It is no mystery why the majority of Americans believe that some grand plot, probably orchestrated by a foreign power, was behind the assassination of President Kennedy. For the greatest crime of the 20th century and perhaps of all American history, we demand a conspiracy of equivalent magnitude. That is the comfortable and lazy thing to believe.

Unfortunately, the real answer still lies in the demented mind of a wretched little man with a ninth-grade education, whose life was hopeless, and who was driven by anger, grudges and delusion.

James Reston Jr. is the author of “The Accidental Victim: JFK, Lee Harvey Oswald, and the Real Target in Dallas.” A senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, and an Army intelligence officer from 1965 to 1968, his latest book is “A Rift in the Earth: Art, Memory, and the Fight for a Vietnam Memorial.”

JIP Editor's note: The column above is included here for the sake of illustrating the degree of propaganda, misinformation and fake news still being provided by well-connected pseudo-experts about the death.  Readers are encouraged to use the following Twitter hash tags to flag slanted articles such as this: #JFKFakeNews #MassmediaJFKLies.

GOPers, Dems Exposed For Funding Anti-Trump 'Dossier' In 2016

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paul singerWashington Post, Conservative website first paid research firm that later produced explosive Trump dossier, Devlin Barrett, Sari Horwitz and Adam Entous, Oct. 28, 2017 (print edition). The Washington Free Beacon said it paid Fusion GPS for research on Republican candidates in the 2016 presidential race — setting in motion a chain of events leading to the dossier alleging ties between Trump associates and Russia.

Two people familiar with billionaire GOP donor Paul Singer (shown in a file photo) said he gives financial support to the publication.

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Washington Post, Clinton lawyer kept Russian dossier project closely held, Michael Kranish, Oct. 28, 2017 (print edition) .When Marc Elias, general counsel for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, hired a private research firm in the spring of 2016 to investigate Donald Trump, he drew from funds he was authorized to spend without oversight by campaign officials, according to a spokesperson for his law firm.

hillary clintonThe firm hired by Elias, Fusion GPS, produced research that resulted a dossier detailing alleged connections between Trump and Russia. While the funding for the work came from the campaign and the Democratic National Committee, Elias kept the information about the investigation closely held as he advised the campaign on its strategy, according to the spokesperson, who requested anonymity to discuss the internal dynamics.

Elias’s involvement in the financing and internal dissemination of the Trump research underscores the influence he wields behind the scenes in Democratic politics — a role that is now being pushed into the spotlight amid multiple investigations into Russia’s attempts to meddle in the 2016 elections.

PR Informa, Governor to Challenge Federal Takeover of Electric Authority, Oct. 27, 2017. With the appointment of a Federal “transformation officer” for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), not only did Governor Ricardo Rosselló threatened to challenge the decision in court but an official of its administration said that decision is only an interest to want to control a multi-million dollar allocation for the reconstruction of the country’s energy system. “I have no objection to the collaboration. I object to the takeover," the governor said at a news conference yesterday.

Race and Sports

Huffington Post, Texans Owner On NFL Protests: ‘We Can’t Have Inmates Running The Prison,’ Ryan Grenoble, Oct. 27, 2017. The Texans Owner Later Apologized, Saying It was Just A ‘Figure Of Speech.’ At a closed-door meeting earlier this month, NFL owners gathered to discuss players protesting racial inequality during the national anthem.Among the several voices in the room who opposed the protests was Texans owner Bob McNair, who said of the protesting players, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.”

The account was relayed by ESPN, which published an article Friday detailing the league’s internal handwringing over the protests. McNair’s comments stunned some in the room, ESPN reports, with Patriots owner Robert Kraft delicately moving the conversation forward afterward. Troy Vincent, a retired NFL player who now works as an executive for the league, told those in the meeting he’d been called all manner of slurs when he was a player, but he never felt like an “inmate.”

Harsh FBI Treatment of FBI Employee Couple, Vet?

 

New York Times, F.B.I. Agents Faced Arrest and Ruin After Trying to Conceive a Child, Adam Goldman, Oct. 28, 2017. Matthew Litton, a former Army officer and member of the F.B.I.’s elite Hostage Rescue Team, choked up as he sat in a courtroom in Virginia earlier this year, questioned by his lawyer about his infertility problems.

The hearing was Mr. Litton’s last best hope to get his F.B.I. job back and convince an administrative judge that he had been wrongly fired for failing to disclose the drugs he had taken to treat his disorder. Late last month, the judge ruled in his favor, ordering the F.B.I. to reinstate Mr. Litton and turn over part of his back pay, which totals more than $700,000. On Friday, the F.B.I. appealed the judge’s decision, contending that it was riddled with errors.

Still, Mr. Litton has won, for now, but only after a seven-year ordeal that upended his family’s life, destroyed his reputation and left him on the brink of financial ruin.

Oct. 27

 

JFK Murder Records Analysis

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, The JFK Cover-Up Continues, Jacob G. Hornberger (shown at right), Oct. 27, 2017. While the mainstream media was announcing for the past two weeks that President Trump was going to release the CIA’s long-secret records on the JFK assassination, I took a different position. On Monday of this week, I predicted that Trump would make a deal with the CIA that would enable the CIA to continue its cover-up of the JFK assassination. (See I Predict Trump Will Continue the CIA’s JFK Assassination Cover-Up and No Smoking Guns in the JFK Records?)

On Thursday, the day of the deadline established by law for releasing the records, Trump granted the CIA’s request for continued secrecy, on grounds of “national security,” more than 50 years after the Kennedy assassination.

Please, don’t start calling me Nostradamus. A blind man could see what was happening. Donald “Art of the Deal” Trump was obviously negotiating all week with the CIA, and he was obviously pushing to get what he wanted all the way up to the very last day. On Thursday, the deadline established by law for releasing the records, the CIA undoubtedly blinked and Trump presumably got what he wanted in return for granting CIA request for continued secrecy.

Some mainstream media commentators are criticizing the CIA for waiting until the very last day to make its case for continued secrecy. Displaying their naivete, they demonstrate their lack of understanding about how things work in Washington, D.C. As I indicated in my Monday article, when someone in the federal government needs a favor from someone else, the someone else is going to ask for something in return.

The fact is that the CIA put in its request to Trump for continued secrecy of its JFK records long before yesterday. But “Art of the Deal” Trump obviously sat on the request, undoubtedly hoping that he could get what he wanted in return if he just continued holding out and conveying that he was ready to release the records.

CIA logoIn the end, the CIA blinked, just as Trump knew it would. Contrary to what the mainstream press is asserting, the records undoubtedly contain more incriminating circumstantial evidence that fills in the mosaic of a U.S. national-security regime-change operation on November 22, 1963. That’s what the mainstream media, forever wedded to the official story no matter how ridiculous and illogical it is, simply cannot bring themselves to confront.

Trump knew that he had the CIA over a barrel. As I indicated in my two articles this week, the CIA was between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, it could refuse to grant Trump what he wanted and let the records be released, which it knew would point to the CIA’s guilt in the assassination. On the other hand, it could give Trump what he wanted and have to suffer the obvious inference that people would draw — that the CIA was continuing to cover up incriminatory evidence.

What did the CIA give Trump in return for Trump’s extending the CIA’s 50-year-plus secrecy? We don’t know, but my hunch is that it pertains to Russia....

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CIA logoWashington Post, Trump bowing to CIA on JFK files is a reminder of how the presidency changes people, James Hohmann, Oct. 27, 2017. Releasing all of the John F. Kennedy documents could add fuel to conspiracy theories about the former president's death. But it’s really hard to tell national security officials “no” when they’re warning you of potential dangers to the country and its intelligence apparatus.

ny times logoNew York Times, In J.F.K. Files, a Peek Back at an Era of Secrets, Peter Baker, Oct. 27, 2017. Documents released this week recall the Cold War context against which the assassination of John F. Kennedy generated suspicion that still persists. How much does it cost to knock off a foreign leader? In 1964, the asking price to assassinate Cuba’s Fidel Castro was $150,000. The Cuban exiles who were willing to pay felt that “was too high” and countered with $100,000 to seal the deal. As a bonus, the businessman who offered to arrange the assassin services also agreed to bump off Raúl Castro and Che Guevara for another $20,000 each — plus $2,500 for expenses, of course.

The haggling between Cuban exiles and criminal figures was recounted in a July 4, 1964, memo by the F.B.I. that was marked “SECRET” and released in full on Thursday as part of a stash of files related, if sometimes only theoretically, to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In the end, of course, whatever came of the plot did not put either of the Castros or Guevara in the ground.

But that memo and many of the 2,800 once-secret documents that were made public harken back to an era of Cold War intrigue and spy-versus-spy contests, when assassinations and clandestine plots were a matter of tradecraft, not John le Carré novels. Some real, some fanciful, the schemes and stories contained in the newly divulged files help explain the backdrop against which the Kennedy killing stirred suspicions that persist to this day.

“It was a very different time, and you have to remember the context,” said Larry J. Sabato, the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia and the author of “The Kennedy Half-Century,” published in 2013. “Almost everything revolved around this bipolar system we had” between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D., in his Pittsburgh lab, with a collage of book covers (Collage by WhoWhatWhy)

Noted forensic pathologist Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D., in his Pittsburgh lab, with a collage of book covers (Collage by WhoWhatWhy)

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Wecht faults Trump for delay in releasing all JFK assassination documents, Michael A. Fuoco, Oct. 27, 2017. Storied forensic pathologist Cyril H. Wecht, a longtime Warren Commission critic, reacted strongly Friday morning to President Donald Trump’s decision the preceding day to delay release of hundreds of secret government files related to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

Dr. Wecht wondered aloud if the president’s decision was a mutually beneficial deal with the CIA related to his ongoing problems involving Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Mr. Trump delayed release of about 300 of the 3,100 files — comprising thousands of pages — that have never been seen by the public after last-minute appeals from the CIA and FBI citing security concerns. About 30,000 documents were released previously with redactions.

“I think it was a poker game with the CIA. ‘You fellows want me to do this. What’s in it for me?’” said Dr. Wecht, who for decades has disputed the findings of the Warren Commission that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing President Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. “Why does Trump, after all of this time, change his mind about releasing everything?

“I believe he had the CIA over a barrel, that they were pushing him very hard not to release everything and I think they gave in, so to speak, and worked out a quid pro quo about all of this business with Russia.”

Dr. Wecht admitted his theory is only conjecture and acknowledged his bias. For decades, he has been one of the best known critics of the Warren Commission, arguing that the government twisted evidence to pin the assassination on Oswald because the truth of what occurred would be too much for the American public to take. Dr. Wecht speculates that "truth" is that rogue elements of the CIA had the Mafia kill JFK.

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Washington Post, Strippers, surveillance and assassination plots: The wildest JFK Files, Michael E. Miller, Oct. 27, 2017 (with contributions below by Ian Shapira and others). More than a dozen reporters and editors for the Washington Post combed through the documents on Thursday night. Here are some of the wildest things they found, some of which have been reported about before and some new.
 
$100,000 to kill Fidel Castro: A 1964 FBI memo describes a meeting in which Cuban exiles tried to set a price on the heads of Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara. “It was felt that the $150,000.00 to assassinate FIDEL CASTRO plus $5,000 expense money was too high,” the memo noted. At a subsequent meeting, they settled on more modest sums: $100,000 for Fidel, $20,000 for Raul and $20,000 for Che.
 
Not one to shy away from conspiracy theories, then-candidate Trump himself had a hot take on the assassination he delivered to Fox News last year. Trump, who was at the time battling Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for the Republican presidential nomination, claimed that his opponent’s father, Rafael Cruz, had been spotted with Oswald before the shooting. “His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being, you know, shot,” Trump said during a telephone interview. “I mean the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this? Right? Prior to his being shot. And nobody even brings it up. I mean, they don’t even talk about that — that was reported. And nobody talks about it.”
 

ted cruz father linked to jfk assassination enquirerTrump appeared to be referencing an April 2016 National Enquirer article headlined  “Ted Cruz Father Linked to JFK Assassination!” The story contained a photo that, according to the tabloid, showed Oswald and Rafael Cruz distributing pro-Castro leaflets in New Orleans in 1963. Even after clinching the nomination, Trump stuck by the widely discredited story.

richard m helmsAnd the Killer Is: The records also reveal a deposition given before the presidential Commission on CIA Activities in 1975 by Richard Helms (shown in a file photo), who had served as the agency’s director. After a discussion of Vietnam, David Belin, an attorney for the commission, turned to whether the CIA was involved in Kennedy’s killing. “Well, now, the final area of my investigation relates to charges that the CIA was in some way conspiratorially involved with the assassination of President Kennedy. During the time of the Warren Commission, you were Deputy Director of Plans, is that correct?” Belin asked. After Helms replied that he was, Belin then asked: “Is there any information involved with the assassination of President Kennedy which in any way shows that Lee Harvey Oswald was in some way a CIA agent or agent…” Then, suddenly, the document cuts off.

 WhoWhatWhy david talbot dulles coverWhoWhatWhy, JFK Assassination Triggered More Than Kennedy’s Death, Jeff Schechtman, Oct. 27, 2017. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and particularly its aftermath, was the first in a series of high-profile events that triggered an increased level of distrust of government among Americans. The ripples from that day have now turned into a wave, author David Talbot argues.  In his conversation with WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman, he makes the case that the cynicism from decades of lies about JFK, Martin Luther King, Watergate, and many more seminal events in recent US history is to blame in part for the divisions and the distrust of government we are witnessing today.
 
In addition to the government, Talbot holds the mainstream media accountable for its refusal to see what’s under its nose. The net result is, according to Talbot, a mixed bag. On the one hand, he claims, the “deep state” is coming apart. The destruction that is washing over so many institutions, both public and private, has impacted the security state as well. The bad news is that while cracks allow light to shine in, it leaves no one in charge.
 
Talbot talks specifically about what he’s going to be looking for in the thousands of pages of JFK documents, if and when they are all released, and where he thinks the threads may take us. He even thinks that, in a time when the president shooting someone on Fifth Avenue might only be a two-day story, when all the facts are out, people will care about who killed Kennedy and its broader implications for politics today. In many ways the government’s failure and refusal to come clean about the Kennedy assassination, among other major traumas to this country, has resulted in this great cynicism, public cynicism about authority in this country and has led to the rise of Donald Trump and the whole notion that you can’t believe establishment media outlets and official voices, authoritative voices.
 
So the New York Times and the Washington Post and the cable news networks love to trash Trump and his fake news, campaign, and the Russians and all that, but they really have failed to look at their own culpability in all this and why there has been such an erosion of public confidence over the last few decades in official sources of information.
 
Claims Against Trump Denied

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Washington Post, All of the women who have accused Trump of sexual harassment are lying, the White House says, John Wagner, Oct. 26, 2017. All the women who have accused President Trump of sexual harassment are lying, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday when asked for the official White House position on the issue. sarah huckabee sanders screenshot
 
The question was posed during a White House briefing at a time when numerous men in high-profile positions have been undercut of late by allegations of sexual misconduct, including journalist Mark Halperin, who faced accusations this week from former colleagues.
 
“Obviously, sexual harassment has been in the news,” Jacqueline Alemany of CBS News asked Sanders, shown at right in a file photo. “At least 16 women accused the president of sexually harassing them throughout the course of the campaign. Last week, during a press conference in the Rose Garden, the president called these accusations ‘fake news.’ Is the official White House position that all of these women are lying?”“Yeah, we’ve been clear on that from the beginning, and the president’s spoken on it,” Sanders said, before quickly pivoting to another reporter to ask a question.
 
Reader Supported News, Trump Promised the JFK Files, but the Big Dogs Ate His Homework, Bill Simpich, Oct. 27, 2017. About 30,000 JFK files were supposed to be fully released yesterday. The American people only got 2800. As repeatedly advertised in the media and the National Archives, about 3100 of these files had never seen the light of day. (The others had been released in part.)
 

By using the 2800 figure and comparing it to the touted 3100 figure, Trump’s people apparently hoped that the busy media would not realize how badly he had dropped the ball. I can assure you that The Washington Post and The New York Times completely missed it. Even the well-respected NBC News (and many other outlets) got it wrong, saying “2891 of at least 3140“ were released, falling into Trump’s trap. Almost 30,000 documents remain concealed from the American people. How many of the touted 3100 got released yesterday?

Jimmy Falls at WhoWhatWhy did a careful count and told me he came up with 52. What has happened completely violates the JFK Act of 1992, which was designed to ensure that all the records of the assassination went into the hands of the people. The JFK Act states that “each assassination record shall be publicly disclosed in full, and available in the Collection no later than the date that is 25 years after the date of enactment of this Act, unless the President certifies, as required by this Act, that:

(i) continued postponement is made necessary by an identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations; and (ii) the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.” Trump's excuse was basically that the big dog ate his homework.

You can read it here. He wrote that there is going to be a “temporary withholding” to find out if the documents qualify for continued postponement. The law says “no later than 25 years” unless there is an identifiable harm. Trump had to resort to asking for an additional six months to see if there was an identifiable harm. Sorry. Time is up.

Books, Media

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Linda Greenhouse "Just A Journalist" coverWashington Post, Opinion: NYT’s Linda Greenhouse boasts of monthly Planned Parenthood donations, Erik Wemple, Oct. 27, 2017. Linda Greenhouse has nothing to hide with respect to her charitable activities.

Writing in her new bookJust a Journalist: On the Press, Life and the Spaces Between, the former New York Times reporter notes that she wasn’t content to allow Planned Parenthood to deduct a monthly contribution from her bank account. “It was important to me to write a check every month and sign my name,” writes Greenhouse, who is now a contributing op-ed writer for the same paper. “It was the signature of a citizen. The stories that appeared under my byline, on abortion and all other subjects, were the work of a journalist. If anyone ever thought those failed to measure up to professional standards, they never told me or anyone else.”

That’s one heck of an internal firewall. Skeptics of Greenhouse’s remarkable ethical divisibility are already speaking up. “Rather than meld her identities, she dons or sheds them whenever convenient,” writes Washington Post book critic Carlos Lozada.The New York Times itself preaches caution when making donations. “Staff members should think carefully about their own contributions to various causes, bearing in mind the need for neutrality on divisive issues,” notes a September 2004 New York Times ethics guide. “Those in doubt about contributions should consult their supervisors and the standards editor or the deputy editorial page editor.”

Global News

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Spain flagWashington Post, Spain moves to take over Catalonia after region declares independence, William Booth and Pamela Rolfe, Oct. 27, 2017. The central government in Madrid acted quickly to respond to what it views as an insurrection from the breakaway region, with its constitutional court initiating proceedings against the declaration by Catalan lawmakers. The impasse has left little middle ground for compromises and has spilled over to the European Union, whose leaders fear another internal crisis after upheavals in other countries in recent years.

ISIS-US Raqqa negotiations (BBC photo)ISIS-US Raqqa negotiations (BBC)

SouthFront, Iraqi Forces Reach Al-Qa’im In Lightning-Like Advance, Staff and wire report, Oct. 26, 2017. On October 26, the Iraqi Army and the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) reached the last ISIS stronghold in Iraq, al-Qa’im city, after successfully capturing dozens of areas south and southeast of it, according to the PMU media wing.

Syriana via SouthFront, Former Qatari Prime Minister Admits Qatar, Saudi Arabia Funded Syrian Rebels With U.S., Turkish Help, Staff report, Oct. 27, 2017 (1:35 min video). Turkey And US Coordinated Efforts To Support Terrorists In Syria, Staff report, On October 26, former Qatar Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jassim said during an interview to the Qatari national TV that Doha supported the Syrian opposition armed groups and even terrorists like the al-Nusra Front (the local al-Qaeda branch) in Syria in coordination with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the US.

World News

Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu

Global Research, Opinion: Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu Is Leading US President Trump to War with Iran, James Petras (professor of history), Oct. 27, 2017. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the presidents of the 52 major Jewish American organizations are leading President Trump, like a puppy on a leash, into a major war with Iran.

The hysterical ’52 Presidents’ and ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu are busy manufacturing Holocaust-level predictions that a non-nuclear Iran is preparing to ‘vaporize’ Israel. The buffoonish US President Trump has swallowed this fantasy wholesale and is pushing our nation toward war for the sake of Israel and its US-based supporters and agents. We will cite ten recent examples of Israeli-authored policies implemented by Trump in his march to war. There are scores of others:

david friedman w us israeli amb1. After many years, Israel and ‘the 52 President’ finally made the US withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) because of its detailed documentation of Israeli crimes against Palestinian people. Trump complied with their demands.Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu Is Leading US President Trump to War with Iran

2. Tel Aviv demanded a Zionist fanatic and backer of the illegal Jewish settler occupation of Palestinian lands, the bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman (shown at right), be appointed US Ambassador to Israel. Trump complied, despite the ambassador’s overt conflict of interest.

Sexual Scandal In Congress -- and Reform?

Jackie Speier (ABC)Roll Call, Speier Shares #MeToo Story, Says She Was Assaulted as Hill Staffer, Griffin Connolly, Oct. 27, 2017. Congress a ‘breeding ground for a hostile work environment,’ rep says. Joining the #MeToo campaign, the California Democrat posted a video on Twitter Friday detailing a time a senior staffer allegedly assaulted her.

As more and more women recount stories online of times they were sexually assaulted and harassed as part of the #MeToo campaign on social media, Rep. Jackie Speier reminded people that Capitol Hill was no haven from such behavior.

The California Democrat posted Friday a video on Twitter detailing a time a senior staffer allegedly assaulted her.

“The chief of staff held my face, kissed me, and stuck his tongue in my mouth,” Speier said in the video. “So I know what it’s like to keep these things hidden deep down inside.”

Four female Democratic senators, including Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren and Missouri’s Claire McCaskill, described their experiences to “Meet the Press” last Sunday. Speier continued that conversation Friday, highlighting Congress’s flaws when it comes to respecting women in the workplace.

“Congress has been a breeding ground for a hostile work environment for far too long,” she said. “That’s why I’m reaching out to Congressional staff and to former Congressional staff to share their ‘Me Too’ Congress stories, if they feel comfortable doing so.”

In 2014 Speier led an effort to secure $500,000 in funding for the Congressional Office of Compliance to go toward sexual harassment prevention training for staffers and members. “The American people expect us to conduct ourselves in a manner befitting the responsibilities and duties that we hold as members of Congress, not as if we are freshmen in a frat house,” Speier said at the time. But she and other members of Congress were unable to secure a mandate that all offices must undergo sexual conduct training.

“It’s time to throw back the curtain,” she said, “on the repulsive behavior that until now has thrived in the dark without consequences.”

Oct. 26

Historic JFK Assassination Document Release Scheduled Today

john newman book collage whowhatwhyFacebook, Historian John Newman comments pro-war propaganda from media related to suppressed JFK documents, (Dr. John M. Newman, a longtime history professor and author of multiple major books related to the Kennedy assassination, is shown in a photo collage above published by WhoWhatWhy. Full bio below.)  Oct. 26, 2017. As I predicted six months ago, we are up against a full court press by the Castro-killed-Kennedy psych-warfare frame op cooked up by the true perpetrators behind the president’s murder.

And, now, beginning with Shenon (prompted by Arlen Specter) in 2012, followed by other famous amazing experts like FOX’s O’Rilley, MSNBC’s Matthews, and UVA’s Sabato, it has been regurgitated again.

If that wasn’t enough, we are being fed that old canard again today by hundreds of news items written by youngsters whose entire perspective and information about the assassination has taken place in just the last two weeks. They say: “What?? You don’t think Castro was involved??” As if we are the lunatics.

LBJ’s steamrolling of Chief Just Warren to force him to head the commission and rubber stamp the Oswald-did-it-alone FBI cover-up was done at the “Top Secret” level to prevent a world-wide nuclear holocaust and the deaths of 40 million Americans. Decades ago, we were able to listen to the tape recording of LBJ boasting to Senator Russell about how he pulled it off, and watch Warren on Washington Public TV (WETA) confirm the story.

Author's Bio: Dr. Newman served in Army Intelligence in Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, and China. He served as an attaché in China. He served as the Military Assistant to the director of the National Security Agency (NSA). He was a faculty member of the University of Maryland, Honors College (1992-2012), and is currently Adjunct Professor of Political Science at James Madison University, where he teaches courses in International Terrorism, Counterterrosm, and America in the 60s.

Dr. Newman was a consultant for Oliver Stone's film JFK. He was one of the experts called upon to testify the U.S. House of Representatives. He was asked to assist the JFK Assassination Records Review Board. He has been a critic of the 9/11 Commission Report. Newman is the author of "JFK and Vietnam: Deception, Intrigue, and the Struggle for Power"(1992; 2017); "Oswald and the CIA: The Documented Truth About the Unknown Relationship Between the U.S. Government and the Alleged Killer of JFK" (1995; 2008); "Quest for the Kingdom: The Secret Teachings of Jesus in the Light of Yogic Mysticism" (2013); "Where Angels Tread Lightly: The Assassination of President Kennedy, Volume I" (2015, 2017); and "Countdown to Darkness: The Assassination of President Kennedy, Volume II (2017).

Politico, What you won't find in the final JFK assassination records, Bryan Bender, Oct. 26, 2017. Numerous government documents with potential bearing on President John F. Kennedy’s murder have gone missing or were destroyed. Don’t expect an end to the conspiracy theories about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy — even after the vast network of JFK-obsessed researchers pore over the final trove of government documents.

That’s because the thousands of files made public by the National Archives late Thursday — and others that President Donald Trump announced will undergo an additional 180-day review — are still vastly incomplete, according to former government officials and leading assassination scholars, including those who believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and the many more who don't.

They insist that much of what the government knew or suspected about people who may have had knowledge of Kennedy’s murder, or who had a motive to take part in a conspiracy or cover-up, remains hidden from the public or was destroyed.

The Secret Service, for example, has acknowledged it destroyed some of its records about the events in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Army and Navy intelligence files on key individuals have never been made available, and in some cases were shielded from a trio of government probes into Kennedy's killing in the 1960s and 1970s.

Also missing, they say, is part of a CIA report on Oswald, an ex-Marine who defected to the Soviet Union before returning to the United States. And much mystery remains about all the files maintained by the late James Jesus Angleton, the top CIA counterintelligence official who took over the agency’s probe of the assassination.

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JFK Facts, What the JFK Records Act says about today, Jefferson Morley, Oct. 26, 2017. JFKFacts.org Editor and AlterNet Washington correspondent Jefferson Morley, a major litigant to release JFK materials under Freedom of Information Act law, is a former Washington Post reporter and is the author of two major books about the CIA, most recently, The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton, published this week by St. Martin's Press. Several of his columns today are excerprted below, beginning with the one headlined above: The law is quite explicit about President Trump’s responsibilities today. With each passing hour, he is in danger failing to see that the law on JFK records are faithfully executed.

White House fumbling as JFK release deadline nears: The long-awaited JFK document release has still not happened. Knowledgable sources are saying that the documents may not be posted today, at least not all of them. That would be a plain violation of the JFK Records Act.

9 things you should know about the JFK file release: In my latest piece for AlterNet, I say the most significant story in the new JFK files will be details of the CIA’s pre-assassination monitoring of Oswald. And, if, contra Posner, Trump approves CIA and FBI requests to withhold some records, the JFK files Trump keeps secret will be more important than the ones he releases.

Gerald Posner predicts full release with no redactions: The anti-conspiratorial writer says President Trump will order the release of all remaining JFK records with no redactions. If true, this is good news.

NSA concealed records on JFK assassination for decades : Two documents provided by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden and published for the first time today further underline how closely the intelligence community has held information related to Cuba’s potential role in the killing, indicating that the NSA for decades has kept secret its efforts to monitor Cuban agents’ communications in the aftermath of the event.

dan hardway bwAssassination Archives and Research Center (AARC), What were they hiding and what should we look for? Dan L. Hardway, Oct. 26, 2017 (Dan Hardway (shown at left), is an attorney and former staff member for the House Select Committee on Assassinations, a prominent JFK assassination researcher). As we go into the hysteria of a massive JFK document dump, there is one remarkably surviving document that has already been released that we should keep in mind – especially when reading news coverage of the documents scheduled for release today.

On April 1, 1967, the Head of the Covert Action Staff of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) sent a dispatch to many of the CIA stations and bases around the world. That the document survived (Dispatch, Countering Criticism of the Warren Report, from Chief of CA Staff to Chiefs of Certain Stations and Bases, April 1, 1967, RIF 104-10009-10022) may be remarkable as it is clearly marked as “Destroy when no longer needed.”

Or, then again, maybe it is not remarkable that it has not been destroyed because the government and intelligence community’s efforts to silence those who question the official story about John Kennedy’s murder has never succeeded and, hence, the dispatch remains needful from their viewpoint.

The dispatch lays out a plan for defending the lone nut theory first advanced as the major theme of the government cover-up of the assassination investigation. The dispatch labels people who question the lone nut theory as “conspiracy theorists.” It plainly states the purpose of the dispatch “is to provide material for countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists…. Our play should point out, as applicable, that the critics are (i) wedded to theories adopted before the evidence was in, (ii) politically interested, (iii) financially interested, (iv) hasty and inaccurate in their research, or (v) infatuated with their own theories.” 

It goes on to suggest that critics be countered by advancing arguments such as they have produced no new evidence, that they overvalue some evidence while ignoring other evidence, that large scale conspiracies are “impossible to conceal in the United States,” that Oswald would not have been any “sensible person’s choice for a co-conspirator”, and by pointing out the comprehensive work of the Warren Commission which was composed of men “chosen for their integrity, experience, and prominence.”

ny times logoNew York Times, The J.F.K. Assassination: A Cast of Characters, Natalie Reneau and Peter Baker, Oct. 26, 2017 (video). As a new trove of documents about the killing of President John F. Kennedy is released, The Times's Peter Baker walks us through who’s who in this American tragedy.

ny times logoNew York Times, A Half-Century Later, Papers May Shed Light on J.F.K. Assassination, Peter Baker and Scott Shane, Oct. 26, 2017 (print edition). With permission from President Trump, the federal government on Thursday will begin releasing the final documents on the 1963 killing of John F. Kennedy.

Politico, How to Read the JFK Assassination Files, Here are some tips for making sense of all the code names, redactions and confusing jargon, Philip Shenon, Oct. 26, 2017. The government is releasing thousands of long-secret files on Kennedy’s murder. Here are some tips for making sense of all the code names, redactions and confusing jargon.

If President Donald Trump is true to his word, the American public is about to be flooded with thousands of long-secret documents that could help resolve at least some of the conspiracy theories about a turning point in the nation’s history — the assassination in 1963 of President John F. Kennedy.

The files, which are supposed to be released on the Archives website, are being made public under a deadline set by a 1992 law, the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act . The law, which Congress hoped would help tamp down the raging conspiracy theories revived or created by Oliver Stone’s film “JFK” the year before, was responsible for the release of millions of pages of other documents in the 1990s. What has remained secret at the Archives until this week were documents that the CIA, FBI and other agencies felt might somehow damage national security if made public.

But short of Trump’s intervention, all of those documents must be made public, too — every word — to meet the 25-year deadline set by the law. That is the deadline that arrives on Thursday.

How to begin to go through that massive document dump — tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of pages? It will be daunting even for historians, researchers and others who study the assassination and have been eagerly anticipating, for decades, the chance to see the files.

For most people who are not longtime students of the assassination, there will be almost instant frustration with the files because it will be impossible to make sense of most of the documents — at least not quickly.

But if you’re reading this, chances are you’re undeterred by these obstacles and are eager to dive in to what is one of the most highly anticipated document dumps in American history. So what follows, based on years of research for my own 2013 history on the Warren Commission, is a list of 10 suggestions for armchair detectives who are planning to test their patience — and risk their eyesight and even their sanity — by digging into this digital mountain of paperwork:

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Washington Post, The president approved the immediate release of 2,800 records by the National Archives, Ian Shapira, Steve Hendrix and Carol D. Leonnig, Oct. 26, 2017. The rest would be reviewed during a 180-day period. The White House said the president would issue a memo saying he had “no choice” but to withhold some documents.

Other Washington News, Commentary

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John Kelly

New York Times, Once Pitched as Calming Force, Kelly Instead Mirrors Boss, Peter Baker, Oct. 26, 2017 (print edition). For all the talk of the White House chief of staff as a moderating influence, John Kelly (shown at right) has strong feelings about patriotism and immigration that amplify President Trump’s hard-line message.

Boston Marathon Bombing Case

Paul Craig Roberts.org, Boston Marathon Bombing: A Case of Judicial Murder? Guest columnist John Remington Graham (attorney and former public defender), Oct. 26, 2017. I have been asked many times why I have intervened in the federal prosecution of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the young man who was convicted and sentenced to death in the Boston  Marathon bombing case where two brothers, on April 15, 2013, allegedly detonated pressure cooker bombs on Boylston Street in front of the Forum Restaurant that killed or maimed many people.

As I wrap up my career of fifty years as a member of the bar, including service as a public defender in state and federal courts, co-founder of an accredited law school, and chief public prosecutor in Minnesota state courts, I am apprehensive that my country might be entering into an era of judicial murder.

Judicial murder is the practice of designing a trial to get a guilty verdict, regardless of the facts, and a death sentence carried out.  It has happened in many countries in all ages. It has been recognized as a threat of public justice by the United States Supreme Court in Powell v. Alabama, 287 U. S. 45 at 72-72 (1932). Judicial murder is followed by corruption and destruction of society.

The judicial murder of Socrates was followed by loss of the classical civilization of ancient Greece. The judicial murder of Jesus of Nazareth, whether son of God or venerable philosopher, was followed by the destruction of Jerusalem and the second temple. The judicial murder of Joan of Arc was followed by loss of most English lands in France. The judicial murder of Charles the First was followed by loss of the free constitution of England. The judicial murder of Louis XVI was followed by 150 years of defeat, ruin, suffering, and chaos in France. Judicial murder in the Third Reich was followed by humiliating defeat of Germany. Judicial murder in the Soviet Union was followed by collapse of the Soviet empire. If the justice system cannot be trusted, evil consequences follow.

My active intervention in the case began when I assisted the Russian aunt, herself a lawyer, of Dzhokhar file pro se papers in the federal district court in Boston, asking that she be recognized as a friend of the court so she could present evidence conclusively showing, by FBI-gathered evidence, incorporated by reference into the indictment, that Dzhokhar could not have detonated the bomb he was supposed to have detonated. I proceeded in this way as instructed by the bar liaison officer of the federal district court and the clerk’s office. 

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts wrote up this legal adventure in his column of August 17, 2015, in a way which draws from the judicial record, and portrays the scenario clearly enough. The link is https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/08/17/fbi-evidence-proves-innocence-accused-boston-marathon-bomber-dzhokhar-tsarnaev. Those unfamiliar with this case need to read that article. 

The claim of the Russian aunt sounds fantastic only so long as one believes newspapers and does not pay attention to critical, undeniable facts gathered by the FBI, and the language of the indictment as returned on June 27, 2013, especially paragraphs 6, 7, and 24. A number of things have caused me to doubt Dzhokhar’s guilt.....

See related story: Newsweek, Boston Marathon Bomber’s Aunt Claims FBI Set up Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and She Has Proof, Michele McPhee (author of a book on the trial), Oct. 23, 2017.

Other Assassination News

Dag Hammarskjoldny times logoNew York Times, Theory That Hammarskjold Plane Was Downed Is Bolstered by U.N. Report, Alan Cowell and Rick Gladstone, Oct. 26, 2017 (print edition).  More than 56 years after a plane crash killed Dag Hammarskjold (shown above in his office), the secretary general of the United Nations, an authoritative report released on Wednesday said it appeared plausible that an “external attack or threat” may have downed the airplane carrying him and 15 others on an epochal peace mission in Africa.

The finding by Judge Mohamed Chande Othman, a senior Tanzanian jurist who was asked by the United Nations to review both old and newly uncovered evidence, gave weight to a longstanding suspicion that Mr. Hammarskjold may have been assassinated.

The crash, during the overnight of Sept. 17-18, 1961, remains a painful open wound in the history of the United Nations and one of the 20th century’s most enduring mysteries. Judge Othman’s 63-page report offered a further rebuttal of the idea, advanced in inquiries soon after the crash, that pilot error or some other accident had caused Mr. Hammarskjold’s chartered DC-6 airplane to crash in what is now Zambia.

Moreover, Judge Othman’s conclusion reinforced the theory that the plane had been deliberately brought down, either by what the judge called “direct attack” or a distraction that diverted “the pilots’ attention for a matter of seconds at the critical point at which they were on their descent.” At the time, Mr. Hammarskjold was flying to Ndola, in what was then Northern Rhodesia, for negotiations to end secession and civil war in the neighboring mineral-rich Congolese province of Katanga. The Katangese separatists were supported by Western political and mining interests not eager to see Mr. Hammarskjold’s diplomacy succeed.view of records and archives in their custody or possession, including those that remain classified, for potentially relevant information.”

His remarks seemed to reinforce many earlier suggestions that, for whatever reason, Western governments were loath to disclose their full knowledge about what had befallen Mr. Hammarskjold, a Swedish diplomat killed at a tipping point in African history between colonial rule and independence.

ny times logoNew York Times, House Approves Budget Plan, Clearing Way for Tax Cuts, Thomas Kaplan, Oct. 26, 2017. The measure would allow a tax cut of up to $1.5 trillion over the coming decade to pass Congress without any Democratic votes. The narrow 216-212 vote, with twenty Republicans opposed, hinted at a tough road ahead.

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Washington Post, Trump could make visiting a national park more expensive than a Six Flags ticket, Darryl Fears​, Oct. 26, 2017. Starting as early as January, the entrance fee for a single automobile would spike to $70 in some parks. The Park Service said the increases would go toward an $11 billion maintenance backlog.

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Washington Post, NBC analyst Mark Halperin temporarily leaves role after sexual harassment allegations, Samantha Schmidt, Oct. 26, 2017.  The accusations from five women against Halperin, who is one of the country’s most prominent political journalists, stem from his time at ABC News.

jeff flake ony times logoNew York Times, Flake’s Rebuke of Trump Bore Marks of His Mormon Faith, Laurie Goodstein, Oct. 26, 2017. When Jeff Flake (the Arizona Republican senator, shown at right) railed on the Senate floor against the conduct of his president and his party, much of what he said had roots in his religious upbringing.

Global News

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Washington Post, China’s Xi Jinping unveils his top party leaders, with no successor in sight, Simon Denyer, Oct. 26, 2017 (print edition). China’s Communist Party unveiled its new leadership lineup on Wednesday, granting President Xi Jinping another five years in power as general secretary and including no obvious successor in the senior-most ranks.

china flag SmallXi introduced the six other members of the Politburo Standing Committee to the media, breaking with recent convention by not including a potential heir in the lineup. That appears to raise the chances Xi could stay in power beyond 2022.

On Tuesday, the Communist Party amended its constitution to insert Xi Jinping Thought as a guiding principle for the party, elevating Xi to the same status as its most important historical figures, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

That means Xi is likely to wield ultimate authority in the party as long as he is alive, experts say, and it makes any challenge to that authority tantamount to an attack on the party itself.

SouthFront, Iraqi Forces Reach Al-Qa’im In Lightning-Like Advance, Staff and wire report, Oct. 26, 2017.  On October 26, the Iraqi Army and the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) reached the last ISIS stronghold in Iraq, al-Qa’im city, after successfully capturing dozens of areas south and southeast of it, according to the PMU media wing.

Oct. 25

Internal Republican Battles

ny times logoNew York Times, G.O.P. Becomes Party of Trump, and Critics Give In or Give Up, Jonathan Martin and Jeremy W. Peters, Oct. 25, 2017. “There is zero appetite for the ‘Never Trump’ movement in the Republican Party of today,” said one “super PAC” adviser. And for some Republican lawmakers who are uncomfortable supporting hard-edged nationalism and grievance politics, the solution is to get out altogether.

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Washington Post, GOP majority in Senate hangs in balance as allies of Bannon, McConnell step up attacks, Michael Scherer, Robert Costa and David Weigel, Oct. 25, 2017. Former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon’s attacks on establishment Republicans have prompted eruptions in once-sleepy races and on Capitol Hill, with retirements and acrimony following. The fallout may pose a threat to Republicans’ Senate majority, prompting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s allies to launch personal attacks on Bannon to blunt his efforts.

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bob corkerWashington Post, ‘Dangerous,’ ‘utterly untruthful’: Retiring GOP senators sound alarm on Trump, Robert Costa, Philip Rucker and Sean Sullivan​, Oct. 25, 2017. In an extraordinary breach, Republican Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee (shown at right) questioned the president’s fitness for office and warned that his actions presented a danger to the nation, remarks that escalated a civil war roiling the party ahead of the 2018 midterms.

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Washington Post, Flake and Corker feel liberated to speak their minds. That should terrify Trump, James Hohmann, Oct. 25, 2017. Retiring Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona, who questioned President Trump’s fitness for office, will have as big a megaphone as they want for as long as they want it.

U.S. Deaths In Africa

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Washington Post, Amid Niger ambush chaos, the White House first thought several U.S. soldiers were missing, Greg Jaffe and Karen DeYoung, Oct. 25, 2017. The White House did not officially receive word that three American bodies had been recovered, and one soldier remained missing, until at least eight hours after the attack had begun. President Trump said Wednesday that he did not “specifically” authorize the original mission, in which four Americans died.

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Washington Post, Trump rekindles controversy, saying he remembered slain soldier’s name ‘right from the beginning,’ Ashley Parker, Oct. 25, 2017. ​The president said he has “one of the great memories of all time” in disputing the account of several others of his condolence call to Myeshia Johnson, whose husband was killed in Niger.

Las Vegas Shooting Follow-up

Los Angeles Times, Brother of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock charged with child porn possession in L.A., Kate Mather and Joseph Serna, Oct. 25, 2017. A brother of Las Vegas mass shooter Stephen Paddock was arrested in Los Angeles on Wednesday on suspicion of possessing hundreds of images of child pornography, according to authorities. Bruce Douglas Paddock, 58, was taken into custody at a nursing facility in the 5300 block of Laurel Canyon Boulevard, in the Valley Village neighborhood, and booked at 8 a.m. Television news footage showed Paddock in a wheelchair being loaded into the back of a van by Los Angeles Police Department officers.

JFK Records Release

The Hill, Trump teases release of JFK files: 'So interesting!' Jordan Fabian, Oct. 25, 2017. President Trump teased the release of thousands of government documents related to the assassination of former President Kennedy on Wednesday, minutes before landing in Dallas, the city where the former president was shot and killed. “The long anticipated release of the #JFKFiles will take place tomorrow. So interesting!” Trump tweeted.

The president headed to Dallas to attend GOP fundraisers and receive an update on the recovery from Hurricane Harvey. Trump has said he doesn’t plan to block the release of files related to Kennedy’s killing ahead of the National Archives’s Thursday deadline to make them public. Congress passed a law in 1992 mandating the release of the files within 25 years, but the president has the power to stop it in the interest of national security.

Trump’s advisers have reportedly urged him to block at least some of the files. The White House has not said whether the president will do so. “Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened,” Trump tweeted over the weekend.

Scholars and experts have downplayed the possibility the documents contain information that would add to conspiracy theories surrounding Kennedy’s assassination. Trump himself has fueled those theories by suggesting, without evidence, in 2016 that then-campaign rival Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) father has ties to Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

Future of Freedom Foundation, No “Smoking Guns” in the JFK Records? Jacob G. Hornberger, Oct. 25, 2017. Most of the mainstream media continues telling their readers not to expect any “smoking guns” in the JFK records that are supposed to be released tomorrow. That’s assuming, of course, that President Trump doesn’t change his mind at the last minute and grant the CIA’s request for continued secrecy. I stand by the prediction I made earlier this week. I think Trump will strike a last-minute deal with the CIA, perhaps one in which the CIA promises to bring its power and influence to bear on Congress to cease and desist about Russia. My hunch is that the deal will be announced in a fundraising speech that Trump is delivering today, not coincidentally, in Dallas.

There are several fascinating aspects to this controversy.

First of all is the mainstream media’s new-found discovery that the records are set to be released tomorrow. For the past year, some of us have been harping on the impending deadline and suggesting that the CIA would beseech Trump to keep its long-secret records secret, perhaps for another 25 years. The entire time, the mainstream media has largely remained silent about the matter … until just recently when the issue exploded into the public arena. Just Google “JFK Records” and you’ll see what I mean.

Most of the media articles, op-eds, and editorials fail to question a central issue: The fact that the CIA wants its 50-year-old records to continue to be kept secret. That should be big news, especially given that the reason the JFK Records Act was enacted in the first place was because of Oliver Stone’s movie JFK, which posited that the CIA orchestrated the assassination of the president as part of its many Cold War national-security regime-change operations. At the end of JFK, there was a blurb about the fact that the U.S. national security establishment was continuing to keep its assassination records secret from the American people. This secrecy created such an uproar among the American populace that Congress was effectively forced to act. That’s what produced the JFK Records Act, which the national-security establishment vehemently opposed.

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Washington Post, JFK assassination conspiracy theories: The grassy knoll, Umbrella Man, LBJ and Ted Cruz’s dad, Michael E. Miller, Oct. 25, 2017. Long before there was “fake news,” there was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the scores of conspiracy theories it ignited. One author estimated that conspiracy theorists have accused “42 groups, 82 assassins, and 214 people by name of being involved in the assassination.” According to a 2013 poll, no less than 62 percent of Americans believe there was a broader plot beyond just Lee Harvey Oswald on the sixth floor overlooking Dealey plaza in Dallas.

On Wednesday, President Trump promised again that he intends to release the final batch of secret assassination records being held by the National Archives. Historians and conspiracy theorists alike will eagerly comb through the records when they are put online Thursday.

Will the files add any fuel to the conspiracy theories that have been burning for more than half a century, or deprive them of oxygen once and for all?

Barring a last-minute reversal by the White House, we will soon find out. In the meantime, here are a few of the most prevalent conspiracy theories on the assassination.

Alabama Scandal?

jeff sessions ag oMother Jones, Jeff Sessions Is in Charge of a Bribery Prosecution Involving Two of His Top Donors, Russ Choma and Nick Schwellenbach, Oct. 25, 2017. In recent months, a political bribery scandal has gripped Alabama involving the state’s largest coal company and the powerful, politically connected law firm it retained to fend off a federal effort to clean up a badly polluted North Birmingham neighborhood—an undertaking that could result in major financial liability for the company. The controversy has already ensnared one state lawmaker, and it has cast attention on the actions of other Alabama politicians, including the one ultimately responsible for overseeing the bribery case and potential environmental litigation: Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

During his 20 years as a US senator, Sessions pocketed hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars from both Drummond Company, the corporation at the heart of this scandal, and its Birmingham-based law firm, Balch & Bingham. But his ties to Drummond and Balch extend beyond the usual political contributions. Last year, according to documents obtained by Mother Jones and the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight, Sessions intervened to oppose the Environmental Protection Agency action at issue in the bribery case, and he did so just weeks after conferring with Balch lawyers.

Sessions could potentially be a witness for the prosecution in the case his agency has been overseeing. And that would pose a serious conflict of interest. Yet Sessions, who filled a key Justice Department position with a Balch lawyer and who was prepped for his confirmation hearing by an attorney at the firm, has so far taken no steps to recuse himself.

Oct. 24

Future of Freedom Foundation, Circumstantial Evidence in the JFK Assassination, Jacob G. Hornberger, Oct. 24, 2017. The mainstream media is repeatedly emphasizing that the records will contain no “smoking guns.” Well, duh! Ever since the CIA began specializing in assassinations, one of its principal rules has been never to put any reference to a covert state-sponsored assassination into writing. Given such, it’s no big revelation that the records that are set to be released will not contain a videotaped confession, a memorandum detailing how the assassination was to be carried out and covered up, or any other such “smoking gun” type of evidence.

However, it is a virtual certainty that the tens of thousands of records will contain bits of circumstantial evidence that further fill in the mosaic that the assassination of President Kennedy was one of the CIA’s regime-change operations, no different in principle from those carried out in the 1950s-1970s in such countries as Iran, Guatemala, Congo, Cuba, and Chile.

The problem is that mainstream reporters and commentators, generally speaking, have no understanding of or appreciation for the importance and relevance of circumstantial evidence. To them, all that matters is direct evidence, such as a videotaped confession or a signed memorandum showing how the assassination was carried out.

What is circumstantial evidence? The definition provided by Wikipedia is as good as any other: "Circumstantial evidence is evidence that relies on an inference to connect it to a conclusion of fact — like a fingerprint at the scene of a crime. By contrast, direct evidence supports the truth of an assertion directly — i.e., without need for any additional evidence or inference."

It is worth noting that courts consider circumstantial evidence to be of equal value to direct evidence.

Clinton Campaign

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Washington Post, Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier, Adam Entous, Devlin Barrett and Rosalind S. Helderman, Oct. 25, 2017 (print edition). The file containing allegations about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin has become a lightning rod amid intensifying probes of the 2016 race.

Consortium News, What did Hillary Know? Robert Parry, Oct. 25, 2017. With the disclosure that Hillary Clinton’s campaign helped pay for the original Russia-gate allegations against Donald Trump, a new question arises: what did Clinton know and when did she know it.

Republican Tax Dispute

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Kevin BradyWashington Post, House GOP tax leader threatens to break Trump’s promise not to change 401(k) rules, Damian Paletta, Oct. 25, 2017. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady on Wednesday suggested a tax bill he is preparing to introduce could force changes to 401(k) plans and other retirement accounts, potentially bucking a promise from President Trump that those accounts would be left alone.

Brady, shown at right and speaking at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, said “we think in tax reform we can create incentives for people to save more and save sooner.” He said he was “working very closely with the president,” but he also said many people who have tax-incentivized retirement accounts contribute $200 per month or less, a level he thought was too low.

Media, Suppressed Documents, Official Secrets

chicago tribune hqNational Security Archive, When The U.S. Government Prosecuted The Chicago Tribune: Lessons On Sources and Methods From the Battle Of Midway, 1942, Staff report, Oct. 25, 2017. The U.S. government’s most significant prosecution of an American media outlet prior to the Pentagon Papers fell through during World War II when a grand jury refused to indict the Chicago Tribune in 1942 for an article stating the U.S. Navy had advance knowledge of Japanese plans to attack Midway Island in June of that year.

Chicago Tribune WW2 Code headlineDocuments posted today by the George Washington University-based National Security Archive detail FBI, Justice Department, and Navy efforts to charge the Tribune with damaging national security by indirectly alluding to U.S. penetration of Japan’s naval codes – one of the most sensitive secrets of the day.

The Tribune case was the first time the U.S. government tried to pursue charges against a major media source under the Espionage Act for publishing classified information – making it of particular interest in the current political environment.

Today’s posting draws on grand jury records that had been sealed for decades until historian Elliot Carlson, joined by the Reporters Committee on Freedom of the Press, the National Security Archive, and other historians’ organizations, filed a lawsuit for their release.

This is the latest in a series of judicial decisions to open grand jury records of historical importance, including from the investigations of Alger Hiss and Julius Rosenberg.

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Washington Post, Trump rekindles controversy, saying he remembered slain soldier’s name ‘right from the beginning,’ Ashley Parker, Oct. 25, 2017. ​The president said he has “one of the great memories of all time” in disputing the account of several others of his condolence call to Myeshia Johnson, whose husband was killed in Niger.

Oct. 24

U.S. Political News, Intrigues

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Washington Post, Trump arrives on the Hill as Corker slams him for ‘untruths,’ ‘debasing’ the country, Sean Sullivan and Elise Viebeck, Oct. 24, 2017. The renewed feud between President Trump and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn), which included a slew of Twitter insults from the president, lays bare tensions that are already complicating GOP efforts to advance tax cuts, the party’s last attempt at a major policy accomplishment this year. 

bob corkerSen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn., shown at right) accused President Trump of “debasing” the country with his “untruths,” “name-calling” and “attempted bullying,” escalating his criticism of the president and further fueling their feud just as Trump arrived on Capitol Hill to meet with GOP senators about tax legislation.

“For young people to be watching, not only here in our country, but around the world, someone of this mentality as president of the United States is something that is I think debasing to our country,” said Corker, who spent the morning lambasting Trump in media interviews.

“You would think he would aspire to be the president of the United States and act like a president of the United States. But that’s just not going to be the case, apparently,” Corker said.

jeff flake oRoll Call, Republican Sen. Jeff Flake announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election, according to azcentral, Staff report, Oct. 23, 2017. The Arizona lawmaker is a vocal critic of President Donald Trump. Flake (shown at right) said he plans to serve out the remainder of his term but will not contend in 2018.

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Washington Post, Small Montana firm lands Puerto Rico’s biggest contract to restore electricity, Steven Mufson, Jack Gillum, Aaron C. Davis and Arelis R. Hernández, Oct. 24, 2017 (print edition). Whitefish Energy signed a $300 million contract with the territory’s state-owned utility to repair and reconstruct large portions of Puerto Rico’s crippled electrical grid. The two-year-old company, which had just two full-time employees when Hurricane Maria made landfall, has 280 workers in Puerto Rico.

Oct. 23

Questions About U.S. Wars

mylesha johnson abc headshot Custom

Gold Star widow Myeshia Johnson (via ABC News screenshot)

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Washington Post, Trump is now effectively calling a Gold Star widow a liar, despite the White House not backing him up, Aaron Blake, Oct. 23, 2017. The president of the United States effectively called a Gold Star widow a liar Monday morning — an entirely predictable but nonetheless striking moment in American political history. The president has for a week now disputed details of his phone call with the widow, Myeshia Johnson, that were first offered by Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.); on Monday morning, Johnson confirmed that version of events, and in turn drew Trump's tweeted retort.

 What's perhaps most remarkable about the president's continued objections, though, is that his own White House isn't doing the same. While Trump has disputed the story — even claiming to have still-yet-to-be-produced “proof” to back it up — the White House has largely seemed to confirm that he said the things he has been accused of saying. They simply argue that they've been misinterpreted.

There were basically two main claims offered by Wilson:

1.That Trump said the widow's husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, “knew what he was signing up for.”

2.That Trump didn't seem to recall Sgt. Johnson's name.

Myeshia Johnson told ABC News on Monday morning that Wilson's account was "100 percent accurate.” She added of Trump's alleged failure to use Sgt. Johnson's name: “I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband's name, and that’s what hurt me the most, because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risked his life for our country, why can’t you remember his name?”

Trump objected to the first claim last week, and he objected to the second one Monday morning, after Myeshia Johnson's ABC appearance.

Related story: ny times logoNew York Times, Soldier’s Widow Says She Was ‘Hurt’ by Trump’s Call, Yamiche Alcindor and Julie Hirshfeld Davis, Oct. 23, 2017. The widow of a soldier killed in Niger said President Trump blundered through the conversation and only deepened her grief because he did not seem to know her husband’s name.

The widow of one of four soldiers killed in Niger went on television on Monday to criticize President Trump for how he spoke to her during a condolence call last week, drawing a swift denial from Mr. Trump, who breathed new life into a bitter controversy that has transformed a tragedy into a political feud.

david t johnsonMyeshia Johnson, whose husband, Sgt. La David T. Johnson (shown at left), was killed early this month in an attack that is under investigation by the United States military, said the president had blundered through the condolence call he made to her last week, only deepening her grief because he did not seem to know her husband’s name.

“The president said, ‘He knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyway,’” Ms. Johnson said during an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. “It made me cry because I was angry at the tone in his voice and how he said it.”

She said Mr. Trump’s memory seemed to falter during their exchange. “He couldn’t remember my husband’s name,” Ms. Johnson said. “The only way he remembered my husband’s name is because he had my husband’s report in front of him and that’s when he actually said ‘La David.’ I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband’s name. And that’s what hurt me the most. If my husband is out here fighting for our country, and he risked his life for our country, why can’t you remember his name?”

Jeremiah Johnson, Bryan Black,  Dustion Wright and La David Johnson (left to right), Special Forces officers killed in Niger,

 Jeremiah Johnson, Bryan Black, Dustion Wright and La David Johnson (left to right), Special Forces personnel killed in Niger

Washington Post, Caught in a deadly ambush, U.S. troops were on their own far longer than originally thought, Dan Lamothe​, Oct. 23, 2017. The U.S. Special Forces team caught in a deadly ambush three weeks ago in Niger (shown on map) did not request help from nearby French forces for about an hour after the firefight began near a village the Americans had visited during a reconnaissance mission several hours prior, the Pentagon’s top general said Monday.

 niger map CustomIt then took the French another hour to get fighter jets over the American troops, according to a new timeline provided by Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The disclosure doubles the amount of time the U.S. troops were believed to have fought without significant additional help. Four U.S. soldiers were killed and two others were wounded in the battle Oct. 4. Five Nigerien troops also died.

The U.S. Special Forces team that lost four men in Niger waited an hour to ask for help from nearby French forces, which then took another hour to get fighter jets to the scene, according to a new timeline released by the Pentagon.

 JFK Documents: Art of the Deal?

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion from Right/Libertarian: Predict Trump Will Continue the CIA’s JFK Assassination Cover-Up, Jacob G. Hornberger (shown at right), Oct. 23, 2017. What is going on here?

Negotiations. The art of the deal. The CIA desperately does not want to show the American people its long-secret JFK-related records. It has asked Trump to continue keeping at least some of them secret notwithstanding the passage of more than 50 years since the Kennedy assassination.

What Trump has done with his announcement is send a clear message to the CIA: “Give me what I want and I’ll give you want you want. Otherwise, I will let all your cherished long-secret records relating to the JFK assassination be shown to the American people.”

Make no mistake about it: A deal is about to be made. The CIA will cave. It will end up giving Trump whatever it is he wants. Trump is in the driver’s seat because the CIA cannot afford to permit the American people to see the records it wants to continue to be kept secret. And once the CIA gives Trump what he wants, he will cave and give the CIA the continued secrecy it so desperately needs. All this will happen by this Thursday, the date set by law for release of all the JFK records that Trump has not blocked.

ny times logoNew York Times, America’s Forever Wars, Editorial Board, Oct. 23, 2017 (print edition). How many foreign entanglements will the public tolerate, and why is Congress AWOL from this debate? The United States has been at war continuously since the attacks of 9/11 and now has just over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories.

While the number of men and women deployed overseas has shrunk considerably over the past 60 years, the military’s reach has not. American forces are actively engaged not only in the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen that have dominated the news, but also in Niger and Somalia, both recently the scene of deadly attacks, as well as Jordan, Thailand and elsewhere.

An additional 37,813 troops serve on presumably secret assignment in places listed simply as “unknown.” The Pentagon provided no further explanation.

ny times logoCIA logoNew York Times, A Newly Assertive C.I.A. Expands Its Taliban Hunt in Afghanistan, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Eric Schmitt and Adam Goldman, Oct. 23, 2017 (print edition). The C.I.A. is expanding its covert operations in Afghanistan, sending small teams of highly experienced officers and contractors alongside Afghan forces to hunt and kill Taliban militants across the country, according to two senior American officials, the latest sign of the agency’s increasingly integral role in President Trump’s counterterrorism strategy.

The assignment marks a shift for the C.I.A. in the country, where it had primarily been focused on defeating Al Qaeda and helping the Afghan intelligence service. The C.I.A. has traditionally been resistant to an open-ended campaign against the Taliban, the primary militant group in Afghanistan, believing it was a waste of the agency’s time and money and would put officers at greater risk as they embark more frequently on missions.

Former agency officials assert that the military, with its vast resources and manpower, is better suited to conducting large-scale counterinsurgencies. The C.I.A.’s paramilitary division, which is taking on the assignment, numbers only in the hundreds and is deployed all over the world. In Afghanistan, the fight against the Islamic State has also diverted C.I.A. assets.

Explosive JFK History, Including Media Cover-up

Mary Pinchot Meyer (WhoWhatWhy photo collage from JFK Library, Wikimedia and National Park Service)

Mary Pinchot Meyer (WhoWhatWhy photo collage from JFK Library, Wikimedia and National Park Service)

WhoWhatWhy peter janney coverWhoWhatWhy, The Murder of John Kennedy’s Mistress, Part 3, Peter Janney (author of "Mary's Mosaic," shown at right), Oct. 23, 2017. In the third and last installment of this series, the case against the black laborer continues to build. To make matters worse, a new witness comes forward. But something is quite wrong with his story about what he allegedly saw — and, it turns out later, about his own background. Who was he really?

In Part 3 of this mystery, the case against the black laborer, Ray Crump, for the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer continues to build, despite the lack of physical evidence, and despite the lack of an obvious motive. She was neither robbed nor raped.

To make matters worse for Crump, a new witness comes forward — William L. Mitchell, an Army lieutenant stationed at the Pentagon. He claimed that, shortly before the murder, he passed a “negro male” who was following the victim, “about two hundred yards” behind her. His description of the man’s clothes matches what Crump had been wearing when arrested.

The highly anticipated release of long-withheld US government documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is scheduled for this Thursday, October 26. In the runup to this event, the media has devoted more attention to this history-altering political murder than at any time since the Oliver Stone film “JFK” came out in 1991. A

s one of the outlets digging deep into the tragedy, WhoWhatWhy has pointed out that many questions remain unanswered and many key issues are yet unresolved. Accordingly, we are dedicating more articles to the topic leading up to the highly-anticipated data dump, and have put together a crack team to analyze the documents once they are released.

— WhoWhatWhy Staff

 JFK, Jacqueline and Caroline Kennedy (Jacques Lowe "Camelot" exhibit at Newseum)

Jacqueline, John and Caroline Kennedy (Jacques Lowe photo, on exhibit at Newseum "Camelot" exhibit currently in Washington, DC)

People, Jackie Kennedy Would Want JFK Assassination Papers Made Public, Says Her Former Secret Service Agent, Tierney McAfee and Liz McNeil, Oct. 23, 2017. On Thursday, the government will release thousands of long blocked and classified documents about the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

clint hill hsAccording to Jackie Kennedy’s former Secret Service agent, Clint Hill (shown at right), that’s exactly what the former first lady would have wanted. “It was my understanding that she wanted all the information released,” Hill tells People. “She wanted people to have as much information about what actually happened as possible.”

Hill says that’s also one of the reasons why the first lady didn’t immediately change out of the clothes she was wearing when her husband was shot and killed while riding by her side in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas on Nov. 22, 1963. Just hours after her husband was shot, Jackie wore her bloodstained, pink Chanel suit to the inauguration of Vice President Lyndon Johnson.

“She told us she wanted people to see what had happened. She wanted people to see the blood-spattered clothing that she was wearing because she was sitting right next to her husband. Because she wanted everybody to understand that this was a tragic event,” explains Hill, who wrote the memoir Five Presidents about his time as a Secret Service agent for former commanders in chief Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

Hill says Jackie didn’t often speak of her husband’s assassination at age 46 and didn’t explicitly tell the agent she wanted all of the government documents related to his death released. “It was based on my understanding and knowledge of her,” he says. “I don’t think she would have denied access to any of the information from the public.”

He adds, “Over the years, the entire family tried to put [the assassination] behind them. They didn’t want to recognize the fact that he had been assassinated.”

JFK Countercoup, Subject to Further Information - Trump Tweets on JFK Records, William Kelly, Oct. 25, 2017. President Trump tweeted that "subject to further information," he will not interfere with the scheduled release of the remaining sealed records on the assassination of President Kennedy according to the JFK Act of 1992.The JFK Act requires the government release all of the remaining sealed records on the assassination of President Kennedy by Thursday, October 26, 2017, 25 years after the JFK Act was signed by President G. H. W. Bush.

According to the JFK Act of 1992 it "remains in effect" until the Archivist of the United States informs the President, Congress and the citizens of the United States that the last remaining government record on the assassination of President Kennedy has been released to the public.If he does that on October 26th, it will be a lie because the CIA and other government agencies are stonewalling, destroying and illegally withholding records that supports the generally held belief that one man alone was not responsible for the murder and there was a conspiracy that the government and agencies will find embarrassing to their organizations. A quarter-of-a-century - twenty-five years ago the JFK Act was unanimously passed by Congress and was reluctantly signed by President G. H. W. Bush, contingent upon adapting the objections in his signing statement.

Media News

Newsweek, Boston Marathon Bomber’s Aunt Claims FBI Set up Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and She Has Proof, Michele McPhee (author of a book on the trial), Oct. 23, 2017. The Russian aunt of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has filed a motion in his death penalty appeal case that reveals new details on the meetings her nephew’s attorneys had in Russia with his parents and makes a bizarre allegation that the FBI said the bomber had a “heavy-laden black backpack,” not the white one he can be seen carrying in video taken before the deadly blasts.

In the filing, Maret Tsarnaeva, a Chechen attorney and the sister of Tsarnaev family patriarch Anzor, asks to join her nephew’s death penalty appeal defense team, a request denied by a federal judge this year.

Tsarnaeva’s filing includes a still photograph of Dzhokhar taken from a 29-second clip recorded by a Whiskey’s Steak House surveillance camera on Boylston Street. Of it, she says that “the FBI and the indictment have together affirmed that the culprits who detonated these explosions were carrying large, unusually heavy black backpacks concealing pressure cooker bombs.” But her affidavit states, “Dzhokhar was carrying a small-sized white backpack,” which she calls exculpatory evidence.

“The very evidence used by the FBI to identify the ‘Boston bombers’ referenced in the indictment excludes Dzhokhar as plainly as white is distinguished from black,” Tsarnaeva’s filing states. “What can be more compelling than the difference between black and white?”

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Ajit Pai FCCWashington Post, Trump’s FCC could make ‘fake news’ harder to combat, Christopher Ruddy, Oct. 23, 2017. Christopher Ruddy is chief executive of Newsmax Media. While President Trump has been condemning “fake news,” his very own FCC is pursuing policies that will lead to the greatest concentration of television media power in history. 

In April, under the leadership of a new chairman chosen by the president, Ajit Pai (shown at right), the Federal Communications Commission reinstated an antiquated rule that not only paves the way for the $3.9 billion merger of television groups Sinclair and Tribune but will allow other television networks to own stations reaching more than 70 percent of U.S. households.

Just weeks after that decision, Pai’s FCC proposed another rule change that is set to be put to a vote Tuesday: eliminating the requirement that TV stations maintain local studios in the markets where they are licensed. If this requirement is dropped, local news production could be moved to places such as New York and Washington as the big networks buy up local stations.

Pai’s decisions fly in the face of the FCC’s core mission to ensure that broadcasters using the public airwaves adhere to the principles of locality, diversity and competition. A bipartisan consensus has long supported these three principles. 

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megyn kelly fox newsWashington Post, ‘I know because I complained’: Megyn Kelly calls out Bill O’Reilly in extraordinary monologue, Paul Farhi​, Oct. 23, 2017. “O’Reilly’s suggestion that no one ever complained about his behavior is false,” the former Fox News anchor (shown in a file photo) said on “Megyn Kelly Today.”

See also: "Transcript: Megyn Kelly slams Bill O’Reilly" and "Fox News; O’Reilly plays with fire by going after Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson."

Fallout From Natural Disasters

ny times logoNew York Times, FEMA Delays Leave Hurricane Victims Feeling ‘Abandoned,’ Manny Fernandez and Ron Nixon, Oct. 23, 2017 (print edition). After Harvey and Irma, residents of Texas and Florida are waiting weeks for Federal Emergency Management Agency inspections and hours on hold on the agency’s help line.

Oct. 22

Military Fallout From Service, DC Controversies

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Washington Post, He served in Iraq, but he couldn’t know the war’s horrors — or that his life would become a movie, David Finkel, Oct. 22, 2017. The film “Thank You for Your Service” chronicles Adam Schumann’s descent into despair as he was tormented by an event that happened near the beginning of his deployment.

His path to healing started with a long journey home, where he was met only by his wife at a little airport in Kansas.

[Earlier, his battalion of some 800 soldiers entered the war.]

Most were 19 and 20 years old, and they, too, thought they would be the difference. They had about them an air of invincibility, which lasted right up until the first of them was killed. Then came a second death, and a third, and soon the invincibility had been replaced with a soldier’s singular knowledge of what heartbreak can feel like, followed by a deepening anger, followed by a coarsening of their souls.

John Kelly

The Intercept, It Didn’t Just Start Now: John Kelly Has Always Been a Hard-Right Bully, Jon Schwarz, Oct. 21, 2017. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s gruesome defense Thursday of President Donald Trump’s call to the widow of Army Sgt. La David T. Johnson was shocking.

But it should not have been a surprise. Any examination of Kelly’s past public remarks makes clear he is not a sober professional, calculating that he must degrade himself in public so he can remain in place to rein in Trump’s worst instincts behind the scenes. Rather, Kelly honestly shares those instincts: He’s proudly ignorant, he’s a liar, and he’s a shameless bully and demagogue.

Instead, Kelly (shown above at right) did not express any concern for the well-being of Johnson’s widow and family. He did not acknowledge any possibility that Trump had done something wrong, even inadvertently. He engaged in a Trumpian scorched-earth attack against Wilson, claiming to be appalled that she had “listened in” on the conversation — when obviously she could not have avoided hearing it while in a car in which it was on speakerphone — and making up a story about her statements at a public appearance in 2015. He metaphorically dug up every body in Arlington National Cemetery to use them as human shields for Trump. And he interspersed all this with rambling, Strangelovian remarks about how women, life, and religion used to be “sacred” in America but are no longer – and hence “there’s nothing in our country anymore” that indicates that it’s worthy of sacrifice.

But there’s a reason these two men found each other. They see the world in fundamentally the same way, and Kelly is going to help Trump do what he wants to it.

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frederica wilson CustomWashington Post, Rep. Wilson accuses White House chief of staff of ‘character assassination,’ calls for apology, John Wagner and Philip Rucker, Oct. 22, 2017. Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) on Sunday called White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly “a puppet of the president” and said he should apologize for having made false claims about her while defending President Trump’s military condolence calls.

 “Not only does he owe me an apology, but he owes an apology to the American people,” Wilson said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “AM Joy,” during which she also accused Kelly of “character assassination.” The pointed words came on another day of sparring between Wilson and the White House after her criticism last week of Trump’s call to the widow of one of four service members killed in an ambush in Niger.

The president took to Twitter on Sunday morning, again attacking Wilson as “wacky” and calling her “the gift that keeps on giving for the Republican Party” and “a disaster for Dems.” “You watch her in action & vote R!” Trump wrote.

khiz khan ghazala khanwashington post logoWashington Post, Gold Star father Khizr Khan knocks White House chief of staff on military condolence controversy, John Wagner, Oct. 22, 2017. John F. Kelly made the situation worse, says a man who lost his son to the Iraq War. Khizr Khan (shown above with his wife), the Gold Star father who lambasted Donald Trump at last year’s Democratic National Convention, on Sunday criticized the now-president’s chief of staff for his handling of the controversy over Trump’s military condolence calls.

John Kelly

Khan said John F. Kelly (shown at right), a retired four-star Marine general, had “made the situation even worse” by defending Trump and joining him in attacking Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) after she criticized Trump’s call to the widow of one of four service members killed in an ambush in Niger.

“Instead of advising the president that restraint and dignity is the call of the moment, former general Kelly indulged in defending [the] behavior of the president and made the situation even worse,” Khan said during an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “Our political leaders, elected by the people, are deserving of equal dignity and equal respect instead of being maligned on misstated facts. And that was beyond the call of the moment.”

Global Propaganda Wars

Inquisitor, Fake Myeshia Johnson Facebook Post Goes Viral, Jonathan Vankin, Oct. 22, 2017. Widow Offended By Donald Trump Did Not Attack Frederica Wilson. A viral Facebook post supposedly written by Myeshia Johnson, the widow of slain Army Sergeant La David Johnson — in which she blasts Florida Congressional Representative Frederica Wilson as a “so called politician” — is a fake, Johnson herself has confirmed. The post went viral over the weekend, circulating widely on social media especially among conservative Twitter and Facebook accounts.

RT News via Global Research, NGO Publishes Names of 2,300+ RT Guests, Labels Them ‘Useful Idiots Who Undermine Western Democracy,’ Staff report, Oct. 22, 2017. An NGO called the European Values Think-Tank has published a report on RT featuring an extensive list of US and European public figures who have been accused of “undermining western democracy” just by appearing in RT shows.

The report, claiming to be an “overview of RT’s editorial strategy and evidence of impact,” comes with an Excel list of 2,327 people who have appeared on RT over the last four years. The names are carefully arranged in seven categories, including US politicians, UK politicians, European politicians and so on, and are arranged in alphabetical order. The list mentions the shows the guests appeared on, the total number of their appearances, and gives hyperlinks to all the relevant episodes.

The report states that appearing on the network is counterproductive and makes the guest a “useful idiot” to a “hostile foreign power.” Expressing one’s opinion on RT is considered by the NGO as equivalent to “complicity with the Russian propaganda machine.”

boris johnson july 2015Although the list looks like a really thorough effort at cataloguing all of the RT guests, it’s got a number of strikingly weird blunders. For example, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (shown at right) is there, but only the link attached leads to a satirical show featuring someone impersonating him. Meanwhile, US Senator John McCain’s daughter is mistaken for the senator himself and “Politicking with Larry King” is unexpectedly referred to as “Politicking with Larry David.”

The report was prepared by Monika Richter, who is described as an analyst at the European Values Think-Tank who works specifically for the “Kremlin Watch Program” – a project aimed at “exposing and confronting instruments of Russian influence and disinformation operations focused against Western democracies.” Richter also cooperates with the Atlantic Council – a US-based think tank, which is known for its staunch anti-Russian stance.

The European Values Think-Tank was founded as an NGO in 2005 and is located in the Czech Republic. It claims to be a neutral, not-for-profit organization aimed at defending democracy and not linked to any political force.

However, its annual report reveals that one-quarter of its funding comes from various governmental actors, including the US and the UK embassies, the Czech government and several EU structures, such as the European Parliament and the European Commission as well as their subordinate bodies. According to the same report, the NGO receives most of its funding from a large number of private donors. Its biggest single donor is George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, which covers almost 10 percent of its funding.

Sex Scandals

donald trump beauty contestswashington post logoWashington Post, After Weinstein’s fall, Trump’s accusers wonder: Why not him? Karen Tumulty, Mark Berman and Jenna Johnson, Oct. 22, 2017 (print edition). The Harvey Weinstein scandal, which has featured graphic accounts of assault from a string of celebrity accusers, has sparked a national debate about sexual harassment.

But for the women who came forward in the 2016 campaign to accuse then-GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump of unwanted touching or kissing, the renewed debate offers a reminder that their allegations did not have the same effect.

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Bill O'Reilly 2010Washington Post, Report: O’Reilly settled sexual harassment claim from Fox News contributor for $32 million, Paul Farhi, Oct. 22, 2017 (print edition).  Despite knowledge of the settlement with a network contributor, Fox renewed its contract with Bill O’Reilly (right) in February, paying him $25 million per year over four years, according to a published report.

Five presidents meet on Oct. 21, 2017 benefit in Texas for hurricane victims (Photo by Pete Souza, former White House photographer)

Former President Barack Obama greets the wheelchair-bound former President George H. W. Bush on Oct. 21 at a Texas benefit for recent hurricane victims (Photo by Pete Souza, former White House photographer)

george w. bush w

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Washington Post, 5 former presidents come together onstage to raise money for hurricane relief, Cleve R. Wootson Jr.​​, Oct. 22, 2017. Barack Obama, George W. Bush (shown at right), Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter took part in the fundraiser, which was praised by President Trump in a pre-recorded message.

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Washington Post, Trump Organization chases the blues, and the president’s base, with hotel expansion in Mississippi, Jonathan O'Connell, Oct 22, 2017. It is nearly unheard of for a national hotel company to launch new lines in one of the country’s poorest corners, but it offers a glimpse of how President Trump’s adult sons will steer the company while he is in office. But as the organization plans dozens of locations to appeal to middle America, the deals ratchet up ethical implications for the president.

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Washington Post, In trying to protect the Supreme Court’s reputation, the chief justice opens himself up for criticism, Robert Barnes, Oct 22, 2017.  In the Wisconsin gerrymandering case, Chief Justice John G. Roberts lamented the predicament the court would be in if called upon regularly to choose winners and losers among Democrats and Republicans.

Palmer Report, ‪Donald Trump revokes visa of key witness who testified against him in Trump-Russia scandal‬, Bill Palmer, Oct 22, 2017.Donald Trump appears to have a new strategy in his Trump-Russia scandal: finding ways to punish those who testify against him.

Hermitage CEO Bill Browder – a British citizen – delivered devastating testimony to Congress, explaining that there was no doubt as to the collusive nature of Donald Trump Jr’s meeting with Russian government representatives during the election. Now the Trump administration has revoked Browder’s visa, effectively banning him from the United States, even as Russia has issued a fraudulent warrant for his arrest.

This move represents perhaps Donald Trunp’s most blatantly illegal move to date when it comes to his ongoing attempts at obstructing justice. Browder has already testified, and Trump can’t undo that. But he appears to be trying to intimidate future potential witnesses by making an example out of Browder. Considering Vladimir Putin’s penchant for killing political dissidents, Trump may have just put Browder’s life in danger. 

More JFK Records Release Reports, Spin

New York Post, What’s inside the secret JFK assassination files? Bill Sanderson, Oct. 21, 2017.  Secret government documents to be released this week likely contain new details about what the CIA knew about Lee Harvey Oswald before he murdered President John F. Kennedy, assassination experts say. President Trump tweeted Saturday that he’ll allow the release of the documents, “subject to the receipt of further information.”

NARA logoEighty-eight percent of the Archives’ 5 million pages of JFK material are already public. Another 11 percent are partly public, with sensitive portions removed. Just 1 percent of the records remain fully secret. Revealing the secret details will help Americans grasp what happened in Dallas, said William Kelly, an assassination researcher from New Jersey. “It’s going to give us the final pieces of the puzzle,” Kelly said.

The 5th Estate (Indonesia), Andrew Kreig: Trump Plans Release Of Suppressed JFK Records, Andrew Kreig, Edited by Robert Finnegan, Oct. 22, 2017.  Long suppressed documents to be made public.

Boston Herald, JFK record release stirs speculations, Brian Dowling, Oct. 22, 2017. Records related to the assassination of John F. Kennedy will be released Thursday. The highly anticipated release of a treasure trove of previously redacted or withheld records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has researchers of the longquestioned killing speculating about key details that could shed light on what the feds knew about the killer.

fbi logoThe National Archives document dump slated to take place Thursday may include reams of documents on CIA agents and Soviet defectors, some of Lee Harvey Oswald’s financial records and even personal notes from first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, experts predict.

Atlantic, Conspiracy Theories Are for Underdogs, Adrienne LaFrance, Oct. 22, 2017. Donald Trump’s recent tweet about long-secret JFK files is a way for the president to try to reclaim a status that has repeatedly helped him. So when Donald Trump suggests he will help the public access long-secret JFK files in the name of transparency, he’s doing it with the same talent for identifying the kinds of stories that captivate people that he’s leaned on his entire career. (Those who have studied the JFK assassination closely are mixed on the potential significance of these files. “I've always thought that the release of these documents is going to be something like what happened on New Year’s Eve 2000,” Josiah Thompson, the author of Six Seconds in Dallas: A Micro-Study of the Kennedy Assassination, told me on Saturday. “A great big zero of happening!”)

Regardless of the files, though, Trump’s attention to them is a window into how he wants to be seen. In one dashed-off tweet, Trump positions himself as doing something noble — advocating for transparency, against the warnings of the intelligence community — while feeding at least two major conspiracies. One, that the press is “the enemy of the American people” working in cahoots with the deep state, and, two, by lending credibility to the idea that the official story of JFK's assassination is indeed suspect.

NARA logo“Trump has built a coalition of conspiracy minded constituencies,” said Joseph Uscinski, a political science professor at the University of Miami and the co-author of American Conspiracy Theories. “Trump had no political experience, and he therefore had to justify his candidacy by appealing to conspiracy theories that impugned the establishment. Trump appealed to people who had conspiracy mindsets and who would normally be disinclined to vote, but Trump used conspiracy theories to motivate them.”

“Now, appealing to JFK conspiracy theories is a great idea for him,” Uscinski added, “because recent polls show that 60 percent of Americans believe in one form of JFK conspiracy or another.”

Trump’s focus on JFK comes, too, at a moment when it would serve the president to have the American people talk about anything other than his false claims about comforting grieving military families.

Global News

Washington Post, U.S. military says it has helped its allies capture Syria’s biggest oilfield, Liz Sly and Zakaria Zakaria, Oct. 22, 2017. U.S.-backed forces seized control of Syria’s biggest oil field on Sunday, accelerating a race with the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian allies to take over the last major strongholds of the Islamic State in the east of the country.

Kurds and Arabs fighting under the umbrella of the Syrian Democratic Forces captured the al-Omar oil field in Deir al-Zour province after charging about 60 miles through the desert and launching a surprise assault, according to U.S. military and SDF officials.

The capture of the oil field came two days after the SDF officially declared victory in the Islamic State’s de facto capital, Raqqa, freeing up forces for what is expected to be an intensified effort to drive the militants out of their remaining positions in neighboring Deir al-Zour, said Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S. military.

Oct. 21

donald trump oval office hands on desk

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Washington Post, Trump plans to release JFK assassination documents despite concerns from federal agencies, Ian Shapira, Oct. 21, 2017 at 9:50 AM. President Trump announced Saturday morning that he planned to release the tens of thousands of never-before-seen documents left in the files related to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination held by the National Archives and Records Administration.

“Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened,” Trump tweeted early Saturday.

fbi logoKennedy assassination experts have been speculating for weeks about whether Trump would disclose the documents. The 1992 Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act required that the millions of pages — many of them contained in CIA and FBI documents — be published in 25 years, by Oct. 26. Over the years, the National Archives has released most of the documents, either in full or partially redacted.

But one final batch remains and only the president has the authority to extend the papers’ secrecy past the October deadline. In his tweet, Trump seemed to strongly imply he was going to release all the remaining documents. But he also hedged, suggesting that if between now and Oct. 26, other government agencies made a strong case not to release the documents, he wouldn’t. Also, Trump was not clear about whether he would publish all of the documents in full, or with some of them redacted.

In the days leading up to Trump’s tweet, a National Security Council official told the Washington Post that government agencies were urging the president not to release some of the documents. But Trump’s longtime confidant Roger Stone told conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of Infowars this week that he personally lobbied Trump to publish all of the documents.

Stone also told Jones that CIA director Mike Pompeo “has been lobbying the president furiously not to release these documents.”

Kennedy assassination experts say they don’t think the last batch of papers contains any major bombshells. They do suspect the papers will shed light on the activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy’s [sic] assassin, while he was traveling in Mexico City in late September 1963, and courting Cuban and Soviet spies. Phil Shenon, who wrote a book about the Warren Commission, the congressional body that investigated Kennedy’s killing, said he was pleased with Trump’s decision. But he wonders to what degree the papers will ultimately be released.

Related News:

 ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Says He Will Release Final Set of Documents on Kennedy Assassination, Michael D. Shear, Oct. 21, 2017. President Trump has decided to release a final batch of thousands of classified government documents related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Mr. Trump announced in a tweet on Saturday morning.

Mr. Trump has the power to block the release of the documents, and intelligence agencies have pressured him to do so for at least some of them. The agencies are concerned that information contained in some of the documents could damage national security interests.

The president did not make clear what he meant when he said in his tweet that the release of the documents would be “subject to the receipt of further information.” A White House official did not immediately respond to emails seeking clarification.

 james lesarAssassination Archives and Research Center (AARC), Statement by AARC president, James H. Lesar, Oct. 21, 2017. Jim Lesar (shown at right), President of the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC), issued the following statement:

The AARC congratulates President Donald J. Trump on announcing in a tweet today that as President he will allow the release of JFK-assassination records to go forward as provided by the JFK Act which Congress unanimously passed in 1992.  President Trump’s decision is correct, and it rightly attributes the prolonged blockage to Executive Branch agencies, particularly the CIA, when Congress mandated such information to be released as promptly as possible. 

chuck grassley officialWhile President Trump’s tweet contains a possible face-saving out, conditioning such release on the “receipt of further information,” Lesar pointed out that these agencies and the National Archives have had 25 years to produce such information, they have not done so. Post hoc justifications to further delay release are not warranted in light of the clear congressional mandate requiring full disclosure by October 26, 2017.

Lesar noted that the release has the support of both political parties, as both Sen. Charles Grassley (Republican of Iowa, shown above left) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (Democrat of Vermont), Senate Judiciary Committee leaders, have introduced legislation endorsing release of the records.

Time, The Final JFK Assassination Documents Are About to Drop. Here's What to Know, Lily Rothman, Oct. 21, 2017. Thursday is a date that, for 25 years, has loomed large on the calendars of the curious: Oct. 26, 2017, the final deadline for the release of all government records pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Though JFK enthusiasts had worried the final release might never come or would be further delayed, as the President does have the authority to intervene, the release appears to be on track.

Since 2014, a National Archives and Records Administration team has been working to prep the remaining documents for release by that deadline. In July, the first batch of previously withheld documents covered by the law was released online, comprising more than 400 documents that had been fully withheld and nearly 3,400 that had previously been redacted in part.

Earlier this month, resolutions were introduced in the Senate and House urging President Trump not to intervene in the release of, by their count, about 3,000 more unreleased documents and over 30,000 that had been redacted when previously released. As of March, no agency had notified the National Archives (NARA) that they were trying to keep their documents from being released. Last week, with the deadline just days away, NARA told TIME that while it could not disclose whether any agency appeals to further postpone release had been made, the National Archives continued to prepare for a release by the deadline.

Dallas News, Decades of secrecy end as Trump allows release of last JFK assassination records, Todd J. Gillman, Oct. 21, 2017. Generations of professional and amateur sleuths have spent decades steeped in the details of the JFK assassination. In coming days, they’ll be able to pore through thousands more files kept classified for 54 years.

Other DC News

ny times logoNew York Times, Industry Insider Now Shapes Policy on Toxic Chemicals, Eric Lipton, Oct. 21, 2017. A top Trump administration appointee at the Environmental Protection Agency spent the previous five years as an executive at the chemical industry’s main trade association. Within the agency, there is fear that public health is at risk. 

Raw Story, Trump’s offer to pay White House aides’ legal bills stuns MSNBC panel: ‘Potentially an admission of guilt,’ Tom Boggioni, Oct. 21, 2017. A  report from Axios that President Donald Trump is offering to personally fund the legal defense of some current and former White House aides drew a stunned response from an MSNBC panel, with one panelist calling the suspicious move “potentially an admission of guilt.” Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell cut right to the chase wondering what Trump’s motivation might be to shell out big bucks to staffers who may be testifying against him.

ny times logoNew York Times, Conservatives, With Bannon’s Help, Look for Revenge in Mississippi, Jeremy W. Peters, Oct. 21, 2017. State Senator Chris McDaniel  nearly beat Senator Thad Cochran in the Republican primary in 2014 and is expected to run again, this time against Senator Roger Wicker.

 In the recent history of Republican infighting, few losses have been more bitter than Chris McDaniel’s. Mr. McDaniel, a Mississippi state senator, still nurses the conviction that he was robbed of a seat in the United States Senate in 2014 by a Republican establishment that race-baited, covered up his opponent’s affair and encouraged Democrats to raid the primary.

The slogan “Remember Mississippi” has become shorthand around here for the unshakable belief among conservative activists that Senator Thad Cochran occupies a stolen seat. Now, from his law office in the pine belt of southern Mississippi, Mr. McDaniel is plotting his revenge.

Global News

ny times logoNew York Times, Spain’s Leader Will Move to Take Control of Catalonia, Raphael Minder, Oct. 21, 2017. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain said he would remove Catalonia’s leader, Carles Puigdemont, from office, and would take control of the separatist region. It is an unexpectedly forceful attempt to stop Catalan secessionism in its tracks.

Kurds with banner of Abdullah Ocalan (PKK rally in Raqqa on Oct. 20, 2017)Kurds with banner featuring imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan (Rally in Raqqa on Oct. 20, 2017)

SouthFront, US Embassy In Turkey Denounces Ocalan Banner Raised By SDF In Raqqa, Staff report, Oct. 21, 2017. On Saturday, the US embassy in Turkey released an official statement condemning a giant banner of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan raised by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Raqqa city.

In its statement, the US embassy encouraged all sides to avoid actions that might “increases tension.” The US embassy also stressed that the US is working with Turkey to fight terrorism and emphasized that the US recognizes the PKK a terrorist organization. The US embassy also said that Ocalan is in prison in Turkey because of terrorist acts he managed within the PKK. The embassy added that Ocalan “does not deserve to be respected.”

Media

Moon of Alabama, "Above All" -- The Junta Expands Its Claim To Power, B, Oct. 21, 2017. In an advertising campaign in 2008 the U.S. Air Force declared itself to be "Above All". The slogan and symbol of the campaign was similar to the German "Deutschland Über Alles" campaign of 1933. It was a sign of things to come.

On Thursday Masha Gessen (The New Yorker, Analysis: John Kelly and the Language of the Military Coup, Oct. 20) watched the press briefing of White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly and concluded: "The press briefing could serve as a preview of what a military coup in this country would look like, for it was in the logic of such a coup that Kelly advanced his four arguments."

"Those who criticize the President don’t know what they’re talking about because they haven’t served in the military...The President did the right thing because he did exactly what his general told him to do....Communication between the President and a military widow is no one’s business but theirs....  Citizens are ranked based on their proximity to dying for their country...."

Gessen is late. The coup happened months ago. A military junta is in strong control of White House polices. It is now widening its claim to power.

All along, Trump has been the candidate of the military. The other two power centers of the power triangle, the corporate and the executive government (CIA), had gone for Clinton. The Pentagon's proxy defeated the CIA proxy.

 Oct. 20

frederica wilson Custom

ny times logoNew York Times, After Video Refutes Kelly’s Charges, Congresswoman Raises Issue of Race, Yamiche Alcindor and Michael D. Shear, Oct. 20, 2017. Video of a 2015 speech delivered by Representative Frederica S. Wilson revealed Friday that John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, misrepresented her remarks when he accused her of bragging about securing $20 million for a South Florida F.B.I. building and twisting President Barack Obama’s arm.

Ms. Wilson (shown above in a file photo), in an interview on Friday, called Mr. Kelly a liar and hinted strongly that the altercation, prompted by a call from President Trump to the widow of a fallen black soldier, was racially charged. “The White House itself is full of white supremacists,” she said.

John Kelly

Mr. Kelly (shown at right), escalating a feud between Mr. Trump and Ms. Wilson, had cast the congresswoman on Thursday as a publicity-seeking opportunist. However, the video, released by the Sun Sentinel, a newspaper in South Florida, showed that during her nine-minute speech, Ms. Wilson never took credit for getting the money for the building, only for helping pass legislation naming the building after two fallen federal agents.

 She never mentioned pleading with Mr. Obama, and she acknowledged the help of several Republicans, including John A. Boehner, then the House speaker; Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart and Carlos Curbelo; and Senator Marco Rubio.

“I feel very sorry for him because he feels such a need to lie on me and I’m not even his enemy,” Ms. Wilson said of Mr. Kelly. “I just can’t even imagine why he would fabricate something like that. That is absolutely insane. I’m just flabbergasted because it’s very easy to trace.”

While she stopped short of accusing Mr. Kelly, a retired Marine general, of racial animas, she did say that others in the White House are racially biased. “They are making themselves look like fools. They have no credibility,” she said. “They are trying to assassinate my character, and they are assassinating their own because everything they say is coming out and shown to be a lie.”

After a late-night tweet on Thursday from Mr. Trump in which he called Ms. Wilson “wacky,” aides continued to insist that Mr. Kelly had told the truth when he attacked the congresswoman.

ny times logoNew York Times, Pentagon Questions Conflicting Accounts in Niger Ambush, Dionne Searcey, Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt, Oct. 20, 2017. The Pentagon is trying to unravel the conflicting accounts surrounding the deadly ambush of American and Nigerien soldiers by Islamic militants.

CQ / Rollcall, Pentagon Document Contradicts Trump’s Gold Star Claims, John M. Donnelly, Oct. 20, 2017. Email undermines veracity of president’s statement about Gold Star contacts. In the hours after President Donald Trump said on an Oct. 17 radio broadcast that he had contacted nearly every family that had lost a military servicemember this year, the White House was hustling to learn from the Pentagon the identities and contact information for those families, according to an internal Defense Department email.

The email exchange, which has not been previously reported, shows that senior White House aides were aware on the day the president made the statement that it was not accurate — but that they should try to make it accurate as soon as possible, given the gathering controversy.

Not only had the president not contacted virtually all the families of military personnel killed this year, the White House did not even have an up-to-date list of those who had been killed. The Pentagon email indicates that 21 military personnel had been killed in action during Trump’s tenure, and an additional 44 had been killed by means other than enemy fire, such as ship collisions that took 17 sailors’ lives in the Pacific this summer.

Trump has clearly been active in reaching out to military families who have suffered the ultimate loss, as the AP reports show.

But the White House-Pentagon email scramble Tuesday undermines the veracity of Trump’s statement about his record of contacting all Gold Star families. The internal document also sheds light on how the White House staff, on this and other occasions, has had to go into damage-control mode when the president makes inaccurate statements.

Jeremiah Johnson, Bryan Black,  Dustion Wright and La David Johnson (left to right), Special Forces officers killed in Niger,

 Jeremiah Johnson, Bryan Black, Dustion Wright and La David Johnson (left to right), Special Forces personnel killed in Niger

niger map CustomPalmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump’s jealousy of President Obama may have been what got four U.S. soldiers killed in Niger, Bill Palmer, Oct. 20, 2017. Even as Donald Trump continues to try to cover up what four U.S. soldiers were doing in Niger when they were killed in action on October 4th, it’s becoming clear that they were placed more deeply in harm’s way than they should have been.

 When Trump added Chad to his Muslim ban in late September, it prompted Chad to pull its own support troops from Niger (shown on map), weakening the U.S. position. So why did Trump add Chad to the list? Four words: jealousy of President Obama.

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John Kelly

Washington Post, What John Kelly got wrong about Rep. Wilson and the family of a slain soldier, Eugene Scott, Oct. 20, 2017. The White House chief of staff (shown at right) said he was stunned that the Democratic lawmaker was on a “sacred” call between President Trump and the widow of a soldier killed in Niger. But his critique overlooks the family’s long ties with Wilson.

The New Yorker, Analysis: John Kelly and the Language of the Military Coup, Masha Gessen, Oct. 20, 2017. Consider this nightmare scenario: a military coup. You don’t have to strain your imagination — all you have to do is watch Thursday’s White House press briefing, in which the chief of staff, John Kelly, defended President Trump’s phone call to a military widow, Myeshia Johnson. The press briefing could serve as a preview of what a military coup in this country would look like, for it was in the logic of such a coup that Kelly advanced his four arguments.

Argument 1. Those who criticize the President don’t know what they’re talking about because they haven’t served in the military. To demonstrate how little lay people know, Kelly provided a long, detailed explanation of what happens when a soldier is killed in battle: the body is wrapped in whatever is handy, flown by helicopter, then packed in ice, then flown again, then repacked, then flown, then embalmed and dressed in uniform with medals, and then flown home.

Kelly provided a similar amount of detail about how family members are notified of the death, when, and by whom. He even recommended a film that dramatized the process of transporting the body of a real-life marine, Private First Class Chance Phelps. This was a Trumpian moment, from the phrasing — “a very, very good movie” — to the message. Kelly stressed that Phelps “was killed under my command, right next to me”; in other words, Kelly’s real-life experience was recreated for television, and that, he seemed to think, bolstered his authority.

Fallen soldiers, Kelly said, join “the best one per cent this country produces.” Here, the chief of staff again reminded his audience of its ignorance: “Most of you, as Americans, don’t know them. Many of you don’t know anyone who knows any of them. But they are the very best this country produces.”

Environmental Disaster In Puerto Rico?

Atlantic, Puerto Rico's Environmental Catastrophe, Vann R. Newkirk II, Oct. 18, 2017. Hurricane Maria has exposed and intensified the island’s ecological crisis and its human consequences. Can it build a sustainable future?

“There’s no way there were just 45 deaths,” said Myrna Conty, an environmental activist whose work takes her regularly across the most remote parts of the island. She scoffed at the radio reports of the official death toll, a common refrain among Puerto Ricans whose personal stories — a cousin who died needing dialysis here, a neighbor who simply hasn’t been heard from there — when multiplied 3.5 million-fold make the official estimate seem impossible.

Residents across the island have had to drink water contaminated with sewage, and their water purification systems have largely failed in the wake of the storm, the AP reports. In the municipality of Dorado, about 15 miles to the west of the capital, citizens resorted to drinking well water from Superfund sites, according to local news reports and an EPA brief.

The vulnerability of Superfund sites during disasters has been vividly illustrated by the ecological damage in Texas during Hurricane Harvey — and before that, in Louisiana during Katrina and New Jersey during Sandy — but in Puerto Rico, where water deliveries have been bottlenecked by supply and infrastructure issues, those vulnerabilities are much more pronounced.

Media

CNN logoFox News logo CNN, Fox News host Chris Wallace slams network colleagues for attacks on press, Oliver Darcy, Oct. 20, 2017. Fox News host Chris Wallace leveled sharp criticism in an article published Thursday against some of his colleagues who have echoed President Trump and used their perch at the network to attack the media as "fake news." Speaking to the Associated Press, Wallace said, "It bothers me."

The comments from Wallace, who hosts "Fox News Sunday" and is widely considered to be one of the main faces of the Fox News' hard news division, represent perhaps the most searing criticism the network's opinion division has faced in recent memory from a colleague. A Fox News spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

U.S. Politics: Alabama Senate Race

Roy Moore with 38 special at campaign speech in Alabama

Alabama U.S. Senate Republican nominee Roy Moore at a campaign rally with his .38 special, raised for dramatic effect on the crowd

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Roy Moore ScreenshotWashington Post, Charity once led by GOP Senate hopeful Roy Moore did not report promised back pay to IRS, Robert O'Harrow Jr. and Shawn Boburg​, Oct. 20, 2017. The payment of nearly $500,000 to Moore (shown at right), which experts say should have been reported as compensation, would have triggered a federal tax bill of more than $100,000 for the Senate candidate from Alabama.

The Foundation for Moral Law, now led by Moore’s wife, initially provided an array of documents in response to questions from The Post. Those documents include IRS income reports for Moore known as 1099 forms, which show he was paid as an independent contractor while serving as president of the foundation.

Inside Washington

ny times logoNew York Times, G.O.P. Budget Plan Passes Senate, Easing Way to Tax Cut, Thomas Kaplan, Oct. 20, 2017. Facing pressure to pass a tax overhaul, the Senate approved a budget blueprint that would protect a $1.5 trillion tax cut from a Democratic filibuster.

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Fox News logo Washington Post, Retired ‘Navy SEAL’ praising Trump on Fox News was a fake, Travis M. Andrews, Oct. 20, 2017. Fox corrected the story Thursday some 10 days after being told the man fabricated his military record.

Politico, Trump Likely to Block Release of Some JFK Files, Philip Shenon, Oct. 20, 2017. If the decision holds, it could contribute to the belief that the government has something to hide. Trump administration and other government officials say privately that President Donald Trump is almost certain to block the release of information from some of the thousands of classified files related to the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy that are scheduled to be made public in less than a week by the National Archives.

Administration officials would not identify what specific information related to Kennedy’s murder might be kept secret on Trump’s orders, though they acknowledged concern over classified documents held at the Archives that were created decades after the assassination—specifically, in the 1990s.

The officials held out a slim possibility that the always-unpredictable Trump could decide at the last minute to release all the remaining JFK files held at the Archives — tens, if not hundreds of thousands, of pages of long-secret documents — but said it was highly unlikely, especially because of concern that documents from the 1990s might expose relatively recent American intelligence and law-enforcement operations. Some of those documents could be partially released, with some of the information blacked out, they said.

A previously released, bare-bones index of nearly 3,100 never-before-seen assassination-related documents scheduled for release next week shows that the vast majority were created in the 1960s and 1970s, and many, if not most, of them appear likely to be declassified. Only several dozen date from the 1990s, and most of those were created by the CIA; many are letters written at the spy agency to a special federal review board that, at the time, was trying to decide how much of the JFK record from the 1960s could be made public without damaging national security or U.S. foreign policy.

Lindsay Walters, a White House spokeswoman, told POLITICO Magazine that the White House was working “to ensure that the maximum amount of data can be released to the public” by next Thursday, Oct. 26 — the 25-year deadline set by Congress under a 1992 law signed by President George H.W. Bush that was intended to try to tamp down conspiracy theories about Kennedy’s assassination.

But there has been concern, she said, over classified assassination-related documents stored at the National Archives that were created decades after Kennedy’s murder. “Some of the records within this collection were not created until the 1990s” and they need to be closely reviewed to guarantee there would be no “identifiable harm” to national security if made public, she said. She was not more specific in identifying the documents in question.

A congressional official who has been closely monitoring the issue, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Trump had been under pressure from the CIA to block the release of some of the assassination documents on national security grounds, possibly to protect CIA tradecraft and the identity of agency informants who might still be alive.

Global News

President Trump and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Photo)President Trump and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Photo)

iran flag mapAmerican Conservative, Trump Trashes Iran Deal to Satisfy Netanyahu, Gareth Porter, Oct. 20, 2017. U.S-Iran policy is closer to Israel than it has been in years. President Donald Trump’s new Iran policy clearly represents a dangerous rejection of diplomacy in favor of confrontation.

But it’s more than that: It’s a major shift toward a much closer alignment of U.S. policy with that of the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Whether explicitly or not, Trump’s vow to work with Congress to renegotiate the Iran nuclear agreement, and his explicit threat to withdraw from the deal if no renegotiation takes place, appear to be satisfying the hardline demands Netanyahu has made of Washington’s policy toward Tehran.

Oct. 19

JFK Facts.org, Opinion / Advocacy: What you can do to free the JFK Files, Jefferson Morley, Oct. 19, 2017. You can do two things.

1) Call your Congressman and Senators and tell them to sign H. Res 556 and S. Res 281, introduced by Rep. Walter Jones and Sen. Charles Grassley, calling on President Trump to release all the secret JFK files and to reject any requests from the CIA and the FBI for continuing secrecy. These petitions, also signed by leading liberal Democrats such at Sen Pat Leahy and Rep. John Conyers, show that full JFK disclosure enjoys wide support.

2) Sign the online petition to President Trump created by Citizens Against Political Assassinations.

John Kelly

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Washington Post, White House chief of staff defends Trump’s call to Gold Star widow, Anne Gearan, Philip Rucker and John Wagner​, Oct. 19, 2017.  President Trump made a “brave” decision to call families of four fallen members of the military this week, said White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, adding that he was “stunned” that a member of Congress called the president’s words insensitive.

White House chief of staff John F. Kelly (shown above right) said Thursday that President Trump “bravely” called families of four fallen soldiers, lending his credibility as a retired four-star general and the experience of losing his son in battle in defense of a president accused of politicizing tragedy.

david t johnsonKelly told reporters in the White House briefing room that he counseled Trump on what to say to families of those killed on the battlefield. He also said “it stuns me” that Democratic Rep. Frederica S. Wilson listened in on a call, which was heard on speakerphone, between Trump and the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, who was killed in an ambush in Niger.

Kelly confirmed Trump’s claim that then President Barack Obama had not called his family when his son, 1st Lt. Robert M. Kelly, was killed in Afghanistan seven years ago. But Kelly said he did not fault the former president for that choice. Kelly added that he had recommended to Trump that he not make such calls.

“I said to him, ‘Sir, there’s nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families,’” Kelly said.

frederica wilson CustomKelly, one of several former military men Trump has brought into his administration, angrily called the actions of Wilson “selfish” and shocking.

Wilson, a family friend of the fallen soldier, had criticized Trump’s tone and choice of words in a call he made Tuesday to widow Myeshia Johnson.

In media interviews and on Twitter, Wilson said the president had been callous in telling Myeshia Johnson that her husband “must have known what he signed up for.”

Jeremiah Johnson, Bryan Black,  Dustion Wright and La David Johnson (left to right), Special Forces officers killed in Niger,

Jeremiah Johnson, Bryan Black, Dustion Wright and La David Johnson (left to right), Special Forces personnel killed in Niger. Johnson was left behind for 48 hours.

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Washington Post, McCain threatens to subpoena Trump aides on Niger attack that left 4 U.S. service members dead, Karoun Demirjian​, Oct. 19, 2017. The Senate’s top Republican on military matters is pushing the administration to brief key members of Congress on ongoing operations and accused the White House of not being upfront about the details of the ambush.

 John McCainny times logoNew York Times, Tech Lobby Resists Calls to Reveal Online Ad Buyers, Kenneth P. Vogel and Cecilia Kang, Oct. 19, 2017. Senator John McCain (shown at right) and two Democratic senators will move on Thursday to force Facebook, Google and other internet companies to disclose who buys political ads.But the tech industry is mobilizing an army of lobbyists and lawyers to help shape regulations proposed in response to Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Palmer Report, Opinion: So much for Donald Trump having “proof” of what he said to fallen U.S. soldier’s widow, Bill Palmer, Oct. 19, 2017. It’s not shocking to learn that Trump lied about what he said to the widow of a fallen U.S. solider this week. What is surprising is how quickly and sloppily his claim of having “proof” fell apart.

niger flagAfter Trump went two weeks without calling the families of the four U.S. soldiers who died in Niger, and the media began badgering him about it, he finally made the calls. However, he offensively told the widow of one fallen soldier that her husband “knew what he signed up for.” Trump didn’t know that the widow had placed him on speakerphone, and that a local Congresswoman happened to be with her to hear it. That Congresswoman publicly criticized Trump for having said it, prompting Trump to tweet “Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!”

John Kelly

So what was this proof? Would Trump and his administration release the proof in order to get him out of trouble? No. Instead, Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly (shown at right) took to the podium on Thursday and flat out admitted that Trump did say the offensive remark – even while trying to defend Trump’s decision to say it.

Federal Ethics

Politico, New FBI chief predicts: 'Our integrity will be tested,' Josh Gerstein, Oct. 19, 2017. FBI's new director, who took over the law enforcement agency after President Donald Trump fired its former chief, warned Thursday that officials at the FBI and across the federal government will face pressure to act unethically and need to resist it.

michael wray cropped"At some point for everybody in this room and everybody in my organization, our integrity will be tested," Wray (shown at right) told a Washington audience of investigators who work for federal government inspectors general. "It happens to everybody. It happens to all of us. It could be at a time where we're being asked to make a decision that is inconsistent with what we know is right and what we know is true, where we'll be asked to do something without fully thinking it through."

fbi logoDuring his 20-minute speech, Wray offered no specifics on ethical challenges he expects to face or has dealt with in the past, but he implored the internal government watchdogs in the room not to give into such pressure, even in cases where they think they might get away with it.

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Washington Post, In the military, trusted officers have become alleged assailants in sex crimes, Craig Whitlock​, Oct. 19, 2017. Ten soldiers and civilians who have been trained to deter sex offenses or help victims have been charged, convicted or investigated over the past year in connection with sexual assault, Army officials confirmed to The Post.

Former Presidents Speak Out

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george w. bush wWashington Post, George W. Bush’s unmistakable takedown of Trumpism — and Trump, Aaron Blake, Oct. 19, 2017. For the past nine years, Bush has largely stayed out of presidential politics. That changed in a big way today. Bush (shown as president) didn't use President Trump's name, but his target became clearer as the speech progressed.

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Washington Post, Obama back on campaign trail to rally for Ralph Northam in Richmond, Fenit Nirappil and Gregory S. Schneider, Oct. 19, 2017. A raucous crowd of thousands poured into a convention center in Virginia’s capital Thursday evening to see former president Barack Obama lend his starpower to low-key Democratic gubernatorial contender Ralph Northam just weeks before the state’s high-stakes election.

In a packed rally at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, Obama returned to the state where he made history in 2008 as the first Democratic presidential contender in 44 years to carry Virginia.

Democrats seized on the opportunity to inject energy into what has been a relatively sleepy race.

An animated Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) revved up the crowd, boasting of his record and taking digs at Northam’s Republican opponent, Ed Gillespie. The crowd erupted at the mention of Obama and jeered at the mention of his successor, President Trump.

Oct. 18

Justice System

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 James ComeyWashington Post, Trump revives feud with fired FBI director, asks whether James Comey was truthful about Clinton probe, Anne Gearan​, Oct. 18, 2017. In a pair of early-morning tweets, the president suggested that Comey (shown at right) had intended to spare Democrat Hillary Clinton from prosecution “long before” the investigation into her government email practices was complete.

CNN logoCNN, Fusion GPS partners plead Fifth before House Intel, Jeremy Herb and Evan Perez, Oct. 18, 2017. Two partners at the intelligence firm that produced the dossier of memos alleging Russian efforts to aid Donald Trump's presidential campaign on Wednesday declined to answer questions before the House intelligence committee. Fusion GPS' Peter Fritsch and Thomas Catán invoked their Fifth Amendment rights not to answer questions during their closed-door appearance before the committee, according to their attorney Joshua Levy.

 

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Jeff SessionsWashington Post, Federal judge blasts Trump administration attempts to deny abortion for pregnant, undocumented teen, Maria Sacchetti, Oct. 18, 2017. A federal judge said Wednesday that she was “astounded” the U.S. government is blocking a detained Central American teenager from terminating her pregnancy, during a fiery court hearing that showcased Trump administration efforts to restrict abortion and illegal immigration.

 Lawyers for Attorney General Jeff Sessions (right) signaled to U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan in Washington that the 17-year-old, who crossed the border from Mexico illegally last month, did not have a constitutional right to an elective abortion in federal custody, unless it was a medical emergency.

Chutkan, an Obama administration nominee, said the government appeared to be presenting the teenager identified in court papers as “Jane Doe” with two options: Voluntarily return to a nation she fled to procure an abortion, or carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

“I am astounded by that position,” Chutkan said in a 40-minute hearing that was mostly consumed by a back-and-forth between the judge and Scott Stewart, a deputy assistant attorney general.

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Washington Post, Trump blasts NFL for not adopting a requirement that players stand during anthem, John Wagner, Oct. 18, 2017. The president accused the league of “total disrespect for our great country” following a meeting where team owners did not adopt a requirement for players to stand during the national anthem.

niger map CustomRollCall, Trump Claims Proof Rep. Wilson Fabricated Words to Military Widow, John T. Bennett, Oct. 18, 2017. President’s warning harkens back to initial Comey tapes claim A Democratic Florida congresswoman became the latest target of a morning presidential twitter attack, with Donald Trump alleging Rep. Frederica Wilson “totally fabricated” his call to the widow of a U.S. soldier killed in Niger (shown on map).

Trump called the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson on Tuesday afternoon, shortly before his body was returned to the United States during a ceremony at Miami International Airport. Wilson told several media outlets she was traveling with his widow, Myeshia Johnson, who took the call on her car’s sound system, allowing all passengers to overhear it. See also:

ny times logoniger flagNew York Times, Mother of Slain Soldier Says Trump Was Disrespectful, Yamiche Alcindor, Mark Landler and Eileen Sullivan, Oct. 18, 2017. President Trump said the soldier “knew what he signed up for” during a condolence call, the mother of Sgt. La David T. Johnson said, backing the account of a Democratic lawmaker.

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Washington Post, Second judge halts latest travel ban, says Trump’s own words show it was aimed at Muslims, Matt Zapotosky​, Oct. 18, 2017.  U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang of Maryland asserted that the president’s comments on the campaign trail and on Twitter convinced him that the travel order was akin to an unconstitutional Muslim ban. Earlier, a judge in Hawaii had largely blocked the Trump administration from implementing the ban on various types of travelers from six countries hours before it was set to go into effect today.

Global News

indonesia flagny times logoNew York Times, As Indonesia Killed a Half-Million People, U.S. Stayed Silent, Hannag Beech, Oct. 18, 2017. The killings in 1965-66 played to anti-Communist attitudes, and U.S. diplomats mostly stood by while tallying the deaths, documents show. It was an anti-Communist blood bath of at least half a million Indonesians. And American officials watched it happen without raising any public objections, at times even applauding the forces behind the killing, according to newly declassified State Department files that show diplomats meticulously documenting the purge in 1965-66.

In one of the documents, released on Tuesday, an American political affairs counselor describes how Indonesian officials dealt with prisons overflowing with suspected members of the Indonesian Communist Party, known by the acronym P.K.I. “Many provinces appear to be successfully meeting this problem by executing their P.K.I. prisoners, or by killing them before they are captured,” said the cable sent in 1965 from the American Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, to the State Department.

Sukarno Another cable describes how clerics from an influential Muslim organization in Indonesia advised their flocks that atheist “P.K.I. members are classified as lowest order of infidel, the shedding of whose blood is comparable to killing a chicken.”

The level of detail in the cables helps fill out a picture, outlined by previous declassifications of documents, relating to how an anti-American leader in Indonesia (the nation's founding President Sukarno) was deposed by the military amid mass extrajudicial executions. JIP Editor's note: The CIA was reportedly heavily involved in seeking beginning in the late 1950s to overthrow Sukarno, a leader of nations "non-aligned" with either Washington or Moscow.)

Oct. 17

Trump's Press Conference

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump thanks Bill Clinton’s FEMA Director for praising his Puerto Rico response – but it never happened, Bill Palmer, Oct. 17, 2017. Donald Trump held an impromptu press conference in the Rose Garden on Monday, which proved to be controversial when he was exposed as not having called the families of the U.S. soldiers who died on October 4th, and then he was caught falsely claiming that previous presidents hadn’t made such calls.

That created such controversy that another bizarre lie from Trump during that same press conference nearly slipped under the radar. Trump made a point of thanking President Bill Clinton’s former FEMA Secretary James Lee Witt for having praised the post-hurricane response in Puerto Rico. Trump even went so far as to claim that he had “always had a lot of respect” for Witt. The first problem: Trump and his administration had never even heard of Witt, according to a Politico report (link). The second problem: Witt never even said it to begin with.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump finally calls families of fallen U.S. soldiers, makes offensive remark to soldier’s widow, Bill Palmer, Oct. 17, 2017. It took thirteen days, five rounds of golf, and being publicly called out for it by reporters before Donald Trump finally got around to calling the families of the four U.S soldiers who were killed in action in Niger. Now that Trump finally made the calls on Tuesday, he acted so embarrassingly offensively during at least one of those calls, it would probably have been better if he hadn’t called at all.

david t johnsonTrump called the pregnant widow of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson (shown at left) on Tuesday, and told the widow that Johnson “knew what he signed up for,” according to a local ABC News affiliate in Miami. This was confirmed by local State Representative Frederica Wilson, who condemned Trump for having been “so insensitive” to the grieving widow during the call. This points to several underlying problems, each of them more disturbing than the next.

First, it’s clear that Trump didn’t want to make these calls. No president would ever look forward to such a thing, but every modern president has done it in a timely manner, because it’s part of the job. Based on the amount of time that passed, Trump was clearly trying to get away with simply never making the calls. Second, this is a reminder that Trump has no people skills, no leadership skills, and no clue how to get through a conversation without saying something patently offensive. There’s also a third concern which may point to yet another of Trump’s basic failings as a human.

It’s been pointed out that Army Sgt. La David Johnson was the only African-American of the four U.S soldiers who were killed in the operation. Did Donald Trump also tell the families of the other fallen soldiers that they also knew what they had signed up for, or did he reserve these harshly offensive words for the one black family he spoke with? Donald Trump’s consistently racist words and policies raise the question of whether this was yet another instance of racism on his part.

Suppressed John F. Kennedy Assassination Documents

George Burkley, MD,  Warren Commission testimony (U.S. Navy photo) Rear Admiral George Burkley MD. Despite his position, his face was never seen at the Warren Commission Hearings. Photo credit: US Navy

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Kennedy Assassination: Evidence Seen by JFK’s Doctor Suppressed, Milicent Cranor, Oct. 17, 2017. The highly anticipated release of long-withheld US government documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is scheduled for October 26. In the runup to this event, the media have devoted more attention to this history-altering political murder than at any time since the Oliver Stone film “JFK” came out in 1991.

As one of the outlets digging deep into the tragedy, WhoWhatWhy has pointed out that many questions remain unanswered and many key issues are yet unresolved. Accordingly, we are dedicating more articles to the topic leading up to the highly-anticipated data dump , and we are putting together a crack team to analyze the documents once they are released.

The story of Captain James Young, a Navy doctor who said he found a bullet in President John F. Kennedy’s limousine on the day of his assassination, could have been corroborated by the president’s own physician. However, for unknown reasons, JFK’s doctor — Rear Admiral George G. Burkley, who was present in the trauma room in Dallas, and also at Kennedy’s autopsy — never got a chance to talk about the events of that day.

Below is proof that Burkley wanted to testify, and that what he had to say was suppressed at several levels. What survives is a memo concerning Burkley’s belief that other people participated in Kennedy’s assassination. Whether this opinion is based on the discovery of the bullet described in our earlier story, or something else, we will never know.

Anti-Mueller View On 'Political Prosecutions'

WGBH News (Boston), Silverglate: How Robert Mueller Tried To Entrap Me, Harvey Silverglate, Oct. 17, 2017. Harvey Silverglate, a criminal defense and First Amendment lawyer and writer, is WGBH/News’ “Freedom Watch” columnist. Is special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, appointed in mid-May to lead the investigation into suspected ties between Donald Trump’s campaign and various shady (aren’t they all?) Russian officials, the choirboy that he’s being touted to be, or is he more akin to a modern-day Tomas de Torquemada, the Castilian Dominican friar who was the first Grand Inquisitor in the 15th Century Spanish Inquisition?

Given the rampant media partisanship since the election, one would think that Mueller’s appointment would lend credibility to the hunt for violations of law by candidate, now-President Trump and his minions.

But I have known Mueller during key moments of his career as a federal prosecutor. My experience has taught me to approach whatever he does in the Trump investigation with a requisite degree of skepticism or, at the very least, extreme caution.

Other U.S. Politics and Government

Politico, White House: Americans are 'going to be begging for four more years of President Trump,' Nolan D. McCaskill, Oct. 17, 2017. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders predicted Tuesday that President Donald Trump will be so successful in the remainder of his term that Americans are “going to be begging for four more years of President Trump.”

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tom marino oWashington Post, Marino withdraws as drug czar nominee amid criticism over bill that hobbled DEA, Anne Gearan, Lenny Bernstein, Scott Higham and Ed O'Keefe, Oct. 17, 2017. Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) came under fire after revelations he helped steer legislation making it harder to act against giant drug companies. On Monday, President Trump declined to express confidence in his pick to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

ny times logoNew York Times, Awkward Show of Unity: Trump and McConnell Make Nice, Michael D. Shear and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Oct. 17, 2017 (print edition).  President Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, tried to convey a sense of harmony on Monday after months of bitter, private feuding that threatened to undermine their party’s legislative push in the coming weeks to enact a sweeping tax cut.

Mitchell McConnellIn an impromptu, 45-minute Rose Garden news conference after the men met for lunch at the White House, Mr. Trump and Mr. McConnell (shown at left) both put on a display of awkward camaraderie, as the president went on volubly, fielding question after question as the senator fidgeted and spoke only occasionally.

Through it all, they tried to wave aside reports of a disintegrating relationship that had included the president’s repeated use of tweets to publicly disparage Mr. McConnell’s legislative leadership.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Says, Falsely, That Obama Ignored Families of the Fallen, Mark Landler, Oct. 17, 2017 (print edition). President Trump’s assertion belied a long record of meetings his predecessor, Barack Obama, held with the families of killed service members, as well as calls and letters.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Save the Phony Weinstein Outrage, Republicans, Michelle Goldberg, Oct. 17, 2017 (print edition).The movie business is corrupt, depraved and iniquitous — and still morally superior to the Republican Party under Trump. The Republican Party under Trump.

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mike pence o SmallWashington Post, Trump reportedly mocked Pence, joked about him wanting to ‘hang’ gays, Derek Hawkins, Oct. 17, 2017. President Trump and his administration are beset by controversies and scandals that refuse to go away. His list of critics is growing. Some of his allies are abandoning him. Others are calling for his impeachment. Even former White House chief strategist and Trump whisperer Stephen K. Bannon has, according to Vanity Fair, told people he thinks Trump has a mere 30 percent chance of completing his term.

With all that on the table, the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer took a deep look at the political and financial forces behind Vice President Pence (shown at right), the man who would succeed Trump in the event of his ouster. In a profile published Monday, titled The Danger of President Pence, Mayer reported on the outsize influence the vice president and his network of megadonors — particularly the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers — have had on Trump’s agenda since Pence became his running mate.

Global News: Raqqa Falls In Syria

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Washington Post, U.S.-backed forces declare victory in onetime capital of the Islamic State, Louisa Loveluck and Liz Sly, Oct. 17, 2017. U.S.-backed forces in Syria claimed full control of the Islamic State’s onetime capital of Raqqa on Tuesday, heralding an end to the militants’ presence in their most symbolically important stronghold and bringing closer the likelihood of their complete territorial demise.

Talo Silo, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, said that military operations have halted and that members of the joint Kurdish-Arab force are clearing the city of explosive devices and hunting for sleeping cells. It was still unclear whether some Islamic State pockets remained, but the SDF portrayed the battle for Raqqa as effectively over.

Global News: Kurdish State Doomed By Greed, Autocracy?

Moon of Alabama, Opinion: Syria, Iraq -- Why The Kurdish Independence Project Failed, B,  Oct. 17, 2017. The bid of the Kurdish Barzani clan for an independent Kurdistan in north Iraq and beyond has utterly failed. Masoud Barzani, the strongman of the Iraqi Kurdish  region, had called for the referendum to divert from his government's financial problems. Other Kurdish powerhouses saw it as a last attempt by Barzani to save his failing political position.

The referendum asked for independence including in "Kurdistani areas outside the (Kurdistan) Region". It was an annexation bid. National Iraqi forces as well as the international powers turned against it. Masoud Barzani and his family are now likely to lose their leading position.

The various unilateral Kurdish assertions since 2003 will be driven back. The dream of Kurdish independence in Iraq and Syria is, for now, dead. This is a positive development for both countries. Since 2003 and especially since 2014 the Kurds had pushed far beyond their original borders. They occupied areas with diverse populations and with critical Iraqi oil reserves. With backing from the Iraqi parliament, public opinion and international support the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Abadi had for months demanded a return of the 2003 borders. It condemned the illegal independence bid.

The ruling Barzani family mafia sold the oil and pocketed the money that by law was owned to Iraq's federal government. The Barzani militia mafia occupied the federal border stations to neighboring countries and kept all custom income to themselves. Meanwhile teachers and other public workers in the Kurdish region went unpaid.

The war against ISIS is coming to an end. The Kurds in Syria will now also be cut back to size. With less than 8% of the population the YPG-led Kurds had taken control of 20% of the land and some 40% of the hydrocarbon resources. They will have to give up those gains.

Global News: Moscow Claims U.S. Let ISIS Terrorists Escape From Raqqa To Fight Elsewhere

SouthFront, Moscow To Investigate U.S. Actions Allowing Terrorists To Enter Syria, Staff report, Oct. 17, 2017.  Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov says Moscow will investigate the US letting militants in Syria and Iraq get away. “I hope this isn’t deliberate,” he added.

History Revealed: Indonesia

hajji suhartoGeneral of the Army Hajji Suharto (also spelled Soeharto) was the second President of Indonesia, holding the office for 31 years from the ousting of Sukarno in 1967 until his resignation in 1998. He is shown above at center left in camouflage during the military coup and below in 1993.

National Security Archive, U.S. Embassy Tracked Indonesia Mass Murder 1965, Edited by Brad Simpson, (Founder and Director of the Indonesia and East Timor Documentation Project, and Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies, University of Connecticut), Oct. 17, 2017. Newly Declassified U.S. Embassy Jakarta Files Detail Army Killings, U.S. support for Quashing Leftist Labor Movement:  National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 607.

Hajji Suharto (1993)The U.S. government had detailed knowledge that the Indonesian Army was conducting a campaign of mass murder against the country’s Communist Party (PKI) starting in 1965, according to newly declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive at the George Washington University. The new materials further show that diplomats in the Jakarta Embassy kept a record of which PKI leaders were being executed, and that U.S. officials actively supported Indonesian Army efforts to destroy the country’s left-leaning labor movement.

The 39 documents made available today come from a collection of nearly 30,000 pages of files constituting much of the daily record of the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 1964-1968. The collection, much of it formerly classified, was processed by the National Declassification Center in response to growing public interest in the remaining U.S. documents concerning the mass killings of 1965-1966.  

indonesia flagAmerican and Indonesian human rights and freedom of information activists, filmmakers, as well as a group of U.S. Senators led by Tom Udall (D-NM), had called for the materials to be made public.

Media: Program On Israeli Influence To Be Aired In United States?

philip giraldiUnz Review, “The Lobby” British Style, Philip Giraldi (conservative commentator and former CIA officer, shown at right), Oct. 17, 2017. One month ago, I initiated here at Unz.com a discussion of the role of American Jews in the crafting of United States foreign policy. A recent regulatory decision from the United Kingdom relates to a bit of investigative journalism that sought to reveal precisely how the promotion of Israel by some local diaspora Jews operates, to include how critics are targeted and criticized as well as what is done to destroy their careers and reputations.

Last year, al-Jazeera Media Network used an undercover reporter to infiltrate some U.K. pro-Israel groups that were working closely with the Israeli Embassy to counter criticisms coming from British citizens regarding the treatment of the Palestinians. In particular, the Embassy and its friends were seeking to counter the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), which has become increasingly effective in Europe. The four-part documentary released late in 2016 that al-Jazeera produced is well worth watching as it consists mostly of secretly filmed meetings and discussions.

 On October 9th, Ofcom ruled in favor of al-Jazeera, stating that its investigation had done nothing improper, but it should be noted that the media outlet had to jump through numerous hoops to arrive at the successful conclusion. It had to turn over all its raw footage and communications to the investigators, undergoing what one source described as an “editorial colonoscopy,” to prove that its documentary was “factually accurate” and that it had not “unfairly edited” or “with bias” prepared its story. One of plaintiffs, who had called for critics of Israel to “die in a hole” and had personally offered to “take down” a Labour Party official, responded bitterly. She said that the Ofcom judgment would serve as a “precedent for the infringement of privacy of any Jewish person involved in public life.”

The United States does not yet have a government agency to regulate news stories, though that may be coming, but the British tale has an interesting post script. Al-Jazeera also had a second undercover reporter inserted in the Israel Lobby in the United States, apparently a British intern named James Anthony Kleinfeld, who had volunteered his services to The Israel Project, which is involved in promoting Israel’s global image. He also had contact with at least ten other Jewish organizations and with officials at the Israeli Embassy,

Now that the British account of “The Lobby” has cleared a regulatory hurdle the American version will reportedly soon be released. Al-Jazeera’s head of investigative reporting Clayton Swisher commented “With this U.K. verdict and vindication past us, we can soon reveal how the Israel lobby in America works through the eyes of an undercover reporter. I hear the U.S. is having problems with foreign interference these days, so I see no reason why the U.S. establishment won’t take our findings in America as seriously as the British did, unless of course Israel is somehow off limits from that debate.”

Oct. 16

JFK Murder Record Release Scheduled Oct. 26 To Be Suppressed? To End In 'Chaos?'

National ArchivesThe National Archives In Washington, D.C. Most records of President Kennedy's 1963 assassination are in Maryland. In a unanimous 1992 vote, Congress ordered that they all be released by Oct. 26 of this year. Although some four million pages have been released the CIA is among the federal agencies fighting release of sensitive documents.

Politico, The JFK Document Dump Could Be a Fiasco, Philip Shenon and Larry J. Sabato, Oct. 16, 2017. Later this month, the National Archives is set to release thousands of documents about John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It’s likely to fuel conspiracy theorists for years.

NARA logoThe federal government’s long campaign to try to choke off rampant conspiracy theories about the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy is threatening to end this month in massive confusion, if not chaos.

Within the next two weeks, the National Archives is legally obligated to release the last of thousands of secret documents from government files about the assassination, most of them from the CIA, FBI and the Justice Department.

And there is every indication that the massive document dump — especially if any of it is blocked by President Donald Trump, the only person empowered under the law to stop the release of the files — will simply help fuel a new generation of conspiracy theories.

Donald Trump official photoTrump, no stranger to conspiracy theories, including totally unsubstantiated theories about a link between Ted Cruz’s father and JFK’s death, has not yet revealed his plans for the documents. His friend and political adviser Roger Stone, the Republican consultant who is the author of a book claiming that President Lyndon Johnson was the mastermind of the Kennedy assassination, said last week that he has been informed authoritatively that the CIA is urging Trump to delay the release of some of the JFK documents for another 25 years. “They must reflect badly on the CIA even though virtually everyone involved is long dead,” Stone said in a statement on his website.

CIA SealThe CIA has not confirmed or denied reports that it has appealed to Trump to block the release of some of the files on grounds that the documents might still somehow endanger national security if made public. In a cryptic statement last week, the spy agency said only that it “continues to engage in the process to determine the appropriate next steps with respect to any previously unreleased CIA information.”

As it stands now, the document release this month will be a logistical nightmare, with the public suddenly flooded with a huge online library of documents — tens of thousands in total — that will be, at first, mostly incomprehensible even to experienced students of the assassination. The National Archives, abandoning its plans to release the documents in batches over the course of several months, said this week that it will instead release everything at once — all on the same day — sometime between now and the deadline on October 26.

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, JFK and Regime-Change Conspiracies, Jacob G. Hornberger, Oct. 16, 2017. With the National Archives’ impending October 26 release of JFK-assassination records that the CIA has succeeded in keeping secret for more than 50 years, the mainstream media will undoubtedly obsess even more with the term “conspiracy theory,” the term that the CIA secretly came up several years ago to discourage people from looking too closely at the circumstantial evidence in the Kennedy assassination.

That’s assuming, of course, that the National Archives proceeds with its plans to release those long-secret CIA records. Under the JFK Records Act, enacted in 1992, President Trump has the authority to extend the time for secrecy if the CIA makes a showing that “national security” will be threatened if the public is allowed to see its long-secret JFK-assassination records.

What is a conspiracy? It’s nothing more than an agreement between two or more people to carry out an illicit or illegal act. There’s nothing mysterious about conspiracies. They happen all the time, especially in the drug trade. If you have any doubts about this, just walk into any federal courthouse in the land and ask the District Clerk to show you the federal criminal indictments that have been issued in the last year. Just look at the first count of the indictment because it’s the one that almost always alleges a conspiracy. I’ll bet that 95 percent of federal criminal indictments allege a conspiracy. What we are talking about in the Kennedy assassination is nothing more than a regime-change operation or, if you will, a regime-change conspiracy.

Interestingly, the mainstream media never refers to those regime-change operations with the terms “conspiracy” or “conspiracy theory.”  For some reason, they limit that term to the Kennedy assassination. Yet, that’s precisely what all those regime-change operations were — regime-change conspiracies.

It is a virtual certainty that those records that the National Archives is set to release on October 26 will help fill out the mosaic, which is why it is also a virtual certainty that the CIA will ask President Trump to extend the time for secrecy.

AlterNet, Has Trump Cut a Deal with the CIA and FBI to Keep Concealing Key JFK Assassination Documents? Jefferson Morley, Oct. 16, 2017. Plans for full disclosure by October 26 deadline are "in flux," says National Archives. An unknown number of U.S government records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy 54 years ago may remain secret after the legal deadline of October 26, the National Archives said Monday.

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"While we continue to plan for an online release by the deadline, it is unclear what will be part of the release,” the Archive’s communications staff said in a statement to AlterNet. “Things are in flux.” The Archive’s statement is the first official acknowledgement that President Trump is considering — or has approved — formal requests from the Central Intelligence Agency and other federal agencies to keep long-secret JFK files out of public view.

 Earlier this month, a group of senior congress members challenged the continuing secrecy around the government’s JFK records, some of which are more than 50 years old. Federal judge John Tunheim, who chaired a civilian board that oversaw the release of four million pages of JFK records in the 1990s, told a Minnesota radio station last week," it’s time to release everything." With the Archives' plans “in flux,” that time might not yet have come.

U.S. Politics

DEA Seal Custom

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tom marino oWashington Post, Trump promises to ‘look into’ report on drug czar nominee Marino, Ed O'Keefe, Scott Higham and Lenny Bernstein, Oct. 16, 2017. The president’s comments came as Democrats reacted sharply to the report that found Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa., shown at right) was the chief advocate for the measure that hobbled the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Trump also said he would declare the opioid crisis a national emergency next week, calling it a “massive problem.”​

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Washington Post, ‘Dark-money’ superlawyer bills herself as advocate for charities in Va. lieutenant governor’s race, Laura Vozzella, Oct. 16, 2017 (print edition). State Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Fauquier) is running for lieutenant governor of Virginia. In her bid to become Virginia’s next lieutenant governor, Republican state Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (shown at right) campaigns as an ethics attorney who represents charities and nonprofit organizations.

jill vogel senateBut her firm’s specialty is helping wealthy donors, corporations and political action committees influence elections — often in secret. Vogel and her boutique law firm represent some of the nation’s largest super PACs and their related nonprofits, which are often called “dark-money” groups because they are not legally required to disclose the names of their donors.

Those entities include American Crossroads, the super PAC conceived by Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie and strategist Karl Rove, as well as Americans for Prosperity and other arms of the conservative political network founded by billionaires Charles and David Koch. Those groups took off in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which found individuals, corporations and unions could spend unlimited sums on politics as long as they did so independently of campaigns and parties.

And Vogel’s firm — Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky PLLC, known as HVJT — became one of the premiere legal shops to help the PACs distribute their largesse. Between 2005 and 2016, PACs and nonprofits that have hired Vogel’s firm spent close to $1 billion on federal elections, representing nearly a quarter of all outside spending over that period, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. For the 2016 cycle alone, those organizations accounted for more than $234 million of $1.4 billion in total outside spending.

New Yorker, The Danger of President Pence, Jane Mayer, Oct. 16, 2017. Trump’s critics yearn for his exit. But Mike Pence, the corporate right’s inside man, poses his own risks.Washington Post.

ny times logojeff flake oNew York Times, Flake’s Lesson for G.O.P.: Cross Trump at Your Own Risk, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Oct. 16, 2017 (print edition).  Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona (shown at right) is in political peril as the 2018 election approaches, but he says he has no regrets in taking on President Trump.

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Washington Post, Inside the ‘adult day care center’: How aides try to control and coerce Trump, Ashley Parker and Greg Jaffe, Oct. 16, 2017. Some White House aides spend a significant part of their time devising ways to rein in the impetuous president, angling to avoid outbursts that might work against him, according to interviews with 18 aides, confidants and outside advisors.

The Hill, Miami congressional candidate claims she was visited by aliens, Jacqueline Thomsen, Oct. 16, 2017. A candidate for a Florida congressional seat claims she was visited by aliens and has communicated with them several times throughout her life. Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera said in a 2009 television appearance that she went up into the spaceship when she was 7 years old, according to McClatchy.

“I went in. There were some round seats that were there, and some quartz rocks that controlled the ship — not like airplanes,” Rodriguez Aguilera said in the interview, a video of which was posted to YouTube and first reported on by McClatchy. She said she was visited by three large, blonde beings at the time. One was male and two were female.

Rodriguez Aguilera is running as a Republican for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s (R-Fla.) seat. Ros-Lehtinen, who has represented Miami since 1989, announced in April that she would not run for reelection in 2018.

Federal Justice System

ny times logoNew York Times, Aiding Transgender Case, Sessions Defies His Image on Civil Rights, Matt Apuzzo, Oct. 16, 2017 (print edition).  Attorney General Jeff Sessions has sent a federal hate crimes lawyer to Iowa to help prosecute a man charged with murdering a transgender high school student, a highly unusual move by the staunch conservative.

Washington Post, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, held captive for five years, pleads guilty in connection with disappearance, Dan Lamothe, Oct. 16, 2017.  Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who vanished in Afghanistan and spent five years in brutal captivity before the United States recovered him in a controversial prisoner swap, pleaded guilty Monday to two crimes in connection with his disappearance.

Global News: Two U.S. Allies Contend In Iraq 

ny times logoNew York Times, Iraqis Battle Kurds in Push to Take Oil Fields and Kirkuk, David Zucchino, Oct. 16, 2017. Moving to reclaim Kirkuk, Iraq said it had taken oil fields and other sites, and Kurds loyal to an opposition party said they had intentionally made way for the forces.

Terrorists Kill Hundreds In Somalia

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Washington Post, Blasts kill at least 300 in Somalia in deadliest attack of its decade-long war with Islamist extremists, Kevin Sieff and Abullahi Mire, Oct. 16, 2017. Mogadishu is a frequent target of attacks by al-Shabab, an extremist group linked to al-Qaeda, but residents said they quickly discerned that the weekend truck bombs were of a different order of magnitude.

Car Bomb In Malta Kills Influential Investigator

daphne caruana galizia croppedCenter for Public Integrity, Car bomb kills crusading Panama Papers journalist in Malta, Staff report, Oct. 16, 2017. Center CEO, John Dunbar, condemns attack, demands thorough investigation News sources today are reporting the tragic death of Daphne Caruana Galizia, a journalist who led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption in Malta.

Caruana Galizia, 53, was reportedly killed in a car bombing near her home. Local media reports indicated that in recent days she had filed a police report complaining of death threats. "Caruana Galizia was a fearless journalist and blogger who exposed numerous offshore dealings of prominent figures in Malta," said the Center's Dunbar. She was also the mother of International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) developer and data journalist Matthew Caruana Galizia.

The Center for Public Integrity spun off ICIJ earlier this year. Dunbar, CEO of the Center, condemned the attack, saying it was “not only a tragic killing of a courageous journalist but an attack on the profession as a whole. This must not go unpunished.”

Media: Hillary Breaks Toe On UK Tour

Telegraph, Hillary Clinton breaks toe falling down stairs, misses BBC interview, Wire reports, Oct. 16, 2017. Hillary Clinton was delayed arriving for the filming of the BBC's Graham Norton Show due to a broken toe. The former US presidential candidate arrived for the recording of Norton's BBC One show wearing a surgical boot. Mrs Clinton said: "I was running down the stairs in heels with a cup of coffee in hand, I was talking over my shoulder and my heel caught and I fell backwards." She continued: "I tried to get up and it really hurt. I've broken my toe. I've received excellent care from your excellent health service."

Media: Fake News From Washington Post?

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Moon of Alabama, How The Washington Post Deceives Us About The War In Syria, Ahab Jezebel, Oct. 16, 2017. One of the most prestigious US medias, the Washington Post clearly has no built-in review mechanism for monitoring the quality and veracity of its source material relating to the coverage of war zone news. This is particularly apparent with regard to the reporting of the ongoing war situation in Syria. At present these professional standards have slipped and the paper has placed itself outside the ranks of real journalism and professionalism on which it built its enviable reputation long before the war in Syria.

Spreading propaganda, and relying only on activists, is not professional. It resembles paid publicity, designed to affect public opinion, and it takes advantage of less informed readers and politicians.

We can open a small window into one of the latest articles on Syria by The Washington Post entitled:”Civilian casualties spiral in Syria as air raids target areas marked for cease-fire.”The article was not written from Syria but from Beirut (Lebanon), although it speaks authoritatively about Syria in great detail – and this from a journalist who has never been to Syria, and certainly not during the six years of the war.

In its second paragraph the newspaper talks of "groups monitoring the conflict": but every single human being on Earth interested in the Syrian war is monitoring the conflict - including my 87 year-old neighbour, Louise (her name). She is able to tell me stories about daily bombing and "Daesh" (The "Islamic State" – ISIS) attacking "every day and maybe coming to Europe," according to her conclusions drawn from monitoring mainstream media. She believes Syria is a country of ghosts and that Assad, Daesh and the US are "working together against evil Russia".

The Washington Post further undermines its own credibility by quoting the “White Helmets,” who apparently report that “80% of ... attacks targeted civilian areas.” Not everybody knows how biased the White Helmets are: in fact some of their histrionic performances have been said to rival Shakespeare. Professional journalism by a reputable newspaper should be ill at ease when quoting “a fake professional exhibitionist group.” And where, indeed, in Syria were the White Helmets based? In an al-Qaeda controlled city, working very closely with that terrorist group -- the very same group responsible for 9/11!

The newspaper doesn’t stop at that: it insinuates -- according to its title and introduction -- that "pro-government forces launched hundreds of bombing raids across areas marked for international protection": yet the same journalist who wrote that article re-tweeted that "there were also 1,278 declared Coalition strikes in Syria last month."

Scandal On Opioid Distribution

Esquire, The Secretive Family Making Billions From the Opioid Crisis, Christopher Glazek, Oct. 16, 2017. You’re aware America is under siege, fighting an opioid crisis that has exploded into a public-health emergency. You’ve heard of OxyContin, the pain medication to which countless patients have become addicted. But do you know that the company that makes Oxy and reaps the billions of dollars in profits it generates is owned by one family?

The descendants of Mortimer and Raymond Sackler, a pair of psychiatrist brothers from Brooklyn, are members of a billionaire clan with homes scattered across Connecticut, London, Utah, Gstaad, the Hamptons, and, especially, New York City. It was not until 2015 that they were noticed by Forbes, which added them to the list of America’s richest families. The magazine pegged their wealth, shared among twenty heirs, at a conservative $14 billion. (Descendants of Arthur Sackler, Mortimer and Raymond’s older brother, split off decades ago and are mere multi-millionaires.) To a remarkable degree, those who share in the billions appear to have abided by an oath of omertà: Never comment publicly on the source of the family’s wealth.

That may be because the greatest part of that $14 billion fortune tallied by Forbes came from OxyContin, the narcotic painkiller regarded by many public-health experts as among the most dangerous products ever sold on a mass scale.

Since 1996, when the drug was brought to market by Purdue Pharma, the American branch of the Sacklers’ pharmaceutical empire, more than two hundred thousand people in the United States have died from overdoses of OxyContin and other prescription painkillers. Thousands more have died after starting on a prescription opioid and then switching to a drug with a cheaper street price, such as heroin. Not all of these deaths are related to OxyContin — dozens of other painkillers, including generics, have flooded the market in the past thirty years. Nevertheless, Purdue Pharma was the first to achieve a dominant share of the market for long-acting opioids, accounting for more than half of prescriptions by 2001.

Oct. 15

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CBS News logoWashington Post and CBS '60 Minutes,' Joint Investigative report: How Congress allied with drug company lobbyists to derail the DEA’s war on painkillers, Scott Higham and Lenny Bernstein, Oct. 15, 2017 (print edition). Amid a targeted lobbying effort, Congress last year weakened the DEA’s ability to go after drug distributors, even as the opioid epidemic raged and thousands of Americans were dying of overdoses, an investigation by The Washington Post and CBS “60 Minutes” found. The “60 Minutes” report will air tonight at 7:30 Eastern and 7 Pacific.

DEA Seal CustomIn April 2016, at the height of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history, Congress effectively stripped the Drug Enforcement Administration of its most potent weapon against large drug companies suspected of spilling prescription narcotics onto the nation’s streets.

By then, the opioid war had claimed 200,000 lives, more than three times the number of U.S. military deaths in the Vietnam War. Overdose deaths continue to rise. There is no end in sight.

U.S. House logoA handful of members of Congress, allied with the nation’s major drug distributors, prevailed upon the DEA and the Justice Department to agree to a more industry-friendly law, undermining efforts to stanch the flow of pain pills, according to an investigation by The Washington Post and “60 Minutes.” The DEA had opposed the effort for years.

The law was the crowning achievement of a multifaceted campaign by the drug industry to weaken aggressive DEA enforcement efforts against drug distribution companies that were supplying corrupt doctors and pharmacists who peddled narcotics to the black market.DEA badge

The industry worked behind the scenes with lobbyists and key members of Congress, pouring more than a million dollars into their election campaigns.

tom marino oThe chief advocate of the law that hobbled the DEA was Rep. Tom Marino (shown at right), a Pennsylvania Republican who is now President Trump’s nominee to become the nation’s next drug czar (See Trump to tap Rep. Tom Marino as 'drug czar').

Marino spent years trying to move the law through Congress. It passed after Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) negotiated a final version with the DEA.

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Washington Post, Timing of Trump’s health-care actions ‘couldn’t be worse,’ some officials say, Amy Goldstein, Oct. 15, 2017 (print edition). President Trump’s decision to cut off billions of dollars in payments promised to health insurers comes just two weeks before the Affordable Care Act enrollment season is scheduled to begin. The move is causing immediate upheaval in some states and sowing widespread confusion among consumers who wonder whether they will still be able to get and afford health insurance.

New Dispute In Defamation Suit Against Trump By Former Apprentice Contestant

Donald Trump in "The Apprentice"BuzzFeed News, Trump Given A Subpoena For All Documents Relating To Assault Allegations, Jessica Garrison and Kendall Taggart, Oct. 15, 2017. A woman who said Donald Trump groped her has subpoenaed his campaign for documents about “any woman alleging that Donald J. Trump (shown in a publicity photo from his show "The Apprentice") touched her inappropriately.” Trump has denied her accusations and is fighting the subpoena.

A high-stakes legal showdown is brewing for President Donald Trump, as a woman who said he groped her has subpoenaed all documents from his campaign pertaining to “any woman alleging that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately.”

The subpoena — whose contents have not been previously reported — was issued in March but entered into the court file last month. The White House did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Trump’s attorney.

Summer Zervos, a former contestant on the Trump’s reality TV show The Apprentice, accused Trump of kissing and grabbing her when she went to his bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2007 to discuss a possible job at the Trump Organization. After Zervos made the accusation last October, just weeks before the election, Trump denied her accusation and called it a lie.

She responded by suing him for defamation. As part of that suit, her lawyers served a subpoena on his campaign, asking that it preserve all documents it had about her.

They also asked for “all documents” concerning other women who have accused Trump of groping them, including Jessica Leeds, Mindy McGillivray, Rachel Crooks, Natasha Stoynoff, Temple Taggart, Kristin Anderson, Cathy Heller, Jill Harth, and Jessica Drake. The subpoena seeks “all documents concerning any accusations that were made during Donald J. Trump’s election campaign for president, that he subjected any woman to unwanted sexual touching and/or sexually inappropriate behavior.” Last year, Trump tweeted a blanket denial, saying, “Nothing ever happened with any of these women.”

The subpoena did not make its way into the court file until last month, when Zervos’s attorneys, including the high-profile lawyer Gloria Allred, filed it as part of motion disputing a contention from Trump’s legal team that her subpoena was too broad.

Fires, Floods, Climate Change

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Washington Post, Thousands more Californians ordered to flee wildfires as gusting winds return, Lisa Bonos, Amy B Wang and Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Oct. 15, 2017 (print edition). With at least 38 dead, this is now the deadliest week of wildfires in California history, officials said.

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Washington Post, See it, say it: Climate change, Editorial Board, Oct. 15, 2017 (print edition). While California prepares for what promises to be an arduous rebuilding, Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other places hit by this year’s unprecedented back-to-back-to-back hurricanes are still mopping up and, in Puerto Rico’s case, just beginning to rebuild. So it would seem to be a natural time to talk about the possible role climate change played in these disasters and about measures the nation should be taking to slow global warming. Instead, we have an administration that refuses even to consider the possibility of a connection, much less talk about solutions.

More On Hollywoods Weinstein Scandal

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harvey weinsteinWashington Post, Violence. Threats. Begging. Harvey Weinstein’s 30-year pattern of abuse in Hollywood, Monica Hesse and Dan Zak, Oct. 15, 2017 (print edition). Allegations of years of harassment and criminal sexual abuse against women he encountered in his work as an A-list film producer (shown in a file photo) appear to show a striking pattern. Separate story: Motion picture academy expels Harvey Weinstein: Read the statement.

Global News: Reaction To Trump's Iran Claims

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Washington Post, Analysis: Approach to Iran exposes growing irritation between U.S. and allies, Karen DeYoung, Oct. 15, 2017 (print edition). Trump sees them as self-interested freeloaders who must be reminded of U.S. power. They see him as an erratic force who must be managed as he squanders American leadership.

U.S. Politics

Sports Illustated, NFL players throughout the NFL continue to protest during the national anthem in Week 6 of the NFL season, Chris Chavez, Oct. 15, 2017. The number of players that have protested decreased last week but were at the center of attention after Vice President Mike Pence walked out of the Colts and 49ers game in Indianapolis after members of San Francisco's team were seen kneeling on the sidelines. President Donald Trump later tweeted that he coordinated the early exit with Pence weeks in advance.

Trump has been very vocal about how players should stand during The Star-Spangled Banner as a sign of respect.

The anthem protests were also a topic of conversation around the Dallas Cowboys because owner Jerry Jones said that players would be benched if they kneel during the national anthem. Jones added that players could freely express themselves before the anthem. Jones took a knee and locked arms with members of his team prior to the national anthem before a game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 25. The Cowboys have a bye week during Week 6 but will play the 49ers next Sunday.

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Washington Post, Trump governs by disruption — and overloads all the circuits, Dan Balz, Oct. 15, 2017 (print edition). Seven days of his presidency underscore the lengths and limits of his style of governing.

Political Scandals

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Washington Post, Have dirt that could impeach Trump? Larry Flynt will pay you $10 million, Amy B Wang, Oct. 15, 2017 (print edition).The Hustler publisher's offer, seeking information leading to President Trump’s removal from office, appears in a full-page ad in today’s edition of The Washington Post.

Review of the New Biography of CIA's Master Spy James Angleton

The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton by Jefferson Morley (St. Martin’s Press, 336 pp. $27.99).

james angleton 1975 senate intelligence hearing ny times george tames customWashington Decoded, Angleton Unrevealed, David Robarge, Oct. 15, 2017. David Robarge, the chief historian at the Central Intelligence Agency and a member of its History Staff since 1996, received his Ph.D. in American history from Columbia University. His articles and book reviews have appeared in Studies in Intelligence, Intelligence and National Security, and the Journal of Intelligence History. He is the author of the official biography of the sixth Director of Central Intelligence, "John McCone As Director of Central Intelligence, 1961-1965," which was declassified in 2015. His review follows:

Readers who pick up The Ghost, hoping finally to have a comprehensive and objective treatment of James Angleton, the Agency’s long-time, shadowy, and controversial chief of counterintelligence, will be sorely disappointed.

What they will find is an erratically organized account of most of the key events in Angleton’s life, along with an agglomeration of often badly sourced suppositions, inferences, allegations, and innuendoes frequently cast in hyperbolic or categorical language.

The Ghost displays the most prominent shortcomings of journalistic history: reportage substitutes for cohesive narrative, with vignettes and atmospherics stitched together with insufficient discernment among sources. One of Morley’s more dubious ones — an Angleton anonymous blog post with no citations, from which he pulls an outlandish quote — inadvertently provides an insight into what his ulterior motive in writing The Ghost appears to be: “This is not about who James Angleton was so much as what James Angleton had to be” (emphasis in the original). 

AlterNet, Opinion: Kate McKinnon's Sewer-Dwelling Kellyanne Conway Clown on SNL Is Creepy and Great, David Ferguson, Oct. 15, 2017. This week’s episode of “Saturday Night Live" is hilarious. Kate McKinnon reprised her role as Kellyanne Conway on this week’s episode of  “Saturday Night Live,” but as “Kellywise the Dancing Clown” in a take-off of the horror film “It.” Cast-member Alex Moffat played CNN’s Anderson Cooper, walking home from the studio on a rainy night. He dropped a scrap of paper, then tried to grab it from the sewer only to come face-to-face with “Kellywise.”

“Put me on TV,” she said hungrily. “Don’t talk to her,” said a passing security guard, played by cast member Kenan Thompson. “Every day, she drags somebody into that sewer, down there where the doodies are. You don’t believe me? Yesterday she got Rachel Maddow.”

Oct. 14

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ny times logoNew York Times, The C.I.A.’s Fake News Campaign, Oct. 14, 2017. Kenneth Osgood is a professor of history at the Colorado School of Mines. Russia’s election-hacking wasn’t the first time someone manipulated American news media for political ends.

 Russia’s crafty campaign to hack the 2016 election may seem unprecedented, but in a way it’s not. Sure, secret agents and front groups have hacked email systems, dumped documents on WikiLeaks, paid an army of internet trolls and spent thousands buying political ads on social media. It all seems new because the technologies are new. But it’s not the first time a government tried to mess with our heads by manipulating our media.

In fact, for more than two decades during the Cold War, the public was bombarded by an enormous publicity campaign to shape American views of Russia and its foreign policy. Advertisements appeared on every TV network, on radio stations across the country and in hundreds of newspapers. The campaign may have been the largest and most consistent source of political advertising in American history. And it was orchestrated by a big, powerful intelligence service: the Central Intelligence Agency.

It all began as a cover story. As the Cold War was getting underway, the C.I.A. wanted to take the fight into Russia’s backyard. So, in 1950, it created Radio Free Europe, a government-sponsored broadcasting station. Ostensibly, it provided unbiased news for Eastern Europeans, but in fact the agency used it to wage a subversive campaign to weaken Communist governments behind the Iron Curtain.

But how to hide the agency’s hand? How to account for the millions of C.I.A. dollars pouring into the broadcasting station? Simple: pretend that ordinary Americans are paying the bills.

The C.I.A.’s freewheeling spymaster, Frank Wisner, created a well-heeled and well-connected front group, the National Committee for a Free Europe. Each year it ran an enormous fund-raising campaign called the Crusade for Freedom (later renamed the Radio Free Europe Fund) that implored Americans to donate “freedom dollars” to combat Kremlin lies, complete with annual appeals resembling a hybrid of World War II war bond campaigns and contemporary NPR pledge drives.

U.S. Health Care

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Donald Trump

Washington Post, Trump’s attack on ACA raises shutdown potential, escalates issue in 2018 races, Mike DeBonis and Ed O'Keefe, Oct. 14, 2017. While Republicans argued that the Affordable Care Act is fundamentally flawed, Democrats called the move to cut off crucial health-care subsidies an act of sabotage and pledged to fight it, increasing the potential for a government shutdown in December and ensuring that the issue will be central in next year’s midterm elections.

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Washington Post, Cruz warns GOP of ‘Watergate-level blowout’ in midterms if it fails on taxes, health care, Sean Sullivan, Oct. 14, 2017. “We could face a bloodbath,” the senator warned amid growing worries among Republicans about the party’s lack of legislative achievements. Wealthy conservative donors and influential Republican lawmakers say they increasingly fear a historic backlash at the ballot box next year if the GOP effort to pass a sweeping rewrite of the nation’s tax laws falls short in the coming months.

Ted Cruz At a two-day midtown Manhattan summit of the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers’ powerful donor network, GOP patrons, senators and strategists spoke in cataclysmic terms about the price they expect to pay in the midterm elections if their tax reform effort does not win passage. Koch network officials said they have invested more than $10 million this year in advocating for the GOP tax plan.

More than 100 top donors gathered for the Koch network meeting. The Washington Post and other news organizations were invited to cover the gathering, on the condition the donors present not be named without their permission. Koch network officials said they have invested more than $10 million this year in advocating for the GOP tax plan.

Fires, Floods, Safety

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kirstjen nielsen world economic forumWashington Post, Trump’s pick for DHS chief was at the center of the Katrina disaster 12 years ago, Nick Miroff, Oct. 14, 2017  What Kirstjen Nielsen did — and didn’t do — in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane will probably come up in her confirmation hearing to lead the agency whose $40 billion budget includes managing catastrophes such as Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

 On Aug 27, 2005, two days before Hurricane Katrina made landfall, officials at the American Red Cross wrote to a top homeland security adviser at the White House, warning that the storm was likely to slam New Orleans as a major hurricane. The message was sent to Kirstjen Nielsen (shown in a file photo), whose title was special assistant to the president for prevention, preparedness and response. She was 33 years old.

It was the first of many alarming emails Nielsen would receive over the following days as water poured into New Orleans and the city was deluged. And in the storm of blame that followed the costliest natural disaster in American history, Nielsen’s team was widely criticized for its passive and clumsy response.

Twelve years later, President Trump has nominated Nielsen to the top job at the Department of Homeland Security. As DHS secretary, she would be in charge of a 240,000-employee agency with a $40 billion budget whose many responsibilities include managing disasters such as Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

“There will be no on-the-job training for Kirstjen,” Trump said Thursday as he announced her nomination at the White House, praising her “sterling reputation.” He noted she would be the first DHS secretary to have previous experience at the agency. Former DHS and White House officials who worked with Nielsen during Katrina said it would be grossly unfair to hold her responsible for the Bush administration’s botched response to a calamity that killed more than 1,800 and drove a million Americans from their homes.

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Washington Post, As firefighters make gains, forecast of high winds stirs fears of fresh round of wildfires in California, Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Kristine Phillips, Lisa Bonos and Herman Wong, Oct. 14, 2017. In an ominous bulletin, the National Weather Service warned that winds are expected to increase dramatically Friday night throughout Northern California, noting the dangerous conditions will continue “at least through Saturday.”

Global News: U.S. European Allies Unmoved By Trump's Iran Stance

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Washington Post, Europeans say Trump has no power to cancel Iran nuclear deal, Michael Birnbaum and Griff Witte, Oct. 14, 2017.  European leaders seek to keep the landmark nuclear accord on track in another sign of deep policy rifts with the Trump administration.

Global News: Turkey's Deadly "Sins"

President Obama meets Turkey Prime Minister Recep Erdorgan Dec. 7, 2009

President Obama meets Turkey Prime Minister Recep Erdorgan Dec. 7, 2009 (White House photo)

Flag of Turkey

Global Research via SouthFront, Analysis: The Middle East Pivot: Erdoğan’s Turkey Seven “Deadly Sins,” James Petras, Oct. 14, 2017. Multiple wars ravage the Middle East. Turkey has inserted itself into the middle of most of these regional conflicts and ended up a loser.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has intervened and formed alliances with a rogue’s gallery of imperial warlords, terrorists-mercenaries, Zionist expansionists, feudal potentates and obscure tribal chiefs, with disastrous economic, political and military consequences for the Turkish nation.

In this paper we will discuss Turkey’s domestic and foreign policies and behavior over the past decade.  We will conclude with lessons for middle range powers, which might help in future decisions.....

Fetullah-GullenPresident Erdogan’s Domestic Disasters: Throughout the early decade of the 21st century, Erdoğan made a strategic alliance with an influential semi-clandestine organization led by a cult-leading cleric, Fethullah Gülen, who was conveniently self-exiled in the US and under the protection of the US intelligence apparatus. With support from the Gülenists movement, ‘Hizmet’, Erdoğan celebrated his successes and won multiple election and re-election victories!

Initially, Erdoğan failed to recognize that the Gülenists/Hizmet operated as a subversive political organization, which permeated the state apparatus through a dense network of bureaucratic, military, judicial, police, and civil society organizations, with ties to the US military/CIA and friendly relations with Israeli policy makers.

Conclusion: Erdoğan’s unprincipled, opportunistic and pro-imperialist NATO alliance demonstrates the inability of an aspiring regional power to find a niche in the US Empire. Erdoğan believed that being a loyal ‘ally’ of the US would protect Turkey from a coup d’état. He failed to realize that he had become a disposable pawn in US plans to instill more servile rulers (like the Gülenists) in the Middle Eas

Global News: Syrian War Breakthrough?

ISIS Fighters

A file photo shows ISIS warriors in better times for them. Their opponents in Syria and Iraq have inflicted massive defeats.

Al-Masdar News, Syrian Army liberates ISIS capital city, Andrew Illingworth, Oct. 14, 2017. The Syrian Arab Army has fully liberated the city of Al-Mayadeen in Deir Ezzor province which until a few hours ago had been the Islamic State’s de facto capital. According to military sources exclusive to Al-Masdar News, the Syrian Army achieved full control over all districts within the city of Al-Mayadeen early this morning.

The Syrian Army operation to expel ISIS from Al-Mayadeen started about one week ago and saw the army deploy units of the elite Tiger Forces Division. Whilst it is still unclear how exactly ISIS forces in Al-Mayadeen were defeated, it appears that most of the jihadist defenders abandoned the city, fleeing south prior to be encircled several days ago and/or crossing to the eastern shore of the Euphrates River.

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Washington Post, Deal reached to allow civilians to flee ISIS-held Syrian stronghold, Louisa Loveluck​, ​Oct. 14, 2017. The U.S.-led coalition said Saturday that preparations were underway to evacuate civilians from the Islamic State’s Syrian stronghold of Raqqa under the terms of a controversial deal that could also see local militants boarding the buses.

In a statement, the coalition said the deal is “designed to minimize civilian casualties” and that the convoy of evacuation buses would be searched and screened by a U.S.-backed ground force. But it also tried to distance itself from the arrangement brokered by a local civilian council and Arab tribal elders, saying foreign fighters have “purportedly” been excluded from the deal.

See related story with different theme: Moon of Alabama, Free Passage Deal For ISIS In Raqqa - U.S. Denies Involvement -- Video Proves It Lies, B, Oct. 14, 2017. After free passage negotiations with the U.S. and its Kurdish proxy forces, ISIS is moving its fighters out of Raqqa city. When the Syrian government reached similar agreements the U.S. childishly criticized it. The U.S. coalition claims that it was "not involved in the discussions" that led to the Raqqa free passage agreement. A BBC News report shows that the opposite is true.

Weinstein Scandal Fallouts, Remorse

New York Times, Weinstein Is Ousted From the Motion Picture Academy, Brooks Barnes, Oct. 15, 2017 (print edition). In a vote that was “well in excess of the required two-thirds majority,” the board of the academy expelled the mega-producer Harvey Weinstein after a long history of sexual harassment was uncovered by The Times.

BuzzFeed, Lisa Bloom Knows She Made "A Colossal Mistake" In Harvey Weinstein, Claudia Rosenbaum, Oct. 14, 2017. The celebrity attorney and champion of women's rights spoke about her earlier decision to represent Harvey Weinstein, and her response to the sex assault scandal: "I definitely failed on this one."

Fere Speech, Free Presssuzanne nossel pen 2017 Faking the News

PEN America, Faking News: Fraudulent News and the Fight for Truth, Oct. 13, 2017. Report and panel discussion organized by PEN America at the Newseum in Washington, DC.

Warning that the spread of “fake news” is reaching a crisis point, Faking News: Fraudulent News and the Fight for Truth evaluates the array of strategies that Facebook, Google, Twitter, newsrooms, and civil society are undertaking to address the problem, stressing solutions that empower news consumers while vigilantly avoiding new infringements on free speech.

Faking News rates the range of fact-checking, algorithmic, educational, and standards-based approaches being taken to counter the proliferation of fake news and sounds a warning bell for tactics that risk suppressing controversial speech, such as giving government new powers to regulate or calling on social media companies to block specific content entirely.

Arguing that Facebook, Google, and Twitter — which are many Americans’ primary channels for news consumption — must play a critical and transparent role in curbing the spread of false news, the report spells out a series of specific strategies that center on empowering news consumers with access to fact-checking initiatives and news literacy programs. The “News Consumers Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” outlines what consumers should expect from the outlets and social media platforms that convey news and how they can protect themselves and others. The report also includes an executive summary that outlines the report’s key findings.

Cops, Courts, Crime Around the Nation

MSN News, Deputies: Former GOP staffer shot 13 times in bed; suspect had blood on hands and feet, David Harris, Oct. 14, 2017. Osceola County Sheriff's deputies say a former GOP staffer and Disney employee was shot 13 times while he was sleeping in bed. Nick Corvino, 30, had gunshot wounds to his back, head and legs, according to an arrest affidavit. His roommate, Scott Waddell, 45, is at the Osceola County Jail on a first-degree murder charge.

According to the report, deputies were responding to an alarm around 11 a.m. Tuesday at an apartment in the 3100 block of Britannia Boulevard, which is in the Four Corners area. Corvino worked at Disney's Polynesian Resort, according to his Facebook page. Before that, he was a staffer for Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, and worked on the campaigns of President Donald Trump and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Oct. 13

Investigations Of Trump Team

NBC News logoNBC News, Manafort Had $60 Million Relationship With a Russian Oligarch, Aggelos Petropoulos and Richard Engel, Oct. 13, 2017. Paul Manafort, a former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, has much stronger financial ties to a Russian oligarch than have been previously reported. An NBC News investigation reveals that $26 million changed hands in the form of a loan between a company linked to Manafort and the oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire with close ties to the Kremlin.

paul manafortThe loan brings the total of their known business dealings to around $60 million over the past decade, according to financial documents filed in Cyprus and the Cayman Islands.

Manafort (shown at left) was forced to resign from the Trump campaign in August 2016, following allegations of improper financial dealings, charges he has strenuously denied. He is now a central figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Investigators have said they are looking into Manafort's financial ties to prominent figures in Russia.

oleg deripaskaAccording to company documents obtained by NBC News in Cyprus, funds were sent from a company owned by Deripaska (shown at right) to etities linked to Manafort, registered in Cyprus.

The NBC News investigation shows that $26 million was transferred from Oguster Management Ltd. — which is wholly owned by Deripaska, according to a disclosure filed at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange — to Yiakora Ventures Ltd. Yiakora, according to Cyprus financial documents, is a "related party" to Manafort's many interests on the island, a financial term meaning that Manafort's interests have significant influence over Yiakora.

reince priebus gage skidmore 3Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (Gage Skidmore portrait)

fbi logoPalmer Report, Reince Priebus and White House Counsel Don McGahn may have both flipped on Donald Trump today, Bill Palmer, Oct. 13, 2017. Donald Trump’s former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller today, in a shocking move that raised questions about everything we thought we knew about Mueller’s progress in his Trump-Russia investigation. Priebus is too far up the food chain for Mueller to be interviewing this early – unless it was because Priebus was ready to flip on Trump. There’s another detail which suggests Priebus may not have done it in solo fashion.

Mueller’s strategy would be to interview everyone under Reince Priebus before even thinking about sitting down with him, so Mueller could take as much evidence and leverage into that meeting as possible. Even if Priebus volunteered to testify early, Mueller would likely turn him down unless Priebus was looking to make a deal. Priebus witnessed Trump’s obstruction of justice and may have even participated in it, but it’s easy to picture Mueller giving Priebus a free pass in exchange for damning testimony about Trump’s crimes. Here’s the catch: Priebus is inexorably tied to White House Counsel Don McGahn.

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Washington Post, Trump to end key ACA subsidies, likely threatening marketplaces, Amy Goldstein and Juliet Eilperin​, Oct. 13, 2017 (print edition). President Trump is throwing a bomb into the insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act, choosing to end critical payments to health insurers that help millions of lower-income Americans afford coverage. The decision coincides with an executive order on Thursday to allow alternative health plans that skirt the law’s requirements.

The White House confirmed late Thursday that it would halt federal payments for cost-sharing reductions, although a statement did not specify when. Another statement a short time later by top officials at the Health and Human Services Department said the cutoff would be immediate. The subsidies total about $7 billion this year.

Trump has threatened for months to stop the payments, which go to insurers that are required by the laws to help eligible consumers afford their deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses. But he held off while other administration officials warned him such a move would cause an implosion of the ACA marketplaces that could be blamed on Republicans, according to two individuals briefed on the decision.

Health insurers and state regulators have been in a state of high anxiety over the prospect of the marketplaces cratering because of such White House action. The fifth year’s open-enrollment season for consumers to buy coverage through ACA exchanges will start in less than three weeks, and insurers have said that stopping the cost-sharing payments would be the single greatest step the Trump administration could take to damage the marketplaces — and the law.

Ending the payments is grounds for any insurer to back out of its federal contract to sell health plans for 2018. Some states’ regulators directed ACA insurers to add a surcharge in case the payments were not made, but insurers elsewhere could be left in a position in which they still must give consumers the discounts but will not be reimbursed.  

iran flag mapGlobal News: Iran Nuclear Deal

The Atlantic, Trump Isn’t Certifying the Iran Deal — What Happens Next? Uri Friedman, Oct 12, 2017. The president’s action won’t blow up the nuclear agreement — at least not right away.

Global Critics claim the decision could isolate the United States from its allies, set Iran sprinting toward nuclear weapons, and increase the likelihood of military conflict. Supporters argue that the move is the best way to block Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Skeptics dismiss the act as mere political posturing — a way for Trump to appear to honor his campaign promises while kicking the can to Congress and ultimately sticking with the agreement.

Now that Trump has declined to certify, the minority or majority leaders in either house of Congress have 60 days to introduce legislation to reimpose nuclear-related sanctions on Iran.

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Washington Post, Trump Won’t Certify Iran Nuclear Deal, but Won’t Unravel It, Mark Landler and David E. Sanger, Oct. 13, 2017. President Trump declared his intention not to certify Iran’s compliance with the 2015 accord, an act that kicks to Congress a decision about whether to reimpose sanctions. But he stopped short of unraveling the accord or even rewriting it, as the deal’s defenders had once feared.

In a speech that mixed searing criticism of Iran with more measured action, Mr. Trump declared his intention not to certify Iran’s compliance with the agreement. Mr. Trump said he would ask Congress to establish trigger points, which could prompt the United States to reimpose sanctions on Iran if it crosses thresholds set by Congress.

Hassan Rouhani 2016CBS News, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responds to Trump's decision on nuclear deal, Elizabeth Palmer, Oct. 13, 2017. Within an hour of President Trump's announcement that he would not certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal, Iran's president took to the air, pushing back hard.

CBS News logoPresident Hassan Rouhani (shown in a file photo) called Mr. Trump's accusations "abusive" and "downright wrong." Certainly people watching in the country's capital were stunned by Mr. Trump's claim that, back in 2015, the regime was on the verge of collapse. "He's really crazy," said shopkeeper Reza Abdolmaleki. "Really crazy."

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Washington Post, Trump to extend deadline for ‘dreamer’ protections if Congress doesn’t act, GOP senator says, Elise Viebeck, Oct. 13, 2017 (print edition). Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said the president told him he was willing to “give it some more time” for lawmakers to find a solution for “dreamers” — unauthorized immigrants brought to this country as children — if Congress does not pass legislation extending protections before the March 5 deadline.

Oct. 12

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Washington Post, Trump threatens to abandon Puerto Rico recovery efforts, Philip Rucker, Oct. 12, 2017. President Trump served notice Thursday that he may pull back federal relief workers from Puerto Rico, effectively threatening to abandon the U.S. territory amid a staggering humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Donald Trump One Rose To GiveDeclaring the U.S. territory's electrical grid and infrastructure to have been a “disaster before hurricanes,” Trump (shown in a graphic mocked up by a critic) wrote Thursday that it will be up to Congress how much federal money to appropriate to the island for its recovery efforts and that recovery workers will not stay “forever.”

In a trio of tweets, Trump wrote” “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”

Three weeks since Maria made landfall, much of Puerto Rico, an island of 3.4 million people, the vast majority of the island remains without power. Residents struggle to find clean water, hospitals are running short on medicine and commerce is slow with many businesses closed.

Trump on Thursday sought to shame the territory for its own plight. He tweeted, “Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes.” And he quoted Sharyl Attkisson, a television journalist, as saying, “Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.”

Trump has been roundly criticized for his leadership in coming to Puerto Rico's aid. Trump, in response, has tried to portray the island as in full recovery mode, even as it suffers from enduring health, power and water problems. Donald Trump Puerto Rico paper towels nbc

During a visit last week, he tossed rolls of paper towels at local residents as if they were basketballs (as shown above in an NBC News photo), drawing scorn from local leaders, and noted that the death toll was lower than the “real catastrophe” of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Donald Trump (Defense Department photo by Dominique Pineiro)President Trump (Defense Department photo by Dominique Pineiro)

OpEdNews, The Establishment is starting to reassert. The Trump overthrow may have started, Egberto Willies, Oct. 12, 2017. The Establishment is starting to reassert. The Trump overthrow may have started.

What does it say when the architect of your win believes you only stand a 30% chance of fulfilling your first term as President?

Here is why I think that barring a sudden change, the countdown to an overthrow, a post-Trump, is on.The media is now in concert with a narrative of an unhinged president that cannot be trusted with the nuclear codes. A few respected Republicans like David Frum and Bob Corker are building the 25 Amendment case. Others are making the case for impeachment. Folks, the soft overthrow is in process. 

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Washington Post, U.S. withdraws from UNESCO, the U.N.’s cultural organization, citing anti-Israel bias, Eli Rosenberg and Carol Morello​, Oct. 12, 2017. The decision to withdraw from UNESCO, which the United States helped found, was announced by the State Department, which said the United States would remain involved as a nonmember observer. It will take effect at the end of 2018.

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Washington Post, Trump signs order to eliminate Affordable Care Act insurance rules, Amy Goldstein, Oct. 12, 2017. In his biggest action yet to undo the health-care law, President Trump signed an executive order intended to allow small businesses and potentially individuals to buy a long-disputed type of health insurance that skirts state regulations and Affordable Care Act protections.

KFGO (Minneapolis), Judge who chaired JFK assassination review board says 'it's time to release everything,' Jim Monk, Oct. 12, 2017. A federal judge from Minnesota says it's time for the government to release the remainder of its records connected to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The National Archives is scheduled to unveil about 3,000 never-before-seen documents before Oct. 26.  In 1992, Congress mandated the documents' release in 25 years unless President Trump orders that they remain sealed.

Chief U.S. District Judge John Tunheim was chairman of the JFK Assassination Records Review Board. In an interview with KFGO News, Tunhem said that he hopes the records can finally be seen by everyone. “I think it’s time to release everything” Tunheim said. “We didn’t really protect that much. We never protected an entire document, except for those that we didn’t think that were relevant at all. It might have been some kind of intelligence gathering method that was still being used that they didn’t want the public to know about.”

“Part of the problem through the years is that so much information was protected, which led to so many gaps in the story” according to Tunheim. “Gaps are often filled by plausible explanations – and a lot of plausible explanations pointed to conspiracies."

Tunheim says Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he assassinated Kennedy, but he says at least one conspiracy may deserve closer scrutiny. “Among all the conspiracy theories, if there’s any that deserve closer examination over time, it’s the idea that organized crime may have played some role, but having said that, there is very little evidence that’s direct and points that way.”

Tunheim says he thinks the Trump Administration “likely will allow all the releases to occur unless there’s some type of appeal from the CIA or the FBI concerning certain records.” About 30,000 additional records "not considered relevant" to the assassination could also be released. Tunheim says it's unlikely that any big surprises will be found, but he says materials considered irrelevant in the past may be seen in a different light today.

Inside Washington

Roll Call, Thompson Staffer Still Employed After Tax Conviction, Bridget Bowman, Oct. 12, 2017. Isaac Lanier Avant is facing new charges relating to a security clearance form. A Capitol Hill staffer convicted of failing to file income tax returns, who faces new charges of falsifying a security clearance form, remained employed in Rep. Bennie Thompson’s office after his previous conviction. Oct. 11

A GoreTruthDig, How Gore, Kerry and Clinton Put Trump in the White House, Harvey Wasserman, Oct. 11, 2017. Amidst the hellish chaos of the Donald Trump catastrophe, it’s more essential than ever to understand how he got into the White House and who put him there. Then we need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

hillary clinton what happened coverIn her recent blame-everybody-else-while-doing-nothing screed, What Happened, Hillary Clinton fingers James Comey, the Russians and Bernie Sanders. But, in fact, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore (shown in a file photo) and John Kerry put this madman in office.

This trio of multi-millionaire corporate Democrats won the presidential races of 2000, 2004 and 2016. Then they lay down, said hardly a word and did even less as they let George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump rule the land.

All three presidencies were stolen by stripping large numbers of black, Hispanic, Asian-American and young citizens from the voter rolls, and then electronically flipping the vote count. In 2000 and 2016, the thefts were finalized by the Electoral College.

Along the way, the United States House, Senate and a thousand state, federal and local offices also have been flipped. The Supreme Court has come along for the ride.

The impacts — John Kerryeight years of George W. Bush and an eternity of Donald Trump — have been somewhere between catastrophic and apocalyptic. We will recover only if we do what the corporate Democrats have not: Face up to how our entire electoral system has been become a sham and then change it. Let’s start with Al Gore and Florida 2000.

NBC Exposes Trump's Horrid Focus On Nuclear War

NBC News logoNBC, Trump Wanted Tenfold Increase in Nuclear Arsenal, Surprising Military, Courtney Kube, Kristen Welker, Carol E. Lee and Savannah Guthrie, Oct. 11, 2017. President Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation’s highest-ranking national security leaders, according to three officials who were in the room.

Trump’s comments, the officials said, came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1960s. Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve.

Rex Tillerson Exxon Mobile (Small)According to the officials present, Trump’s advisers, among them the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (shown at right), were surprised. Officials briefly explained the legal and practical impediments to a nuclear buildup and how the current military posture is stronger than it was at the height of the buildup. In interviews, they told NBC News that no such expansion is planned.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Threatens NBC Over Nuclear Weapons Report, Peter Baker and Cecilia Kang, Oct. 11, 2017. President Trump threatened on Wednesday to use the federal government’s power to license television airwaves to target NBC in response to a report by the network’s news division that he contemplated a dramatic increase in the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

NBC News logoIn a story aired and posted online Wednesday morning, NBC reported that Mr. Trump said during a meeting in July that he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, stunning some members of his national security team. It was after this meeting that Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson reportedly said Mr. Trump was a “moron.”

Mr. Trump objected to the report in two messages on Twitter later Wednesday and threatened to use the authority of the federal government to retaliate.

He repeated his complaint later in the day, when reporters arrived in the Oval Office to cover his meeting with the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau. “It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write and people should look into it,” Mr. Trump said.

Trump Anger

Vanity Fair, “I Hate Everyone in the White House!”: Trump Seethes as Advisers Fear the President Is “Unraveling,” Gabriel Sherman, Oct. 11, 2017. In recent days, I’ve spoken with a half dozen prominent Republicans and Trump advisers, and they all describe a White House in crisis as advisers struggle to contain a president that seems to be increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods.

John KellyAccording to two sources familiar with the conversation, Trump vented to his longtime security chief, Keith Schiller, “I hate everyone in the White House! There are a few exceptions, but I hate them!” (A White House official denies this.)

Two senior Republican officials said Chief of Staff John Kelly(shown at right)  is miserable in his job and is remaining out of a sense of duty to keep Trump from making some sort of disastrous decision. Today, speculation about Kelly’s future increased after Politico reported that Kelly’s deputy Kirstjen Nielsen is likely to be named Homeland Security Secretary — the theory among some Republicans is that Kelly wanted to give her a soft landing before his departure.

While Kelly can’t control Trump’s tweets, he is doing his best to physically sequester the president—much to Trump’s frustration. One major G.O.P. donor told me access to Trump has been cut off, and his outside calls to the White House switchboard aren’t put through to the Oval Office. Earlier this week, I reported on Kelly’s plans to prevent Trump from mingling with guests at Mar-a-Lago later this month. And, according to two sources, Keith Schiller quit last month after Kelly told Schiller he needed permission to speak to the president and wanted written reports of their conversations.

The White House denies these accounts. “The President’s mood is good and his outlook on the agenda is very positive,” an official said.

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Washington Post, Trump’s anger over Iran deal forced aides to scramble for a compromise, Anne Gearan, Oct. 11, 2017.  A retooled approach to Iran that the president is expected to announce this week is the result of an all-out effort by White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster to accommodate the president’s loathing of the nuclear deal without killing the agreement outright.

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NBC News logoWashington Post, President threatens to strip NBC of ‘license,’ declares news coverage is ‘frankly disgusting,’ David Nakamura, Oct. 11, 2017. Trump, who made the comments during an Oval Office meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, was reacting to an NBC News report that he pushed senior aides for a major expansion of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Trump To Undermine Obama Health Plan By Executive Order

ny times logoNew York Times, Foiled in Congress, Trump Moves on His Own to Undermine Obamacare, Robert Pear and Reed Abelson, Oct. 11, 2017. President Trump, after failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act in Congress, will act on his own to relax health care standards on small businesses that band together to buy health insurance and may take steps to allow the sale of other health plans that skirt the health law’s requirements.

The president plans to sign an executive order “to promote health care choice and competition” on Thursday at a White House event attended by small-business owners and others. 

Although Mr. Trump has been telegraphing his intentions for more than a week, Democrats and some state regulators are now greeting the move with increasing alarm, calling it another attempt to undermine President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. They warn that by relaxing standards for so-called association health plans, Mr. Trump would create low-cost insurance options for the healthy, driving up costs for the sick and destabilizing insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act.

Politics /Scandal Around the Nation

Huffington Post, Conservatives Call On Mitch McConnell, Other GOP Leaders To Step Down, Igor Bobic, Oct. 11, 2017. “You were not going to ‘drain the swamp.’ You are the swamp.”

roy moore

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Washington Post, Undisclosed deal paid Roy Moore $180,000 a year for charity work, Shawn Boburg and Robert O'Harrow Jr., Oct. 11, 2017. The Senate candidate from Alabama once stated he did not take a "regular salary" from the charity he founded. But documents show he collected more than $1 million, compensation that far surpassed what the group disclosed in its public tax filings.

But privately, Roy Moore (shown before he was stripped of his title as Alabama Supreme Court chief justice) had arranged to receive a salary of $180,000 a year for part-time work at the Foundation for Moral Law, internal charity documents show. He collected more than $1 million as president from 2007 to 2012, compensation that far surpassed what the group disclosed in its public tax filings most of those years.

When the charity couldn’t afford the full amount, Moore in 2012 was given a promissory note for back pay eventually worth $540,000 or an equal stake of the charity’s most valuable asset, a historic building in Montgomery, Ala., mortgage records show. He holds that note even now, a charity official said.

Jeff SessionsA Washington Post review of public and internal charity documents found that errors and gaps in the group’s federal tax filings obscured until now the compensation paid to Moore, whose defeat last month of President Trump’s choice for Republican nominee in the Senate race will likely embolden far-right challengers to the party’s mainstream incumbents. Moore is the front-runner in the race to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions (shown at left).

Fires, Floods, Climate Change

ny times logoNew York Times, Mr. Trump Nails Shut the Coffin on Climate Relief, Editorial Board, Oct. 11, 2017 (print edition). Ending goals to cut emissions from coal-fired power plants will be the most serious blow to President Obama’s legacy on global warming. It reaffirmed the administration’s blind loyalty to dirtier energy sources, ignoring the pleas of corporate leaders who know that economic momentum and new investment lie with cleaner sources of energy, and fear that without innovation their costs will rise and their competitive edge over foreign countries will be lost.

It repudiated the rock-solid scientific consensus that without swift action the consequences of climate change — widespread species extinction, more devastating droughts, more Harveys and Irmas and wildfires like those now raging in Northern California — will become more likely.

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Washington Post, Thousands flee deadly Calif. wildfires, with more than 180 people still missing, Breena Kerr, Lea Donosky, Scott Wilson and Kristine Phillips​, Oct. 11, 2017. More than 25,000 people fled homes in seven counties north of San Francisco as hundreds of firefighters struggled to contain flames that have killed at least 17 people, destroyed more than 2,000 buildings and battered the region’s lifeblood wine industry.

 

djt puerto rico paper towels nbcPresident Trump mimics a basketball player in throwing paper towels to a crowd in San Juan following disastrous hurricane-induced flooding (NBC News)

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Washington Post, Trump’s Puerto Rico video tells positive story, leaves misery on cutting-room floor, Jenna Johnson, Oct. 11, 2017 (print edition). The footage of Puerto Rico compiled by the White House in the wake of Hurricane Maria shows the extent to which the Trump administration is portraying the federal government’s handling of the natural disaster in the best possible light, despite the island’s ongoing power, water and health problems. Graphic: Most of Puerto Rico has been in the dark for three weeks.

Trump's Billionaire Dealer Pal Speaks Up

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tom barrackheadshotWashington Post, ‘He’s better than this,’ says Thomas Barrack, Trump’s loyal whisperer, Michael Kranish, Oct. 11, 2017. Thomas J. Barrack Jr., a billionaire who is one of President Trump’s oldest friends, had spent weeks trying to smooth the way for a May presidential meeting in Saudi Arabia with Gulf leaders.

All initially went well. Trump praised Qatar — where Barrack, who is Arab American, has deep business ties — as a “crucial strategic partner.” Then Trump reversed course a few weeks later and attacked Qatar as “a funder of terrorism at a very high level.”

Barrack (shown at right) was taken aback that the president was intervening in a regional dispute. So he did what few others in Trump’s orbit have done: He told the president, in effect, that he was wrong.

Donald Trump

Few people are closer to Trump than Barrack, his friend for three decades. Barrack helped rescue Trump’s real estate empire years ago. He was the top fundraiser for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. He turned down a Cabinet offer, preferring to be an outside adviser, although his name is still mentioned as a potential White House chief of staff should Trump decide to choose a new one. Above all, Barrack has remained unfailingly loyal to Trump, who he sees as a shrewd politician.

 But even as he remained a close friend and frequent confidant, Barrack has also been disappointed by aspects of Trump’s performance. Barrack, in interviews with the Washington Post, said he has been “shocked” and “stunned” by some of the president’s rhetoric and inflammatory tweets.

Oct. 10

gwyneth paltrow shakespeare in love poster

ny times logoangelina jolie 2014New York Times, Paltrow and Jolie Accuse Weinstein of Sexual Harassment, Jodi Kantor and Rachel Abrams, Oct. 10, 2017. Oct. 10, 2017. Before Being Fired, Weinstein Asked Insiders to Defend Him. “This way of treating women ends now,” Gwyneth Paltrow (shown above in a poster of her Harvey Weinstein-produced film Shakespeare in Love) said as she and other actresses, including Angelina Jolie, accused Weinstein of abuses. 

New Yorker logoNew Yorker, From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories, Ronan Farrow, Oct. 10, 2017.  Multiple women share harrowing accounts of sexual assault and harassment by the film executive. In the course of a ten-month investigation, thirteen women interviewed said that, between the nineteen-nineties and 2015, Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them.

harvey weinsteinSince the establishment of the first studios a century ago, there have been few movie executives as dominant, or as domineering, as Harvey Weinstein (shown in a file photo). As the co-founder of the production-and-distribution companies Miramax and the Weinstein Company, he helped to reinvent the model for independent films, with movies such as “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “The English Patient,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The Crying Game,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “The King’s Speech.” Beyond Hollywood, he has exercised his influence as a prolific fund-raiser for Democratic Party candidates, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

For more than twenty years, Weinstein has also been trailed by rumors of sexual harassment and assault. This has been an open secret to many in Hollywood and beyond, but previous attempts by many publications, including The New Yorker, to investigate and publish the story over the years fell short of the demands of journalistic evidence. Too few people were willing to speak, much less allow a reporter to use their names, and Weinstein and his associates used nondisclosure agreements, monetary payoffs, and legal threats to suppress these myriad stories.

Last week, the New York Times, in a powerful report by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, revealed multiple allegations of sexual harassment against Weinstein, a story that led to the resignation of four members of his company’s all-male board, and to Weinstein’s firing from the company.

The story, however, is more complex, and there is more to know and to understand. In the course of a ten-month investigation, I was told by thirteen women that, between the nineteen-nineties and 2015, Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them, allegations that corroborate and overlap with the Times’ revelations, and also include far more serious claims.

ny times logoNew York Times, Disney, Hillary Clinton and the Obamas Condemn Weinstein, Brooks Barnes, Oct. 10, 2017. As actresses came forward publicly on Tuesday with vivid accounts of sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein stretching back decades, questions arose about Disney, which owned his Miramax studio when some of the harassment was alleged to have taken place.

Hillary Clinton TwitterIn another sign of how severe the fallout has become for Mr. Weinstein, Hillary Clinton (shown on her Twitter photo) released a statement saying she was “shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein.”

Barack and Michelle  ObamaFormer President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle (shown in a White House file photo), also released a statement about Mr. Weinstein, saying that “any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status.” The Obamas’ older daughter, Malia, was an intern at the Weinstein Company this year.

Also on Tuesday, Georgina Chapman, Mr. Weinstein’s wife, told People magazine that she was leaving him. And the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts said it had decided to reject his earlier pledge to fund a $5 million endowment for female filmmakers.

While with Disney, Miramax released more than 300 movies, which generated $5 billion in North American ticket sales and tallied at least 220 Academy Award nominations and 53 wins, including best picture Oscars for “Shakespeare in Love,” “The English Patient” and “Chicago.”

But Disney also clashed bitterly with the Weinsteins, who took advantage of their autonomy to start an expensive magazine, Talk, without approval and to move forward with the political documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11” despite being told that Disney would not distribute it.

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Washington Post, Trump proposes ‘IQ tests’ face-off with Tillerson after secretary of state calls him a ‘moron,’ Philip Rucker, Oct. 10, 2017. President Trump proposed an “IQ tests” face-off with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (right) after the nation's top diplomat reportedly called the president a “moron” and disparaged his grasp on foreign policy.

 Rex Tillerson Exxon Mobile (Small)In an interview with Forbes magazine published Tuesday, Trump fired a shot at Tillerson over the “moron” revelation, first reported by NBC News and confirmed by several other news organizations, including The Washington Post. “I think it's fake news,” Trump said, “but if he did that, I guess we'll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.”

Around the Nation

ny times logoNew York Times, Wildfires Sweep Across Northern California; 13 Are Dead, Thomas Fuller, Jonah Engel Bromwich and Julie Turkewitz, Oct. 10, 2017.  Firefighters in Northern California were still battling wildfires on Tuesday that had burned through eight counties in more than 24 hours.

Claire McCaskill ojosh hawley missouriRoll Call, Hawley Announces Bid Against McCaskill, Griffin Connolly, Oct. 10, 2017. Incumbent’s campaign responds: ‘He broke his promise not to climb the political ladder.’  Missouri's Attorney General Josh Hawley (shown at left), a Republican who took office in January after a campaign protesting what he called Demcrats' using lower offices as stepping stones, today announced that he will run in 2018 against incumbent U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat shown at right.

Oct. 9

Explosive GOP Attack On Trump

Bob CorkerNny times logoew York Times, Trump Risks Inciting ‘World War III,’ G.O.P. Senator Says, Jonathan Martin and Mark Landler, Oct. 9, 2017 (print edition). In a remarkable rebuke of his party’s president, Bob Corker (shown at right), the influential head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the Times that President Trump’s recklessness could set the country “on the path to World War III.”

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Washington Post, Analysis: Trump’s Bob Corker tirade encapsulates five reasons why he has failed at governing, James Hohmann​, Oct. 9, 2017. The president's myopic impulse to counterpunch whenever he feels attacked caused him to lose another news cycle and will overshadow an immigration proposal that the White House planned to talk about today.

Related news: Atlantic, It’s What Bob Corker Does Next That Counts, James Fallows, Oct. 8, 2017. After the senator warned that Trump’s reckless threats may set the nation ‘on the path to World War III,’ the question is whether the Tennessee Republican intends to do anything about it; and

Washington Post, Bob Corker just confirmed it: Republicans know Trump is unfit, Greg Sargent, Oct. 9, 2017.Corker confirmed that most Senate Republicans view Trump as, well, dangerous and crazy.

 whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, ‘Big Decision’: Will the US Spend What It Takes to Save Puerto Rico? Brent Gregstonm, Oct. 9, 2017. Puerto Rico needs a “Marshall Plan” to recover from the double devastation of Hurricane Maria and the economic austerity imposed by Congress. Will President Donald Trump, the self-styled “great builder,” authorize enough federal aid to rebuild Puerto Rico? Will Congress alleviate its crushing debt?

To prevent a mass exodus of Puerto Ricans, the Trump White House and Republican-controlled Congress will have to act fast.

Over two weeks after Hurricane Maria’s landfall on September 20, most of Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million people were still without power, potable water and telecommunications. Many have no jobs to go back to, since their businesses were destroyed. The government expects to run out of money by October 31, terminating its hurricane recovery effort.

Trump EPA Chief Bashes Global Warming Rule

ny times logoNew York Times, E.P.A. Announces Repeal of Major Obama-Era Carbon Emissions Rule, Lisa Friedman and Brad Plum, Oct. 9, 2017. The Trump administration announced Monday that it would take formal steps to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, setting up a bitter fight over the future of America’s efforts to tackle global warming.

scott pruitt epa o Custom

At an event in eastern Kentucky, Scott Pruitt (shown at right), the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said that his predecessors had departed from regulatory norms in crafting the Clean Power Plan, which was finalized in 2015 and would have pushed states to move away from coal in favor of sources of electricity that produce fewer carbon emissions.

 “The war on coal is over,” Mr. Pruitt said. “Tomorrow in Washington D.C., I will be signing a proposed rule to roll back the Clean Power Plan. No better place to make that announcement than Hazard, Kentucky.”

More Washington Intrigues, Analysis

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ny times logoNew York Times, Stephen Miller, the Powerful Survivor on Trump’s Right Flank, Matt Flegenheimer, Oct. 9, 2017. Mr. Miller (shown above), who was a conservative trapped in a liberal California high school, has rocketed to the upper reaches of White House influence, especially on immigration.

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google logo customWashington Post, Google uncovers Russian-bought ads aimed at influencing the 2016 election, Elizabeth Dwoskin and Adam Entous, Oct. 9, 2017. The Silicon Valley giant found that tens of thousands of dollars were spent on ads by Russian agents on YouTube, as well as advertising associated with Google search, Gmail and the company’s DoubleClick ad network.

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Washington Post, Newly disclosed email could shed light on planning that led to 2016 Trump Tower meeting, Rosalind S. Helderman​, Oct. 9, 2017. It could offer evidence backing up a Russian lawyer's claims that the meeting with Donald Trump Jr. was solely to discuss a 2012 law despised by the Kremlin that imposed financial sanctions on wealthy Russians as punishment for human rights abuses.

Daily Beast, Russia Recruited YouTubers to Bash ‘Racist B*tch’ Hillary Clinton Over Rap Beats, Ben Collins, Gideon Resnick, and Spencer Ackerman, Oct. 8, 2017. Wannabe YouTube stars and diehard Donald Trump supporters ‘Williams & Kalvin’ totally swear they’re from Atlanta. In reality, they were working for the Kremlin.

According to the YouTube page for “Williams and Kalvin,” the Clintons are “serial killers who are going to rape the whole nation.” Donald Trump can’t be racist because he’s a “businessman.” Hillary Clinton’s campaign was “fund[ed] by the Muslim.”

These are a sample of the videos put together by two black video bloggers calling themselves Williams and Kalvin Johnson, whose social media pages investigators say are part of the broad Russian campaign to influence American politics. Across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, they purported to offer “a word of truth” to African-American audiences.

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Washington Post, Ivana Trump says she’s the ‘first lady.’ Melania Trump’s office claps back, Helena Andrews-Dyer and Emily Heil, Oct. 9, 2017. Things are getting a little “Real Housewives” around the White House.

 In one of the stranger sideshows to his presidency, President Donald Trump’s first and third wives, Ivana and Melania, respectively, on Monday had a very public war of words — and his second wife, Marla Maples, is getting some shade out of the spat, to boot.

Melania Trump Twitter photo

Here’s a breakdown: To promote her new book, Raising Trump, about parenting Trump’s three eldest children, Ivana Trump gave a Monday interview to “Good Morning America” in which she made some comments sure to privately raise the hackles of the woman currently occupying the role of Wife of Donald. “I’m basically first Trump wife. Okay?” Ivana Trump said. “I’m first lady.”

She offered faux sympathy for Melania Trump (shown at left), saying  “I think for her to be in Washington must be terrible.” (She had less subtle insults for her ex’s second wife, Marla Maples. “A showgirl” was her epithet of choice.)

Cops, Court, Global Scandal

SouthFront, Australian Police Operated One Of Largest DarkWeb Child Abuse Sites For About Year, Staff report, Oct. 9, 2017. Australian police operated one of the dark web’s largest child abuse sites for almost a year in secret, posing as its founder in an undercover operation. Childs Play, the dark web forum that acted as an underground meeting place for thousands of active pedophiles, was taken over by Brisbane police’s Taskforce Argos in October 2016 in an undercover operation,

The police involvement was uncovered by journalists with the Norwegian newspaper, VG, who spent months tracing Childs Play’s origins and monitoring public posts. Due to a security flaw, they unwittingly discovered a sensitive police operation in January 2017.

australian flag wavingTaskforce Argos squad had taken over Childs Play, assuming the identity of its founder following his arrest for the rape of a four year old girl in the US. Undercover detectives were posting and sharing abuse material on the forum to maintain their cover. Other users posted and saw images while the site was under police control.

Childs Play was one of the largest sites on the dark web. The site was created in April 2016, and had attracted more than a million users. About 100 “producers” were active on the site, filming and sharing abuse and rape of children. The police shut the forum down in September 2017. 

Oct. 8

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 ny times logoNew York Times, White House to Tie Hard-Line Conditions Into ‘Dreamers’ Deal, Michael D. Shear, Oct. 8, 2017. In exchange for letting the young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers stay in the U.S., the White House will push for terms that include a crackdown on children fleeing Central America. The deal will also insist on the construction of a wall across the southern border.

Taken together, the proposals amount to a wish list for immigration hard-liners inside the White House, including Stephen Miller, the president’s top policy adviser, who has long advocated extremely aggressive efforts to prevent illegal entry into the country and crack down on undocumented immigrants already here.

It is unclear whether Mr. Trump views Sunday’s list of immigration demands as absolute requirements for an agreement or the beginning of a negotiation.

harvey weinsteinny times logoNew York Times, Weinstein Is Fired After Revelations of Sexual Harassment, Maggie Astor, Oct, 8, 2017. The board of his company announced that the mega-producer Harvey Weinstein (shown at right) was “terminated, effective immediately” on Sunday, days after a Times investigation uncovered a long history of sexual harassment.

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Washington Post, Corker calls White House ‘an adult day care center’ in response to Trump’s latest Twitter tirade, Philip Rucker and Karoun Demirjian, Oct. 8, 2017. Sen. Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, on Sunday called the White House "an adult day care center" after President Trump attacked him in a morning Twitter tirade.

Bob CorkerTrump alleged in a trio of tweets that Corker (shown at right) "begged" him for his endorsement, did not receive it and decided to retire because he "didn't have the guts" to run for reelection next year. In response, Corker (Tenn.) tweeted, "It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning."

Trump Arms VP For Culture War Battle Against Football Players

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Washington Post, Trump says he asked Pence to leave NFL game if players protested, Cindy Boren​, Oct 8, 2017. The vice president was supposed to be on hand as the Indianapolis Colts retired Peyton Manning’s number. But several San Francisco 49ers took a knee, prompting Pence to say on Twitter: “I stand with @POTUS Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem.”

Palmer Report, Opinion: After walking out on NFL game, Mike Pence heads directly to Russian-compromised event, Bill Palmer, Oct. 8, 2017. Mike Pence is receiving a mountain of attention today – most of it negative – for having staged a walkout at an NFL football game yesterday in order to protest against the actions of black players. But in the end, where he went directly after he bailed on the game may end up proving to be more important to the unraveling of the Trump-Pence regime.

After leaving the Indianapolis Colts game, Pence got on a plane and headed straight to California, where he attended a fundraiser for Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (link). If you’re trying to place the name, Rohrabacher is the guy who has such profound allegiance to Russia that his fellow Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy once accused him behind closed doors of being on Vladimir Putin’s payroll.

Rohrabacher is in so deep with Russia, and seemingly so likely to be taken down by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, that no national political figure seems to want to be associated with him. Yet Mike Pence was willing to fly all the way from Indianapolis to California just to attend a fundraiser with Rohrabacher.

Global Battlefield: Iraq

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ny times logoNew York Times, ISIS Fighters, Having Pledged to Fight or Die, Surrender en Masse, Rod Nortland (shown below left), Oct. 8, 2017. The prisoners were taken to a waiting room in groups of four, and were told to stand facing the concrete wall, their noses almost touching it, their hands bound behind their backs.

rod nordlandMore than a thousand prisoners determined to be Islamic State fighters passed through that room last week after they fled their crumbling Iraqi stronghold of Hawija. Instead of the martyrdom they had boasted was their only acceptable fate, they had voluntarily ended up here in the interrogation center of the Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq.

For an extremist group that has made its reputation on its ferociousness, with fighters who would always choose suicide over surrender, the fall of Hawija has been a notable turning point. The group has suffered a string of humiliating defeats in Iraq and Syria, but the number of its shock troops who turned themselves in at the center in Dibis was unusually large, more than 1,000 since last Sunday, according to Kurdish intelligence officials.

The Iraqi military ousted the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, from Hawija in 15 days, saying it had taken its forces only three days of actual heavy fighting before most of the extremists grabbed their families and ran. According to Kurdish officials, they put up no fight at all, other than planting bombs and booby traps.

U.S. Political Realignments?

ny times logoNew York Times, ‘Resistance,’ Raising Big Money, Upends Liberal Politics, Kennedth P. Vogel, Oct. 8, 2017 (print edition). A struggle between the Democratic Party establishment and grass-roots activists foreshadows a once-in-a-generation reorganization of the left. The Republican Party’s establishment is also contending with a rising rebellion, amid a broader realignment in American politics.

Oct. 7

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Se. Chuck Schumer (dmca)Washington Post, Trump says he called Schumer to broker deal with Democrats for ‘a great’ health-care bill, Philip Rucker, Oct. 7, 2017. The president tweeted that he called Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (shown at right) to ask whether Democrats would work with him to replace the Affordable Care Act — and Trump indicated that he had not been entirely rebuffed.

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Washington Post, Republicans largely abandon their platform of fiscal restraint, Damian Paletta, Oct. 7, 2017. The Republican Party has largely abandoned its platform of fiscal restraint, pivoting sharply in a way that could add trillions of dollars in federal debt over the next decade. Cutting spending to balance the budget was almost religion to the Republican Party for much of the past eight years. But all year long, despite their control of the White House and Congress, Republicans have not taken steps to balance the budget, to overhaul entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, or to arrest the growth of the country’s $20 trillion in debt.

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Washington Post, Trump backers eager to ‘drain the swamp’ help fill GOP coffers, Matea Gold, Oct. 7, 2017. Fueled by fundraising appeals from President Trump, Republicans are on track for their biggest haul from small-dollar donors in more than a decade. The Republican National Committee has pulled in nearly twice as much money overall as its Democratic counterpart this year.

Global News: Syria

SouthFront, Syrian Army Is Close To Full Control Over al-Mayadin City, Advances To Drive Remaining ISIS Members Out, Staff report, Oct. 7, 2017. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) Tiger Forces liberated a major part of the strategic town of al-Mayadin on the western bank of the Euphrates River.

Sex Scandal Follow up

harvey weinsteinHuffington Post, Third Of The Weinstein Company Board Resigns Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations: Reports, Carla Herreria, Oct. 7, 2017. The resignations from the board of the Weinstein Company, which consists of all men, comes a day after an explosive New York Times article. Dirk Ziff, a billionaire investor, was the first board member reported to have resigned from his post on Friday, according to the New York Times and entertainment new sites The Wrap and Deadline. Ziff’s resignation was followed by reports of the departures of Technicolor executive Tim Sarnoff and hedge fund billionaire Marc Lasry. Company founder Harvey Weinstein is shown in a file photo.

ny times logoNew York Times, Lawyer Advising Harvey Weinstein Resigns, Megan Twohey and Johanna Barr, Oct. 7, 2017. The lawyer Lisa Bloom resigned on Saturday as an adviser to Harvey Weinstein, the high-powered film producer facing allegations of rampant sexual harassment, amid harsh criticism of her handling of his defense.

lisa bloomAmong those upset with her were two members of the board of Mr. Weinstein’s company: his brother, Bob Weinstein, and Lance Maerov, who had both exchanged confrontational emails with Ms. Bloom (shown in a file photo) over the past two days.

In making her announcement on Twitter, Ms. Bloom did not offer an explanation for her resignation. The tactics and tenor of her defense of Mr. Weinstein have varied, and there were often substantial differences in her public and private statements. The emails, viewed by The New York Times, reveal that at least two board members did not approve of her approach.

Lanny Davis, another adviser to Mr. Weinstein, is also no longer representing him, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Davis, a lawyer and crisis counselor who served as special counsel to President Bill Clinton, declined on Saturday to discuss his departure. But he and Mr. Weinstein had disagreed over how to handle the sexual harassment allegations, with Mr. Davis advising a more conciliatory tone and approach than Mr. Weinstein seemed willing to adopt.

Oct. 6

whowhatwhy logogerald ford oWhoWhatWhy, Navy Doctor: Bullet Found in JFK’s Limousine, and Never Reported, Milicent Cranor, Oct. 6, 2017. This is the story of a bullet — a spent, misshapen, but otherwise intact, bullet — that a Navy doctor said was found late at night, on the floor, in the back of John Kennedy’s limousine. No one seems to want to acknowledge it.

Years later, when reviewing a memoir he wrote in 1963, the doctor, Dr. James Young, thought about that bullet, and tried to find some mention of it in the Warren Commission Hearings. To his dismay, he found nothing. In 2000, he wrote to President Gerald Ford (right) to ask him about it. After all, Ford had been on the Warren Commission. But Ford said he knew nothing about it either. In 2001, two Navy historians interviewed the doctor, who gave them a highly detailed account of the events of November 22, 1963, some of which he witnessed personally. And he mentioned the bullet.

randy robertson mdRecently, Dr. Randy Robertson (left), a board member of the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC) came upon Young’s papers at a Navy website. This was an exciting discovery.

To understand the significance of this discovery, readers need to know that — according to the official record — only one whole bullet was recovered, the “magic bullet” found on Governor John Connally’s stretcher. Here, Robertson describes in an email to WhoWhatWhy how he came upon this apparently suppressed evidence:

Here, Robertson describes in an email to WhoWhatWhy how he came upon this apparently suppressed evidence:

Sexual Assaults On Women

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Washington Post, Administration narrows access to birth-control coverage under Affordable Care Act, Juliet Eilperin, Amy Goldstein and William Wan, Oct. 6, 2017. The rule takes effect immediately and allows a much broader group of employers and insurers to claim a religious or moral exemption from offering no-charge contraceptives to women. Several religious groups, which had battled the Obama administration for years over the controversial mandate, welcomed the pullback. But women’s rights organizations and some medical professionals described it as a blow to women’s health.

tim murphy pa ony times logoNew York Times, Opinion: The Sexual Hypocrisy of Conservative Men, Jennifer Weiner, Oct. 6, 2017. Tim Murphy’s “pro-life in the streets, pro-choice in the sheets” stance is just the latest example. There are a few, rare exceptions that abortion opponents tend to allow to their hard-line rules: rape, incest, life or health of the mother, and “I got my mistress pregnant.”

The most recent culprit in the category of anti-abortion double-think is Tim Murphy (right), a Pennsylvania Republican who on Thursday announced he would resign from his House seat this month. Two days before, Mr. Murphy had voted for a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks on the medically dubious grounds that, at that age, a fetus can experience pain.

Sound familiar? Perhaps Mr. Murphy’s story it calls to mind the Tennessee congressman Scott DesJarlais, who is similarly pro-life in the streets, pro-choice in the sheets.

 harvey weinsteinny times logoNew York Times, Movie Mogul Weinstein Paid Off Harassment Cases for Years, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, Oct. 6, 32017 (print edition). An investigation by The New York Times found previously undisclosed allegations against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein (shown at right in a file photo). Two decades ago, the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein invited Ashley Judd to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for what the young actress expected to be a business breakfast meeting. Instead, he had her sent up to his room, where he appeared in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or she could watch him shower, she recalled in an interview.

 Over nearly three decades, Mr. Weinstein has reached at least eight settlements with women, The Times found. During that time, after being confronted with allegations including sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact, Mr. Weinstein has reached at least eight settlements with women, according to two company officials speaking on the condition of anonymity. Among the recipients, The Times found, were a young assistant in New York in 1990, an actress in 1997, an assistant in London in 1998, an Italian model in 2015 and Ms. O’Connor shortly after, according to records and those familiar with the agreements.

harvey weinstein pulp fiction posterIn a statement to The Times on Thursday afternoon, Mr. Weinstein said: “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.”

The allegations piled up even as Mr. Weinstein helped define popular culture. He has collected six best-picture Oscars and turned out a number of touchstones, from the films “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Good Will Hunting” to the television show “Project Runway.” In public, he presents himself as a liberal lion, a champion of women and a winner of not just artistic but humanitarian awards.

Jezebel, It Shouldn't Surprise Anyone That Lisa Bloom Is Representing Harvey Weinstein, Megan Reynolds, On Thursday, the New York Times published an incendiary report that detailed almost three decades’ worth of sexual harassment allegations against the powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

lisa bloomLisa Bloom (shown in a file photo), daughter of Gloria Allred and lawyer who has made her career representing female victims in sexual assault cases against powerful men, is representing Weinstein, and has been “advising” him for the past year — a curious choice for a man who, if the circumstances were different, Bloom might have faced in court.

There are many issues with this, starting with the fact that Lisa Bloom is not the first woman to “be blunt” with Weinstein, or indicate to him that “times have changed.” Throwing her hat in the ring with Harvey Weinstein and trotting out the old “boys will be boys” is a maddening move, but Bloom shows her hand at the end of her statement: “He has been working on a major foundation with USC with one of the largest grants for female directors, which started well over a year ago,” she writes. “And as we work together on a project bringing my book to the screen, he has always been respectful towards me.”

In another baffling twist, Weinstein’s other lawyer, Charles Harder — who represented Hulk Hogan in his case against Jezebel’s former parent company Gawker Media, and who is currently representing several clients against Gizmodo Media Group, Jezebel’s current parent company — says Weinstein will sue the New York Times for defamation to the tune of $50 million. All proceeds from any resulting lawsuit will go to a variety of “women’s organizations,” though it’s not clear what women’s organizations would take that dirty money were it to come their way. There it is.

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Washington Post, Georgia sheriff, deputies indicted after body searches of 900 high school students, Kyle Swenson,Oct. 6, 2017. The sound system squawked at 8 a.m., just as the school day was revving up at Worth County High School. The campus was now on lockdown, the announcement said. Neither the teachers nor students at the south Georgia school knew what was going on.

For the next four hours, 40 uniformed officers — the entire staff of the Worth County Sheriff’s Office — fanned through the school in Sylvester, ordering students against the walls of classrooms and hallways, demanding the students hand over their cellphones. All 900 students were searched, part of a drug sweep ordered by Sheriff Jeff Hobby, according to court documents.

He did not have a warrant. He had a “target list” of 12 suspected drug users. Only three of the names were in school that day, April 14. By noon, when cellphones were handed back and classes resumed, no drugs had been found.

The sheriff’s full-court press, however, would yield legal consequences — for Hobby and his office. In the days following the sweep, students came forward charging they had been inappropriately groped and manhandled by deputies. A class-action federal civil suit followed.

Inside Washington

tim murphy pa oPolitico, Inside Tim Murphy's reign of terror, Rachael Bade, Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan, Oct. 6, 2017. Rep. Tim Murphy (shown at right), a staunch anti-abortion advocate, thought he could withstand the media furor that engulfed him after reports that he’d encouraged his extramarital lover to end her apparent pregnancy. He was wrong.

Ironically, Murphy’s swift collapse came not because of text messages he sent to a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair, encouraging her to have an abortion as first reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Tuesday. In fact, fears among senior Republicans about a potential wave of negative stories on how Murphy ran his congressional office were what ultimately pushed him out the door.

The Post-Gazette had reported on a June 2017 memo in which Murphy’s longtime chief of staff, Susan Mosychuk, warned the Pennsylvania Republican that he was mistreating and “harassing” staff, causing 100 percent turnover.

Susan Mosychuk (PA Spotlight)But Mosychuk (shown in a profile photo from Politics PA) is a source of controversy herself. A number of former Murphy staffers told Politico that it was Mosychuk’s behavior that drove them to leave Murphy's office. And these ex-aides said the combination of Murphy and Mosychuk — who had a close personal relationship, according to GOP lawmakers and staffers — made the situation intolerable. Mosychuk was promoted to Murphy’s chief of staff in 2004, just a year after becoming his legislative director.

According to these aides, Mosychuk regularly engaged in brutal verbal abuse of lower-ranking aides, from calling aides “worthless” and their work “garbage” to asking derisively, “Do you or do you not have a fucking college degree?”

us house logoMosychuk would even call staffers out of their bathroom breaks to demand they return to the office, or yell at them for taking too long to use the restroom. Many younger aides did not take lunch breaks, eating at their desks because they were scolded for leaving. One new employee quit after just a couple days because he was dressed down for using a paper clip instead of a staple on a briefing packet, multiple sources said.

During 2008, Mosychuk was paid $231,500 — $156,500 for her official duties and $75,000 from the campaign, according to House disbursement records and her annual financial disclosure form. But permissible outside income for top aides that year was capped at $25,830, according to the House Ethics Committee.

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Washington Post, Some middle-class families could face a tax increase under the Republican plan, Carolyn Y. Johnson, Oct. 6, 2017. People who are likely to be hit with higher taxes include taxpayers who itemize, residents of high-tax states and Americans with large families.

ny times logorex tillerson exxon mobil SmallNew York Times, Analysis: Will Trump Trumpify the Fed? Paul Krugman, Oct. 6, 2017. By all accounts, Rex Tillerson (shown at right) has demoralized and degraded the State Department to the point of uselessness. Tom Price did much the same to Health and Human Services before jetting off. Scott Pruitt has moved rapidly to eliminate the “protection” aspect of the Environmental Protection Agency. And similar stories are unfolding throughout the executive branch.

Donald Trump has, in short, been like a Category 5 hurricane sweeping through the U.S. government, leaving devastation in his wake. And one question I don’t see being asked often enough is, will the same thing happen to the Federal Reserve? And if it does, how disastrous will that end up being for the world economy?

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Washington Post, Arizona congressman repeats bogus claim that Charlottesville violence was left-wing plot, Derek Hawkins, Oct. 6, 2017. In the aftermath of the summer’s deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, conspiracy theorists came out in force. Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) still seems swayed by the “false flag” theory of the white supremacist violence. In an interview with Vice News that aired Thursday night, Gosar suggested that the rally was “created by the left” and carried out by an “Obama sympathizer.”

Kennedy Document Release

cnn logoCNN, Will Trump allow release of final JFK assassination documents? Eli Watkins, Oct. 6, 2017. More than 50 years after President John F. Kennedy was slain in full view of the world, the final government documents about his death are set for release. That is, unless President Donald Trump, citing national security, certifies that some unreleased or redacted files be kept from public view. The documents are among the last of still-secret papers the government amassed on the assassination. Some grand jury and tax documents will remain secret.

The JFK Records Act passed in 1992, following the release of the Oliver Stone movie "JFK" and a surge in interest about the killing. The law mandated the government release the remaining files to the public and gave it 25 years to do so.

Brits To Crack Down On Readers Of Forbidden Websites

Jonathan TurleyInformation Clearinghouse, Britain Moves To Criminalize Reading Extremist Material On The Internet, Jonathan Turley (a law professor shown at right), Oct. 6, 2017. For years, civil libertarians have warned that Great Britain has been in a free fall from the criminalization of speech to the expansion of the surveillance state.

United Kingdom flagNow the government is pursuing a law that would make the repeated viewing of extremist Internet sites a crime punishable to up to 15 years in prison. It appears that the government is not satiated by their ever-expanding criminalization of speech. They now want to criminalize even viewing sites on the Internet. As always, officials are basically telling the public to “trust us, we’re the government.”

Free Speech

george orwell at bbc mike public domainBoston Review, Saving Orwell, Peter Ross, Oct. 6, 2017. “It was a bright cold day in April,” said Richard Blair, “and the clocks were striking thirteen.” Blair is seventy-three and the son of George Orwell (shown above). To witness him stand at a lectern and read the opening line of his father’s great final novel, 1984, is to experience a sense of completion, an equation solved.

We were in Senate House, now part of the University of London, for 1984 Live. For the first time in the United Kingdom, the book was to be read aloud publicly from start to finish. It had been estimated that it would take sixty or so readers—well-known journalists, academics, actors, activists — thirteen hours, that Orwellian number, to get from the bright cold day to the gin-scented tears.

All political moments are Orwellian, but some are more Orwellian than others. Reading 1984 “hurts” right now, according to Jean Seaton, but perhaps there is also something soothing in the recognition that the novel’s darkness looks so much like our own. “It feels like 1984 is here in our faces,” she told me.

George Orwell, whose real name was Eric Blair, wrote the novel between the summer of 1946 and the winter of 1948, mostly on the island of Jura, off the west coast of Scotland, where he had taken a house, moving there from austere post-war London. It tells the story of Winston Smith, a citizen of the state of Oceania, and his attempted rebellion — through sex and love and the written word—against the Party, which observes and controls every aspect of life. The novel has given us familiar concepts such as Big Brother and Room 101. Published in the United Kingdom on June 8, 1949, and five days later in the United States, the reviews at once recognized its significance. Mark Schorer wrote in the New York Times that “no other work of this generation has made us desire freedom more earnestly or loathe tyranny with such fullness.”

george orwell war is peace freedom is slavery ignorance is strength george orwell 22 12 12For the Columbia University historian Simon Schama, who had flown to London from New York, 1984’s continued relevance is illustrated by Orwell’s concept of the Ministries of Truth, Love, and Plenty, all of which are concerned with the precise opposite of what their names indicate. For a parallel, he suggested, one need only look to Trump’s nomination of Scott Pruitt, a climate change skeptic, to head the Environmental Protection Agency; or his nomination of Betsy DeVos as education secretary when — as Schama put it — she is the “sworn foe” of public schooling.

“And Trump calling anything he happens to disagree with ‘fake news’ is 1984 to the letter,” he continued. “To take authenticity and evidence and empirically acquired information and stigmatize them as non-truth is just about as Orwellian as you could possibly get.”

Not everyone is convinced. “Trump is a horrible oaf, but he’s not Big Brother,” said the Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens, a former winner of the Orwell Prize for journalism. We were talking in a small exhibition space just along the corridor from Chancellor’s Hall; a sign next to the door revealed, almost unbelievably, that this was Room 101.

Oct. 5

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iran flag mapWashington Post, Trump plans to take first step toward undoing Iran nuclear agreement, Anne Gearan and Karoun Demirjian, Oct. 5, 2017. Under what is described as a tougher and more comprehensive approach, President Trump would open the door to modifying the landmark 2015 deal. But for now he won’t recommend the resumption of sanctions on Iran, said people familiar with aspects of his thinking.

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Washington Post, Analysis: Trump’s decision on Iran could cause major breach with allies, Karen DeYoung and Carol Morello​, Oct. 5, 2017. More than any other issue that has threatened transatlantic cohesion this year, decertifying Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal could start a chain of events that would sharply divide the United States from its closest traditional allies.

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Washington Post, As ACA enrollment nears, administration keeps cutting federal support of the law, Juliet Eilperin, Oct. 5, 2017. Supporters of the Affordable Care Act see the president’s opposition even to policies wanted by conservative states as part of a broader campaign to undermine the law, with Trump personally intervening to stop changes sought in Iowa.

Associated Press via Washington Post, Report: Trump-tied lobbyists cash in on their connections, Tami Abdollah, Oct. 5, 2017. Scores of former members of President Donald Trump’s campaign and transition team, as well as others with ties to his young administration, are setting up shop as lobbyists in Washington and cashing in on their connections, according to a new study published Thursday.

The report, produced by Public Citizen, a public interest group, identified at least 44 registered federal lobbyists with such ties to Trump or Vice President Mike Pence operating in Washington as recently as the end of August. These collectively billed nearly $41.8 million to clients, records showed.

Those clients included the owner of a private equity group that received U.S. government approval to take over the for-profit University of Phoenix, and directors of Wells Fargo, which has faced increased government scrutiny after its workers created bogus accounts for unwitting customers.

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 steven mnuchin wWashington Post, Treasury secretary’s military flights totaling $811,000 were legal but poorly justified, watchdog says, Lisa Rein, Oct. 5, 2017. In a review of nine requests for Steven Mnuchin to fly on government planes, the Treasury Department inspector general’s office found that Trump officials cut corners as they tried to justify the trips, as federal regulations require.

JFK Document Releases Scheduled This Month

Salon, Republicans and Democrats agree: Trump should release JFK records, Matthew Rozsa, Oct. 5, 2017. There seems to be one major issue that is rallying considerable bipartisan support on Capitol Hill — namely, having President Donald Trump allow the release of the remaining government records pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

pat leahy hsTrump will have until later this month to make this decision, due to the impending 25th anniversary of the passage of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act. A bipartisan Senate resolution is being sponsored by Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a Republican, and a Democratic counterpart who also used to chair that committee, Patrick Leahy of Vermon (shown at right)t, according to Roll Call.

"Transparency in government is critical not only to ensuring accountability; it’s also essential to understanding our nation’s history. The assassination of President Kennedy occurred at a pivotal time for our nation, and nearly 54 years later, we are still learning the details of how our government responded and what it may have known beforehand. Americans deserve a full picture of what happened that fateful day in November 1963," Grassley said in a statement.

Leahy echoed those thoughts in a statement of his own, saying that "the assassination of President Kennedy was one of the most shocking and tragic events in our nation’s history. Americans have the right to know what our government knows. Transparency is crucial for our country to fully reckon with this national tragedy, and that is the purpose of these resolutions."

Although he is best known for being assassinated on November 22, 1963, Kennedy was also a very accomplished president in his own right. He took the lead in pushing for civil rights legislation (although the bills he helped shape wouldn't be signed into law until after his death), created the Peace Corps, obtained the signing of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and led America successfully through the Cuban Missile Crisis.

roger stone2Salon, Roger Stone calls on Trump to release JFK assassination files, Matthew Rozsa, Oct. 5, 2017. The Trump political adviser shares his odd reason why JFK assassination documents should be publicly available. Roger Stone (shown at right), the famous political adviser to Republican presidents Richard Nixon and Donald Trump, wants the public release of the remaining secret government records pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

"[The] last release of JFK assassination-related documents [included] a memo from Jay Hoover to the head of the FBI in Dallas instructing him to bring George Bush of the CIA [up] on activities of the anti-Castro Cubans in the Dallas area," Stone told Salon. "Also clued in a memo from Hoover to LBJ informing him that the Russian KGB had conducted their own investigation into the Kennedy assassination and had concluded LBJ was the ringleader in the plot to kill Kennedy," Stone claimed, implicating Kennedy's successor in his murder.

"There is no telling what is in the unreleased documents, but at this point, I think the public has a right to know," he insisted.

The effort to publicize these government records has bipartisan support in both the Senate (Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and former chairman Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont) and House of Representatives (Republican Rep. Walter B. Jones of North Carolina and Democratic Rep. Louise M. Slaughter of New York).

What Stone brings to the table, however, is a set of particularly controversial views on the Kennedy assassination itself. In his book "The Making of the President 2016" (which I discussed in an interview with Stone), he repeatedly claimed that the father of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rafael Cruz, lied about his past as a Cuban immigrant. After summarizing accounts by blogger Wayne Madsen and the National Enquirer, which claimed that Rafael Cruz may have been connected to Lee Harvey Oswald, Stone argued that one Cuban man photographed with Oswald looked like the elder Cruz.

"The identity of the Cruz look-alike has never been established," Stone told Salon. "In May, I went on record saying that I had spoken with a source who identified the mystery man as Rafael Cruz." Stone also added that he did not start or plant the Cruz story.

Global News

SouthFront, Syrian Army Strikes ISIS Near Mayadin City, Staff report with Harold Hoover voiceover, Oct. 5, 2017. The main obstacle faced by anti-terrorist forces “….in Syria is not the military capabilities of terrorists, but rather the support of the….” United States, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on October 4.

He added that the Russian military had warned its U.S. counterparts that its forces would repel any “odd” attacks by terrorists from areas where the “US military mission” is deployed. Konashenkov said that 300 ISIS members whom allegedly seized Al-Qaryatayn City came from the town of Rubkan avoiding Syrian army posts and using coordinates that could only be obtained through aerial reconnaissance.

Related news: Moon of Alabama, Syria - Russia Issues Third Warning Against U.S. Cooperation With Terrorists, B., Oct. 5, 2017. There have now been three significant incidents against the Russian-Syrian alliance in which, according to Russia, U.S. malignancy played a role. Each time Russian officials warned of consequences. To some extend the U.S. hostility is incited by Israeli nagging. But the record shows that CentCom, the U.S. military command in the Middle East, is overtly aggressive and not always following Washington's line. It is high time for the White House to get the situation under control.

SouthFront, Aleppo's Propaganda Princess Releases Book About Syrian War, Staff report, Oct. 6, 2017. https://southfront.org/aleppos-propaganda-princess-releases-book-syrian-war/ An 8-year-old Syrian girl Bana Alabed presented her book Dear World: My Story of War, My Plea for Peace in New York on October 5. The book is published by Simon & Schuster. The presentation took place at New York University, Anadolu News Agency reports.

The Syrian girl’s name came to prominence via a Twitter account run by her mother. The account was initially dedicated to covering the civilian life during the battle for Aleppo city between Al-Qaeda-linked militants and the Syrian Army. Tweets from the account gained widespread attention. The account has more than 360,000 followers and frequently features pleas to the world to intervene in the ongoing conflict.

Oct. 4

supreme court building

ny times logoNew York Times, Kennedy Seems Open to Court Limits on Gerrymandering, Adam Liptak and Michael D. Shear, Oct. 4, 2017 (print edition). There was reason to think Justice Anthony M. Kennedy may be ready to join the Supreme Court’s more liberal members in a groundbreaking decision that could reshape American democracy.

anthony kennedy oAfter spirited Supreme Court arguments on Tuesday, there was reason to think Justice Kennedy may be ready to join the court’s more liberal members in a groundbreaking decision that could reshape American democracy by letting courts determine when lawmakers have gone too far. Justice Kennedy (shown at right) asked skeptical questions of lawyers defending a Wisconsin legislative map that gave Republicans many more seats in the State Assembly than their statewide vote tallies would have predicted. He asked no questions of the lawyer representing the Democratic voters challenging the map.

samuel alitoThere was something like consensus among the justices that voting maps drawn by politicians to give advantage to their parties are an unattractive feature of American democracy.

But the justices appeared split about whether the court could find a standard for determining when the practice was unconstitutional. “Gerrymandering is distasteful,” said Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. (shown at left), “but if we are going to impose a standard on the courts, it has to be something that’s manageable.”

Inside Washington

Rex Tillerson state dept

NBC News, Tillerson’s Fury at Trump Required an Intervention From Pence, Carol E. Lee, Kristen Welker, Stephanie Ruhle and Dafna Linzer, Oct. 4, 2017.  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was on the verge of resigning this past summer amid mounting policy disputes and clashes with the White House, according to multiple senior administration officials who were aware of the situation at the time.

state dept map logo SmallThe tensions came to a head around the time President Donald Trump delivered a politicized speech in late July to the Boy Scouts of America, an organization Tillerson once led, the officials said.

Just days earlier, Tillerson had openly disparaged the president, referring to him as a “moron,” after a July 20 meeting at the Pentagon with members of Trump’s national security team and Cabinet officials, according to three officials familiar with the incident.

While it's unclear if he was aware of the incident, Vice President Mike Pence counseled Tillerson, who is fourth in line to the presidency, on ways to ease tensions with Trump, and other top administration officials urged him to remain in the job at least until the end of the year, officials said.

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Washington Post, Tillerson vows to stay on amid signs of tension with Trump: ‘I have never considered leaving this post,’ Anne Gearan and Carol Morello, Oct. 4, 2017. In an extraordinary and hastily called news conference at the State Department, the secretary of state did not directly address a report that he had referred to the president as a "moron."

 ny times logoiran flag mapNew York Times, Mattis Contradicts Trump on Iran Deal Ahead of Deadline, Thomas Gibbons-Neff and David E. Sanger, Oct. 4, 2017 (print edition). Pressed by lawmakers, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reiterated his view that the Iran accord is working, a quiet break with President Trump.

James Mattis Days before President Trump has to make a critical decision on whether to hold up the Iran nuclear deal, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (shown at left) openly split with him on abandoning the agreement, the second senior member of the president’s national security team to recently contradict him. Mr. Mattis told senators on Tuesday that it was in America’s interest to stick with the deal, which Mr. Trump has often dismissed as a “disaster.”

Courts, Crime Around the Nation: NYC

Cyrus Vance Jr. ny times logoNew York Times, Vance Returned Trump Lawyer’s Donation After Reporters’ Questions, James C. McKingley Jr., Oct. 4, 2017.  he Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., last week returned a five-year-old campaign contribution from President Trump’s personal lawyer after journalists raised questions about Mr. Vance’s 2012 decision to end a criminal investigation into fraud allegations against Mr. Trump and his children, a spokesman for Mr. Vance’s campaign said.

Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump in Alston, PAThe investigation had delved into allegations that Mr. Trump’s eldest children, Ivanka (shown with her father at a Pennsylvania speech) and Donald Jr., had lied to buyers of units at the Trump SoHo, a 46-story luxury condominium-hotel in Lower Manhattan, about how many apartments had been sold, painting a rosy picture of sales at the struggling project. The buyers sued the Trumps and their partners in the project, and in late 2010 the Manhattan district attorney’s office started looking into whether laws had been broken.

Mr. Vance, a Democrat, said on Wednesday his decision to drop the investigation in August 2012 had nothing to do with donations the lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, made to his campaign. He said he had determined after two years of investigation that his office could not prove a crime had been committed.

marc kasowitz color portraitOne of the contributions, for $25,000, was returned in May 2012, just before Mr. Kasowitz (shown at right) met with Mr. Vance and two senior prosecutors to argue the Trumps had done nothing illegal. Mr. Vance ended the investigation three months later. The second contribution, for $32,000, came five months after Mr. Vance made his decision. That contribution was returned last week, after journalists made inquiries about it. Mr. Kasowitz’s role in the case, and the contributions to Vance’s campaign, were first reported in a joint article  by The New Yorker, ProPublica and WNYC.

Las Vegas Massacre Follow-ups

stephen paddock shooting scene

ny times logoNew York Times, How the Shooting Could Change Police Tactics, Richard A. Oppel Jr., Oct. 4, 2017. Specialists in police training expect greater focus on the threat posed by high-rise or long-distance snipers.

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ny times logoNew York Times, Girlfriend of Casino Gunman Returns to U.S., Ellen Gabler and Conor Dougherty, Oct. 4, 2017. In the search for a motive, some clues may be known only to Marilou Danley (shown in a file photo), who was met by federal agents in Los Angeles.

Capitol Hill Bill Urges Trump To Release JFK Assassination Documents

Roll Call, Lawmakers Push Trump to Release JFK Assassination Files, Niels Lesniewski, Oct. 4, 2017. Bipartisan group introduce resolutions ahead of October deadline Senior lawmakers are calling on President Donald Trump to allow the release of remaining government records on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Resolutions introduced in the House and Senate would call on the president to allow release of documents held by the National Archives and Records Administration, and for the Archives to work to meet a statutory deadline that arrives later in October.

The deadline occurs because it will be the 25th anniversary of the signing of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act.

chuck grassley officialThe leaders of the Senate resolution are Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and Democratic Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, who is a former chairman of the committee.

“The assassination of President Kennedy was one of the most shocking and tragic events in our nation’s history,” Leahy said in a statement. “Americans have the right to know what our government knows. Transparency is crucial for our country to fully reckon with this national tragedy, and that is the purpose of these resolutions.” Grassley expressed a similar sentiment in his statement.

Oct. 3Stephen Paddock Rooms at Mandalay Hotel

Broken windows show exterior Las Vegas shooter Stephen Mandalay's suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Hotel

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Washington Post, Investigators find arsenal fit for a commando team in retiree’s hotel room, Lynh Bui, Mark Berman and Matt Zapotosky, Oct. 3, 2017. Hospitals remained full in Las Vegas with hundreds injured, some in critical condition, while authorities tried to grasp what caused a 64-year-old retiree, Stephen Peacock (shown in a 2002 photo) to turn a concert into a killing field, leaving at least 59 people dead and hundreds injured.

New York Post, Jimmy Kimmel tearfully rips into politicians in wake of Vegas shoooting, Lisa de Moraes, Oct. 3, 2017. Jimmy Kimmel excoriated politicians who sent love to the families of Las Vegas shooting victims, but who won’t pass legislation to curb mass shootings in this country. “Here we are again, in the aftermath of another terrible, inexplicably shocking and painful tragedy,” Kimmel began Monday night’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” noting that Las Vegas is his hometown.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: If Only Stephen Paddock Were a Muslim, Thomas L. Friedman, Oct. 3, 2017. If only he had shouted “Allahu akbar” before he opened fire on all those concertgoers in Las Vegas … If only he had been a member of ISIS.

If all of that had happened, no one would be telling us not to dishonor the victims and “politicize” Paddock’s mass murder by talking about preventive remedies.

No, no, no. Then we know what we’d be doing. We’d be scheduling immediate hearings in Congress about the worst domestic terrorism event since 9/11. Then Donald Trump would be tweeting every hour “I told you so,” as he does minutes after every terror attack in Europe, precisely to immediately politicize them. Then there would be immediate calls for a commission of inquiry to see what new laws we need to put in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Then we’d be “weighing all options” against the country of origin.

 Trump In Puerto Rico

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Washington Post, Trump says Puerto Rico officials should be ‘proud’ more haven’t died like in Katrina, Ashley Parker, Oct. 3, 2017. The president’s remarks came as he touched down in San Juan amid harsh criticism of the administration’s response to Hurricane Maria.

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Washington Post,  A cry from Puerto Rico: ‘In my life, I have never seen anything so mismanaged,’ Steven Mufson, Oct. 3, 2017. A factory owner on the island recounts a week of debris, flooding, damaged rooftops and frustration.

Huffington Post, Trump Visits Puerto Rico After Insult Tweets, Tells Officials Hurricane Threw Budget ‘Out Of Whack,’ Willa Frej and Marina Fang, Oct. 3, 2017. President Donald Trump landed on Puerto Rico on Tuesday, almost two weeks after Hurricane Maria pummeled the island and left many of its 3.4 million residents without power, water or food

Donald Trump

At his first stop, a briefing with federal and local officials, Trump lavishly praised them. He then repeatedly turned to individuals around the table and invited them to offer their own praise — while insisting, “It’s not about me.”

He told officials that they should be “very proud” of their response after asking them for their “death count” from the storm, and appeared to joke about the cost of the storm damage. “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack,” he said.Tensions are high after the president ripped into local officials for criticizing his administration’s storm response.

Inside Washington

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Washington Post, Fancy dinners, far-flung speeches: Calendars detail EPA chief’s close ties to industry, Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin, Oct. 3, 2017. A detailed schedule for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt (shown at right) shows many meals and meetings with industry executives he regulates.

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Washington Post, U.S. will expel 15 Cuban diplomats, escalating tensions over mystery illnesses, Carol Morello, Oct. 3, 2017.  The decision comes days after the State Department ordered half of its staff out Havana and issued a travel warning to all Americans in response to months of unexplained injuries to American personnel.

GOP Hypocrisy on Abortion

Roll Call, Murphy Will Not Seek Re-Election Following Affair Revelations, Bridget Bowman, Oct. 4, 2017. Rep. Tim Murphy announced Wednesday that he would not seek re-election, following revelations that he urged a woman with whom he had an affair to get an abortion. The Pennsylvania Republican told a local CBS affiliate that he would not run for a ninth term in Congress. He said there was still work to be done and he would serve out the remainder of his term.

“In the coming weeks I will take personal time to seek help as my family and I continue to work through our personal difficulties and seek healing,” Murphy said. “I ask you to respect our privacy during this time.”

Murphy first admitted last month to having an affair with forensic psychologist Shannon Edwards. The affair came to light amid Edwards’ divorce proceedings.

But on Tuesday the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported new details of text messages between Edwards and Murphy, in which Edwards referenced Murphy urging her to have an abortion. The Post-Gazette reported the discussion was referring to an “unfounded pregnancy scare.”

More Corruption Claims About Trump Tribe

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in July 4, 2017 via FacebookProPublica and the New Yorker, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. Were Close to Being Charged With Felony Fraud, Jesse Eisinger and Justin Elliott, ProPublica, and  Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz, WNYC, Oct. 4, 2017.New York prosecutors were preparing a case. Then the D.A. overruled his staff after a visit from a top donor: Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz. This article is a collaboration between ProPublica, WNYC and The New Yorker and is not subject to our Creative Commons license. 

In the spring of 2012, Donald Trump’s two eldest children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., found themselves in a precarious legal position. For two years, prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office had been building a criminal case against them for misleading prospective buyers of units in the Trump SoHo, a hotel and condo development that was failing to sell.

Jared and Ivanka Trump

Despite the best efforts of the siblings’ defense team, the case had not gone away. An indictment seemed like a real possibility. The evidence included emails from the Trumps making clear that they were aware they were using inflated figures about how well the condos were selling to lure buyers.

 Kasowitz, who by then had been the elder Donald Trump’s attorney for a decade, is primarily a civil litigator with little experience in criminal matters. But in 2012, Kasowitz donated $25,000 to the reelection campaign of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., making Kasowitz one of Vance’s largest donors.

marc kasowitz color portraitKasowitz (shown in a file photo at right) decided to bypass the lower level prosecutors and went directly to Vance to ask that the investigation be dropped.

Ultimately, Vance overruled his own prosecutors. Three months after the meeting, he told them to drop the case. Kasowitz subsequently boasted to colleagues about representing the Trump children, according to two people. He said that the case was “really dangerous,” one person said, and that it was “amazing I got them off.” (Kasowitz denied making such a statement.

New Revelations In Celebrity Pedophilia-Ponzi Scandals

Jeffrey Epstein sex offenderPalm Beach Post, Epstein paid three women $5.5 million to end underage-sex lawsuits, Jane Musgrave, Oct. 3, 2017. Ending years of speculation about how much Palm Beach billionaire Jeffrey Epstein paid young women who claimed he used them as sex toys, court documents filed last week show he shelled out $5.5 million to settle lawsuits with three of more than two dozen teens who sued him.

Responding to requests from Epstein’s attorneys in a complex lawsuit that was spawned by the sex scandal, attorney Bradley Edwards said the politically-connected 64-year-old convicted sex offender paid more than $1 million to each of the three women Edwards represented.

Attorney Jack Scarola, who is representing Edwards, said his client was compelled to divulge the confidential settlements to answer questions posed by Epstein’s attorneys. “Brilliant move on their part,” he said.

Even if Epstein’s attorneys hadn’t opened the door, Scarola said the information would have likely come out. He says the information will help him undermine Epstein’s claims that Edwards “ginned up” the allegations to help his former law partner, imprisoned and disbarred Fort Lauderdale lawyer Scott Rothstein, perpetuate a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme.

 More Reprisals For Americans Who Critizicize Israel's Foreign Policies

 philip giraldiUnz Review via Information Clearinghouse, How I Got Fired, Philip Giraldi, Oct. 3, 2017. Exposing Jewish power in America has real consequences. Philip Giraldi (shown at left) is a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer of the United States Central Intelligence Agency.

Two weeks ago, I wrote for Unz.com an article entitled “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars.” It sought to make several points concerning the consequences of Jewish political power vis-à-vis some aspects of U.S. foreign policy.

Israel Flag

It noted that some individual American Jews and organizations with close ties to Israel, whom I named and identified, are greatly disproportionately represented in the government, media, foundations, think tanks and lobbying that is part and parcel of the deliberations that lead to formulation of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Inevitably, those policies are skewed to represent Israeli interests and do serious damage to genuine American equities in the region. This tilt should not necessarily surprise anyone who has been paying attention and was noted by Nathan Glazer, among others, as long ago as 1976.

The end result of Israel centric policymaking in Washington is to produce negotiators like Dennis Ross, who consistently supported Israeli positions in peace talks, so much so that he was referred to as “Israel’s lawyer.” This group of Israel advocates is as responsible as any other body in the United States for the deaths of thousands of Americans and literally millions of mostly Muslim foreigners in unnecessary wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. It has also turned the U.S. into an active accomplice in the brutal suppression of the Palestinians. That they have never expressed any remorse or regret and the fact that the deaths and suffering don’t seem to matter to them are clear indictments of the sheer inhumanity of the positions they embrace.

My article proved to be quite popular, particularly after former CIA officer Valerie Plame tweeted her approval of it and was viciously and repeatedly attacked, resulting in a string of abject apologies on her part.

With that in mind, I should have expected that there would be a move made to “silence” me. It came three days after my article appeared. The Editor of The American Conservative (TAC) magazine and website, where I have been a regular and highly rated contributor for nearly 15 years, called me and abruptly announced that even though my article had appeared on another site, it had been deemed unacceptable and TAC would have to sever its relationship with me. I called him a coward and he replied that he was not.

Three days later, another shoe dropped. I was supposed to speak at a panel discussion critical of Saudi Arabia on October 2nd. The organizer, the Frontiers of Freedom foundation, emailed me to say my services would no longer be required because “the conference will not be a success if we get sidetracked into debating, discussing, or defending the substance of your writings on Israel.”

Would I do something different if I were to write my article again today? Yes. I would have made clearer that I was not writing about all or most American Jews, many of whom are active in the peace movement.

Oct. 2

Mass Murder In Vegas

stephen paddock from eric paddock

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Washington Post, Gunman was a high-stakes gambler known for keeping to himself, William Wan, Sandhya Somashekhar, Aaron C. Davis and Barbara Liston, Oct. 2, 2017. ​Stunned family members said Stephen Paddock was quiet and rarely fired guns but often gambled in tens of thousands of dollars. “My brother is not like you and me," Eric Paddock said. “He sends me a text that says he won $250,000 at the casino.”  

​Before he opened fire late Sunday, killing at least 58 people at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip, gunman Stephen Paddock was living out his retirement as a high-stakes gambler in a quiet town outside Las Vegas.

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Washington Post, Attack may be first mass shooting using an automatic weapon in the U.S., Michael S. Rosenwald, Devlin Barrett and Alex Horton, Oct. 2, 2017. Police said the Las Vegas shooter had a cache of 17 mostly powerful firearms. One of the weapons apparently used was an AK-47 type rifle, with a stand to steady it for firing, according to people familiar with the case.

Roll Call, Las Vegas Shooting Reignites Gun Debate on Capitol Hill, Griffin Connolly, Oct. 2, 2017. Members offer prayers and condolences to victims and families, tributes to police and first responders. Democratic lawmakers Monday morning renewed their pleas for legislative action to restrict access to firearms after a gunman unleashed a storm of bullets on concert-goers on the Las Vegas Strip late Sunday night. At least 50 people were killed, officials said. Multiple media outlets have reported that more than 400 people were taken to local hospitals for treatment in what is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Chris Murphy

Sen. Chris Murphy (right) sent out a 12-word press release Monday morning: “It’s time for Congress to get off its ass and do something,” the Connecticut Democrat said. Murphy has been the most vociferous advocate for gun control in Congress since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

richard blumenthal portrait

His Democratic colleague from Connecticut, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (at left), expressed similar outrage on Monday at Congress's inability to pass gun control legislation. It has been little more than a year since deadly attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which had been the largest mass shooting in American history before Sunday’s events, Blumenthal noted in a statement.

“In the interim, thousands more have been lost to the daily, ruthless toll of gun violence. Still, Congress refuses to act,” he said. “I am more than frustrated, I am furious.”

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stephen paddock 2002 croppedWashington Post, At least 58 dead, more than 500 injured in Las Vegas shooting, Derek Hawkins, Travis M. Andrews, Brian Murphy and Mark Berman, Oct. 2, 2017.​ Gunman in a high-rise hotel on the Strip opened fire during a country music festival. In the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the sniper-style gunfire rained down from the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on Sunday evening, police said.

The gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, 64 (shown in a 2002 family photo), is believed to be a “lone wolf” and was killed after authorities confronted him on the 32nd floor of the hotel, police said. The carnage surpassed the death toll of 49 people slain when a gunman in Orlando, who later said he was inspired by the Islamic State, opened fire inside a crowded nightclub in June 2016.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Trump Takes On All Comers, Believing Himself the Victor, Peter Baker, Oct. 2, 2017 (print edition). President Trump flew by helicopter Sunday afternoon to Jersey City to watch the Presidents Cup golf tournament, where he presented the trophy to the winner. In Mr. Trump’s mind, that is something he knows about: winning. In fact, he would argue, he was winning all weekend.

Never mind that opponents, independent analysts and even some of his own advisers winced at his latest outbursts. His view of politics is unlike that of any president in modern times. Where other occupants of the Oval Office might go out of their way to avoid public fights with hurricane victims, popular athletes or members of their own team, Mr. Trump relishes them. He thinks they make him look strong. His base cheers him on.

Global News

American Conservative, When Did Congress Vote to Aid the Saudis' Yemen War? Gareth Porter, Oct. 2, 2017. Lawmakers use War Powers Act to finally question legality of U.S. involvement. The bill introduced by a bipartisan group of House members last week to end the direct U.S. military role in the Saudi coalition war in Yemen guarantees that the House of Representatives will vote for the first time on the single most important element of U.S. involvement in the war — the refueling of Saudi coalition planes systematically bombing Yemeni civilian targets.

In doing so, moreover, the bipartisan bill, H. Con. Res. 81, will provide a major test of Congressional will to uphold the War Powers Act of 1973, which reasserted a Congressional role in restraining presidential power to enter into wars without its approval in the wake of the Vietnam War debacle.

Jared Kushner Ivanka Trump July 4, 2017Palmer Report, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner private email scandal explodes, Bill Palmer, Oct. 2, 2017. Apparently it wasn’t enough that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner each used their own private email account to conduct White House business, in violation of every protocol on the books. Ivanka and Jared also shared yet another mysterious private email account, which was used for White House business among other things, as the Trump administration’s private email scandal gets uglier – and more ironic – by the minute.

The email account in question belonged to the Kushner family business. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump both used that shared account on a regular basis for the kind of official business that the NSA had warned them to only conduct via government email accounts, according to a new Politico report. This makes for a far more complex, and much more sinister, private email scandal than had previously been known. Ivanka and Jared could have feigned ignorance in their use of their own respective personal email accounts. But there’s no explaining away why they are also using yet another private email account as well. This wasn’t incompetence; it was a strategy to hide something.

The White House is now turning over to investigators what it claims are all of the emails in question. But considering the routine dishonesty of Donald Trump’s White House, and how obvious it is that Jared and Ivanka were trying to hide something by using all these layers of private email accounts for government business, it can’t be assumed that all of the emails in question are actually being turned over.

Trump spent the entire election flat out lying about Hillary Clinton’s perfectly legal use of a private email server, for which she had been fully cleared by the FBI. Now it turns out Trump and his family are guilty of a sinister, and possibly illegal, private email scandal whose full depths are still unknown.

Oct. 1

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Washington Post, On SNL, Baldwin’s Trump tells Puerto Rico: ‘We have to take care of America first,’ Elahe Izadi, Oct. 1, 2017. "Saturday Night Live" opened its Sept. 30 show with a skit satirizing President Trump's handling of the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. Alec Baldwin once again returned to play Trump in Saturday’s cold open, which referenced the series of tweets real-life President Trump sent earlier in the day criticizing Puerto Rican officials’ response to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

In the sketch, Baldwin’s Trump returns from a golfing outing in Bedminster, N.J., to take a call from the mayor of San Juan. “I’m sure she wants to tell me what a great job I’m doing,” Trump tells Sarah Huckabee Sanders, played by Aidy Bryant.

carmen yulin cruz hurricane nbc croppedShe does not. “I’m begging you. Puerto Rico needs your help,” says Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz (shown in a file photo and portrayed by Melissa Villaseñor).

Trump responds, “Well, you should have paid your bills....Ma’am, I don’t know if you know this, but you are in an island, in the water. The ocean water, big ocean, with fishies and bubbles and turtles that bite,” Trump continues. “We want to help you, but we have to take care of America first.”

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North Korean flag Washington Post, Trump says Tillerson is ‘wasting his time’ trying to pursue negotiations with North Korea, David Nakamura, Oct. 1, 2017. On Twitter, the president undercut Tillerson's latest diplomatic efforts to decrease hostilities between Washington and Pyongyang.

 ny times logoNew York Times, S.I. Newhouse Jr., Publishing Icon Who Ran Condé Nast, Dies at 89, Jonathan Kandell, Oct. 1, 2017. S.I. Newhouse Jr., who as the owner of The New Yorker, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Architectural Digest and other magazines wielded vast influence over American culture, fashion and social taste, died on Sunday at his home, a family spokesman said. He was 89.

Mr. Newhouse, known as Si, and his younger brother, Donald, inherited an impressive publishing empire from their father, Solomon I. (“Sam”) Newhouse, and built it into one of the largest privately held fortunes in the United States, with estimates of the family wealth running over $12 billion at the turn of the 21st century.

While Donald led the more profitable newspaper and cable television operations, Si took charge of the more glamorous magazine division.Much of that glamour was created under Si Newhouse’s direction. Though himself a shy man often painfully awkward in public, Mr. Newhouse hired some of the most charismatic magazine editors of the late 20th century, among them Tina Brown at Vanity Fair and Diana Vreeland and Anna Wintour at Vogue, and encouraged them to behave like the celebrities they extolled in his publications.

john kasichHuffington Post, John Kasich Hints That He May Need To Leave The GOP, Akbar Shahid Ahmed, Oct. 1, 2017. Ohio governor John Kasich (shown at right), a top Republican leader and former candidate for the party’s presidential nomination, on Sunday said the GOP may be on a trajectory to lose supporters like him.

“If the party can’t be fixed, Jake, then I’m not going to be able to support the party, period,” he told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union,” a few minutes after he noted that Americans seem more eager to hear from independent candidates than ever before. The governor’s comment came in response to a question about how Republicans should react to Alabama politician Roy Moore securing their party’s nomination for that state’s open Senate seat.

Global News

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Spanish flag wavingWashington Post, Chaotic and violent vote shows landslide support for Catalan independence, William Booth, Oct. 1, 2017. The Catalan government said 90 percent of ballots cast in the controversial referendum favored independence, a result sure to be challenged by the central government in Madrid as illegitimate and illegal.

October Update

Oct. 5

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iran flag mapWashington Post, Trump plans to take first step toward undoing Iran nuclear agreement, Anne Gearan and Karoun Demirjian, Oct. 5, 2017. Under what is described as a tougher and more comprehensive approach, President Trump would open the door to modifying the landmark 2015 deal. But for now he won’t recommend the resumption of sanctions on Iran, said people familiar with aspects of his thinking.

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Washington Post, Analysis: Trump’s decision on Iran could cause major breach with allies, Karen DeYoung and Carol Morello​, Oct. 5, 2017. More than any other issue that has threatened transatlantic cohesion this year, decertifying Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal could start a chain of events that would sharply divide the United States from its closest traditional allies.

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Washington Post, As ACA enrollment nears, administration keeps cutting federal support of the law, Juliet Eilperin, Oct. 5, 2017. Supporters of the Affordable Care Act see the president’s opposition even to policies wanted by conservative states as part of a broader campaign to undermine the law, with Trump personally intervening to stop changes sought in Iowa.

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Washington Post, Treasury secretary’s military flights totaling $811,000 were legal but poorly justified, watchdog says, Lisa Rein, Oct. 5, 2017. In a review of nine requests for Steven Mnuchin to fly on government planes, the Treasury Department inspector general’s office found that Trump officials cut corners as they tried to justify the trips, as federal regulations require.

Unz Review, Books Banned by "Banned Books Week," Michael Hoffman, Oct. 5, 2017. Last week was the American Library Association’s annual “Banned Books Week,” the eponymous celebration of books forbidden by censors and pressure groups in the United States. While the event purports to focus on books deemed too dangerous for impressionable minds, the daring entries showcased this year include Huckleberry Finn and The Handmaid’s Tale.

Oct. 4

ny times logoNew York Times, Kennedy Seems Open to Court Limits on Gerrymandering, Adam Liptak and Michael D. Shear, Oct. 4, 2017 (print edition). There was reason to think Justice Anthony M. Kennedy may be ready to join the Supreme Court’s more liberal members in a groundbreaking decision that could reshape American democracy.

anthony kennedy oAfter spirited Supreme Court arguments on Tuesday, there was reason to think Justice Kennedy may be ready to join the court’s more liberal members in a groundbreaking decision that could reshape American democracy by letting courts determine when lawmakers have gone too far. Justice Kennedy (shown at right) asked skeptical questions of lawyers defending a Wisconsin legislative map that gave Republicans many more seats in the State Assembly than their statewide vote tallies would have predicted. He asked no questions of the lawyer representing the Democratic voters challenging the map.

samuel alitoThere was something like consensus among the justices that voting maps drawn by politicians to give advantage to their parties are an unattractive feature of American democracy.

But the justices appeared split about whether the court could find a standard for determining when the practice was unconstitutional. “Gerrymandering is distasteful,” said Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. (shown at left), “but if we are going to impose a standard on the courts, it has to be something that’s manageable.”

Inside Washington

Rex Tillerson state dept

NBC News, Tillerson’s Fury at Trump Required an Intervention From Pence, Carol E. Lee, Kristen Welker, Stephanie Ruhle and Dafna Linzer, Oct. 4, 2017.  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was on the verge of resigning this past summer amid mounting policy disputes and clashes with the White House, according to multiple senior administration officials who were aware of the situation at the time.

state dept map logo SmallThe tensions came to a head around the time President Donald Trump delivered a politicized speech in late July to the Boy Scouts of America, an organization Tillerson once led, the officials said.

Just days earlier, Tillerson had openly disparaged the president, referring to him as a “moron,” after a July 20 meeting at the Pentagon with members of Trump’s national security team and Cabinet officials, according to three officials familiar with the incident.

While it's unclear if he was aware of the incident, Vice President Mike Pence counseled Tillerson, who is fourth in line to the presidency, on ways to ease tensions with Trump, and other top administration officials urged him to remain in the job at least until the end of the year, officials said.

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Washington Post, Tillerson vows to stay on amid signs of tension with Trump: ‘I have never considered leaving this post,’ Anne Gearan and Carol Morello, Oct. 4, 2017. In an extraordinary and hastily called news conference at the State Department, the secretary of state did not directly address a report that he had referred to the president as a "moron."

 ny times logoiran flag mapNew York Times, Mattis Contradicts Trump on Iran Deal Ahead of Deadline, Thomas Gibbons-Neff and David E. Sanger, Oct. 4, 2017 (print edition). Pressed by lawmakers, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reiterated his view that the Iran accord is working, a quiet break with President Trump.

James Mattis Days before President Trump has to make a critical decision on whether to hold up the Iran nuclear deal, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (shown at left) openly split with him on abandoning the agreement, the second senior member of the president’s national security team to recently contradict him. Mr. Mattis told senators on Tuesday that it was in America’s interest to stick with the deal, which Mr. Trump has often dismissed as a “disaster.”

Las Vegas Massacre Follow-ups

stephen paddock shooting scene

ny times logoNew York Times, How the Shooting Could Change Police Tactics, Richard A. Oppel Jr., Oct. 4, 2017. Specialists in police training expect greater focus on the threat posed by high-rise or long-distance snipers.

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ny times logoNew York Times, Girlfriend of Casino Gunman Returns to U.S., Ellen Gabler and Conor Dougherty, Oct. 4, 2017. In the search for a motive, some clues may be known only to Marilou Danley (shown in a file photo), who was met by federal agents in Los Angeles.

Capitol Hill Bill Urges Trump To Release JFK Assassination Documents

Roll Call, Lawmakers Push Trump to Release JFK Assassination Files, Niels Lesniewski, Oct. 4, 2017. Bipartisan group introduce resolutions ahead of October deadline Senior lawmakers are calling on President Donald Trump to allow the release of remaining government records on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Resolutions introduced in the House and Senate would call on the president to allow release of documents held by the National Archives and Records Administration, and for the Archives to work to meet a statutory deadline that arrives later in October.

The deadline occurs because it will be the 25th anniversary of the signing of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act.

chuck grassley officialThe leaders of the Senate resolution are Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and Democratic Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, who is a former chairman of the committee.

“The assassination of President Kennedy was one of the most shocking and tragic events in our nation’s history,” Leahy said in a statement. “Americans have the right to know what our government knows. Transparency is crucial for our country to fully reckon with this national tragedy, and that is the purpose of these resolutions.” Grassley expressed a similar sentiment in his statement.

Oct. 3Stephen Paddock Rooms at Mandalay Hotel

Broken windows show exterior Las Vegas shooter Stephen Mandalay's suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Hotel

stephen paddock 2002 cropped

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Washington Post, Investigators find arsenal fit for a commando team in retiree’s hotel room, Lynh Bui, Mark Berman and Matt Zapotosky, Oct. 3, 2017. Hospitals remained full in Las Vegas with hundreds injured, some in critical condition, while authorities tried to grasp what caused a 64-year-old retiree, Stephen Peacock (shown in a 2002 photo) to turn a concert into a killing field, leaving at least 59 people dead and hundreds injured.

New York Post, Jimmy Kimmel tearfully rips into politicians in wake of Vegas shoooting, Lisa de Moraes, Oct. 3, 2017. Jimmy Kimmel excoriated politicians who sent love to the families of Las Vegas shooting victims, but who won’t pass legislation to curb mass shootings in this country. “Here we are again, in the aftermath of another terrible, inexplicably shocking and painful tragedy,” Kimmel began Monday night’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” noting that Las Vegas is his hometown.

Las Vegas Shooting Scene Debris

 

 

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: If Only Stephen Paddock Were a Muslim, Thomas L. Friedman, Oct. 3, 2017. If only he had shouted “Allahu akbar” before he opened fire on all those concertgoers in Las Vegas … If only he had been a member of ISIS. If all of that had happened, no one would be telling us not to dishonor the victims and “politicize” Paddock’s mass murder by talking about preventive remedies.

No, no, no. Then we know what we’d be doing. We’d be scheduling immediate hearings in Congress about the worst domestic terrorism event since 9/11. Then Donald Trump would be tweeting every hour “I told you so,” as he does minutes after every terror attack in Europe, precisely to immediately politicize them. Then there would be immediate calls for a commission of inquiry to see what new laws we need to put in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Then we’d be “weighing all options” against the country of origin.

 Trump In Puerto Rico

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Washington Post, Trump says Puerto Rico officials should be ‘proud’ more haven’t died like in Katrina, Ashley Parker, Oct. 3, 2017. The president’s remarks came as he touched down in San Juan amid harsh criticism of the administration’s response to Hurricane Maria.

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Washington Post,  A cry from Puerto Rico: ‘In my life, I have never seen anything so mismanaged,’ Steven Mufson, Oct. 3, 2017. A factory owner on the island recounts a week of debris, flooding, damaged rooftops and frustration.

Huffington Post, Trump Visits Puerto Rico After Insult Tweets, Tells Officials Hurricane Threw Budget ‘Out Of Whack,’ Willa Frej and Marina Fang, Oct. 3, 2017. President Donald Trump landed on Puerto Rico on Tuesday, almost two weeks after Hurricane Maria pummeled the island and left many of its 3.4 million residents without power, water or food.

At his first stop, a briefing with federal and local officials, Trump lavishly praised them. He then repeatedly turned to individuals around the table and invited them to offer their own praise — while insisting, “It’s not about me.”

He told officials that they should be “very proud” of their response after asking them for their “death count” from the storm, and appeared to joke about the cost of the storm damage. “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack,” he said.Tensions are high after the president ripped into local officials for criticizing his administration’s storm response.

Inside Washington

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scott pruitt epa o Custom

Washington Post, Fancy dinners, far-flung speeches: Calendars detail EPA chief’s close ties to industry, Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin, Oct. 3, 2017. A detailed schedule for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt (shown at right) shows many meals and meetings with industry executives he regulates.

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Washington Post, U.S. will expel 15 Cuban diplomats, escalating tensions over mystery illnesses, Carol Morello, Oct. 3, 2017.  The decision comes days after the State Department ordered half of its staff out Havana and issued a travel warning to all Americans in response to months of unexplained injuries to American personnel.

GOP Hypocrisy on Abortion

Roll Call, Murphy Will Not Seek Re-Election Following Affair Revelations, Bridget Bowman, Oct. 4, 2017. Rep. Tim Murphy announced Wednesday that he would not seek re-election, following revelations that he urged a woman with whom he had an affair to get an abortion. The Pennsylvania Republican told a local CBS affiliate that he would not run for a ninth term in Congress. He said there was still work to be done and he would serve out the remainder of his term.

“In the coming weeks I will take personal time to seek help as my family and I continue to work through our personal difficulties and seek healing,” Murphy said. “I ask you to respect our privacy during this time.”

Murphy first admitted last month to having an affair with forensic psychologist Shannon Edwards. The affair came to light amid Edwards’ divorce proceedings.

But on Tuesday the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported new details of text messages between Edwards and Murphy, in which Edwards referenced Murphy urging her to have an abortion. The Post-Gazette reported the discussion was referring to an “unfounded pregnancy scare.”

More Corruption Claims About Trump Tribe

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in July 4, 2017 via FacebookProPublica, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. Were Close to Being Charged With Felony Fraud, Jesse Eisinger and Justin Elliott, ProPublica, and  Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz, WNYC, Oct. 4, 2017.New York prosecutors were preparing a case. Then the D.A. overruled his staff after a visit from a top donor: Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz. This article is a collaboration between ProPublica, WNYC and The New Yorker and is not subject to our Creative Commons license. 

In the spring of 2012, Donald Trump’s two eldest children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., found themselves in a precarious legal position. For two years, prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office had been building a criminal case against them for misleading prospective buyers of units in the Trump SoHo, a hotel and condo development that was failing to sell.

Despite the best efforts of the siblings’ defense team, the case had not gone away. An indictment seemed like a real possibility. The evidence included emails from the Trumps making clear that they were aware they were using inflated figures about how well the condos were selling to lure buyers.

Cyrus Vance Jr. Kasowitz, who by then had been the elder Donald Trump’s attorney for a decade, is primarily a civil litigator with little experience in criminal matters. But in 2012, Kasowitz donated $25,000 to the reelection campaign of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. (shown at right), making Kasowitz one of Vance’s largest donors. Kasowitz decided to bypass the lower level prosecutors and went directly to Vance to ask that the investigation be dropped.

Ultimately, Vance overruled his own prosecutors. Three months after the meeting, he told them to drop the case. Kasowitz subsequently boasted to colleagues about representing the Trump children, according to two people. He said that the case was “really dangerous,” one person said, and that it was “amazing I got them off.” (Kasowitz denied making such a statement.

New Revelations In Celebrity Pedophilia-Ponzi Scandals

Jeffrey Epstein sex offenderPalm Beach Post, Epstein paid three women $5.5 million to end underage-sex lawsuits, Jane Musgrave, Oct. 3, 2017. Ending years of speculation about how much Palm Beach billionaire Jeffrey Epstein paid young women who claimed he used them as sex toys, court documents filed last week show he shelled out $5.5 million to settle lawsuits with three of more than two dozen teens who sued him.

Responding to requests from Epstein’s attorneys in a complex lawsuit that was spawned by the sex scandal, attorney Bradley Edwards said the politically-connected 64-year-old convicted sex offender paid more than $1 million to each of the three women Edwards represented.

Attorney Jack Scarola, who is representing Edwards, said his client was compelled to divulge the confidential settlements to answer questions posed by Epstein’s attorneys. “Brilliant move on their part,” he said.

Even if Epstein’s attorneys hadn’t opened the door, Scarola said the information would have likely come out. He says the information will help him undermine Epstein’s claims that Edwards “ginned up” the allegations to help his former law partner, imprisoned and disbarred Fort Lauderdale lawyer Scott Rothstein, perpetuate a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme.

Saudi-Led Coalition Named For Child-Killing

Reuters, Draft U.N. blacklist names Saudi coalition for killing children in Yemen, Michelle Nichols, Oct. 3, 2017A confidential draft United Nations blacklist seen by Reuters on Tuesday names a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition for killing and maiming children in Yemen, though it notes that the alliance has put in place measures to improve child protection.

In an effort to dampen controversy surrounding the annual children and armed conflict report, the draft blacklist - contained in an annex to the full report - is split into “listed parties that have put in place measures during the reporting period to improve the protection of children” and those which have not.

“In Yemen, the coalition’s actions objectively led to the listing for the killing and maiming of children, with 683 child casualties attributed to this party, and, as a result of being responsible for 38 verified incidents, for attacks on schools and hospitals during 2016,” according to a draft explanation of the blacklist seen by Reuters.

Oct. 2

Las Vegas Shooting Scene Debris

Mass Murder In Vegas

stephen paddock from eric paddock

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Washington Post, Gunman was a high-stakes gambler known for keeping to himself, William Wan, Sandhya Somashekhar, Aaron C. Davis and Barbara Liston, Oct. 2, 2017. ​Stunned family members said Stephen Paddock was quiet and rarely fired guns but often gambled in tens of thousands of dollars. “My brother is not like you and me," Eric Paddock said. “He sends me a text that says he won $250,000 at the casino.”  

 ​Before he opened fire late Sunday, killing at least 58 people at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip, gunman Stephen Paddock was living out his retirement as a high-stakes gambler in a quiet town outside Las Vegas.

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Washington Post, Attack may be first mass shooting using an automatic weapon in the U.S., Michael S. Rosenwald, Devlin Barrett and Alex Horton, Oct. 2, 2017. Police said the Las Vegas shooter had a cache of 17 mostly powerful firearms. One of the weapons apparently used was an AK-47 type rifle, with a stand to steady it for firing, according to people familiar with the case.

Roll Call, Las Vegas Shooting Reignites Gun Debate on Capitol Hill, Griffin Connolly, Oct. 2, 2017. Members offer prayers and condolences to victims and families, tributes to police and first responders. Democratic lawmakers Monday morning renewed their pleas for legislative action to restrict access to firearms after a gunman unleashed a storm of bullets on concert-goers on the Las Vegas Strip late Sunday night. At least 50 people were killed, officials said. Multiple media outlets have reported that more than 400 people were taken to local hospitals for treatment in what is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Chris Murphy

Sen. Chris Murphy (right) sent out a 12-word press release Monday morning: “It’s time for Congress to get off its ass and do something,” the Connecticut Democrat said. Murphy has been the most vociferous advocate for gun control in Congress since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  richard blumenthal portrait

His Democratic colleague from Connecticut, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (at left), expressed similar outrage on Monday at Congress's inability to pass gun control legislation. It has been little more than a year since deadly attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which had been the largest mass shooting in American history before Sunday’s events, Blumenthal noted in a statement.

“In the interim, thousands more have been lost to the daily, ruthless toll of gun violence. Still, Congress refuses to act,” he said. “I am more than frustrated, I am furious.”

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stephen paddock 2002 croppedWashington Post, At least 58 dead, more than 500 injured in Las Vegas shooting, Derek Hawkins, Travis M. Andrews, Brian Murphy and Mark Berman, Oct. 2, 2017.​ Gunman in a high-rise hotel on the Strip opened fire during a country music festival. In the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the sniper-style gunfire rained down from the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on Sunday evening, police said.

The gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, 64 (shown in a 2002 family photo), is believed to be a “lone wolf” and was killed after authorities confronted him on the 32nd floor of the hotel, police said. The carnage surpassed the death toll of 49 people slain when a gunman in Orlando, who later said he was inspired by the Islamic State, opened fire inside a crowded nightclub in June 2016.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Trump Takes On All Comers, Believing Himself the Victor, Peter Baker, Oct. 2, 2017 (print edition). President Trump flew by helicopter Sunday afternoon to Jersey City to watch the Presidents Cup golf tournament, where he presented the trophy to the winner. In Mr. Trump’s mind, that is something he knows about: winning. In fact, he would argue, he was winning all weekend.

Never mind that opponents, independent analysts and even some of his own advisers winced at his latest outbursts. His view of politics is unlike that of any president in modern times. Where other occupants of the Oval Office might go out of their way to avoid public fights with hurricane victims, popular athletes or members of their own team, Mr. Trump relishes them. He thinks they make him look strong. His base cheers him on.

Global News

gareth porter trnn screenshotAmerican Conservative, When Did Congress Vote to Aid the Saudis' Yemen War? Gareth Porter (shown in file photo), Oct. 2, 2017. Lawmakers use War Powers Act to finally question legality of U.S. involvement. The bill introduced by a bipartisan group of House members last week to end the direct U.S. military role in the Saudi coalition war in Yemen guarantees that the House of Representatives will vote for the first time on the single most important element of U.S. involvement in the war—the refueling of Saudi coalition planes systematically bombing Yemeni civilian targets.In doing so, moreover, the bipartisan bill, H. Con. Res. 81, will provide a major test of Congressional will to uphold the War Powers Act of 1973, which reasserted a Congressional role in restraining presidential power to enter into wars without its approval in the wake of the Vietnam War debacle.

Jared Kushner Ivanka Trump July 4, 2017Palmer Report, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner private email scandal explodes, Bill Palmer, Oct. 2, 2017. Apparently it wasn’t enough that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner each used their own private email account to conduct White House business, in violation of every protocol on the books. Ivanka and Jared also shared yet another mysterious private email account, which was used for White House business among other things, as the Trump administration’s private email scandal gets uglier – and more ironic – by the minute.

The email account in question belonged to the Kushner family business. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump both used that shared account on a regular basis for the kind of official business that the NSA had warned them to only conduct via government email accounts, according to a new Politico report.

This makes for a far more complex, and much more sinister, private email scandal than had previously been known. Ivanka and Jared could have feigned ignorance in their use of their own respective personal email accounts. But there’s no explaining away why they are also using yet another private email account as well. This wasn’t incompetence; it was a strategy to hide something.

Donald Trump

The White House is now turning over to investigators what it claims are all of the emails in question. But considering the routine dishonesty of Donald Trump’s White House, and how obvious it is that Jared and Ivanka were trying to hide something by using all these layers of private email accounts for government business, it can’t be assumed that all of the emails in question are actually being turned over.

robert mueller doj portrait CustomTrump spent the entire election flat out lying about Hillary Clinton’s perfectly legal use of a private email server, for which she had been fully cleared by the FBI. Now it turns out Trump and his family are guilty of a sinister, and possibly illegal, private email scandal whose full depths are still unknown. (Special Counsel Robert Mueller is shown at right in a file photo.)

Oct. 1

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Washington Post, On SNL, Baldwin’s Trump tells Puerto Rico: ‘We have to take care of America first,’ Elahe Izadi, Oct. 1, 2017. "Saturday Night Live" opened its Sept. 30 show with a skit satirizing President Trump's handling of the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. Alec Baldwin once again returned to play Trump in Saturday’s cold open, which referenced the series of tweets real-life President Trump sent earlier in the day criticizing Puerto Rican officials’ response to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

In the sketch, Baldwin’s Trump returns from a golfing outing in Bedminster, N.J., to take a call from the mayor of San Juan. “I’m sure she wants to tell me what a great job I’m doing,” Trump tells Sarah Huckabee Sanders, played by Aidy Bryant.

carmen yulin cruz hurricane nbc croppedShe does not. “I’m begging you. Puerto Rico needs your help,” says Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz (shown in a file photo and portrayed by Melissa Villaseñor).

Trump responds, “Well, you should have paid your bills....Ma’am, I don’t know if you know this, but you are in an island, in the water. The ocean water, big ocean, with fishies and bubbles and turtles that bite,” Trump continues. “We want to help you, but we have to take care of America first.”

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North Korean flag Washington Post, Trump says Tillerson is ‘wasting his time’ trying to pursue negotiations with North Korea, David Nakamura, Oct. 1, 2017. On Twitter, the president undercut Tillerson's latest diplomatic efforts to decrease hostilities between Washington and Pyongyang.

 ny times logoNew York Times, S.I. Newhouse Jr., Publishing Icon Who Ran Condé Nast, Dies at 89, Jonathan Kandell, Oct. 1, 2017. S.I. Newhouse Jr., who as the owner of The New Yorker, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Architectural Digest and other magazines wielded vast influence over American culture, fashion and social taste, died on Sunday at his home, a family spokesman said. He was 89.

Mr. Newhouse, known as Si, and his younger brother, Donald, inherited an impressive publishing empire from their father, Solomon I. (“Sam”) Newhouse, and built it into one of the largest privately held fortunes in the United States, with estimates of the family wealth running over $12 billion at the turn of the 21st century.

While Donald led the more profitable newspaper and cable television operations, Si took charge of the more glamorous magazine division.Much of that glamour was created under Si Newhouse’s direction. Though himself a shy man often painfully awkward in public, Mr. Newhouse hired some of the most charismatic magazine editors of the late 20th century, among them Tina Brown at Vanity Fair and Diana Vreeland and Anna Wintour at Vogue, and encouraged them to behave like the celebrities they extolled in his publications.

john kasichHuffington Post, John Kasich Hints That He May Need To Leave The GOP, Akbar Shahid Ahmed, Oct. 1, 2017. Ohio governor John Kasich (shown at right), a top Republican leader and former candidate for the party’s presidential nomination, on Sunday said the GOP may be on a trajectory to lose supporters like him.

“If the party can’t be fixed, Jake, then I’m not going to be able to support the party, period,” he told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union,” a few minutes after he noted that Americans seem more eager to hear from independent candidates than ever before. The governor’s comment came in response to a question about how Republicans should react to Alabama politician Roy Moore securing their party’s nomination for that state’s open Senate seat.

Global News

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Spanish flag wavingWashington Post, Chaotic and violent vote shows landslide support for Catalan independence, William Booth, Oct. 1, 2017. The Catalan government said 90 percent of ballots cast in the controversial referendum favored independence, a result sure to be challenged by the central government in Madrid as illegitimate and illegal.