November 2014 News Reports
Editor's Choice: Scroll below for November 2014 news in our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative news and views
New York Times, Finding a Secretary of Defense, Nov. 30, 2014. If Chuck Hagel isn't the right Pentagon chief to respond to an onslaught of global crises, who is? Opinion from: John Nagl, former Army officer; Lawrence J. Korb, Center for American Progress; Janine Davidson, Council on Foreign Relations; and Kiron Skinner, former Defense Department official.
Washington Post, Ferguson witness accounts vary on Brown’s actions, Sandhya Somashekhar and Kimbriell Kelly, Nov. 29, 2014. The grand jury heard widely conflicting testimony about whether the unarmed teen was surrendering or advancing to attack the officer who fatally shot him.
Daily Mail, Hundreds feared dead after attack on mosque in Nigeria during prayers, Staff report, Nov. 29, 2014. At least 120 people are feared dead and 270 more injured after gunmen and suicide bombers attacked the Grand mosque in Kano in northern Nigeria during Friday prayers.
PaulCraigRoberts.org, Ferguson Reexamined, Paul Craig Roberts, Nov. 28, 2014. Few, if any, of the correct questions were asked in the grand jury hearing to decide whether policeman Darren Wilson would be indicted for killing Michael Brown. The most important unexamined question is whether police are trained to use force immediately as a first resort before they assess a situation or determine if they are at the correct address. There are a large number of videos available online that show that the first thing that police do when they arrive is to use force. Here is a selection, including NBC: Cleveland cop shoots 12-year-old. All the action comes at the end. The police arrive and instantly open fire, making no effort whatsoever to assess the situation. Just a few days before Michael Brown is killed, Ohio police murdered John Crawford inside a Walmart store. What had Crawford done? He had picked up a BB rifle from a Walmart shelf and was on the phone with the mother of his two children, perhaps checking with her whether he could purchase it for the kids. A busy body named Ronald Ritchie felt threatened and called the police. The police rush in and shoot Crawford.
Mitch Henck Show via David Von Pein's JFK Channel, JFK Assassination Debate: John McAdams vs. Roger Stone, Nov. 27, 2014 (recorded Nov. 21). Roger Stone, a veteran of eight national GOP presidential campaigns and the author of the best-seller The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ, debates on radio Marquette University Assistant Professor John McAdams, a defender of the Warren Commission. JFK Assassination researcher David Von Pein moderates the differing views between Stone and McAdams, who curates a website defending the commission's view that Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy and acted alone.
OpEdNews, More on Hagel's 'Forced Resignation,' Joan Brunwasser (shown at right) interview of Matthew Hoh, Nov. 26, 2014. My guest today is Matthew Hoh, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy. A former Marine who served on US Embassy teams in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Hoh was the highest-ranking official to explicitly resign because of U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Matthew, everyone's abuzz regarding Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's resignation. What do you make of it?
Chuck Hagel did not want to go along with the re-escalation of the war in Afghanistan, which is the most unpopular war in American history, or the involvement of American forces in the Iraqi and Syrian civil wars that will not work. His views of the wars prior to his appointment as Secretary of Defense were that they were reckless and counter-productive. So, it wasn't a surprise to me that he is leaving the Administration, particularly in light of the emphasis on the wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan; wars that will prove counter-productive and morally and politically disastrous. I expect, in time, that Hagel's resignation will be seen as an act of personal integrity in regards to disagreement with perpetual war. The White House kept silent its decision to re-escalate the war in Afghanistan until after our mid-term elections. What doesn't make sense is our congressional leaders' silence on it.
President Obama meets at the Pentagon Oct. 8, 2014 with senior military leadership, including Defense Secretary Charles Hagel, at the president's left, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey, at right (White House photo).
OpEdNews, The Washington Insane Asylum, Paul Craig Roberts (shown in photo), Nov. 26, 2014. On November 22 Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy in Moscow that Washington treats Russia as "subhumans" and has forced Russia into a "game of chicken" in order to determine whether Russia will blink or defend its national interests. As Russia will not blink, Washington is driving the world to war.
United Nations News Center, UN rights experts urge US President Obama to release report on CIA torture allegations, Nov. 26, 2014. The United States must rise to meet the high human rights standards it has set for itself and others around the world, a group of United Nations human rights experts urged today, as they called on President Obama to support “the fullest possible release” of a report detailing CIA interrogation practices. In an open letter addressed to Obama, the six UN rights experts said that much depended on how the President would handle the stalemated issue of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s CIA report, stressing that the stakes were “very high” as his decision would have “far-reaching consequences for victims of human rights violations everywhere and for the credibility of the United States.” The group of independent experts – part of what is known as Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system – is composed of Mads Andenas, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Pablo de Greiff, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence; Ariel Dulitzky, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Christof Heyns, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Gabriela Knaul, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; and Juan E. Méndez, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
UN expert on torture Juan Ernesto Méndez, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel treatment, speaks to the press Oct. 21, 2014 at a news conference (UN Photo/Loez Felipe).
Common Dreams, UN Report Details Abysmal US Record of Abuse, Jon Queally, Nov. 26, 2014. Torture, indefinite detention, excessive force, and systematic discrimination and mistreatment have become part of the nation's modern legacy. An official report by the United Nations Committee Against Torture released Friday found that the United States has a long way to go if it wants to actually earn its claimed position as a leader in the world on human rights. The committee report found the U.S. government in gross violation when it comes to protecting basic principles of the Convention Against Torture, which the U.S. ratified in 1994, as well as other international treaties. This was the first full review of the U.S. human rights record by the UN body since 2006 and the release of the report follows a two-day hearing in Geneva earlier this month in which representatives of the Obama administration offered testimony and answered questions to the review panel. The report's findings do not reflect well on the U.S., a nation that continues to tout itself as a leader on such issues despite the enormous amount of criticism aimed at policies of torture and indefinite detention implemented in the years following September 11, 2001, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq that followed, and the global military campaign taking place on several continents and numerous countries that continues to this day.
Boston Globe, Ferguson’s unexpected lessons, Harvey Silverglate, Nov. 26, 2014. The institution of the grand jury, a hand-me-down (like virtually all of the state criminal justice systems throughout our nation) from medieval England, is gaining much-needed attention as a result of its use in the Ferguson, Mo., case in which police officer Darren Wilson shot 18-year-old Michael Brown to death. There are two lessons to be learned from Ferguson. First, grand juries should be relied on more, not less, especially in cases that arouse popular suspicion, passion or cynicism.
Second, the race problems that permeate so many police-citizen interactions nationwide require us to closely examine these systems, and introduce the necessary reforms and remedies.
Reuters, Israeli president criticizes divisive Jewish nation-state bill, Staff report, Nov. 26, 2014. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin criticized a bill that would define Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people saying it countered the vision of the country's founders.
WhoWhatWhy, Is One Muslim Man’s Drug-Crazed Rampage Terrorism? Peter Dale Scott (shown in photo), Nov. 25, 2014. In a bygone, saner era, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s murder of Canadian soldier Nathan Cirillo and subsequent shooting rampage inside the Parliament would have been treated as a drug-related murder. Not so in the age of terrorism. Instead, the authorities used the long-time crack addict and Muslim’s actions to whip up hysteria, framing the events of Oct. 22 as excuses for expansion of the security state. Will Prime Minister Stephen Harper lead Canada down the same road the George W. Bush led America?
Washington Post, Illegal immigrants could receive Social Security, Medicare under Obama action, Karen Tumulty, Nov. 25, 2014. Under President Obama’s new program to protect millions of illegal immigrants from deportation, many of those affected will be eligible to receive Social Security, Medicare and a wide array of other federal benefits, a White House official said Tuesday.
Washington Post, Darren Wilson explains why he killed Michael Brown, Terrence McCoy, Nov. 25, 2014. It’s a scene that plays out thousands of times every year all over America: A white cop stops a black teen he thinks is up to no good. That’s what happened in Ferguson, Mo., where an Aug. 9 encounter between Michael Brown and officer Darren Wilson ended in death, explosive violence, protest and another bout of national soul-searching about race. In the months since, Wilson (shown in a county photo distributed by AP) was absent from public view while his name became famous. The September testimony he delivered to the grand jury, released Monday after a prosecutor announced that Wilson would not be charged, provides the first and most detailed account directly from Wilson of Brown’s shooting. It varies from many previously published stories — and accusations — about a cop who brazenly shot a youth trying to surrender, some said, with his hands up.
Washington Post, Protests erupt in Ferguson, Grand jury declines to indict officer in fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager, Chico Harlan, Wesley Lowery and Kimberly Kindy, Nov. 25, 2014. At least two police cars and a half-dozen buildings were torched when violence erupted following a grand jury’s decision.
Washington Post, Bob McCulloch’s pathetic prosecution of Darren Wilson, Dana Milbank, Nov. 25, 2014. The St. Louis County prosecutor made a joke of the grand jury proceedings.
New York Times, Accounts to Ferguson Grand Jury Differed on Crucial Details, Julie Bosman, Campbell Robertson, Erik Eckholm and Richard A. Oppel Jr., Nov. 25, 2014. In testimony from roughly 60 witnesses, there were varying accounts of the critical final moments, when Michael Brown stopped running, turned and moved back toward Officer Darren Wilson. Michael Brown became so angry when he was stopped by Officer Darren Wilson on Canfield Drive here on Aug. 9, his face looked “like a demon,'’ the officer would later tell a grand jury. That account, a vivid and vastly different version from what many people believe happened on Aug. 9, was given by Officer Wilson when he testified before a St. Louis County grand jury in September.
FireDogLake, Israel Moves to Become Formal Ethnocracy, DSWright, Nov. 25, 2014. In a seemingly inevitable move the Israel government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has formally moved to restrict national rights in Israel to Jews alone. The law has passed the cabinet and if it passes parliament then the pretense of a pluralistic democracy is over – to be a true Israeli one must be Jewish, full stop. The law will put non-Jewish Israelis in second class citizen status though determining who is and is not a Jew as never been an easy problem to solve in Israel. Many Israelis are secular and do not practice Judaism though are considered ethnically Jewish based on bloodlines while some practicing Jews have no such bloodlines.
Philadelphia Daily News, Ex-Montco GOP boss takes plea deal for sex charges, Jenny DeHuff, Nov. 25, 2014. The former chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party yesterday accepted a plea deal for indecent assault, after facing his victim in a Norristown court and hearing of the devastation he caused her family. Robert J. Kerns, 67, waived his right to trial and accepted the negotiated "no contest" plea deal, which keeps him out of jail but gives him two years probation and places him on the books as a registered sex offender for the next 15 years.
Poynter Institute, Connecticut judge stops articles publication, Andrew Beaujon, Nov. 25, 2014. Stephen Frazzini, a judge in New Britain, Connecticut’s Superior Court, has forbidden Connecticut Law Tribune to publish an article. The article, by Isaac Avilucea, concerns a document published, apparently by mistake, on the Connecticut Judicial Branch’s website. The Law Tribune says the order is unconstitutional prior restraint, and has filed a motion asking it be lifted.
Progressive Review, Passings: Marion Barry, Sam Smith (shown in photo), Nov. 23, 2014. Marion Barry and I split back in the 1980s. I can't remember the exact issue, but it was one time too many that Marion had promised one thing and then done another. I first met Marion in 1966. We were both in our 20s and he was looking for a white guy who would handle the press. He had just organized the largest local protest movement in the city's history -- a bus boycott -- and I had participated and written about it. The typical twenty-something doesn't get over 100,000 people to stop doing something for a day. We hit it off and remained allies even after the day Stokley Carmichael walked into SNCC headquarters and said that we whites were no longer welcomed in the civil rights movement. But even by the time of the second run for mayor I was feeling queasy. I was already becoming aware of Marion's addiction to that most dangerous, if legal, drug called power. Later, I would be listening to a talk show discussing a book about cocaine in the executive suite and suddenly realize how similar the two addictions were and how I could no longer tell which was affecting Barry more. Barry had a serious drug problem, probably developed in the 1980s. In this regard he had even more famous peers including George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. But I still saw that it was a complex story.
Washington Post, White House seeks a stronger hand in the next defense secretary, Greg Jaffe and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Nov. 24, 2014. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, shown in a file photo, worked behind the scenes but seemed too deferential to generals in strategy meetings, officials say.
CBS News, What led to Chuck Hagel's resignation? David Martin, Nov. 24, 2014 (7:13 min. video). David Martin discusses the factors within the Obama administration and the Pentagon that contributed to the defense secretary's resignation.
Washington Post, Exploring the options to replace Chuck Hagel as defense secretary, Dan Lamothe, Nov. 24, 2014. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down under pressure. It amounts to one of the most significant administration shake-ups in Obama’s time in the White House. Any successor will likely have to get through a confirmation process in which Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) leads the Senate Armed Services Committee. He’s a vocal critic of the Obama administration, and pounded Hagel with difficult questions during his confirmation process in January 2013.
- Michèle Flournoy served as the under secretary of defense for policy from February 2009 to February 2012, while Robert Gates and Leon Panetta ran the Pentagon. Flournoy has been seen by some in the White House as too uncritically supportive of uniformed military’s perspective. Flournoy is chief executive officer at the Center for a New American Security, a non-partisan think tank that the Obama administration relied upon in developing national security policy. She co-founded CNAS in 2007, and served as its president until 2009, when she took her undersecretary job.
- Robert Work is the deputy defense secretary, and has previously served as undersecretary of the Navy. Work, a retired Marine colonel, also served as the CEO of CNAS before the Senate confirmed him in his present position in April. Work, as the Pentagon’s No. 2 leader, has had a major role in examining the Defense Department’s budget and a variety of crises in recent months. .
- Ashton Carter served as the Pentagon’s No. 2 official from October 2011 until December 2013, and stepped down after being bypassed in favor of Hagel for the job. Like Work, he oversaw efforts to reduce the Pentagon’s budget, and has been a fixture in the national security world for years. He joined the Obama administration in 2009 as the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, and moved up into the No. 2 job two years later. Carter, a former Rhodes Scholar and Harvard professor, is seen as an effective communicator who understands the ins-and-outs of the Defense Department’s unwieldy bureaucracy. But he has not been an influential political player, which could hurt his chances for being nominated for the top Pentagon job.
Huffington Post, What If Chuck Hagel Had Resigned for a Reason? William Hartung, Nov. 24, 2015. Why did Chuck Hagel step down as secretary of defense? Was it his choice, as President Obama has suggested, or was he pushed? We may never be absolutely sure. But one thing that is clear is that Hagel's tenure was a missed opportunity to put our security policy on a sounder footing at a time of increasing uncertainty.
OpEd News, Rob Kall and David Swanson Debate David's Article "Can We Really Blame Sociopaths?" Nov. 24, 2014. The estimates say 1% of the population are psychopaths. That's 3 million plus in the US. Eight percent are sociopaths. That's 24 million in the US and about 11 or 12% are psychopaths, sociopaths or narcissists. That's a lot of people! And now, about 30 or 40% of the people in jail are identified as sociopaths or psychopaths.
Washington Post, Is the Benghazi scandal hunt finally over? Paul Waldman, Nov. 24, 2014. Is the Benghazi scandal hunt finally over? And if there’s no Benghazi scandal, could that actually mean that President Obama will reach the end of his eight years in office without an era-defining, presidency-threatening scandal on the order of Watergate or Iran-contra? To conservatives who have believed for the past two years that Benghazi would eventually show the world the true villainy of this president, this is a horrifying prospect, but it could come true. You may have missed it in the traditional Friday news dump, but at the end of last week, the House Intelligence Committee – which, don’t forget, is run by Republicans – released a report that all but exonerated the Obama administration of having done anything, well, scandalous. “An investigation by the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee has concluded that the CIA and U.S. military responded appropriately to the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012,” The Post reported, “dismissing allegations that the Obama administration blocked rescue attempts during the assault or sought to mislead the public afterward.” It also found that while the talking points Susan Rice delivered in the wake of the attack were inaccurate, it was because of conflicting information coming in and not a scheme to hoodwink the public. All the conspiracy theories about a “stand-down order” and whatever else they’ve been talking about on Fox News were emphatically rejected.
Montgomery Advertiser, Former Gov. Siegelman’s daughter injured in hit-and-run, Brian Lyman, Nov. 24, 2014. Dana Siegelman, the daughter of former Gov. Don Siegelman, was released from a California hospital last week after being struck by a hit-and-run driver.
Free Don, Dana Siegelman victim of hit-and-run, Barbara Tarburton, Nov. 24, 2014. My friend Dana Siegelman, daughter of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, was hit by a speeding car. She was hospitalized and has undergone two surgeries while riding her bicycle home from working at a small café. Dana needs your prayers, and if you can, your financial support. Please read this to understand why I am making this heartfelt plea. Dana was the victim of a hit and run. She was wearing a vest with flashing lights on the back and her bicycle had a light on the back as well. The car was speeding and never slowed down or attempted to brake, hit her and kept going. As of yet, we have no word from the Long Beach Police on any progress in identifying and locating the driver of the hit and run vehicle. There were witnesses to the accident. I spoke to Gov. Siegelman recently and he told me Dana was banged up pretty badly, taken by ambulance to the hospital in Long Beach where she has undergone two surgeries on the thigh and calf and has had skin grafts. She will be in a wheelchair for about six weeks before she will be able to walk.
Washington Post, Former D.C. mayor rose, then fell and rose again with his city, Bart Barnes, Nov. 23, 2014. Marion Barry Jr., who died early Sunday, was the most powerful local politician of his generation and a symbol of self-governance for urban blacks, even as his life was fraught with the drama of a drug arrest and a jail sentence.
WhoWhatWhy, The Benghazi story made the rounds yet again, Sunday Round-Up, Russ Baker, Nov. 23, 2014. This time, though, the only one calling “B.S.” on the erstwhile scandal was Sen. John McCain’s perennial understudy—Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC). That’s because the latest GOP-led investigation released an exculpatory report during the news cycle's dead zone of late Friday—a common practice by DC insiders seeking to bury a hot story. The lead Republican on the investigation—Congress’ main NSA supporter Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI)—seemed to want to put the whole matter to rest. That was echoed by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on Meet the Press. Of course, the White House is criticized for mishandling the affair, but—like all five previous inquires—little was said about the use of the port at Benghazi to ship weapons from the US & NATO-toppled regime of Col. Gaddafi to rebels fighting another long-standing target of the US—President Assad of Syria. Thus far, the claims made by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh in a detailed story last April remain off the table in official circles … and now, it seems, they have finally circled the wagons around the CIA. The report determined that the CIA was simply “tracking” the movement of weapons from their catbird seat inside the infamous annex to the Benghazi compound.
Hromadske International, Heckling President Poroshenko and a Visit from Joe Biden, Nov. 23, 2014. (video: 6:60 min). When Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko laid flowers in remembrance of over 100 people killed during the Maidan protests, members of the crowd heckled the president. They were angry because the president hardly speaks to the people and public appearances are rare. After this, President Poroshenko conferred the "Hero of Ukraine" status to the "Heavenly Hundred."
AP via Boston Globe, House finds no government wrongdoing in Benghazi, Ken Dilanian, Nov. 22, 2014. A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees. Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, and no missed opportunity for a military rescue.
World Crisis Radio, Obama Repudiates Allen-Gates-Petraeus-Kerry Campaign to Spare ISIS, Bomb Assad; Pressure Mounting on Turkey’s Erdogan to Slam Terrorists, Webster G. Tarpley, Nov. 22, 2014. The world economy is now harvesting the bitter fruits of the neoliberals’ killer austerity. The main central banks are now falling back on the discredited Quantitative Easing, meaning massive purchase of bankrupt and toxic derivatives, with the hope of saving the zombie banks from another round of bankruptcy. But six years of Quantitative Easing have already failed to produce a recovery in the US, where stagnation continues.
Reuters via Huffington Post, Woman With Gun Arrested Outside White House After Obama's Immigration Speech, Staff report, Nov. 20, 2014. A woman demonstrating outside the White House on Thursday night was arrested for carrying a gun, the Secret Service said, shortly after President Barack Obama began a speech unveiling sweeping reforms to the U.S. immigration system. April Lenhart, 23, of Mount Morris, Michigan, was arrested around 8:30 p.m. local time. Obama had started his speech some 30 minutes earlier, during which he imposed the most sweeping immigration reform in a generation. Hoback said Lenhart, shown in a file photo, was demonstrating along the north fence of the White House complex when authorities saw a holstered handgun on her hip. She was charged with possession of an unregistered firearm and ammunition, and carrying a pistol without a license.
Politico, House Intel Committee dismisses some Benghazi myths, Lauren French, Nov. 21, 2014. The House Intelligence Committee dismissed on Friday a number of the most persistent myths about the 2012 terrorist attacks at a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi. The committee, chaired by Republican Chairman Mike Rogers of Michigan, shown in an official photo, found the U.S. government didn’t fail to send assistance to the Americans under siege by Islamic militants and there was no “stand down order” from the State Department. The committee also dismissed the notion that there was an “intelligence failure” the allowed the attacks to occur. But the committee did rule that a number of individuals involved with Al Qaeda were involved with the attacks and Abu Sufian bin Qumu, a Libyan national, “probably played some role” in the attacks. Qumu was a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay before he was transferred to Libya in 2001. “We spent thousands of hours asking questions, poring over documents, reviewing intelligence assessments, reading cables and emails, and held a total of 20 Committee events and hearings. We conducted detailed interviews with senior intelligence officials from Benghazi and Tripoli as well as eight security personnel on the ground in Benghazi that night,” Rogers and Maryland Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the committee said. “Based on the testimony and the documents we reviewed, we concluded that all the CIA officers in Benghazi were heroes. Their actions saved lives.” Some Republicans in Congress have continued to cling to initial reports that surfaced after Ambassador Chris Stevens and two others were killed in the attacks. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the White House have been routinely criticized for failing to protect Stevens and for not quickly sending aide to protect the Americans.
Inter Press Service, Proposal for International Anti-Corruption Court Seeing “Significant” Momentum, Carey L. Biron, Nov. 21 2014. The key U.S. advocate of a proposal to create a multilateral body mandated to investigate allegations of political corruption says the idea is receiving significant interest from civil society, politicians and major business leaders. Mark L. Wolf, a U.S. federal judge, first proposed the idea of an International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC) in two articles this summer (available here and here). Since that time, Wolf told a recent briefing at the U.S. Congress, the proposal has seen “remarkable progress.”
Politico, The Never-Ending Replay of November 22, 1963, Will we ever stop reliving the Kennedy assassination? Larry J. Sabato, Nov. 21, 2014. A year ago this week, no one could escape the wall-to-wall coverage of the Kennedy assassination’s 50th anniversary. One effect of the previous November’s concentrated focus on JFK is that people have come forward with new information. None of it, at least that I’ve seen, dramatically re-writes the story of the assassination, but useful details have been added. Larry J. Sabato, shown in a file photo, is Director of the Center for Politics and University Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. His most recent book is The Kennedy Half-Century.
Stone Zone, Clearing the Deck for Jeb? Roger Stone, Nov. 20, 2014. President George W. Bush’s biography of his father George Herbert Walker Bush is a whitewash of history and a warm-up act for the latest White House contender from the House of Bush, Jeb. Missing is the entire Bush back-story: the family providing financing to the Nazis to buy arms; the support for eugenics; 41’s involvement with the CIA in the Bay of Pigs; his evasions about November 22, 1963; his name appearing in the address book of Lee Harvey Oswald’s handler George de Mohrenschildt; his involvement in the CIA drug running; the murder of drug runner Barry Seal; the real reason Bush fell out with Ross Perot and the real Bush role in both the attempted assassination of Reagan and the attempt to set Reagan up in Iran-Contra. These have all been air-brushed out of 41- A Portrait of My Father. All are missing in this book which is a sanitized campaign biography.
Washington Post, CIA Director John Brennan considering sweeping organizational changes, Greg Miller, Nov. 20, 2014. An internal committee at the clandestine agency is evaluating a proposal to combine long-separate spying and analysis divisions into hybrid units focused on specific regions or threats.
WhoWhatWhy, George W’s New Gig: Cold Cash for Hot Air, Joseph L. Flatley, Nov. 20, 2014. George W. Bush is raking in millions on the celebrity speaking circuit. Some of the outfits he’s taken money from have less-than-stellar reputations for integrity. And, frankly, the whole thing stinks.
Stone Zone, Miami Book Fair Faux Pas, Roger Stone, Nov. 20, 2014. John Dean Says His Ghost Writer Was High on Pot. The Miami Book Fair this November 22nd has probably made an egregious error in its decision to feature both former White House Counsel John Dean and liberal author Rick Perlstein as both have new books that are now under fire. Dean is fighting to maintain his narrative about Watergate, one that hides his true role and culpability in the scandal against mounting new evidence that Dean is the man who planned, executed and then covered up Watergate and the involvement of him and wife in a call girl ring. Investigative Journalist Phil Stanford, using new documentation, proves this in his explosive new book, White House Call Girl. I confronted Dean about his lies on C-SPAN at the Texas Book Festival. In his new book, The Nixon Defense, Dean largely omits his own role in Watergate, saying those who want to understand what he did should read his book, Blind Ambition. Yet when confronted under oath about discrepancies between his sworn testimony and that book, Dean said he didn't write Blind Ambition, blaming it on ghost writer Taylor Branch–(who Dean said was smoking pot!)–and later on his editor Alice Mayhew, both of whom denied those allegations. In fact Dean said he never even read Blind Ambition before it was published. Mr. Dean has airbrushed himself out of the story all right. Gone is Dean’s role in paying hush money to the burglars. Gone is the fact that it was Dean who dangled executive clemency for Watergate burglar James McCord to buy his silence. Gone is the fact that it was Dean who destroyed the operational notebook recovered from E. Howard Hunt’s safe; and it was Dean who added the Watergate break-in to the Gemstone plan.
Newsweek, The Truth Behind JFK's Assassination, Max Holland (shown in photo), Nov. 20, 2014. On November 29, 1963, President Lyndon Johnson directed the Warren Commission to “evaluate all the facts” in the brutal November 22 murder of his predecessor, John F. Kennedy, on a downtown Dallas street in broad daylight. Reduced to its bare essentials, the investigation sought answers to three fundamental questions: Who, why and how? “Why” was entirely contingent on “who,” and that depended on “how.” Thus, the linchpin of the Warren Report—and every subsequent investigation—has always been precisely how Kennedy was assassinated in Dealey Plaza. That is the finding from which all the important answers flow; mishandle that question and the credibility of the entire report is undermined. The Warren Commission’s bungling of “how” is a primary reason why there have been so many residual doubts and conspiracy theories over the past 50 years. In the 1964 Warren Report, just seven pages (of 888) reconstruct the shooting sequence. Three spent cartridges were found in the sniper’s nest on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, corroborating the testimony of most ear- and eyewitnesses that three shots were fired. But after 10 months of investigation, the report did not present a compelling explanation of the sequence; instead it offered up three slightly different scenarios. In each, one of the bullets fired by Lee Harvey Oswald fatally hit Kennedy in the head; another struck and passed through the president before hitting Texas Governor John Connally; and the third shot fired by Oswald…well, the commission could not say where that bullet went or even when it was fired. Depending on which of the three scenarios one favored, the total time span of the assassination ranged from as little as 4.8 seconds “to in excess of 7 seconds.”
Newsmax, Mafia Hit Man Confesses to Killing President Kennedy, Jim Meyers, Nov. 20, 2014. Mafia hit man James Files, shown in a prison photo, says in interviews first aired nationally on Newsmax TV Thursday night that he worked along with major mob figures and fired the shot that killed Kennedy from the grassy knoll at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Friday, Nov. 22 marks the 51st anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's tragic assassination and Newsmax TV marked the occasion by airing the provocative premiere of the blockbuster documentary "I Killed JFK", featuring never-before-seen footage of Kennedy's confessed killer. The documentary, produced by Hollywood’s Barry Katz, presents convincing forensic evidence supporting Files' contention that he, and not Lee Harvey Oswald, fired the fatal shot at America's 35th president. "I squeezed off my round. I hit him and blew his head backward," Files said of the single shot he fired that fateful day. "I Killed JFK" Executive Producer Barry Katz said: "Until now, no one has ever confessed to the murder of JFK, and most people still believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the killer. After the world sees this special, I am confident that the greatest mystery of our generation will finally be solved." Files, who changed his name from Jimmy Sutton, was born in Alabama in 1942, and after a stint in the Army became associated with both the Chicago mob and the CIA. He worked under mobster Charles "Chuckie" Nicoletti, an underling of mob boss Sam Giancana. Giancana and other mobsters had been angered by the president’s brother, Robert, who as U.S. attorney general was targeting organized crime in a major prosecution effort. Retired FBI Special Agent Zack Shelton appears in the documentary and reveals that he provided inside information to private investigator and Kennedy assassination investigator Joe West about Files possible connection to the Kennedy killing. Files is currently incarcerated at the Danville Correctional Center in Danville, Ill. He was convicted of the attempted murder of two police officers during a roadside shootout in 1991 and sentenced to 50 years in prison. The documentary chronicles how Files, along with Nicoletti and mobster Johnny Roselli, came to be in Dallas on the day Kennedy was assassinated. "I was aiming at his right eye. When I pulled the trigger it was almost like looking from six feet away through the scope. "I never saw Mr. Nicoletti shoot Kennedy but I know he was the man in the building who was supposed to be doing the shooting. Shelton is one of two former FBI agents who believe Files' story is credible. He said: "I have tried to verify Files' story. A lot of that story I have been able to verify," including that a shot was fired from the grassy knoll "exactly where Files said he was standing." Editor's Note: The Files account that he shot from behind the picket fence at Dealey Plaza is disputed by some significant researchers who otherwise believe both the Mafia and CIA were involved in the assassination. At least one shooter was located behind the fence, according to many researchers. The question remains whether it was Files.
OpEdNews, How the Warren Commission Covered Up JFK's Murder, Bill Simpich (shown in photo), Nov. 19, 2014. This year marks 50 years after the creation of the Warren Report -- an evaluation of the murder of President John Kennedy that devolved into a cover-up. Not everyone was a conscious participant, but some of the Commission and staff members knew they were burying evidence that would exonerate the accused assassin Lee Oswald. Since Oswald consistently declared that he was innocent, it's just not right to proclaim his guilt based on evidence that actually indicates that he was framed. The best way to address such a disaster is with a compelling presentation showing not only reasonable doubt of Oswald's guilt, but that there was never enough evidence for any case against Oswald to go to a jury.
What we need is a citizens' body with subpoena power that can address this outrage and other contested events.
A quick rebuttal of the Warren Report can be done even though we don't have a couple of crucial tools that would make the task much easier. One is to cross-examine the Warren Commission witnesses with first-hand information, which has been described as the greatest engine for uncovering the truth. The other is to work with government-funded defense experts to challenge the Warren Commission experts, who were widely lauded as the leading lights in the land. The approach will be to use the Commission's own evidence to rebut its own findings.
In reviewing the evidence, consider that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover told Attorney General Bobby Kennedy that Oswald was the shooter by 4 pm that day. After that point, the die was cast. What happened in those first hours? We'll analyze here the actions on the ground by certain members of the Secret Service and the Dallas police. The role of members of the intelligence agencies and others will be for another day. Here are the top ten arguments of the Warren Commission, as spelled out by their attorney David Belin in the conclusion of his book You Are The Jury.
WhoWhatWhy, Boston Bombing Prosecutor: Witnesses ‘Afraid’ to Testify, Joseph L. Flatley, Nov. 18, 2014. Prosecutors in the Boston Bombing case claim that government witnesses are scared to testify. Yet it's the defense witnesses who should be afraid, given the long official intimidation campaign against them. The Boston Marathon bombing is much more important than has been acknowledged, principally because it is the defining domestic national security event since 9/11—and has played a major role in expanding the power of the security state. For that reason, WhoWhatWhy is continuing to investigate troubling aspects of this story and the establishment media treatment of it. We will be exploring new elements of the story regularly as the January trial of the accused co-conspirator Dzhokhar Tsarnaev approaches. Nov. 17
Washington Post, With the end of FOSE, government-dependent trade shows take yet another hit, Nov. 17, 2014. The government technology show is being canceled after 37 years as organizers focus on new projects.
Washington Post, Islamic State claims to behead 3rd American, Adam Goldman, Nov. 16, 2014. Abdul-Rahman Kassig, 26, a former U.S. Army Ranger known as Peter Edward Kassig, was on a humanitarian mission when captured in Oct. 2013 in Syria. Kassig, 26, is the fifth Western hostage to be killed by the Islamic State in a series of gruesome videos. The latest video was the longest in length, running more than 15 minutes and showed other men, apparently Syrian government soldiers, being decapitated. Kassig traveled to Lebanon while on spring break at Butler University in March 2012 to work as a volunteer emergency medical technician.
C-SPAN3 American History TV, Kennedy Assassination Records (29:30 min.), Nov. 16, 2014, scheduled at 4:39 p.m. (ET), first cablecast Aug. 5, 2014. Martha Wagner Murphy, head of the Special Access and Freedom of Information Act staff at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland, discusses the Archives process for JFK records release.
C-SPAN3 American History TV, Medical Experts and the Kennedy Assassination, (56:22 min.), Nov. 15, 2014. Gary Aguilar, M.D. (shown in a file photo), talked about medical evidence related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Using medical reports and diagrams of JFK’s wounds provided to the commission in 1964, he argued that based on eyewitnesses, autopsy photos and x-rays of the wounds, this evidence used by the Warren Commission was flawed. "Junk Science and the Death of JFK: What We Now Know that We Didn't Know Then" was part of a conference marking the 50th anniversary of the release of the Warren Report hosted by the Assassination Archives and Research Center.
New York Times, More Federal Agencies Are Using Undercover Operations, Eric Lichtblau And William M. Arkinnov, Nov. 15, 2014. The federal government has significantly expanded undercover operations in recent years, with officers from at least 40 agencies posing as business people, welfare recipients, political protesters and even doctors or ministers to ferret out wrongdoing, records and interviews show. Undercover work, inherently invasive and sometimes dangerous, was once largely the domain of the F.B.I. and a few other law enforcement agencies at the federal level. But outside public view, changes in policies and tactics over the last decade have resulted in undercover teams run by agencies in virtually every corner of the federal government, according to officials, former agents and documents.
Washington Post, Lethal mix: Lawyers’ mistakes, unforgiving law, Ken Armstrong, Nov. 15, 2014. The rigidity of a 1996 law — and the lack of recourse to address attorneys’ errors — stripped scores of death-row inmates of a critical safeguard. Sixteen have been executed.
President Barack Obama is shown in a White House photo meeting with his national security advisors in the Situation Room last August.
Washington Post, U.S. weighs expanded CIA training, arming of Syrian allies struggling against Assad, Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung, Nov. 14, 2014. The move would ease an urgent need while the Pentagon builds a similar but slower-to-assemble program. The Obama administration has been weighing plans to escalate the CIA’s role in arming and training fighters in Syria, a move aimed at accelerating covert U.S. support to moderate rebel factions while the Pentagon is preparing to establish its own training bases. The proposed CIA buildup would expand a clandestine mission that has grown substantially over the past year, U.S. officials said. The agency now vets and trains about 400 fighters each month — as many as are expected to be trained by the Pentagon when its program reaches full strength late next year. A decision to expand the CIA program would deepen U.S. involvement in Syria. The agency’s mission is a central but secret component of a broader U.S. effort that also involves airstrikes and an influx of U.S. military advisers into Iraq.
YouTube from LarouchePAC, The Untold Story of 9/11: A Luncheon with Bob Graham, Nov. 14, 2014, (1:28 hours). On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2014, Bob Graham, former U.S. Senator and Florida governor, and former co-chairman of the Congressional Joint Inquiry into the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, was the featured speaker at a Veteran's Day event in Naples, Florida. Graham was joined by investigative journalist Dan Christensen of the Broward Bulldog to deliver a thorough account of the untold story behind 9/11. Also, they described their ongoing effort in cooperation with 9/11 families, three members of Congress and others to obtain release of 28 pages of still-classified reports from the original 9/11 Joint Congressional Inquiry exposing the role of the Saudi kingdom in supporting the terrorist attack. The three Members of Congress co-sponsored HR 428, which calls on President Obama to release the secret 28 pages. The event at the Naples Sailing & Yacht Club was organized by Loreen and Matt Sellitto, whose son was a victim of the 9/11 attacks. Also speaking was Terry Strada, widow of Tom Strada and co-chair of the 9/11 Families United for Justice Against Terrorism. She introduced Graham and Christensen by saying: "They are here to tell you the untold story of 9/11. It is both riveting and frightening. And no matter what you think you may know about that day, I promise you, by the end of this program, you will learn so much more." declassify the 28 pages from the original 9/11 Joint Congressional Inquiry exposing the role of the Saudi kingdom in supporting the terrorist attack. The three Members of Congress are all co-sponsors of HR 428, which calls on President Obama to release the secret 28 pages, and on all Members of the House and Senate to read the hidden chapter. Details.
Washington Post, Five principles that should govern any U.S. authorization of force, Jack Goldsmith, Ryan Goodman and Steve Vladeck, Nov. 14, 2014. Jack Goldsmith is a professor at Harvard Law School and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. Ryan Goodman is a professor at New York University Law School. Steve Vladeck is a professor at American University Washington College of Law. President Obama has stated that he wants “to begin engaging Congress” over a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State and also that he wants to “right-size and update” the 2001 AUMF “to suit the current fight, rather than previous fights.” It appears that Congress, too, is finally getting serious about putting U.S. counter-terrorism operations on a contemporary and more rigorous statutory footing. An important foundational consensus can be reached — across branches and parties — on five core principles. Editor's Note: This column fails to include any recommendation for public disclosure of hidden facts behind the Mideast wars, ass typical in such coverage from the Post and other outlets for the neo-con and neo-liberal bipartisan pro-war coalition.
Washington Post, The Gruber Confession, Charles Krauthammer, Nov. 13, 2014. The just-resurfaced Gruber Confession shows MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber, a principal architect of Obamacare (show with his book on the topic), admitting that, in order to get it passed, the law was made deliberately obscure and deceptive. It constitutes the ultimate vindication of the charge that Obamacare was sold on a pack of lies. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” said Gruber. “Basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.” This was no open-mic gaffe. It was a clear, indeed enthusiastic, admission to an academic conference of the mendacity underlying Obamacare.
FireDogLake, Remembering Obama’s Biggest Broken Health Care Promise, Jon Walker, Nov. 13, 2014. Since there has been a lot of media focus on Jonathan Gruber’s recently uncovered remarks about the American voters, I want to put it in the proper historic context. During the 2008 election, Obama spent months convincing the American public that any change to the tax exempt status of employer-provide health insurance was a Republican idea. Yet almost immediately after getting elected President Obama became determined to end the full tax-exempt status of employer-provided health insurance.
Birmingham News, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell calls for (Don Siegelman judge) Mark Fuller's impeachment, Nov. 13, 2014. Embattled U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller is still in office, leading U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell to urge ranking House Judiciary members to investigate the possibility of his impeachment. Sewell sent a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Ranking Member John Conyers asking them to investigate whether Congress should impeach Fuller. In September, Sewell gave Fuller a Nov. 12 deadline to resign after his Aug. 9 domestic violence arrest. All of Alabama's congressional delegation, including senators Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby, called for Fuller's resignation. The judge is shown in his first courtroom appearance on a Monday in August after being held since his Saturday night arrest.
Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Briefing, An International Anti-Corruption Court to Mitigate Grand Corruption and Human Rights Abuses, Nov. 13, 2014. The House Human Rights Commission, named in honor of the late Rep. Tom Lantos, held a briefing Nov. 13 at the U.S. Capitol on a proposed International Anti-Corruption Court. Senior Boston federal judge Mark L. Wolf drew on his July 22 Washington Post column, We need an international court to stamp out corruption, condensed from a Brookings Institution article. "In too many nations," the judge said, as excerpted, "corruption is endemic at the highest levels of government. Corruption is extraordinarily costly, consuming more than 5 percent of the global gross domestic product. Developing regions lose more than 10 times in illicit financial flows than what they receive in foreign aid. Similar circumstances concerning the evils of genocide and other intolerable human rights abuses led to the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2002. An International Anti-Corruption Court is now equally necessary." Professor Ruth Wedgwood of Johns Hopkins University reprised her recent dialog with the judge published by American Interest. Arvind Gansan, an executive with Human Rights Watch, provided additional commentary. Note: Justice Integrity Project editor Andrew Kreig served as law clerk to Judge Wolf from 1990-1991. This was an early stage of the judge's supervision of the federal prosecution of New England's Mafia leadership. Those convictions later led to a judge-initiated corruption investigation of the Justice Department resulting in misconduct findings against 22 federal prosecutors and FBI agents. Two FBI executives were later indicted on murder conspiracy charges. One was convicted, and the other died pre-trial. The investigation also led to this year's conviction of mob leader and former FBI informant James "Whitey" Bulger on federal murder charges. Wolf, a former federal prosecutor shown in a file photo, took senior status in January after a long term as chief federal judge in Massachusetts. President Ronald Reagan had appointed him to the bench in 1985.
Washington Post, In D.C. to talk education, Newark schools chief faces protest over reforms, Lyndsey Layton, Nov. 13, 2014. Cami Anderson, who runs the largest school district in New Jersey, came to Washington on Thursday to give a quiet talk about education at a think tank. But the staid event quickly turned dramatic when a busload of angry residents followed Anderson from Newark in a display of the slugfest politics that have infused debate over public education across the country. “For us, what’s going on in Newark is not a triumph, it’s a tragedy,” said Sharon Smith, who has three children in that city’s public schools and was among about 40 parents and students who filled the 12th floor conference room at the American Enterprise Institute.
Guardian, US military considers sending combat troops to battle ISIS forces in Iraq, Spencer Ackerman and Raya Jalabim Nov. 13, 2014. General Martin Dempsey (shown in photo) tells House committee that he would consider abandoning Obama’s pledge and send troops to fight Isis in Iraq. The top-ranking officer in the American military said the US is actively considering the direct use of troops in the toughest upcoming fights against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq, less than a week after Barack Obama doubled troop levels there. General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, indicated to the House of Representatives armed services committee that the strength of Isis relative to the Iraqi army may be such that he would recommend abandoning Obama’s oft-repeated pledge against returning US ground troops to combat in Iraq.
Facebook, Analysis of Guardian column, Naomi Wolf (shown in Facebook photo), Nov. 13, 2014. Read this Guardian piece (Military considers sending combat troops to battle ISIS forces) carefully. You see that the military is telling the press that they will consider acting in opposition to the wishes of the president. That is the textbook definition of a military coup.
New York Times, What an Uncensored Letter to M.L.K. Reveals, Beverly Gage, Nov. 11, 2014. Beverly Gage is a professor of American history at Yale. The note is just a single sheet gone yellow with age, typewritten and tightly spaced. It’s rife with typos and misspellings and sprinkled with attempts at emending them. The unnamed author suggests intimate knowledge of his correspondent’s sex life, identifying one possible lover by name and claiming to have specific evidence about others. “There is only one thing left for you to do,” the author warns vaguely in the final paragraph. “You know what it is.” When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. received this letter, nearly 50 years ago, he quietly informed friends that someone wanted him to kill himself — and he thought he knew who that someone was. Despite its half-baked prose, self-conscious amateurism and other attempts at misdirection, King was certain the letter had come from the F.B.I. Since then, the so-called “suicide letter” has occupied a unique place in the history of American intelligence — the most notorious and embarrassing example of Hoover’s F.B.I. run amok. Hoover decided to escalate his campaign. On Nov. 18, 1964 — 50 years ago this week — Hoover denounced King at a Washington news conference, labeling him the “the most notorious liar in the country.” A few days later, one of Hoover’s deputies, William Sullivan, apparently took it upon himself to write the anonymous letter and sent an agent to Miami, to mail the package to Atlanta.
Citizens for Truth about the Kennedy Assassination, The Harper Fragment Revisited -- and JFK's Head Wounds: A Final Synthesis, David W. Mantik, MD (shown in photo), Nov. 11, 2014. On Saturday, November 23, 1963, Billy Harper found a skull fragment on the infield grass at Dealey Plaza. Three Dallas pathologists agreed that it was occipital bone. After photographs were taken in Dallas, the FBI took possession of the bone, and then gave it to Admiral George Burkley, MD, the president's personal physician. Before Burkley lost the bone (forever), the FBI X-rayed it, but then these X-ray images also disappeared for many decades. This monograph examines the photographs and X-rays of the Harper fragment and lists 15 independent and self-consistent signs for its origin from JFK's upper occiput. The fragment has great importance: If it derives from the occiput a frontal shot is strongly implied and that means conspiracy.
Columbus (Georgia) Ledger-Enquirer, Federal Judge Clay Land assigned Don Siegelman's case, Chuck Williams, Nov. 11, 2014. After all of the federal judges in the Middle District of Alabama recused themselves, Judge Clay Land of the Middle District of Georgia has been appointed to hear the appeal by former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. Land wasted not time in setting a hearing on Siegelman’s motion to be free while he appeals his conviction. Land set a Dec. 15 hearing for 10:30 a.m. in Montgomery. Siegelman, who is 68 and currently in a Louisiana prison, will be present. The case had been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller. All of Fuller’s cases have been reassigned by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals following his arrest this year on domestic battery charges in Atlanta. Siegelman, a Democrat, served as Alabama governor from 1995-1999. He was in a campaign to be elected governor again when he was facing corruption charges. A native of Mobile, Ala., Siegelman previously served as secretary of state and attorney general. Editor's note: Siegelman is shown in a CBS 60 Minutes expose in 2008 documenting his frame-up by federal authorities, including his now-disgraced trial judge Fuller.
OpEdNews, The Prospect of Nuclear War, Paul Craig Roberts (shown in file photo), Nov. 11, 2014. Most Americans live in their myths, and these myths are immune to facts. I began learning this back in the newsprint era from letters, and the lesson has continued from emails and comment sections on websites. In several columns this year, I have pointed out that Washington's consistent and aggressive lies about Russia and Putin's intentions, Washington's coup in overthrowing the elected Ukrainian government and installing Washington's puppets, and Washington's whipping up NATO into a military frenzy against Russia are reckless and dangerous actions that could lead to nuclear war. Trolls portrayed this concern as the ravings of an unbalanced person. Nuclear war, they said, is irrational and therefore could not happen, and doomsayers should be ignored. But neoconservatives are advocates for nuclear weapons and their use, a majority of Americans have been convinced by propaganda that Putin is a "thug" and "worse than Hitler," and the New York Times reports that "US Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms."
Washington Post, Who is Jonathan Gruber? Jose A. DelReal, Nov. 11, 2014. The MIT economics professor, best known until now for his key role advising the Obama administration on the Affordable Care Act, has come under attack after year-old video of a University of Pennsylvania panel surfaced that featured him referring to the "stupidity of the American voter" and a “lack of transparency” as crucial to the passage of the 2010 health reform law.
President Barack Obama talks with President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation as they join other leaders en route to the APEC Family Photo at the International Convention Center in Beijing, China, Nov. 11, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Washington Post, A former president makes an appearance on ‘Between Two Bushes,’ Staff report, Nov. 11, 2014. The Bushes are back — big time. Former president George W. Bush is out promoting his new book, a biography of his father who, yes, was also president. George W. and George H.W. were at Texas A&M University, where the elder Bush's presidential library resides. And, of course, there was talk about a Bush — Jeb — who is thinking about running for president in 2016. Both brother and father are in favor of it.
Investigation Discovery Channel, Alabama murder case to be examined Dec. 3 in 'Love the Way you Lie,' Nov. 11, 2014. On Dec. 3, the Investigation Discovery Channel will examine the controversial investigation of former Mobile commissioner Stephen Nodine, who was released from custody Oct. 13, 2014. He admits to immoral actions in having an affair and pleaded no contest to reduced charges involving the report of her gunshot-death, but has denied murdering her. The case has been the subject of investigative reports by CBS "48 Minutes" in "Power and Passion" and by al.com's Brendan Kirby, “The Prosecution or Persecution of Stephen Nodine: How a Suicide Became a Murder.”
WhoWhatWhy, New Bush Book Fun With Numbers: 41-43=45, Nov. 10, 2014 by Russ Baker (shown in file photo). Tuesday, November 11, is not just Veterans Day. On that day a most peculiar event will unfold: One former president named George Bush will release his “personal biography” of another president named George Bush—his father. From the advance notices (flacked by a heavy publicity campaign), we know that this singular two-generation duo plans on telling an inspiring story of a heroic and selfless individual who shaped national and world events. This is clearly part of a larger effort playing out in the media since the last presidential election. Could it be that this quintessentially ambitious clan wishes to nudge the Bush brand away from the George Bush of “Mission Accomplished” and “heckuva job, Brownie” by turning our attention to carefully reformulated memories of the “kinder, gentler” George Bush? Might this odd literary project be driven by an ulterior motive: to clear the way for a third president Bush—George W’s brother, Jeb?
Washington Post, Unusual lawsuit challenges police seizure tactics, Robert O’Harrow Jr., Nov. 10, 2014. Two men contend Iowa officers violated their constitutional rights by taking $100,020, cellphones and computer during a traffic stop. compelled to return 90 percent of the money. Now the men are questioning the police tactics in an unusual federal civil rights lawsuit. They contend the stop was part of a pattern connected to the teachings of a private police-training firm that promotes aggressive tactics. If allowed to proceed, the lawsuit could illuminate the widespread but little-known police practice known as “highway interdiction.” The suit names Desert Snow, the Oklahoma-based training firm, and its founder, Joe David, and two Iowa State Patrol troopers who were trained by Desert Snow.
Huffington Post, Here's One More Reason Mitt Romney May Not Be Out Of The 2016 Presidential Race, Sam Levine, Nov. 10, 2014. Advisers to former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are trying to talk the one-time Massachusetts governor into running for president in 2016. Those close to Romney believe he is concerned the Republican field isn't strong enough to beat Clinton, and that Romney would consider running if former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) does not. During a Sunday appearance on "Face The Nation," former President George W. Bush described his brother's chances of running as a "toss-up." Editor's Note: We have predicted here that the two former governors are the most likely GOP nominees because of their dynastic ties, as portrayed in Presidential Puppetry.
Overseas Press Club Member Newsletter, WuDunn, Kristof Examine Philanthropy in ‘A Path Appears,’ Chad Bouchard, Nov. 10, 2014. OPC Photo: Sheryl WuDunn, Nicholas Kristof and Seymour Topping during a book night on Nov. 7. After winning worldwide praise for their book Half the Sky, which explored oppression and opportunity for women around the world, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn set out to help people make significant changes through philanthropy and fight hopelessness in the face of overwhelming problems in the world. Their new book, A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity, includes vignettes about people who have made a difference by volunteering or making small contributions.
War Is a Crime, No to Republibama Government, David Swanson, Nov. 10, 2014. Democracy worked in this month's U.S. midterm elections while representative democracy failed miserably. On ballot initiatives all across the country, people in so-called red and blue states voted for raising the minimum wage, banning fracking, funding schools, taxing millionaires and billionaires, legalizing marijuana, reducing prison sentences, providing paid sick leave, and imposing background checks on gun purchases. Want smaller government? Let people govern themselves.
Daily Howler, Imitations of News, Bob Somerby, Nov. 9, 2014. The new Salon is a faux news site that comes from the corporate pseudo-left. The headlines fail to capture the actual point. “Why Chris Hayes is right,” the encouraging headline screamed. Unfortunately, author Bill Curry had rather plainly said MSNBC host Chris Hayes was wrong. Curry didn’t focus on Hayes. Salon wanted to. In its upbeat headline, Salon simply changed “wrong” to “right.” Presto! The news had been improved!
C-SPAN 3 American Archive, Medical Aspects of the Kennedy Assassinations, Cyril Wecht, M.D., J.D. Nov. 9, 2014 cablecast of Sept. 27 lecture. Dr. Cyril Wecht talked about the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. Dr. Wecht has criticized the Warren Commission Report on the assassination of President Kennedy, and the official findings in the 1968 assassination of Robert Kennedy. He spoke at a conference on the 50th anniversary of the release of the Warren Report hosted by the Assassination Archives and Research Center.
CBS KMOX (St. Louis), Sharyl Attkisson Joins KMOX’s Mark Reardon To Discuss Controversial New Book, Nov. 8, 2014. Former CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkison joined KMOX’s Mark Reardon to talk about her new book, Stonewalled: One Reporter’s Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington. "There is a consensus in the media that’s been expressed by journalists from the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today...that this is the most difficult transportation for transparency that we’ve ever dealt with."
Washington Post, U.S. strikes convoy of Islamic State leaders in Iraq, Erin Cunningham and Missy Ryan Nov. 8, 2014. U.S. warplanes launched airstrikes on what U.S. officials said was a gathering of Islamic State commanders near the militant-held city of Mosul on Friday, in one of the most prominent assaults on the Islamist group’s leadership since the air war started here in August.
OpEdNews, Gerrymandering, Media Control, Black Box Voting -- We've Lost our Democracy, Jonathan Simon (shown in file photo), Nov. 8, 2014. These are my thoughts in response to Lee Fang's article, "Gerrymandering Rigged the 2014 Election for GOP Advantage." It's actually much worse than Lee Fang thinks. In 2012 in Pennsylvania, the Democratic House candidates won a majority of the statewide vote and still only managed to win 5 seats out of 18. The gerrymandering is considerably more effective than Fang's 2014 example suggests. Bear in mind that the pretty much unstoppable ALEC plan now is to gerrymander the presidency, by allocating Electoral College votes by CD rather than statewide winner-take-all (and note that, on the surface, it is hard to argue with the fairness of this "reform") in all of these presidential blue states where they got state legislative control. So you can kiss the US House and White House goodbye for the rest of our lifetimes. It's little understood that, even if they tried to be just as ruthless, the Democrats cannot match the GOP in gerrymandering because their constituency is crowded into urban centers, which makes it much easier to create 100% Democratic districts. Let's face the grim reality of what Karl Rove and his troops (with the full-supine acquiescence of "losing" candidates, the Democratic Party, and virtually the entire journalistic caste, including the progressives) have done to this nation's voting system, and let's do something about it.
Washington Post, Rabbi facing voyeurism charges led a life with a disturbing paradox, Michelle Boorstein, Nov. 8, 2014. Barry Freundel was a trusted adviser to the likes of retired U.S. senator Joe Lieberman and his judgment was respected by rabbis around the world. But he seemed to have a parallel life with its own distorted rules and rituals.
Washington Post, Attorney general nominee Lynch called ‘the soul of grace under pressure,’ Sari Horwitz, Nov. 8, 2014. Attorney general nominee has a long history with the man she may replace. In 1980, Loretta Lynch was part of a sorority with Eric Holder’s wife. Now she is on the path to take his job. Decades later, Lynch, the top federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, stood at a podium Saturday in the White House with Malone’s husband, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., and was nominated by President Obama to be the first African American woman to serve as attorney general. From Harvard, she went on to Harvard Law School. She joined one of the nation’s premier U.S. attorney’s offices, the Eastern District of New York, as a prosecutor.
President Barack Obama announces his nominee for Attorney General, Loretta E. Lynch, to succeed Eric Holder, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza. Editor's note: Presidential senior advisor Valerie Jarrett occupied the front row center seat.
Washington Post, Obama’s pick for attorney general breaks ground, Sari Horwitz and Juliet Eilperin, Nov. 7, 2014. If confirmed by the Senate, Loretta Lynch would be the first African American woman to hold the attorney general’s post. She was said to be the least controversial of Obama’s final choices. She is shown in a file photo.
New York Times, Republicans Beat Democrats at Their Own Ground Game, Ashley Parker, Nov. 7, 2014. The Republican Party took hard lessons from 2012 and built a formidable turnout and digital strategy for the midterms.
Salon, Even a humiliating midterm defeat can be recovered from -- if Democrats learn the right lessons and battle back, Bill Curry, Nov 7, 2014. Bill Curry was White House counselor to President Clinton and a two-time Democratic nominee for governor of Connecticut.The morning after their humiliating defeat, Democrats looked out at a landscape strewn like a Civil War battlefield with the corpses of their dead. This election exposed their weaknesses, shredded their alibis and cast doubt on the notion that there was ever such a thing as a blue state. Many liberal pundits had urged Democrats to stand by their man. They’re all wrong. Obama left the Democrats in Congress long before they left him. They know their districts and states better than any pundits do and only bailed on Obama when voters started bailing on them, by which time it was too late. Their real mistake was failing to speak up years ago when Obama abandoned many of their party’s principles, or even to realize he’d done it. The MSNBC analysis is part of a larger fallacy; that the problem is merely tactical; a matter of message, not policy. Americans can feel the vital organs of their democracy shutting down. They want answers. If Democrats had some, they’d have won. The election has many lessons for them but until they pierce their denial they can’t absorb them.
Washington Post, Investigators: Nepotism was rampant with U.S. immigration court’s interns, Josh Hicks, Nov. 7, 2014. Federal investigators found rampant nepotism in recent years within the agency that oversees U.S. immigration courts, including three top officials who used their positions to help relatives land paid internships. In a report this week, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said about 16 percent of the interns hired between 2007 and 2012 for the Executive Office of Immigration Review’s Student Temporary Employment Program were family members of employees.
Washington Post, President plans to double number of troops for Iraq, Missy Ryan, Nov. 7, 2014. The move to send up to 1,500 additional troops deepens the U.S. involvement in the battle against the Islamic State.The White House said it would request $5.6 billion for the military campaign.
Oriental Review, German politicians are US puppets, Udo Ulfkotte, Nov. 7, 2014. “Now the Americans are even considering blowing up a nuclear power plant in Ukraine and then insisting that the culprits were either separatists or Russians,” claims the German journalist Udo Ulfkotte, former correspondent from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of the largest German newspapers. He has published a book, Gekaufte Journalisten (“Purchased Journalists”), in which he describes how American and German politicians sway the German media, so that those journalists give the desired spin to world events. Ulfkotte claims that reporters are urged to bias their writing primarily to favor the American position and to oppose Russia.
RT, 'Family of Secrets' revealed little-known facts about the Bush dynasty, Ben Swann and Erin Ade, Nov. 6, 2014. Hosts talk to author and journalist, Russ Baker, who wrote Family of Secrets. The book incorporates over 5 years of research and offers a compelling, alternate look into the Bush dynasty. Russ and the RT anchors talk about the strange phenomena of power revolving around the Bushes for nearly a century, and the Clintons for the last 40 years.
Rolling Stone, The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst Nightmare, Meet the woman JPMorgan Chase paid one of the largest fines in American history to keep from talking, Matt Taibbi, Nov. 6, 2014. She tried to stay quiet, she really did. But after eight years of keeping a heavy secret, the day came when Alayne Fleischmann couldn't take it anymore. "It was like watching an old lady get mugged on the street," she says. "I thought, 'I can't sit by any longer.'" Six years after the crisis that cratered the global economy, it's not exactly news that the country's biggest banks stole on a grand scale. That's why the more important part of Fleischmann's story is in the pains Chase and the Justice Department took to silence her. She was blocked at every turn: by asleep-on-the-job regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission, by a court system that allowed Chase to use its billions to bury her evidence, and, finally, by officials like outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, the chief architect of the crazily elaborate government policy of surrender, secrecy and cover-up.
President Barack Obama walks with senior advisors, including Valerie Jarrett gesturing at front, on the Colonnade of the White House, Nov. 5, 2014. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.
Huffington Post, Sharyl Attkisson Is Just One More Journalist Who Says This Is 'Worst' White House For Press Freedom, Catherine Taibi, Nov. 5, 2014. Sharyl Attkisson isn't afraid to criticize the Obama administration, because she believes she's just saying what every journalist already knows. The former CBS News investigative reporter sat down with HuffPost Live on Wednesday to discuss her new book, Stonewalled, which dives into how she claims she was surveilled and heavily monitored while reporting on the White House administration. During the interview, Attkisson, shown in photo, said that there is now full "consensus" among the media that the current administration is the "worst White House they have dealt with in recent times for transparency and freedom of the press." Attkisson joins several other prominent journalists and news organizations, including former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson, who say that this is "the most secretive" and most "dangerous" White House for the press in U.S. history.
New York Times, Riding Wave of Discontent, G.O.P. Takes Senate; Election Results: Republicans Win Senate Control With at Least 7 New Seats, Jonathan Weisman and Ashley Parker, Nov. 4, 2014. Resurgent Republicans took control of the Senate on Tuesday night, expanded their hold on the House, and defended some of the most closely contested governors’ races, in a repudiation of President Obama that will reorder the political map in his final years in office. Propelled by economic dissatisfaction and anger toward the president, Republicans grabbed Democratic Senate seats in North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, Arkansas, Montana and South Dakota to gain their first Senate majority since 2006. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, a shrewd Republican tactician, cruised to re-election and stood poised to achieve a goal he has pursued for years — Senate majority leader.
WhoWhatWhy, The 'Double Government' Secret Gets Out, Russ Baker (shown in photo), Nov. 4, 2012. You know something is going on when the cautious Boston Globe publishes not one, but two, pieces dealing with the “double government.” This cryptic phrase encapsulates a serious claim about the American body politic: That a permanent and largely unaccountable bureaucracy keeps on doing what it wants to do, no matter who the voters elect to the White House. Both of the Globe articles refer to National Security and Double Government, a book by Michael J. Glennon, professor of international law at Tufts University. From the descriptions of its contents (we haven’t read the book yet, but we will—and perhaps excerpt), the author is talking, with due academic caution, about an out-of-control security/military apparatus. The fact that the Globe thinks this book is important enough to warrant not one but two analytical pieces is significant, because Boston was the scene of the mysterious Boston Marathon Bombing. The genesis of the book was a question that confounded Glennon about President Obama: How did a man who won election pledging to change the national security policies of his predecessor effect so little of that? Here’s what Edwards wrote in his review: "The answer Glennon places before us is not reassuring: “a bifurcated system — a structure of double government—in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of U.S. national security policy.” Next (though we aren’t holding our breath for this) we hope to see the Boston Globe publish an in-depth investigation of that sub rosa “Double Government” and its peculiar handling of the Boston Marathon Bombing—which to our eyes has, at best, the hallmarks of a security-fail cover-up. And an incident that considerably expanded the rationale for, and power of, the same NatSec establishment that has belatedly so alarmed the Globe.
C-SPAN 3, JFK AARC Warren Report 50th anniversary conference opening, "Conference Preview" by AARC President James H. Lesar and "Current Implications of the JFK Assassination Cover-Up" by historian and author Andrew Kreig with introduction by moderator Alan Dale, Sept. 26, 2014, cablecast Nov. 2, 2014 (55 min.). Researchers talked about assassination related documents that have been declassified in the past 50 years. In September of 1964, the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy released their findings to the public in the “Warren Report” -- named after the commission’s chairman -- Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren. This was part of “The Warren Report and the JFK Assassination: A Half Century of Significant Disclosures,” a conference marking the 50th anniversary of the release of the Warren Report. People in this video: "JFK Conversations" Host Alan Dale, AARC President James Lesar and author/attorney Andrew Kreig, speaking on Current Implications of the JFK Assassination Cover-Up.
Other episodes in series:
- C-SPAN 3, JFK Assassination and the CIA, Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC), Oct. 26, 2014, recorded on Sept. 26, 2014 (90 min.). In "Oswald, the CIA, and Mexico City," retired U.S. Army Intelligence officer and former assistant to the NSA director Dr. John M. Newman discussed declassified documents and code-names related to the CIA, Cuba and the assassination. A longtime professor, Newman is the author of JFK and Vietnam and Oswald and the CIA. This is part of a conference by AARC marking the 50th anniversary of the release of the Warren report entitled, The Warren Report and the JFK Assassination: A Half Century of Significant Disclosures. The first of many panels/sessions was on C-SPAN 3.
- In "The HSCA and the CIA," former HSCA researchers Edwin Lopez and Dan Hardway described their time in the late 1970s working for the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). Sept. 26, 2014, cablecast Nov. 2, 2014 (1:23 hours). Introduction by Alan Dale.
- In "U.S.-Cuba Back-channel Communications After the Bay of Pigs," Dr. Peter Kornbluh, Director of the National Security Archive's Cuba Documentation Project, talked about President Kennedy’s attempts to open up private channels of communication with Cuba. Introduction by Brenda Brody. Sept. 27, 2014.
- In "CIA and the HSCA: How CIA Controlled the HSCA and the Writing of Its Final Report," Dr. Joan Mellen discussed the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) relations with the HSCA. Sept. 27, 2014.