October 2016 News Reports


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

Oct. 31 Sean Stone, Tyrel Ventura, Tabetha Wallace

"Watching the Hawks" co-host Sean Stone, shown at right above,

%20" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">interviewed Justice Integrity Project Editor Andrew Kreig about current relevance of Kreig's book "Presidential Puppetry" regarding Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on a taped edition of the show cablecast Oct. 31, 2016. In the segment, Kreig made the "strong" circumstantial case that both candidates were compromised if not controlled by powerful and secretive financial interests, with the CIA playing a role in the Clinton family ascendancy and the mob in Trump's. In the photo above with Stone are his co-hosts Tabetha Wallace and Tyrel Ventura. The 12-minute RT interview segment can be seen on reruns and via YouTube.


Presidential Puppetry by Andrew Kreig


Washington Post, Democrats demand swift answers after news of a renewed FBI inquiry, Anne Gearan, Jenna Johnson and John Wagner, Oct. 31, 2016.​ Senators have asked for an answer by the end of the day about what FBI Director James Comey is looking for and why — after ending the email investigation without charges in July — he chose to renew it less than two weeks before Election Day.

James Comey FBI file photo

FBI Director James Comey (FBI photo)

OpEdNews, What is Comey Up To? Who is he working for? Michael Collins (shown at right), Oct. 31, 2016. The 1939 Hatch Act bars Federal employees from a broad range of political activities. Richard Painter, a former lawyer in the Bush White House Counsel's office, filed a formal complaint against FBI Director Comey for violating that act.

If Comey acted on his own without any outside inducements or threats, we should all pause and say a short prayer for Michael Collinshim. In that scenario, he is an utter fool, playing in a league way above his skill set, and doing great and memorable damage to the political process.

But, Comey is no fool. I wrote favorably about his willingness to stand up to the Bush White House in 2007, Comey's Evidence of a Crime. Then, he seemed to have a quality not often seen in government or corporate environments — la willingness to "stand up to the boss." That may have been true at the time.

Today, however, Comey seems unable to decide who his boss is. He clearly caved in to the administration and the Clinton interests when he failed to indict Hillary Clinton for even a misdemeanor for her many violations of national security policies. Now, he's caving into the interests of the Republicans and the repellent Trump campaign.

The key question is who got to Comey and how?

We know that both Clinton and Trump are unfit for the presidency or any other elected or appointed office in the United States. However, we need to know who has the type of power and force to make the FBI Director behave like a fool.

Slate via Yale Law School, Comey Is a Constitutional Lightweight, and Donald Trump Remains the Only Scandal Worth Talking About, Prof. Akhil Reed Amar (Constitutional law scholar at Yale Law School), Oct. 30, 2016. Together they’re trashing not just Hillary Clinton but the rule of law.

With their usual double standards, false equivalences, and misdirected hype and hyperventilation, most pundits and politicos have missed the constitutional scandal staring us in the face this weekend. The real news is that one of the two people within realistic reach of supreme power has shown—once again and with fresh smoking-gun evidence—profound contempt for the rule of law and gross unfitness for America’s highest position of honor and trust. That person is not Hillary Clinton but Donald Trump. The only principal here who seems more disastrously unaware of the constitutional issues in question is the man who set this latest tarantella in motion, FBI Director James Comey.

The real news about Clinton is that there is no news. We know nothing new; all we have is speculation about what might or might not be in the emails found on a computer that was never in Clinton’s possession. Simply because Comey has made an enigmatic statement, the press now has license to spin more breathless commentary, with no new facts. True, we now perhaps know a bit more about what we don’t know. But for any serious journalist or would-be voter, the real story today and every day should be that we still know almost nothing about Trump’s tax returns — even though detailed tax information has always been made available by presidential candidates in the modern era and is especially important in Trump’s case given that his main claim to competence is his business acumen.

Now is not the right time for President Obama to sanction or sack Comey — there is still much that we do not know about what Comey did and why, and presidents should not rush to judgment. But Comey is removable at will by the president, and not merely because a 1976 statute allows removal. The more basic point is that the Constitution requires that the president be in charge of his own branch, and the FBI is ultimately part of the executive branch. This is a core constitutional principle, brilliantly expounded by the late Justice Antonin Scalia in his most celebrated judicial opinion, in the 1988 case Morrison v. Olson.

Clinton may never become president, and if she falls short, the constitutional cluelessness and moral fecklessness of the many journalists and pundits this weekend will be part of the story told, with chagrin, by future historians. Over the past few days, Trump, once again, has outrageously gotten a pass — actually, a good grade — from various commentators, who have thus far failed to call out fresh smears that betoken tyranny and the breakdown of the rule of law.

Washington Post, CNN drops Donna Brazile over WikiLeaks revelations, Paul Farhi​, Oct. 31, 2016. The network cut ties with the DNC chair and commentator after hacked emails revealed she sent debate questions to the Clinton campaign.

Donald Trump for President logoWashington Post, Trump is refusing to pay his campaign pollster $767,000, Matea Gold, Oct. 31, 2016. The Republican candidate appears to have taken issue with some of the services provided by veteran GOP strategist Tony Fabrizio, who has advised candidates from 1996 GOP nominee Bob Dole to Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

Peter Thiel Noel St. John Oct. 31, 2016

National Press Club, Silicon Valley's Peter Thiel defends funding lawsuit against Gawker, support of Trump, Angela Greiling Keane, Oct. 31, 2016. Venture capitalist and entrepreneur Peter Thiel told a packed National Press Club audience Oct. 31 that his only regret about funding a lawsuit against Gawker Media is that he wasn’t more transparent about being the person with the deep pockets financing the suit.

Thiel's comments about the highly publicized suit, which led to the website's bankruptcy, came at a Speakers newsmaker event where he also defended his controversial support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

That position has garnered criticism from Thiel’s Silicon Valley counterparts. Thiel, a cofounder of PayPal (and shown in a Noel St. John photo), characterized Trump as a candidate of change whom he supports even as he criticized the nominee’s comments on women. He said the timing of his announcement of his contributions to support Trump’s campaign was coincidental to the fact that it came just days after a raw tape of Trump talking graphically about women was released.

"Voters are tired of being lied to," said said. "It was both insane and somehow inevitable that D.C. insiders expected this election to be a rerun between the two political dynasties who led us through the two most gigantic financial bubbles of our time." Thiel’s appearance at the Club was the first time he’s spoken at length and taken questions about his donations to support the Trump campaign. He spoke in July at the Republican National Convention to endorse the candidate. See also advance story: National Press Club, Newsmaker: Silicon Valley Trump Supporter Peter Thiel.

Washington Post, Peter Thiel’s Palantir scores a win in fight for lucrative Army contract, Christian Davenport, Oct. 31, 2016. A federal judge issued an injunction ordering the Army to consider commercial offers such as Palantir’s. Palantir Technologies, the Silicon Valley software firm, has won an audacious federal case that could allow it to further break into the Pentagon’s rigid procurement process by competing for a lucrative Army contract, the firm said Monday. Earlier this year, Palantir sued the Pentagon, the agency that it is courting as a potential customer, because it said it was blocked from bidding on a program designed to gather all sorts of information — battlefield terrain, weather, enemy locations — and process it for soldiers on the ground. The contract at issue was worth $206 million, but the program could lead to more lucrative work.

Palantir has cast the suit as an effort not just to win a government contract but to help transform the way the Pentagon does business with the commercial sector. The lawsuit is another attempt to force a culture change at the Pentagon, traditionally resistant to outsiders, and bridge the divide between it and the start-ups that have transformed so much of the nation’s economy.

The effort is a top priority for Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, who has named Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google parent Alphabet, and Jeffrey P. Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, to the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Advisory Board. (Bezos owns The Washington Post.) Palantir alleged that the Army has spent $6 billion on its data processing system with little to show for it. Its system could work for the Army, it argued. But the Army has not allowed it to compete for the contract, displaying “a profound ignorance of advances in commercial technology,” the lawsuit said.

Co-founded by Peter Thiel, a PayPal co-founder, Palantir has had some success selling its system to federal agencies, including the Marine Corps, the U.S. Special Operations Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency, it said in the lawsuit. The company also received $2 million from In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s investment arm.

Oct. 31, 2016. Billionaire venture capitalist and entrepreneur Peter Thiel has rocked Silicon Valley with his support for Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump. Thiel will discuss that political endorsement and the 2016 election at a National Press Club speakers newsmaker event on Monday Oct. 31. Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and Palantir Technologies Inc., endorsed Trump at the Republican National Convention in July and pledged a $1.25 million campaign donation in support of the candidate.

Common Dreams via The Indicter, Controversy over WikiLeaks Podesta Emails Opens a Debate for Future Journalism, Dr. Nozomi Hayase, member of The Indicter Editorial Board, Oct. 31, 2016. In its 10th years of existence, WikiLeaks has been at the center of controversy. Ever since its global debut with the 2010 Apache helicopter gun-sight video depicting the killing of civilians in Baghdad, the whistleblowing site has consistently exposed the naked power of empire for the world to see. As a result, the organization has been subject to relentless retaliation.

The IndicterNow, by means of email leaks, they began informing U.S. voters of the real working of Corporate America’s tradition of lesser-evil politics. After the DNC email leaks that led to the resignation of top DNC officials, WikiLeaks has intensified its activity. Since October 7, they began publishing emails from the private account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta. The archive contained transcripts of Clinton’s paid Goldman Sachs speeches that show her two faces and total disconnect from the middle class. It also revealed her private remarks dismissing climate activists. As usual, the leaks have been condemned by the status quo and Clinton loyalists. This time, a narrative that ‘Vladimir Putin was meddling in the election’ was used to discredit their publication, with the mainstream media creating an echo chamber of McCarthy-era style hysteria.

Over the years, as WikiLeaks grew, incorporating their evolving strategies, criticism against the organization has also changed. Back in the day, WikiLeaks was slandered with Pentagon official’s rhetoric of “blood on their hands”, and was depicted as reckless hackers putting innocents in danger.

Now, while the beam of transparency is focused on U.S. rigged contest for power, WikiLeaks is once again in the eye of media storms. Some criticize what they perceive as a politically driven information dump and question whether WikiLeaks has gone too far. This new sensation around WikiLeaks is now opening up a debate for all to examine the role of journalism and at the same time gives us an opportunity to understand how the organization’s efforts to open governments is changing the media landscape.

Criticism toward WikiLeaks latest publication also emerged from those who share similar values. The NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who once described WikiLeaks as fearless journalism that they “run towards the risks everyone else runs away from,” weighed in after release of the DNC emails this summer: "Democratizing information has never been more vital, and @Wikileaks has helped. But their hostility to even modest curation is a mistake," Edward Snowden (@Snowden) July 28, 2016.

Now, renowned author and journalist Naomi Klein joined in this critique. In a recent interview with Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept (funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar), Klein expressed her view that the publication of the Podesta emails is not in the same category as the Pentagon papers and previous publications by WikiLeaks, such as chapters on the TPP trade agreements. Despite her acknowledging valuable and newsworthy stories in this material, she noted how indiscriminate publication of someone’s personal exchanges bring grave threat to privacy.

The crux of the criticism revolves around different views on redaction, which has been debated in past years between Assange and Greenwald, who has been an advocate for WikiLeaks. Has WikiLeaks gone too far? Perhaps the real question that should be asked is how far can the rest of media organizations go to keep up with this world’s first truly global 4th estate.

Monica LewinskyTomorrow Woman, Trump vs. Hillary: Who Are Celebs Voting For? Jon Hartley, Oct. 31, 2016. The nation is set to hit the polls on November 8th. Here’s a rundown of who celebs plan on casting their vote for on election day.

  • Tom Brady: Trump. Brady recently returned to the field for the New England Patriots following a four-game suspension. He counts Trump among his friends and plans on voting for the Republican candidate.
  • Monica Lewinsky: Hillary. This one may come as a surprise, but Lewinsky (shown in a file photo) will vote for Clinton despite her rocky history with Hillary’s husband, Bill. She sees Trump as a bully and says that as an anti-bullying advocate, she can’t support him.

Oct. 30

Washington Post, FBI obtains warrant to search newly discovered Clinton-related emails, Matt Zapotosky, Ellen Nakashima and Rosalind S. Helderman​, Oct. 30, 2016. The agents investigating Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server knew that messages recovered in a probe of former congressman Anthony Weiner might be germane to their case, but they waited weeks before briefing Director James Comey, raising questions about the timing of renewing the inquiry into Clinton.

Roll Call, Reid: FBI Director May Have Broken Law in Clinton Inquiry, Bridget Bowman, Oct. 30, 2016. Reid accused the director of treating the presidential candidates with a “clear double-standard.” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid suggested Sunday that the FBI’s director may have violated federal law when he announced his agency was looking into new emails regarding Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

Harry Reid officialFBI Director James B. Comey informed lawmakers Friday that the agency was reviewing new emails that could be pertain to a previous investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server while she was Secretary of State. But the timing of the new announcement — less than two weeks before the presidential election — had Reid crying foul.

“Your actions in recent months have demonstrated a disturbing double standard for the treatment of sensitive information, with what appears to be a clear intent to aid one political party over another,” Reid (shown in an official photo) wrote in a scathing Sunday letter to Comey.

“I am writing to inform you that my office has determined that these actions may violate the Hatch Act, which bars FBI officials from using their official authority to influence an election,” Reid wrote. “Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law.”

Reid said the agency has been reluctant to disclose “explosive information” about “GOP nominee Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. “In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government — a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity,” Reid wrote. "By contrast, as soon as you came into possession of the slightest innuendo related to Secretary Clinton, you rushed to publicize it in the most negative light possible,” Reid said.

"Please keep in mind," Reid continued, "that I have been a supporter of yours in the past. When Republicans filibustered your nomination and delayed your confirmation longer than any previous nominee to your position, I led the fight to get you confirmed because I believed you to be a principled public servant. With the deepest regret, I now see that I was wrong."

Washington Post, Post-ABC poll finds tight presidential race, with mixed reaction to FBI’s review of Clinton’s emails, Scott Clement and Emily Guskin, Oct. 30, 2016. Republicans' growing unity behind their Hillary Clintonpresidential nominee, Donald Trump, has helped pull him just 1 percentage point behind Hillary Clinton and has placed GOP leaders who resist him in a vulnerable position, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News Tracking Poll.

A majority of all likely voters say they are unmoved by the FBI's announcement Friday that it may review additional emails from Clinton's time as secretary of state. Just more than 6 in 10 voters say the news will make no difference in their vote, while just more than 3 in 10 say it makes them less likely to support her; 2 percent say they are more likely to back her as a result. About one-third say FBI's review makes them less likely to support Clinton.

"A real-time demo of the most devastating election theft mechanism yet found, with context and explanation"