TBR News July 23, 2016

Jul 23 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. July 23, 2016:” The French are very quietly establishing military defense treaties with the Russian Federation, and in order to deal with the problems of high energy costs, the E.E.C. is trying to work with the Russians to establish an oil industry [in the Arctic] that will enable Europe to free itself from the need for Middle Eastern oil. Reserves of oil believed to be located both in the Russian Arctic, the Crimea  and north of the Caspian may turn out to be larger than the reserves in the Middle East and if the Europeans can get the upper hand over the United States in helping develop these reserves, the geopolitical balance may rapidly shift from U.S. domination to the Eurobloc domination.”

Thoughts of the Forbidden Man

Man completed his first discovery by making a second. Among other things he learned how to master other living beings and make them serve him in his struggle for existence. And thus began the real inventive activity of mankind, as it is now visible before our eyes. Those material inventions, beginning with the use of stones as weapons, which led to the domestication of animals, the production of fire by artificial means, down to the marvellous inventions of our own days, show clearly that an individual was the originator in each case. The nearer we come to our own time and the more important and revolutionary the inventions become, the more clearly do we recognize the truth of that statement.

All the material inventions which we see around us have been produced by the creative powers and capabilities of individuals. And all these inventions help man to raise himself higher and higher above the animal world and to separate himself from that world in an absolutely definite way. Hence they serve to elevate the human species and continually to promote its progress. And what the most primitive artifice once did for man in his struggle for existence, as he went hunting through the primeval forest, that same sort of assistance is rendered him to-day in the form of marvellous scientific inventions which help him in the present day struggle for life and to forge weapons for future struggles.

In their final consequences all human thought and invention help man in his life-struggle on this planet, even though the so-called practical utility of an invention, a discovery or a profound scientific theory, may not be evident at first sight. Everything contributes to raise man higher and higher above the level of all the other creatures that surround him, thereby strengthening and consolidating his position; so that he develops more and more in every direction as the ruling being on this earth.

Hence all inventions are the result of the creative faculty of the individual. And all such individuals, whether they have willed it or not, are the benefactors of mankind, both great and small. Through their work millions and indeed billions of human beings have been provided with means and resources which facilitate their struggle for existence.

Highway Bluetooth detectors are spying on motorists and pedestrians

July 21, 2016


DHS and the Dept., of Transportation are using ‘Bluetooth detectors’ to spy on motorists and pedestrians.

Beginning in late 2007 the University of Maryland, with support from the Maryland SHA, developed an anonymous probe technique to monitor the travel time on highways and arterials based on signals available from the point‐to‐point networking protocol commonly referred to as Bluetooth.

If you guessed DHS, is involved in Bluetooth spying, give your self a gold star. Click here, here & here to find out more.

According to Gainesville.com. motorists probably have no idea the government (DHS) is secretly reading information on their cell phones, tablets, headphones.

The Florida Department of Transportation and city of Gainesville are two of many government entities nationwide now using roadside transponders to read the identification number of any activated Bluetooth device as it passes.

Government agencies like DHS and the DEA use Bluetooth detectors to gather Bluetooth data from a Wireless Sensor Network. For more information about DEA spying, read ‘The DEA has created a massive national license plate reader spying program’.


Wireless technology that allows electronic devices to communicate directly with one another

Recently emerged as viable travel time collection technology

Open standard, allows for off-the-shelf equipment

Detection range limited to about 328 feet (100 meters)

Less expensive than many other options

Flexible installation

Some potential privacy concerns

Detection technology relies on drivers’ use of Bluetooth-enabled devices


“The whole country is doing this,” Paul Misticawi, vice president of public sector sales for traffic data software company.

Bluetooth detectors will soon be able to identify everyone

According to Michael Robertson, “sensors that re-identify vehicles specifically. Some examples given are “electronic toll tag transponders, cell-phone tracking, license plate reading, Bluetooth sniffing, magnetic signatures, (and) video tracking.”

By combining a license plate or a phone number with a Bluetooth serial number, it’s possible to track citizens via their phone. Mr. Robertson said.

The DOT admits Bluetooth detectors can be used to identify anyone…

If an electronic device were seized by police as evidence, the MAC address could be determined and matched against Bluetooth detection records.

Similarly, users who download and use certain mobile device applications may make personal information, including their MAC addresses, known to the apps’ publishers, who could then potentially mine, share or sell this information.

Jeff Hayes, Alachua County’s transportation planning manager, said the system is smart enough that if two people with Bluetooth devices are traveling in the same car, they will be recorded together at the first transponder. But if both devices cross the path of a transponder down the road again in the same car, the system figures out they belong to passengers traveling together, and will cancel out one of the ID numbers.

Bluetooth detectors can detect a vehicle’s speed and location

They can detect a vehicles location, speed and altitude (according to page 25 of the Meshlium datasheet) Bluetooth detectors also use a GPS-3G/GPRS realtime tracker.

According to a Delaware DOT Bluetooth brochure, most phones stay discoverable and vehicles with hands-free systems tend to always be discoverable!

How Bluetooth detectors work

According to the DOT, Bluetooth detection systems work by actively searching for in-range Bluetooth devices and capturing the unique media access control (MAC) address of each device. For a Bluetooth detection system to read the MAC address of a device, the device must be turned on and be in “discoverable” mode (i.e., broadcasting its MAC address). Because each device has a unique and permanent MAC address, Bluetooth detection systems can determine vehicle travel times and speeds by calculating the time it takes for vehicles containing Bluetooth devices to travel between two or more Bluetooth sensors that are a known distance apart.

Bluetooth detectors are secretly spying on motorists in National Parks

To mitigate the deterioration of mobility and safety an innovative traffic data detection system is needed to provide drivers with real-time travel speeds and travel time information. The system must be visually unobtrusive (hidden) with minimal impact on viewsheds and disturbance of historical and cultural landscapes. IAI and its collaborator, Sabra, Wang and Associates will develop an innovative, low profile, low cost, low power, and light weight microwave radar with WiFi/Bluetooth sensors for vehicle detection and travel time monitoring.

In other words, the government agencies., are secretly spying on every vehicle visiting our National Parks.

According to the DOT, arrays of magnetometers are installed in pavement at detection locations which can identify and match vehicles based on each vehicle’s unique magnetic signature. In-Pavement magnetic detectors, have close to 100 percent detection rate.

Bluetooth detectors spy on pedestrians

According to Meshilium, the idea is to be able to measure (spy on) the amount of people and cars which are present in a certain point at a specific time, allowing the study of the evolution of the traffic congestion of pedestrians and vehicles.

Users have to do nothing to be detected as the WiFi and Bluetooth radios integrated in their Smartphones periodically send a “hello!” message telling about their presence.

The information read from each user contains:

  • The MAC address of the wireless interface, which allows to identify it uniquely
  • The strength of the signal (RSSI), which gives us the average distance of the device from the scanning point.
  • The vendor of the Smartphone (Apple, Nokia, etc)
  • The Class of Device (CoD) in case of Bluetooth which allows us to differentiate the type of device (Smartphone, Handsfree, Computer, LAN/Network AP). With this parameter we can differentiate among pedestrians and vehicles.
  • Bluetooth detectors spy on entire streets and floors of shopping malls

Applications related to shopping and street activities:

  • Number of people passing daily in a street
  • Average time of the stance of the people in a street

Differentiate between residents (daily matches) and visitants (sporadic matches)

  • Walking routes of people in shopping malls and average time in each area

In-pavement magnetic detectors can identify individual vehicles

And further,a joint Pentagon/Department of Transportation are conducting a permanent surveillance of all motor vehicles using the Federal Highway System. This is code named ARGUS.

It was initially a part of an overall public surveillance program instituted and organized by Admiral Poindexter, convicted of various criminal acts as the result of the Iran-Contra affair and then brought back to government service by the Bush Administration.

This Orwellian nonsense consists of having unmanned video cameras installed over all Federal highways and toll roads. These cameras work 24/7 to video all passing vehicles, trucks, private cars and busses.

The information is passed to a central data bank and entered therein. This data is supplied, on request, to any authorized law enforcement agency to include private investigative and credit agencies licensed to work with Federal law enforcement information, on any user of the road systems under surveillance.

Provision is made, according to the operating plans, to notify local law enforcement immediately if any driver attempts to obscure their license plate number and instructs them to at once to “apprehend and identify” the vehicle or vehicles involved.

It is at present, a Federal crime to attempt to damage or in any way interfere with any official surveillance devices.

Germany expects Turkish brain drain following Erdogan crackdown

Germany is expecting a new influx of refugees from Turkey following President Erdogan’s authoritarian crackdown. Even conservative politicians have suggested politically persecuted Turks should be offered asylum.

July 22, 2016


German politicians and asylum experts are expecting a new influx of refugees from Turkey following the ongoing repression of the opposition by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Even those on the conservative side of Germany’s political spectrum have suggested that those fleeing the regime should be granted asylum.

“We expect that people will come who are being pursued by the rule of Erdogan and his party,” Andreas Scheuer, general secretary of the Christian Social Union, told TV network ZDF on Thursday evening. “That must then be assessed according to the legal principles in Germany and Europe.”

The human rights organization Pro Asyl has also said that a real increase in asylum requests from Turkey is likely. “The sackings and persecution practically mean a destruction of their living,” Pro Asyl deputy chairman Bernd Mesovic told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) newspaper.

Freedom of movement

But political activists in Germany, where there are 2.8 million people with Turkish heritage, are less convinced that there will now be a sudden mass stream of political refugees.

Erkin Erdogan, spokesman for the “Berlin Freedom and Democracy Block,” an alliance of Turkish opposition groups in the German capital, pointed out that, for one thing, it’s not that easy to leave Turkey at the moment – because of the newly-declared state of emergency.

“Civil servants for example cannot leave Turkey anymore,” he told DW. “There are some additional intelligence-based checklists in the airports, people cannot freely move out.”

“All the leave for public sector workers has been canceled,” he added. “A friend of mine from the university in Ankara was in Berlin for summer school, and she had to go back because officially you cannot be abroad anymore.”

Despite the tense new atmosphere, Erkin didn’t believe the recent developments were having an immediate effect. “From my personal and political circles, I don’t have a feeling that people are trying to run away,” he said. “But I know that some people from the LGBT community are very scared at the moment and some of them are trying to move out of Turkey. But I don’t have the feeling that this is in big numbers.”

The Berlin Freedom and Democracy Block is holding a demonstration against both Erdogan’s “dictatorship/sultanate” and the military coup on Friday evening, which its press release describes as a choice between “cholera and the plague.”

Brain drain

Meanwhile, representatives of Germany’s universities have lined up to condemn Erdogan’s new policies targeting academics and warned of a “brain drain” from the country. Halil Uslucan, director of Turkish studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen, told the WAZ that Turkey was risking an “educational recession of an entire generation.”

The German Rectors’ Conference (HRK), an umbrella organization for German universities, was equally scathing: “The deep, apparently unscrupulous cuts into academic freedoms by the Turkish government have left us all shocked,” said HRK President Horst Hippler. “We protest against these measures in the strongest possible terms.”

Multiple casualties in shooting rampage in Munich shopping mall: police

July 22, 2016

by Joern Poltz


MUNICH-Gunmen went on a shooting rampage in a shopping mall in the southern German city of Munich on Friday, killing and wounding many people, police said.

It was the third major act of violence against civilian targets to take place in Western Europe in eight days. Previous attacks in France and Germany were claimed by the Islamic State militant group.

Munich police said they suspected it was a terrorist attack.

Authorities were evacuating people from the Olympia mall but many others were hiding inside. Munich’s main railway station was also being evacuated.

A Munich police spokeswoman said multiple people were killed or wounded. No suspects had been arrested yet, she said.

“We believe we are dealing with a shooting rampage,” the spokeswoman said.

Bavarian broadcaster BR said six people were dead and many wounded in the shopping mall.

NTV television had reported the Bavarian Interior Ministry as saying three people were dead, but the ministry said later it would not confirm this.

More than one gunman was believed to be involved, the police spokeswoman said.

“We believe there was more than one perpetrator. The first reports came at 6 p.m., the shooting apparently began at a McDonald’s in the shopping center. There are still people in the shopping center. We are trying to get the people out and take care of them,” she said.

Police special forces had arrived at the scene, NTV said.

Munich police said on Facebook that witnesses reported three different people with weapons. Shooting was also reported on Hanauer Street and Ries Street, near the mall.

The police told people to stay in their homes or take cover in buildings. Authorities were evacuating people from the Olympia mall. But many others were hiding inside, an employee told Reuters by telephone.

“Many shots were fired, I can’t say how many but it’s been a lot,” the employee, who declined to be identified, said from the mall.

“All the people from outside came streaming into the store and I only saw one person on the ground who was so severely injured that he definitely didn’t survive,”

“We have no further information, we’re just staying in the back in the storage rooms. No police have approached us yet.”

Munich transport authorities said they had halted several bus, train and tram lines.

The shopping center is next to the Munich Olympic stadium, where the Palestinian militant group Black September took 11 Israeli athletes hostage and eventually killed them during the 1972 Olympic Games.


There was no immediate claim of responsibility but supporters of Islamic State celebrated the rampage on social media.

Thank God, may God bring prosperity to our Islamic State men,” read one tweet.

“The Islamic state is expanding in Europe,” read another.

Friday’s attack took place a week after a 17-year-old asylum-seeker wounded passengers on a German train in an axe rampage. Bavarian police shot dead the teenager after he wounded four people from Hong Kong on the train and injured a local resident while fleeing.

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas told Bild newspaper’s Friday edition before the mall attack that there was “no reason to panic but it’s clear that Germany remains a possible target”.

The incidents in Germany follow an attack in Nice, France, on Bastille Day in which a Tunisian drove a truck into crowds, killing 84. Islamic State also claimed responsibility for that attack.

Friday is also the five-year anniversary of the massacre by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway. Breivik is a hero for far-right extremists in Europe and America.

The Munich assault was also reminiscent of Islamist militant attacks in a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, in September 2013 and on a hotel in Mumbai, India, in November 2008.

(Reporting by Tina Bellon, Andrea Shalal, Christina Amann, Editing and writing by Robin Pomeroy and Angus MacSwan)

Trump Enrages the War Party

He’s challenging 70 years of US foreign policy – and they hate him for it!

July 22, 2016

by Justin Raimondo


This election season is so much fun because Donald Trump keeps enraging all the right people – and his timing is perfect. Just as the Republican convention was at its height, with his running mate up there on the podium perorating about the alleged threat of Vladimir Putin, along comes Donald with an interview in the New York Times that has the War Party yelling and screaming bloody murder. The head of NATO; the foreign policy pundits; even some alleged “non-interventionists” – they’re all aghast that Trump is questioning the supposedly sacred tripwires that commit us to going to war if Lower Slobbovia invades Upper Slobbovia.

It started with this article, in which Trump’s views on NATO, the Turkey coup, and other matters were summarized, but it caused such a commotion that the Times published the entire interview, and it is really a sight to see – good news for us anti-interventionists, and very bad news for the internationalists, i.e. the entire foreign policy Establishment.

It starts off with Times reporter David Sanger trying to bait him into attacking Paul Ryan, who, he says, “presented a much more traditional Republican, engaged internationalist view of the world.” Sanger reminds him of his previous comments on NATO: that our shiftless “allies” need to start paying their fair share of the costs of the alliance. Sanger adds in Korea and Japan, and ask: what if they won’t pay? What then?

Trump’s answer is vintage Trump:  “Then yes, I would be absolutely prepared to tell those countries, ‘Congratulations, you will be defending yourself.’”

He is challenged by Sanger – who asks most of the questions, by the way – who avers that our system of alliances is in our interests as well, because of “trade.”

Does Sanger imagine Russia going to somehow stop trans-Atlantic commerce? It isn’t clear, but Trump comes back at him by saying it’s “a mutual interest” – in which our NATO allies are not doing their part. Stopped in his tracks – because even President Obama, as well as traditional Republicans like Robert Gates, have complained that our allies aren’t paying – Sanger reverts to the default interventionist argument:

“Even if they didn’t pay a cent toward it, many have believed that the way we’ve kept our postwar leadership since World War II has been our ability to project power around the world. That’s why we got this many diplomats …”

Trump’s answer is perfect:

“How is it helping us? How has it helped us? We have massive trade deficits. I could see that, if instead of having a trade deficit worldwide of $800 billion, we had a trade positive of $100 billion, $200 billion, $800 billion. So how has it helped us?”

Here Trump has stumbled on the dirty little secret of the post-World War II security architecture so beloved by our elites: for the privilege of paying for their defense, and in effect militarily occupying our allies-cum-satellites, we allow them to flood our markets with tariff-free goods, while they wall off their markets with trade barriers and subsidies. As the Old Right economist and prophet of empire Garet Garrett put it at the dawn of the cold war, it’s a peculiar sort of empire in which “everything goes out and nothing comes in.”

It’s really quite interesting to see Sanger take on the role of the defender of our role as “the indispensable nation” – although to be fair, it’s his job to challenge the candidate – and see how Trump argues in favor of a new policy, one that recognizes the limits of power. In their discussion of the US presence in South Korea, Sanger argues that this has prevented war, but Trump avers that it has only led to the radicalization – and nuclearization – of the North, and heightened the prospect of a really catastrophic conflict, one in which the 28,000 American troops stationed in the South would be instantly incinerated. And Trump goes further, opining that if we hadn’t intervened and stationed our troops there to begin with, things might’ve turned out differently:

“Maybe you would have had a unified Korea. Who knows what would have happened? In the meantime, what have we done? So we’ve kept peace, but in the meantime we’ve let North Korea get stronger and stronger and more nuclear and more nuclear, and you are really saying, ‘Well, how is that a good thing?’”

The fact is that the Koreans were getting closer to unity and resolving their own problems back during the Bush administration, but the neocons stepped in and scotched what was a hopeful process of reconciliation and reunification. I wrote about that here and here.

And here Trump lets it rip with a reiteration of his essential point:

“I’m only saying this. We’re spending money, and if you’re talking about trade, we’re losing a tremendous amount of money, according to many stats, $800 billion a year on trade. So we are spending a fortune on military in order to lose $800 billion. That doesn’t sound like it’s smart to me. Just so you understand though, totally on the record, this is not 40 years ago. We are not the same country and the world is not the same world. Our country owes right now $19 trillion, going to $21 trillion very quickly because of the omnibus budget that was passed, which is incredible. We don’t have the luxury of doing what we used to do; we don’t have the luxury, and it is a luxury. We need other people to reimburse us much more substantially than they are giving right now because [they] are only paying for a fraction of the cost.”

Sanger, defeated, can only point to the logical conclusion of Trump’s foreign policy: “Or to take on the burden themselves.” Trump is ready for him:

“In a deal, you always have to be prepared to walk. Hillary Clinton has said, ‘We will never, ever walk.” That’s a wonderful phrase, but unfortunately, if I were on Saudi Arabia’s side, Germany, Japan, South Korea and others, I would say, “Oh, they’re never leaving, so what do we have to pay them for?’ Does that make sense to you, David?”

Sanger is forced to concede: “It does, but …” and he falls back on the far-fetched question of how will we defend the United States – as if there’s going to be an attack on the continental US. Trump comes back at him with the rather obvious fact that we can always deploy from the US – “and it would be a lot less expense.”

Exhausted by the pushback, Sanger switches to “current events” – the recent coup attempt in Turkey. Shouldn’t we stick our noses in that mess, too, because Erdogan is jailing people left and right. Trump says no, and in quite a remarkable way:

“I think right now when it comes to civil liberties, our country has a lot of problems, and I think it’s very hard for us to get involved in other countries when we don’t know what we are doing and we can’t see straight in our own country. We have tremendous problems when you have policemen being shot in the streets, when you have riots, when you have Ferguson. When you have Baltimore. When you have all of the things that are happening in this country – we have other problems, and I think we have to focus on those problems. When the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger.”

Who are we to lecture the world when we’re in a mess ourselves? That’s a viewpoint I’ll bet Sanger never expected to hear – and, frankly, neither did I. Trump continues to surprise us with his common sense approach and his willingness to tell the truth, no matter how it grates against the delicate sensibilities of the political class – a class so buried in its own conceit that it has lost touch with the reality most ordinary Americans have no trouble seeing. This is why Trump has come so far, so fast.

What really has the War Party bent out of shape is Trump’s refusal to go to war with Russia over some minor border dispute between Russia and the Baltic states, which have been palavering about alleged “Russian aggression” for years now. Sanger channels their palaver by accusing the Russians of doing all sorts of provocative things – never mentioning NATO’s unprecedented military “exercises” right on Russia’s border – and positing a scenario where Russia “comes over the border into Estonia or Latvia, Lithuania, places that Americans don’t think about all that often, would you come to their immediate military aid?” When Trump fails to answer with an unequivocal yes, Sanger presses the point: “They are NATO members, and we are treaty-obligated.”

This isn’t true. Article 5 of the NATO treaty says if another NATO member is attacked each member “shall take such action as it deems necessary.” Republican opposition to the NATO treaty in 1949, led by “Mr. Republican” Sen. Robert A. Taft, would have defeated it in the Senate if any more binding language had been included. Since neither Sanger nor Trump seems to realize what the NATO treaty actually says, the discussion continues along these lines:

“TRUMP:  We have many NATO members that aren’t paying their bills.

SANGER: That’s true, but we are treaty-obligated under NATO, forget the bills part.

TRUMP: You can’t forget the bills. They have an obligation to make payments. Many NATO nations are not making payments, are not making what they’re supposed to make. That’s a big thing. You can’t say forget that.

SANGER: My point here is, Can the members of NATO, including the new members in the Baltics, count on the United States to come to their military aid if they were attacked by Russia? And count on us fulfilling our obligations –

TRUMP: Have they fulfilled their obligations to us? If they fulfill their obligations to us, the answer is yes.”

Of the three Baltic states, only Estonia is – just barely – fulfilling its obligation to NATO. And if we subtract the enormous amount of military and other aid provided to Estonia, their account is in the red. Lithuania and Latvia are being similarly lavished with American taxpayer dollars, and they don’t even pretend to be trying to fulfill their obligations to NATO.

Furthermore, Estonia in particular has been provoking the Russians due to their policies toward those Russians who live in Estonia – and have lived there for generations – by depriving them of the privileges of citizenship. When Estonia declared independence from the former USSR, it granted citizenship only to those who had lived there since 1940: this left hundreds of thousands and their descendants out in the cold, with the threat of deportation hanging over them. To date, nearly 7 percent of the Estonian population consists of stateless ethnic Russians. They cannot vote in national elections and encounter systematic discrimination in housing and employment. It’s ironic that the same people who denounce Trump for his anti-immigration stance are defending the policies of a government that has built a de facto wall excluding a significant portion of the population on purely ethnic grounds.

It’s truly amazing how the neocons on the right and the Clintonistas on the left are uniting in outrage against Trump’s refusal to start World War III with the Russians. Jeffrey Goldberg has declared that “Hillary Clinton is running against Vladimir Putin,” and Mrs. Clinton, for her part, has issued a statement that does everything but accuse Trump of being a Manchurian candidate. Neocon Jamie Kirchick, in his bizarre piece for the Los Angeles Times advocating a military coup against Trump should he be elected, cites the Trump campaign’s successful effort to scotch a plank in the GOP platform calling for arming the Ukrainian government with offensive weapons as a reason to oust President Trump. Similarly, the Clinton statement attacks Trump for the same thing – as if the American people want to start a military conflict in Europe for the sake of a corrupt kleptocracy that came to power by overthrowing the elected President.

We haven’t seen a smear campaign like this since the frigid winter of the cold war, when anyone who deviated from the “commies under the bed” paranoia of that era was denounced as a “subversive” and hauled before a congressional inquisition. Both wings of the War Party are united in their hatred for Trump’s “America First” policy of minding our own business and staying out of foreign wars.

Yet Trump has turned the tables on the War Party: it is they who are being put on the defensive by his relentless assault, and his willingness to say what most normal people are thinking. His disregard for the pieties of the Beltway, his contempt for the self-proclaimed “experts,” and his ability to mobilize the American people behind a foreign policy that puts them first, is the best thing that has happened to this country in the modern era.

Somewhere, Bob Taft is smiling….

Trump offers vision of unyielding leadership in a lawless, dangerous time

July 21, 2015

by Dan Balz

The Washington Post

CLEVELAND — There were no echoes of Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America,” George H.W. Bush’s “kinder and gentler nation” or even George W. Bush’s compassionate conservatism in Donald Trump’s speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination here Thursday night. Instead, in both theme and target audience, Trump offered a powerful echo of Richard Nixon almost 50 years ago.

Trump’s speech proved once again that he would continue to throw out the traditional campaign rulebook that might dictate softer language and broader appeals. Instead, he offered his grim portrait of the country and a law-and-order message in the hope of summoning an army of disaffected and forgotten voters large enough to topple the political status quo in November.

Throughout this election year, it has been evident that the forces of change are in control, which puts Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton at an obvious disadvantage. But with questions about his temperament and readiness to be president, Trump has but one way to win, and that was on display Thursday night.

In Nixon’s time, it was a call for the “Silent Majority” to rise up and take back the country. Trump spoke to the “forgotten men and women” who he said no longer have a voice in a rigged political system run by “censors” and “cynics.”

His target audience remains white, mostly working-class, Americans bruised by economic change and worried about cultural changes. But the coalitions that elected both Nixon and Reagan — that silent majority of 1968 or the Reagan Democrats of 1980 — have been diluted by demographic change. Trump’s gamble is that he can still find and mobilize enough of them to prove his critics wrong again.

Trump’s speech was the capstone to a chaotic convention that highlighted divisions within the Republican Party despite repeated efforts at unity this week. He spoke Thursday less as the leader of political party than as a man seeking to lead a crosscutting movement of fed-up voters.

“Every day I wake up determined to deliver for the people I have met all across this nation that have been neglected, ignored and abandoned,” he said.

He offered himself as a singular leader uniquely equipped to lead the country through the turmoil he described. His self-portrait was not that of someone eager to join forces with Republican majorities in Congress but that of a strong, even autocratic, leader who by sheer force of personality could deliver a dramatic national turnaround.

“Nobody knows the system better than me,” he said, “which is why I alone can fix it.”

He wrapped his message with a warning to those who did not take him seriously when he announced his candidacy 13 months ago. “Remember,” he said, “all of the people telling you you can’t have the country you want, are the same people . . . that said Trump doesn’t have a chance of being here tonight. . . . Oh we love to defeat those people, don’t we?”

The language he used was as dark and ominous as in any acceptance speech in recent memory, and what he promised to fix was a mess that he laid directly at the feet of Clinton, the former secretary of state and wife of former president Bill Clinton, as well as at the feet of President Obama.

Running through a litany of problems in the Middle East that have happened over the past seven-plus years, Trump said of his rival: “The legacy of Hillary Clinton is death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”

The speech was without question the most important Trump has ever delivered. Many of his speeches at political rallies have been carried live on cable networks, but none had either the setting or, likely, the audience Trump commanded on Thursday night. This was his opportunity to make a pivot to the general election, to begin to allay questions about his temperament as well as his understanding of a complex and dangerous world.

Trump was trying to rally a party badly fractured over his nomination and send reassurance to GOP leaders fearful that he begins the final months of the election with a campaign that is poorly organized and ill-prepared, highlighted by petty squabbles between Trump campaign officials and defeated rivals who won’t endorse him and the messy handling of charges of plagiarism in Melania Trump’s speech on Monday night.

Strains in the party have been visible all week in Cleveland and no more so than in Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday night when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) addressed the convention. Cruz, who ran second to Trump in the primaries, again declined to endorse Trump and then urged people to “vote your conscience” in November for candidates “who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.” He was greeted by boos and jeers from delegates loyal to Trump.

Another symbol of a conservative coalition in turmoil came hours before Trump’s speech with the news that Roger Ailes, the founder and chief executive of Fox News, was resigning under pressure. No outside institution has been more important to maintenance of the Republican coalition and the conservative movement as it now exists than Fox News. The timing of the news added an unexpected exclamation point to a week of surprises inside the party family.

Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, had promised earlier in the week that Trump would campaign on a theme of law and order, a theme that was largely unspoken through much of the early months of Trump’s candidacy.

On Thursday, Trump embraced that message in the opening minutes of his speech, asserting that this is a “moment of crisis” for the country that threatens “our very way of life.” He painted a picture of an America out of control, with rising crime in big cities, police being shot and illegal immigrants streaming across the border.

“Beginning on January 20th of 2017, safety will be restored,” he said.

He described an economy in which household incomes are down since the beginning of the century, persistent poverty, especially among African Americans and Latinos, a “trade deficit of $800 billion” and a national debt at $19 trillion. Internationally, he ticked through what he described as a series of humiliations for America’s prestige that have left the Islamic State on the rise and allies doubting the country’s resolve.

His speech was long on pledges, shorter on how he would fulfill them. He promised again to “defeat the barbarians of ISIS” but without resolving the long-standing question of whether he could do so without committing significantly more U.S. forces to the battle.

He pledged millions of new jobs and trillions of dollars of new wealth. After pointing to the national debt as a problem that needed to be addressed, he promised significant tax cuts and a massive infrastructure project that would build new “roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports and the railways of tomorrow.”

He brought special emphasis to the core messages of his presidential campaign: trade and immigration. He pledged to build “a great border wall” and to negotiate trade deals that are fair to American workers. He called trade “a signature message” of his campaign and one that would be “a signature feature of my presidency.”

Trump said the answer to the problems he outlined is a policy of putting America first. “Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo,” he said. Government would be run not for elites but for those left out or left behind who no longer have a voice. To them he declared, “I am your voice.”

Trump proved during the primaries that there is a sizable audience for his harsh critique of the status quo and receptivity to a candidate who pledges strength and firmness above all else. That was enough to win the nomination. His Thursday night speech significantly raised the volume on that message.

From here there is no turning back. He has set his course, controversial as it might be.

Jesus as Essene and homosexual

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

The Gospel of John makes references to the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 13:23, 19:26, 21:7, 20.

It has traditionally been assumed that the disciple whom Jesus loved is a self-reference by the author of the Gospel, traditionally regarded as John (Jacob) the Apostle,and according to the Dead Sea scroll, also Jesus’ lover.

In the Gospel of John, the disciple John frequently refers to himself in the third person as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’.

One might argue that Jesus loved all of his followers in a non-sexual way, but to specifically discuss Jesus’ love for John has strongly indicates the probability of a sexual relationship.

The actual author(s) of the Gospel of John, written long after the event, describe how the “beloved” disciple laid himself on Jesus’ inner tunic — his undergarment at the Last Supper. See John 13:25 and 21:20. noted that Jesus and the beloved disciple: “… eat together, side by side.” This is very obviously a pederastic relationship between an older man and a younger man.

The Gospel references to “the disciple whom Jesus loved” use the word “agape.”

In the Book of John this Greek  word (the original Gospels were written in Greek) is used eight times with the specific implication of sexual intimacy. Five times it is used with reference to Jesus’ relationship with John. Once it is used to define Jesus’ relationship with Lazarus.

Mark 7:14-16 shows that Jesus approved of homosexual acts. The critical phrase reads:  “There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him…” It would appear obvious that Jesus gave great emphasis to this teaching, directing it to everyone.

Mark 14:51-52 describes the incident when Jesus was arrested by the religious police. It describes how one of Jesus’ followers was scantily dressed. The King James Version says he had a linen cloth cast on his naked body; (the size and location of the cloth is not defined. From the text, this could well have been the equivalent of a modern thong) The New International Version says that he was “wearing nothing but a linen garment.”  When the police tried to seize him, they were able to grab only this piece of cloth; the young man then ran away naked.

Matthew 8:5-13: and Luke 7:2: One day a Roman Centurion asked him to heal his dying servant. Scholars of both scripture and history tell us that Roman Centurions, who were not permitted to marry while in service, regularly chose a favorite male slave to be their personal assistant and sexual servant. Such liaisons were common in the Greco-Roman world and it was not unusual for them to deepen into loving partnerships. Jesus offered to go to the servant, but the centurion asked him simply to speak a word of healing, since he would not welcome this itinerant Jewish teacher into his quarters. Jesus responded by healing the servant at a distance and proclaiming that he had never found faith like this in his powers before.

“The disciple whom he loved”, as the evidence for a censored relationship between Jesus and him is quite similar. (John 19: 26-27), (John 13:23-25), (John 21:20).

Some commentators argue from silence. They note that there is no passage in the New Testament that directly describes anything about Jesus’ sexuality. However, there are many direct and indirect references to Jesus’ sexual orientation. He was accused of being a “drunkard and a glutton” and of partying with “prostitutes and sinners.” He apparently enjoyed a tender foot massage from a woman. Yet, neither Jesus’ sexuality nor his celibacy is mentioned. However, sexual activates are referred to elsewhere in the Bible, quite often.

One might argue that the books in the New Testament might have once described Jesus’ sexual relationships, but that these passages have been heavily censored by the later church officials because they were unacceptable.

Nice attack: City refuses police call to delete CCTV images

July 22, 2016

BBC News

The local authorities in Nice have refused a request by French anti-terror police to destroy CCTV images of last week’s lorry attack.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said the request had been made to avoid the “uncontrolled dissemination” of images.

But officials in Nice have responded by filing a legal document, arguing the footage could constitute evidence.

It is the latest evidence of a growing dispute between the local and national authorities in the wake of the attack.

More than 80 people died when a Tunisian man, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, ploughed a lorry into crowds out celebrating Bastille Day on 14 July.

The attack, which targeted crowds celebrating Bastille Day, has been claimed by so-called Islamic State (IS).

President Francois Hollande announced on Friday that France would send artillery to Iraq next month for the fight against IS.

France has been conducting air strikes against IS and providing military training but is not committing ground troops.

In the aftermath of the attack in Nice, disagreements have emerged over the scale of police and security force protection around the Promenade des Anglais at the time the attack took place.

“This is the first time we are asked to destroy evidence,” French newspaper Le Figaro quoted a source as saying. “The CCTV department and the city of Nice could be prosecuted for this, and also the officers in charge do not have jurisdiction to engage in such operations [to delete material].”

The paper said police and prosecutors wanted footage of the attack destroyed to preserve the dignity of victims and so it could not be used by jihadists for propaganda purposes.

But the French government has faced growing criticism about the extent of security measures and some reports have suggested the CCTV footage may show where and how police were deployed.

On Thursday, a French newspaper backed claims by the deputy mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi,that the government had lied about policing of the event.

Witnesses and a police source who has seen security camera footage told the Liberation newspaper that a single municipal police car was blocking the junction where the lorry entered the promenade.

Mr Estrosi had previously questioned the government’s assertion that more heavily armed national police were on duty at the entry point.

Nice-Matin newspaper said lawyers acting for the city authorities had asked the local prosecutor’s office to put the CCTV images under sequestration so they could not be destroyed.

On Thursday, five suspects appeared in court charged with terror offences in relation to the lorry attack.

The four men and one woman, aged between 22 and 40, are accused of helping driver Lahouaiej-Bouhlel prepare the attack.

From Nice to the Middle East: The Only Way To Challenge ISIS

July 22, 2016

by Ramzy Baroud


I visited Iraq in 1999. At the time, there were no so-called “jihadis” espousing the principles of “jihadism”, whatever the interpretation may be. On the outskirts of Baghdad was a military training camp, not for “al-Qaeda”, but for “Mojahedin-e-Khalq”, an Iranian militant exile group that worked, with foreign funding and arms, to overthrow the Iranian Republic.

At the time, the late Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, used the exiled organization to settle scores with his rivals in Tehran, just as they, too, espoused anti-Iraqi government militias to achieve the exact same purpose.

Iraq was hardly peaceful then. But most of the bombs that exploded in that country were American. In fact, when Iraqis spoke of “terrorism”, they only referred to “Al-Irhab al-Amriki” – American terrorism.

Suicide bombings were hardly a daily occurrence; in fact, never an occurrence at all, anywhere in Iraq. As soon as the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 followed by Iraq in 2003, all hell broke loose.

The 25 years prior to 2008 witnessed 1,840 suicide attacks, according to data compiled by US government experts and cited in the Washington Post. Of all these attacks, 86 percent occurred post-US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. In fact, between 2001 and the publishing of the data in 2008, 920 suicide bombings took place in Iraq and 260 in Afghanistan.

A fuller picture emerged in 2010, with the publishing of more commanding and detailed research conducted by the University of Chicago’s Project on Security and Terrorism.

“More than 95 percent of all suicide attacks are in response to foreign occupation,” it emerged.

“As the United States has occupied Afghanistan and Iraq … total suicide attacks worldwide have risen dramatically – from about 300 from 1980 to 2003, to 1,800 from 2004 to 2009,” wrote Robert Pape in Foreign Policy.

Tellingly, it was also concluded that “over 90 percent of suicide attacks worldwide are now anti-American. The vast majority of suicide terrorists hail from the local region threatened by foreign troops, which is why 90 percent of suicide attackers in Afghanistan are Afghans.”

When I visited Iraq in 1999, “al-Qaeda” was merely a name on the Iraqi TV news, referring to a group of militants that operated mostly in Afghanistan. It was first established to unite Arab fighters against the Soviet presence in that country, and they were largely overlooked as a global security threat at the time.

It was years after the Soviets left Afghanistan in 1988, that “al-Qaeda” became a global phenomenon. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the US’ misguided responses – invading and destroying countries – created the very haven that have espoused today’s militancy and terror.

In no time, following the US invasion of Iraq, “al-Qaeda” extended its dark shadows over a country that was already overwhelmed with a death toll that surpassed hundreds of thousands.

It is hardly difficult to follow the thread of ISIS’ formation, the deadliest of all such groups that mostly originated from “al-Qaeda” in Iraq, itself wrought by the US invasion.

It was born from the unity of various militants groups in October 2006, when “al-Qaeda” in Mesopotamia joined ranks with “Mujahedeen Shura Council in Iraq”, “Jund al-Sahhaba”, and the “Islamic State of Iraq” (ISI).

ISIS, or “Daesh” has been in existence since then, in various forms and capacities, but only jumped to the scene as a horrifically violent organization with territorial ambitions when a Syrian uprising turned into a deadly platform for regional rivalries. What existed as a “state” at a virtual, cerebral level had, in fact, morphed into a “state” of actual landmass, oil fields and martial law.

It is easy – perhaps, convenient – to forget all of this. Connecting the proverbial dots can be costly for some, for it will unravel a trajectory of violence that is rooted in foreign intervention. For many western commentators and politicians it is much easier – let alone safer – to discuss ISIS within impractical contexts, for example, Islam, than to take moral responsibility.

I pity those researchers who spent years examining the thesis of ISIS as a religious theology or ISIS and the apocalypse. Talk about missing the forest for the trees. What good did that bring about, anyway?

American military and political interventions have always been accompanied by attempting to also intervene in school curricula of invaded countries. The war on Afghanistan was also joined with a war on its “madrasas” and unruly “ulemas”. None of this helped. If anything, it backfired, for it compounded the feeling of threat and sense of victimization among tens of millions of Muslims all around the world.

ISIS (Daesh) is but a name that can be rebranded without notice into something entirely different. Their tactics, too, can change, based on time and circumstances. Their followers can mete out violence using a suicide belt, a car laden with explosives, a knife even, or a truck moving at high speed.

What truly matters is that ISIS (Daesh) has grown into a phenomenon, an idea that is not even confined to a single group and requires no official membership, transfer of funds or weapons.

This is no ordinary fact, but in a more sensible approach should represent the crux of the fight against ISIS (Daesh).

When a French-Tunisian truck driver rammed into a crowd of celebrating people in the streets of Nice, the French police moved quickly to find connections between him and Daesh, or any other militant group. No clues were immediately revealed, yet, strangely, President François Hollande was quick to declare his intentions to respond militarily.

Such inanity and shortsightedness. What good did France’s military adventurism achieve in recent years? Libya has turned into an oasis of chaos – where Daesh now control entire towns. Iraq and Syria remain places for unmitigated violence.

What about Mali? Maybe the French had better luck there.

Writing for Al Jazeera, Pape Samba Kane described the terrible reality that Mali has become following the French intervention in January 2003. Their so-called “Operation Serval” turned into “Operation Barkhane” and neither did Mali became a peaceful place nor did French forces leave the country.

The French, according to Kane are now Occupiers, not liberators, and according to all rationale data – like the ones highlighted above – we all know what foreign occupation does.

“The question that Malians have to ask themselves is”, Kane wrote: “Do they prefer having to fight against jihadists for a long time, or having their sovereignty challenged and their territory occupied or partitioned by an ancient colonialist state in order to satisfy a group allied with the colonial power?”

Yet the French, like the Americans, the British and others, continue to evade this obvious reality at their own peril. By refusing to accept the fact that Daesh is only a component of a much larger and disturbing course of violence that is rooted in foreign intervention, is to allow violence everywhere to perpetuate.

Defeating Daesh requires that we also confront and defeat the thinking that led to its inception: to defeat the logic of the George W. Bushes, Tony Blairs and John Howards of this world.

No matter how violent Daesh members or supporters are, it is ultimately a group of angry, alienated, radicalized young men seeking to alter their desperate situation by carrying out despicable acts of vengeance, even if it means ending their lives in the process.

Bombing Daesh camps may destroy some of their military facilities but it will not eradicate the very idea that allowed them to recruit thousands of young men all over the world.

They are the product of violent thinking that was spawned, not only in the Middle East but, initially, in various western capitals.

Daesh will fizzle out and die when its leaders lose their appeal and ability to recruit young men seeking answers and revenge.

The war option has, thus far, proved the least affective. Daesh will remain and metamorphose if necessary, as long as war remains on the agenda. To end Daesh, we must end war and foreign occupations.

It is as simple as that.

Oil Lobby Paid Washington Post and Atlantic to Host Climate-Change Deniers at RNC

July 22 2016

by Alex Emmons

The Intercept

At the award-winning seafood restaurant in downtown Cleveland that The Atlantic rented out for the entire four-day Republican National Convention, GOP Rep. Bill Johnson turned to me and explained that solar panels are not a viable energy source because “the sun goes down.”

Johnson had just stepped off the stage where he was one the two featured guests speaking at The Atlantic’s “cocktail caucus,” where restaurant staff served complimentary wine, cocktails, and “seafood towers” of shrimp, crab cakes, oysters, and mussels to delegates, guests, reporters and, of course, the people paying the bills.

The event was sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, the lobbying arm of fossil fuel giants like ExxonMobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhilips.

Johnson, a climate denier and influential member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, spoke of a future when American scientists “solve these big problems” and “figure out how to harness the sun’s energy, and store it up, so that we can put it out over time.” His hypothetical invention, of course, is called a battery, and was invented over 200 years ago.

Instead of balancing Johnson with an environmentalist or a climate scientist, The Atlantic paired Johnson with another notorious climate denier: Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., who is an energy adviser to Donald Trump. Cramer has called global warming “fraudulent science by the EPA,” and once told a radio audience in 2012 that “we know the globe is cooling.”

Both congressmen went nearly unchallenged by the moderator, The Atlantic’s Washington Editor Steve Clemons, who said he wasn’t able to find an opposing speaker, but went ahead with the event anyway.

Lewis Finkel, a top lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute gave the opening remarks. “We are pushing forward for a robust energy discussion during this election cycle,” he said.

Evidence of human-made climate change is so conclusive that it’s wrong for journalists to treat its denial like a reasonable point of view. But it is a new low for major media groups to sell their brand to lobbyists and let climate truthers go unchallenged.

And The Atlantic was hardly alone. At the Republican National Convention, the American Petroleum Institute also paid the Washington Post and Politico to host panel conversations where API literature was distributed, API representatives gave opening remarks, and not one speaker was an environmentalist, climate expert, scientists, or Democrat.

At The Atlantic‘s event, Cramer and Johnson both downplayed concerns about climate science. “The 97 percent of the scientists who believe its real, don’t all believe the exact same level,” said Cramer. “Whose fault it is, what’s going to stop it, … there’s a wide range in that spectrum.”

Johnson told the audience “climate change is probably not in most American’s top 10, top 20 issues.”

Clemons offered only limited pushback. When Johnson argued that alternative energy should not receive federal subsidies, Clemons pointed out that “the natural gas and the oil industry and the fossil fuel sector also have massive subsidies built into them,” and asked Johnson, “Would you remove all of those? How do you have that discussion?”

Johnson replied with a non-answer: “You let the energy market drive the innovation. I am not against incentives … for companies trying to pursue energy-efficient projects.” Clemons did not press him on the point.

Judge for yourself:

After the event, I followed up, asking Johnson why fossil fuel companies get tens of billions of dollars a year in federal government subsidies but alternative energy must be “market-driven.” Johnson denied any knowledge of the highly controversial subsidies, the protection of which is a top priority for the oil lobby. “The American government subsidizes fossil fuels … I don’t know what you’re talking about. I haven’t voted for that,” he said.

At the Washington Post’s discussion, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said that in the past 15 years the earth was, on average, “cooling down,” but stressed “the point is that it’s not a settled science.”

Stephen Stromberg, an opinion writer moderating the panel for the Washington Post, registered his protest but quickly moved on. “I think there would be a vast bulk of climate scientists who would disagree,” he said, “but we don’t have to litigate the science of it this morning.”

The Washington Post’s discussion was hosted at a swanky brewpub the newspaper rented out for the week, a stone’s throw from the main entrance to the Quicken Loans Arena where the convention was held. The American Petroleum Institute was also an underwriter for the rental, and the brewpub offered guests free hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, and complimentary massages in a side room. API literature was stacked on tables, including the check-in desk.

Not to be outdone, Politico rented out the entire 21st floor of a high-rise hotel and offered guests hits from a prominently featured “flavored oxygen bar.” At Politico‘s API-sponsored event, the oil lobbying group’s CEO, Jack Gerard, opened the event by telling the audience that “the United States has become the superpower of energy in the world.”

Rep. Cramer, who was also a guest at the Politico event, joked with the audience that in his home state of North Dakota, “we’re for a warmer climate.” When discussing the EPA’s new standards to reduce methane emissions, a greenhouse gas far worse than carbon dioxide, he remarked “we’re not going to put diaper on cattle, let’s get real.” Both lines were met by roaring laughter.

Steven Shepard, a campaign editor at Politico, barely pushed back in his role as moderator. Instead of asking about the legitimacy of climate science, he asked the panel whether Donald Trump’s position on climate change – that it does not exist and is simply a Chinese conspiracy – would hurt the party in regional elections. None of the panelists said it would.

American journalists have long held that editorial independence is essential to hard-hitting, trusted reporting. News organizations build strong institutional barriers to prevent advertisers from influencing their journalism. But as revenue from traditional advertising has declined, newsrooms have been finding new ways to drive revenue from sponsors.

The Atlantic was a pioneer when it came to holding sponsored events. It’s always been controversial – but there have been some spectacular embarrassments as others tried new variations on the theme.

Washington Post, for instance, announced in 2009 that it would sell sponsorships for “off-the-record salons” – gatherings of D.C. elite that cost as much as $25,000 a seat. The plan violated many newsroom rules — it was aimed at single sponsors with vested interests, it involved selling access to editorial personnel, it was off the record and “confrontation” was banned. The Post eventually dropped the plan, and its ombudsman at the time, Andrew Alexander, described it as “an ethical lapse of monumental proportions.”

So how could this week’s single-sponsored events featuring editorial talent without dissenting speakers not have violated the editorial standards of The Atlantic, the Washington Post, and Politico?

Anna Bross, the senior director of communications for The Atlantic wrote in an email “The Atlantic has full control over speakers and panels produced. We do not defer any of that control to event underwriters.”

Steve Clemons, who moderated The Atlantic event, said there was no environmentalist on his panel because he couldn’t find one within the time deadline.

“I find it very important, no matter what the event is, to build in a diversity of perspective,” Clemons said. “So why didn’t we have that here? Because nobody would accept. I asked so many players, both different parties, different perspectives, private sectors players, to balance it out, and within the time we have, it didn’t happen.”

Then why not just cancel the panel? “Because I had trust in my own ability to be the alternative, and I had trust that the audience would ask questions to provide balance,” Clemons said.

“It is incumbent on us [journalists], to do what we can, to either create the debate or create the balance of views,” Clemons said. “You could argue we should have done more, and I, actually, would agree with that. I could have been more robust, and said ‘are you an idiot, do you not understand science?’ I did that in my own way, without being completely offensive.”

Washington Post Vice President for Communications Kris Corrati insisted that the sponsors had no influence on the makeup of the panel – and said the Post, too, had tried and fail to find speakers with different views.

Representatives from all three news organizations told The Intercept that the presence of journalists provided an adequate check on the views of climate-denying congressmen.

They also all noted that the American Petroleum Institute is paying for three more events – at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Politico‘s Shepard said his company’s event will have “the same exact sponsor, with a number of lawmakers that probably don’t line up with the sponsor on the issues.”

But consider the makeup of those panels. The Atlantic‘s DNC event will feature Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., a strong advocate of renewable energy. But it will also include Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, a vehement defender of fracking.

Politico‘s DNC event will feature Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a defender of fracking, and Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, who crossed party lines to vote in favor of the Keystone XL Pipeline, as well as energy advisers from the White House and Clinton campaign.

What were once blurred lines in the journalism business are becoming increasingly clear – because they have been crossed.

Earlier this month, for instance, The Intercept obtained a brochure from the Beltway newspaper The Hill in which it offered to sell interviews. For $200,000 sponsors would be granted an interview for “up to three named executives or organization representatives of your choice.”










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