Monday, October 10, 2016

Second Debate Reviews: Trump may have stopped the bleeding, but not the worrying - Reuters

Melania Trump Trolls Clintons with ‘Pussy Bow’ Blouse at Debate 

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Melania Trump, wife of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, wore a Gucci blouse to the second presidential debate that is called a "pussy bow."
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Trump, Clinton spend much of debate insulting each other

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There was a moment in Sunday's U.S. presidential debate when Democrat Hillary Clinton was trying to fend off an attack from Republican rival Donald Trump about her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
  

Trump's body language during debate raises social media eyebrows

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump paced, frowned and physically loomed at times over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton during Sunday night's town-hall debate, prompting bewilderment and mockery from some on social media.
  

Trump may have stopped the bleeding, but not the worrying

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Donald Trump may have done just enough in Sunday’s presidential debate to keep his leaky presidential campaign afloat - and that may have put Republicans considering abandoning him in an even tougher position.
  

TV audience for second Trump-Clinton presidential debate looks lower than first: U.S. media

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(Reuters) - The TV audience for Sunday's second debate between White House contenders Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton looks unlikely to be as large as their first, record-setting encounter, according to preliminary ratings data cited by U.S. media.
  

Snap Polls Suggest Clinton Won Debate, But Changed Few Minds - Huffington Post

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Huffington Post

Snap Polls Suggest Clinton Won Debate, But Changed Few Minds
Huffington Post
Those who watched Sunday's match between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump think Clinton won, preliminary polls find, but the results suggest the event did little to change the race. In a scientific online snap poll from YouGov, Clinton won a relatively ...
Hillary Clinton Beat Donald Trump in the Second Presidential Debate, Polls SayFortune
Post-debate polls: Hillary Clinton wins again!Daily Kos
Post-Debate Polls Say Hillary Clinton Crushed Donald Trump For A Second TimePoliticusUSA
Business Insider -Politico -Quartz
all 9,354 news articles »
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Trump fans say an internet straw poll shows he won the debate. Internet straw polls show a lot of things - The indy100

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The indy100

Trump fans say an internet straw poll shows he won the debate. Internet straw polls show a lot of things
The indy100
Trump fans say an internet straw poll shows he won the debate. Internet straw polls show a lot of things. Posted about 2 hours ago by Narjas Zatat in news. Upvote Upvoted. gettyimages-539414732.jpg. As the dust clears from the second presidential ...

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Early polls show Hillary Clinton won second debate - Raw Story

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Early polls show Hillary Clinton won second debate
Raw Story
Polls suggest that Hillary Clinton won Sunday's bitter US presidential debate against Republican rival Donald Trump as he struggles to shake off a wave of criticism over lewd remarks about women. But the snap surveys of debate watchers showed a less ...

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Which Republicans are supporting Trump, and who's jumping ship?

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Fact-checking the debates

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Times staff writers are fact-checking the candidates as they square off on a debate stage. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump went head-to-head on Sept. 26. Tim Kaine and Mike Pence debated on Oct. 4.

Times political writers scored the second debate. Clinton won

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After a mediocre debate performance, Trump still faces an uphill climb 

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Donald Trump had a deep hole to climb out of Sunday in the  second presidential debate, one he’d dug with a succession of self-generated controversies that culminated Friday in the release of a 2005 video in which he bragged about groping women.
It was perhaps an impossibly deep hole, and Trump...
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Trump, Politics, and Our Sexual Schizophrenia - FrontPage Magazine

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FrontPage Magazine

Trump, Politics, and Our Sexual Schizophrenia
FrontPage Magazine
Their candidate has a long history of lies and money-grubbing, possesses no political charisma, and touts no policy proposals other than the same dull progressive clich├ęs and failed ideas. Donald's juvenile sex-talk is a perfect distraction from the ...

Essential Politics: The Trump strikes back - Los Angeles Times

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San Francisco Chronicle

Essential Politics: The Trump strikes back
Los Angeles Times
Check our daily USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times tracking poll at the top of the politics page. KAMALA HARRIS IS ON A ROLL. As election day fast approaches, state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris' U.S. Senate campaign continues to pick up steam. Phil Willon ...
Analysis: An ugly night for American politicsSan Francisco Chronicle
Trump threatened to jail Clinton if elected. These countries might do the same.CNN
This Election Isn't About Politics. It's About How America Sees Women.Huffington Post
Bloomberg -Miami Herald -Washington Post
all 9,122 news articles »

The Power Politics of Trump's Vow to Jail Clinton - Bloomberg

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Bloomberg

The Power Politics of Trump's Vow to Jail Clinton
Bloomberg
In today's "Morning Must Read," Bloomberg's Tom Keene highlights comments from Bloomberg View columnist Noah Feldman on Donald Trump's vow to jail Hillary Clinton if he is elected president. He speaks with Robert Sinche, global strategist at Amherst ...

Hillary Clinton's top strategy for responding to Donald Trump's attacks: Don't bother responding 

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When Trump punched, Clinton tried to duck.





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The Daily 202: More than Trump, the Republican Party was the biggest loser in last night’s debate 

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The GOP nominee slowed the bleeding, but he did not cauterize the wound – and he’s doing immense damage to his adopted party’s brand





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What Donald Trump's campaign has in common with 'The Big Short' 

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A Q and A with Republican media consultant Stuart Stevens about The Donald.





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2016 presidential campaign: Latest updates

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Inside Trump Tower, an Increasingly Upset and Alone Donald Trump 

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Shunned by many Republicans over his lewd comments about women, Mr. Trump spent most of Friday and Saturday at his headquarters as his advisers pondered his next steps.

Donald Trump Vows Retaliation as Republicans Abandon Him

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Mr. Trump called the defectors “self-righteous hypocrites” and predicted their defeat at the ballot box.

Level of Outrage Over Donald Trump Tape Is Linked to Another Issue: Race 

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Some activists and analysts said the recording was generating a more intense reaction because it was perceived as aimed at white women.

In Second Debate, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Spar in Bitter, Personal Terms

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Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton accused each other of mistreating women and signaled that the final month of the presidential race would be an ugly political brawl.


Transcript of the Second Debate

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Following is a transcript of the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, as transcribed by CQ Transcriptswire.

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Who Won the Debate? Donald Trump Avoids Annihilation

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While expectations for Mr. Trump were low, many commentators and critics thought that he allayed concerns among supporters that his candidacy was finished.

Debate Takeaways: Hillary Clinton Is Still Standing. So Is Donald Trump. 

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Mrs. Clinton stuck to a safe script, and Mr. Trump’s defiant performance will likely put to rest speculation that he might be forced from the presidential race.

The 2016 Race: Donald Trump Probably Stanched His Losses, but Didn’t Seem to Gain 

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His debate showing most likely made it harder for other Republicans to abandon him, but seemed to do nothing to shift the race’s direction.


Critic's Notebook: Was That a Debate? Or Were the Candidates Just Trying to Go Viral? 

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Donald J. Trump needed to drown out his embarrassing “Access Hollywood” video from 2005. So he tried to bring back 1998, and the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

US election 2016 poll tracker: Latest forecast, maps and odds for Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump - Telegraph.co.uk

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Telegraph.co.uk

US election 2016 poll tracker: Latest forecast, maps and odds for Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump
Telegraph.co.uk
The clash between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is dominating America as the race to replace Barack Obama in the White House reaches into its last month. Until election day on 8 November, follow our poll tracker to keep on track on with who's top.
Three things Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton agree onDeutsche Welle
Election Update: Democrats Should Panic … If The Polls Still Look Like This In A WeekFiveThirtyEight
Race tightens in projected US Electoral College vote: Reuters/IpsosReuters
CNN -USA TODAY -Pew Research Center
all 8,579 news articles »

Shakespeare Explains the 2016 Election - New York Times

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New York Times

Shakespeare Explains the 2016 Election
New York Times
In the early 1590s, Shakespeare sat down to write a play that addressed a problem: How could a great country wind up being governed by a sociopath? The problem was not England's, where a woman of exceptional intelligence and stamina had been on the ...

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Watch: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump battle in the second presidential debate - USA TODAY

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STLtoday.com

Watch: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump battle in the second presidential debate
USA TODAY
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off for the second time in a presidential debate Sunday, October 9th at 9:00 p.m ET. The debate came just days after a 2005 Access Hollywood video was released by The Washington Post, bringing with it a slew of ...
Trump and Clinton Debate: AnalysisNew York Times
Why are so many Republicans dropping Trump now?STLtoday.com
US Election 2016: Hillary Clinton has a golden opportunity to finish off Donald TrumpThe Sun
Deccan Chronicle -Telegraph.co.uk -The Guardian
all 9,355 news articles »

Fact Checks of the Second Presidential Debate - New York Times

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New York Times

Fact Checks of the Second Presidential Debate
New York Times
Oct. 9, 2016. Mr. Trump said “maybe there is no hacking,” in response to Mrs. Clinton's claim that Russians are engaged in an unprecedented effort to influence the election — on Mr. Trump's behalf. Hacking is endemic. Read more. If Donald J. Trump ...

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Fact-checking the second presidential debate - PolitiFact

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PolitiFact

Fact-checking the second presidential debate
PolitiFact
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton spared no mercy in attacking each other during their second debate, on the heels of a leaked tape of Trump's lewd remarks in 2005 about hitting on women. The debate, the only one in which undecided voters ask the ...
Clinton says she wasn't expecting Trump's 'avalanche of falsehoods'Washington Post
Trump's Call For A Special Prosecutor For Clinton Is Especially CuckooForbes
Trump can't get it right on Clinton's email deletionPolitico (blog)
Los Angeles Times -ABC News -The Hill (blog) -TheBlaze.com
all 33 news articles »

A 'Normal' Debate, Except for the Prison Threat - Bloomberg

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Bloomberg

A 'Normal' Debate, Except for the Prison Threat
Bloomberg
Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics. Read More.
The Presidential Debate Show avoids 'disaster' after circus-like introCNNMoney
How the moderators hijacked the second debateNew York Post

all 134 news articles »

Donald Trump repeats false claim that neighbors saw 'bombs all over' before San Bernardino attack - Los Angeles Times

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Los Angeles Times

Donald Trump repeats false claim that neighbors saw 'bombs all over' before San Bernardino attack
Los Angeles Times
The mass shooting in San Bernardino in 2015 became a topic of the second presidential debate Sunday when Donald Trump repeated the false claim that several witnesses saw explosives at the home of the attackers but neglected to alert law enforcement.
A Muslim woman asked Trump how he'd battle Islamophobia. He decided to answer a different question.Washington Post
Trump's Muslim ban 'morphs' into 'extreme vetting'USA TODAY
This Undecided Muslim Voter Isn't Impressed With Trump's Solution For IslamophobiaHuffington Post
NBCNews.com -Politico -ThinkProgress -NBC New York
all 82 news articles »

Fact-checking the second Clinton-Trump presidential debate - Washington Post

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Washington Post

Fact-checking the second Clinton-Trump presidential debate
Washington Post
In the second presidential debate, Donald Trump once again relied on many dubious and false claims that have been repeatedly been debunked. His Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, on occasion made a factual misstep, but it didn't even compare to Trump's ...
Trump Correctly States US "Nuclear Program Has Fallen Behind" Russia'sForbes

Video: Without interruptions, Clinton manages to contradict herself on coal jobs at debate An error occurred.Hot Air

Fact-checking Trump and Clinton's debate claims about energyGrist 

Daily Caller-
 Huffington Post-Philly.com-The Hill 
all 29
 West Virginia MetroNews
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Second presidential debate featured tough moderators - Washington Times

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ABC News

Second presidential debate featured tough moderators
Washington Times
A technician examines the lighting grid as preparations continue for Monday's first debate presidential between Democratic Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/J ...
Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton deleted 33000 emails after getting a subpoenaPolitiFact
It took one question for Donald Trump to declare the second debate riggedThinkProgress
Six Questions: Debate Moderators Grill Donald Trump on Leaked TapeBreitbart News
Vox -The Guardian -Washington Post
all 196 news articles »

The incredibly depressing second presidential debate, recapped - Washington Post (blog)

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Washington Post (blog)

The incredibly depressing second presidential debate, recapped
Washington Post (blog)
I think I just watched a presidential debate, but it could also have been a very peculiar televised staging of “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf” by the WWE. If it in fact was the debate, then this summary will be useful to you! Here it is, just in case ...
Rieder: A better night for debate moderatorsUSA TODAY

all 147 news articles »

Donald Trump's idea of 'locker room talk' is as demeaning to men as it is to women - Washington Post

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Washington Post

Donald Trump's idea of 'locker room talk' is as demeaning to men as it is to women
Washington Post
There is really no such thing as “locker room talk.” Guys who try to banter this way are just hoping no one hears the note of desperate striving in their voices. Most of them haven't been in a real locker room since they were in high school, which is ...
Not 'locker room' talk: Athletes push back against Trump's remarkCNN
Waiting On A Real Apology From Trump? Don't Hold Your BreathHuffington Post
Donald Trump: Sports stars react to 'locker room' commentsBBC News
Chicago Tribune -TIME -Slate Magazine (blog) -Politico
all 188 news articles »

Clinton: Russia is trying to help Trump in presidential election - CNBC

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CNBC

Clinton: Russia is trying to help Trump in presidential election
CNBC
"We have never in the history of our country been in a situation where an adversary, a foreign power is working so hard to influence the outcome of the election and believe me, they're not doing it to get me elected," she said. "They're doing it to try ...
Trump's tape makes “October surprises” of recent elections seem quaintQuartz
Analysis: She called him a misogynist. He said she should go to jail.USA TODAY
Who won the second Clinton-Trump presidential debate?Jerusalem Post Israel News
New York Times -FiveThirtyEight -MarketWatch
all 9,248 news articles »

Melania Trump wears "pussy bow" to second debate - CBS News

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CBS News

Melania Trump wears "pussy bow" to second debate
CBS News
Just a few days before the second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, a video surfaced in which the Republican nominee boasts about participating in a form of sexual assault. Specifically, Trump tells then-“Access Hollywood ...
Social Media Finds Deep Inner Meaning in Melania Trump's Hot Pink Debate OutfitYahoo News

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The Guardian view on the presidential debate: Trump’s anger against women | Editorial 

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The Republican candidate is dragging US democracy into dark places. His attitude to Hillary Clinton is part of wider refusal to treat women as equals
Towards the end of Sunday’s second televised US presidential debate, Hillary Clinton said something that political candidates often say, but which in 2016 is no longer the usual banality. “This is not an ordinary time,” said Mrs Clinton. “And this is not an ordinary election.” If anything, this was an understatement. The second debate between her and Donald Trump, and the days running up to it, have been extraordinary living and livid proof of that.
Rarely in any democratic country, never mind in the world’s most powerful democracy, can the substance and the temper of the debate have been so low, so dark, so personal and so damaging as it has now become in the US race. The responsibility for this cannot be dismissed as six of one and half a dozen of the other. The responsibility for it rests squarely with Mr Trump, his campaign and his personality. To take just one example: in most democracies, the tape that exploded into the public arena at the end of last week, in which Mr Trump was heard boasting about his sexual aggression towards women, would have destroyed his candidacy. He would have been forced to quit, partly because of the offensiveness of his words and views, and partly so his party’s other candidates can save their electoral skins.
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Hillary Clinton says she's “doing great” post-debate - CBS News

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CBS News

Hillary Clinton says she's “doing great” post-debate
CBS News
EN ROUTE TO WHITE PLAINS -- Hillary Clinton said she was surprised on Sunday night by what she called an “absolute avalanche of falsehoods” from her opponent in the second presidential debate. “I really find it almost unimaginable that someone can ...

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FBI Version of NY/NJ Bombing Story Sounds Very Familiar

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There are some striking similarities between the recent New York/New Jersey bombings and the Boston Marathon bombing, including the use of pressure cooker bombs. But the similarity that really should be ringing everyone’s alarm bells — yet apparently has not — is the revelation that the FBI had prior connections with both bombing suspects.
A number of contradictions and discrepancies in the FBI’s account of those contacts promptstroubling questions about whether the FBI is coming clean about its interest in Ahmad Khan Rahami.
And just as the Bureau did with the purported Marathon bombing mastermind Tamerlan Tsarnaev (and Orlando mass murderer Omar Matteen — another person with whom the FBI was familiar prior to the act), the FBI is painting a minimalist picture of its prior contacts with Rahami, the accused Manhattan and Jersey shore bomber.
For one, the FBI and Rahami’s father are at odds about what he told investigators about his son’s drift toward extremism — the reason the FBI investigated him to begin with. “Keep an eye on him,” the father says he told investigators. The FBI disputes this.
Another reason for concern is the contradiction between the FBI’s “hands off” approach to investigating Rahami (and Tsarnaev) and the well documented and usually very aggressive tactics used against most people with even the thinnest of terrorist connections.

Blame the Messenger

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Rahami’s father, Mohammad Rahami, claims he first alerted the FBI about his son’s radical tendencies after his son assaulted family members. “He warned federal agents explicitly about his son’s interest in terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and his fascination with jihadist music, poetry and videos,” according to The New York Times.
The FBI denies that Rahami senior told agents who interviewed him anything about “radicalization” or “links to Al Qaeda, the Taliban or their propaganda.” By definition, if he had, then the FBI botched the investigation. Or is something else going on?
Based on what they were told, the FBI says it conducted an “assessment,” the lowest level of investigation also used to check on Tsarnaev, which included an interview with the father, a review of Bureau databases and public records, and checks with other agencies. The FBI claims the assessment did not turn up anything that warranted further inquiry.
“If he had been communicating directly with the terrorist organization and the father said ‘Look here’s the email, here’s the phone call, here’s the communication,’ that would be something different that would allow the FBI to get an investigation,” ex-FBI special agent and counterterror expert Tim Clemente, said on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends.”
The implication is clear: Had Rahami senior given investigative agents more specific information about his son’s activities, the Bureau would have dug deeper. But is it really up to the tipster to provide the FBI with iron-clad proof before they investigate a serious accusation?
Besides, many of the individuals targeted by FBI terrorism investigations and stings had no known connections to terrorist organizations, hence the moniker “lone wolf.”
J. Edgar Hoover building, Omar Mateen, Wasil Farooqui, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Major Nidal Hasan
J.Edgar Hoover building. Omar Mateen (top left), Wasil Farooqui (top right), Tamerlan Tsarnaev (bottom left), Major Nidal Hasan (bottom right) Photo credit: Adopted by WhoWhatWhy from J Edgar Hoover building (Cliff / Flickr – CC BY 2.0), Omar Mateen (MySpace), and Wasil Farooqui (mugshot), Major Nidal Hasan (Department of Defense / Wikimedia), Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Unknown)

Blame the Russians

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This was the official line after the Marathon bombing: If only the Russian intelligence services gave us more information on Tamerlan Tsarnaev, we would have investigated him more. The New York Times explained why:
The Russian government declined to provide the FBI with information about one of the Boston marathon bombing suspects two years before the attack that likely would have prompted more extensive scrutiny of the suspect, according to an inspector general’s review of how US intelligence and law enforcement agencies could have thwarted the bombing.
The “information” withheld by the Russians, according to an anonymous official, was a vague description of an intercepted phone call between Tamerlan and his mother during which they discussed Islamic jihad. But as we pointed out at the time, “the reality is that the Russians had already warned that Tamerlan was an Islamic radical, and it is not clear how this additional information would necessarily have provided anything truly substantive to add to a request for spying authority.”
That is, unless FBI agents already knew, or thought they knew, what Tsarnaev was up to with all the jihadi-talk.
Further complicating the FBI’s version of events, then-FBI director Robert Mueller — in a little noticed exchange at a congressional hearing weeks after the bombing — admitted that Tsarnaev’s name hadcome up twice in FBI records prior to Russia’s warning. Mueller’s admission renders dubious the claim that it was Russia that brought Tsarnaev to the attention of the FBI.

Unequal before the FBI?

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The mainstream press has taken note of the alarming number of “known wolves” carrying out violent acts after having some kind of interaction with the FBI.
Omar Mateen, Wasil Farooqui, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Major Nidal Hasan — the list goes on.
However, this is typically noted as a curious “coincidence,” which is quickly explained away. The fallback claim for the FBI, and FBI apologists, is that the Bureau’s agents are somehow hamstrung by America’s laws protecting civil liberties and that the system is overwhelmed by the number of terrorist investigations.
But if that were actually the case, then why does the Bureau, in some cases, spend years of man-hours and untold sums of money following around and provoking certain individuals into terrorist plots that, upon closer inspection, were not really much of a threat to anybody until FBI provocateurs got involved?
Take Sami Osmakac. A hapless if disturbed young man suffering from mental illness, whom the FBI “investigated” for years, including using a paid provocateur who ultimately cajoled Osmakac into plotting to bomb a local Irish bar. One of the FBI agents on his case can be heard in a recording leaked to the press calling Osmakac a “retarded fool” who didn’t actually have the capacity to plan the attack.
Then there is Khalifah al-Akili, who was also watched for years — and “worked” for months — by a paid informant who ultimately said of his target: “That dude ain’t going to bust a grape — he ain’t going to throw rice at a wedding, believe me.” But that didn’t stop the FBI from introducing yet another informant and continuing the (probably very expensive and time-consuming) investigation.
Advocacy groups like Human Rights Watch and Project SALAM have painted a picture of an FBI that is engaged in a systematic program of entrapment and trumping up charges against many Muslims who pose no real danger to the US.
Conversely, the FBI’s account of how it handled its investigations of Rahami and Tsarnaev contradicts this well-established track record of using extremely aggressive measures to “investigate” Muslims living in the US.
Why is the FBI applying this aggressive approach in such an unequal and seemingly arbitrary manner? Does the Bureau “go easy” on certain people whom they are using for some unknown purpose?
The Bureau claims to have conducted an “assessment” of Rahami that lasted all of three weeks. Predictably, it didn’t turn up anything. A similarly superficial assessment was conducted on Tsarnaev, who was not even an American citizen. Why the soft touch on these guys? Both of them already had a record showing a propensity for violence.
A line from the “it was Russia’s fault” New York Times article about Tsarnaev’s investigation  illuminates the kind of risky game that agencies like the FBI play with dangerous individuals: “At the time, American law enforcement officials believed that Mr. Tsarnaev posed a far greater threat to Russia.”
It’s not made clear whether the author was quoting or paraphrasing his source, but it’s a telling comment nonetheless. The US has a sordid history of supporting Islamic radicals who fought against Russian interests. (In a rather intriguing “coincidence,” Rahami’s father claims to have fought with the CIA-supported Afghan Mujahedin against the Russians in the 1980s.)
It’s important to remember that the FBI, despite its best efforts to portray itself as America’s premier law enforcement agency, is in fact a domestic spy agency involved in all kinds of domestic espionage and international intrigue.
If an individual brought to the FBI’s attention is somehow working for, or unknowingly recruited to play some “useful dupe” role for the Bureau or another federal agency, it stands to reason he or she would not be categorized as a threat.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adopted by WhoWhatWhy from wolf (Mark Kent / Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0) and forrest (Alias 0591 / Flickr – CC BY-NC 2.0)

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Syrian government, allies advance as Russia vetoes UN demand - Middle East News

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Russia vetoed a French-drafted United Nations Security Council resolution on Saturday that would have demanded an immediate end to air strikes and military flights over Syria's Aleppo city and called for a truce and humanitarian aid access throughout Syria.
Meanwhile, a rival Russian-drafted resolution that aimed to revive a failed Sept. 9 U.S. and Russia ceasefire deal on Syria did not garner the minimum nine votes.
Fighting continued in the almost six-year conflict with Syrian government forces recapturing territory from insurgents in several western areas.
President Bashar Assad's forces, backed by Russian air power and Iranian, Lebanese and Iraqi fighters on the ground, hold the upper hand around the key battleground of Aleppo, whose opposition-held eastern sector has been encircled for all but a short period since July.
The government side's bombardment of Aleppo since a ceasefire brokered by Washington and Moscow in September collapsed after a week has drawn condemnation from the United Nations and countries supporting the Syrian opposition.
France, which opposes Assad, demanded in its draft resolution an end to air strikes and military flights over Aleppo city. Russia has backed Assad with a year-long air campaign against the rebels.
French President Francois Hollande on Saturday had urged United Nations Security Council members not to use their veto against a resolution that calls for an end to bombardments of Aleppo.
Russia's draft, which does not include that demand, urges Moscow and Washington to revive the ceasefire deal.
Syrian opposition negotiator Asaad al-Zoubi said on his Twitter account that its High Negotiations Committee would not accept any new ceasefire deal without guaranteed monitoring of it by European and Arab countries.
Rebels also suffered setbacks further northeast near the Turkish border on Saturday, in fighting against Islamic State militants, British-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
Syrian government forces and their allies, backed by air raids, took over an area on Aleppo's northern outskirts on Saturday, state media and the Observatory said.
The advance in the Awaija area strengthened their hold on areas surrounding rebel-held east Aleppo, the Observatory said.
Rebel official Zakaria Malahifji of the Aleppo-based Fastaqim faction denied there had been a government advance there.
But he did confirm government advances further south in Hama province, reported by pro-Damascus media and the Observatory.
The Syrian army and its allies recaptured several towns and villages from rebels in Hama's northern countryside, reversing recent insurgent gains in the area.
Rebels had seized towns and villages north of Hama city after launching an offensive at the end of August in rare advances while insurgent factions were pressed elsewhere.
The government's Hama advances were their first in the area since then, the Observatory said.
It said the government side had taken advantage of recent infighting between two Islamist insurgent groups in the countryside of Idlib, north of Hama's provincial boundary.
In a separate government advance against insurgents near Damascus, the Syrian army and allied forces seized a large portion of the town of al-Hameh to the northwest of the Syrian capital, the Observatory said.
Islamic State Advances
Russia's air power has been crucial for strengthening Assad's position in the past year, pounding rebels including foreign-backed factions.
Washington accuses Moscow and Damascus of war crimes for intentionally targeting civilians, aid deliveries and hospitals which have been hit particularly around Aleppo in recent weeks.
Moscow and Damascus say they are targeting terrorist groups.
The ceasefire deal brokered by Washington and Moscow in September was meant to pave the way for joint U.S.-Russian targeting of extremists including al Qaeda and Islamic State.
All sides in the multi-sided Syria conflict, now in its sixth year, are fighting a number of separate battles against IS.
Members of the jihadist group recaptured several villages from foreign-backed rebels in their counter attack near the Turkish border, the Observatory said.
The rebels, whom Turkey has supported with tanks and air strikes, had been pushing toward the IS stronghold of Dabiq, a village of symbolic importance to the militants.
The stiff resistance the insurgents have encountered in recent days shows the challenge they face in capturing Dabiq and flushing the jihadist group out of more areas it controls in northern Syria.
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Russia: UN Syria resolution protected...

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Russia wants to be a competitor not partner to west – Michael Fallon

The Guardian - ‎4 hours ago‎
Michael Fallon: 'Russia said they were going to help fight Daesh … they've been helping Assad bomb his people.' Photograph: Rui Vieira/AP. Alexandra Topping. Sunday 9 October 2016 08.24 EDT Last modified on Sunday 9 October 2016 09.06 EDT.

Collateral Damage: Trump Could Take the GOP Down With Him - NBCNews.com

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NBCNews.com

Collateral Damage: Trump Could Take the GOP Down With Him
NBCNews.com
... will be so hard for these Republicans to fully disassociate themselves from Trump: "For months, Kelly Ayotte stood by Trump as he demeaned women, minorities, people with disabilities, Gold Star families, and was deemed a danger to our national ...

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Putin’s grand plan: Destabilize the West | Opinion

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Vladimir Putin’s serial humiliations of America’s bewildered secretary of state regarding Syria indicate Putin’s determination to destabilize the world. Here is an even more ominous indication of events moving his way: On just one day last week, Italian ships plucked 6,055 migrants from the Mediterranean.
What has this to do with Putin? It portends fulfillment of his aspiration for Europe’s political, social and moral disorientation.
The Financial Times reports that of the 138,000 migrants who have come by sea to Italy this year, few are from Syria. The “vast majority” are from Africa, with the largest number from Nigeria.
The U.N.’s World Population Prospects says that only 10 percent of global population is in Europe, which is projected to have fewer people in 2050 than today. Just 16 percent of the world’s population is in Africa but “more than half of global population growth between now and 2050 is expected to occur” there. It will have the world’s highest growth rate, and 41 percent of its people currently are under 15. Of the nine countries expected to experience half the world’s population growth by 2050, five are in Africa (Nigeria, Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda). Nigeria’s population, currently the world’s seventh largest, is the most rapidly growing.
Even without what is likely — population pressures producing some failed African states — a portion of Africa’s multitudes, perhaps scores of millions of migrants, might cross the Mediterranean to Europe. There, 24 percent of the people are 60 and over, and no country has a birth rate sufficient to maintain current population sizes. Who but immigrants can work and fund Europe’s welfare states for its graying publics?
Europe has recently been politically destabilized and socially convulsed by the arrival of a million Syrian migrants seeking asylum. Future migrations from Africa, with a large Muslim component, could pose the greatest threat to the social cohesion of Europe since 1945, or even since invading Arab forces were halted at Poitiers in 732. Undermining the West’s confident sense of itself is important to Putin’s implementation of his ideology of Eurasianism. It holds that Russia’s security and greatness depend on what Ben Judah calls a “geographically ordained empire” that “looks east to Tashkent, not west to Paris.”
Writing in the British journal Standpoint, Judah reports that Russian television relentlessly presents “a dangerous, angry wonderland”: “Russia is special, Russia is under attack, Russia swarms with traitors, Russia was betrayed in 1991, Russia was glorious under Stalin’s steady hand.” This justifies gigantic military, intelligence and police establishments steeped in Eurasianist tracts published by the Russian General Staff.
Putin’s Russia, Owen Matthews writes in The Spectator, is developing a “state-sponsored culture of prudery” to make it a “moral fortress” against Western decadence. The Russian Orthodox Church benefits from a 2013 law that criminalizes “offending the feelings of religious believers.” Twenty-one percent of Russians want homosexuals “liquidated” and another 37 percent favor “separating them from society.”
In a new collection of essays, “Authoritarianism Goes Global” (Johns Hopkins), the Brookings Institution’s Lilia Shevtsova says Putin is simultaneously imposing a domestic revolution of cultural conservatism, converting Russia into a revanchist power and “forging an anti-Western International.” She warns:
“Ever since Stalinism’s relentless assault on all ‘horizontal’ ties (even those of family), Russians have been tragically at the mercy of the state and its claims: Individuals are invited to compensate for their helplessness by looking for meaning in collective national ‘successes’ that promise to bring them together and restore their pride.” Such as the annexation of Crimea.
In the same volume, Peter Pomerantsev, a student of 21st-century propaganda, says “the underlying goal” of Putin’s domestic disinformation is less to persuade than “to engender cynicism”: “When people stop trusting any institutions or having any firmly held values, they can easily accept a conspiratorial vision of the world.”
Putin’s Kremlin is weaving a web of incongruous but useful strands. Its conservative nationalism is congruent with that of rising European factions on the right. Its anti-Western, especially anti-American, message resonates with the European left. It funds European green groups whose opposition to fracking serves Putin’s agenda of keeping Europe dependent on Russian gas.
In many worrisome ways, the 1930s are being reprised. In Europe, Russia is playing the role of Germany in fomenting anti-democratic factions. In inward-turning, distracted America, the role of Charles Lindbergh is played by a presidential candidate smitten by Putin and too ignorant to know the pedigree of his slogan “America First.”
George Will (<a href="mailto:georgewill@washpost.com">georgewill@washpost.com</a>) is a columnist based in Washington, D.C.
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