Sen. Bernie Sanders made a surprise appearance before the California delegation to the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday morning, where he urged delegates to get behind Hillary Clinton.

     A team of reporters from Courthouse News is reporting live from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Tensions boiled over Tuesday as many Sanders supporters try to build momentum for nominating one of their own from the floor for vice president.

     A few weeks ago, I said in this space that despite the enormous difference in time and region, our war in the Middle East is starting to feel like the war in Vietnam.
     On the Courthouse News web page last week there was a question and answer piece with a Middle East policy expert who put some meat on that thin bone of thought.
     In the shouts and posturing and farce of political debate on the Middle East, it was and remains nearly impossible to get a sense of where we are headed in the region, other than bombing. We bomb, the factions fight.
     But a rough line of direction was set out by Phyllis Bennis, a Middle East analyst with the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies, in an interview with CNS reporter Britain Eakin.
     At the outset, Bennis pointed to a fact that has generally escaped attention — not sure why — which is that Hillary Clinton has received more money from arms manufacturers than any other candidate.
     On the one hand, you might say, well, of course, she has been in a position of power in the U.S. government for an awfully long time and that is how power works in America. On the other hand, you might say, she was in charge of diplomacy as Secretary of State so why would arms makers give a diplomat tons of money?
     Warning against the "military-industrial complex" has been passé in our political discourse for decades, never so clearly and forcefully conveyed as it was by the general who led us to victory in World War II and later became president, Dwight Eisenhower, in his farewell address to the nation in 1961.
     "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex," said the general. "The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes."
     As did Eisenhower, Bennis rejected the notion that military force has no place in international affairs.
     "I'm not a pacifist," she said. "But I think what the U.S. has done -- making this into a U.S. war -- has uniformly made things worse than better across the world."
     Just as we here in the United States gobble up surveys of American opinion, so we might note that a survey of Iraqis in the city of Mosul found that 76 percent feared the sectarian troops of the Iraqi government more than the occupying forces of the Islamic State, she observed.
     At the same time, Bennis added, our long-term ally in the region, Saudi Arabia, is not only our largest arms customer, it is also the largest redistributor of arms to the factions it supports as proxies in the spider's web of conflict that covers much of the region.
     It appears that we have set up a system for eternal struggle.
     So unlike the political candidates who embrace force and little else, Bennis offered a specific set of proposals to extricate ourselves from the quagmire: halt the killing of innocents; get troops and special forces out of there; stop flooding the region with arms; and use the money we are spending towards diplomacy.
     "Get the boots off the ground. Get the sneakers off the ground, the special forces and the CIA," Bennis said. "Clearly they're not doing any good. Get them out. They're inciting. They're making things worse. You're building up hopes for some few, and outrage from the vast majority of others who you're inspiring to more terror. Just get them out."
     But no candidate has the courage or the leeway to take that path.
     I often ask one of our directors for her opinion on political issues because she has such a good gut call on business matters and is a quick read on how issues play to the average American.
     She despises Trump. "He is a loud mouth."
     But she despises Clinton even more.
     She thought the question and answer piece with Bennis was important to read. She was surprised to hear that Clinton was the predominant recipient of contributions from arms manufacturers, and wondered why it is not more widely known.
     And she agreed with the analyst's conclusion that current policy in the Middle East will continue the killing of innocents.
     But who can change our path.
     Our director was at first so discouraged by her choice that she considered staying home come November. But she also believes it is her duty as an American to vote.
     "I have no choice," she said. She is voting for Trump.
     For her part, Bennis has little hope that the darkness in U.S. policy will be lifted any time soon.
     "It looks very bad," she said. "At the moment there's no viable candidate who has any idea of changing the trajectory of U.S policy towards these wars. There are tactical differences -- more drones and more CIA and less troops on the ground. That's tinkering around the edges. No one is acknowledging that the military is at the centerpiece of it.
     "I'm afraid the election is going to bring more of the same," she concluded. "It's very scary."

     Michelle Obama electrified the Democratic National Convention Monday night heralding the greatness of the nation in a very personal way, noting that because of its progress she can "wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves ... and watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn."

     Los Angeles County on Monday asked the Superior Court to order Southern California Gas Co. to install subsurface safety valves on its wells to avoid a repeat of the massive gas leak at its Aliso Canyon facility.

     A data-storage firm and Nevada will appear in court Thursday for a hearing on Switch Ltd.'s claim that the state allowed major casinos on The Strip to stop buying electricity from the state-owned monopoly, but refused Switch's application to do so.

     An Austin police officer sued a man who he claims gave him a concussion in a drunken assault, and whose "prominent family" used their political influence to get the district attorney to drop a felony charge to a misdemeanor. 

     A woman sued an Oklahoma Sooner running back who received a 1-year deferred sentence for punching her in the face at a restaurant. 

     The National Labor Relations Board sued Barstow Community Hospital for denying unionized nurses annual pay raises and disciplining them for working overtime. 

     American Atheists sued Kansas City, Mo. in Federal Court to stop the City Council from giving $65,000 in tax money to a local ministry to help host the Baptist National Convention. 

     Virginia woman claims in court that the residency hotel she lived in hired a convicted sex offender as a security guard and he later sexually assaulted her daughter. 

     A federal judge refused an Alaska Native tribe's request to enforce its rights to set up a subsistence fishery on the Kenai River before the end of the 2016 fishing season. 

     California prosecutors claim that Equilon Enterprises LLC dba Shell Oil Products did not honor advertised discounts or savings when two rewards or gifts cards were used in combination.

     The Alaska Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a state law requiring physicians to notify a parent, guardian or custodian when a minor seeks an abortion. 

     A Los Angeles-area police officer who faces 10 felony charges accusing him of molesting women now faces a civil lawsuit from a woman who says she was one of his victims. 


     A Texas judge on Tuesday dismissed the last remaining charge against two California anti-abortion activists who made undercover videos of themselves trying to buy fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood.

     Paramount Pictures agreed to drop restrictive licensing agreements with pay-TV broadcasters in Europe to get out of an antitrust investigation by the European Commission, the commission said Tuesday.

     Shareholders accusing Deutsche Bank of misleading them on $5.4 billion in subprime securities can advance part of their claims, a federal judge ruled, seven years after their lawsuits were filed.  

     September 11 pretrial hearings at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base resumed Monday, one day after defense attorneys said for the first time that the trial judge secretly permitted destruction of a secret CIA "black site" prison.

     Kansas sued the Department of Defense for information on what it calls an "unlawful plan" to transfer prisoners from Guantanamo to the U.S. mainland. 

     The producer of the movie "Lord of War" must serve close to four years in prison for defrauding a man of $600,000 by falsely promising to adapt his book into a movie, the Seventh Circuit affirmed. 

     Uber's unlicensed private eyes used "fraudulent and arguably criminal conduct" to snoop on a Connecticut man suing over the ride-sharing giant's surge pricing model, a federal judge said Monday. 

     A Connecticut man condemned to die for killing a woman and her two daughters during a 2007 home invasion was resentenced Tuesday to six life sentences without the possibility of parole.

     The Ninth Circuit ruled Monday that a former porn star can sue a tabloid publisher for defamation over a story she says falsely implied that she was HIV-positive. 

     Wal-Mart shareholders have no proof the company board knew about allegations of bribery at Wal-Mart's Mexican subsidiary prior to a New York Times expose in 2012, the Eighth Circuit ruled. 

     A coalition of medical professionals claims in court that Vermont law requiring doctors to counsel certain patients about the option of assisted suicide conflicts with their ethical or religious views. 

     A federal judge has cleared three Sonoma County sheriff's officers of claims that they used excessive force against several people who protested the killing of their friend by a fellow officer. 

     With less than two weeks to go before the 2016 Summer Olympics kick off in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, new research provides evidence about the threat the Zika virus poses to fans and athletes.


     The White House warned Tuesday of a "revolution" of computer-generated threats to the U.S. stoked by growing cyber aggression by traditional U.S. foes like Russia and North Korea. 

     Americans bought new homes in June at the fastest pace in more than eight years, their enthusiasm for new digs stoked by a solid job market and low mortgage rates. 

     Oakland police say a black man "brandished a firearm" before they riddled him with bullets, but his daughter says in a lawsuit that Richard Perkins was merely tossing away a toy pistol to get rid of it when police killed him without a word of inquiry. 


     The former British rock journalist who accused Led Zeppelin of plagiarizing the iconic opening guitar riff in "Stairway to Heaven" has filed an appeal, a little over a month after a jury threw out his claims. 

     Former Carolina Panther Safety Hakuri Nakamura sued Lloyd's of London claiming it subjected him to "virtually impossible" procedures to prove his claim that he suffered a career-ending injury. 

     A former Citibank employee who took down 90 percent of the bank's networks in North America after a bad meeting with his boss was sentenced Monday to 21 months in federal prison.

     Former iWorks general manager Ryan Riddle agreed to a $281 million suspended judgment and other sanctions to settle federal fraud charges in a $26 million online credit scheme.

     Two attackers took hostages inside a French church during morning Mass on Tuesday near the city of Rouen, killing an 86-year-old priest by slitting his throat before being shot and killed by police, French officials said.

     Turkish authorities issued warrants on Monday for the detention of 42 journalists and took 31 academics into custody, official media reported, as the government pressed ahead with a crackdown against people allegedly linked to a U.S.-based Muslim cleric following a failed coup.

     At least 19 people were killed and about 20 wounded in a knife attack Tuesday at a facility for the handicapped in a city just outside Tokyo in the worst mass killing in generations in Japan.

     A young Japanese man went on a stabbing rampage Tuesday at a facility for the mentally disabled where he had been fired, officials said, killing 19 people months after he gave a letter to Parliament outlining the bloody plan and saying all disabled people should be put to death.

     Two attackers took hostages inside a French church during morning Mass on Tuesday near the city of Rouen, killing an 86-year-old priest by slitting his throat before being shot and killed by police, French officials said.

     Directors are selling Xura (software) too cheaply through an unfair process to Siris Capital Group, for $25 a share or $643 million, shareholders claim in Federal Court.