“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” - George W. Bush

Thursday, March 29, 2018

FBI Director Christopher Wray said the bureau will cooperate with a House Judiciary Committee subpoena for documents on how it handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation

IG will probe FBI abuses of FISA, after Trump surveillance

The Justice Department’s inspector general said Wednesday that he is investigating whether the FBI overstepped its bounds when it conducted secret surveillance of a Trump campaign figure in 2016 and 2017, and whether the FBI bungled its handling of the anti-Trump “Steele dossier.”

Republicans last week revealed that the dossier played a significant role in getting the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court to approve wiretaps of Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign.

Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz did not identify Mr. Page nor Christopher Steele, the former British spy who was paid by Democrats to assemble the salacious and unverified dossier on Donald Trump. But Mr. Horowitz left little doubt that is what he will be investigating.

“In response to requests from the Attorney General and Members of Congress, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will initiate a review that will examine the Justice Department’s and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) compliance with legal requirements, and with applicable DOJ and FBI policies and procedures, in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) relating to a certain U.S. person,” Mr. Horowitz said in a statement.
Republicans, who for months had suspicions about the FBI’s handling of the situation, said it was about time an investigation began.

But they said the inspector general’s probe doesn’t obviate the need for a special counsel as well because Mr. Horowitz is limited by law and won’t be able to fully investigate people who are no longer in government service.

That could put former FBI Director James B. Comey, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates — each of whom signed off on the surveillance request at some point — beyond the reach of the investigation.

“I still believe we need a second special counsel to ensure the investigation is thorough and complete,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who has been tracking the issue. “The American people are rightfully troubled by the information they have heard about politicization in DOJ.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, called the investigation “a shame” and said Mr. Horowitz is being forced to chase a conspiracy theory.

“Any objective review of these claims should tell us what we already know — that the FBI was right, that there was sufficient evidence to continue investigating certain Trump campaign officials for their connections to the Russian government, and that the Republicans are desperate to distract from that investigation,” Mr. Nadler said.

The Justice Department declined to comment on Mr. Horowitz’s announcement.
The Steele dossier was compiled by Mr. Steele on orders from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. It accused the Trump campaign of colluding with Russia during the 2016 election campaign and, for good measure, included graphic details about frolicking with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel.

Mr. Trump and his team have denied the claims, and most of the dossier remains unsubstantiated. Mr. Steele himself has cast doubt on some of his own findings in a court case playing out in London.

The FBI used the Steele dossier to help persuade the FISA court to approve wiretapping Mr. Page. Mr. Horowitz will investigate how instrumental the dossier was and whether the FBI should have been more suspicious of its information or more forthcoming with the court about the political antecedents.

Republicans say the FBI shielded key details from the court and that no surveillance would have been approved if the bureau had been honest. Democrats counter that the FBI gave the court enough information and argue that the surveillance would have been approved even without the Steele dossier. They also point out that the surveillance of Mr. Page didn’t begin until after he had separated from the Trump campaign.

Mr. Steele was dumped as an FBI source after the bureau discovered he was leaking to the press, Republicans say.

Mr. Graham and Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, have also asked the Justice Department to pursue a criminal case against Mr. Steele. They say his admissions in the London court case show he lied to the FBI.

Mr. Steele’s supporters describe his information as raw intelligence and say it shouldn’t be surprising if much of it is wrong.

But some of what Mr. Steele reported — contacts between former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort and Russian operatives — appears to have been substantiated.

In a court filing late Tuesday, special counsel Robert Mueller, tasked with investigating accusations of collusion, said Manafort aide Rick Gates did knowingly meet a person with ties to Russian intelligence.

The documents say Mr. Gates and the unidentified individual were in touch in September and October 2016, just before the election. The contacts are “pertinent to the investigation,” prosecutors said in a court filing.

Mr. Gates has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI. Mr. Manafort has maintained his own innocence.

In addition to Mr. Mueller’s probe of the Trump campaign and the inspector general’s investigation of the FBI, House Republicans are examining whether the FBI bungled its look into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s secret email account.

Republicans say revelations about Mr. McCabe, Mr. Comey and other FBI personnel assigned to the Clinton investigation suggest irregularities.

The FBI is cooperating with the House Republican investigation, and Director Christopher A. Wray said late Tuesday that he is doubling the number of employees working to turn over documents and making them work in two shifts a day, from 8 a.m. to midnight, to review and release material.

“I agree the current pace of production is too slow,” Mr. Wray said in a letter to Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, the Republican committee chairmen who are leading the House investigation.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.  Click here for reprint permission.

70 comments:

  1. The IG has some credibility. I'll be looking forward to their reports, especially concerning FISA.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. DOJ Inspector General To Look At FISA Court Applications (Update: Goodlatte Responds)
      JOHN SEXTONPosted at 7:21 pm on March 28, 2018

      ....Here’s the response from Rep. Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee:

      “I welcome the announcement from the Inspector General’s office that it will investigate potential abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and use of political opposition research to obtain a warrant to surveil a U.S. person. However, this is not a substitute for a Special Counsel to investigate this and other matters, including decisions made and not made by the Justice Department in 2016 and 2017, and evidence of bias by DOJ and FBI employees in charging decisions. For instance, the IG’s office does not have authority to compel witness interviews, including from past employees, so its investigation will be limited in scope in comparison to a Special Counsel investigation. The American people demand that the intelligence community, law enforcement, and the courts operate fairly and impartially, and a Special Counsel should be named expeditiously to determine whether these institutions lived up to their expected standards.”

      Still no response from Rep. Gowdy, Rep. Scalise, or Rep. McCarthy.

      https://hotair.com/archives/2018/03/28/doj-inspector-general-look-fisc-applications/

      Delete
  2. Join Class Action Suit Against Facebook Now !

    NewsFlash !

    Potential fine in your favor is now $40,00 PerDay of Abuse

    Source: Fox News

    ReplyDelete
  3. ?

    POPE DECLARES NO HELL?....DRUDGE

    Pope Francis: 'There Is No Hell'
    Michael W. Chapman By Michael W. Chapman | March 29, 2018 | 10:45 AM EDT

    Pope Francis. (YouTube)
    In another interview with his longtime atheist friend, Eugenio Scalfari, Pope Francis claims that Hell does not exist and that condemned souls just "disappear." This is a denial of the 2,000-year-old teaching of the Catholic Church about the reality of Hell and the eternal existence of the soul.

    The interview between Scalfari and the Pope was published March 28, 2018 in La Repubblica. The relevant section on Hell was translated by the highly respected web log, Rorate Caeli.

    The interview is headlined, "The Pope: It is an honor to be called revolutionary." (Il Papa: “È un onore essere chiamato rivoluzionario.")

    Scalfri says to the Pope, "Your Holiness, in our previous meeting you told me that our species will disappear in a certain moment and that God, still out of his creative force, will create new species. You have never spoken to me about the souls who died in sin and will go to hell to suffer it for eternity. You have however spoken to me of good souls, admitted to the contemplation of God. But what about bad souls? Where are they punished?"

    Pope Francis says, "They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of souls who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls."


    https://www.cnsnews.com/blog/michael-w-chapman/pope-francis-there-no-hell

    This is not the testimony of most NDE'rs.

    What meaning does the Pope's proclamation impart for this behavior:

    Catholics whip themselves and slash their backs with razor blades in the Philippines to atone for their sins in extreme show of faith ahead of Easter
    GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: Filipinos marched through the streets dripping with blood from the ritual
    They believe the extreme and grisly form of worship will cleanse sins, cure illness, and grant wishes
    Masked devotees were seen performing the acts of self-inflicted pain to mark the Holy Week in town of Pakil
    Despite condemnation from the Church, crowds of spectators including children lined the streets to watch



    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5558153/Catholics-whip-slash-backs-razor-blades-Philippines-Easter.html#ixzz5B9QE1Wfz

    The idea that the totally worthless simply disappear at death has affirmations with William Blake, who held that all our negative thoughts words and deeds simply disappear at death, being negative.

    Hence if one has nothing but negative thoughts words and deeds one has nothing to die into....

    :(

    From the Hindu perspective, as I understand it, the Pope is full of crap, a human spirit once created being unable to cease to be.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. comments


      Bob Loblaw • 16 minutes ago
      this Pope HAS to go ... now .... he's talking the language of the antichrist

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      Avatar
      Nacho • 16 minutes ago
      Truly believe he could be the anti-Christ.

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      Avatar
      Bruce1369 • 17 minutes ago
      This man is the anti-Christ.

      7
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      heh, not much forgiveness showing in these Brothers

      Delete
    2. Vatican scrambles for damage control -

      Vatican: Don’t Trust Report That Pope Francis Denied Reality Of Hell

      A recent meeting between Pope Francis and Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, 93, was a “private meeting for the occasion of Easter, however without giving him any interview,” the March 29 communique stated.

      “What is reported by the author in today’s article is the result of his reconstruction, in which the literal words pronounced by the Pope are not quoted. No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.”

      Scalfari, a self-proclaimed atheist, is the founder and former editor of Italian leftist newspaper La Repubblica. In an article published on the site March 29, Scalfari claims that Pope Francis told him, “hell doesn’t exist, the disappearance of the souls of sinners exists.”


      https://hotair.com/headlines/archives/2018/03/vatican-dont-trust-report-pope-francis-denied-reality-hell/

      Delete
  4. How The Donald Should Handle Turkey -

    TIME TO GET TOUGH WITH TURKEY
    The U.S. has lots of leverage – let’s use it.

    March 29, 2018 Kenneth R. Timmerman

    The Trump administration is trying to walk a fine line between Turkey, which it still refers to as a NATO ally, and our Kurdish allies on the ground in northern Syria, and it has become increasingly painful and disheartening to watch.

    For the past two months, as Turkish troops have pounded civilians in the northern Syrian city of Afrin, Turkish President Recip Tayip Erdogan has verbally assaulted and taunted America.

    After initially threatening to kill U.S. liaison officers working with the Kurds, Erdogan then warned the U.S. commander in Syria, LG Paul Funk, to beware an “Ottoman slap.”

    The fact that U.S. commanders – undoubtedly under the direction of Defense Secretary Mattis - continued to avoid any direct contact with Turkish troops only emboldened Erdogan. Just before the final assault on Afrin last week, he taunted: “NATO members are not powerful enough to stand up to Turkey… [T]hey do not have the cheek.”

    Once YPG fighters withdrew from Afrin on March 15, and civilians evacuated in the following days, Islamist militias backed by the Turkish army swooped into the city, destroying Kurdish cultural sites and plundering homes and businesses.

    These were exactly the people the U.S. has been trying to defeat on the battlefield. And here Turkey has made them their allies and is training and equipping them.

    As I argued in these pages two months ago, Turkey has long since stopped behaving like a NATO ally. It’s time that the Trump administration faced these facts and got tough on Turkey.

    There can be no doubt that the appeasement policy carried out by the outgoing national security advisor, H.R. McMaster, and Rex Tillerson, has failed miserably. How deeply SecDef Jim Mattis buys into that policy could be a factor in his survival on the Trump team.

    Erdogan is now threatening to unleash his Islamist allies on the remaining YPG strongholds further east, in Manbij, and even to push across the border into Mount Sinjar in Iraq to attack Iranian Kurds he considers to be allied to the PKK.

    Earlier this week, General Mattis acknowledged that Erdogan’s blood-lust for the Kurds has brought coalition operations against ISIS strongholds along the Syrian-Iraqi border to a standstill, all the while he continued to call Turkey a “NATO ally” and spoke positively about “an open dialogue” with Turkey.

    I’d call that surreal if it weren’t pathetic – and tragic.

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    1. The United States needs to stand by our allies. In this battle, there can be no doubt who they are: the Kurds, not Turkey. The Kurds have built a secular, pluralistic, democratic government in northern Syria, whereas Turkey has become an Islamist autocracy that compares itself increasingly to the Ottoman empire.

      The Trump administration has much more leverage it can bring to bear against Turkey than the President’s generals would have us believe.

      First, we can increase U.S. military support for the YPG, and draw clear red lines beyond which any advance by Turkey or its Islamist allies will mean a direct confrontation with the United States.



      That is not a far-fetched proposal. After all, when a force of Russian mercenaries violated a similar red line near the Syrian-Iraq border last month, they were torn to shreds by U.S. artillery and aircraft, causing an estimated 300 Russian casualties. Since then, the Russians have kept their distance from U.S. forces.

      Next, we can accelerate the disengagement from Incirlik airbase in eastern Turkey, as Germany has already done. This is the NATO airbase that Turkey refused to let us use in the first battle against Saddam Hussein in 1991, and again in 2003, and again more recently for strikes against ISIS. This is the base where Erdogan loyalists besieged U.S. Air Force personnel during the August 2016 coup, treating their NATO allies (us!) as a hostile, occupying force.

      I have long argued we should withdraw from Incirlik and move those air assets to Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. Israel’s Debka.com believes such a move is already under way.

      Next, the U.S. should go to NATO to seek sanctions against Turkey for violating the North Atlantic Treaty by conducting offensive operations beyond its borders without NATO approval and without having been attacked.

      If Turkey does not withdraw from Syria and cease threatening Iraq within ten days, NATO should impose a series of increasingly severe sanctions against Turkey, starting with the suspension of all military cooperation and military sales to Turkey.

      If Turkey still does not comply, NATO should suspend Turkey until it does.

      After these NATO sanctions go into effect, and if Turkey remains defiant, the U.S. should seek United Nations sanctions against Turkey’s banking and defense sectors, nether of which is prepared for sanctions.

      The U.S. can also unilaterally impose sanctions on Turkey as an ongoing money-laundering concern, based on the recent conviction of Turkish bank officials in New York for laundering money on behalf of Iran. (USA v. Zarrab et al).

      Most powerful of all, however, would be for the U.S. to declassify intelligence information detailing the corruption of the Erdogan family, an investigation that proved so embarrassing to Erdogan that he launched a broad crackdown against judges and police investigators in December 2013 to shut it down.

      The U.S. could also release intelligence information about the role of Erdogan’s son as a conduit for ISIS oil sales, and of Erdogan’s daughter role in setting up hospitals just inside Turkey’s border with Syria specifically to treat wounded ISIS fighters.

      Put simply: ISIS would not exist, and never would have become as powerful as it became, without the active assistance of the Turkish president and his family.

      Turkey is not behaving as a NATO ally, and is actively seeking to revive the Ottoman Empire and its Islamic Caliphate. With combined pressure from the U.S., NATO, Saudi Arabia and other allies, escalating pressure can be brought on Turkey to change its behavior or face the possibility of economic collapse.

      https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/269744/time-get-tough-turkey-kenneth-r-timmerman

      Sounds good to me.

      Ciao

      Delete
  5. .

    Laugh of the Day

    After adding $1 trillion to the deficit a few weeks ago through unnecessary tax cuts for the rich and approving a massive new budget with exploding deficits, the GOP plans to offer up a 'balanced budget amendment' when they return from break.

    This move is so obvious and ludicrous, most would view it as some sort of April Fool's joke; however, the GOP appears serious. And who can blame them really? The Trump base is so credulous, an euphemism for stupid, they will buy anything.

    House Republicans suddenly care about a balanced budget after running up deficits

    House Republicans blew up the budget with tax cuts and spending increases. Now they want to tighten the belt

    House Republicans are proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that, though unlikely to pass, they hope will inoculate them from charges of being spendthrifts after they pushed through a tax reform bill that cost more than $1 trillion.

    The GOP plans to unveil its new idea when it returns from its recess, according to Politico. At first glance, the decision to do this seems absurd; given the state of political gridlock in Washington, it is highly unlikely that the Republican Party will be able to pass any substantive legislation, much less a constitutional amendment (which requires two-thirds majorities in both chambers of Congress or a constitutional convention by two-thirds of the states). That said, given that Republican voters tend to emphasize fiscal conservatism — and the GOP-run Congress has little in the way of genuine financial conservatism to show for this session, simply voting for a balanced budget amendment could be enough for Republican lawmakers to impress their constituents...


    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Salon.com: Fair and Balanced.

      ...like the NY Times, CNN, MSNBC, NPR... ie "News" sources.

      Delete
    2. Kicking out a-holes like McConnell and Ryan could be enough for Republicans to...

      https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1CAACAO_enUS720US720&ei=BF69Wu_iCMrwjwP4zJmACg&q=mitch+mcconnell+turtle&oq=mitMcConnel&gs_l=psy-ab.1.1.0i13k1l10.10699.11497.0.16610.3.3.0.0.0.0.182.350.0j2.2.0....0...1c.1.64.psy-ab..1.2.347...0i7i10i30k1.0.KSb-W0SPQHw

      Delete
    3. It's turtles all the way down.

      Delete
  6. Good Contra Bolton Essay

    The Deeply Underdeveloped Worldview of John Bolton
    A careful review of his bibliography reveals a narrow, privileged understanding of global affairs.



    Alex Brandon / AP
    PETER BEINART
    4:50 AM ET GLOBAL

    Survey the history of American national-security advisors going back to the position’s creation in the mid-twentieth century, and two things about John Bolton stand out. The first is his militancy: his incessant, almost casual, advocacy of war. The second—which has gotten less attention but is deeply intertwined with the first—is the parochialism of his life experience.

    Many national-security advisors, including Robert McFarlane, John Poindexter, Colin Powell, James Jones, Michael Flynn, and H.R. McMaster, have come from the professional military. Even many of those who made their careers in academia, law, or government, like McGeorge Bundy, Henry Kissinger, Frank Carlucci, Brent Scowcroft, and Stephen Hadley, served in the military for a time. Walt Rostow, Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Scowcroft, Anthony Lake, Condoleezza Rice, Susan Rice, and McMaster, earned doctorates. In different ways, these experiences offered Bolton’s predecessors some critical distance on the foreign-policy debate in Washington.


    To differing degrees, those who served in the military saw the consequences of those foreign-policy debates on the ground. Some were more hawkish than others. But many could relate to the experience of Colin Powell who, as a major in Vietnam, saw “recently healthy young American boys, now stacked like cordwood” on the floor of helicopters. Those who served in academia had an opportunity to put U.S. foreign policy in broader historical perspective. Kissinger, who wrote his dissertation on Klemens Von Metternich, the foreign minister of the Austro-Hungarian empire who tried to manage Europe’s balance of power in the face of a challenge from revolutionary France, saw America as facing an analogous challenge from a revolutionary Soviet Union.

    RELATED STORY

    John Bolton Is Misunderstood

    Of course, neither military nor academic experience could prevent some national-security advisors from making terrible mistakes. But if Kissinger is right that “[high] office teaches decision-making, not substance” and that it “consumes intellectual capital; it does not create it,” then the narrow professional experience through which Bolton has amassed his intellectual capital matters a great deal. He has never served in the military. He has never studied another region of the world, or another period of history, at the graduate level. He has spent his entire adult life in the interlocking world of hawkish think tanks, Washington law firms, Republican politics, and the right-wing media. And he manifests that narrowness in the smugly insular worldview he brings to his new job.


    ReplyDelete
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    1. Over the past two decades, Bolton has written dozens of columns and essays, often for the flagship publications of the American right. To read them is to enter a cocoon. His writing is filled with assertions—about the purity of America’s intentions, the motivations of its adversaries, the uselessness of diplomacy, and the efficacy of war—for which he offers either feeble evidence or no evidence at all.

      Consider Bolton’s op-eds about Iran. Before the 2015 nuclear deal, these pieces mostly followed a similar arc. They began with the insistence that, since Iran’s leaders were fanatically determined to develop nuclear weapons, diplomacy, sanctions, and inspections were a waste of time. “In truth, since the diplomacy/sanctions approach is Obama’s declared policy, we already know the end of the story: Iran with nuclear weapons,” Bolton wrote in October 2009. Bolton’s primary evidence for this sweeping claim? Vague, unsourced, pronouncements about Iran’s supposed invulnerability to petroleum and financial sanctions. In July 2012 he argued that Iran’s “mullahs will never agree to an intrusive verification mechanism that could actually detect systematic cheating.” How did Bolton know inspections could not work? It’s anyone’s guess. He cited no studies on the past efficacy of international inspections or on Iran’s record in complying with past agreements. He quoted no research at all. The technique is Trumpian: The less evidence you have, the more certain you sound.


      After declaring diplomacy, sanctions, and inspections futile, Bolton—in his pre-Iran deal columns—again and again arrived at the same conclusion: There is no alternative to war. According to Bolton, that truth was too “unpleasant” and “inconvenient” for the Obama administration to face. But even as he congratulated himself for dispensing with comforting illusions, Bolton assured his readers that war wouldn’t be that bad. In the event of an Israeli attack, he wrote in October 2009, “Iran is highly unlikely to retaliate in a way that could prompt a direct confrontation with the U.S. military.” Why would Iran’s leaders, who Bolton described in the very same article as “religious fanatics who prize the hereafter more than life on earth,” carefully calibrate their response so as to avoid harming the United States? Who knows? Bolton cited no historical precedents, and quoted no Iranians or academic experts on Iran. Iran’s leaders are whatever he needs them to be: reckless when he’s arguing for the futility of diplomacy, but cautious when he’s arguing for the utility of military force.

      Bolton’s language is instructive. He has called the attacks he proposes “preemptive.” That’s incorrect: Under international law, preemption is an attack on an adversary that is about to strike you, the geopolitical equivalent of shooting someone who has already drawn his gun. The strikes Bolton urged against Iran—and before that against Iraq, and, recently, against North Korea—are “preventive.” They’re based on the fear that those regimes might one day attack the United States or its allies. But the dishonesty is useful: It makes the wars Bolton proposes sound like self-defense.


      If Bolton has misused the word “preemptive” to make military conflict seem more necessary, he has avoided the word “war” so as to make military conflict seem less frightening. In August 2015, he actually reprimanded Obama for suggesting that the alternative to a nuclear deal is “some kind of war.” The “phrase,” Bolton declared, “obscures more than it reveals.” But a few sentences later, Bolton asserted that “only a preemptive military strike can block Iran from becoming a nuclear-weapons state.” What’s the difference between a “military strike” and a “war”? The former sounds limited and controlled, while the second sounds unpredictable and harrowing—which war generally is. George Orwell famously argued that people employ euphemism to obscure the human cost of the political agendas they support. Bolton’s columns would have driven him mad.

      Delete
    2. As the Obama administration’s final nuclear deal began taking shape, Bolton made two predictions. First, that Iran would not adhere to it. Tehran “will cheat inside Iran, where the [International Atomic Energy Agency] is not present, and it will cheat by cooperating with North Korea and other proliferation enablers,” he wrote in January 2014. His second prediction was that the deal would lead other Middle Eastern countries to acquire nukes. “The arms race has begun: Neighboring countries are moving forward, driven by fears that Mr. Obama’s diplomacy is fostering a nuclear Iran,” he wrote in March 2015. “These talks have triggered a potential wave of nuclear programs.”


      Three years later, history has not been kind to either of Bolton’s predictions. Not only does Iran not have a nuclear weapon; none of its Arab neighbors do either. Moreover, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has declared nine times that Iran is complying with the terms of the deal. In March, the director general of the IAEA noted that the agency “now has the world’s most robust verification regime in place in Iran.” It has installed 2,000 tamper-proof seals on Iran’s nuclear equipment, visited more than 190 nuclear facilities, analyzed hundreds of thousands of images from surveillance cameras and collected more than one million pieces of open source information. The IAEA’s conclusion—that Iran is complying—has been confirmed by America’s European allies, the U.S. intelligence community, and by Defense Secretary James Mattis. Even much of the Israeli security establishment now supports the deal.

      Bolton remains unconvinced. Last September, he claimed the deal’s “adherents ignore Iran’s actual violations (exceeding limits on uranium enrichment, heavy-water production and advanced-centrifuge capacity, among others).” The sentence contains one link: to a New York Times article that lists no Iranian violations. But even as Bolton has insisted that Iran is violating the nuclear deal, he’s also insisted that it doesn’t really matter. “Even if somebody were to say to you that the regime is in full compliance with the nuclear deal,” Bolton wrote last July, “it doesn't make any difference.” In October, he added: “If the U.S. left the [deal], it would not need to justify the decision by showing that the Iranians have exceeded the deal’s limits on uranium enrichment (though they have).” Why doesn’t it make a difference if Iran is complying? Because Iran will eventually stop complying. “The day after North Korea has that capability [to put a nuclear weapon on an intercontinental ballistic missile],” Bolton declared last summer, “the regime in Tehran will have it as well, simply by signing a check.” How does Bolton know that? He just does.


      If Bolton’s Iran columns sound familiar, it’s because they resemble his writing in the run-up to war in Iraq. Then, too, Bolton insisted that international inspections could never work. In a December 1998 essay, he attacked the “discredited idea that UN weapons inspectors can eliminate Iraq’s ability to produce weapons of mass destruction.” A year later, he declared that, “By now it should be beyond debate that only Saddam’s removal can realistically forestall Iraq’s ability to produce weapons of mass destruction.” In January 2003, Bolton—then serving in the Bush administration—said: “There’s no doubt if they [inspectors] had enough people in Iraq, if they had enough facilities, that they would find the hidden weapons of mass destruction production facilities and dual-use items that Iraqis still possess. If they're not able to do that by the 27th, then we’ll have to take that into account.”

      The last phrase is telling. For Bolton, “take that into account” did not mean that the inability of international inspectors to find Iraqi WMD would shake his assumption that they existed. He meant that the inability of international inspectors to find Iraqi WMD would confirm his assumption that inspections are useless. Then, as now, Bolton’s beliefs are essentially unfalsifiable.

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    3. On Iraq, as with Iran, Bolton accompanied his insistence that non-violence was hopeless with promises that war would be easy. “The Iraqi people would be unique in history if they didn’t welcome the overthrow of this dictatorial regime,” he argued in November 2002.” Perhaps no sentence better illustrated Bolton’s parochialism. Had he ever lived in the developing world or studied African, Asian, Middle Eastern or Latin American history, he’d likely understand why a people with a history of colonial occupation might prefer not to be invaded and occupied by a Western power, especially one that had recently bombed them and starved them with sanctions.


      Bolton’s apparent inability to imagine such opposition is likely related to his unwillingness to admit that America’s interventions have done harm in the past. “Chileans have made their choice, and have lived with it,” Bolton wrote about Augusto Pinochet’s decades-long repression, which the United States enabled by encouraging him to overthrow Salvador Allende, Chile’s democratically elected leader. Because Bolton absolves America of the negative consequences of its past interventions, he cannot imagine why Iraqis might worry about the consequences for their country.

      Bolton is hardly the only American commentator or foreign policy official to get Iraq wrong. Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and John Kerry, supported the war. So did I. But as with Iran, what distinguishes him is not just his hawkishness. It’s his refusal to reconsider that hawkishness in the face of even the most crushing evidence.

      After repeatedly insisting before the war that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, Bolton declared five months after America’s invasion that the failure to find WMD was of no consequence. “Some analysts have said that not finding WMD in Iraq—to date—proves that Saddam was not an imminent threat, and that, therefore, our Coalition military action was not justified,” he argued in October 2003. “These criticisms miss the mark that our concern was not the imminence of Saddam's threat, but the very existence of his regime, given its heinous and undeniable record, capabilities and intentions.” The quote is peak Bolton: Claiming that Saddam’s WMD capabilities are undeniable in the face of mounting evidence that they don’t exist.


      Delete
    4. More than a decade later, Bolton again defended his support for the war. “I am convinced,” he declared in 2015, that Saddam “would have gone back to the search for nuclear weapons.” The following year, Bolton added that, “Had he [Saddam] stayed in power, he would today have even larger chemical stockpiles. His ‘nuclear mujahideen,’ the 3,000 scientists and technicians he had retained, would have recreated his nuclear-weapons [program].” Maybe Bolton is right—the counterfactual is impossible to disprove. But there’s something absurd about a man whose false declarations about Saddam’s WMD helped enable a catastrophic war justifying that war with new predictions that, had the war not been fought, Saddam would have developed WMD.

      Absurd and also callous. The Iraq war left over 4,400 Americans and close to 500,000 Iraqis dead, cost the United States trillions of dollars and helped create the Islamic State. Bolton doesn’t deny that the war plunged Iraq into anarchy. But in the same 2015 interview where he justified the invasion by claiming that Saddam would have gotten WMD eventually, Bolton justified the anarchy that followed by claiming that Iraq might have collapsed anyway. “There might have been some Iraqi Shia who decided to assassinate Saddam for all that he had done to repress the Shia and Iraq would have descended into chaos," Bolton mused. In other words: There was nothing wrong with blowing up the building because it might have collapsed on its own.

      Imagine giving that answer to a mother or father—American or Iraqi—whose child died in the war. It’s so flip as to be obscene. But Bolton is a man who justified his decision to evade military service in Vietnam by explaining that, “by the time I was about to graduate in 1970, it was clear to me that opponents of the Vietnam War had made it certain we could not prevail, and that I had no great interest in going there to have Teddy Kennedy give it back to the people I might die to take it away from.” In other words, it was the liberals’ fault.

      From a life of insularity and privilege, John Bolton has built a worldview based on national and personal impunity. The United States is not morally responsible for what it did in Chile or Iraq. Bolton himself is not responsible for the many false predictions he has made, and for the catastrophic war he helped engineer. It’s no surprise that such a man would get along with Donald Trump. Both have floated upward despite the wreckage they have created in other peoples’ lives. Now, together, they are free to create more than ever before.

      https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/03/john-bolton-iran-nuclear-trump-iraq-war-north-korea/556763/

      Delete
    5. Wars don't kill people, people do.

      Delete
  7. I would love to watch Sessions and the Pope burn in Hell.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Love Conquers all

    Free spirited lesbos adopt 6 multi-racial kids, abuse them, drive them off a cliff.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/family-killed-cliff-plunge-free-spirits-troubled-54087958

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Investigators have yet to determine the cause of the crash, and the sheriff said there is "no evidence and no reason to believe that this was an intentional act."

      At the same time, he said there were no skid marks and no sign the brakes were applied at the highway pull-off area where the vehicle went over.

      The case has thrown a spotlight on the Hart family's previous run-ins with the law and neighbors' concerns about the youngsters.

      Delete
    2. No reason to believe.

      ...like Parkland.

      Delete
    3. Friends described married couple Jennifer and Sarah Hart as loving, inspiring parents who promoted social justice and exposed their "remarkable children" to art, music and nature.

      One of the children, Devonte Hart, drew national attention after the black youngster was photographed in tears, hugging a white police officer during a 2014 protest in Portland, Oregon, over the deadly police shooting of a black man in Ferguson, Missouri. The boy was holding a "Free Hugs" sign.

      The Hart Tribe also went to events such as rallies for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, often showing up in matching T-shirts.

      Delete
    4. Hope they hugged each other on the way down.

      Delete
    5. 3 of the kids haven't even been found yet.

      Delete
    6. ...maybe they're treading water.

      Delete
  9. Sessions has a US Attorney - Mr. Huber - from Utah - far from the swamp - looking into criminal probe of FBI.

    Says he doesn't need Special Counsel yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's let a few Statutes of Limitations run out.

      Saves time, money and incarceration expenses.

      Delete
  10. This Will Keep You Reading From Good Friday through Easter And Keep You Out Of Trouble

    ABOUT Big Questions Online

    ARCHIVE

    Do We Have Souls?

    https://www.bigquestionsonline.com/2013/01/08/have-souls/

    That wonderful drawing by William Blake of spirit rising at death included.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do we have Shoe Goo?

      ...in my case no, and Amazon won't ship it here.

      Delete
  11. CDC: Drug overdoses killed 63,632 Americans in 2016
    JOHN SEXTON Mar 29, 2018 9:21 PM

    https://hotair.com/archives/2018/03/29/cdc-drug-overdoses-killed-63632-americans-2016/

    More than Vietnam each year. If that's not an emergency I don't know what one is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And mensa Bob thinks a wall on the Mexican border will keep Chinese manufactured opiods out of the USA - Brilliant!

      Delete
    2. It would help.

      A wall on the Canadian border would as well.

      Canada is a great country.

      It just has an unbelievable number of true morons in it.

      Delete
    3. John Kerry's grandfather/great grandfather used to run opioids to China in his ships, which debilitated the cities of the coast of China.

      Big money maker.

      It was the basis of the Kerry money.

      Roles have reversed. Now it's the Chinese running shit here.

      Delete
    4. Maybe people can't sleep forever -

      Canadian Love Affair with Trudeau OVER....DRUDGE

      https://wCanadian Love Affair with Trudeau OVER...ww.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/03/29/canadians-love-affair-with-justin-trudeau-is-over/

      Delete
  12. Breaking Good News

    BREAKING: Notoriously Liberal Ninth Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt Dies
    Posted at 9:00 pm on March 29, 2018 by Patterico

    It happened unexpectedly, while he was at a dermatologist’s office. He was 87:


    Chris Geidner

    @chrisgeidner
    BREAKING: Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has died, a court spokesperson confirmed.

    4:40 PM - Mar 29, 2018

    The Los Angeles Times reports that it was a heart attack, and adds this about some of his more well-known decisions:

    Reinhardt joined another judge in ruling that the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance were unconstitutional, a decision that was later overturned.

    He wrote a ruling that said laws prohibiting physician-assisted suicide were unconstitutional and another that overturned California’s previous ban on same-sex marriage.

    Reinhardt also lamented Supreme Court rulings that limited judges’ ability to overturn convictions and sentences on habeas corpus and complained about the flaws in death penalty cases.

    I have railed about Stephen Reinhardt many, many times over the years. I did not consider his brand of judging to be intellectually honest. He frequently twisted the facts and the law to reach the result he wanted. To my knowledge, he never voted to affirm a death verdict, and I know he voted to reverse many of them. He would refuse to recuse himself from cases brought by the ACLU, the local chapter of which was headed by his wife. His opinions were frequently reversed by the Supreme Court — but, as he was reported to have said, “they can’t catch ’em all” — because the high court can take only so many cases.

    Although I have been a frequent critic of his rulings, I’m sure he will be missed by his family and colleagues. My condolences to them on their loss.

    https://www.redstate.com/patterico/2018/03/29/breaking-notoriously-liberal-ninth-circuit-judge-stephen-reinhardt-dies/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everyday one can find good news somewhere !

      Delete
    2. He wrote a ruling that said laws prohibiting physician-assisted suicide were unconstitutional


      This may make some sense.

      Delete
  13. https://www.facebook.com/exploreorg/videos/10155382514965334/?t=302

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lunch arrives @ 5 minutes.

      Delete
    2. Little fellow on the left didn't get much lunch. :(

      Delete
  14. American Justice

    I maintain that the jury in the trial of the Pulse Night Club shooter's widow got it right.

    Beyond a reasonable doubt, a high standard, wasn't shown by the prosecution.

    Hence: Not Guilty of Aiding and Abetting the Shooter

    ReplyDelete
  15. .

    I approved what?

    It's irresponsible that Congress fiddles around until the eleventh hour and then brings massive bills to the floor forcing our representatives to sign our most important legislation without reading it or knowing everything that's in it.

    The irresponsibility is compounded when the president is forced to sign the legislation without knowing what was in it.

    Trump says he is pissed by having to sign a bill he doesn't like and this is without knowing what is in it. He will likely be more pissed when he finds out what is in it.

    Section 740 of the 2,232-page document makes it clear, as Bloomberg Law previously reported, that Congress, not Trump, is in charge. “None of the funds made available in this or any other appropriations Act may be used to increase, eliminate, or reduce funding for a program, project, or activity as proposed in the President’s budget request for a fiscal year” unless Congress approves, according to the omnibus legislation.

    Congress grows a spine

    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's irresponsible that Congress fiddles around until the eleventh hour and then brings massive bills to the floor forcing our representatives to sign our most important legislation without reading it or knowing everything that's in it.

      Who writes these omni bills ?

      No one seems to know.

      I'm almost to the point of suspecting Quirk's invisible hand at work here.

      Delete
    2. (when things get totally fucked up i always suspect quirk)

      Delete
    3. .

      I'm almost to the point of suspecting Quirk's invisible hand at work here.

      Naw, my invisible hand is usually pretty busy with my other invisible appendages.

      .

      Delete
    4. Everyone cries in unison:

      Thank The Living Lord For Invisibility !

      Delete
  16. Have you contributed ?


    Momentum to call a Convention of States is growing.

    View this email in your browser
    (https://us8.campaign-archive.com/?u=3a21cd3d06284c105dbd92fee&id=ee859c971f&e=15e694a1e1)
    https://conventionofstates.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=3a21cd3d06284c105dbd92fee&id=ce77da5eb3&e=15e694a1e1

    Sir,

    Momentum to call a Convention of States is growing.

    Twelve out of the needed thirty-four states have officially adopted our legislation
    to call an Article V Convention where the states can propose much-needed amendments
    to end federal corruption, abuse and overreach.

    In 2018 alone, our legislation has been introduced in 23 states.

    And right now, Iowa stands poised to become the thirteenth state to join our growing
    movement.

    Our message is spreading like wildfire.

    As of today, we've secured 3.3 million supporters and 950,000 signed petitions from
    every single state house district in America.

    Sean Hannity is now actively leveraging his microphone to promote our efforts,
    reaching another 12.6 million listeners nationwide and driving over 1 million page
    views on our website.

    PragerU released a video to teach an under-35 audience “How the States Can Save
    America”. The video quickly went viral, with over 15 million views.

    We continue to secure endorsements from political thought leaders like Marco Rubio,
    Allen West, Bobby Jindal, Ben Shapiro, Pete Hegseth, Rand Paul, and many more.

    Without you, none of these successes would be possible. We’ve made undeniable
    progress, but there’s still a long road ahead to passing in the remaining states
    needed to call a Convention of States.

    We are just hours away from the end of our push to raise $50,000 by midnight
    tonight... and we’re falling behind on reaching our target.

    Will you help us finish the journey strong by contributing $50, $75, or even $100
    before midnight tonight?
    (https://conventionofstates.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=3a21cd3d06284c105dbd92fee&id=0bad5dd587&e=15e694a1e1)
    CONTRIBUTE TODAY
    (https://conventionofstates.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=3a21cd3d06284c105dbd92fee&id=2a2687aeff&e=15e694a1e1)

    For America,

    The Convention of States Team

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      No.

      But then, I never let the Jehovah's Witness in to talk to me either.

      [Reminds of a Roseanne Barr joke. 'So I open the door and this guy says he wants talk to me about the gift of tongues and the second coming so I told him "sounds good to me, park that damn bike and get your ass in here and make it quick".']

      .

      Delete
  17. Interesting recent suggestion: (?)

    Fund The Wall with a Go Fund Me page.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is my math right ?

      I get $416 per each of 60 million Trump voters.

      Why not, indeed.

      Delete
  18. Easter News

    Irish pubs open on Good Friday for 1st time in 90 years...
    Venezuela Faces Communion Wafers Shortage....DRUDGE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Attracting aspiring expiring young minds to the medical profession in Venezuela -

      Doctors in violent Venezuela work under threat of death if patients die....DRUDGE

      Delete
    2. It's what you get when you have an illiterate unemployed Marxy bus driver as Caudillo.

      Delete
  19. I miss her soo much:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDZ-GzsCToQ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll take Hillary #1.

      I'm a sucker for the yowling sounds of a lynx cat on vodka.

      Delete
    2. Limbaugh had a better recording, she continued to get more shrill.

      Now she says people calling her shrill are sexists.

      Delete
  20. FARCE

    President Trump Should Play Hardball With Robert Mueller

    ....After he was fired, Comey illegally leaked memoranda of his conversations with Trump for the express purpose of having a special counsel appointed to investigate the president. It has been reported that, shortly thereafter, the president interviewed Mueller to fill the vacant FBI director’s position. But the day after Trump decided not to name Mueller, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed him special counsel to investigate Trump.

    Pause and think that one over. Through his illegal leaking, Comey laid the foundation for the appointment of a special counsel. Out of the thousands of eminently qualified and conflict-free lawyers available, Rosenstein picked Mueller, Comey’s good friend and former colleague whom Trump had just rejected, to decide whether Trump or Comey is telling the truth about their conversations. Guess who will win that contest.

    If Mueller had any ethical sense, he would have declined to serve. But not only did he take the job, he proceeded to staff his operation with lawyers who have represented Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and the IT specialist who set up Clinton’s private email server and destroyed Clinton’s Blackberrys with a hammer....


    https://hotair.com/headlines/archives/2018/03/president-trump-play-hardball-robert-mueller/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://thefederalist.com/2018/03/30/president-trump-play-hardball-robert-mueller/

      Delete
  21. Mueller's Thug Detain Another American Citizen

    FBI questions Ted Malloch, Trump campaign figure and Farage ally
    American once touted as possible ambassador to EU tells of being detained at Boston airport and subpoenaed by Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia inquiry



    ....Malloch said in a statement on Thursday – after he was released – that his role on the Trump campaign was informal and unpaid, that he had only met with Stone on three occasions and never alone, and that he knew nothing about Wikileaks and had never visited the Ecuadorian embassy.

    He said the agents confiscated his mobile phone and told him it would be taken to Washington DC for a “full assessment”.

    “I was unfazed and very dubious about why they thought I knew anything,” he said. He also suggested in the statement that prosecutors could have read a not yet published book that alleged a conspiracy was underway to undermine Trump’s presidency, a book he said clearly troubled the “deep state”.

    “I did … find it objectionable to treat me the way they had, as I was entering my home country, where I am a citizen,” Malloch said. “They did not need to use such tactics or intimidation. I was a US patriot and would do anything and everything to assist the government and I had no information that I believed was relevant.”


    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/30/fbi-questions-ted-malloch-trump-campaign-figure-and-farage-ally

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dershowitz On Special Counsel: The Investigation Should End
      "That's What They Did In The Soviet Union, 'Show Me The Man, And I'll Find You The Crime'"


      | By Jack Fink | Geoff Petrulis | CBS 11
      By Jack FinkMarch 29, 2018 at 10:38 am

      Filed Under:Collusion, criminalization of political differences, Dershowitz, Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, President Trump, Robert Mueller, Rod Rosenstein, russia, Soviet Union, Special Counsel, Stalin, Trump

      DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Civil Liberties attorney Alan Dershowitz said Wednesday that he is fearful of the criminalization of political differences in today’s discourse and that he doesn’t think special counsels are the right way to approach criminal justice.

      Dershowitz spoke to CBS 11 political reporter Jack Fink about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to affect the outcome of the 2016 election.

      “I think the investigation should end and I think the Congress should appoint a special non-partisan commission,” said Dershowitz. He said he thinks a Congressional committee would be too partisan.

      “That’s the way it’s done in other western democracies,” he continued. “They don’t appoint a special counsel and tell them to ‘Get that guy…’ that’s what they did in the Soviet Union. Lavrentiy Beria, the head of the KGB said to Stalin, ‘Show me the man, and I’ll find you the crime!'” That’s what special counsel does.”

      Dershowitz was quick to point out that he was not making a direct correlation between the United States and the former Soviet Union. “I’m not comparing obviously the Soviet Union and the United States. We have structural protections in our Bill Of Rights but it’s going down the wrong direction.”

      “The issue of criminalization [of political differences] has not been subject to rational discourse,” said Dershowitz. “Democrats hate when they politicize and criminalize political differences against Democrats… when they did it with Bill Clinton. Republicans hate when they do it against their people… President Trump. But each one supports it when they’re against their enemies and partisanship prevails over principle. It’s very hard to have a reasonable discussion.”

      Delete
    2. Dershowitz said that citizens should fear the direction of this investigation for their own sake. He warned that today criminalization of political differences appears – now – to only affect presidents and political leaders. “Tomorrow it can affect you and me. If you give the prosecutor the ability to stretch the criminal law to fit a target, it’s very dangerous.”

      Dershowitz said that special counsels are not the right way to approach criminal justice. “When you appoint a special counsel you give them targets and you say, ‘You better get that guy or the people around him…and we’re going to give you tens of millions of dollars. And if you come up empty handed you’re a failure.'”

      Dershowitz said that if an ordinary prosecutor goes months without finding a crime then “that’s great, no… there have been no crimes committed.” He says not so with a special counsel. “Special Counsel always has the goal of ‘getting the people.’ They’re going to find crimes, or they’re going to manufacture crimes or they’re going to stretch the criminal law to fit the ‘crimes’ because they’re not going to come away empty handed.”

      Dershowitz was asked what he thinks should happen now. Should Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein curtail the investigation? “I think Rod Rosenstein needs to say to the special counsel, ‘Do not investigate the private finances of the president before he became president; do not investigate his relatives; do not investigate his sex life.’ Don’t do – to President Trump – what Ken Starr did to President Clinton,” said Dershowitz . “It started with Whitewater and ended up with a blue dress. That’s not the appropriate way a special counsel should operate.”

      Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States.

      Dershowitz had some strong words for Rosenstein. “I think Rod Rosenstein is concerned more about his reputation than anything else. I don’t understand why he’s not recused,” said Dershowitz. “He is the key witness in the firing of Comey.”

      Dershowitz said if he were President Trump’s lawyer, Rosenstein would be the first witness he would call asking him, “Rod Rosenstein, you wrote the memo… you justified the firing… explain how you justified the firing. Did the President tell you to do it? Did you tell the President to do the firing?”

      Dershowitz said the American public is quickly losing faith in the justice system and he called that a terrible, terrible tragedy. “We need neutral objective people administering justice. You can’t have an FBI agent like Strzok who is writing messages saying ‘oh we have to stop Trump from becoming President.'”

      Dershowitz was referring to text messages between FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, a senior FBI lawyer who was also working on the Mueller team....

      http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2018/03/29/dershowitz-trump-special-counsel-investigation-should-end-soviet-union/

      Delete
  22. Get this -

    Governor Jerry Brown has just pardoned 5 illegal immigrants from deportation....two of which are former Khmer Rouge commanders from 40 years ago.

    This country, or at least California, is NUTZ

    Source: Fox News Alert

    ReplyDelete
  23. ANALYSIS: Constitution Compels Sessions Dismiss Mueller From Non-Campaign Cases
    by Robert Barnes | 7:31 am, March 28th, 2018



    Paul Manafort‘s legal team brought a motion to dismiss on Tuesday, noting that Rosenstein could not appoint Mueller to any investigation outside the scope of the 2016 campaign since Sessions did not recuse himself for anything outside the campaign. I agree with this take on Mueller’s authority. If we follow that argument that would mean Sessions himself has exclusive authority to appoint a special counsel for non-collusion charges, and Sessions has taken no such action. Sessions himself should make that clear to Mueller, rather than await court resolution. Doing so would remove three of the four areas of inquiry from Mueller’s requested interview with President Trump.

    Sessions formally notifying Mueller that he does not have authority to act outside of campaign-related cases and cases related to obstruction of Mueller’s investigation would be doing what the Constitution compels: enforcing the Appointments Clause of the Constitution. Additionally, Sessions notifying Mueller that he does not have authority to act outside of campaign-related cases would be exercising Sessions’ court-recognized Constitutional obligation to “direct and supervise litigation” conducted by the Department of Justice. Furthermore, Sessions notifying Mueller that he does not have authority to act outside of campaign-related cases protects against the inappropriate use of the federal grand jury that defendant Manafort now rightly complains about.

    Sessions limiting Mueller to the 2016 campaign would also be restoring confidence in democratic institutions, and restore public faith that democratically elected officials.

    One thing to remember about Sessions’ recusal: Sessions only recused himself from “any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States.” This recusal letter limits the scope of Sessions’ recusal to the 2016 campaigns; it does not authorize Sessions’ recusal for anything beyond that. Constitutionally, Sessions has a “duty to direct and supervise litigation” conducted by the Department of Justice. Ethically, professionally, and legally, Sessions cannot ignore his supervisory obligations for cases that are not related to the “campaigns for President.”

    Second, the Constitution’s Appointment Clause requires the democratic process control the appointment of all but “inferior” officers. This means there can be no principal executive branch officer except those the President personally appoints and the Senate advises and consents to. There is probably no greater domestic power of the executive branch than the power to access a grand jury to indict someone, the power to access a grand jury to subpoena someone’s testimony and records, the power to access the tax records of any individual in the country, the power to request warrants to spy on someone’s activity or search it and seize it, or the power to simply threaten any of the above to an individual American. That is why that power must be limited to principal, democratically-appointed officers. The special counsel, when not appointed by the President, cannot act legally except as an “inferior” officer, strictly limited to the jurisdictional subject matter limits of his appointment and supervisory power of those above him that have been directly, democratically appointed by democratically elected officials. As a federal district court held: “the special counsel cannot act outside the bounds of either his limited jurisdiction or without regard for Department of Justice policies and regulations. As such, the Special Counsel does not wield unlimited authority.” Indeed, a special counsel’s “authority is therefore confined to the narrow objective of accomplishing the specific mandate he was given.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Third, Sessions limiting Mueller would enforce the limits intended on Rosenstein’s letter authorization. Contrary to anti-Trump critics, Mueller’s mandate was not “get Trump,” “indict anybody who ever worked for Trump.” Mueller’s authority is limited to “links between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” Any subject matter that does not concern “the campaign,” is a subject matter that Sessions Constitutionally must directly supervise Mueller. This includes Sessions power to notify Mueller and formally revoke Mueller’s authority at any time in cases that do not concern the campaign itself. Sessions can remove Mueller’s authority to request search warrants, subpoena grand jury testimony, subpoena grand jury records, target individuals, or issue indictments unless the subject matter is constricted to the campaign itself. Sessions can return power over the existing indictments to regular DOJ prosecutors, as both the Constitution and the statutes compel. Sessions can dismiss existing indictments as an excess of authority of Mueller’s team (a team already infamous for acting outside their authority in the past, whether it be ethical abuses or over-broad, unconstitutional interpretations of federal criminal law).

      Fourth, Sessions taking formal notice of his authority would remedy what some saw as an over broad authorization by Rosenstein. One argument for Mueller investigating 2005 tax crimes and 2010 bank fraud crimes and 2013 foreign agent crimes was that Rosenstein authorized Mueller to investigate all crimes that “directly arise” from the investigation. As some legal critics noted, there were always two problems with this interpretation of Rosenstein’s authorization: first, if it could be interpreted so broadly, it would make Mueller a de facto Attorney General of the United States, which the Appointments Clause does not permit, rendering such an authorization in violation; second, if it could be interpreted as broadly as Mueller has done so, then it failed to conform to the statutes and regulations governing special counsel authorizations. Regardless, Sessions retaking his authority formally would render the issue moot. Why? Because Rosenstein himself did not have the authority to create a special counsel for anything beyond the areas Sessions recused himself.

      In sum, Sessions notifying Mueller he does not have authority to act on non-campaign related investigations would restore Mueller’s special counsel’s office to its intended Constitutional constrictions, remove the Beria-style investigative techniques witnessed over the past year, and restore public faith that our Constitutional democracy is still a Constitutional democracy. It would also prove Sessions is more than as Trump calls him — Mr. Magoo.

      https://lawandcrime.com/opinion/constitution-jeff-sessions-dismiss-robert-mueller-non-campaign-cases/

      Delete