When Lawyers Are Willing To Disregard The Law

On Saturday, Townhall posted an article about a recent New York Times editorial. The editorial was written by former Obama White House lawyer Kate Shaw. Ms. Shaw argues that traditional due process protections such as “the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt; the presumption of innocence; [and] the right to confront and respond to an accuser” are not necessary for the purposes of determining if Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Christine Blasely Ford more than 35 years ago or whether he should serve on the Supreme Court. Seems as if she went to the same law school as Barack Obama–the law is whatever she decides it is.

The article at Townhall includes the following from the New York Times:

“It’s natural to place this sort of accusation within a criminal-justice framework: the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt; the presumption of innocence; the right to confront and respond to an accuser. If Judge Kavanaugh stood criminally accused of attempted rape, all of that would apply with full force. But those concepts are a poor fit for Supreme Court confirmation hearings, where there’s no presumption of confirmation, and there’s certainly no burden that facts be established beyond a reasonable doubt.” emphasis added

…“What matters here isn’t law as much as politics — though not (or not just) partisan politics. Confirmation hearings are also about constitutional politics — the debate, involving both institutions of government and the polity, about what the Constitution means and requires.

“So what standard should the Senate use in evaluating the claims made by Dr. Blasey and in deciding how they bear on Judge Kavanaugh’s fitness for a seat on the Supreme Court? The Senate’s approach to its constitutional “advice and consent” obligation has always depended on context.A number of factors matter: the timing of the vacancy; the justice being replaced; the nominee’s likely impact on the ideological makeup of the court; even the popularity of the president (very popular presidents have always had more leeway when it comes to picking justices).” emphasis added

So what is this really about? The Democrats have used to courts for years to pass laws that Congress could not pass. Abortion never made it though Congress–it was decided by the courts. Gay marriage never made it through Congress–it was decided by the courts. Teenage boys in teenage girls’ locker rooms never made it through Congress–it was decided by the courts. So Judge Kavanaugh is a threat to that status quo. He would probably be the fifth vote on the Supreme Court who would bring common sense back into the picture. The fact that he believes in the Constitution is a major threat to the hold the liberal wing of the Democrat Party (is there any other wing?) has on the Supreme Court. That is what this is really about.

Is anyone taking odds as to whether Professor Ford is going to be present at her hearing on Thursday?

How Would This Be Handled In The Business World?

During my working years I was hardly at the executive level–although at various times I was involved in hiring decisions, I was rarely involved in firing decisions. However, I did see a number of those decisions going on around me. Insubordination or working against the basic aims of the company were often the reasons given for someone being fired. With that in mind, I wonder what the appropriate response is to the actions of Rod Rosenstein as reported by The New York Times today.

The Independent Journal Review posted an article today about a recent disclosure by The New York Times.

The article reports:

The U.S. official who oversees the federal investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election last year suggested secretly recording President Donald Trump and recruiting Cabinet members to invoke a constitutional amendment to remove him from the White House, the New York Times reported on Friday.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made the suggestions in the spring of 2017 after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the newspaper said.

…Rosenstein told McCabe, who was also later fired by Trump, that he might be able to persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and John Kelly, the former homeland security secretary and current White House chief of staff, to invoke the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which deals with presidential succession and disability.

The Times said none of those proposals came to fruition.

Rosenstein assumed oversight of the investigation into Russian interference and possible coordination between Trump campaign members and Moscow because Sessions in March 2017 recused himself from the matter, citing his service on the campaign. In May 2017, Rosenstein appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to lead the investigation.

How long would this person have a job in your corporation? I strongly suggest following the link to The Independent Journal Review to read the entire article. President Trump needs people in his administration who will work with him–not against him. It is truly time to clean house.

The Leaking Echo Chamber

Real Clear Investigations posted an article today about the targeted anti-Trump leaks to the press coming from the Justice Department.

The article reports:

A trail of evidence appearing in major news outlets suggests a campaign to undermine President Trump from within the government through illegal leaks of classified information, and then to thwart congressional investigators probing the disclosures.

On Monday the Justice Department released a handful of texts and other documents that included two former officials known for their anti-Trump bias – Peter Strzok and Lisa Page of the FBI – discussing the DOJ’s “media leak strategy.” Strzok now says, through his lawyer, that that strategy was aimed at preventing leaks. Nevertheless, days later he and Page approvingly mention forthcoming news articles critical of Trump associates.

“The leaks that have been coming out of the FBI and DOJ since 2016 are unconscionable,” said retired FBI supervisory special agent James Gagliano. “There’s a difference between whistleblowing and leaking for self-serving or partisan purposes.”

Past and present U.S. officials say the template for the leak campaign can be traced back to the Obama administration’s efforts to sell the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which made the press reliant on background conversations and favorable leaks from government officials. Obama adviser Ben Rhodes told the New York Times in 2016 that “we created an echo chamber” that “helped retail the administration’s narrative.”

“That same configuration,” said Michael Doran, a senior official in the George W. Bush White House, “the press, political operatives, newly minted experts, social media validators—was repurposed to target Trump, his campaign, transition team, then presidency.” The echo chamber’s primary instrument in attacking the current White House, said Doran, “is the Russia collusion narrative.”

This is the quote from the New York Times article about the echo chamber:

As Malley (Rob Malley, a favored troubleshooter who ran negotiations that could keep the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in power during the Obama administration) and representatives of the State Department, including Wendy Sherman and Secretary of State John Kerry, engaged in formal negotiations with the Iranians, to ratify details of a framework that had already been agreed upon, Rhodes’s war room did its work on Capitol Hill and with reporters. In the spring of last year, legions of arms-control experts began popping up at think tanks and on social media, and then became key sources for hundreds of often-clueless reporters. “We created an echo chamber,” he admitted, when I asked him to explain the onslaught of freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal. “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”

This is how it works. Find a cooperative person who wants to be on television as an expert. Feed him the conclusion you want him to draw. Then find another one.

The press is not currently our friend. Maybe that will change someday, but right now that is the situation. If we want to keep our representative republic, we need to vote against the political party that has consistently used government agencies and anyone in the press who was willing to cooperate for partisan purposes.

The Warning

First of all, I would like to say that I believe that The New York Times opinion piece came out this week for two reasons–the deep state fears that the information surrounding the FISA warrants for surveillance on President Trump will be de-classified and released, and the opinion piece might bolster up the very questionable allegations in Bob Woodward’s book.

But there was a memo written in May 2017 the predicted everything we are seeing now regarding attacks on the Trump administration. The memo was written by Richard Higgins, and the political left worked very hard to discredit the memo when its contents became known. Rich Higgins was in the strategic planning office at the NSC and was eventually forced out of the Trump administration.

Here are some highlights from that memo:

BACKGROUND.  The Trump administration is suffering under withering information campaigns designed to first undermine, then de legitimize and ultimately remove the President. Possibly confusing these attacks with an elevated interplay of otherwise normal D.C. partisan infighting and adversarial media relations, the White House response to these campaigns reflects a political advocacy mindset that it is intensely reactive, severely under-inclusive and dangerously inadequate to the threat. If action is not taken to re-scope and respond to these hostile campaigns very soon, the administration risks implosion and subsequent early departure from the White House.

This is not politics as usual but rather political warfare at an unprecedented level that is openly engaged in the direct targeting of a seated president through manipulation of the news cycle. It must be recognized on its own terms so that immediate action can be taken. At its core, these campaigns run on multiple lines of effort, serve as the non-violent line of effort of a wider movement, and execute political warfare agendas that reflect cultural Marxist outcomes. The campaigns operate through narratives. Because the hard left is aligned with lslamist organizations at local (ANTI FA working with Muslim Brotherhood doing business as MSA and CAIR), national (ACLU and BLM working with CAIR and MPAC) and international levels (OIC working with OSCEand the UN), recognition must given to the fact that they seamlessly interoperate at the narrative level as well. In candidate Trump, the opposition saw a threat to the “politically correct” enforcement narratives they’ve meticulously laid in over the past few decades. In President Trump, they see a latent threat to continue that effort to ruinous effect and their retaliatory response reflects this fear.

The memo goes on to describe the narratives the deep state and political left are using to try to discredit President Trump.

Some examples:

  • “Russia hacked the election”- illegitimate
  • “Obstruction of Justice”- corrupt
  • “Hiding Collusion”- dishonest
  • “Putin Puppet”- treasonous

The memo concludes:

Adversaries utilize these interlocking narratives as a defensive political and information warfare screen that silences critics and smears supporters of President Trump. When people in the media question the behavior, actions and decisions of the Trump Administration’s opponents, they are immediately said to be “working for the Russians” or “supporting Russian propaganda.” Individual Americans who support the President are deemed “deplorable” and “racist.”

End State. Attacks on President Trump are not just about destroying him, but also about destroying the vision of America that lead to his election. Those individuals and groups seeking the destruction of President Trump actually seek to suffocate the vision of America that made him president. Hence, the end state is not just a delegitimized, destabilized, immobilized and possibly destroyed presidency; but also a demoralized movement composed of a large enough bloc to elect a president that subsequently become self-aware of its own disenfranchisement.

CONCLUSION.

The recent turn of events give rise to the observation that the defense of President Trump is the defense of America. In the same way President Lincoln was surrounded by political opposition both inside and outside of his wire, in both overt and covert forms, so too is President Trump. Had Lincoln failed, so too would have the Republic. The administration has been maneuvered into a constant backpedal by relentless political warfare attacks structured to force him to assume a reactive posture that assures inadequate responses. The president can either drive or be driven by events; it’s time for him to drive them.

With that in mind, let’s look at some of the charges against President Trump in the opinion piece in The New York Times:

The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

That echoes the corrupt charge planned by the deep state.

Next The New York Times repeats the Putin puppet charge:

Take foreign policy: In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations.

There is a new twist on hacking the election–it has changed to let’s just remove him claiming that he is unstable:

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.

The opinion piece in The New York Times is an example of how a functioning representative republic can be turned into a banana republic. If enough people believe this garbage, we could lose our republic. We need to remember that the Higgins memo was written more than a year ago and cost Richard Higgins his job. He spoke out against the deep state and became unemployed because of it. That alone shows how powerful the deep state is. Hopefully as more information becomes available to the public about how the government has worked against President Trump, the power of the deep state will decrease. If the FISA warrants against President Trump are declassified soon, Americans will see that the Obama administration used the power of the government for political purposes. That should scare Americans from both political parties.

Consequences Of Not Following The Rules

On May 21, 2017, the Business Insider reported the following:

China killed or imprisoned 18 to 20 CIA sources from 2010 to 2012, hobbling U.S. spying operations in a massive intelligence breach whose origin has not been identified, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

Yesterday I posted an article that included the following:

  • A Chinese-owned company penetrated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private server, according to sources briefed on the matter.
  • The company inserted code that forwarded copies of Clinton’s emails to the Chinese company in real time.
  • The Intelligence Community Inspector General warned of the problem, but the FBI subsequently failed to act, Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert said during a July hearing.

The article at Business Insider stated:

By 2013, U.S. intelligence concluded China’s ability to identify its agents had been curtailed, the newspaper said, and the CIA has been trying to rebuild its spy network there.

Hillary Clinton set up her private server when she took office as Secretary of State in January 2009; she left that position on February 1, 2013.

The Business Insider further reported:

The Chinese killed at least a dozen people providing information to the CIA from 2010 through 2012, dismantling a network that was years in the making, the newspaper reported.

One was shot and killed in front of a government building in China, three officials told the Times, saying that was designed as a message to others about working with Washington.

The breach was considered particularly damaging, with the number of assets lost rivaling those in the Soviet Union and Russia who perished after information passed to Moscow by spies Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen, the report said. Ames was active as a spy in the 1980s and Hanssen from 1979 to 2001.

The CIA declined to comment when asked about the Times report on Saturday.

The Chinese activities began to emerge in 2010, when the American spy agency had been getting high quality information about the Chinese government from sources deep inside the bureaucracy, including Chinese upset by the Beijing government’s corruption, four former officials told the Times.

I think we need some accountability here.

Under The Radar, But Part Of The Swamp

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted an article about James Wolfe, former Director of Security for the Senate Intelligence Committee.

There are some very curious aspects of this investigation. The article provides some background information:

First, we know from overwhelming circumstantial evidence, conveniently overlooked by media, that one of Wolfe’s specific leaks involved sending his concubine Ali Watkins a copy of the 82-page FISA application used to gain a Title-1 surveillance warrant against U.S. person Carter Page.   {Full Backstory Here}  Some key things about this leak:

  1. It is highly likely there were no redactions in the copy Wolfe leaked to the media.
  2. It is highly likely Wolfe was caught in a leak hunt, and the copy given to him included a specific, and intentionally wrong, internal date using October 19th as the origination date for FISA application approval.  (The actual date was Oct 21st).
  3. The October 19th date then shows up in subsequent media reports which were based on the leak.  The New York Times and Washington Post used the wrong date; the concentric reporting of the NYT and WaPo spread the wrong date like a virus.
  4. However, despite overwhelming and easy to prove evidence against him, Wolfe was never charged with the Carter Page FISA leak.  The DOJ/FBI have him dead-to-rights on that leak, but he was charged with the more disingenuous crime of lying to the FBI.

The article continues:

After losing the gag order request, lawyers for Mr. Wolfe have sent letters to every Senator who sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.  [As we have shared for years, the SSCI is the deepest and most corrupt part of the Deep State swamp.]

…Two things jump out to me immediately; things that could be considered heavily corrupt based on how the reader views the current DOJ institution; if ‘corrupt’:

#1) perhaps that’s why the DOJ didn’t charge Wolfe with the specific leak(s). If the DOJ had charged him with specific leaks to the media there could be Senators at risk of criminal conspiracy.

#2) perhaps these notification letters are Wolfe saying he will burn everyone if he is taken down, therefore his defense is to hide behind the Senators and make them pressure the DOJ to drop/lessen charges against him.

The article shares the timeline:

  • March 16th, 2017, SSCI requests copy of FISA application from Court
  • March 17th, 2017, a copy of the application with an intentionally adjusted date (Oct 19th) was delivered to James Wolfe, Director of Security for the SSCI.
  • March 17th, 2017, Wolfe sends reporter Ali Watkins a copy of the original FISA application via 82 picture text messages (one per page) thereby distributing the wrong date.  He may have also shared with other reporters.
  • Numerous media reports surface using the October 19th false date.
  • October 31st, 2017, FBI notifies Security Director James Wolfe of a leak investigation (hunt for leakers) looking at the Senate Intelligence Committee.
  • December 14th, 2017, Ali Watkins announces she will no longer be covering the SSCI.
  • December 15th, 2017, FBI confronts James Wolfe with evidence that he is one of the people leaking classified intelligence to journalists.
  • Before the end of December 2017, Wolfe resigns.
  • FBI gains national security search warrant against reporter Ali Watkins and all of her electronic communications.  Watkins is notified by her network provider on February 13th, 2018.
  • May 3rd, 2018, grand jury proceedings against Wolfe.  Indictment remains under seal.
  • June 7th, 2018, indictment is unsealed – James Wolfe is arrested.

Stay tuned.

Strange People In Stranger Places

Yesterday LifeZette posted an article about alleged Russian spy Maria Butina.

The article reports:

Butina has been accused of working with a top Russian official and two unidentified U.S. citizens to infiltrate a pro-gun rights organization in the U.S., along with attempting to influence America’s foreign policy toward Russia, as CNBC.com and others reported.

This is all part of the efforts to accuse President Trump of colluding with the Russians. However, there is a problem with those who are attempting to use this accusation against President Trump.

The article reports:

Alleged Russian spy Maria Butina was involved in high-level meetings with two senior U.S. officials in the Obama administration and a Russian official before the 2016 election, according to multiple sources and a Washington, D.C., think tank, as The Daily Wire and other outlets reported.

The meetings — “disclosed by several people familiar” with them, noted Reuters, and also by a report prepared by the think tank that arranged the meetings — involved Stanley Fischer, then Federal Reserve vice chairman, and Nathan Sheets, who was then the Treasury undersecretary for international affairs.

Butina reportedly came into the U.S. in April 2015 with then-Russian Central Bank Deputy Governor Alexander Torshin to participate in “separate meetings with Fischer and Sheets, to discuss U.S.- Russian economic relations during Democratic former President Barack Obama’s administration.”

The think tank involved in the meetings is the Central for the National Interest (CNI), a group that advocates for improved U.S.- Russia relations, as CBS reported.

Whoops.

So let’s back up a bit and see what we actually know. Russia was a major player in getting the Iran deal put together and approved by European countries. Russia had the ability to make or break that deal. President Obama desperately wanted that deal (for reasons that will be debated for a long time–see Ben Rhodes statements in The New York Times here). Because of his desire to keep Russia on his side regarding the Iran deal (and because he was sure Hillary Clinton would be elected) President Obama ordered a stand down on the investigation into Russian cyberattacks on the 2016 election (story here). We also know that the Russian cyberattacks did not impact the 2016 election. Logically, Clinton would have been the Russian’s preferred candidate–they had enough information from her private server to control her totally–I am sure they have all the dirt on the Clinton Foundation and the money that flowed in and out of the Foundation. So why was President Obama meeting with this supposed Russian spy? It could be totally innocent–he might have had no idea who she really was or what she was up to. However, the efforts to connect her to the Trump campaign after President Obama met with her are sort of ridiculous to anyone who is paying attention.

America Is Reducing Its CO2 Emissions

bp Global posted an article recently detailing CO2 emissions for 2017.

The article reports:

Global CO2 emissions from energy in 2017 grew by 1.6%, rebounding from the stagnant volumes during 2014-2016, and faster than the 10-year average of 1.3%.

This is not really a surprise since the worldwide economy improved during 2017. However, the article reports which countries increased emissions and which countries decreased emissions.

The article reports:

Carbon emissions from energy use from the US are the lowest since 1992, the year that the UNFCCC came into existence. The next largest decline was in Ukraine (-10.1%).

The largest increase in carbon emissions in 2017 came from China (1.6%), a reversal from the past three years when the largest increases in emissions came from India. China’s emissions in 2017 were 0.3% higher than the previous peak in 2014. China has had the world’s largest increments in carbon emission every year this century except in four years – 2000 and between 2014-16.

The next highest increment came from India where emissions rose by 4.4%, though lower than its 10-year average (6% p.a.).

Together, China and India accounted for nearly half of the increase in global carbon emissions.EU emissions were also up (1.5%) with just Spain accounting for 44% of the increase in EU emissions. Among other EU members, UK and Denmark reported the lowest carbon emissions in their history.

President Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord. It is important to look at the above information in view of that agreement.

According to The New York Times on May 31, 2017:

Under the deal (The Paris Climate Accord), the Obama administration pledged to cut domestic greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 as well as to commit up to $3 billion in aid for poorer countries by 2020. (The United States has delivered $1 billion to date.) China vowed that its emissions would peak around 2030 and that it would get about 20 percent of its electricity from carbon-free sources by then. India would continue to reduce its carbon intensity, or CO2 output per unit of economic activity, in line with historical levels.

So under the Paris Climate Accord, the U.S. would cripple its economy and pay money to other countries. China would not really do much before 2030, while America would have to be below 2005 emission levels before 2025. President Trump again withdrew America from an unfair deal, while actually accomplishing the aim of the agreement without crippling the American economy. Meanwhile, China and India, who signed the deal, are increasing their carbon emissions. This is typical of how those who want to weaken America to achieve their goal of one-world government operate. Americans need to understand that America is the biggest obstacle to one-world government, particularly with President Trump in charge.

 

 

Surprising Sanity From The New York Times

The insanity of the political left has reached new heights in recent days, so it was a bit of a surprise when The New York Times posted a very rational article last night praising President Trump for the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Supreme Court justice. Contrast this attitude with comments made by ABC’s Nightline before the nominee was named (from Newsbusters):

I suppose we should all be grateful that they at least corrected their initial statement.

At any rate, The New York Times article has a very rational suggestion about the hearings on Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment:

Fair questions would include inquiries not just about Judge Kavanaugh’s past writings and activities but also about how he believes various past notable judicial cases (such as Roe v. Wade) should have been decided — and even about what his current legal views are on any issue, general or specific.

Everyone would have to understand that in honestly answering, Judge Kavanaugh would not be making a pledge — a pledge would be a violation of judicial independence. In the future, he would of course be free to change his mind if confronted with new arguments or new facts, or even if he merely comes to see a matter differently with the weight of judgment on his shoulders. But honest discussions of one’s current legal views are entirely proper, and without them confirmation hearings are largely pointless.

The compromise I’m proposing would depart from recent confirmation practice. But the current confirmation process is badly broken, alternating between rubber stamps and witch hunts. My proposal would enable each constitutional actor to once again play its proper constitutional role: The Senate could become a venue for serious constitutional conversation, and the nominee could demonstrate his or her consummate legal skill. And equally important: Judge Kavanaugh could be confirmed with the ninetysomething Senate votes he deserves, rather than the fiftysomething votes he is likely to get.

A praiseworthy statement from The New York Times.

What Is The Difference Between A Leaker And A Source?

Yesterday The New York Times reported the following:

…James A. Wolfe, 57,  (a former Senate Intelligence Committee Aide) was charged with lying repeatedly to investigators about his contacts with three reporters. According to the authorities, Mr. Wolfe made false statements to the F.B.I. about providing two of them with sensitive information related to the committee’s work. He denied to investigators that he ever gave classified material to journalists, the indictment said.

The article states:

Mr. Wolfe’s case led to the first known instance of the Justice Department going after a reporter’s data under President Trump. The seizure was disclosed in a letter to the Times reporter, Ali Watkins, who had been in a three-year relationship with Mr. Wolfe. The seizure suggested that prosecutors under the Trump administration will continue the aggressive tactics employed under President Barack Obama.

…Court documents describe Mr. Wolfe’s communications with four reporters — including Ms. Watkins — using encrypted messaging applications. It appeared that the F.B.I. was investigating how Ms. Watkins learned that Russian spies in 2013 had tried to recruit Carter Page, a former Trump foreign policy adviser. She published an article for BuzzFeed News on April 3, 2017, about the attempted recruitment of Mr. Page in which he confirmed the contacts.

However, we are dealing with The New York Times, which is not above using very selective memory in spinning a story.

The article states:

Ms. Watkins’s personal lawyer, Mark J. MacDougall, said: “It’s always disconcerting when a journalist’s telephone records are obtained by the Justice Department — through a grand jury subpoena or other legal process. Whether it was really necessary here will depend on the nature of the investigation and the scope of any charges.”

Poor Ms. Watkins. Let’s go back to the case of James Rosen.

The following was reported by Fox News on May 23, 2013:

Newly uncovered court documents reveal the Justice Department seized records of several Fox News phone lines as part of a leak investigation — even listing a number that, according to one source, matches the home phone number of a reporter’s parents.

The seizure was ordered in addition to a court-approved search warrant for Fox News correspondent James Rosen’s personal emails. In the affidavit seeking that warrant, an FBI agent called Rosen a likely criminal “co-conspirator,” citing a wartime law called the Espionage Act.

Rosen was not charged, but his movements and conversations were tracked. A source close to the leak investigation confirmed to Fox News that the government obtained phone records for several numbers that match Fox News numbers out of the Washington bureau.

Further, the source confirmed to Fox News that one number listed matched the number for Rosen’s parents in Staten Island.

A journalists right to report needs to be protected, but the leaks out of the Senate Intelligence Committee are ridiculous. There have been instances of matters not taken up by the Committee because the members knew that anything said would be leaked. I am not sure where we need to draw the line on investigating leakers, but it seems as if both the Obama administration and the Trump administration have used questionable methods to try to stop leaks.

A Perfect Job For A Creative Writer

Ben Rhodes has been described as an aspiring novelist who somehow became a major player in President Obama’s foreign policy. In May of last year, he gave an extended interview (my notes here) with The New York Times describing his part in selling the Iranian nuclear agreement to the American people.

The New York Times article states:

Rhodes singled out a key example to me one day, laced with the brutal contempt that is a hallmark of his private utterances. “All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” he said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

Somehow that is not comforting.

Today The Daily Caller posted an article about Ben Rhodes’ new job:

Former White House aide Ben Rhodes, who served as Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and advised former President Barack Obama on foreign policy issues, will start his new job on Sunday as a politics contributor for MSNBC and NBC News.

MSNBC’s public relations department made the announcement on Twitter on Saturday, noting that Rhodes will make his official debut on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” and Monday’s “All In With Chris Hayes.”

I’m not holding my breath waiting for the time a true conservative shows up on MSNBC as a political contributor. The network is entitled to hire anyone they want, but the viewers need to be aware of the political leanings of the people who are designated as political contributors.

How A Story Gets Developed In Fake News

John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line today showing how an untrue story gets reported as fake news. The example used in the article was the meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un.

The article quotes The Federalist:

The Washington Post’s David Nakamura wrote that “critics fear that a president determined to declare victory where his predecessors failed will allow his desire for a legacy-making deal to override the substance of the negotiations.” On the same day, the Washington Post’s Paul Waldman mocked Trump’s desire for a win, which he said was turning Trump into a fool who was getting played.

It seems to me that the description here is one of President Obama and the Iran deal–not of President Trump and the meeting with Kim Jong-un.

When President Trump cancelled the summit, the press chose a different perspective for their attack:

As with so many issues involving this president, the views of his aides often have little effect on what he actually says. On Thursday, for example, a senior White House official told reporters that even if the meeting were reinstated, holding it on June 12 would be impossible, given the lack of time and the amount of planning needed.

On Friday, Mr. Trump said, “It could even be the 12th.”

The article goes on to illustrate the dishonesty of the media by contrasting what The New York Times reporter claimed to hear in a background briefing with a transcript of the briefing.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. The mainstream media doesn’t even bother to cover it tracks when it reports fake news.

 

 

Have We Reached The Point Where The Cost Is Already Too High?

In 1987 The New York Times printed an article about Raymond J. Donovan, Secretary of Labor under President Reagan. The were a lot of  people in the media and in government who disliked President  Reagan almost as much as they dislike President Trump. In 1985, Donovan resigned from his Cabinet position because  charges of fraud and grand larceny were brought against him (those charges had nothing to do with his work in the Reagan administration). He was the first Cabinet member in history to be indicted. In 1987 he was cleared of all of those charges.

In 1987, The New York Times reported that Mr. Donovan had been acquitted. At the end of the trial, Mr. Donovan asked, “Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?” That is not to mention the expense of defending himself during the two and a half years of the trial. The use off the government to bully people into submission is not a new problem, but we have definitely seen an increase of attacks on people tangentially associated with Donald Trump.

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article about the impact the Mueller witch hunt has had on Carter Page.

The article reports:

FBI surveillance of former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page cost him business, income and even his girlfriend.

Page tells The Post that during the media barrage he faced in late 2016, he visited his girlfriend at her London flat, where she was “freaking out with the fake news about me.”

“Talking with her later in the evening after dinner, she told me that she didn’t want me staying there anymore, and that our relationship was over.

“So late that night,” Page continued, “I booked a last-minute hotel reservation as part of this early chapter of the redefinition of my life.”

Page believes the FBI’s mole, professor Stefan Halper, was secretly spying on him as part of a “politically motivated” investigation of Team Trump, using fake sympathy to gain his trust — all while fishing for dirt on Page’s ties to Russia, where he’d worked as an energy consultant.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be a trap,” Page said.

People who work on a political campaign should not be subject to government spying simply because they worked on a political campaign.

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today that included one of President Trump’s tweets:

This is wrong. The Mueller investigation has bankrupted General Flynn, awakened Paul Manafort‘s family at gunpoint in the middle of the night, and bankrupted  Michael Caputo (article here) after he worked on the Trump campaign for a short period of time.

None of Mueller’s efforts have uncovered one shred of evidence that the Russians were working for the Trump campaign or vice versa. Mueller has terrorized American citizens in the name of justice and not been held accountable for it. It is time to turn the tables and hold Mueller accountable for his actions.

 

 

The More We Know, The Worse It Gets

Yesterday The New York Times posted an article about the government spying on the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. Crossfire Hurricane was the name given to an operation that was so secret only a few in the FBI knew about it.

The New York Times reports on the operation:

…in the summer of 2016, the F.B.I. dispatched a pair of agents to London on a mission so secretive that all but a handful of officials were kept in the dark.

Their assignment, which has not been previously reported, was to meet the Australian ambassador, who had evidence that one of Donald J. Trump’s advisers knew in advance about Russian election meddling. After tense deliberations between Washington and Canberra, top Australian officials broke with diplomatic protocol and allowed the ambassador, Alexander Downer, to sit for an F.B.I. interview to describe his meeting with the campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos.

The agents summarized their highly unusual interview and sent word to Washington on Aug. 2, 2016, two days after the investigation was opened. Their report helped provide the foundation for a case that, a year ago Thursday, became the special counsel investigation. But at the time, a small group of F.B.I. officials knew it by its code name: Crossfire Hurricane.

The article reports:

Only about five Justice Department officials knew the full scope of the case, officials said, not the dozen or more who might normally be briefed on a major national security case.

That alone should set off alarms in the minds of those who worry about abuses of power in our government.

The article goes into a rather lengthy analysis of the investigation from The New York Times’ point of view. What it doesn’t say is more instructive than what it does say. The article fails to mention the very real possibility that Mr. Papadopoulos was set up to trigger the investigation or that the Comey briefing of the President was to make way for the media to report on the Russian dossier.

What the article does confirm is that spying on President Trump began during the campaign and continued after the election. The Inspector General’s report will be out at some time in the future and will confirm that Fourth Amendment rights were violated and that certain people within our intelligence agencies should go to jail.

Why I Don’t Trust The Mainstream Media

On Saturday, The New York Post posted an article titled, “White House admits it played us for fools to sell Iran deal.”

The article reports:

In an astounding New York Times piece by David Samuels, senior White House officials gleefully confess they use friendly reporters and nonprofits as public relations tools in the selling of President Obama’s foreign policy — and can do it almost at will because these tools are ignorant, will believe what they’re told, will essentially take dictation and are happy to be used just to get the information necessary for a tweet or two.

Their greatest triumph, according to Samuels, was selling a misleading narrative about the nuclear deal with Iran — the parameters of which were set a year before the administration claimed and which had nothing to do with the fact that a supposedly more accommodating government had risen to power.

The mastermind of the Obama machine is Ben Rhodes, a New Yorker who joined the Obama campaign as a speechwriter in 2007 and has risen to become the most influential foreign-policy hand in the White House.

Rhodes drips with contempt for almost everyone but his boss. He consigns all those who do not share every particular of the Obama-Rhodes foreign-policy perspective to a gelatinous mass called “The Blob” — including, Samuels writes, Hillary Clinton.

I have previously written an article about this New York Times piece. However, as the media panic over ending the Iran deal continues, I would like to add a few thoughts to the discussion. First of all, many of the Democrats now yelling that the sky is falling because President Trump pulled out of the deal did not support the deal in the first place. The Iran deal was never given to the Senate as a treaty because the Obama Administration understood that it did not have the votes to pass. So I am not sure if the work of Ben Rhodes was actually successful–the treaty (or non-treaty as it was) never really gained majority approval.

The article at The New York Post concludes:

It was, Samuels says, a deliberately misleading narrative. The general terms were actually hammered out in 2012 by State Department officials Jake Sullivan and William Burns, rooted in Obama’s deep desire from the beginning of the administration to strike a grand deal with the mullahs.

Why on Earth was such conduct remotely acceptable? Because, Samuels makes clear, Rhodes and Obama believe they’re the only sensible thinkers in America and that there’s no way to get the right things done other than to spin them. “I mean, I’d prefer a sober, reasoned public debate, after which members of Congress reflect and take a vote,” he tells Samuels. “But that’s impossible.”

Impossible? There was a sober, reasoned public debate over the Iran deal. Its opponents were deadly serious. In the end, 58 senators voted against it on sober, reasoned grounds.

What the Samuels piece shows is that the Obama administration chose to attempt to get its way not by winning an argument but by bringing an almost fathomless cynicism to bear in manipulating its own clueless liberal fan club.

Would a Hillary Clinton presidency have been any different?

I’m Sure This Is Just An Incredible Coincidence

On Tuesday, Twitchy reported that during the Michael Cohen hearing (Judge Kimba Wood presiding–look her up), the lawyers that argued for the disclosure of a relationship between Michael Cohen and Sean Hannity were the attorneys for CNN and The New York Times. You don’t suppose they might have had a conflict of interest.

The article reports:

According to reports from inside the courtroom, Judge Kimba Wood was ready to allow Michael Cohen to submit the name of his 3rd client — who we now know is Sean Hannity — under seal, but an attorney for CNN and the New York Times convinced her otherwise.

Also posted in the article:

Smile, you are being manipulated by hair-on-fire reporters and partisan judges.

If You Ever Doubted That Free Speech Is In Danger

The Washington Times posted an article today about a request made to Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai by Senate Democrats to investigate Sinclair Broadcasting Group for “news distortion.” Yup. Right after they investigate CBS, NBC, ABC, and The New York Times for ‘news distortion.’ The request was denied.

The article reports:

“Thank you for your letter requesting that the Commission investigate a broadcaster based on the content of its news coverage and promotion of that coverage,” said Mr. Pai in his letter. “In light of my commitment to protecting the First Amendment and freedom of the press, I must respectfully decline.”

His reply was dated April 12, the day after the request from 11 Senate Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont Independent, who cited Sinclair’s proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media Company.

 “We are concerned that if the Sinclair-Tribune merger continues without a thorough review of these new facts, Sinclair’s practices of news distortion will proliferate to even more local stations, which Americans rely upon every day for fair and impartial news,” said the Senate letter.

Signers, including Sens. Maria Cantwell of Washington and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, said they were “alarmed” by Sinclair’s local anchors being required to read a promotional message last month about “biased and false news.”

The promo touted the stations’ commitment to balanced journalism and warned that “some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think.”

 In their letter, the senators said that such “must-run dictates from Sinclair harm the freedom of the press guaranteed in the First Amendment by turning local journalists into mouthpieces for a corporate and political agenda.”

Mr. Pai responded that the FCC lacks the authority to yank broadcast licenses “based on the content of a particular newscast.”

Up until about 1991, when Rush Limbaugh arrived on the national scene, the political left had a monopoly on news–the networks and the major newspapers. Their monopoly has been slowly slipping away from them since then. Needless to say, the mainstream media does not like the competition. They have been trying to put Fox News out of business since it began by name calling and boycotting sponsors. This request is one of many examples of the need for the alternative media. It is also an example of the attack on free speech (further illustrated by what is happening on some of our college campuses).

In Case You Had Any Illusions About The Goal Of The Mueller Investigation

The supposed theory behind the Special Prosecutor is that he is supposed to be looking for Russian interference in the 2016 election. Theoretically Robert Mueller would follow the trail of Russian interference wherever it led. Well, he seems to have overlooked a few things.

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article with the following headline, “Mueller Investigation Trump Over $150K Donation From Ukrainian Who Gave Clintons $13 Million.”

Seems a little odd.

The article reports:

The special counsel’s office is investigating a $150,000 donation a Ukrainian businessman made to President Donald Trump’s charity in 2015, according to a new report.

The donation, from steel magnate Victor Pinchuk, pales in comparison to contributions he gave to the charity Bill and Hillary Clinton set up. The billionaire has contributed $13 million to the Clinton Foundation since 2006 and had access to Hillary Clinton while she served as secretary of state.

But Special Counsel Robert Mueller is not investigating The Clintons. Instead, he is conducting a broad investigation of Donald Trump, including the flow of foreign money into various Trump-controlled entities.

Mueller began investigating the Pinchuk donation after receiving documents in response to a subpoena issued to the Trump Organization — the real estate company Trump ran before entering politics.

In September 2015, Trump appeared via video link at a conference Pinchuk hosted in Kiev. Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, negotiated details of the event with Douglas Schoen, a former consultant for Bill Clinton, according to The New York Times. Trump did not initially request payment for the appearance, but Cohen contacted Schoen at one point to request a $150,000 honorarium, The Times reported.

The last sentence of the article states:

The FBI reportedly investigated the Clinton Foundation over its foreign donations. The status of that investigation is unclear.

I may be cynical, but I suspect that 50 years from now the status of that investigation will still be unclear. If the FBI wants any credibility with the American people, they need to get their act together quickly. Right now their actions would be more appropriate in a banana republic than in an America that has a Constitution.

 

When The Shoe Is On The Other Foot

No person is entirely objective. No honest person claims to be. In the field of journalism, some of the people who claim to be objective are not, and some people simply admit their biases and go on from there. I have no problem with a reporter being biased as long as he is honest about where he is coming from. Tilted journalism occurs on both sides of the aisle. It is, however, interesting to see how far left of center most journalists have moved in the last thirty years. Up until the early 1990’s, there was one point of view being put forward–it began with The New York Times and continued through the three major television networks’ nightly news. When Rush Limbaugh began his national radio show, things began to change–conservative viewpoints were being heard. The monopoly was over. Fox News is actually slightly right of center, but is always being attacked as right wing. Actually CNN is so far left of center that it seems as if the center has moved. We will never have totally centered news–what we actually need is balance. A new network is attempting to bring that balance, and the cries of those in fear of losing their monopoly are getting loud.

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article about Sinclair Broadcasting, a network which forced its news anchors to read a promotional statement on air about fake news. The gist of the statement was that Sinclair was not going to be fake news and was going to endeavor to be fair and objective. The reaction by other media was telling.

The article reports:

Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” said that Sinclair appeared to running “Pravda-style propaganda” that he likened to the old Soviet Union. “So here you have an entire broadcasting system running a propaganda clip.

“People will say, ‘Oh, look at the conservatives reading their scripts,’ [but] it’s actually got nothing to do with conservatives, it’s Trumpian and it does smack of … state-run media for an autocrat,” Scarborough said.

The promo video did have one big booster: Trump tweeted his support.

One Sinclair insider said a news anchor at one station had objected when he read the script and said he felt “uncomfortable.”

Does anyone remember President Obama’s JournoList? On July 25, 2010, The Daily Caller posted an article about the JournoList.

The article reports:

In 2007, when Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein founded Journolist, an online gathering place for several hundred liberal journalists, academics and political activists, he imagined a discussion group that would connect young writers to top sources.

But in the heat of a bitter presidential campaign in 2008, the list’s discussions veered into collusion and coordination at key political moments, documents revealed this week by The Daily Caller show.

In a key episode, Journolist members openly plotted to bury attention on then-candidate Barack Obama’s controversial pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The Washington Independent’s Spencer Ackerman, for instance, suggested an effective tactic to distract from the issue would be to pick one of Obama’s critics, “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.”

…Yet Journolist’s discussions show an influential left-wing faction of the media participating in a far more intentional sort of liberal bias.

Journolist’s members included dozens of straight-news reporters from major news organizations, including Time, Newsweek, The Associated Press, Reuters, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Politico, Bloomberg, Huffington Post, PBS and a large NPR affiliate in California.

Aren’t these some of the same people who are going crazy because Sinclair Broadcasting spoke out against fake news? Seems like the pot calling the kettle black.

 

 

A Lie Goes Halfway Around The World Before The Truth Gets His Boots On

This is a story about how the media got it wrong. I don’t believe that they intentionally got it wrong, I think they were just in a hurry to be first with a story. That can be risky.

On February 16th, Politico posted an article about the history of the claim that Nikolas Cruz was associated with white supremacist groups. Since the charge of racism or white supremacy is very popular now, I suppose it’s not a surprise that this charge was levied against this deeply troubled young man. It’s easier to blame racism than it is to blame the Promise Program (article here) which prevented the gun shop owner from knowing Nikolas Cruz should never have been allowed to buy a gun. I don’t know if Nikolas Cruz would have been able to get a gun illegally or not, but at least if his information had been included in a background check, it would have slowed him down a little. At any rate, the media decided he was a white supremacist.

The article explains how that happened:

On Thursday afternoon, the Anti-Defamation League reported that a white supremacist group claimed ties with Nikolas Cruz, who confessed to the shooting spree that killed at least 17 people, including many high-school students, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

“A spokesperson for the white supremacist group Republic of Florida (ROF) told the Anti-Defamation League on Thursday, February 15, that Nikolas Cruz [….] was associated with his group,” the ADL reported. The ADL quoted a man named Jordan Jereb, who runs the small group, which is based in Tallahassee.

“Jereb added that ROF had not ordered or wanted Cruz to do anything like the school shooting,” the ADL wrote in a blog post that was quickly picked up by ABC News and The Associated Press, and later percolated through dozens of other media outlets. Even The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, picked up the claim.

…But a few hours later, after law enforcement agencies said they had no evidence linking Cruz to ROF, Jereb said his identification of Cruz was a “misunderstanding” and that he, too, had been the subject of a “prank.” On online forums and Twitter, trolls and white nationalists gloated at the disinformation they had sowed.

“All of our evidence seems to point to the ADL getting this wrong,” said Joan Donovan, a researcher who tracks online misinformation campaigns for Data & Society, a think tank in New York City.

The ADL subsequently revised its report, as did many news outlets.

The saga continues:

In posts to Gab, a social-networking site used by many in the alt-right, early Friday morning, one user said the Discord group “spent around 18 hours orchestrating, contacting ABC, being interviewed by reporters, etc.”

Members swapped links to articles that identified Cruz as a member of ROF, celebrating each story and keeping a tally of media interview attempts.

“ABC messaged me. Asked to use my name in this article,” wrote one user.

“This is spreading like wildfire,” wrote another user, “Renegade,” after someone in the chat shared a link to the ADL blog post.

“All it takes is a single article,” the first user wrote back. “And everyone else picks up the story.”

ABC News reported that its reporters spoke with three “former schoolmates” of Cruz, but did not indicate whether these communications were over social media. A spokesperson for ABC News declined to comment on how its reporters vetted the identities of these purported acquaintances.

For its part, an AP spokesperson said, “AP spoke with the leader of Republic of Florida, who said Cruz was a member of his group and had participated in exercises in Tallahassee. In the course of continued reporting, police and other groups were not able to confirm Cruz’s association with the white nationalist militia, and that is what is reflected on the wire.”

Others in the Discord chat said they were contacted by a reporter from The New York Times.

At some point, the trolls started a “confessional” 4chan thread dedicated to convincing readers that Cruz had been a member of ROF. The ADL confirmed this 4chan post was the one that led to their blog post.

The people behind the disinformation campaign were very proud of themselves. The article reports:

By Thursday evening, 4chan users were celebrating their efforts, posting screenshots of their communications with reporters and faux posts pretending to be ROF members.

“[T]hey are so hungry for a story that they’ll just believe anything as long as its corroborated by a few people and seems legit,” wrote the creator of one 4chan thread.

Donovan, the disinformation researcher, said reporters need to be more vigilant against these kinds of campaigns, which are going to get only more common and more sophisticated.

“We have to start thinking of these white nationalist groups as what some of them describe themselves — ‘media militias,’” said Donovan. “They think of media as adversarial territory.”

The internet can be a dangerous place for truth.

Sometimes The Double Standard Is Breathtaking

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial today about data collection.  Oddly enough, the editorial was not about Facebook and the Trump campaign.

The editorial states:

In 2012, the Obama campaign encouraged supporters to download an Obama 2012 Facebook app that, when activated, let the campaign collect Facebook data both on users and their friends.

According to a July 2012 MIT Technology Review article, when you installed the app, “it said it would grab information about my friends: their birth dates, locations, and ‘likes.’ “

The campaign boasted that more than a million people downloaded the app, which, given an average friend-list size of 190, means that as many as 190 million had at least some of their Facebook data vacuumed up by the Obama campaign — without their knowledge or consent.

If anything, Facebook made it easy for Obama to do so. A former campaign director, Carol Davidsen, tweeted that “Facebook was surprised we were able to suck out the whole social graph, but they didn’t stop us once they realized that was what we were doing.”

This Facebook treasure trove gave Obama an unprecedented ability to reach out to nonsupporters. More important, the campaign could deliver carefully targeted campaign messages disguised as messages from friends to millions of Facebook users.

The campaign readily admitted that this subtle deception was key to their Facebook strategy.

“People don’t trust campaigns. They don’t even trust media organizations,” Teddy Goff, the Obama campaign’s digital director, said at the time. “Who do they trust? Their friends.”

According to a Time magazine account just after Obama won re-election, “the team blitzed the supporters who had signed up for the app with requests to share specific online content with specific friends simply by clicking a button.”

The effort was called a “game-changer” in the 2012 election, and the Obama campaign boasted that it was “the most groundbreaking piece of technology developed for the campaign.”

First of all, if you have any expectation of privacy on Facebook, you need to get rid of that expectation immediately. Privacy on Facebook does not exist. Do not write anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of The New York Times. Other than than there’s no problem.

The editorial concludes with an observation about the double standard:

More important, the vast majority of people involved in these data-mining operations had no idea they were participating. And in the case of Obama, they had no way of knowing that the Obama campaign material cluttering their feed wasn’t really just political urgings from their friends.

There is one other big difference: how these revelations were received by pundits and the press. In 2012, Obama was wildly celebrated in news stories for his mastery of Big Data, and his genius at mining it to get out the vote.

We were told then about how the campaign “won the race for voter data,” and how it “connected with young voters.” His data analytics gurus were treated as heroes.

This is not to say that Facebo0k doesn’t deserve criticism. Clearly, its data-protection policies have been slipshod.

But the recent fury exposes a massive double standard on the part of those now raising hell.

When Obama was exploiting Facebook users to help win re-election, it was an act of political genius. When Trump attempted something similar, with unclear results, it’s a travesty of democracy and further evidence that somehow he stole the election.

Welcome to the new world of elections–candidates will gather information anywhere they can. It is up to the public to guard their own privacy.

Washington Agencies Are Totally Out Of Control

The Daily Caller posted an article today about a New York federal court case involving the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The twisted logic being used by the CIA in the case is simply amazing.

The article reports:

Intelligence officials can selectively release classified information to trusted journalists while withholding the same information from other citizens who request it through open records laws, CIA lawyers argued Wednesday.

That is simply an amazing statement. If the journalists receive the information, isn’t the public also entitled to see it?

The article states:

The case stems from lawsuit against the CIA by New York-based independent journalist Adam Johnson, who had used FOIA to obtain emails between the agency’s public information office and selected reporters from the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and The New York Times. The emails the CIA provided to Johnson were redacted, leading him to question why he was not allowed to see the same information that had been given to uncleared reporters.

Johnson challenged the redaction in court, arguing that the CIA, once it has selectively disclosed information to uncleared reporters, cannot claim the same information is protected by a FOIA exemption.

…“In this case, CIA voluntarily disclosed to outsiders information that it had a perfect right to keep private,” she wrote. “There is absolutely no statutory provision that authorizes limited disclosure of otherwise classified information to anyone, including ‘trusted reporters,’ for any purpose, including the protection of CIA sources and methods that might otherwise be outed.

MacMahon also said it didn’t matter if the journalists in question published the information they received, only if the CIA waived its right to deny the information.

As President Trump continues to drain the swamp, hopefully one of the things his administration will look at is the practice of classifying information that Washington agencies don’t want the public to see for reasons other than national security. It is amazing how much material has come to light recently that was classified only for political reasons–it revealed nefarious activities on the part of the government.

The Memo Is Released

The long-awaited memo put out by the House Intelligence Committee has been released. The news source you listen to may determine your evaluation of how important the memo is. There is enough nastiness, hand wringing, and shouts of triumph to provide a space for everyone.

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about the memo at Power Line. John Hinderaker is a lawyer from Minnesota who operates Power Line Blog. The blog includes a few lawyers as writers and can always be depended upon for logical, clear-headed analysis of any situation.

The article at Power Line reports a few items in the memo:

The FISA warrants that are the subject of the memo all relate to Carter Page. The original warrant was sought on October 21, 2016, and the memo says that there were three renewals, which apparently occur every 90 days. This would appear to take the surveillance well past the presidential election, and beyond President Trump’s inauguration. The memo does not explain this aspect of the timing. The FISA applications were signed by some familiar names: James Comey signed three, and Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein all signed one or more.

The fake “dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele with the assistance of unknown Russians “formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application. In fact, McCabe testified before the committee that no FISA warrant would have been sought without the fake dossier. Steele was paid over $160,000 by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign to come up with derogatory information–true or false, apparently–on Donald Trump.

DOJ and FBI failed to mention in their FISA application that it was based on opposition research paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, even though this apparently was known to the FBI. The application apparently tried to mislead the FISA court by saying that Steele “was working for a named U.S. person”–the memo doesn’t tell us who that person was–but not disclosing Fusion GPS or Glenn Simpson, let alone Hillary Clinton and the DNC. This appears to be a deliberate deception of the court.

In addition to Steele’s fake dossier, the FISA application cited an article about Carter Page that appeared on Yahoo News. The application “assessed” that this corroborating account did not originate with Christopher Steele. In fact, it did: Steele himself leaked the information to Yahoo News.

The memo casually notes that “the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the same information.” This is news to me. It has been reported that Steele sought funding from the FBI, but I believe prior reports have been to the effect that the Bureau refused. Was the FBI paying Steele, known to be working for the Hillary Clinton campaign?

Please follow the link to the article at Power Line to read the rest of the highlights.

So what does this mean?

This is the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The FISA act establishes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of “foreign intelligence information” between “foreign powers” and “agents of foreign powers” suspected of espionage or terrorism.

The FISA act states:

Approval of a FISA application requires the court find probable cause that the target of the surveillance be a “foreign power” or an “agent of a foreign power”, and that the places at which surveillance is requested is used or will be used by that foreign power or its agent. In addition, the court must find that the proposed surveillance meet certain “minimization requirements” for information pertaining to U.S. persons. Depending on the type of surveillance, approved orders or extensions of orders may be active for 90 days, 120 days, or a year.

It is becoming very obvious that the FISA applications were being used for political purposes. This is the kind of thing that goes on in a police state. All the people who knowingly engaged in this activity violated their Oath of Office to act in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. Everyone involved needs to be charged with a crime appropriate to their level of involvement. The decisions made from this point forward will determine whether we are a nation of equal justice under the law or we have become a nation where the powerful are exempt from the law.

Believing What Is Happening Rather Than What You Were Told

Just as an aside, President Trump’s first place fake news award went to the New York TimesPaul Krugman who claimed on the day of President Trump’s historic, landslide victory that the economy would never recover. Considering the past year, that was a wonderful choice for the fake news award.

This year, 2018, is the year that the Tax Reform Bill passed by Congress will begin to take effect. We are already seeing the beginnings of that effect as companies are giving raises, bonuses, and bringing money into America from overseas. Working people are beginning to feel the impact of what Congress did (and what NO DEMOCRAT voted for). Corporations have decided to share their tax break with their workers.

So what happens when people begin to realize that almost everything the media told them about the tax bill was a lie?

Breitbart posted an article today that partially answers that question.

The article reports:

Now that a little thing called economic reality has overtaken months of dishonest media reporting about the Republican tax bill signed into law by President Trump last month, a plurality of 47 percent support the bill, while only 34 percent remain opposed.

This is a huge (and predicable) turnaround when compared to those polls released  in the heart of the media campaign to kill the tax bill. In early December, Gallup showed just 29 percent support for the bill; as did Quinnipiac. Less than a month ago, the left-wing cable news network CNN released a poll that showed support for the bill cratering with opposition climbing from 45 percent to 55 percent. Only one-third of Americans were in favor of the tax cut.

Considering the media’s 24/7 opposition to the bill, these negative polls were not all that surprising. In a cynical and partisan effort to kill the GOP tax cut through the use of lies to gin up opposition, including the wildly false claim that only the rich and corporations would benefit, some outlets even went so far as to claim that taxes on working people and the middle class would increase. And polls showed that too many people actually believed that nonsense.

When did allowing people to keep more of the money they earn become controversial?

How long can the media continue to misreport news and still be listened to?

When Laws Are Broken And People Suspect That Laws Have Been Broken, Just Deflect Their Attention

It seems as if certain elements of our news media have become experts at avoiding the truth or avoiding the real story. The New York Times posted an article on Saturday stating that the investigation of Donald Trump‘s ties to Russia began with a barroom conversation between George Papadopoulos and an Australian diplomat. Unfortunately, as The Gateway Pundit and Power Line Blog point out, that account doesn’t hold water. So why did The New York Times post the story? It is fairly common knowledge that the Trump campaign team and the Trump transition team were under electronic surveillance by the Obama Administration (probably with information passed on to the press and to the Hillary Clinton campaign). The question is, “Who authorized that surveillance and why?”

Under most circumstances, the surveillance (on American citizens with names unmasked) is illegal, so who authorized it and what was the justification? It is becoming obvious that the justification was the infamous Christopher Steele dossier originally contracted by mainstream Republican leaders, later paid for by the Clinton campaign, and even later, possibly funded with FBI money. Since none of the information in the dossier has been proven true–it was simply campaign opposition research paper–it really does not justify the issuing of FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrants to wiretap either the Trump campaign or transition team. That is the conclusion that The New York Times is attempting to avoid reaching. That is the reason the article on George Papadopoulos appeared in the New York Times yesterday.

Some excerpts from The Gateway Pundit:

If the dossier wasn’t used in order to obtain a FISA warrant, then SHOW THE PUBLIC THE FISA APPS!

Papadopoulos was already charged. He wasn’t charged with ‘Russian collusion’. Papadopoulos was charged with making a false statement to the FBI because talking to Russians is not illegal, yet he’s what prompted the Russia investigation?

The article at Power Line Blog includes the following tweet by Kimberley Strassel:

Another article at Power Line Blog concludes:

It’s also important to remember that the question of whether the dossier prompted, or helped lead to, the FBI investigation is separate from the question of what role the dossier played when the Justice Department obtained a warrant from the FISA court to engage in electronic surveillance of members of Trump’s team.

The media is holding up a lot of shiny objects for us to look at. The thing to remember is that there are laws protecting the privacy of Americans. If those laws were broken, people need to be punished. That is the story the media does not want us to hear.