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Muddling Through

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Member since: Fri Jun 13, 2014, 06:54 AM
Number of posts: 19,853

Journal Archives

Two Possibilities in Trump Wiretapping, and Neither Is Good

So, either the Feds are completely incompetent, or they deliberately went outside the law. (Or, both).

"The report of the I.G.'s findings on the use of FISA in the FBI Crossfire Hurricane investigation is an outrage. As a 22 year FBI Agent, I have personally conducted multiple investigations using both Title III "wiretaps" and FISA authorized intercepts. From this perspective, I can only see two possible interpretations of the actions of the FBI and DOJ. Either scenario should anger and frighten every fair minded citizen who takes the time to read the report and understand its implications.

To comprehend the magnitude of the wrongdoing, consider the following:
First, an American citizen, Carter Page, was targeted by our government for electronic surveillance under FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act). Per the Act, his Fourth Amendment guarantee of privacy was judicially "suspended" to allow law enforcement to intercept and monitor his private communications. Ostensibly, the FISA court would allow this intrusion based on presented facts that indicated that Page was participating in an activity that was reasonably considered to be a threat to national security and was, in effect, the agent of a foreign power.

According to the I.G., the determination to surveil Page was based on second hand information provided by a member of a friendly foreign government and bolstered by reporting in the "Steele dossier". Accepting the subjective judgement that the investigation was adequately predicated does not mitigate the disaster that followed.

Typically, a FISA warrant is issued to target a foreign national and, in general, the resulting intercepts come largely from overseas communications. FISA generally requires a lower evidentiary threshold than a "Title III wiretap" (used to intercept and monitor communications in domestic criminal matters). To use a FISA surveillance against a US citizen is a somewhat exceptional step. Basically, it negates Constitutional protections afforded to all Americans based on the judicial determination that the citizen is acting as an agent of a foreign power. "

Posted by Muddling Through | Mon Dec 30, 2019, 08:36 AM (3 replies)

Tulsi Gabbard: Democrats in Congress Preferred People Rotting in Prison to Giving Trump a Win

Well, this won't get her any points with the DNC stalwarts.

"When speaking to a group of supporters, Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard explained that hyperpartisanship has truly taken Washington D.C. hostage. An example of this extremely troubling Washington culture, she said, was that some Democrats in Congress would rather have people needlessly sitting years behind bars than help President Trump get criminal justice reform.

"A very practical thing that we need to address about the power of the two-party system," Rep. Gabbard said, "and how hyperpartisan things have become, because those two parties basically can accept an unlimited amount of money from any individual, business, or whatever. And that creates an incredible amount of leverage for them to hold over members of Congress from both political parties, who may be looking at an issue or a vote that's coming to the House floor based on its merits, imagine that, thinking about alright, well, how will this best impact my constituents? But if they're thinking about voting against the party interest, then more often than not, they get the phone call or they get the tap on the shoulder on the House floor before the vote, saying, 'Don't you dare. If you vote against the party interest then when it's time for your reelection and you need help, we're not going to be there for you'."

The contrast between the "unlimited amount of money" the parties can accept versus the $2,800 limit individual candidates can accept is rather stark. This "imbalance," Gabbard said, even determines "what bills are brought to the floor for a vote." The agendas that are set, she continues, "are really in the hands of just a couple of people of the party's that in charge."
Of course, you have to wonder what the leadership of those parties consider "their interests." Well, as Gabbard put it, "their number one goal is getting more power in the next election. And the day after the election, whether you're the winning side or the losing side, you're thinking about how do we grow our numbers.""

Posted by Muddling Through | Mon Dec 30, 2019, 08:01 AM (2 replies)

The lies and distortions by the hatchet men at Fusion GPS

Interesting Op-Ed.

"Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch tried to keep the American people in the dark as long as possible. For most of 2017, the founders of Fusion GPS hid the truth about the origins of their now-infamous dossier on President Trump. The real story behind their fight to keep its partisan funding a secret is very different from the version the journalists-for-rent tell in their recent book, Crime in Progress. I know, because I was there.

They smear me, and my former boss, Sen. Chuck Grassley, who was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Then they paint themselves as victims of “ruthlessly partisan” McCarthyite tactics. The irony is rich, given that these former journalists collected a million bucks from one political party to accuse the other of acting as agents of Russia.

The dossier they peddled ignited hysteria about alleged traitors in our government more than anything else has since Joe McCarthy’s Enemies from Within speech nearly 70 years ago. Unlike traditional opposition research, the dossier relied on anonymous foreign sources to allege an international criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Two independent reviews have since gutted its sensational claims.
The report by the Justice Department’s independent inspector general exposed how the FBI improperly used the dossier to justify domestic spying (a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant). The IG made it clear that the dossier was clearly unreliable. Special counsel Robert Mueller was unable to find sufficient evidence to charge a single American with the dossier’s collusion conspiracy despite two years, $32 million, 500 witnesses, and 2,800 subpoenas-worth of additional investigation.

Like the dossier itself, Fusion’s attempt to defend its work in Crime in Progress cannot withstand scrutiny. It devotes a chapter to denouncing Grassley for asking inconvenient questions about Fusion and the dossier. The essentially fictitious story casts Simpson as “Captain America":
Working to “protect the republic at all costs” from a Manchurian Candidate, with the First Amendment as his only shield, Simpson battles Congressional persecutors who were “trashing the Bill of Rights” by subpoenaing his bank to learn who funded the dossier.

Fusion’s founders target me, as then-counsel to Grassley, for supposedly “pulling the strings” that led to outing their secret. They had promised never to reveal who bankrolled the project. Why? Their book concedes a “more strategic reason” to stonewall: They wanted to control the larger political narrative. "

Posted by Muddling Through | Sat Dec 28, 2019, 10:07 AM (0 replies)

Dave Rubin on Woke Outrage and the Assault on Free Speech [TPUSA Special]

Rubin's sharp. A "Classical Liberal"; unusual in California. The Democrat Party would do well to listen to him. They probably won't, however.


Posted by Muddling Through | Sat Dec 28, 2019, 09:49 AM (0 replies)

Of Course: As Durham Closes in on Brennan, Democrats Call on Him to Resign

If you're taking flak, you're over the target. The smell of Democrat Flop Sweat is strong.

"After Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz released his nearly 500-page report showing political bias and alarming FISA misconduct at the FBI, he submitted every word of it to U.S. Attorney John Durham for criminal review.

Durham, unlike Horowitz, has the ability to go outside of the Department of Justice and FBI to question witnesses and obtain documents. According to Attorney General Bill Barr, Durham is leaving no stone unturned by probing the CIA and other intelligence agencies. Former CIA Director John Brennan, who perpetuated the false Russia collusion narrative for years, is a target.

The federal prosecutor scrutinizing the Russia investigation has begun examining the role of the former C.I.A. director John O. Brennan in how the intelligence community assessed Russia’s 2016 election interference, according to three people briefed on the inquiry.

John H. Durham, the United States attorney leading the investigation, has requested Mr. Brennan’s emails, call logs and other documents from the C.I.A., according to a person briefed on his inquiry. He wants to learn what Mr. Brennan told other officials, including the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, about his and the C.I.A.’s views of a notorious dossier of assertions about Russia and Trump associates. …
Mr. Durham is also examining whether Mr. Brennan privately contradicted his public comments, including May 2017 testimony to Congress, about both the dossier and about any debate among the intelligence agencies over their conclusions on Russia’s interference, the people said.

Brennan also reportedly pushed the false, Clinton funded and Russia sourced dossier in 2016."

Posted by Muddling Through | Sat Dec 28, 2019, 09:36 AM (5 replies)

The Year Socialism Became a Dirty WordAgain

" It was a bad year to be any kind of socialist in Europe. The decline has been long and agonizing for a once-dominant force, but in 2019 falling popularity reached new depths and raised questions over whether reinvention can lead to a revival.

A decade ago, the prime ministers of Britain, Spain, Greece and even Hungary were from the center-left. Many went on to swiftly lose power, but then socialist governments emerged in France and Italy. Now the political brand looks like an anachronism.

Populism has tested the ability of mainstream parties to adapt and some on the center-right are regaining their footing. That cannot be said of the traditional left. It gravitated toward the middle ground in the 1990s, and then paid a price for selling out. But a pendulum swing to 1970s-style radical ideology has been shown to be just as out of sync with the times.

This year ends with the humiliation of the Labour Party in the U.K.’s Dec. 12 election and Germany’s Social Democrats more unpopular than at any time in living memory. In Italy and Spain, the center-left are in government only thanks to precarious alliances with the anti-establishment groups that grew from the 2008 financial crisis."

Posted by Muddling Through | Sun Dec 22, 2019, 08:55 PM (2 replies)

Boris Johnson serves Christmas lunch to British troops during a visit to a Nato mission in Estonia


Posted by Muddling Through | Sat Dec 21, 2019, 09:01 PM (8 replies)

Pushed on age, Biden says Winston Churchill was older. He wasn't

Oh, my. Gropey Joe is lying again. Business as usual.

"Joe Biden defended his age during the Democratic presidential primary debate by saying he would be younger at the end of his first term than Winston Churchill when he left office as British prime minister.

Churchill, who was prime minister during World War II and died in 1965, left office as prime minister in 1955 when he was 81. Biden, who is turned 77 in November, would be 82 in 2024 and 86 in 2028. If elected, Biden, at 78 years and 51 days old, would be the oldest U.S. president ever to occupy the Oval Office
Ronald Reagan, who was widely mocked for his advanced age and did eventually succumb to Alzheimer's, was the oldest person ever elected to the White House. He was 73 years and 274 days old when he won his second term. By the time he left office, Reagan was 77 years and 349 days old. His son Ron said he was suffering from dementia while in office.
Former vice president Biden is the current Democratic front-runner. He struggled with gaining speaking time during the debate. "

Posted by Muddling Through | Sat Dec 21, 2019, 10:39 AM (3 replies)

Richard Jewell, Carter Page And The Illusion Of The FBIs Power And Competence.

More and more evidence that Trump was right to fire Comey and Obama was an incompetent boob for keeping him in his position.

"The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s reputation has been ravaged this month by the inspector general report that proved that the FBI deceived the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to secretly spy on a Trump campaign official.

Even fired FBI chief James Comey was forced to admit that “I was wrong” in a Fox News interview Sunday regarding the FBI’s abuse of Carter Page. The Russiagate controversy could not have occurred unless much of the American media docilely recited the false charges that FBI officials fed them. A stunning new movie on Richard Jewell is a reminder that this is not the first time that collusion between the feds and the media destroyed the reputation of innocent Americans

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is outraged that Clint Eastwood’s new movie portrays its star reporter Kathy Scruggs as sleeping with her FBI source, but there is no question that Scruggs screwed the hell out of Jewell. The movie vividly portrays how the FBI shoveled false information to journalists who rushed to condemn the 33-year-old security guard who saved many lives by discovering a pipe bomb that had been placed in a crowded venue during the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta. When he died in 2007 at age 44, his New York Times obituary was headlined: “Richard Jewell, Hero of Atlanta Attack, Dies.” But his heroism revived only after the FBI and the media sought to destroy him.

After suspecting that Jewell had planted the bomb he discovered, FBI agents lured him to their Atlanta office and asked him to help them make a training film about detecting bombs. The ruse allowed the agents to question Jewell extensively without reading him a Miranda warning notifying him that anything he said could be used against him. FBI leaks tagging Jewell led to 88 days of Jewell’s life and reputation dragged in the gutter day after day. The FBI did nothing to curb the media harassment of Jewell long after it had recognized that he was innocent, as I wrote in “Feeling Your Pain: The Explosion and Abuse of Government Power in the Clinton-Gore Years.”

Posted by Muddling Through | Sat Dec 21, 2019, 09:00 AM (6 replies)

Intel Community Blog Founder Admits Nunes Was Right About Spygate From The Beginning

Well, well well. Looks like the cockroaches are starting to scatter in the light.

"The co-founder of the prominent intelligence community blog, Lawfare, admitted that a recent report from the Justice Department inspector general on FBI FISA abuses for Trump campaign surveillance has destroyed their own credibility.

On a Thursday podcast hosted by Stewart Baker, a partner at the Washington office of Steptoe & Johnson LLP, the blog’s founder, Bobby Chesney admitted that the damming report from the DOJ IG documenting FBI abuses and vindicating the infamous Nunes memo on the discredited Steele Dossier alleging Russian collusion has been destructive to his publication’s reputation.

“Is there somebody who since the release of the Horowitz paper, someone in political life or a pontificator looks better or worse as a result of this report and why?” Baker asked the panel of three legal experts who specialize in the intelligence community.

I feel like all of us, who, you might call us the ‘Lawfare crowd’ who were often denounced or criticized at least in the older days as being too quick to credit and too trust the good faith and completeness of the efforts of the FBI in this kind of context. A lot of us look bad right now and we’re sort of watching anxiously to see how the broader OIG investigation sheds light on whether this was a one-off problem or a broader problem but there’s not question that a lot of our positions don’t look as persuasive as a result of how this has turned out.

Chesney’s humbling admission comes after three years of a continued push from Democrats charging the Trump campaign of colluding with the Russian government in a wild conspiracy theory offered legitimacy by the mainstream media. Trump of course, was completely exonerated after a two-year special counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller who found not one person on the Trump campaign, let alone Trump himself was working as a Russian agent."
Posted by Muddling Through | Fri Dec 20, 2019, 12:06 PM (0 replies)
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