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Sunday, June 17th open thread: ‘I Feel You’

June 17, 2018

open-thread Here is the open thread for Sunday, June 17th. Please feel free to post links to interesting articles and to discuss whatever issues arise during the course of the day. Nothing is off-topic here.

  Last week we discussed 6 stories, did you miss any of them? If so there is an easy way to make sure it does not happen again. You can subscribe to America’s Watchtower to receive email updates. You can also follow America’s Watchtower on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the links on the right. The Twitter widget in the sidebar is fully interactive. This widget updates my tweets in real time and allows you to respond or retweet my tweets right from the blog. 

   Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there and especially to my dad. It is hard to find songs about dads so I do not have one to share today but if  you have one I would love to hear it.

  Here is Depeche Mode performing “I Feel You” live in 1998.

frui diem

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Inspector General report finds FBI employees received ‘inappropriate’ gifts from reporters

June 15, 2018

  In addition to James Comey’s insubordination and his breaking of FBI protocols, and in addition to the anti-Trump bias found in the FBI by the Inspector General report which was released yesterday, the report also found that FBI employees were receiving “inappropriate” gifts from reporters while leaking information to the press.

  Here is more:

Numerous FBI employees accepted inappropriate gifts from reporters and routinely spoke to media outlets without authorization during the Hillary Clinton email probe, the Justice Department’s watchdog revealed in Thursday’s long-awaited accountability report.

“We identified instances where FBI employees improperly received benefits from reporters, including tickets to sporting events, golfing outings, drinks and meals, and admittance to nonpublic social events,” reads the report by the inspector general, Michael Horowitz.

Along with the FBI’s cozy relationship with the media, Horowitz’s report charges that officials in the bureau at “all levels of the organization” leaked information to reporters without authorization.

  The article and the report use words like improperly and inappropriate but I would argue a better word might be illegal. It certainly seems as if this is akin to taking bribes for information and it looks as if there is going to be a separate investigation into this matter.

But because the inappropriate gifts were outside the scope of the IG’s look at the Clinton email investigation, Horowitz added that the DOJ watchdog “will separately report on those investigations as they are concluded.”

Stay tuned…

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

Inspector General report finds more anti-Trump agents, says James Comey was insubordinate and violated FBI procedures but was non-biased

June 14, 2018

  The long-awaited Inspector General report came out today and there were some interesting tidbits in it. To start with, five FBI employees have been referred for investigation for anti-Trump messages sent during the Hillary Clinton email probe.

The Justice Department inspector general has referred five FBI employees for investigation in connection with politically charged texts, revealing in its report on the Hillary Clinton email case that more bureau officials than previously thought were exchanging anti-Trump messages.

The long-awaited report largely dealt with the Justice Department and FBI’s handling of the Clinton case but uncovered numerous messages that “appeared to mix political opinion with discussions about the MYE investigation.”

MYE, or “Midyear Exam,” was the code used in the FBI to refer to the investigation into Clinton’s private email server.

“Some of these text messages and instant messages mixed political commentary with discussions about the Midyear investigation, and raised concerns that political bias may have impacted investigative decisions,” the report read.

  This is, of course, in addition to Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who we had already known were engaged in anti-Trump messages where they discussed an “insurance policy” to stop Donald Trump. However now we have the most blatant example yet from the two lovebirds of their intention to stop Donald Trump.

Trump is ‘not ever going to become president, right? Right?!’ Page texted Strzok.   

‘No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it,’ he responded.

  It is quite obvious with these seven FBI employees that they let their partisanship cloud their judgement and rules out any chance they had to claim they were conducting a non-biased, non-political investigation.

  Interesting enough the one person the Inspector General said did not act on political bias was James Comey, although he found the former FBI Director to have been “insubordinate” and in violation of “FBI norms.”

  Here is more:

A long-awaited report by the Justice Department’s watchdog Thursday found no indication that political bias affected decisions in the FBI’s 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server, but the review criticized agents and ex-FBI Director James Comey for violating bureau norms during the probe.

Comey was singled out for withering criticism by Inspector General Michael Horowitz, including accusations of insubordination against top Justice Department officials and of making “a serious error of judgment” in notifying Congress shortly before the 2016 election that the FBI was re-opening its Clinton email probe. 

  So basically James Comey did not follow FBI rules, was insubordinate, and lacked good judgement. (All fire-able offenses by the way.) But we are to expect none of this was done for political reasons. It almost reminds me of the outcome of the email investigation when James Comey listed all the reasons Hillary Clinton should be prosecuted and then recommended no charges because she was “extremely careless” and not “grossly negligent.”

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

Robert Mueller ‘accidentally’ releases names of people in Manafort case

June 14, 2018

  While we all anxiously await the release of the long-expected Inspector General report later today here is an interesting little story which will fall by the wayside: It appears as if Robert Mueller “accidentally” released the names of some journalists  who were in contact with the FBI, as well as the names of some European politicians, in the Paul Manafort case before trying to un-release them. Here is more:

Although Mueller has been tight-lipped about evidence and witness identification up to this point, his team appears to have screwed up by outing journalists who “produced messages to the FBI” about Manafort’s alleged “coaching up” on lobbying practices. Manafort was indicted in D.C. back in October 2017 for alleged financial fraud and violating lobbying disclosure laws. There’s also a case against him in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA).

“Special Counsel accidentally exposed names of former journalists and European politicians allegedly involved in Manafort’s secret Ukraine lobbying. Just filed a new version with redactions,” explained Washington Post reporter Rachel Weiner:

“Unredacted government exhibit showing alleged attempts by Manafort and Kilimnik to influence witness testimonies has been released. The witnesses, journalists […] produced the messages to the FBI,” the Atlantic‘s Natasha Bertrand added.

In a later tweet, Bertrand wrote, “Oh boy. Looks like releasing this unredacted was a mistake–special counsel has just re-filed this and other docs with redactions. 

  So either this was an honest mistake and Robert Mueller is incompetent or this was intentional. Personally I am of the belief that if something happens in politics it was meant to happen, nothing happens by mistake.

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

Andrew McCabe sues the Justice Department and the FBI

June 13, 2018

  Following the recommendation of the FBI Inspector General Andrew McCabe was fired by Jeff Sessions just days before he was set to retire with a full pension. According to this story Andrew McCabe is now suing the Justice Department and the FBI over his firing because they did not let him see the report. Here is more:

Lawyers representing former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe filed a suit against the Justice Department and FBI on Tuesday, alleging that they wouldn’t give up files connected to his ouster.

McCabe’s lawyers claimed the Justice Department has denied access to the sought-after information out of concern that the documents could be later used against them, the lawsuit said. The suit also named the office of the DOJ inspector general.

“We don’t create or adjudicate under secret law or procedure,” David Snyder, a lawyer representing McCabe, told The Associated Press.

And here is more:

According to the lawsuit, McCabe’s firing came after “proceedings that violated federal law and departed from applicable administrative rules, standards, policies and procedures.” It noted that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires related documents to be produced for review.

“Defendants, however, have not disclosed those materials, whether proactively or upon request from Plaintiff as counsel for Mr. McCabe. That failure is contrary to law,” the lawsuit said. “It is incongruous with Defendants’ public, and repeated, representations to the effect that Mr. McCabe was dismissed from the FBI following an ‘extensive and fair investigation’ which was carried out ‘according to Department of Justice procedure.'”

McCabe’s lawyers signaled they wanted “immediate” access to documents including an inspector general manual outlining the guidelines governing the office and FBI policy guides on how disciplinary matters should be handled.

  This is not an unexpected move, in fact I would have thought it would have happened sooner, it is only natural that Andrew McCabe would do whatever he could to hold onto his government pension.

  If Andrew McCabe wants to see the report all he has to do is wait until tomorrow because the full report is due out and it could be very interesting to say the least.

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un meet in Singapore

June 12, 2018

  Without question the big news of the day should be the historic meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore last night but I am sure the mainstream media will come up with a distraction, or if forced to cover the story, will have nothing good to say about it.

  We do not know much about the meeting at this point other than it lasted a couple of hours and it is being reported the meeting went. Here is part of what the two leaders had to say:

“The world will see a major change,” he said. “I would like to express my gratitude to President Trump to make this meeting happen.”

“We’ve developed a very special bond,” Trump said, adding that the summit turned out better than anyone could have predicted.

And here is some more:

The president spoke briefly to reporters after the handshake, affirming that he would meet with Kim “many times” saying that he had a “great personality” and was “very smart.”

“Good combination,” he added, describing him as “a very worthy, very smart negotiator.”

“We had a terrific day and we learned a lot about each other and our countries,” he said.

When asked what he learned about Kim, Trump replied, “I learned that he’s a very talented man. I also learned that he loves his country very much.”

  After meeting with the press Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un unexpectedly signed an agreement promising the United States and North Korea would work towards normalizing relations and the complete denuclearization of the peninsula. Here are some of the details of the agreement:

 1. The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.

2. The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

4. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.

  Of course this is nothing official but it is a good faith step in the right direction and hopefully a sign of things to come as the two leaders look to solve the differences between our two countries.

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

40 states accused of funneling money to Hillary Clinton’s campaign

June 11, 2018

  As Bernie Sanders supporters are well aware the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged against him and now we are learning that as many as 40 states may have illegally funneled up to $84 million to Hillary Clinton’s campaign to help her during the 2016 general election. Here is more:

Nevada’s Democratic Party could be pulled into a federal lawsuit that alleges the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee illegally funneled millions to state parties that sent the money back to the DNC to support Clinton.

The scheme was designed to circumvent campaign contribution limits, said Dan Backer, a Virginia campaign finance attorney who filed the lawsuit. Backer represents the Committee to Defend the President, a pro-Donald Trump political action committee that first filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission in December.

“You had individuals giving $300,000,” Backer said Friday. “They’re not doing it because they care about Nevada’s or Arkansas’ state party. They’re doing it to curry favor with and buy influence with Hillary Clinton.”

Backer said the FEC failed to take action before a required deadline, prompting the lawsuit. Up to 40 state parties could be involved in $84 million worth of money transfers, Backer said.

  The article linked to above is only about Nevada’s role in the alleged scheme and they are denying any wrongdoing, calling the lawsuit a political stunt. As for the 40 states involved in the lawsuit I believe their defense is “look quick, there are Russians over there!”

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium