We Just Got a Rare Look at National Security Surveillance. It Was Ugly.
A high-profile inspector general report has served as fodder for arguments about President Trump. But its findings about surveillance are important beyond partisan politics.

“IF THE FBI WAS WILLING TO BE THIS SHADY WHILE INVESTIGATING THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, WHAT DOES IT GET AWAY WITH IN LOWER-PROFILE CASES?”

When you’ve even lost the proggies at the NY Times…….

WASHINGTON — When a long-awaited inspector general report about the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation became public this week, partisans across the political spectrum mined it to argue about whether President Trump falsely smeared the F.B.I. or was its victim. But the report was also important for reasons that had nothing to do with Mr. Trump.

At more than 400 pages, the study amounted to the most searching look ever at the government’s secretive system for carrying out national-security surveillance on American soil. And what the report showed was not pretty.

The Justice Department’s independent inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, and his team uncovered a staggeringly dysfunctional and error-ridden process in how the F.B.I. went about obtaining and renewing court permission under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, to wiretap Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.

“The litany of problems with the Carter Page surveillance applications demonstrates how the secrecy shrouding the government’s one-sided FISA approval process breeds abuse,” said Hina Shamsi, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project. “The concerns the inspector general identifies apply to intrusive investigations of others, including especially Muslims, and far better safeguards against abuse are necessary.”

Congress enacted FISA in 1978 to regulate domestic surveillance for national-security investigations — monitoring suspected spies and terrorists, as opposed to ordinary criminals. Investigators must persuade a judge on a special court that a target is probably an agent of a foreign power. In 2018, there were 1,833 targets of such orders, including 232 Americans.

Most of those targets never learn that their privacy has been invaded, but some are sent to prison on the basis of evidence derived from the surveillance. And unlike in ordinary criminal wiretap cases, defendants are not permitted to see what investigators told the court about them to obtain permission to eavesdrop on their calls and emails.

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Mr. Horowitz’s report on Wednesday, both Republicans and Democrats suggested that legislation tightening restrictions on FISA surveillance may be coming, and the A.C.L.U. submitted ideas to the committee.

Civil libertarians for years have called the surveillance court a rubber stamp because it only rarely rejects wiretap applications. Out of 1,080 requests by the government in 2018, for example, government records showed that the court fully denied only one.

Defenders of the system have argued that the low rejection rate stems in part from how well the Justice Department self-polices and avoids presenting the court with requests that fall short of the legal standard. They have also stressed that officials obey a heightened duty to be candid and provide any mitigating evidence that might undercut their request.

But the inspector general found major errors, material omissions and unsupported statements about Mr. Page in the materials that went to the court. F.B.I. agents cherry-picked the evidence, telling the Justice Department information that made Mr. Page look suspicious and omitting material that cut the other way, and the department passed that misleading portrait onto the court.

Thousands of lawful California gun owners are being denied ammunition purchases. Here’s why

It’s not a bug. This is a feature of the new law.

Christopher Lapiniski, operations manager at Last Stand Readiness & Tactical, describes the hurdles to buying ammunition in California on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, at the gun store on Florin Road in Sacramento.

Zachary Berg usually buys guns and ammunition with relative ease. After all, he’s a Sutter County sheriff’s deputy and needs them for his job. California’s stringent gun laws usually don’t apply to him.

But Berg couldn’t buy shotgun shells at his local hardware store in Yuba City prior to a duck hunting trip last month. He was rejected under California’s stringent ammunition background check program that took effect July 1, because his personal information didn’t match what state officials had in their database.

Berg was one of tens of thousands of Californians who have been turned away from buying ammunition at firearms and sporting goods stores, even though they appear to be lawfully able to do so, a Sacramento Bee review of state data shows. Between July 1 and November, nearly one in every five ammunition purchases was rejected by the California Department of Justice, the figures show.

Of the 345,547 ammunition background checks performed, only 101 stopped the buyer because he or she was a “prohibited person” who can’t legally possess ammunition, according to state Department of Justice data.

What About the FISA Court?

Ever since this dog-and-pony show culminating in today’s articles of impeachment got started, something has been on my mind.

It’s clear the FBI is corrupt at the upper most levels. Chief Weasel Jim Comey, and the dishonor roll of his underlings: McCabe, Strzok, Page, and lots more are all partisan hacks. We know this. We know they used the absolutely bogus Steele dossier to justify the need to monitor American citizens to the FISA courts (overview). Borepatch started the day with post that it’s time to Disband the FBI. Count me on board with that. While, from all I know, the majority of the agents and lower level staff are still honorable, there’s a saying in management classes (I originally heard it was taken from the mafia) that goes, “the fish rots from the head down.” If there are systemic problems in an organization, the problem lies in the top management’s offices.

What I’ve been saying since this whole mess started is “what about the FISA courts?” In my mind, if they were honest and honorable, they’d bust the FBI like 13 year olds pretending to be college students at spring break in south Florida.* I’d very publicly and loudly tell the FBI, “you’ve proven you’re not trustworthy. Because of that, from now on there will be no warrants issued to you unless you bring 10 times the amount of justification we used to require, and you’d better have far more than one source. You will be questioned about it relentlessly, and you’d better damned well have every last detail documented.” Or something similar. Let everybody know the FBI is getting their chops busted for their partisan politics.

The fact that this hasn’t happened doesn’t mean the FISA courts didn’t slap down the FBI in some classified meetings that we’re not allowed to know about. The fact that it wasn’t public, though, implies that the FISA court is just as rotten as the heads of the FBI fish. They could have dressed them down in secret but made a public statement about how shocked – shocked! I tell you – and how appalled the court is at having been lied to by the FBI. The fact that didn’t happen tells you the FISA court needs to be disbanded, just like the FBI. The whole Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act needs to be torn up and started again from blank paper.

Trump on IG Report: ‘This Was an Attempted Overthrow… We Caught ‘em Red-Handed.’

He’s not wrong.

And a lot of people were in on it and they got caught. They got caught red-handed. And I look forward to the Durham report, which is coming out in the not-too-distant future. He’s got his own information, which is this information plus, plus, plus. It’s an incredible thing that happened and we’re lucky we caught them.

The IG **Admits** DOJ/FBI Attempted A Putsch

The IG report, after reading through a good part of it, states that seventeen “errors” were made by the FBI. May I remind you of an indisputable fact: Errors are randomly distributed.

That is, let’s assume you intend to drive at 40mph.  If you make an error you will operate your car some of the time at 38mph, and some of the time at 42mph.  The errors, if they are actual errors, will be randomly distributed around the correct action.  Some of the errors will place you inside the correct action and some of them will be place you outside of the correct action.  Approximately an equal number of errors will fall on each side of the correct action; some will help you, some hurt, but given enough errors there should be an approximately equal number in each direction.

If your speed, as measured at 1 minute intervals, is 40, 42, 45, 43, 41, 40, 46, 50, 42 and 45 mph that is not “error.”  You are instead driving with a floor of 40mph; your intent is to drive at no slower than 40mph.

The probability of an error is 50% in each direction.  Therefore half the errors should have been to Trump’s benefit.

However, exactly zero of them were to Trump’s benefit.

The odds of this being random chance can be computed.

The probability of the first error being to Trump’s detriment is 0.5 (50%.)

Each successive “error” is also equally probable to be of either benefit or detriment.  So when the second error occurs for them to both be to Trump’s detriment by random chance — that is, if it’s an actual error without motivation or bias, is 0.50 * 0.50, or 1 in 4.

For seventeen “errors” to be all in the same direction is 0.5 ^ 17, or exactly 1 in 131,072.

This is not quite as bad of odds as winning the Powerball but it clowns the claim that such were errors and not intentional acts that evince a predetermined goal or desire.

Indeed in a criminal trial should odds of 1 in 131,072 be established that is almost certainly enough for you to be convicted and sent to prison.  Remember that the standard in a criminal trial is not “beyond question” or “with absolute proof” — it is beyond a reasonable doubt.

1 in 131,072 does not admit reasonable doubt.

The FBI and Department of Justice did, beyond reasonable doubt, intentionally target Donald Trump and his associates as a candidate and as President for surveillance and did, with corrupt intent beyond said reasonable doubt, intend to harm both him and his associates.

This did not occur due to error.  The manifest weight of the evidence as proved by fundamental, middle-school mathematics, is that this campaign was intentional, it was malicious, and given that it involved knowingly false statements to a court by means of omission it was criminal.

To refuse to prosecute everyone so-involved is for the United States Department of Justice and FBI to declare themselves above the law and to declare the Constitution of the United States, as a contract between the citizens and its government, null and void due to the intentional refusal to enforce same for political reasons.

It does not matter whether or not the scheme ultimately did or does in the future (e.g. impeachment) succeed.

The IG report establishes that the FBI and DOJ attempted to conduct a putsch in the United States to overthrow a democratically-elected President, along with imprisoning his associates and staff members by concocting knowingly-false pretense for surveillance and entrapment.

The IG report, in an attempt to claim that there was no “wrongdoing” but simple mistakes has mathematically proved that in fact the campaign to overthrow the President of the United States was intentional with a sufficient level of probability to secure convictions under criminal law for virtually any crime in the US.

It is important to note that the prosecutions and convictions obtained since the beginning with this process have been for obstructing an illegally-initiated investigation, as is, I note, the currently pending prosecution of Stone.  That people in this nation believe that citizens have an obligation to comply and cooperate with an unlawfully-initiated investigation is exactly the sort of premise that the Politburo of Russia used to present, or the Communist Chinese Party presents today.

You decide what your response to this outright admission of wrongdoing by the IG shall be America.

You did pass middle-school math, right?

Fate of the Unarmed & U.S. Military’s Continued Support for Gun-Free Death Zones

I can neither confirm, not deny, that someone who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty carried a gun for self defense purposes on several military installations in flagrant violation of military regulations.

Of course, we all know why there is a general regulation against carrying weapons on post. The military uses a ‘lowest common denominator’ mentality where it is considered what probable mayhem would ensue if the newly minted, minimally trained and barely proficient E-1 grade service members were permitted to carry and applies it to everyone no matter their experience or rank. That goes hand in hand with the joke about the difference between the Army and the Boy Scouts being that the Boy Scouts have ‘Adult Supervision’.

Ft Collins, CO –-(Ammoland.com)- “‘’Terrorists are coming! ‘Turn-in your weapons and go immediately to the nearest gun-free zone!’… said no human with a functioning brain in the history of our planet!” ~ Anon

Another sad, yet inevitable, result of “gun-free Zones”

In his lame excuse, a continuation of the tiresome DOD “no-guns dance,” the commander of the Pensacola Air Station where Friday’s terrorist attack took place said:

“… no sailors nor Marines, other than MPs on duty, may possess weapons on-base”

Well once again, Islamic terrorists just can’t seem to follow instructions. Imagine that!

Our military bases are all gigantic “gun-free zones,” where our defenseless “unarmed forces,” wait around to be murdered by armed terrorists, and where professing “commanders” are petrified by the thought of deploying competently-armed warriors during an “in- extremis” incident.

The terrorist in this incident was ultimately shot to death, not by highly-touted Base MPs (who knows where they were) whom commanders love to talk about, but by audacious Escambia County Deputies, who entered the Base with guns, probably in violation of the “rules!”

The question needs to be asked loudly and openly:

“What is it exactly within the mission of our military that apparently prevented armed sailors and armed Marines from promptly confronting, with deadly force, a single armed enemy of the United States, who was in the process of actively murdering innocent persons on a domestic US military installation?”

One can see clearly the way Democrat-promoted anti-2A sentiment has saddled us with this obviously self-destructive philosophy.

  • No matter what they say, liberals, along with their promoters and supporters (in and out of uniform), do not trust American citizens (in or out of uniform) with guns.
  • No matter what they say, liberals do not trust American police (whom they not-so-silently regard as potential killers of members of their voting base), to possess guns while not actually working. They now even support disarming police while they are on watch.
  • No matter what they say, liberals do not trust American military personnel (whom they not-so-silently regard as war criminals) to possess guns when not actually deployed a combat zone. Even then, they want our soldiers and Marines disarmed most of the time.
  • No matter what they say, liberals do not trust even their own heavily-armed praetorian guards to be armed, when not actually protecting them.

Some history:

Likewise, both Lenin and Stalin, and their elite Communist cadres cynically viewed their own praetorian guards as only in-place to serve the short-term purpose of protecting them.

All were eventually shipped off to gulags, or liquidated, then casually replaced with naive new recruits.

In the “class-free” Soviet Union, nearness to Communist despots brought with it neither job security, nor life security.

Nearness to liberals (their spiritual ascendants) is no different, which is surprising only to the naive.

“Not every crisis can be ‘managed.’ As much as we want to keep ourselves ‘safe,’ we cannot be protected from everything. When we want to embrace life, we also have to embrace chaos!” ~ Susan Phillips

New Zealand Police

I’ve been following the New Zealand firearm “buyback” with some amusement as I ran estimates on the compliance rate based on NZ Police turn-in reports and NZ government guesstimates of the number of affected firearms. (It’s a measly 16.5% as of November 24.)

News of the “buyback” privacy breach has added extra humor value. Sorry, Kiwi gun owners who were complying; I’m sure you weren’t laughing.

But privacy issues aside, I am. And not merely at the gross incompetence displayed. I’m encouraged by the additional proof of non-compliance.

Government estimates of the number of newly banned firearms range from an early 173,000 to, finally, 240,000. I’ve been rolling with the final 240K figure.

At the end of November, 21,655 people had been paid for 36,045 firearms. That works out to an average 1.66 firearms per person.

Reports have it that people turning their firearms had to pre-register online through the breached web site. A total of 38,000 people registered and now have their personal and financial data endangered.

There are only 17 days left in the amnesty period, so you’d expect that pretty much everyone who had any intention of complying would have registered by now.

Only 38,000. Let’s assume that the 1:1.66 ratio holds true. That would account for 63,080 firearms or 26.3% compliance.

I had been projecting 19.8% assuming no sudden, last-minute rush, and turn-in rates holding steady. But I also figured some folks would get cold feet in the final weeks and decide to turn in their property, especially registered Cat-E “military-style semiautomatic” owners since the government does know who they are (but 60% of even those aren’t complying yet).

I had speculated that the New Zealand government would stop reporting turn-in numbers out of sheer embarrassment. Then they’d dust off early lowball estimates and simply declare the amnesty a success.

Now this breach fiasco just gives them a better opportunity to do so.

FBI never completes hundreds of thousands of gun checks

This is why the current push for Universal Background Checks + ‘no authorization to transfer a gun until a BGC comes back’ is so dangerous. This isn’t ‘news’ to the demoncraps, but an illumination that their knowing the FBI is so incompetent can be used to deny law abiding citizens their rights. Kinda like that was the plan all along.
Use this to slap silly any wanna-be gun grabber with the fact we’re even more onto their game.

Updated Dec. 4, 1:33 p.m. | The FBI never completes hundreds of thousands of gun background checks each year because of a deadline that requires it to purge them from its computers, despite a report that raised alarms about the practice in 2015.

The data obtained by CQ Roll Call, which has not been previously published, shows how the FBI still struggles to complete background checks four years after a breakdown in the system contributed to a shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, that left nine black churchgoers dead.

A 2015 internal report on what went wrong in that case recommended ways to decrease the number of background checks that take longer than 88 days. After that point, the FBI must purge checks from its computers. That year, the bureau processed more than 8.9 million checks and never completed 200,360. That number rose in 2016 and 2017 before a slight dip last year, when the FBI processed 8.2 million checks but did not complete 201,323.

Since the data is purged, it’s impossible to know how many of those people have purchased guns without a completed background check — or how many  purchases would have been blocked if the background checks were complete.

Criticizing George Soros Is Not Anti-Semitic

The former senior director for European and Russian affairs for the Trump administration, Fiona Hill, testified last week in the House impeachment hearings.

At one point, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., asked her: “Would you say that these different theories, these conspiracy theories that have been targeting you, spun in part by folks like Mr. Stone as well as fueled by Rudy Giuliani and others, basically have a tinge of anti-Semitism to them at least?”

This was Hill’s response:

Well, certainly when they involve George Soros, they do. I’d just like to point out that in the early 1900s, the czarist secret police produced something called ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ which, actually, you can still obtain on the internet. And you can buy it, actually, sometimes, at bookshops in Russia and elsewhere. This is the longest-running anti-Semitic trope that we have in history. And the trope against Mr. Soros, George Soros, was also created for political purposes, and this is the new ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion.’ I actually intended to write something about this before I was actually invited to come into the administration. Because it’s an absolute outrage.

What is really an “absolute outrage” is that anyone—especially someone testifying in Congress before a national audience—would compare criticism of George Soros with “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

For those unfamiliar with “The Protocols,” they are the most infamous anti-Semitic forgery in history. Believed to have been written by Russian czarist officials in the 19th century, they purported to be a document written by Jews that outlined a Jewish plot to take over the world.

“The Protocols” are a lie, and their sole intent was to create anti-Semitism.

Criticism of Soros is rarely a lie, and its intent is rarely to create anti-Semitism.

Soros is a billionaire whose Open Society Foundations, with offices in 70 countries, is the world’s major funder of left-wing causes.

If Soros were to come from a Lutheran or Catholic family, there would be no less criticism of him. While it is always possible that some people attack Soros solely because he was born into a Jewish family (he does not identify as a Jew), there are few such people.

Much of Israel’s Jewish population, for example, loathes Soros. Are they anti-Semites?

Moreover, Soros loathes Israel. As Joshua Muravchik reported in The Wall Street Journal, “[I]n a speech … to the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, Mr. Soros likened the behavior of Israel to that of the Nazis … “

“George Soros,” the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement in July 2017, “continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself.”

Martin Peretz, former longtime editor-in-chief of The New Republic, wrote:

Soros is ostentatiously indifferent to his own Jewishness. He is not a believer. He has no Jewish communal ties. He certainly isn’t a Zionist. He told Connie Bruck in The New Yorker—testily, she recounted—that ‘I don’t deny the Jews their right to a national existence—but I don’t want to be part of it.’

Hill’s charge that criticism of Soros is “the new ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’” is vile. It is what leftists like Hill—who was a member of the board of Soros’ Open Society Institute from 2000 to 2006—always do when a fellow leftist (who is not a Christian white male) is criticized. Leftists constantly labeled criticism of former President Barack Obama “racist” and branded criticism of Hillary Clinton “sexist” and “misogynist.”

Their goal is to inoculate leftists from criticism.

Breaking: Navy secretary Richard Spencer resigns amid controversy over Navy SEAL

 

The defense chief demanded his resignation Sunday after Mr. Spencer attempted to cut a deal with the White House over the case of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, Mr. Spencer said.

Mr. Spencer had attempted to make a deal with the White House in which President Trump would allow the Navy to conduct an internal Navy review of Chief Gallagher, but that he would then be allowed to retire with his Trident pin, the revered symbol of his membership in the elite commando force. But Mr. Esper only learned of these efforts after the fact, and thus lost confidence in Mr. Spencer.

“I am deeply troubled by this conduct shown by a senior DOD official.” Mr. Esper said in a statement. “Unfortunately, as a result I have determined that Secretary Spencer no longer has my confidence to continue in his position. I wish Richard well.”

San Diego Sheriff’s Dept. Captain, Lieutenant Busted for Trafficking ‘Off Rostether’ Guns

An exception to the California law that only allows guns on the state roster to be sold at retail, is for LE personnel. While the law doesn’t prohibit a later sale, ‘engaging in the business’ is where these cops get tripped up.

Carrying on in the grand tradition of California public officials such as San Francisco’s Leland Yee, a couple of San Diego County Sheriff’s Office cops have been busted for running a thriving gun trafficking business with the help of a prominent local jeweler.

The two cops were able to get their hands on guns not available to the public because of the state’s ludicrous firearm certification requirements. The enterprising SDCSD officers recognized the potential black market demand for “off roster” guns and worked to fill it.

 

Defying Trump, Navy Secretary backs effort to revoke tridents from Eddie Gallagher and other SEALs.

Don’t be surprised to soon see the President accepting the resignations of the Navy Secretary and the Admiral involved if he doesn’t reverse course. While he has done that in the past, I think this incident has concentrated his mind and he’s dug his heels in.
The Deal Is™:
No matter what your thoughts are on what CPO Gallagher did, all authority flows downhill from the President as Commander in Chief and if the service Secretaries and General Officers (just like the executive department bureaucraps) don’t like what his legal orders, or policies are, they can voice their concerns, then either follow their orders or resign their positions. THERE IS NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE short of active sedition.
The political appointees and high ranking military officers (and by that time they’re politicians too) have become accustomed to their exercise of authority with as little direct specific input from their superior as they can manage and they now have a man in office who has been a ‘hands on’ in depth business manager and you can tell they don’t like it.

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (Reuters) – U.S. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said on Friday a Navy SEAL convicted of battlefield misconduct should face a board of peers weighing whether to oust him from the elite force, despite President Donald Trump’s assertion that he not be expelled.

“I believe the process matters for good order and discipline,” Spencer told Reuters, weighing in on a confrontation between Trump and senior Navy officials over the outcome of a high-profile war-crimes case.

A military jury in July convicted Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher of illegally posing for pictures with the corpse of an Islamic State fighter but acquitted him of murder in the detainee’s death. Gallagher also was cleared of charges that he deliberately fired on unarmed civilians.

Although spared a prison sentence, he was demoted in rank and pay grade for his conviction, which stemmed from a 2017 deployment in Iraq.

Last Friday, Trump intervened in the case, ordering the Navy to restore Gallagher’s rank and pay and clearing the way for him to retire on a full pension.

But Navy brass notified Gallagher, 40, on Tuesday that a five-member panel of fellow Navy commandos would convene on Dec. 2 to review his case and recommend whether he is fit to remain in the SEALs.

A decision as to whether Gallagher is ejected from the SEALs, stripping him of his special warfare Trident Pin, ultimately rests with the Navy’s personnel command in Washington. Gallagher would retain his rank but be assigned to other duty, though his lawyer has said he will be eligible to retire soon.

On Thursday, Trump lashed out at the proceedings, declaring on Twitter: “The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin. This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!”

The Navy responded with a statement saying it would follow “lawful orders” from the president to halt the review but was awaiting further guidance, suggesting his Twitter post was not considered a formal directive.

‘THAT’S MY JOB’

Asked whether he believed the proceedings against Gallagher should continue, Spencer, in an interview at the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia, said, “Yes, I do.”

“I think we have a process in place, which we’re going forward with, and that’s my job,” he added.

It was not immediately clear how the showdown between Trump and Navy leaders might affect separate trident review board proceedings convened for three of Gallagher’s commanding officers.

Critics have said Trump’s grants of clemency last week to Gallagher, and to two Army officers separately accused of war crimes in Afghanistan, will undermine military justice and send a message that battlefield atrocities will be tolerated.

The trident review hearings for Gallagher and his immediate superiors were ordered by the commander of Naval Special Warfare, Rear Admiral Collin Green.

Gallagher’s lawyer, Timothy Parlatore, contested the Navy’s move to oust his client in a complaint filed on Monday with the Defense Department’s inspector general, accusing Green of challenging Trump’s authority as commander in chief.

Spencer acknowledged that Trump has the power to restore Gallagher’s SEAL status if Navy commanders decide to expel him, saying, “The commander in chief is the commander in chief … and he can do what he wants.”

(Then the Secretary has one of two choices) 

 

NSC’s Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman: ‘I’m responsible for Ukraine. I’m the most knowledgeable’

This guy sure is full of himself. He’s not the first military officer who had an overdeveloped idea of just what his job was though.

First, I’d ask him who makes the nation’s foreign policy.
Second, I’d ask if he understood the oath of office he took to defend the Constitution. Meaning to not just defend it, but to uphold it as supreme law of the land.
Third, I’d ask him if he was familiar with Article 2 of the Constitution (that empowers The President with the full executive and diplomatic powers of the nation)
Then I’d ask how he could be ‘concerned’ about the President subverting foreign policy.
I would wonder if Vindman was bright enough to get the point he had the  process dead wrong and had actually violated his oath of office.

 

 

The public on Tuesday will get its first look at Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman in action.

And if he follows his closed-door testimony, he will knock his commander in chief while retelling his version of potentially damning conversations with a Trump ambassador.

“I’m the director for Ukraine,” Col. Vindman told the joint House impeachment panel on Oct. 29. “I’m responsible for Ukraine. I’m the most knowledgeable. I’m the authority for Ukraine for the National Security Council and the White House.”

“I’m certainly not the president of the United States,” he said at another point, when asked by a Republican whether he intervened to discourage Ukrainian officials from cooperating in a corruption investigation requested by President Trump. “The president of the United States has the authority to do this, I guess. I don’t know. I didn’t think it was right.”

He said he has never met with Mr. Trump, but his written briefing “gets forwarded from Ambassador Bolton to the president.” He was referring to then-National Security Adviser John R. Bolton.

From his desk with the National Security Council across the driveway from the West Wing, the decorated Army infantry officer witnessed diplomatic maneuvers he didn’t like, according to his released deposition transcript. He readily shared his opinions with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and two other committees.

He complained of “outside influencers” interfering with his work. He mentioned Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal attorney. The president assigned the former New York City mayor the special task of investigating the roles of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and his son Hunter in Ukrainian business dealings. Mr. Biden is running to oppose Mr. Trump in the 2020 election.

Col. Vindman, who was born in Ukraine and speaks his native language, also listed Gordan Sondland as an outsider. Mr. Sondland is a Trump donor who won a bipartisan Senate vote to serve as U.S. ambassador to the European Union in Brussels. Mr. Trump anointed him as an overseer of all things Ukraine — a move Col. Vindman didn’t like.

Col. Vindman said Mr. Sondland, a rookie diplomat, did not go through him before talking with Mr. Bolton.

Democrats on Saturday evening released the transcript testimony of Tim Morrison, who was Col. Vindman’s boss at the NSC for four months. The former Republican congressional staffer resigned on Oct. 31. Mr. Morrison, a nuclear weapons hawk, served as NSC arms control director under Mr. Bolton and in July became director of European affairs.

In summary, Mr. Morrison said he didn’t always trust the colonel. He said Col. Vindman went around the chain of command to the point that he kept him off some official telephone calls.

“I had concerns about Col. Vindman’s judgment,” he testified.

But Mr. Morrison agreed with Col. Vindman that Mr. Sondland was on an unwanted “parallel” diplomatic track. He also agreed with Col. Vindman that the administration should not have tried to persuade the Ukrainian government to agree to any type of investigation of the Bidens or Ukraine’s suspected role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The colonel also disapproved of the president’s conversing with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin and critic of Ukrainian leaders. Mr. Putin’s troops invaded Ukraine in 2014 and robbed it of Crimea.

He also disapproved of Mr. Trump’s firing in May of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who testified Friday in the impeachment inquiry.

“I’m aware of the fact that she was removed, and I thought that was troubling,” Col. Vindman testified.

The Difference Between Schiff and Shinola
Shoe polish is more transparent.

The moment House Speaker Nancy Pelosi chose Adam Schiff to be the point man for the House “impeachment inquiry,” the effort to create a credible case against President Trump was doomed. The overarching case the Democrats have made against Trump is that he is a deeply dishonest man and this fundamental flaw in his personality has inevitably manifested itself in a variety of impeachable offenses. This was the primary theme of the Russia collusion hoax, and it is the basic narrative underlying the Ukraine scandal. Consequently, the decision to put a man of Schiff’s well-documented mendacity in charge of the inquiry was a colossal blunder.

Before Russiagate collapsed, Schiff claimed to have seen “ample evidence of collusion in plain sight.” That assertion turned out to be a cynical lie, of course. Then, when an anonymous bureaucrat filed a complaint concerning President Trump’s conduct during a July call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, Schiff emphatically stated that neither he nor his committee had prior contact with the “whistleblower.” This misrepresentation was too much even for the Washington Post, which awarded him four “Pinocchios.” Worst of all, he fabricated part of the Trump–Zelensky transcript as he opened a hearing to investigate the matter.

It’s hardly a surprise, then, that Schiff’s impeachment inquiry has not exactly been a model of transparency. Closed-door hearings, selective release of transcripts, and leaks of deceptively edited testimony have exacerbated public uncertainty about Schiff’s honesty. This lack of transparency has stunted the growth in voter support for impeachment that followed the whistleblower complaint. A recent Suffolk University/USA Today poll found that only 36.2 percent of registered voters favor impeachment. As for Schiff’s credibility, a new Monmouth survey reveals that 73 percent of voters have little or no trust in the conduct of his inquiry.

Nor has Schiff’s credibility been enhanced by his attempts to hide the identity of the whistleblower. Having repeatedly said that the House Intelligence Committee would interview this individual, Schiff reversed himself. He appeared on Face the Nation and claimed that President Trump had been “threatening the whistleblower” and that it had become necessary to protect the identity of the mystery witness for safety purposes. This is nonsense. Federal law protects whistleblowers against retaliation, but it doesn’t guarantee anonymity. This individual’s lawyer has nonetheless threatened to sue anyone who reveals his client’s name:

Our client is legally entitled to anonymity. Disclosure of the name of any person who may be suspected to be the whistleblower places that individual and their family in great physical danger. Any physical harm the individual and/or their family suffers as a result of disclosure means that the individuals and publications reporting such names will be personally liable for that harm. Such behavior is at the pinnacle of irresponsibility and is intentionally reckless.

Not many are taking that threat seriously, however. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told Fox News anchor Bret Baier on Tuesday, when asked about the legality of revealing the whistleblower’s identity, “There’s nothing that prevents me from saying it.… There’s no law that prevents me from mentioning the name of who’s been said to be the whistleblower.” Sen. Paul continued, “I think he should be interviewed not as the whistleblower, but as a material witness to the Biden corruption in Ukraine.” There is some doubt as to whether this individual is a “whistleblower” as the term is legally defined. As attorney and author Gregg Jarrett writes,

To put it plainly, there is no whistleblower statute that permits an unelected and inferior federal employee to blow the whistle on the president, the most superior officer in the U.S. government.… Article II of the Constitution gives the president sweeping power to conduct foreign affairs, negotiate with leaders of other nations, make requests or solicit information. The Constitution does not grant the power of review, approval or disapproval to bureaucratic employees. Indeed, the whistleblower law explicitly excludes a complaint involving “differences of opinion concerning public policy matters.”

In other words, Schiff’s actual reason for hiding the identity of the so-called whistleblower probably has less to do with the latter’s “safety” than with preventing Ukrainegate from blowing up in the faces of congressional Democrats and the anti-Trump apparatchiks in the federal bureaucracy with whom they have been frantically working to politically damage President Trump, if not actually oust him from office. This would also explain Schiff’s preference for closed-door hearings and his refusal to allow witnesses to answer certain questions from the few Republicans who have been allowed to participate in the secretive process. As Steve Scalise (R-La.) put it,

It’s clear Pelosi needs to declare a mistrial. This has been a tainted process from the start. What happened today confirms even worse just how poorly Adam Schiff is handling this process, denying the ability for Republicans to even ask basic questions that are critical to the heart of whether or not a President of the United States is impeached.

In the end, this kind of skullduggery won’t fly. The American people place a very high value on fairness, and they aren’t going to allow the president of the United States to be brought down by corrupt politicians and bellyaching bureaucrats. The voters want to make the call themselves. The Monmouth poll noted above captures the mood of the electorate perfectly: “Most Americans (59%) agree with the statement that ‘if you want Trump out of office, it makes more sense to focus on next year’s election rather than go through an impeachment process now.’ ” Unlike Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, the voters know the difference between Schiff and Shinola.

plata o plomo (Your Sunday Sermonette) and “The Brothers”

I’ve heard the first term before. Paul will have to be the one to confirm that it, and the others, originated in Columbia though.

Definition of Terms

Plata o plomo is a Colombian Spanish slang phrase that translates to “silver or lead.” A person saying the phrase is telling the listener to either accept a bribe (plata, meaning “silver,” a common slang term for money in Colombia) or lose their life (plomo, a metonym for “lead bullet”).
un billetico If you’ve ever spent some time in a Spanish speaking country, there’s a good chance you’ll know the word billete, or ticket. In Colombia, and more specifically in the world of the narcos, un billete is a large amount of money, and un billetico is a really large amount of money.

In context:
“Se ganó un billetico con esa vuelta.”
Corruption, and the Deep State in the Age of Trump

The reality is that there are levels of corruption in every large business and in every level of government to some degree. There are things that even the most honest organs of the state live with because they seem to be necessary. And leaders don’t want people working for them who are ‘cleaner’ than they are because that’s dangerous. So they buffer themselves with like-minded people and keep the ‘cleaner’ people at lower levels, beyond a certain level of decision making. I’ve been there, friends. I know the ups and downs. And there comes a point in time when the filth won’t come out from under your fingernails. You can tell a lot of Washington insiders by that dirt.

And while you may have read that I’m not overly proud of the FBI and that’s true. There was a guy who I worked with every day for five years, FBI guy, and we did some sensitive stuff. We also had fun. I remember once at the Hard Rock Cafe in Vegas when a snowflake came in with a SEAL Team Two patch on his shabby jacket and I had a few under my belt, so I took out my clasp knife, tossed him on the floor and cut the patch off before my buddy could pull me off of the terrified Hard Rock customer. No flesh came away with the patch. I showed remarkable restraint. Vegas Metro showed up, we buzzed them, they left, nothing to see here. Anyway, he rose to be Deputy Director over the Narcotics and Enterprise Crime (Organized Crime) Division. Then he tossed it away, transferred out and ended up as Special Agent-in-Charge of the Sacramento RA until he had enough time in and enough money in the thrift fund to retire. Sometimes, you need to walk away from the swamp. Nietzsche said that when you look into the abyss too long, the abyss also looks back into you. The same could be said of the swamp.

But I digress. The war stories could go on for weeks.

CIA was born in 1947 as a child of the Cold War to fight the Soviet enemy. That’s really all there was that mattered. The Russians moved slowly and the Americans moved slowly as the respective bureaucracies churned. For the US, the academics from old school tie/ivy league ran a gentleman’s business primarily under State Department/diplomatic cover. Sure, there are knuckle draggers in the Special Activities Division and paramilitary ops but you’re not going to rise in the corporation from those beginnings.

The Deep State that we see today truly had its genesis and its bloom under Allen Welsh Dulles, an American diplomat and lawyer who became the first civilian Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. His older brother, John Foster Dulles, was the Secretary of State during the Eisenhower Administration and is the namesake of Dulles Airport.

The FBI was a child of J. Edgar Hoover, a corrupt, closet homosexual whose stock in trade was political extortion inside the Washington DC Beltway.

It doesn’t matter how your consciences lets you slice it, those facts are not in dispute. And the children of those fathers now pull the strings of power. We’ve all seen it play out first hand when Hillary Clinton, infinitely corrupt and wicked, didn’t win. And President Trump only wanted to Make America Great Again. They couldn’t corrupt Trump with money or women or power and he wasn’t willing to read what had been written for him by his handlers from a teleprompter.

When ‘plato o plomo’ was offered to President Trump, he laughed. Speaker Paul Ryan (running mate to Mitt [Pierre Delicto] Romney) tried to explain how things worked several times and the president ignored him. So the machine ground against President Trump, who had been surrounded by the machine the moment he took office.  The corrupt, lying, filthy, sly mainstream media, the core Democrats and the core Republicans all lined up to remove him from office. The selected vehicle was “Russia” – the boogeyman of the Cold War. And it still is. Just turn on the news. Except that there is no more Soviet Union, and the Russian Federation, a fraction if its former size and strength is a regional power with nuclear weapons and a GDP that is smaller than that of Texas. However, none of that matters to the Deep State because China pays to play, so that just leaves Russia.

And America had been brainwashed to fear Russia. The Military Industrial Complex saw to it that we were, because it justified massive budgets and enormous profits… and constant proxy wars. Because as General S. D. Butler, USMC reminds us, “War is a racket“.

If you offered corrupt old Slow Joe Biden plato o plomo, he’d take the silver – from China, from Ukraine, from anywhere, just the way that Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative did.  Just the way that the Bush Dynasty did and the way that Barack Obama went from being broke when he entered the White House to a billionaire in eight years. Because that’s what America has become under the rule of this filthy machine. un billetico

Glenn Beck Presents: The Democrats’ Hydra

By the end of the first hour you have explained how the state department is operating independently. It doesn’t matter who the president  -the office which sets foreign policy according to the constitution –is; They’re going to do the things that their agenda calls for. Which is why the state department is in open rebellion against the president.

The second hour explains the modern era. Current state department employees actively working to start revolutions all around the globe, actively training citizens in other countries how to take down their governments. Little details like that the state department used taxpayer money to print Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” in the Macedonian language to enable revolution in that country. Details of an initiative started as soon as Obama took office and renamed a year later by Clinton herself as “Civil Society 2.0.”

Here are the FACTS about the impeachment inquiry, Soros, Ukraine
The documentary evidence to back this up. At your convenience, do your own homework and decide if Beck makes a reasonable case.

Elise Stefanik’s Stardom is Born
“President Obama’s own State Department was so concerned about potential conflicts of interest from Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma that they raised it themselves while prepping this wonderful Ambassador nominee before her confirmation. And yet our Democratic colleagues and the Chairman of this Committee cry foul when we dare ask that same question that the Obama State Department was so concerned about.”

Elise Stefanik is from New York’s 21st District.
We’re not talking Manhattan here, it’s the north country, covering the Adirondack Mountains from the Vermont border to the east and the Canadian border to the north and west……….

Stefanik won the seat in 2014, at age 30. At the time, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress…………

First, she took on Schiff. But because she’s Republican, Schiff received media cheers not scorn for trying to shut her up.

She scored a substantive home run by pointing out that the Obama administration was concerned about Hunter Biden’s actions in Ukraine, so much so that she was prepped on the subject in advance of her Senate confirmation hearings. So why, she asked, is it wrong when Republicans to have the same concerns about Hunter Biden that the Obama administration had?

 

Attorney General William P. Barr Releases First-Ever Semiannual Report on the Fix NICS Act

On Nov. 14, 2019, the Attorney General published and submitted to Congress the first semiannual report on the Fix NICS Act. The report, required by the Fix NICS Act passed by Congress in March 2018, reflects strong compliance with the Act and demonstrates renewed efforts at all levels of government to improve the sharing of records and information that are vital to the effective operation of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

“An effective NICS system is critical to ensuring that we keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “I am encouraged by the results of this initial report. Fix NICS implementation is still in its infancy, yet already we’re seeing great strides being made across government – state, tribal, and federal law enforcement – to strengthen the NICS. Given the preliminary data, it is clear that the Fix NICS Act is well on its way to doing exactly what it was intended to do – make the NICS better.”

The NICS is a computerized system designed to help determine if a person is disqualified from possessing or receiving firearms by conducting a search of available relevant records. The databases searched by the NICS contain records with information relevant to the legal prohibitions against firearm possession and purchasing under both federal and state law. To function effectively, the NICS must have access to complete, accurate, and timely information submitted by relevant agencies in all levels of government across the country.

The 2018 Fix NICS Act was passed to encourage government agencies to improve their records submission processes and further strengthen the NICS. Under the Fix NICS Act:

  • Federal agencies:
    • must report certain record submission metrics to the Attorney General in semiannual certifications; and
    • must establish four-year implementation plans to improve records submissions.
  • States and tribal governments:
    • are incentivized with grant preferences to establish four-year implementation plans.
  • The Attorney General:
    • must publish and submit to Congress a semiannual report on federal agency compliance with the Act; and
    • must determine whether federal agencies, states, and Indian tribal governments have achieved substantial compliance with the benchmarks set out in their implementation plans.

Report Highlights:

Compliance:

  • 45 federal agencies submitted certifications and implementation plans
  • All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Indian tribal governments established implementation plans and
  • Another 44 federal agencies certified they do not have any relevant records

Early Results:

The efforts by federal agencies, states, and Indian tribal governments under the Act are already paying off. Between April 2018 and August 2019:

  • There was an increase of over six million records in the three national databases searched with every NICS check—a 6.2 percent increase. In addition, there was a 15 percent increase in records in one of those databases, the NICS Indices.
  • The number of Firearm Retrieval Referrals (FRRs) (where a prohibited person is able to purchase a firearm because the background check could not be concluded within three business days due to incomplete records) decreased each month in comparison to the same month during the previous year, for an average monthly decline of 102 FRRs.
  • With the exception of June 2018, there was an increase in the percentage of NICS checks resulting in an immediate determination (not requiring a delay for further research) compared to the previous year. Specifically, there was an average increase of 0.51 percent for each month when compared with the same month of the previous year.
Graph on Fix NICS
  • From May 2019 through July 2019, the military branches enhanced their record reporting by increasing entries into the Controlled Substance category by 10 percent, with an overall increase in multiple categories of 2.63 percent.
  • The U.S. Customs and Border Protection entered approximately 13 million illegal or unlawful alien records into the NICS Indices in October 2019.

Although the implementation plans have been in place for just a few months, these early indicators are encouraging. As the plans are executed over the next several years, the Department of Justice expects to see a real and lasting positive impact on NICS records and operations.

The complete report can be accessed here: https://www.justice.gov/ag/fix-nics-report-2019.

Impeachment Hearings: New Whine in an Old Battle

The Diplomad: “W. Lewis Amselem, long time US Foreign Service Officer; now retired; served all over the world and under all sorts of conditions. Convinced the State Department needs to be drastically slashed and reformed so that it will no longer pose a threat to the national interests of the United States.”

Despite having just bought a new Sig P226 Legion and a Sig P365 (both excellent), I spent much of the day listening to the so-called impeachment hearings . . . sigh . . . gotta get a life.

I don’t know what was more depressing, the hearings themselves or the comments afterwards by the so-called punditry class. These pundits, left and right, were chattering on and on about “take-aways” from the testimony. Yes, Bill, there was this and there was that, and, of course, that there . . . PLEASE STOP!

Let me give you the one take-away y’all need, and remember this comes from a former denizen of the Foggy Bottom Swamp, one who used to swim and crawl with all them swamp creatures.

What you saw were a couple of career dips–neither of whom I know personally–whining a familiar whine that one can hear echoing in the halls of Foggy Bottom and just about anywhere else where “PROFESSIONAL” civil servants congregate. What is it? Simple: THEY are not paying attention to us!

You saw Ambassador Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary Kent all in a knot because the President had an “irregular” channel he used to conduct foreign policy in Ukraine. Wow! I didn’t realize that we had elected Taylor and Kent!

Let me put it in nice simple terms so that the Swamp Beings will understand: The President sets and conducts foreign policy, not State, not the NSC, not the DOD, not any other alphabet agency. He does not have to go through State or NSC to conduct said policy; he does not have to consult with Kent or Taylor or anybody else on Ukraine or any other aspect of foreign policy.

All Presidents have used “irregular” channels going back at least to Woodrow Wilson and Colonel House. All have used messengers and negotiators outside the established bureaucracy for different diplomatic missions. There is nothing unusual or illegal or impeachable for doing this. The bureaucracy doesn’t like it, so what?

More of this “impeachment” nonsense to come.