18 thoughts on “News/Politics 12-6-17

  1. Everyone on the Today Show and NBC acted shocked at the Matt Lauer accusations. But they’re lying, they all knew.



    “Embattled NBC executives have been falling over themselves insisting they had no idea about Matt Lauer’s pervy past. But if anyone doubts that New York’s media elite was aware of Lauer’s reputation, they should look no further than a top-secret “roast” of Lauer that took place in October 2008.

    The notorious event — now legendary in New York media circles — pushed the outer limits of sexist, racist, homophobic and obscene jokes — and left little doubt that Lauer’s colleagues knew NBC’s biggest star had a troubled marriage and a wandering eye.

    Last week, NBC’s own Joe Scarborough, who attended the roast but said he left early, feeling uncomfortable, brought it up on “Morning Joe.” Lauer’s peccadillos, he said, were not just known about. At the roast, they were celebrated.

    “The whole theme was that he does the show and then he has sex with people, with employees,” Scarborough said. “So was this whispered behind closed doors? No. It was shouted from the mountaintops and everybody laughed about it.”

    The 2008 Friars Club roast took place at the New York Hilton and was attended by everyone from future President Donald Trump to TV legend Norman Lear to a constellation of New York’s media elite including Brian Williams, Diane Sawyer, Nancy O’Dell and Howard Stern. Also on hand were numerous top executives from across the business and almost everyone who was anyone at NBC News. Fox News has confirmed many details of the roast with a media executive who attended, and has also drawn on the one contemporaneous account of the roast, which appeared in The Village Voice.”

    “Another of the roast’s speakers was current CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker — then the chairman of NBC Universal — who last week adamantly denied that he had any idea about Lauer’s in-office sexcapades.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Feinstein’s wrong. Again. As usual.


    “Feinstein said: “I think what we’re beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice, I think we see this in the indictments — the four indictments and pleas that have just taken place.

    “And I see it, most importantly, in what happened with the firing of Director Comey, and it is my belief that that is directly because he did not agree to lift the cloud of the Russia investigation, that’s obstruction of justice.”

    No, it isn’t.

    Feinstein does not seem to understand that under our constitutional system of separation of powers, the president cannot be charged with a crime for merely exercising his authority under Article 2 of the Constitution. This authority includes firing the director of the FBI, for whatever reason or no reason. It also includes the authority to tell prosecutors who to prosecute and who not to. A president’s motives may not be the basis for a criminal charge. Nor is it proper to psychoanalyze the president in a search for possible evil motives. All presidents act out of mixed motives, including self-aggrandizement, political advantage, partisan benefit, and personal pique.

    Consider, for example, President Barack Obama’s benighted decision, as a lame duck, to tie the hands of his successor by unilaterally changing the longstanding American policy with regard to the United Nations condemnation of Israel. The president, over the objection of many members of Congress and most Americans, instructed his UN ambassador not to veto a Security Council Resolution that declared the Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, and the access roads to Hebrew University and Hadassah Medical Center hospital, to be illegally occupied territory. Why did Obama exercise his authority in so pernicious a manner? I believe, and many Americans believe, that he did it out of spite and pique: to get even with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. If I am right, and I am sure that this was at least one of his motivating considerations, could he be charged with a crime for abusing his authority for personal vengeance? Of course not. We can condemn him, as I and others have. But we must all acknowledge that he had the authority to do what he did, regardless of his bad motives.

    Ironically, it was the effort of the Trump administration to prevent the lame-duck president from tying the hands of the president-elect, by not vetoing the UN resolution, that formed the basis for the lying charge levied against General Michael Flynn. For whatever reason, Flynn lied — but what he lied about was entirely lawful.

    Trump would have been within his constitutional authority to pardon Flynn, as Flynn hoped he would do. That would have kept him from cooperating with the special counsel and becoming a government witness. Had the president done that, he would have acted entirely lawfully, as President George H. W. Bush did when he pardoned Caspar Weinberger in order to stop the Iran-Contra investigation. Although special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh complained bitterly that the Bush presidential pardon had the intent and effect of completely closing down his investigation, no one suggested that Bush had committed the crime of obstruction of justice. Why? Because that was Bush and this is Trump — a pure ad hominem distinction that should be given no weight by the law.

    It would do violence to our constitutional separation of powers if a president could be charged with a crime simply for exercising his constitutional authority. Checks and balances do not include the power to criminalize — through the vague obstruction of justice statute — presidential actions authorized by Article 2. Both Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were accused of obstruction of justice, but in both cases they were accused of going well beyond the mere exercise of their constitutional authority. Nixon was accused of telling subordinates to lie to the FBI, paying hush money to potential witnesses, and destroying evidence. Clinton was accused of trying to get witnesses, such a Monica Lewinsky, to lie. These charges constitute acts — independent crimes — that go well beyond a presidential authority. Trump has not been accused of any acts that would independently constitute crimes. The entire case against him, as outlined by Feinstein, consists of constitutionally authorized acts that were well within the president’s authority under Article 2. That is an enormous and consequential difference under our system of separation of powers.”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s amazing what happens when you enforce the law.


    “End of the year reports are beginning to trickle in from law enforcement across a number of fields and that includes immigration and Border Patrol. If the President is looking for any more good news to share over the Christmas break, one area he could point to is the effectiveness demonstrated in making progress on curbing illegal immigration and removing illegal aliens from the country. The Associated Press reports that illegal border crossings (as measured by the number of people apprehended) are down significantly since Trump took office, while detainment and deportation of illegal aliens in other parts of the country have risen sharply.

    Border Patrol arrests plunged to a 45-year low, but detentions by deportation officers away from the U.S.-Mexico border soared during President Donald Trump’s first months in office, as his efforts to overhaul the nation’s immigration system took effect.

    In all, the Border Patrol made 310,531 arrests during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, a decline of 25 percent from a year earlier and the lowest level since 1971. But U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, whose officers pick up people for deportation, made 143,470 arrests, an increase of 25 percent. After Trump took office, ICE arrests surged 40 percent from the same period a year earlier.

    Digging further into the numbers, it turns out that the total number of deportations nationwide hasn’t actually increased. In fact, it’s fallen six percent. One might be tempted to believe that’s because Barack Obama was quite the deporter himself, much to the chagrin of his supporters. But these totals actually reflect a very big drop in the deportation of aliens arrested right near the border, with a corresponding jump in deportations from around the rest of the country. In short, not having so many people to deal with as they come over the border, ICE has been freed up to go after those who have been in the country longer and migrated to other areas.

    Overall, ICE said deportations totaled 226,119, a decline of 6 percent from the previous year, but that number masks a major shift away from the border. ICE often takes custody of people at the border before deporting them; the sharp drop in Border Patrol arrests means fewer people to remove.

    ICE said “interior removals” — people deported after being arrested away from the border — jumped 25 percent to 81,603. And they were up 37 percent after Trump’s inauguration compared to the same period a year earlier.”


  4. Ordinary voters often face difficult choices at the polls because we must weigh competing ideas and values, and this comment is not about whether you’re voting for Roy Moore or Doug Jones—or a write in. Our singular voices are not loud and amplified, but most of us do take our vote seriously and view it as a solemn duty. And then there are people like Sen. Jeff Flake. Flake not only lack the guts to stay in the fight when the going gets tough, but he also uses his public platform to stick a finger in the eye of struggling voters of conscience on his way to the exit. Shame on him.



  5. Debra,

    Here’s one I hadn’t seen before. The Flake family seems to have a dispute going with Sheriff Joe.



    “Arizona jurors who will decide a malicious-prosecution trial against former Sheriff Joe Arpaio were told that one of Sen. Jeff Flake’s sons suffered from depression as a result of a now-dismissed animal cruelty case that the lawman brought against him.

    The jury was told on the opening day of the civil trial that Austin Flake and his ex-wife Logan Brown still suffer emotional distress from the charges they faced when 21 dogs at a kennel operated by the younger Flake’s in-laws died from heat exhaustion. The Flakes were watching the dogs while the in-laws were in Florida.

    The lawsuit filed by the couple alleges Arpaio pursued charges against them to do political damage to the Republican senator from Arizona and gain publicity for himself. While jurors were told about Arpaio’s efforts to publicize the case, the elder Flake was barely mentioned during opening Tuesday’s opening statements.

    Stephen Montoya, an attorney representing the younger Flake and his ex-wife, said there was no evidence showing his clients intended to hurt the dogs.

    “It wasn’t Austin’s fault. It wasn’t Logan’s fault,” Montoya said, adding that the criminal case contributed to the demise of the couple’s marriage.

    Jeffrey Leonard, an attorney representing Maricopa County and the former sheriff, said the charges against the couple were the result of a competent investigation.

    “There were no predetermined results,” Leonard said. “Conclusions were drawn in good faith by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.”

    Leonard also told jurors that the prosecutor who filed the charges was not pressured by Arpaio’s office to prosecute the couple.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good.


    “The illegal alien who shot and killed Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier in 2015 didn’t wind up being convicted of anything other than a weapons charge which would result in no additional jail time. There was some talk about a possible warrant in Texas which might have put Jose Ines Garcia Zarate away for a while if he violated the conditions of parole on a previous conviction, but that remains unclear thus far. Now, however, the game has changed.

    The Associated Press reports that the feds have stepped up (as many of us requested initially) and brought charges against Zarate. They would basically be the same counts of being an illegal alien and felon in possession of a weapon which the state convicted him on, but this time handled at the federal level.

    U.S. authorities on Tuesday charged a Mexican man with new immigration and gun violations less than a week after a San Francisco jury acquitted him of murder for the shooting death of Kate Steinle, a case that helped fuel a fierce national debate on immigration.

    A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Jose Ines Garcia Zarate Tuesday on one count each of felon in possession of a firearm and of “being an alien illegally and unlawfully in the United States” in possession of a gun and ammunition, according to the indictment.

    A San Francisco jury last week convicted him of a state charge of felon in possession of a firearm after acquitting him of murder and assault for the July 1, 2015 shooting.”


  7. It’s not. One is a state crime, the other federal.

    Here’s an explanation of why it’s not double jeopardy.


    “Is it Double Jeopardy to Charge a Crime at Both the State and Federal Level?

    No. Double jeopardy and “dual sovereignty” are completely different concepts. Nothing prevents competing state and federal agencies from bringing similar criminal charges arising out of the same act against a single defendant so long as a crime can be charged at both the state and federal level.

    Double jeopardy only applies to one jurisdiction at a time. A state government cannot bring a second prosecution against you for the same state crime once you’ve been acquitted. The same goes for the federal government regarding a federal offense.

    What Does “Dual Sovereignty” Mean?

    The concept of dual sovereignty means the federal and state governments may both prosecute you for a crime without violating the constitutional protection against double jeopardy if your act violated both state laws and federal statute.

    If murder is committed within the borders of a state, that state has jurisdiction. If the victim is a federal or foreign official, or if the crime took place on federal property or involved crossing state lines, or in a manner that substantially affects interstate commerce or national security, the federal government also has jurisdiction.

    In the above example, the Utah sheriff’s deputy was assisting a federal investigation of drug trafficking by providing local surveillance of the suspect eventually charged with her murder. She was murdered in the state of Utah, so Utah maintains jurisdiction.

    However, since it is a separate federal offense to intentionally kill a local officer assisting in a federal investigation, the U.S. government also retains jurisdiction. Thus, the suspect can be prosecuted in both a state murder case and a federal murder case.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jose Ines Garcia Zarate illegally crossed state and national lines, and was committing a violation of federal immigration and gun laws (felon) when he committed the murder.


  9. RickyWeaver, the only reason I won’t hold you to yesterday’s bet is because journalists, by and large, with rare exception, are a piece of garbage (I know we disagree on that point) so the story may change again, tomorrow, at which point we can renegotiate.


  10. SolarP, You are right that I don’t think journalists are pieces of garbage. You are also right that this story may change. The press is still figuring this one out. There is a big difference between a Trump related person and a Trump-related entity (which may be wholely owned by Trump.

    Let’s see if the NYT and the WaPo weigh in. They haven’t done so yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is the sort of thing that makes National Review interesting. Andrew McCarthy has been one of the most pro-Trump writers at NR during the entire Trump/Russia investigation. However, he thinks FBI agent Strzok may be getting a bad rap:


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