38 thoughts on “News/Politics 2-5-18

  1. Looks like shifty Schiff may have gone and done what he falsely accused Nunes of doing.

    https://lawandcrime.com/legal-analysis/adam-schiff-apparently-released-classified-information-in-attempt-to-rebut-nunes-memo/

    “Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) appears to be openly disclosing classified information to the news media–after weeks of complaining about Republican plans to disclose such information.

    Per a report by CNN on Saturday, Schiff, the ranking member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (“HPSCI”) told multiple reporters on Friday that the central claim of the Nunes surveillance memo was “unfounded.”

    The Nunes surveillance memo relies upon the following thesis: that FBI and DOJ officials within the Obama administration made substantial and material omissions–rising to the level of perhaps unlawful misrepresentations–in front of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISA Court”) in order to obtain a surveillance warrant on Donald Trump‘s former campaign volunteer, Carter Page. The memo itself spells out those alleged omissions and reads, in part:

    Neither the initial [FISA] application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior and FBI officials.

    But after the controversial memo was released on Friday, Schiff took multiple reporters by the hand and offered his insight into those allegations against high-level officials within the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) by dismissing them in whole.

    Those insights cut to the heart of the Nunes memo’s claims. Namely, Schiff noted, via both a press release and comments to reporters, that the memo’s claims regarding Christopher Steele‘s political motivations were “not accurate.” Schiff’s press release reads, in part:

    The Majority suggests that the FBI failed to alert the court as to Mr. Steele’s potential political motivations or the political motivations of those who hired him, but this is not accurate.

    In comments to reporters, Schiff later said that Steele’s “likely political motivation” was made aware to the FISA Court–again, a direct contradiction of the Nunes surveillance memo’s allegations.

    But in the performance of Schiff’s schtick–protecting the nation’s largely unaccountable intelligence agencies from any sort of oversight–Schiff may have released classified information himself.

    Now, the initial press release, on its own, likely isn’t enough to rise to the level of releasing classified information. Schiff’s lengthy rebuttal more or less just says that Devin Nunes’ memo is wrong and is light on details. But his later comments to reporters–where he told reporters that Steele’s “likely political motivation” was revealed to the FISA Court–do appear to reveal distinct information, potentially classified information.”

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  2. The memo release is causing other problems for some….

    Looks like the FBI had it’s denials refuted.

    https://www.redstate.com/california_yankee/2018/02/03/federal-judge-demands-justice-department-explanation-nunes-memo-release/

    “Federal Judge Amit P. Mehta demanded the Department of Justice explain why the release of the House Intelligence Committee’s so-called Nunes memo shouldn’t force investigators to acknowledge the existence of more records related to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”)

    USA Today reporter Brad Heath tweets that Judge Mehta wants the Justice Department to explain whether it will continue to argue that it cannot confirm or deny the existence of FISA records related to Trump associates:

    The Justice Department previously said it couldn’t confirm or deny the existence of foreign surveillance-related records regarding Donald Trump and his business and campaign associates. According to CNN, the FBI has claimed that such a disclosure would hurt national security and could interfere with the special counsel Mueller’s never ending probe into alleged Russian collusion and the 2016 election.”
    ———————-

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  3. And again, why would the FBI seek to hide a public accounting of events?

    http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2018/02/fbi_told_oregon_state_police_n.html#incart_river_home

    “Prosecutors say witness testimony, audio and video evidence, plus bullet trajectory analysis yielded one conclusion: FBI agent W. Joseph Astarita lied about firing two shots at the truck of refuge occupation spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum in 2016 after he swerved into a snowbank.

    The information is detailed in a 32-page government response to Astarita’s motion to dismiss the federal indictment against him. He’s pleaded not guilty to three counts of making false statements and two counts of obstruction of justice. Astarita’s lawyer claimed the indictment was based on “junk science.”

    The government response also reveals that Oregon State Police SWAT troopers at the scene, ordinarily required to wear body cameras, didn’t that day at the request of the FBI. The FBI did obtain video from FBI surveillance planes flying above the scene.

    State police detectives also normally record interviews of officers who might be involved in a shooting, but they didn’t that night when questioning the FBI Hostage Rescue Team members, again at the FBI’s request. A follow-up interview with the hostage team members also came with unusual conditions, prosecutors note.”
    ———————-

    Why it’s almost like they were seeking to avoid disclosing relevant facts. Again.

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  4. I would have to disagree. I think he was better at it than most.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trey-gowdy-is-retiring-because-he-thinks-he-was-a-lousy-politician/article/2648062

    “Rep. Trey Gowdy said he’s going to leave Congress at the end of his term because he feels like he’s been a “lousy politician” because he doesn’t see political life about winning and losing.

    “I enjoy the justice system, I enjoy being fair. I enjoy the pursuit of fairness as a virtue. And I’m just more comfortable in that system,” he said on CBS’ “Face The Nation.””

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  5. I suppose Trey Gowdy is weary of being in a position where you’re just as likely to be back-stabbed by your own party as the opposition. I’m sorry to see him go because we need people who are willing to work for fairness all the way around. Our establishment politicians seem to be allergic to that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We have to have a bipartisan healthcare solution that works for the country. I applaud the efforts of my own ‘establishment’ Senator Alexander. He’s been working hard on a bipartisan healthcare fix for months. I can’t say I know if it’s a great solution or not, but he gets my thanks for being on the front lines and trying to salvage what can be saved when so many others just want to pull the plug and let millions of people fall through the cracks.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/456067/obamacare-gop-republicans-prepare-back-bailout

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  7. Interesting article, Debra. Healthcare is one of two big economic problems in this country. Making decent healthcare affordable should be a major focus of our leaders. I am sure Trump will get around to it, but he is busy Tweeting a new nickname for Adam Schiff.

    Gowdy is the new hero of the mainstream media. The major networks are all gushing about how he explained that Mueller’s investigation is still needed and contradicted Trump’s claim that The Memo exonerated him. How long will it be before Trump has a nickname for Gowdy?

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  8. Ricky, Trump does not provide the traditional sort of leadership for legislation that other presidents have provided. He’s not really a politician and he is not a healthcare expert. Healthcare has been on the national agenda for many years and legislators don’t have an excuse not to proceed intelligently with some kind of plan. I am not highly knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the healthcare system, but I do know that 1) insurance companies are still making healthy profits and 2) other countries have made very affordable coverage available to all. I don’t see why we can’t manage to do the same without a political Armageddon.

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  9. If you want to know what is going to happen in healthcare, read about conversations between the healthcare lobbyists and leading Democrats. The healthcare industry knows the Republicans are toast in November. They are making sure the Dems keep the big checks coming their way in 2019-2020, understanding that Trump will sign anything put in front of him while claiming it is the greatest bill ever.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Toast you say?

    http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/372101-gop-growing-optimistic-about-midterm-chances

    “Republicans are feeling better about their prospects in the midterm elections, buoyed by recent polls that show their numbers improving.

    An ebullient President Trump touted the shift in public sentiment reflected in recent polls during a joint Senate-House Republican retreat in West Virginia this week.

    “I just looked at some numbers, you’ve even done better than you thought,” Trump told lawmakers, citing poll numbers he discussed Thursday with National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Steve Stivers (R-Ohio).

    “The numbers are pretty good and that’s one example of how things are getting better,” Stivers told reporters after discussing polling numbers with Trump.

    Stivers said the bump in Trump’s approval rating is a good sign for Republicans running for reelection.

    “No president in their second year has seen their approval rating go up except now this one,” Stivers noted. GOP lawmakers discussed the favorable turn in poll numbers during their retreat.”
    ————————–

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  11. More…..

    https://legalinsurrection.com/2018/02/democrats-nightmare-trumps-approval-rises-as-americans-continue-to-shed-celebrity-influence/#more-241258

    “Oh how the tides have turned. Democrats have thought latching onto celebrities would keep their brand afloat, but that has slowly died down with Trump’s victory being the climax. Well, so we thought. Democrats and celebrities have a tough time accepting reality…you know, like how us regular Americans don’t give a damn about what they think.

    Trump delivered them ANOTHER blow with his State of the Union last month while ANOTHER awards show dipped in ratings because we are sick and tired of being lectured by over paid snobs.”
    —————-

    “Yesterday I blogged about how those elites in the DC bubble still cannot believe that Trump’s approval ratings continue to climb after the SOTU and implementation of the tax reform plan. I found this response today:

    Exactly. My parents are into politics, but their finances are their main concern. I’ve tried to bring up Russia in regular conversations with family members and friends and the topic lasts maybe a minute. Then it goes back to our economy or our daily life in general.”

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  12. Ricky @9:35 Or you could always just ask DJ what happens when hedge fund thinking meets media. It’s scavenger capitalism at best. :–/

    “Rumors of impending bankruptcy made it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for iHeart to issue debt in the public market,” the pension fund argued, citing that the radio giant has several times been forced to warn investors that it may go out of business.

    iHeart has more than $20 billion in debt, much of which will be maturing this year and the next. The company became highly leveraged after Thomas H. Lee Partners (THL) and Bain Capital — the private equity fund founded by 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney — took effective control of the company in 2006.

    Both investment firms are known for buying up companies and selling off their most profitable divisions. Frequently, as in the case of iHeart, buyout firms use bonds and loans to purchase targeted company stock in the hopes of driving up share prices and also to provide greater freedom for restructuring.

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  13. Limbaugh doesn’t lead; he follows. He would have fully propped up any candidate who could get the Republican nomination. The purpose of his radio persona is to defeat Democrats; that’s his schtick. When it seemed that Cruz supporters were defecting, he tacked away from Trump and gave props to Cruz. When Trump won the nomination, he was all in for Trump. Republicans have not generally complained of him until recently. I can’t imagine why he’s in the dog house now. ;–)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Debra, Much of what you said about Limbaugh was spot on. However, he was firmly in my dog house in the early 1990s when he went “all in” behind Big Bush and has been there on many other occasions.

    In my mind conservative leaders and publications should endeavor to perform imperfectly on secular issues the functions performed perfectly by Scripture as set forth in 1st Timothy 3:16. We have been greatly in need of more “correction and reproof”.

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  15. Ricky, I’ve long thought it amusing/sad that many atheists give way too much time and attention to a Person they claim not to believe in. Well, I don’t believe in Santa Claus or the tooth fairy, and they get pretty much zero attention from me through the year.

    You and Trump are like atheists and God. Why not just dislike him, shrug, and move on?

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  16. Like I been sayin’……..

    There’s more to come, if Grassley has his way, and I see no reason why he shouldn’t.

    https://legalinsurrection.com/2018/02/steeles-second-dossier-included-info-from-clinton-associates-in-obamas-state-department/

    “It looks like former British spy Christopher Steele authored a second dossier against then-GOP candidate Donald Trump. This one included information from failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton associates within former President Barack Obama’s State Department.

    Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and member Lindsey Graham (R-SC) revealed that the FBI has “signed off on an unclassified version of the criminal referral” from the two men after the White House declassified House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’ memo on Friday:

    “Seeking transparency and cooperation should not be this challenging. The government should not be blotting out information that it admits isn’t secret, and it should not take dramatic steps by Congress and the White House to get answers that the American people are demanding. There are still many questions that can only be answered by complete transparency. That means declassifying as much of the underlying documents as possible,” Grassley said.

    Grassley posted the document on his website, but it’s heavily redacted. One part remained intact:

    https://www.grassley.senate.gov/sites/default/files/constituents/2018-02-02%20CEG%20LG%20to%20DOJ%20FBI%20%28Unclassified%20Steele%20Referral%29.pdf

    Unfortunately, this is all we have and the names are blacked out. However, I blogged at the end of January that the FBI is assessing a second dossier authored by Cody Shearer, an activist close to the Clinton family. Steele had contact with Shearer along with “Obama State Department official Jonathan Winer.” From The Washington Examiner:

    For example, a press release accompanying the referral said the referral “contains verbatim quotes from the [Carter Page surveillance] application that are not included in the [House Intelligence Committee] memo. Specifically, the referral quotes the application’s descriptions of Steele’s statements to the FBI about his contacts with the media.” Lest anyone get too excited, the press release went on to say that the quotes “remain redacted” in the version of the referral released Monday.

    Some of the redacted passages also relate to the question of statements about Steele’s press contacts that the FBI made to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in applying for the Page surveillance warrant that was the subject of the House Intelligence Committee memo released Friday.”

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  17. Let’s be honest. Was it really a “lost track of” kinda thing, or is it more of a “well how do you think we fund all our clandestine ops and black ops off the books?” kinda thing?……

    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/05/pentagon-logistics-agency-review-funds-322860

    “One of the Pentagon’s largest agencies can’t account for hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of spending, a leading accounting firm says in an internal audit obtained by POLITICO that arrives just as President Donald Trump is proposing a boost in the military budget.

    Ernst & Young found that the Defense Logistics Agency failed to properly document more than $800 million in construction projects, just one of a series of examples where it lacks a paper trail for millions of dollars in property and equipment. Across the board, its financial management is so weak that its leaders and oversight bodies have no reliable way to track the huge sums it’s responsible for, the firm warned in its initial audit of the massive Pentagon purchasing agent.

    The audit raises new questions about whether the Defense Department can responsibly manage its $700 billion annual budget — let alone the additional billions that Trump plans to propose this month. The department has never undergone a full audit despite a congressional mandate — and to some lawmakers, the messy state of the Defense Logistics Agency’s books indicates one may never even be possible.

    “If you can’t follow the money, you aren’t going to be able to do an audit,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican and senior member of the Budget and Finance committees, who has pushed successive administrations to clean up the Pentagon’s notoriously wasteful and disorganized accounting system.”

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  18. It certainly does.

    https://hotair.com/archives/2018/02/05/senate-judiciary-memo-steele-clinton-obama-admin-connection-certainly-seems-interesting/

    “Maybe we waited for the wrong memo. While the actuality of the Devin Nunes majority report from the House Intelligence Committee appears to have fallen short of its preceding hyperbole, a newly released and partially declassified referral from the Senate Judiciary Committee might come closer to establishing connections between Christopher Steele, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and the Barack Obama administration. Byron York reports that much of what this might entail remains classified and redacted — for now:

    The newly released document is an unclassified and heavily redacted version of the criminal referral targeting Steele filed on Jan. 4 by Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. It appears to confirm some level of coordination between the extended Clinton circle and the Obama administration in the effort to seek damaging information about then-candidate Trump.

    According to the referral, Steele wrote the additional memo based on anti-Trump information that originated with a foreign source. In a convoluted scheme outlined in the referral, the foreign source gave the information to an unnamed associate of Hillary and Bill Clinton, who then gave the information to an unnamed official in the Obama State Department, who then gave the information to Steele. Steele wrote a report based on the information, but the redacted version of the referral does not say what Steele did with the report after that.

    Published accounts in the Guardian and the Washington Post have indicated that Clinton associate Cody Shearer was in contact with Steele about anti-Trump research, and Obama State Department official Jonathan Winer was a connection between Steele and the State Department during the 2016 campaign.

    Byron has the memo embedded in the Washington Examiner article, which allows everyone to read it for themselves. Much of it has been redacted, even some of the unclassified paragraphs. (Note that this memo was much more properly formatted for classified material than the Nunes memo, which left all the paragraphs unmarked.) Thanks to the magic of reciprocal leaks and the announcement of the criminal referral regarding Steele, we already know most of what’s left to read.”
    ——————-

    Here’s York’s piece.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/dossier-author-steele-wrote-another-anti-trump-memo-was-fed-info-by-clinton-connected-contact-obama-state-department/article/2648099?utm_source=breaking_push&utm_medium=browser&utm_campaign=push_notifications

    Time to declassify and name names.

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  19. John Doyle is a television critic at the Globe and Mail. He comments not on the validity of the memo but the televised

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  20. Ricky, it’s fine to think of yourself as a conservative leader or publication, and we all want to think of ourselves as attempting to exemplify various teachings of Scripture, but…

    can’tcha take a hint?

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  21. The stock market crash can be linked to the feared interest rates hikes. The question is why hike interest rates? There’s very little inflationary pressure. The recent Republican budget increased the supply of US debt. With greater need for money, the US govt is forced to offer higher interest rates.

    We are now seeing the effects of Republican /Trump policies.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Mona Charen can not abide rudeness in a man, be he politician or quarterback.

    Nick Foles is my son’s age. His senior year in high school, his team lost in the Texas State Championship game to a very good team that won my son’s district. Foles seems like a good guy.

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  23. Apparently not clapping is an act of treason. He seems to have confused loyalty to the state and the constitution to personal loyalty. A common problem with right wing populist….wanna be Il Duces. Hard to imagine him as a PM in the Westminster system facing the leader of the opposition on a daily basis.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. The left wing activist community is of course concerned. But most of us seem to be in a land of denial or treat the Trump presidency as mere amusement. I’ve decided to be on the latter category although I’m somewhat concerned for friends and family in the US; not to mention the decline of the classical liberal international order in favor of strongmen.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. The decline in the understanding of and commitment to the rule of law since Watergate has been pretty stunning. In 1972-1974, most Republicans understood that if a President interfered with a criminal investigation involving his campaign, he needed to resign. If Howard Baker had acted like Devin Nunes, he would have been laughed out of town.

    I have laughed at accounts of the NAFTA discussions. Trump has made arbitrary and counter-productive proposals which were then unanimously opposed by the Canadians, the Mexicans, American manufacturers, American labor unions and the governors of American states.

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  26. Thank you, hwesseli and Ricky W, on behalf of what sane peoplekind still survive down here in this lower ring of Dante’s hell. Hey, what’s your opinion on abortion law? I don’t know what opinion I’m supposed to have on that issue, and since you and Ricky are kindred peoplekind spirits, maybe you could tell me??? I know I don’t want whatever abortion laws Trump has advocated so far. He’s such a dork!

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  27. Only problem there, Rick Weaver, I was asking what YOU think. What’s your thoughts on abortion law? Harmonious with spokespersonpeoplepersonCanadianguy Trudeau? We so need you to tell us what to think!

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