Tuesday, December 12, 2017

DOJ Report: Wisconsin’s Infamous John Doe Investigation Was More Sinister Than First Reported.

CHEESEHEAD STASI: DOJ Report: Wisconsin’s Infamous John Doe Investigation Was More Sinister Than First Reported.
A Wisconsin Attorney General report on the year-long investigation into leaks of sealed John Doe court documents to a liberal British publication in September 2016 finds a rogue agency of partisan bureaucrats bent on a mission “to bring down the (Gov. Scott) Walker campaign and the Governor himself.”
The AG report, released Wednesday, details an expanded John Doe probe into a “broad range of Wisconsin Republicans,” a “John Doe III,” according to Attorney General Brad Schimel, that widened the scope of the so-called John Doe II investigation into dozens of right-of-center groups and scores of conservatives. Republican lawmakers, conservative talk show hosts, a former employee from the MacIver Institute, average citizens, even churches, were secretly monitored by the dark John Doe.
State Department of Justice investigators found hundreds of thousands of John Doe documents in the possession of the GAB long after they were ordered to be turned over to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
The Government Accountability Board, the state’s former “nonpartisan” speech cop, proved to be more partisan than originally suspected, the state Department of Justice report found. For reasons that “perhaps may never be fully explained,” GAB held onto thousands of private emails from Wisconsin conservatives in several folders on their servers marked “Opposition Research.” The report’s findings validate what conservatives have long contended was nothing more than a witch-hunt into limited government groups and the governor who was turning conservative ideas into public policy.
“Moreover, DOJ is deeply concerned by what appears to have been the weaponization of GAB by partisans in furtherance of political goals, which permitted the vast collection of highly personal information from dozens of Wisconsin Republicans without even taking modest steps to secure this information,” the report states.
And in an all-too familiar occurrence involving allegations of government abuse, a key hard drive believed to contain the court-sealed John Doe documents leaked to The Guardian in October 2016 has suspiciously disappeared – GAB officials with knowledge of the hard drive can’t seem to explain what happened to it.
People should be jailed and disbarred for this.

Don's Tuesday Column

          THE WAY I SEE IT   by Don Polson  Red Bluff Daily News   12/12/2017

                Utopianism, partner of despotism

The inherent and historic conflict, an existential struggle, between the individual and the state has always been with us—only more intensely so over the last 100 years since the rise of the Marxist/Leninist movement of international Communism. Mark Levin wrote a book in 2012, “Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America,” that documented that conflict going back to the earliest efforts at self-government, and continuing into the founding and recent struggles of our nation
Levin used an Abraham Lincoln quote, from an 1838 address in Springfield, Illinois, as well as some of President Ronald Reagan’s words, to illustrate the point that even in a nation designed and dedicated to the enshrining of individual liberty, enemies espousing the antithesis of freedom would spring up among our own people. Lincoln wisely and prophetically stated that such danger, “If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad…As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide,” ushering our own destruction.
Likewise, Reagan admonished our nation that “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction…It must be fought for, protected, and handed on…or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
A couple of local anecdotes illustrate that conundrum: When the news first came that a wolf with a tracking device crossed the border from Oregon into California, I remember saying that it was as predictable as heat in summer that that random event would eventually produce a regulatory reaction, even an overreach. “Habitat” and protection would be pronounced as a necessary requirement for said wolf and its eventual offspring, extending onto land privately owned and grazing acreage with private rights for ranchers.
The elimination of predators to secure the freedom to pursue ranching and cattle production is a right predating our state and the creation of America; it is as unalienable as the rights enshrined in our founding documents. No outside nation would be allowed to take over and negate such rights necessary for productive agricultural activity.
No foreign entity would be allowed to reach its controlling, dictatorial hand into Northern California and tell ranchers that they have no right to destroy wolves killing their cattle, and that they must inconvenience their operations and simply move entire herds away to safer, valley grazing. And yet, outside of the understandable “shoot, shovel and shut up” response of ranchers to preserve their valuable four-legged commodity, that is exactly what our own governmental overlords, with the same dictatorial powers, have imposed upon otherwise free people.
“But what is this ideology, this force, this authority that threatens us, and its destructiveness, which Reagan, Lincoln, and the Founders so feared? What kind of power both attracts a free people and destroys them? In Ameritopia, I explain that the heart of the problem is, in fact utopianism…the ideological and doctrinal foundation for statism.” (Levin)
We have friends that retired from their dairy operation and converted much of their grazing acreage into orchard production. They were belabored by regulators over just how much of their land could be planted, including details of acreage that must be left in riparian status due to seasonal drainage. No Canadian or Mexican officials would be allowed to impose such mandates on free Americans owning their own land and risking their own capital. Indeed, the very value of their land is thereby reduced, “taken” would be the term, due to the limitations.
Enter the election of Donald J. Trump and the reduction of agency mandates and picayune intrusions into their “pursuit of happiness.” They will be measurably richer by being able to plant additional trees, investing and expanding their crops on their own land. MAGA! “Make America Great Again” one farm, orchard, and ranch at a time. Now, start killing wolves.
You can see the tendrils of utopianism that justifies intrusive, burdensome, even religiously themed, state-control policies surrounding “sustainability,” “global warming/climate change” and universal health care. “Utopianism has long promoted the idea of a paradisiacal existence and advanced concepts of pseudo ‘ideal’ societies in which a heroic despot, a benevolent sovereign, or an enlightened oligarchy claims the ability and authority to provide for all the needs and fulfill all the wants of the individual—in exchange for his abject servitude.”
Levin traced this utopian tendency and fantasy through historical, philosophical writings like Plato’s Republic, Thomas More’s Utopia, Hobbes’s Leviathan, and Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. “They are essential works that have in common soulless societies in which the individual is subsumed into a miasma of despotism—and each of them is a warning against utopian transformation in America and elsewhere.”
Our Founders, conversely, took inspiration from “philosophical pioneers John Locke and Charles de Montesquieu, who described truisms about the nature of man—liberty, rights, and life—that informed the Founders (and our documents).” Indeed, in the early 1800s, Alexis de Tocqueville’s prescient insights countenanced “democracy’s tendency to descend into a soft tyranny…drawing attention to the historical weaknesses of democratic institutions…and liberty.”
               All of this informs the conflicts of the last century, the progressive movement, the hypocrisies of leftist opposition morphing into support for WWII, the “Red Scare” of real communist infiltration, and the courageous patriotic military wars against communist aggression in Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere. The existential threat of communism was fought and defeated from Truman to Kennedy to Reagan, only to rise among us in current leftist militancy. 

Byron York: Dossier author was in contact with Obama Justice Department

Byron York: Dossier author was in contact with Obama Justice Department


It's been 10 months since Washington learned that former British spy Christopher Steele, author of the so-called "Trump dossier," took the Hillary Clinton-funded opposition research document to the FBI, which considered sponsoring the anti-Trump work at the height of the 2016 presidential campaign. Now, congressional investigators have made what is perhaps an even more consequential discovery: Knowledge of the dossier project, during the campaign, extended into the highest levels of the Obama Justice Department.
The department's Bruce Ohr, a career official, served as associate deputy attorney general at the time of the campaign. That placed him just below the deputy attorney general, Sally Yates, who ran the day-to-day operations of the department. In 2016, Ohr's office was just steps away from Yates, who was later fired for defying President Trump's initial travel ban executive order and still later became a prominent anti-Trump voice upon leaving the Justice Department.
Unbeknownst to investigators until recently, Ohr knew Steele and had repeated contacts with Steele when Steele was working on the dossier. Ohr also met after the election with Glenn Simpson, head of Fusion GPS, the opposition research company that was paid by the Clinton campaign to compile the dossier.
Word that Ohr met with Steele and Simpson, first reported by Fox News' James Rosen and Jake Gibson, was news to some current officials in the Justice Department. Shortly after learning it, they demoted Ohr, taking away his associate deputy attorney general title and moving him full time to another position running the department's organized crime drug enforcement task forces.
The news also stunned some of those who had been investigating the matter. Yes, they knew that knowledge of the dossier extended to some officials in the FBI. That was bad enough; how could the FBI endorse and consider underwriting one campaign's dirt-digging operation in the middle of a hotly contested election? But now investigators know that nearly the highest levels of the Obama Justice Department were also aware of the dossier.
Investigators believe the dossier's sensational allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign played a role in the beginning of the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into the Trump-Russia affair — an investigation that later morphed into special counsel Robert Mueller's probe.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., whose investigation has led to a number of revelations about the dossier, was unhappy to learn about such a key piece of information months after the investigation began. Ohr's contacts with Steele and Simpson were covered by a subpoena Nunes issued to the FBI and the Justice Department on Aug. 24. Yet as recently as Tuesday, when Nunes, along with House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., met with deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, the department said nothing about Ohr's role.
"Pursuant to the House Intelligence Committee's prior subpoenas and information requests, the Department of Justice should have provided the committee with information on contacts that DOJ official Bruce Ohr had with Fusion GPS representatives and Christopher Steele," Nunes said in a statement Thursday. "The committee will issue a subpoena to Bruce Ohr for information on this matter."
The Ohr revelation comes not long after word that top FBI agent Peter Strzok was removed from the Mueller investigation for anti-Trump text messages he exchanged with a top FBI lawyer who had also worked for the Mueller probe. Now, with news of Ohr's contacts with Steele and Simpson, Republicans on Capitol Hill — and perhaps some Democrats, too — will wonder just how far the Obama Justice Department officials went in the effort to stop Trump.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Trump’s truth-telling on Jerusalem marks an all-new Middle East

Trump’s truth-telling on Jerusalem marks an all-new Middle East



“This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality,” President Trump said in announcing America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Never have truer words been spoken, and they were delivered in the best speech Trump has ever given.
What Trump did was stunning. He could just have signed the waiver of the law passed in 1995 compelling the executive branch to move America’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He did it six months ago, just like his three immediate predecessors did every six months since 1996. Or he could have not signed the waiver and simply said he was going to start the process of building the new embassy.
Instead, he called the international community’s seven-decade bluff and ended a delusion about the future that has prevented Palestinians from seeing the world and their own geopolitical situation clearly. It is a bold shift.
The idea that Jerusalem is not Israel’s capital has been a global pretense for decades, including here in the United States. It’s a pretense because Jerusalem has been Israel’s capital from the moment the new country secured a future by winning a bloody war for independence waged against it by Arab nations after they rejected the UN partition of the old British mandate into a Jewish state and an Arab state.
Under the plan, Jerusalem was to be an international city governed by the United Nations. But the Arab effort to push the Jews into the sea — an effort no other nation on Earth intervened in to prevent — left a divided Jerusalem in the hands of the Jews in the West and Jordan in the East.
There would be no “international” Jerusalem because the Arabs made sure there could not be one.
So, in 1949, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion moved the government from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “The people which faithfully honored for 2,500 years the oath sworn by the Rivers of Babylon not to forget Jerusalem — this people will never reconcile itself with separation from Jerusalem,” Ben-Gurion told the United Nations at the time.
After Israel’s triumph in the Six-Day War in 1967, Jerusalem was unified and became, in the words spoken by every Israeli prime minister, the “eternal and undivided capital” of the Jewish state.
And yet the international fiction that Jerusalem is not only not Israel’s capital but isn’t even to be considered formally part of Israel has persisted for 50 years now.
Nominally, the idea is that Palestinians need to be allowed to believe they’ll secure sovereignty over at least a part of Jerusalem for them to pursue a final peace deal with the Israelis. And so most of the world has chosen to act as though Israel has no legal dominion over any part of Jerusalem.
That is, in a word, insane. Jerusalem is now home to 860,000 people — 10 percent of Israel’s population, nearly double that of its second city, Tel Aviv. Every one of them, Jew and Arab, is a citizen of the state. (The city is 60 percent Jewish and 35 percent Muslim.) It is the locus of Israel’s government, where the parliament sits, where the prime minister lives and where most government agencies are located.
The pretense has been allowed to continue for two reasons. The more rational reason is this: There has always been fear that any change in Jerusalem’s status might ignite a violent Palestinian response, retard peace efforts and inflame the “Arab street” throughout the Middle East. So why create a crisis when the status quo is at least stable?
Then there are those who simply believe Israel is a bad actor deserving of international scorn and isolation and should not be allowed to get away with it — it, in this case, being Jerusalem.
Trump rightly scorns the latter view and has an answer for the former: “This is a long-overdue step to advance the peace process. And to work towards a lasting agreement.”
The Palestinians need to accept reality. They continue to act as though they will get what they want through rejection and resistance and rage. “It is time,” Trump said, “for the many who desire peace to expel the extremists from their midsts. It is time for all civilized nations and people to respond to disagreement with reasoned debate, not violence.”
The Palestinian refusal to accept Israel for what it is and what it has become has been the greatest bar to peace. And there are reasons to believe the so-called Arab street has bigger problems to concern itself with right now than Israel’s capital.
And not just the street — the capitals as well. Trump’s act comes at a time when there is a tectonic shift in the Middle East. If I had told you 20 years ago that Israel would one day find itself in a de facto alliance with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, you would’ve had me committed. But two weeks ago, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to sign on to a peace deal Israel actually likes. MBS isn’t happy about Trump’s move, but that doesn’t change the fact that the sands are shifting rapidly after decades of stagnation.
In the end, as Trump said, “Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital.” Indeed it is. Indeed it does. Bravo.

jpodhoretz@gmail.com

Double-crossing FBI agent must be held accountable

Double-crossing FBI agent must be held accountable


FBI investigator Peter Strzok not only let Hillary Clinton off the hook, he may have used Democratic Party opposition research as an excuse to spy on Trump campaign advisers.
Strzok became such a political liability that special counsel Robert Mueller had to boot him off the Russia case, where he worked for nearly three months. Mueller made the move after the Justice Department’s inspector general pointed out text messages Strzok sent to a mistress, who also worked for Mueller, exhibiting a strong anti-Trump, pro-Clinton bias.
His misconduct has sent shock waves through Washington because in July 2016, just days after closing the Clinton email case he led, Strzok signed the document that opened the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. His fingerprints are all over both cases, one widely criticized as a whitewash and the other condemned by the president and many in his party as a witch hunt.
Potentially more disturbing is Strzok’s possible role in what many see as an even bigger scandal: the weaponizing of US intelligence against political opponents. Did he also sign documents asking a federal court to allow the FBI to spy on Trump advisers? It’s a critical question, because a so-called FISA document authorizing agents to monitor the communications of Trump adviser Carter Page, for one, reportedly was based at least in part on anti-Trump Russia propaganda promulgated in a dossier underwritten by the Clinton campaign — a partisan smear sheet that the FBI and Mueller have nonetheless used as a road map in their Russia probe.
In a Post interview, Page said he suspects Strzok, as the FBI’s No. 2 counterintelligence official, was also involved in applying for and obtaining the secret surveillance warrant on Page from the FISA court in September 2016. He adds that it’s “really interesting” that the dirty dossier found its way into Strzok’s orbit around the same time.
Indeed, according to an in-depth New York Times retrospective published earlier this year detailing the FBI’s two campaign investigations, Clinton subcontractor Christopher Steele briefed the FBI leadership about the findings in his now-discredited dossier in August 2016. Weeks later, the information landed “with Mr. Strzok and his team.”
“In late September, Mr. Steele heard back from his contact at the FBI,” the article continued. “The agency wanted to see the material he had collected ‘right away,’ ” while offering to pay him $50,000.
That month, a monitor was placed on Page.
Both the Senate and House are seeking the bureau’s FISA affidavits to determine to what extent they relied on the dirty Clinton dossier. But the FBI is stonewalling their requests. It’s also blocking FOIA requests by Page, who last month denied the dossier’s charges under oath, calling them politically motivated.
The FBI didn’t just target Page. It also targeted other Trump advisers. In fact, Strzok personally grilled Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn about his Russian ties at the White House just days after Flynn took office.
Last week, Mueller filed charges against Flynn for lying to Strzok about his contacts with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition.
Strzok monitored intercepts of the Russian Embassy and already knew what Flynn and the Russian ambassador had discussed. So why did he need to ask him about what he already knew? Was he trying to trap him in a lie? Also, who leaked the intercepts to the press?
Strzok led the sham investigation of Clinton’s emails from start to finish, and helped draft her exoneration months in advance of her July 2, 2016, interview, which he personally supervised. He was the agent responsible for softening language then-FBI Director James Comey used in his July 5, 2016, statement clearing Clinton just ahead of the Democratic convention. He changed the rough draft of Comey’s announcement describing Clinton’s behavior as “grossly negligent” (a possible crime) to “extremely careless.” Strzok also was involved in the review of State Department emailsdiscovered on Anthony Weiner’s laptop and gave Clinton her second pass just before the election.
The fix was in, and the fixer appears to have been a top G-man who, behind the scenes, sang the praises of the Democratic subject of his investigation and mocked the Republican subject of his other investigation.
Regardless of what you think about Trump, the Deep State — that is, the federal police and intelligence — shouldn’t get to pick and choose the leadership of this country. We are better than Thailand. If they are not held accountable, they will do it again.
FILED UNDER          

JIM JORDAN MAKES THE CASE AGAINST THE FBI AND PETER STRZOK [UPDATED]

JIM JORDAN MAKES THE CASE AGAINST THE FBI AND PETER STRZOK [UPDATED]

If you want to understand the news that has been swirling around the FBI’s Peter Strzok, who played a key role in both the Hillary Clinton email investigation and Robert Mueller’s wide-ranging Russia probe (including interviewing General Flynn), you should watch this riveting seven-minute video of Congressman Jim Jordan interrogating FBI Director Christopher Wray earlier today. Wray was testifying before the House Judiciary Committee.
Jordan does a beautiful job of tying together the Strzok-related stories that have bubbled to the surface in recent days. He keeps it clean, too, not even mentioning that Strzok’s anti-Trump messages were exchanged with his illicit lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who also was discharged from Mueller’s team. Jordan expresses the suspicion that Strzok, on behalf of the FBI, collaborated with the Clinton campaign and, ultimately, Russian sources to produce the fake Trump dossier. Jordan further suspects that it was Strzok, a virulent Trump-hater, who took the false Russian information in the dossier and dressed it up as a FISA court application, which in turn generated an order allowing the Obama administration to spy on the Trump campaign. Wray refuses to comment.
Jordan acts like he knows something we don’t. If he is right, this is the biggest scandal in American political history:
UPDATE: Andy McCarthy asks a question that I, too, have wondered about: why can’t Jeff Sessions, or Donald Trump, simply order the FBI to comply with Congressional requests for information, and fire anyone who disobeys?
Maybe there is a good answer, but I have no idea what it could be.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

How Democrats Corrupt English To Create Hysteria

How Democrats Corrupt English To Create Hysteria

Liberals aren't just peddling political euphemisms, they are contorting basic truths.
Whenever the rare threat of a passable Republican bill emerges, we learn from Democrats that thousands, or perhaps millions, of lives are at stake. Once it passes, we learn that America is over. Taxes? Health care? Bogus international treaties? Internet regulations that were only instituted last year? It really doesn’t matter. These days, the rhetoric is always apocalyptic and always bellicose.
How did so many liberals convince themselves that tax reform (a rare cut that is, according to sometime-reliable Washington Post factcheckers, only the eighth largest in history) signals the implosion of American life? Everyone tends to dramatize the consequences of policy for effect, of course, but a Democratic Party drifting towards Bernie-ism is far more likely to perceive cuts in taxation as limiting state control and thus an attack on all decency and morality. Taxation is the finest tool of redistribution, so it’s understandable.
There is a parallel explanation for the hysterics. With failure comes frustration, and frustration ratchets up the panic-stricken rhetoric. It’s no longer enough to hang nefarious personal motivations on your political opponents — although it certainly can’t hurt! — you have to corrupt language and ideas to imbue your ham-fisted arguments with some kind of basic plausibility.
Liberal columnists, for example, will earnestly argue that Republicans, who at this moment control the Senate, the House of Representatives, and White House thanks to our free and fair elections, are actingundemocratically when passing bills. As you know, democracy means raising taxes on the rich. Just ask all the folks who told us democracy died over the weekend.
But the most obvious and ubiquitous of the Left’s contorted contentions about the tax bill deliberately muddles the concept of giving and the concept of not taking enough. This distortion is so embedded in contemporary rhetoric that I’m not sure most of the foot soldiers even think it’s odd to say anymore.
“You really shouldn’t lower everyone’s taxes because it creates deficits and makes harder to expand important programs like Medicaid” doesn’t have quite the same kick as “You’re killing the poor!” Whatever you make of the separate tax bills the House and Senate have passed, though, the authors do not take one penny from anyone. In fact, no spending is being cut (unfortunately). Not one welfare program is being block-granted. Not one person is losing a subsidy. It’s just a wide-ranging tax cut without any concurrent spending cuts.
Now, I stay clear of theological debates, but I do wonder what Jesus would have to say about a public figure offering blatant falsehoods to thousands of Twitter followers in His name. To believe that taxing at a moderately lower rate is the same as “taking” from the poor, you must believe that 1) arbitrary rates politicians concocted many years ago regarding child credits and deductions are now a sacred baseline and/or 2) the state has a natural right to your property, and whatever you keep is stolen from the collective. Or, of course, you might just be extraordinarily dishonest.
It’s perfectly legitimate and comprehendible to stake a position that argues the state should make the country a fairer place and redistribute money from the well-off to the less-fortunate. Our progressive federal tax code already places most of the tax burden on the wealthy. I get it, you’re worried about income inequality. On the other hand, it is preposterous to claim — as this New Yorker writer and countless others did this weekend — that lowering rates across the board is a state-sponsored “transfer” of wealth. And no amount of pseudo-scientific explainer charts will alter reality.
Nor, by the way, does, as the vast majority of liberal pundits claim, overturning Obamacare’s mandate to purchase health insurance — a market-coercion masquerading as a tax for purely legal purposes — mean that any Americans will have lost “access” to health-care insurance. It says something about the Left’s growing authoritarian inclinations that they confuse consumer choice with a lack of access.
These kind of perversions of basic language aren’t new, but they are becoming more prevalent. Last year we witnessed Democrats constantly refer to legal actions they disapproved of as “loopholes” and claim that conservatives wanted to “ban” contraception because they didn’t believe paying for it was a collective responsibility. These aren’t typical euphemisms, these are a corrosion of language that we shouldn’t allow to be normalized.
David Harsanyi is a Senior Editor at The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter.