Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Rep. Buddy Carter Has A Luncheon. PA Deception Continues. Stop Spreading Discord. Sen. Franken - Jewish Equivalent of Sen. Joe McCarthy!

Will Trump eventually move against N Korea?  If he does not he will be no better than Obama.(see 1 below.)
I attended a fund raiser luncheon for my Representative in Congress, Buddy Carter, yesterday.  One of his delightful staffers, who reads my memos, pointed out Congress person's health care is the same as all citizens and their retirement pensions are more modest than most assume.  She made these comments because, in a previous memo, I posted what was proposed by someone else to "drain the swamp. (See  below.)

Proposed Congressional Reform Act of 2017
1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman / woman
collects a salary while in office and receives no pay
when they're out of office.
5. Congress loses their current health care system
and participates in the same health care system as
the American people.

Buddy made a few comments that I want to repeat.

First: He pointed out Congress, to date, had passed more bills and various other types of legislation than any administration going back to President Bush (41.)

The newspapers are focused on extraneous matters but Congress is working.

Buddy also pointed out that on small matters Democrats are generally co-operative.

With respect to tax relief he believes deductions for home interest and charitable giving were sacred and would be part of any tax reform.

(I believe all taxes should also be deductible.  We have enough double taxation taking place.)

He had no view of how the Mueller investigation would go but agreed Democrats were vitally  interested in keeping Republicans from focusing on their agenda.

Having just returned from South Viet Nam and having been briefed by the General in charge of American troops, he stated that "Fat Boy" is a loose and dangerous cannon and China has less leverage over him than we think.

Closer to home, he believes Fort Stewart remains a vital base and location to accessible ports insures its stability.  He also stated  the future budget had language accepting the rebuilding of Hunter Base airfield facilities.

Any future infrastructure bill would also include funding for ports which are vital to Savannah and Brunswick. Both in  Buddy's district.

With respect to the Atlanta election today Buddy said he had no clear view but it would be very close. The race is the costliest ever for Congress and virtually 90% plus of the Democrat candidate's funding was from outside the district (California and New York) which he does not even live in and therefore he could not vote in his own race.

Perhaps the most important thing Buddy had to say was that both sides of the isle have asked the mass media to stop their pattern of intensely  inflammatory  reporting, behaviour and creating/spreading  discord.

Finally, we heard Speaker Ryan today discuss future tax reform  and Carter believes it is critical Republicans come together and pass some key legislation in order to carry through on their campaign commitments.
More Palestinian Deception. (See 2 below.)
Will Comey get his revenge? (See 3 below.)
Al Franken, is the Jewish equivalent of Sen. Joe McCarthy and an embarrassment.  (See 4 below.)
We all say some dumb things at times, particularly when we are under pressure. That said, I sincerely doubt those who read my memos sink this low. (See 5 below.)
1) Shattuck: Differences in Trump, Obama efforts speak for themselves
President Obama left him there. President Trump got him back. No need to overthink it.
Yes, murderous North Korean thugs killed 22-year-old Otto Warmbier after holding him for 17 months, but the last administration was willfully impotent in dealing with the regime.
Obama’s official approach was dubbed “strategic patience.” It sounds like a term that wins the marketing meeting but has little effect in real life.

Kind of like “leading from behind.”

In the case of poor Warmbier, it meant that all hope was gone.

His parents were told to sit tight. “When Otto was first taken, we were advised by the past administration to take a low profile while they worked to obtain his release,” his father told the media. “We did so without result.”

Warmbier’s father learned the hard way that results among progressives are less important than symbolism, intent and high-minded nuance: the kind of thinking that compelled Secretary of State John Kerry to pack up James Taylor and head to France after a 2015 terror attack.

Kerry said it was “to share a big hug with Paris.”

Unbelievable. There is no greater threat to the innocent than the deranged logic of liberals. It often disguises itself as compassion, usually spoken in a thoughtful tone, lyrically elegant at every turn.

But deadly and destructive — and former President Obama was a master.
Those days are over. American voters began to feel rightfully unsafe under an administration that blamed unemployment and climate change for terrorism.
Donald Trump’s prescription was less flowery: “Bomb the (expletive) out of ISIS.”
And so he did.

He also brought Otto Warmbier home by bringing him home. No lofty lectures to the American people. No cute turns of phrase. David Crosby was not mobilized.
Warmbier’s family was able to spend a few days with their mortally injured son because there is a pragmatist in the White House.

Warmbier’s father said it best: “Do I think the past administration could have done more? I think the results speak for themselves.”

Let’s not ever forget what those villains did to that kid in North Korea and hopefully those responsible can be made to pay for it someday.

Meanwhile, we finally have a president determined to fix what’s broken in this country. If his vast establishment opposition can put the interests of the country first, perhaps the results will speak for themselves.

2)Is PA planning to deceive the US and donor countries – AGAIN?

The Palestinian Authority is planning once again to hide its approximately $300 million a year in payments to terrorist prisoners and the families of so-called “Martyrs,” by continuing to reward terror but in a different framework, according to some Palestinian sources.
The first time the PA did this was in 2014 when the PA closed the PA Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs, which had paid the terrorist salaries, yet continued the payments through the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs. After Palestinian Media Watch exposed the PA's deception in The PA's Billion Dollar Fraud, by documenting the money transfers from the PA to the PLO, the PA law mandating salaries to terrorists has been repeatedly condemned by the US and countries in Europe.
Now, with increasing pressure by the US and other donor countries for the PA to stop rewarding terror, the PA is looking for a new way to both accept the international demands and yet at the same time continue paying terrorists, according to some Palestinian sources.
Hassan Asfour, a former PA minister and current associate of Muhammad Dahlan, political adversary of Mahmoud Abbas, explained it as follows:
“Abbas, despite his initial objection [to the US demand to stop prisoner salary payments], has begun to examine practical options to comply with the American demand in a way that will not lead to an explosion that might lead to his downfall and the downfall of their [Abbas' and US'] joint plan. Among these options that are being examined with special secrecy, is the option of transferring the prisoners' and Martyrs' salaries to a 'social insurance' body so that it will look as if it is 'humanitarian and social aid to needy families' and not 'monthly salaries to fighter families.'”
[Fatah Voice, independent Palestinian news website, June 3, 2017]
Hamas' website Al-Risalah Net quoted “reliable” sources that the PA is planning to move the salary payments for terrorists into the Ministry of Interior. The PLO Commissioner of Prisoners' Affairs, Issa Karake, “denied knowing” of such a plan:
“Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Karake denied knowing about the intention of [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas to abolish the commission and merge it with one of the main branches or offices of the Ministry of Interior.”
[Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, June 18, 2017]
The Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam quoting Reuters wrote:
“'There have been talks about making the payments in a different way, but not ending them,' said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on discussions held with the Americans.
'They could perhaps be labeled differently,' he said, suggesting the description 'Martyr' could be dropped, but he added: 'They [the payments] are not going to be stopped.'”
[Reuters, June 14, 2017, Al-Ayyam, June 15, 2017]
Meanwhile, Chairman of the PA-funded Prisoners' Club Qadura Fares, denied there would be any changes:
“He emphasized that there is a Palestinian consensus that opposes any conditioning concerning this 'noble and fighter' group.
[Qadura] Fares said that the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners' Affairs is the one responsible for the matter of the prisoners, and no new orders have reached it regarding harming the salaries of the prisoners and the Martyrs' families.
He added: 'We are not aware that any decision of this sort has been made.'”
[Al-Ayyam, June 15, 2017]
Mahmoud Abbas faces a difficult dilemma. It was Abbas himself as leader of the PA who in 2011 raised the salaries to terrorist prisoners significantly, and PA leaders have repeatedly stated that rewarding the prisoners is a fundamental PA policy. Abbas has also refused to condemn Palestinian terror and his PA, as policy, routinely honors terrorists. On the other hand, Abbas wants the international community to see him as a peace-promoting moderate, which is not possible if he continues to be a terror supporter, by openly honoring and rewarding terror.
The following are longer excerpts of the reports mentioned above:
Headline: “Karake: We were not informed of the closure of the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners' Affairs”
“Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs Issa Karake denied knowing about the intention of [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas to close the commission and merge it with one of the main branches or offices of the [PA] Ministry of Interior.
Karake said to [the independent Palestinian news] agency Ma'an: 'We were not informed about the intention of President Mahmoud Abbas and the leadership to freeze the activity of the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs.'
The [Hamas] Al-Risalah Net website noted that according to Palestinian sources, which it described as 'reliable,' the president is inclined to close the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs and merge it with one of the main branches or offices of the [PA] Ministry of Interior in the occupied West Bank.”
[Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, June 18, 2017]
Headline: “Senior Palestinian officials emphasized the continued payment of the Martyrs and prisoners' allowances: There are no plans to stop them”
(The article begins with an Arabic translation of a Reuters article from June 14, 2017 -Ed.) “Palestinian officials say there are no plans to stop payments to families of Palestinians killed or wounded carrying out attacks against Israelis, contradicting comments by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Tillerson told a Senate hearing on Tuesday (June 13, 2017) he had received reassurances from [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas that the Palestinian Authority would end the practice of paying a monthly stipend to the families of suicide bombers and other attackers, commonly referred to by Palestinians as Martyrs (Shahids).
The issue of compensation has become a sticking point in efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, with Israeli officials citing it as one reason they do not regard Abbas as a 'partner for peace.'
'They have changed their policy,' Tillerson said, referring to the Palestinians. 'At least I have been informed they've changed that policy and their intent is to cease payments.'
But Palestinian officials said they were not aware of any change and that it was unlikely a policy that has been a cornerstone of social support for decades would be altered.
'There have been talks about making the payments in a different way, but not ending them,' said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on discussions held with the Americans.

'They could perhaps be labeled differently,' he said, suggesting the description 'Martyr' could be dropped, but he added: 'They are not going to be stopped.'
(The following is not from the Reuters article -Ed.)

Chairman of the [PA-funded] Prisoners' Club Qadura Fares, in an interview with [Israeli Arab website] Arab 48, denied that there will be any harm to the allowances (mukhassasat) of the families of the prisoners and Martyrs. He emphasized that there is a Palestinian consensus that opposes any conditioning concerning this 'noble and fighting' group.
Fares said that the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners' Affairs is the one responsible for the matter of the prisoners, and no new orders have reached it regarding harming the salaries (rawatib) of the prisoners and the Martyrs' families.

He added: 'We are not aware that any decision of this sort has been made.'”
3) Comey's Game (II): The Mueller Gambit

James Comey testified that he leaked his infamous memo in order to prompt the appointment of a special counsel. In order to understand his game, the task assigned to the special counsel must be identified. It is a very unusual one.

The order signed by Acting Attorney General Rosenstein states that the remit is to be in the realm of foreign counterintelligence. Robert Mueller, the special counsel, is to investigate possible collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

It is definitely not a criminal investigation. For one thing, the order explicitly states that if “the Special Counsel deems it necessary and appropriate, [he] is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters.” Secondly, Rosenstein in his statement accompanying the order says that his “decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted.”

So, the special counsel is to conduct a foreign counterintelligence investigation. What is that, anyway?

Few people realize it, even amongst those who work in government, but the most important activity that the FBI performs is in the field of counterintelligence. It identifies and counters the clandestine activities of foreign intelligence services operating in the United States. The subjects of these investigations, in essence, are foreign governments.

The FBI's counterintelligence activity has little or nothing to do with the Department of Justice. These are not criminal investigations. Prosecutors do not get involved, except in very limited roles, such as in obtaining FISA court warrants.

This means two things. Prosecutors, such as Mueller and his team, have no expertise in foreign counterintelligence. (Mueller is a former FBI director: this does not mean he has the expertise to actually conduct such an investigation; neither do those he has hired as special counsel.) Secondly, they can't do it; it requires expertise, of course, but also an apparatus, such as that the FBI possesses.

Rosenstein's order makes it clear that a criminal case can be investigated by Mueller if warranted. 
This is what the pertinent regulation – the AG guideline -- says as to when a criminal, as opposed to a foreign counterintelligence, investigation can be initiated by the FBI (and presumably by the special counsel):
C. Investigations
 (1) A general crimes investigation may be initiated by the FBI when facts or circumstances reasonably indicate that a federal crime has been, is being, or will be committed. The investigation may be conducted to prevent, solve, and prosecute such criminal activity.
The standard of "reasonable indication" is substantially lower than probable cause. … However, the standard does require specific facts or circumstances indicating a past, current, or impending violation. There must be an objective, factual basis for initiating the investigation; a mere hunch is insufficient.  [Emphasis added]
This makes Mueller's authority similar to that of the FBI, which can also investigate criminal cases arising out of its foreign counterintelligence investigations.  Many have been perplexed by Comey's game in seeking a special counsel. After all, Comey formerly testified there is no evidence regarding collusion by the Trump campaign and the Russians.

In pondering this question, it should be kept in mind Comey during his conversation with President Trump was not Joe Citizen. He was the director of the FBI. He was the master of an investigative agency with the appropriate jurisdiction and resources.

The foreign counterintelligence investigation into Russian activities during the election was ongoing.
Nothing prevented Comey as FBI director from pursuing an obstruction of justice investigation against persons in the White House if warranted. Indeed, as a matter of law, he was obligated to report to the Deputy Attorney General (the FBI director's “supervisor,” Rosenstein), if he believed anyone, such as the president, had sought to obstruct justice in his own regard. He didn't.

All of this is confirmed by the testimony of acting FBI Director McCabe, taken after Comey had been fired. McCabe testified no one had interfered with the FBI's investigation, that the White House had never even contacted him. And most tellingly, when asked by Senator Rubio whether he needed to have this investigation taken away from him, he replied succinctly: “No, sir.”

If Comey doubted the FBI's or the DOJ's ability to act fairly, he should have said so. Publicly.  One cannot fairly believe Mueller's ad hoc team is going to do better than the FBI would.  We must disbelieve Comey had real doubts as to the FBI and DOJ's ability to perform this investigation. He as the FBI director could have ensured all relevant investigation was properly conducted.  And according to the acting FBI director McCabe, it was being pursued without interference.

So as far as justice is concerned, there is no discernible reason to appoint a special counsel.
So why did Rosenstein appoint one?

Comey may have exploited a unique situation. Rosenstein had in his memo recommended Comey be fired as FBI director. Rosenstein had authored it as “supervisor” of the FBI by virtue of his position as Deputy Attorney General (DAG). But because of Attorney General Session's recusal, Rosenstein was also the (acting) AG. As such he could appoint a special counsel.

Rosenstein may have felt vulnerable by the AG's recusal in the situation exploited by Comey. Comey's leaked memo was used to fuel speculation that not only was Trump & Co. in league with the Russians, but that there was an active cover up. Not wanting to be tarred with the same brush (he had, after all, recommended Comey be fired and was, as DAG, the “supervisor” of the FBI), Rosenstein may have caved and appointed the special counsel. An action which, as established above, was not necessary in order to have these matters investigated and thus not strictly speaking in the service of justice.

What did Comey's gambit gain by getting a special counsel appointed?

Some speculate the fix is in, that Mueller and Comey are old friends, that Mueller's hired assistants donated overwhelmingly to the Democrats and so forth. Perhaps.

But this maneuver by Comey has resulted in the appearance of an investigation into the president for obstruction, for collusion with the Russians, and for a coverup. (Some news outlets are reporting Mueller has actually pursuing such investigations.)

Further, even if Mueller's probe ends with no prosecutions, Comey's gambit will have succeeded in putting the president under a cloud for the next several years and in strengthening the narrative that his election was illegitimate.

Further, in the same vein, leaks and reactions to leaks will continue to dominate the headlines, taking away from any real achievements of the administration.

All of this is rather certain to affect the congressional elections coming up next year (2018). If the Republicans lose the House, the question of impeachment arises. At this moment, certainly this would be groundless, but it probably would destroy Trump's presidency.

Not a bad play from Comey's point of view.

The will of the people in electing this president may wind up being thwarted, but that apparently is of little import.
The right person in the right place can make all the difference. As exemplified by the case of Mr. Comey, so can the wrong one.

The author is a former FBI agent, awarded the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement (NIMA).

Al Franken: Trump impeachment would mean ‘zealot’ Pence as president

Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, has a message for fellow Democrats who yearn for President Trump’s impeachment: Be careful what they wish for; they just might get it.

Mr. Franken told the International Business Times on Monday that those hoping that the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 election will pave the way for impeachment should consider Vice President Mike Pence’s policy preferences.
“Pence ran the transition and some of the very worst nominees, I felt — [EPA chief Scott] Pruitt, [Education Secretary Betsy] DeVos, [HHS Secretary Tom] Price, [Budget director Mick] Mulvaney — were Pence selections, clearly, I think,” Mr. Franken said, IBT reported Monday.
“He’s ideological, I consider him a zealot, and I think that in terms of a lot of domestic policy certainly would be worse than Trump,” said Mr. Franken, taking a break in Denver while promoting his book “Giant of the Senate” to discuss work in Washington.
He elaborated that while Mr. Pence would probably be a better alternative than Mr. Trump on foreign policy, a serious threat of impeachment could prompt a wag-the-dog scenario.
“If you’re talking about how we handle North Korea or something like that, I’d probably be more comfortable with Pence ultimately making those decisions than Trump, because of Trump’s personality and character,” the Democrat said. “I think that [Trump] is so outside the norm in his behavior that that actually does concern me, and it concerns me that I don’t know what he will do if he looks like he’s going to be impeached and he wants to deflect. I don’t know what he’s capable of, and that really does concern me.”
Mr. Trump’s critics claim that his firing of former FBI Director James Comey was politically motivated due to the agency’s ongoing investigation into Russian hacking during election season. Special counsel Robert Mueller, himself a former FBI director, has continued the probe since Mr. Comey’s termination.

 "If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there'll be a record."
-- Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman

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