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[VIDEO] Gorsuch Finds Himself in the Middle of a Senate Showdown 

A growing number of Democrats say they will not support the Supreme Court nominee, while GOP leaders are coy on plans to use the nuclear option; Shannon Bream provides insight on ‘Special Report’

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[VIDEO] Krauthammer on Health Care Bill: Obamacare Problems Will Get Worse, Republicans Will Try Again 

Charles Krauthammer suggested that the demise of the American Health Care Act is not the end of Republican attempts to undo Obamacare:

“I don’t think there’s a reason why it had to be pronounced dead. The president had an ultimatum. He decided he would stick to it. He decided that, as a result, he would not be involved. That’s fine. It’s still an open question whether they Republicans in the House and in the Senate can negotiate among themselves. They were not that far apart. I have been advocating this other alternative where you abandon the restrictions that are imposed by the reconciliation process, meaning you stuff the bill with all the kind of stuff you were going to add later, stuff that would appeal to the Freedom Caucus.”

“You put that in the bill and toss it over to the Senate, and if Senate Democrats want to filibuster, fine. So, I think there are several options. I don’t think they are that far apart. I think it’s perfectly reasonable they could negotiate a deal among themselves. And I do think that in the fall, when Obamacare’s problems are going to really come to the surface again — spiking premiums and deductibles, and it gets worse every year — there will be less nostalgia for Obamacare then you have found in the current debate.”

Source: National Review


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Another Republican Opportunity for Healthcare Legislation Around the Corner 

 


[VIDEO] Schumer Proposes a Deal on Gorsuch Nomination, GOP Responds


Seattle Gun Tax Fails to Generate Projected Revenue, Succeeds in Burdening Rights

On March 16, 2017, the Seattle Times reported that Seattle city officials were reluctant to release data on the revenue generated by the city’s firearms and ammunition tax, citing taxpayer confidentiality concerns. Less than a week later, we now know the more likely reason that Seattle failed to disclose this tax revenue; because the money raised fell woefully short of the figure projected by supporters of the tax.

In July 2015, Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess proposed legislation he dubbed a “Gun Violence Tax,” contending that “It’s time for the gun industry to help defray” the cost of criminal violence perpetrated with guns. Burgess’s proposal was unanimously passed by the city council on August 10, 2015. The legislation imposed a $25 tax on firearm sales, a $.02 per round tax on .22 and smaller caliber ammunition, and a $.05 per round tax on ammunition greater than .22 caliber. The revenue was intended to be used to fund anti-gun research at the Harborview Medical Center.

On August 24, 2015, NRA, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the Second Amendment Foundation filed suit in King County Superior Court to prevent the city from enforcing the new tax. NRA’s complaint pointed out that the tax violates the Second Amendment and is also impermissible under Washington law. 

The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that governments are not permitted to attack constitutionally-protected conduct through taxation. In the First Amendment context, the Court struck down a Minnesota use tax on ink and paper used in publishing. In that case – Minneapolis Star Tribune Co. v. Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue – the Court warned that “A power to tax differentially, as opposed to a power to tax generally, gives a government a powerful weapon against the taxpayer selected.”

Washington’s firearms preemption statute also bars Seattle’s tax. Section 9.41.290 of the Revised Code of Washington states,

The state of Washington hereby fully occupies and preempts the entire field of firearms regulation within the boundaries of the state, including the registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge, and transportation of firearms, or any other element relating to firearms or parts thereof, including ammunition and reloader components.

and,

Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality.

Washington law does provide a small number of specific exemptions to the state firearm preemption statute, but these concern local zoning in relating to firearms dealers, carry in certain municipal buildings, and the discharge of firearms.

Despite the plain language of Washington’s preemption statute, in December 2015 King County Superior Court Judge Palmer Robinson upheld Seattle’s tax. NRA and our allies have appealed the court’s decision, and the case now sits with the Washington State Supreme Court.

In advocating for the tax, Burgess and other supporters of the legislation repeatedly cited figures from the City Budget Office that claimed the tax would raise between $300,000 and $500,000 a year. In an email to the Times this week, Burgess confessed, “During its first year, the firearms and ammunition tax payments received by the City were less than $200,000.” It is not clear how much less than $200,000 the city collected.

According to the Times, to come up with the outlandish $300,000-$500,000 figure, the City Budget Office “obtained the annual number of background checks for gun sales in Washington. Then they looked up what percentage of Washington’s licensed gun dealers were in Seattle and used that to guess the number of firearms sales in the city.” In addition to the fact that its analysis was too rudimentary to offer an accurate estimate of gun sales in Seattle, the budget office appears to have made no attempt to predict the impact the significant tax would have on the behavior of gun dealers and buyers.

Making this projection appear even more ridiculous is that the 2016 tax shortfall occurred in a year that witnessed record gun sales nationally and in the Evergreen State. In 2016, there were 713,996 NICS background checks conducted in Washington, whereas the 2015 total was 502,280. Washingtonians were buying plenty of guns in 2016, but as many predicted when the tax was proposed, not in Seattle. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Should Obama be Subpoenaed Over Trump’s Wiretapping Claim? 

Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice on whether Barack Obama should be subpoenaed over President Trump’s wiretapping claim.


[VIDEO] ‘Hey, Maybe it was Consensual’: Attorneys Defend Suspect Accused of Rockville High School Rape

 


Peggy Noonan: High Anxiety Over Health-Care Reform 

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People need simplicity and clarity. They deserve it. They’ll pay for it as best they can, a lot if they have to. But they need not to be jerked around anymore. And that is what Congress doesn’t know.

Peggy Noonan writes: What politicians, those hardy folk, don’t understand about health care is how anxious it makes their constituents. Not suspicious, not obstinate, but anxious. Because unlike such policy questions as tax reform, health care can be an immediate life-or-death issue for you. It has to do with whether, when, and where you can get the chemo if you’re sick, and how long they’ll let you stay in the hospital when you have nobody, or nobody reliable and nearby, to care for you. To make it worse, the issue is all hopelessly complicated and complex and pits you as an individual against huge institutions—the insurance company that doesn’t answer the phone, the hospital that says “I’m afraid that’s not covered”—and you have to make the right decisions.

It’s all on you.

Politicians don’t understand all this, in part because they and their families are well-covered on a government insurance policy, and they have staff to put in the claim and argue with the insurance company, which, when it’s a congressman calling, answers the phone in one quick hurry. They don’t know it’s not easy for everyone else. Or rather they know on some abstract level but forget in the day-to-day, as one does with abstractions.

But I want to speak of how it’s all on you: You don’t want to be seen—by others, by yourself—as someone who couldn’t make the right decisions for yourself and your family. “She didn’t know she needed Part B.” “She got the supplement that says she can’t be treated in Jersey.” You don’t want to be humiliated. “What a dope.” “What fatal lack of sophistication.”

“Seven years ago it’s Democrats: “Wow, we’re so supercompetent, we’ll make it better!” And suddenly you lose your doctor or your coverage, or your premiums spike, and it’s a mess. They can’t even make the website work. And you’re anxious, and you have to renavigate an entire opaque empire of rules and passive-aggressive clerks. It’s a shadow on your life.”

And then these jokers in Congress come along. Seven years ago it’s Democrats: “Wow, we’re so supercompetent, we’ll make it better!” And suddenly you lose your doctor or your coverage, or your premiums spike, and it’s a mess. They can’t even make the website work. And you’re anxious, and you have to renavigate an entire opaque empire of rules and passive-aggressive clerks. It’s a shadow on your life.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

And then it settles down, as things do after seven years. You hate the system, but it is what it is and you’re used to it. And now these new jokers come along and say, “We’ll make it nice, trust us!” And it’s all big and complicated—so complicated the president negotiating it appears to have no idea what he’s saying yes or no to. But the effects and implications of his decisions will all be left on you. And you watch from the corner of your eye as you pass the TV, and suddenly your blood pressure’s spiking again. For you it’s all more anxiety and dishevelment and confusion, but in a new package, this time delivered by Republicans.

When all you want is the card in the wallet so when you’re strapped to the gurney in the emergency room, they’ll see it and they’ll say the word you want to hear: “Covered.” Then you can happily pass out.

People need simplicity and clarity. They deserve it. They’ll pay for it as best they can, a lot if they have to. But they need not to be jerked around anymore.

And that is what Congress doesn’t know.

We go now to the failure of the ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill.

Politically it’s all obvious. For the new administration it is a loss and a significant one. It has damaged the new president’s prestige. Every president until he fails has the aura of unused power. Boy, when I use it, you’re gonna see muscle. He used it. No muscle. Fatal? No. Damaging and diminishing? Yes. It is an embarrassment too for Speaker Paul Ryan. Together they could not get a win on the board after they threw everything they have into it. This does not speak well for everything they have. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] REWIND: Krauthammer: Healthcare Repeal Failure would ‘Damage’ Trump

Hard to see how in the end, the party would repudiate”

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, following meetings with House Republican leaders and the Freedom Caucus members. Ryan seeking unity in a place it's rarely found, is telling House Republicans he will serve as their speaker only if they embrace him by week's end as their consensus candidate. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

 


[VIDEO] Media, Democrats Praise Gorsuch Confirmation Performance 


Potential ‘Smoking Gun’ Showing Obama Admin Spied on Trump Team, Source Says

Nunes’ Trump surveillance claims raise more even questions.

James Rosen reports: Republican congressional investigators expect a potential “smoking gun” establishing that the Obama administration spied on the Trump transition team, and possibly the president-elect himself, will be produced to the House Intelligence Committee this week, a source told Fox News.

Classified intelligence showing incidental collection of Trump team communications, purportedly seen by committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and described by him in vague terms at a bombshell Wednesday afternoon news conference, came from multiple sources, Capitol Hill sources told Fox News. The intelligence corroborated information about surveillance of the Trump team that was known to Nunes, sources said, even before President Trump accused his predecessor of having wiretappedhim in a series of now-infamous tweets posted on March 4.

The intelligence is said to leave no doubt the Obama administration, in its closing days, was using the cover of legitimate surveillance on foreign targets to spy on President-elect Trump, according to sources.

The key to that conclusion is the unmasking of selected U.S. persons whose names appeared in the intelligence, the sources said, adding that the paper trail leaves no other plausible purpose for the unmasking other than to damage the incoming Trump administration.

The FBI hasn’t been responsive to the House Intelligence Committee’s request for documents, but the National Security Agency is expected to produce documents to the committee by Friday. The NSA document production is expected to produce more intelligence than Nunes has so far seen or described – including what one source described as a potential “smoking gun” establishing the spying.

[Order James Rosen’s book “A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century” from Amazon.com ]

Some time will be needed to properly assess the materials, with the likely result being that congressional investigators and attorneys won’t have a solid handle on the contents of the documents – and their implications – until next week.

Because Nunes’s intelligence came from multiple sources during a span of several weeks, and he has not shared the actual materials with his committee colleagues, he will be the only member of the panel in a position to know whether the NSA has turned over some or all of the intelligence he is citing. However, Fox News was told Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., had been briefed on the basic contents of the intelligence described by Nunes. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] SUPERCUTS: Democrats Whine About Originalism at Gorsuch Hearing

 


OH NO SHE DIDN’T: Sarah Fowlkes: This Bad Teacher is All Smiles After Student-Sex Bust 

Yaro Steinbuch reports:  Married Texas teacher Sarah Fowlkes couldn’t wipe the smile off her face for her mugshot after being accused of romping with a 17-year-old student, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Fowlkes, 26, was suspended from her job as an anatomy and physiology teacher at Lockhart High School after turning herself in to police Monday – hours after celebrating her birthday with her hubby.

The beaming blonde allegedly engaged in “sexual content with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire” of the student, the Daily Star reported.

Detectives launched the investigation on March 10 after getting a tip from a school administrator. The probe led them to the boy, who had been in touch with Fowlkes, cops said.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Franken Visibly Frustrated When Gorsuch Doesn’t Take Bait on Merrick Garland Question 


[VIDEO] Sen Cruz Calls Out Democrats On Double Standard They’ve Created For Gorsuch 

 

 


Bad for the Glass: No Roman Polanski Deal, But Sides Have Talked 

The Gunson testimony has been at the heart of attempts to resolve the case. Taken on a provisional basis when it appeared Gunson’s life might be in danger from illness, it touches on a supposedly broken promise by the late Judge Laurence Rittenband to limit Polanski’s sentence for a 1977 statutory rape conviction to time he served during a prison psychiatric evaluation. Only a month ago, Braun insisted that opening the sealed testimony was among his principal aims.

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“I am only interested in obtaining the Gunson transcript and obtaining a ruling on whether a California court will respect the ruling of the Polish Court,” he wrote in a February 21 email, which referred both to the testimony and to a determination in a Polish extradition hearing that Polanski should remain free.

That Braun, at least for purposes of the Monday hearing, was pushing his Gunson demand to the side lent credence to what my colleague Dominic Patten has spotted: Rumors that Polanski’s lawyer and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, though still at loggerheads in court, have been talking. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Sen. Franken: ‘The Document… Looks Very Different From…One I Have Sworn to Support’

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

 


CRACKDOWN: FBI Arrests Man for Alleged Seizure-Inducing Tweet to Triggered Journalist Kurt Eichenwald

The FBI arrested a man accused of sending Dallas reporter Kurt Eichenwald a tweet that Eichenwald claims triggered an epileptic seizure.

The name of the suspect has not yet been released, but FBI spokeswoman Lauren Hagee confirmed that an arrest in the case was made Friday morning.

Eichenwald tweeted that the man who “assaulted” him faces federal charges and is also expected to be indicted by the Dallas district attorney on different charges in the next few days.

Eichenwald, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and a senior writer at Newsweek, first said in December that a Twitter troll sent him a flashing video with the message, “you deserve a seizure,” which triggered an epileptic episode. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Sharyl Attkisson Details Government Surveillance Tactics 


Preet Bharara proved Trump Right

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in New York on March 11, 2017. (Photo: Kathy Willens, AP)

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in New York on March 11, 2017. (Photo: Kathy Willens, AP)

The former U.S. attorney’s petty defiance shows why he needed to be shown the door.

Glenn Reynolds writes: In the excellent Paul Newman legal thriller, Absence of Malice, Wilford Brimley faced a misbehaving Justice Department prosecutor who refused to resign. He fired him. It was Brimley’s breakthrough role, as a no-nonsense older guy there to fix a mess. In a way it prefigured what’s going on with President Trump and former U.S attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara. Bharara refused to resign, and Trump fired him.

There’s been a lot of faux outrage about this decision of Trump’s, but it’s all bogus. And Bharara’s refusal to resign was childish, an effort to score anti-Trump points with Democrats that, all by itself, demonstrated why Bharara was unfit for office and why Trump was right to let him go.

Here’s the thing to understand: United States attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president. The prosecution of crimes, including the decision of which crimes to prosecute and which crimes not to prosecute, is at the discretion of the executive branch, which ultimately means the discretion of the president. U.S. attorneys work for the president in that capacity. And if the president thinks someone else would be better, he’s free to fire them and replace them.

And there’s nothing whatsoever unusual or improper about doing so, something the press has no trouble remembering when the incoming administration is run by Democrats. When Barack Obama took office, he dismissed a bunch of U.S. attorneys. Attorney General Eric Holder explained that “Elections matter — it is our intention to have the U.S. attorneys that are selected by President Obama in place as quickly as they can.”

Likewise, when Hillary Clinton was running for the White House in 2007, she said that replacing U.S. attorneys is “a traditional prerogative of an incoming president.” And, of course, she was right, and there was no outrage from the press. (As journalist and former Democratic staffer David Sirota tweeted, presidents have been replacing U.S. attorneys for decades. Why is this now a scandal? Well, because it’s Trump, and for the press, everything Trump does is a scandal.)

It’s traditional for new administrations to request the resignation of holdovers from the previous administration. It’s considered more polite than outright firing people. But that’s all it is: politeness. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Routine Dismissal of US Attorneys Draws Media Panic and Fake Outrage

 

 


Washington: Anti-Gun Bills Fail to Make Deadline

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Today, at 5:00pm, marked the deadline for bills to be voted out of the House they originated in. As previously reported, two anti-gun bills your NRA-ILA has been actively opposing in Olympia were awaiting a vote on the House floor, however both of these bills failed to receive a vote before the cut-off and are likely defeated for the year.

The Substitute for House Bill 1122 would have required the locking up of one’s firearms or else they would potentially face reckless endangerment charges.  Further, under this bill the penalty for a reckless endangerment charge involving a gun storage violation would amount to a Class C Felony.  This intrusive government legislation invades people’s homes and forces them to render their firearms useless in a self-defense situation.

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House Bill 1483, sponsored by state Representative Tana Senn, would have allowed for the destruction of all firearms confiscated by or forfeited to the Washington State Patrol.  Like other seized items, these firearms should be sold by law-enforcement to generate revenue instead of spending money to have them destroyed.

Also today, the Washington Senate passed SB 5536, sponsored by Senator Phil Fortunato, which would create a specialized National Rifle Association (NRA) license plate featuring the NRA logo. This legislation, which passed the Senate with a 30-19 vote, would also use proceeds from the NRA license plate to fund hunter education.   Read the rest of this entry »


Judge Sentences Former Substitute Teacher Mary Beth Haglin to 90 Days in Jail

In addition to the jail time, Haglin also will have to serve a special sentence of parole for 10 years and be placed on the sex offender registry for 10 years due to the nature of the offense.

CEDAR RAPIDS — Trish Mehaffey reports: A judge on Friday sentenced former Washington
High substitute teacher Mary Beth Haglin to 90 days in jail for having a sexual relationship — that started in 2015 and continued into last year — with a 17-year-old Washington High
student.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Kevin McKeever said he didn’t think a deferred judgment and probation, as recommended by defense, and 180 days in jail, as recommended by prosecutor, were appropriate.

McKeever said he had considered all the facts of the case and both recommendations, but he believed the appropriate sentence was 360 days in jail. He did, however, suspend 270 days, which requires Haglin to serve 90 days in jail. He also placed her on supervised probation for two years.

Tell it to the judge

Haglin, 25, of Cedar Rapidswas found guilty by McKeever in December of sexual exploitation by a school employee, an aggravated misdemeanor. She agreed to a bench or nonjury trial based on the “minutes of testimony,” a limited summary of evidence the prosecution would present at trial.

In addition to the jail time, Haglin also will have to serve a special sentence of parole for 10 years and be placed on the sex offender registry for 10 years due to the nature of the offense.

[ALSO SEE – ‘It’s the School’s Fault I Had Sex with That Boy’]

McKeever also warned her that because this is a sexual offense she would be subject to an enhanced penalty — more prison time — for any future conviction.

Haglin, during the sentencing, apologized to the victim and the court. She never went into teaching for this to happen, she said.

“I’m more complex than this one snapshot in time,” Haglin told the judge.

Assistant Linn County Attorney Heidi Carmer said during the hearing these kinds of cases are particularly difficult because the best outcome for both the victim and the community have to be considered. But the facts in this case “can’t be overlooked.” There was an inappropriate relationship between a teacher and a student, she argued.

Carmer said 180 days in jail would hold her accountable, protect the victim and community and discourage others from this kind of crime.

Katie Frank, Haglin’s lawyer, asked the judge to consider a deferred judgment or a suspended sentence and probation. Frank argued that Haglin had no previous criminal history, and she believed it was the intent of the law, that because this wasn’t a forcible felony, she would be eligible for a deferred or suspended judgment. Read the rest of this entry »


The Wikileaks CIA Stash May Prove Interesting, But Not Necessarily for the Hacks 

The software tools revealed by the leak are sinister, unsurprising—and potentially politically explosive.

Jamie Condliffe writes: Wikileaks has released a huge number of files that it claims to be the “largest ever publication of confidential documents” from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. It includes details of a number of hacking tools, though at first blush they don’t appear to be as incendiary as their potential political ramifications.

“To be sure, such hacks are sinister. But if we learned anything from Snowden’s disclosure of National Security Agency surveillance programs in 2013, it’s that government agencies feel it necessary to hack any technology the public chooses to use.”

The controversial organization published the first tranche of what it says will become a vast collection called Vault 7 on the morning of March 7. The first wave, called Year Zero, contains 8,761 documents and files from between 2013 and 2016.

At this point in time it’s impossible to have scoured the entire database. But Wikileaks claims that it contains descriptions of tools from the CIA’s hacking program. They are said to include malware that can turn Samsung TVs into covert listening posts, tools to remotely control vehicles, and a number of means to render encrypted messaging apps like WhatsApp and Signal redundant.

[Read the full story here, at MIT Technology Review]

None of these approaches are particularly earth-shattering. Samsung had already admitted that its smart TVs could effectively spy on you. Security consultants showed that they could remotely control a Jeep Cherokee two years ago.

“None of these approaches are particularly earth-shattering. Samsung had already admitted that its smart TVs could effectively spy on you.”

And as Edward Snowden points out, the files don’t reveal a problem with encrypted messaging services themselves, though they do reveal that the CIA has a number of targeted exploits that allow them to gain partial remote access to iOS and Android. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Judicial Watch Sues Intelligence Agencies Over Flynn Investigation

Judicial Watch director Christopher Farrell on why the organization is suing U.S. intelligence agencies over leaks of classified information about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

(Washington DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the United States Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury regarding records related to the investigation of retired United States Army Lieutenant General Michel Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (Judicial Watch v. Central Intelligence Agency et al. (No.1:17-cv-00397)).  (The National Security Agency refused to confirm or deny the existence of intelligence records about communications between Gen. Flynn and Amb Kislyak.)

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the agencies failed to respond to a January 25, 2017, FOIA request seeking:

Any and all records regarding, concerning, or related to the investigation of retired Gen. Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak between October 1, 2016 and the present.

This request includes, but is not limited to, any and all related warrants, affidavits, declarations, or similar records regarding the aforementioned investigation.

For purposes of clarification, please find enclosed a CNN report regarding the investigation, which cites information that was provided to CNN by members of the Intelligence Community.

File photo : Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, U.S. national security advisor, arrives to a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a "hallmark of our democracy." Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg(Sipa via AP Images)

The officials all stressed that so far there has been no determination of any wrongdoing.

FBI and intelligence officials briefed members of the Obama White House team before President Barack Obama left office about the Flynn calls to the Russian ambassador, sources said.

“President Trump is on to something. The Obama-connected wiretapping and illegal leaks of classified material concerning President Trump and General Flynn are a scandal,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch aims to get to the truth about these crimes and we hope the Trump administration stands with us in the fight for transparency.”

The officials all stressed that so far there has been no determination of any wrongdoing.

FBI and intelligence officials briefed members of the Obama White House team before President Barack Obama left office about the Flynn calls to the Russian ambassador, sources said. Read the rest of this entry »


NSA Whistleblower: Spy Agencies Eavesdrop Without Warrants

"THE  SPOOK SHACK" NSA headquarters. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

‘The IC is becoming more like the Praetorian Guard’

Kerry Picket reports: NSA surveillance program architect and later whistleblower Bill Binney told Sean Hannity on his radio program Monday that the intelligence community routinely listens in on Americans’ conversations without court ordered FISA warrants.

President Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama on Twitter Saturday of wiretapping Trump Tower during the election.

“Under executive order one two triple three, they do surveillance of everybody in the United States without warrants and that’s done through various upstream programs Fairview, Stormbrew, Blarney and also in cooperation with other countries in terms of collection worldwide,” said Binney.

“So it’s all done without warrants and that was testified to by Adrian Kinney and David Murfee Faulk, who were transcribing at Fort Gordon George. They were transcribing conversations between U.S. citizens with no warrant at all.”

ABC News reported in in early October 2009, Murfee Faulk, a Navay Arab linguist, said he and other NSA intercept operators in Baghdad’s Green Zone from late 2003 to November 2007 listened to hundreds of Americans’ private phone conversations.

[Read the full story here, at The Daily Caller]

“Calling home to the United States, talking to their spouses, sometimes their girlfriends, sometimes one phone call following another,” said Faulk.

“Hey, check this out,” Faulk says he would be told, “there’s good phone sex or there’s some pillow talk, pull up this call, it’s really funny, go check it out. It would be some colonel making pillow talk and we would say, ‘Wow, this was crazy’.”

Binney, who resigned from the NSA in 2001 out of disgust wit how the program was being abused, told Hannity, “I will put it this way. The IC is becoming more like the Praetorian Guard. You know, where they’re trying to determine who the emperor is and also influence what the emperor does, so I just think that this is getting out of hand.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Mark Levin Makes the Case: Obama Administration Spied on Trump Campaign

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BREAKING: Former Attorney General Eric Holder Recommends Obama Administration Playbook to New AG Jeff Sessions

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There’s Almost No Chance Jeff Sessions Committed Perjury 

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Kevin Daley reports: Journalists and Democrats in Congress were far too quick to speculate that Attorney General Jeff Sessions perjured himself during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, after The Washington Post revealed he had failed to disclose two meetings with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

“There are three elements here: a statement must be false, the false statement must be material (relevant) to the question/s asked, and the false statement must be made with an intent to deceive.”

Perjury is the crime of willfully telling an untruth while under oath before a court or tribunal. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] The FBI Won’t Accept Your Emailed Freedom of Information Act Requests Anymore

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has stopped accepting Freedom of Information Act requests by email. The agency wants requesters to use fax, standard mail, or the agency’s online portal to make things on their end more efficient. But, FOIA advocates say this puts a lot of burden on the requester.

Hey millennial FOIA nuts: Time to familiarize yourselves with the concept of a paper jam.

“The goal seems to be ‘creating a lot of extra burden. Everyone is used to emails. It creates a permanent record. It has a time-stamp on it. Everyone knows how to use it’.”

— Adam Marshall, an attorney with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has stopped accepting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by email. The agency wants requesters to use fax, standard mail, or the agency’s online portal, FBI eFOIPA.

fbi_getty

The goal seems to be “creating a lot of extra burden,” says Adam Marshall, an attorney with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “Everyone is used to emails. It creates a permanent record. It has a time-stamp on it. Everyone knows how to use it.”

The FBI says the move will help the agency expedite its backlog, which was estimated at 2,614 requests in 2015. Agency spokesperson Jillian Stickels told the Daily Caller that using an online portal will automate the processing of requests and “increase efficiency.”

But does the FBI really want to make the process more efficient? And its decision to continue accepting faxes and standard mail seems to only create headaches for requesters, who might run out of toner or have their transmission signal interrupted when someone picks up the line.

“Most mail that goes to a federal agency has to go through a screening process,” says Marshall. “Sometimes they irradiate it to make sure that there isn’t anthrax or other things in it […] So, it can take a long time for your mail to get from you to the FOIA officer who’s going to open it up and read it.” Yet the law says that the agency is required to provide a response to a FOIA request within 20 business days.

A beta version of the online portal required users to provide personal information about themselves and limited requests to one per day. The FBI backed away from these rules in response to public pressure from Muckrock and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), but the system still imposes a 3,000-character restriction. Also, the FBI says that not all types of requests can be fulfilled through the portal, though which types the agency won’t say.

There are other bureaucratic hurdles: The FBI has multiple computerized filing systems for documents. Typically, if a requester doesn’t specify which records system to search, the Bureau only queries its Central Records System (CRS) and then might fail to locate a document that it actually has on file. Marshall finds these multiple record systems “incredibly confusing” even though understanding them, he says, is part of his job. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Eugene Volokh for PragerU: Is Gun Ownership a Right? 

What does the Second Amendment say? Is gun ownership a right for all Americans? Or just for a small militia? Eugene Volokh, Professor of Law at UCLA, explains what the Founding Fathers intended.

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Source: PragerU – Eugene Volokh


Deep State: Obama Agitators Are Subverting Government and Undermining Trump

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The leaks that led to Michael Flynn’s resignation are just the beginning. Obama and his loyalists in and outside government are working to undermine Trump.

There are exceptions, of course. Jimmy Carter threw himself into international diplomacy, mediating an agreement in 1994 to return exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power in Haiti, and generally agitating for a Palestinian state.

Then there is Obama. Less than a month out of office, the broad contours of Obama’s post-presidency career are already taking shape. Obama and his loyalists, it seems, will remain in the center of the political fray, officially and unofficially, in an organized effort to undermine the Trump administration.

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The bizarre scandal now unfolding over the resignation of national security advisor Michael Flynn is a case in point. Flynn’s resignation was prompted by a series of coordinated and anonymous leaks from current and former Obama administration officials in our domestic intelligence agencies.

“Obama had eight years in the White House to secure his legacy. Any efforts on his part to undermine his successor aren’t just an affront to the principles of our democracy, they’re an admission that he and his acolytes never put much stock in democracy to begin with.”

Regardless of any valid criticism of Flynn, the leaks are part of a larger, loosely organized effort now underway to preserve Obama’s legacy. This effort involves Obama-era officials still inside the federal government, former Obama staffers working in the private sector, and Obama himself.

[Read the full story here, at thefederalist.com]

This isn’t some conspiracy theory. After the election, Obama indicated he intends to stay involved in the political fray. In an email to his supporters on his last day in office, Obama encouraged them to stay engaged, promising “I’ll be right there with you every step of the way.” Less than two weeks later, he issued a statement saying he was “heartened” by anti-Trump protests over the executive order on immigration.

Attorney General Eric Holder To Resign

But there’s more to all this than Obama issuing solidarity statements to Trump protestors. For one thing, the former president isn’t moving back to Chicago. The Obama family will remain in Washington DC, within a couple miles of the White House, for the next two years as Obama’s youngest daughter finishes high school. Read the rest of this entry »


Florist Who Declined Gay Wedding Request Loses Her Case, Promises Appeal to the Supreme Court

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‘This case is about crushing dissent. In a free America, people with differing beliefs must have room to coexist’ 

Kelsey Harkness reports: An appellate court unanimously ruled against Barronelle Stutzman, the Washington florist who declined to make flower arrangements for a same-sex couple’s wedding because of her religious beliefs.

“It’s wrong for the state to force any citizen to support a particular view about marriage or anything else against their will. Freedom of speech and religion aren’t subject to the whim of a majority; they are constitutional guarantees.”

— Kristen Waggoner, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement.

Lawyers for Stutzman told The Daily Signal they plan to appeal the Washington state Supreme Court ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

At National Review, David French writes:

…But this is the sexual revolution we’re talking about, so it’s necessary for the court to make a statement declaring the government’s allegiances. Indeed, late in the opinion its author gave the game away. Picking up on the absurd and historically ignorant comparison of the modern gay-rights movement with the civil-rights movement in the segregationist South, the judge wrote, “This case is no more about access to flowers than civil rights cases in the 1960s were about access to sandwiches.”

“That’s it right there: the state religion. It reserves for itself the exclusive ability to name, define, and eradicate “social evils,” and heaven help the individual citizen who disagrees. There is no need to show a traditional, legally recognized harm.”

What are they talking about? The federal government took the extraordinary step of passing the civil-rights acts to give black Americans access not just to sandwiches but to hotel rooms, jobs, voting rights, and all the other things they were systematically denied as southern states and communities continually and oppressively imposed the “badges and incidents of slavery” on them. In the pre-civil-rights South, black citizens often had trouble finding places to eat or sleep. They couldn’t vote. They couldn’t get justice in state courts. Civil rights was about access, at its most elementary and necessary level.

But that’s not the case any longer. The gay couple in this case had no trouble finding flowers. Stutzman even recommended other florists who would have been happy to help them celebrate their wedding. So, given the absence of any real harm, the court said that the state had a compelling state interest in punishing the “independent social evil” of discrimination toward a “broader societal purpose: eradicating barriers to equal treatment of all citizens in the commercial marketplace.”

That’s it right there: the state religion. It reserves for itself the exclusive ability to name, define, and eradicate “social evils,” and heaven help the individual citizen who disagrees. There is no need to show a traditional, legally recognized harm. There is no need to prove lack of access to alternative artistic expressions. There is only the need to show that the business owner won’t use her unique talents to help celebrate the sexual revolution.

Finally, if you doubt the court’s malice, look only to its last ruling — that Stutzman can be held personally liable for her allegedly discriminatory act. In other words, the court is willing to pierce the corporate veil to impose individual liability even in the absence of the traditional justifications for that drastic step. Stutzman didn’t commit fraud. She didn’t commingle her personal and corporate funds. She kept her private and professional affairs separate. But she still faces personal financial ruin.

Social-justice warriors will no doubt celebrate the breaking of another egg for their cultural omelet. … (read more)

[Read the full text of David French’s essay here: ‘Washington’s Supreme Court Imposes Its Progressive Faith on a Christian Florist‘]

The ruling, issued on Thursday by Washington’s nine Supreme Court justices, stated that in refusing to provide services for the same-sex couple’s wedding, Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, violated the state’s anti-discrimination law.

[Read the full story here, at dailysignal.com]

“The state of Washington bars discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation. Discrimination based on same-sex marriage constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” the ruling reads.

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Prior to the incident, Stutzman enjoyed a close relationship with Ingersoll, serving him for many years.

“We therefore hold that the conduct for which Stutzman was cited and fined in this case—refusing her commercially marketed wedding floral services to [Robert] Ingersoll and [Curt] Freed because theirs would be a same-sex wedding—constitutes sexual orientation discrimination under the [Washington Law Against Discrimination].” Read the rest of this entry »