Ninth Circuit Rules Against Trump . . . Using Trump As Main Witness Against Himself

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedninth-circuit-logoIt is the presidential version of death by cop.  Recently, I wrote a column on how Trump had become a witness against himself by, again, tweeting highly damaging observations about pending litigation and even contradicting the statements of his own legal team in the immigration order litigation.  As predicted, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit not only ruled against his Administration but relied on his damaging recent tweet to seal the deal.  The lack of message discipline extended to Trump friends this week after his friend, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, said Trump was considering firing Mueller: “I think he’s considering perhaps terminating the special counsel. I think he’s weighing that option. I think it’s pretty clear by what one of his lawyers said on television recently.”   The statement sent a chill throughout Congress.  Such a move would not only push Congress to pass a renewal of the Independent Counsel Act but magnify allegations of obstruction.

Continue reading

The Case Against James Comey

440px-Comey-FBI-PortraitBelow is my column in The Hill Newspaper on the the case against former FBI Director James Comey for leaking FBI information to the media.  There has been an effort to confine the question of Comey’s actions in terms of criminality. There are laws that could be relied upon for a formal charge in court but that is unlikely and would counter prior prosecutorial practices.  However, the disclosure clearly violates a host of federal rules and regulations that bar such use of FBI information. It is therefore unlawful and unprofessional.  It is also potentially unethical under bar rules.

Here is the column:


Continue reading

Report: Comey Asked Sessions Not To Leave Him Alone With Trump

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_cropped440px-Comey-FBI-PortraitIt appears that President Donald Trump’s instilled a virtually phobic reaction in former FBI Director James Comey after his allegedly inappropriate pitch to terminate the investigation of former National Security Advisor Micheal Flynn.  According to the New York Times, Comey asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to leave him alone with Trump.  If true, the request for a type of chaperone in the Oval Office would represent a new low for the White House.  In the meantime (and equally embarrassing if true), ABC reports that Sessions actually asked Trump if he should resign due to his own deteriorating relationship with the President (who was reportedly still angry at Sessions for recusing himself from the Russian investigation). Notably, the White House declined to say whether Trump still has faith in Sessions at the White House press conference.

Continue reading

Oregon Organic Farm Threatened With Forced Herbicide Use Reaches Settlement With County

Last weekend we featured two articles (HERE and HERE) describing a controversy involving the forced use of chemical herbicides on an organic farm that according to County officials was out of compliance in controlling noxious weeds that were threatening neighboring farms and crops.

The 2,000 acre organic farm in North Central Oregon is facing what could be an existential threat to its operations after county weed control authorities sent notice mandating that the farm use chemical herbicides to eradicate weed growth.

I attended the public hearing held at the Sherman County seat located in Moro, Oregon. Due to a very high volume of interest expressed by residents and those outside the community, the venue was changed from the County Courthouse to a gymnasium at the Sherman County High School. There was a great deal of uncertainty manifest in this hearing with strongly held opinions on many sides and one can say with near certainty that the publicity generated caused turmoil in this small community. In fact, the concern was so great, that a number of law enforcement officials were dispatched to the area to provide security to address a worry that things might get out of hand. But in the end the two sides reached an agreement that precludes the forced use of herbicides–and offered both a carrot and stick for both parties to strongly consider.

Continue reading

McCabe: FBI Agents Were “Vocal” In Their Dissatisfaction Over Failure To Indict Clinton

Andrew_McCabe_official_photoHillary_Clinton_Testimony_to_House_Select_Committee_on_BenghaziThe testimony of Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe on Thursday grabbed headlines in his direct contradiction of the White House claim that former FBI Director James Comey has lost the support of career agents.  McCabe made clear that the rank and file were (and remain) entirely supportive of Comey.  However, I thought the most interesting aspect of the hearing was a brief discussion of the 2016 decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton. McCabe, who is viewed by many Republicans as having problematic links to the Clinton camp (through his wife who ran for office with their financial support), said that the failure to indict Clinton produced “vocal” opposition from the agents investigating her conduct.

Continue reading

The United Arab Emirates Arrests Vacationing Couple For Sex Outside Of Marriage After Doctor Discovers That Ukrainian Woman Is Pregnant

The United Arab Emirates have supplied the most recent example of the Sharia legal system in the Muslim world.  South African Emlyn Culverwell‚ 29, and his Ukrainian fiancée Iryna Nohai, 27, were arrested after Nohai wemt to the doctor over stomach pains.  In the UAE doctors appear to have no notion of confidentiality (or humanity) and informed the police when he discovered that she was pregnant.  Since she had not yet married Culverwell, that meant that they had violated the Islamic code against sex outside of marriage — even though the impregnation occurred outside of the UAE.  They are criminally charged.

Continue reading

$5,000 Hamburger: One Claims It Was ‘Absolutely Worth It’. No, It Was Not.

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

(Hamburger Stock Photo)

While I consider myself to be more of libertarian and believe individuals should be able to spend their money as they please, no matter how foolishly, there are times where conspicuous consumption is so insulting and demeaning to those who have little it can only be described as a bit immoral.

I read a review by Robert Frank of CNBC of a restaurant that serves a Five Thousand Dollar Hamburger created by Chef Hubert Keller’s “Fleur” restaurant at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The articles author claims the burger was “absolutely worth it.”

Obviously, I don’t doubt the quality or the hype–reportedly twenty-eight of these burgers have been reportedly sold so far–congratulations to them for being such a good business model and their windfall but what is the social cost to this level of arrogant consumption given that ordinary people must work to pay for basics.

Continue reading