Category: Uncategorized

Michael Cohen, The Ultimate Red Shirt Defendant Takes A Plea

images-1.jpgThe appearance of Michael Cohen in court as a self-confessed felon was as riveting as predictable as scene in this unfolding drama. Indeed, if this is ever made into a movie, it would seem all too formulaic. Cohen is the ultimate red-shirt defendant. In the film industry, “red shirts” are characters in a movie plot that inevitably die (like those red shirted security officers in Star Trek that always seem to face demise by the end of an episode). You can often spot a red shirt in that character who is so over-the-top in reading letters from home or over compensating in the face of a pending battles. They are dead men walking.  If you play back the last year, there is one guy who stands out in the red shirt, the guy who has to implode and flip. It is Michael Cohen. Continue reading “Michael Cohen, The Ultimate Red Shirt Defendant Takes A Plea”

Wife Falls Off Sailboat In Rhode Island . . . Husband Does Not Realize She Is Gone Until Four Hours Later

dec89235b3ca9446564e103c33881a1dIt is not clear what is worse: having your wife fall off your sailboat or not noticing for four hours that she is gone.  That is the situation of a couple in Newport, Rhode Island where a woman fell of her husband’s 39-foot sailboat while sailing from Newport to East Greenwich.

Continue reading “Wife Falls Off Sailboat In Rhode Island . . . Husband Does Not Realize She Is Gone Until Four Hours Later”

Faced With One Million Percent Inflation, Venezuela’s Socialist Government Strikes Five Zeros Off Its Currency

250px-Flag_of_Venezuela.svgWe have been following the unfolding disaster in Venezuela where the socialist dream of Hugo Chavez and his dim-witted successor Nicolas Maduro has reduced a major nation to virtual starvation.  The central planning of Maduro’s nation has destroyed the oil-based economy and triggered inflation that is projected to reach 1 million percent within the year.  Maduro however continues to follow the absurd economic model of Chavez and his chief ally, Cuba (another economic basket case).  Now in a move that will worsen an already horrific situation, Maduro has ordered five zeros to be simply erased on the inflated currency while increasing the minimum wage by over 3000 percent.   Continue reading “Faced With One Million Percent Inflation, Venezuela’s Socialist Government Strikes Five Zeros Off Its Currency”

Brennan: I Did Not Mean Trump Was Treasonous When I Said His Actions Are “Nothing Short Of Treason”

220px-John_Brennan_CIA_official_portraitI have been critical of the decision of President Donald Trump to rescind the clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan and to release a list of other officials to be reviewed — officials who are uniformly critics of the President.  Despite my criticism of everyone on the list, I viewed the unprecedented action to be unwarranted and retaliatory.  However, Brennan himself does not help the case for those of us opposing the action.  This weekend Brennan walked back his earlier reckless statement that Trump press conference with Russian president Vladimir Putin was treasonous.  Now Brennan insists that when he called Trump treasonous he did not mean that he actually committed treason. Continue reading “Brennan: I Did Not Mean Trump Was Treasonous When I Said His Actions Are “Nothing Short Of Treason””

NPS Prepares Charges Against Man Who Took Selfies With Feeding Bears In Closed Park Area

screen-shot-2018-08-14-at-123215-pm.pngWe often discuss the people who refuse to adhere to park signs or barriers at the risk to themselves and wildlife. The latest march of the morons was captured on a series of selfies by a man who waded into a river full of bears in a closed section of the Katmai National Park with two other people.  The National Park Service is now preparing charges against this group after various people contacted them with the evidence from a webcam.

Continue reading “NPS Prepares Charges Against Man Who Took Selfies With Feeding Bears In Closed Park Area”

Did Manafort’s Lawyers Just Commit A Serious Violation In Its Closing Argument? [Updated]

ManafortThe end of the trial of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort today proved controversial after the defense counsel made reference to the alleged selective prosecution by the Special Counsel. If accounts are accurate, it would seem a direct violation of the prior understanding with the court that no party was to make reference to selective prosecution and the Special Counsel investigation of President Donald Trump.

Continue reading “Did Manafort’s Lawyers Just Commit A Serious Violation In Its Closing Argument? [Updated]”

FBI Fires Peter Strzok

peter-strzok-and-lisa-pageControversial FBI official Peter Strzok has been fired by the FBI — joining former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe in the ignoble distinction of being terminated by an agency that rarely jettisons its own.  The firing creates an obvious dissonant element to the Democratic defense of Strzok as someone unfairly hounded by the Republicans. The terminations of McCabe and Strzok are based on the view of officials who viewed their conduct as unacceptable and, in McCabe’s case, potentially criminal.

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One notable controversy was raised by Strzok attorney Aitan Goelman, who maintained that Deputy Director David Bowdich “overruled” the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility to remove him. The suggestion is that career officials did not view Strzok’s conduct as warranting such action.

Strzok was with the FBI for 21 years.  It did not take time for Trump to tweet out the news:

 

 

Strzok was removed from the special counsel probe last year after the discovery that his incendiary text messages with FBI lawyer, who had an affair with Strzok.

I am interested in the basis for Strzok’s attorney claiming that  the deputy director “reversed the decision of the career FBI official responsible for employee discipline who concluded, through an independent review process, that a 60-day suspension and demotion from supervisory duties was the appropriate punishment.”  There should be some explanation from Goelman as to whether that is true and, if so, the basis for such a reversal.  Generally, the recommendation of the OPR carries considerable weight in such matters. However, the ultimate decisions rests with officials like Goelman on whether the findings warrant more serious sanctions.

Liberty University President Calls For Trump Critics To Be Arrested

220px-The_ScreamLiberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. issued an alarming tweet that suggested that critics of President Donald Trump including James Comey, Rod Rosenstein, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Jeff Sessions, and Loretta Lynch should be arrested.  While we are living in an age of rage, such statements from a university president is deeply disconcerting.  This follows a disturbing poll showing a surprisingly large percentage of Republicans believe that the President should be able to shutdown media organizations.  It seems like the rising distemper in this country is turning us against the foundations of our system from due process to the free press. Continue reading “Liberty University President Calls For Trump Critics To Be Arrested”

Poll: 43 Percent Of Republicans Agreed That President Trump Should Have The Power To Shutdown News Organizations

Continue reading “Poll: 43 Percent Of Republicans Agreed That President Trump Should Have The Power To Shutdown News Organizations”

Rescue Me: How A Challenging Hike Turned Into An Embarrassing California Adventure

IMG_8093 (1)Below is a slightly longer version of my Hill column on my recent hike in the Cleveland National Forest outside of Santa Ana, California.  It was the beginning of the heat emergency that is still gripping the area with massive fires and dangerous conditions.  I have stayed in contact with my new friends at the Orange County Fire and Rescue and they were kind enough to send some pictures of the rescue.  I am told that their biggest problem is that people often do not want to be rescued because they are afraid to be hit with a bill for the rescue. They do not charge. They just want people out of harm’s way and safe.
I have previously criticized the charging for rescues in parks because it is  discourages people from calling for help. I also view this is one of those essential jobs for the government that is supported by the public through their taxes. Of course, I never thought I would end up being the guy dangling from a helicopter.  As I have previously written, these incredible heroes deserve our support and greater funding in doing their critical work as first responders.  These men and women are truly inspirations in how they put themselves in harm’s way for others. Where the natural instinct is to run from danger, these people run toward it to help others.  They show an unflinching and unyielding courage day in and day out.
In the meantime, I am currently on vacation with my family and we have repeatedly thought of the Orange County Fire and Rescue on this trip.  As I spend time with my family, I remember that image of Jim Slikker descending into that ravine.  I will never forget it or the debt that I owe him and the Orange County Sheriff’s Fire and Rescue team.
Here is the column:

Continue reading “Rescue Me: How A Challenging Hike Turned Into An Embarrassing California Adventure”

Trump’s Tweets Are Cathartic and Costly But Not Crimes

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedBelow is my column in USA Today on the most recent claim that the tweets of President Donald Trump concerning the Special Counsel are acts of obstruction.  Once again, there is a blind eagerness to claim a prime facie criminal case against Trump. However, the implications of such a charge are enormous. It would mean that a subject or target of an investigation could be criminally charged for publicly denouncing the prosecutors or their investigation.  While it is certainly true that a president is not just any investigatory subject and has powers that do mean a menacing meaning to such tweets, it would radically extend the scope of obstruction into more ambiguous areas.  In the end, this is still the exercise of free speech in this context.

Continue reading “Trump’s Tweets Are Cathartic and Costly But Not Crimes”

Mr. Manafort And His $15,000 Ostrich Coat

1531416683549The Justice Department received well-deserved pushback yesterday in the trial of Paul Manafort from U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis who noted that it’s not a crime to be rich in America.   The Justice Department has been trying every possible way of introducing pictures and witnesses detailing Manafort’s “extravagant lifestyle” in the jury trial.  This includes such items as his $15,000 jacket that’s “made from an ostrich.”  On style values alone, many of us would be tempted to convict on the Ostrich jacket but that is hardly what Manafort is charged with. Nevertheless, the government got plenty by using lifestyle witnesses to confirm Manafort’s use of direct wire transfers from his many foreign accounts — a practice that was recalled as exceptionally rare by the witnesses.

Continue reading “Mr. Manafort And His $15,000 Ostrich Coat”

The Swedish Crown Affair: Treasure Snatched By Gang Of Thieves Outside Stockholm

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Swedish Police Department

Sweden was the scene of a heist this week that is worthy of Ocean Eleven or The Thomas Crown Affair.  A gang of thieves hit the Strangnas Cathedral.  The 900-year-old church (located about 50 miles from Stockholm)  houses the royal treasure of King Karl IX and Queen Kristina.  It was surprisingly easy — a smash and grab followed by a high-speed boat getaway. Continue reading “The Swedish Crown Affair: Treasure Snatched By Gang Of Thieves Outside Stockholm”

Dinner’s On Me: North Carolina Man On Moped Arrested With Two Dozen Steaks Down In Pants

38122930_1833693306697237_2924888014364606464_nThere are patdowns and then there are patdowns. This one was particularly memorable for North Carolina sheriffs after they found $100 worth of steaks down the pants of a guy pulled over on a moped.  My question is what happened to the ribeyes: evidence locker or spontaneous grill taste and testing?  I certainly hope that they did not end up back on the store shelf after being down a guy’s pants as he rode down the highway on a moped.

Continue reading “Dinner’s On Me: North Carolina Man On Moped Arrested With Two Dozen Steaks Down In Pants”

Philadelphia Ends Sharing Information With ICE

us-immigration-and-customs-enforcement-seal-plaque-l100px-Seal_of_Philadelphia,_Pennsylvania.svgPhiladelphia has announced that it will formally end its information-sharing agreement  with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – a move following protests against ICE.  Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney declared “If I could abolish ICE, I would. But we can abolish this contract, and we are.”  While a court recently ruled against the Administration on withholding federal grants from sanctuary cities, the growing confrontation with ICE is likely to grow as the Trump Administration pursues penalties against such cities. Continue reading “Philadelphia Ends Sharing Information With ICE”

Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks