Category: Uncategorized

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:

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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.

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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”

Fresno State Professor Calls For All White Editors Everywhere To Resign After “Ableist” Poem Published By Nation Magazine

unknownRanda Jarrar, a professor of English at California State University at Fresno, became an infamous character when she previously celebrated the death of former first lady Barbara Bush.  The horrific tweets by Jarrar led to calls for her termination, which I previously opposed on free speech grounds.  Now, Jarrar is back after calling for the resignation of all white editors everywhere because The Nation published a poem that some viewed as “ableist.” In the meantime, the editors of the liberal magazine have been on a public campaign of self-flagellation over the publishing of the short poem.

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Assault By Alligator: Florida Man Chases Customers in Convenience Store With Gator

Gator beer OnlyinDuval FBNew reports in Jacksonville, Florida  show a man chasing customers in a convenience story with a live gator chased.  Strangely it is the wildlife officials who announced that they are investigating (as they should) but not the local police. Last time I check, assault was still a crime and brandishing an alligator would appear to fit the definition.

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Sinclair Acquisition of Tribune In Doubt After Allegations Of Sinclair Hiding Key Information From The FCC

fcc-seal_rgb-largeSinclair_Broadcast_Group_Logo.svgThe much-discussed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media by Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. is now in serious question after the discovery of undisclosed facts and relationships.  A hearing has been called and many believe that Sinclair will drop its bid to avoid the highly damaging adjudication of these issues.  On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission unanimously voted that undisclosed facts by Sinclair was enough cause for concern that it should be reviewed independently by an administrative judge. That hearing designation order  raised the concern that, in light of the new information,  the deal may “not be in the public interest.”

 

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Pre-Trial Poll: Should Men Still Pay For Dinner On the First Date?

11353720745_316418dba3_bToday we discussed the curious case of the so-called “Dine-and-Dash Dater.” Paul Gonzales is accused of running out on several women at restaurants after expensive meal.  As we discussed, much of the alleged crime would depend on the expectations or understanding of the daters.  Below is a poll designed to gauge how jurors might view such a case.

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Sometimes Urine and Sometimes Your Out: Colorado Woman Faces Bizarre Claim of Property Damage In Seeking Job

920x920Angelique Sanchez, 26, may have serious difficulty in pursuing a new job in Aurora, Colorado.  Sanchez was cited for property destruction after she allegedly put a urine sample in a 7-Eleven microwave — resulting in it exploding.  She was found waiting for a physical and urinalysis at a health clinic a half-mile away.

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Haspel Continues (Reluctantly) With Endangered Nomination Despite Opposition Over Her Prior Record Of Torture

440px-Gina_Haspel_official_CIA_portraitCIA nominee Gina Haspel reportedly sought to withdraw her nomination last Friday but was convinced to continue by the White House.  I have previously written extensively on my views the torture program implemented under the Bush Administration and why it was a clear violation of international laws and treaties.  As I wrote recently, CIA nominee Gina Haspel has featured greatly in that torture program.  Nevertheless, various Democrats continues to express a willingness to consider making her the head of the Central Intelligence Agency. In the meantime, Sarah Sanders has echoed the talking point that Senators will be hypocrites if they do not vote for the first woman to be nominated for this post.  The problem is that she is also the first person nominated with an admitted history of torture, even though she continues to mislabel the programs as “enhanced interrogation.”

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Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks