Tuesday, December 10, 2019

IG Report Shows The FBI Had Legitimate Reasons to Open Its Investigation of The Trump Campaign - But Toady Barr Tries To Deny It

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Trump's pet toad, William Barr, just felt he had to chime in on the IG report released by David Horowitz, absolving the FBI of any nefarious motives in the investigation of Trump and his campaign in 2016

"Barr's intrusion shows the Justice Department is utterly compromised. Functioning as a political tool for Trump, Giuliani and Sean Hannity."  Chris Hayes last night, on All In.

A Justice Department inspector general’s report examining the FBI’s investigation of President Trump’s 2016 campaign rebutted conservatives’ accusations that top FBI officials were driven by political bias to illegally spy on Trump advisers. The IG Report released yesterday also found broad and “serious performance failures” requiring major changes, which Director Chris Wray has vowed to correct.
The 434-page report issued by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded the FBI had an “authorized purpose” when it initiated its investigation, known as Crossfire Hurricane, into the Trump campaign. In doing so, Horowitz implicitly rejected GOP assertions that the case was launched out of political animus, or that the FBI broke its own rules on using informants.

It asserted, though, that as the probe went on, FBI officials repeatedly decided to emphasize damaging information they heard about Trump associates, and play down exculpatory evidence they found. The bureau promptly indicated it would implement dozens of corrective measures in response to Horowitz’s report and that disciplinary action remains a possibility

Trump, not surprisingly,  called the report’s findings “far worse than anything I would have imagined.”    In another one of his insane stupors he barked:
“This was an overthrow of government.  This was an attempted overthrow and a lot of people were in on it and they got caught, they got caught red-handed.
Thereby again conflating himself with the government.  But lest we be led down the path of insanity like Dotard, let's bear in mind the person actually investigated out in the open back then was Hillary. Indeed, then FBI director James Comey's repeated interjections and  announcements of progress in the FBI email investigation likely cost her the election.  Trump paved the way for his own investigation by firing Comey, after the then FBI Director refused to swear loyalty to the orange maggot.  As I wrote in my May 10, 2017 post:
"A combination of factors alerted Trump's reptilian brain stem it had to act and fast. The easiest response - which killed the most "birds" with one stone-  would be firing Comey. That would amount to an instant act of decapitation, not only of Comey but the FBI's investigation into the Trump-Russkie ties.  Using the ruse of Comey's mishandling of the Hillary email server also would come off - to a dumb media - of casting the Donald as a latter day changeling. Who now would strike down Hillary's tormentor and give Trump "brownie points" in so doing.

The problem, as The Financial Times' Edward Luce has pointed out, is it makes zero sense. In Luce's words:

'Mr. Trump is asking the US public to believe he 'terminated and removed'  the FBI director for having treated Mrs. Clinton unfairly. This was the same opponent whom Mr. Trump said should be locked up for mishandling her emails."
The Trump investigation, meanwhile, remained in the shadows. It only really saw the light of day when Bob Mueller began his own investigation leading to the Mueller report. The appointment of Mueller as special prosecutor  was only triggered when Trump stupidly fired Comey.  This was after he refused to carry out the Don's orders.  As Chris Hayes put it last night, regarding Barr's worthless conspiracy claptrap to do with the FBI:

"The obvious problem with this theory is that it makes no sense. Remember this, during the campaign the only investigation that became public was the one regarding Hillary Clinton, which arguably lost her the election. But the FBI was investigating Trump at the very same time. No one uttered a word about it. If they were so desperate to bring Trump down you'd think someone would have said something.  They didn't. So the whole conspiracy theory doesn't even hold together."

In other words, all Barr has to base his objections on are recycled hot air from the psycho conspiracy babblers, i.e. from 8chan, Infowars, QAon and the like.

The report also seemed to open a rift inside the Justice Department.  But this is what happens when one sector or division is committed to paranoid fabrications and the other to justice and adherence to reality. 
Embodying lies, mischief, disinformation and fake news, Attorney General William P. Barr went all out for an encore performance of his whitewashing stunt back in April.  When he sprung his little "summary " of the Mueller report to convey  a specious "exoneration" of  Trump.  (Which then immediately encouraged Trump to seek the Ukraine  extortion- paving the way for the articles of impeachment to be announced today.)

This time, Toad Barr disagreed with one of the inspector general’s key conclusions, saying the FBI launched an investigation of a presidential campaign “on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken. It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory.” 
Also, basically concurring with this fulsome baloney was Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, who Barr handpicked to conduct an investigation parallel to that of Horowitz.  In other words, he needed a parallel reality  performing puppet and Durham provided it.   Durham said in a statement:
 “Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.
This, of course, is total codswallop. How do we KNOW this? We have foreign intercepts of meetings of Trump cronies, e.g. Carter Page, with Russian  (GRU) agents.  It was these intercepts and related documents - including  FISA warrants- that Devin Nunes threatened to release 2 years ago , to expose a supposed "FBI-DOJ conspiracy".   
In fact the FBI's's involvement was totally called for given the U.S. had to enter the picture with its own FISA warrants, surveillance, etc.  after foreign  intercepts were received from the UK, Germany, the Netherlands. Not to do so would have violated agreements with foreign intel sources, assets. 

Former FBI special agent Frank Figliuzzi was so disturbed by Durham's premature interjections into the IG report he had this to say (last night on 'All In'):

"John Durham, by coming out with this statement in the middle of his own investigation, has violated DOJ policy by commenting on other investigations absent a compelling public interest. And I am hard pressed to find a compelling public interest for a DOJ employee to disagree with their own Inspector General. Unless the timing isn't working for them. 

In other words, Horowitz came out with this good finding for the FBI and it doesn't work for  Barr's own report and its timing. So Barr needs to ride this out toward the election. To keep the public hanging, and thinking something wrong is going to get found."

Yet more reasons that Barr himself needs to be impeached and removed from his office which may well be politicized beyond repair.  So much so that we understand many DOJ employees are pining for the days with ol' Jeff Sessions in charge.

See Also:

Attorney General William Barr publicly challenged the watchdog report, defending President Trump.


Monday, December 9, 2019

Yesterday's House Judiciary Hearings - Another Disruption Effort By Reep Renegades, Screwballs & Traitors

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Conspiracy Peddling Ape Owen Shroyer Gets Frogmarched Out of Hearings yesterday.

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Corn pone Reeptard Doug Collins uses Milk Carton image of Adam Schiff to try to turn House Judiciary Hearings Into a Three Ring Circus

Monday’s  House Judiciary hearing - lasting nine hours - did not open smoothly and so it was just as well Janice was not able to watch the repeated antics of the Reeptard monkeys, apes and swine.   After all,  these derelict renegades and their hangers on behaved worse than monkeys and apes - and swine - in a zoo.  From the outset, in what ought to have been a somber and serious space (and time) when Congress began arguments on what that testimony meant, the Reep traitors were determined to try to turn it into a circus.
Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, indeed,  had barely begun introducing the session when a bearded ape named Owen Shroyer  got up from the public seats at the rear of the chamber and initiated a disturbance.  Much like the Reep gangsters who invaded the SCIF secure room (for deposed witnesses)  two months ago, e.g.

Reepos "Storming" House Committees' SCIF Site S...

This punk was committed to chaos..  He screamed like a Mandrill ape on a mix of MJ candy, meth and crack at Mr. Nadler:

Americans are sick of your impeachment scam! Trump is innocent!You’re the one committing treason. America is done with this!

Clearly, the bearded baboon has got his treasonous perps mixed up. It is in fact the likes of him and the assembled 17 Reeptard renegades guilty of treason.  Thankfully, a uniformed Capitol policeman frog marched the scum ball from the chamber, even as he yelped: “You can kick me out, but he’s the one committing crimes.”    
Thereby reaffirming the urgent need to toss the imp into a rubber room and apply the wires for ECT - oh and while in a straitjacket.  That Shroyer is a certified nutcase was already well known given  he'd worked at the now discredited far-right conspiracy web site Infowars.  That would be the same Infowars set up by the crackpot Alex Jones, e.g.
Image result for alex jones

Seriously, folks, take a gander at that mug and tell me he doesn't have twenty screws loose! Now tell me any loon who works for him wouldn't have 40 screws loose.

To refresh everyone's memory, Shroyer was the same loony tune actively spreading the most atrocious  conspiracy ideation of the 2016 presidential election, that Hillary Clinton was running a pedophile ring through a string of pizza restaurants. The spreading of those misshapen ideations and fabricated memes led to staff at the targeted restaurant (Comet Pizza in D.C.)  being subjected to threats and harassment, with an armed psycho turning up with an AR-15 assault rifle in December 2016,   The kook threatened staff and then shot off the lock of a cupboard, supposedly determined to liberate the chained and manacled Hillary sex slaves. Fortunately, no one was killed, and the phantasmagorias of psychotic Reich wing sewer dwellers reached a benign ending.

No, folks, you cannot make this shit up. It happened, and it was driven by crazy asswipes like Shroyer, Michael G. Flynn (son of indicted criminal  Mike Flynn) and Alex Jones.  Their insane allegations further, were not "free speech" in any manner, shape or form. Their psychotic babbling and conspiracy lunacy were the ravings of  madmen that could have gotten lots of people killed.

Though the deranged gunman was sentenced to four years in jail. Shroyer is evidently still in business, mindfucking millions with this gibberish.. Indeed, as the UK Guardian reported, his Twitter account recorded his arrest, pushing the hashtag #FreeOwenShroyer. 

I have a better one: #ECT Shroyer'sApeBrain

But let's be clear here: Shroyer’s disruption was not just an incidental disturbance, but an opening salvo in the real battle underlying the impeachment hearings: a battle over the power to shape reality.  As the hearings continued, the Reepo members repeatedly tried to drown out Nadler’s remarks and loosen his grip on proceedings, shouting out points of order, and then demanding a rollcall vote on them. 

The repeated votes,  each requiring committee members to voice an 'aye' or 'nay', ensured that they all remained in the chamber throughout the hearing. One of the points of order, raised by Mike Johnson of Louisiana, complained that the argument of the majority counsel, the lawyer making the case against Trump, “impugns the motives of the president”. Therefore it represented a violation of parliamentary rules – ignoring the fact that that is precisely what impeachment is all about. (Also, that given the lawyer was not an actual member of the Judiciary, such a point of order would not apply anyway.)  But this again is the Reeptards' game, to keep the shitstorm churning and hopefully also the viewership down.

Shroyer is on the leading edge of a massive effort to create a parallel universe, conjured up from a constantly replenished cloud of fabrications. The Pizzagate incident demonstrated the real-world consequences of such an invented reality and why we can no longer play games or pretend it's harmless or doesn't exist. 

 I earlier quoted  journalist Julia Ioffe on 'All In' two weeks ago - who noted the predicament of this country now with half its citizens mind-fucked by false news, misinformation and outright propaganda, e.g.. 

"What we're seeing is two parts of the population are living in parallel information universes only one of which is true. That also exists in Russia and now we have that happening here."

Adding that: "as the scandal started brewing and continuing through the hearings,  the people trapped in the right wing media kept harping that 'Oh they never got over the Russia hoax' and they kept on about the Steele dossier.  It's like those conspiracy theories never went away.  It's like Devin Nunes asking 'Hi, witness, have you heard of conspiracy theory 72 B.?  That stuff is all from the Mueller era and it's been baked in."
And make no mistake the Reeps, the Infowars conspiracy wackjobs and their allies are determined to keep the pot boiling with bollocks.   As I also wrote in a previous post, e.g.

The media  - most of it - are not perceptive reporters and information brokers, but rather clueless dupes who play into the hands of the reality -destroying renegades like Shroyer, Jones, and most of the Republican trolls (e.g. Doug Collins, Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan) determined to protect the criminal occupying the White House.  They do this by treating the whole lot with too much deference and respect when they've done nothing, nada, to earn it.  Most accounts of the Reep efforts at chaos, e.g. hurling their points of  order and spurious parliamentary challenges in cascading volleys -  were treated in too many press reports as "business as usual",  a normal part of the formal hearings.  Not as outlandish aberrations from a party that has devolved into swine, traitors and trolls.   Those interruptions sometimes reached the level that Mr. Nadler – a 72 year-old congressional veteran – struggled at times to fend them off, hammering away with his gavel, his authority teetering at times before he ultimately steadied himself.

As media specialist Eric Boelhert observed in a recent blog post:

"Extreme times call for extreme measures, but the Beltway press just isn't willing to make that move in the Trump era. As a consequence, the news media fail to accurately capture the radical changes now underway in the country, and how today's Republican Party has become purposefully untethered from reality.  

Donald Trump remains a resolutely radical player who has eviscerated decades of protocols and traditions. Yet so much of the press refuses to cover him that way, opting instead to cling to Beltway traditions for how presidents are normally covered (i.e. We can't call him a liar!). But as the high-profile impeachment hearings confirm (along with Trump's recent disastrous and embarrassing trip to the NATO summit), new and bolder language is needed to accurately describe what's transpiring." 

I am one of those who choose to use "bolder language" to describe what the Reeptards and crazed asswipes like  Shroyer and Jones (as well as Limbaugh) are doing.  And I make no apologies for not using niceties of  language that signals a modicum of respect. Why would I if  I'm describing the visible actions of two- legged rodents and roaches?   Would I do so for the 4 or six- legged vermin? Then why would I for the 2-legged form out to destroy our Republic?  Am I then convinced beyond any doubt that the Republican protectors of Trump are all acting out of uniformly bad faith, bad intentions, with no exceptions? You bet your sweet bippy, I am!

 The King of Corn Pone Traitors-  Ranking Repuke member Doug Collins- tried to get creative with his traitor enabling of Trump by resorting to the display of a 4 ft high poster showed Schiff in a “Missing” notice on the side of a carton of milk.  Reeptardo that he is, Collins evidently had no clue that  as chair of another panel (the House intelligence committee), Schiff was not supposed to be there.  Never mind, the objective wasn't to adhere to facts or reality but to foment a sense of conspiracy around the hearings.  I.e. so the lower half of the IQ curve wouldn't accept them. 
Here's the main takeaway on why the House Dems merit being treated with respect - as well as the impeachment inquiry -  and the Republicans (Repukes) merit only contempt. The Democrats are making every concerted effort to emphasize the import of the moment, with the fate of the Republic at stake.  They are not treating impeachment lightly but as a constitutional duty faced with an upstart who really believes he can shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it.  This is the mindset of a monarch, or a person of such monstrous ego and narcissism he believes he's a monarch.  

The Republicans, by contrast have sought to make light of and denigrate the proceedings as much as possible, including treating them as a distraction when they aren't actively disrupting them.  Hence, using chaos and gangsterism they are attempting to delegitimize the entire process.  They are, in other words, acting like spitball- throwing juvenile delinquents in a class,  who - as Brother Dominic of Pace High did more than once 56 years ago - was not averse to lifting by the ear and hurling  out of his English 2A classroom.

  This is why I make no apologies for the free use of epithets and disparaging terms ("Reeptards". "Repukes" etc.) whenever I refer to the Republicans, irrespective of who they are - as long as they're providing cover for Traitor Trump. Even the Reep lawyer (for the House Intel Committee)  Steven Castor,  lied through his teeth yesterday, claiming Ukraine didn't know Trump was extorting the country by withholding military aid, saying:

"At the time of the July 25th phone call officials in Kiev did not know the security assistance was paused. They did not know it was paused until it was reported publicly in the U.S. media on August 28th."

Which is a bald faced lie, so Castor lied under oath.  We already know (and heard, and saw) Laura Cooper, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Russia, Ukraine & Eurasia, testified during the Intel impeachment hearing: "Flag Ukrainian concerns" in n email the same day as Trump's July 25th phone call.

So Castor merits no more respect than the other Reep thugs, liars, and traitors.  Thus,  unlike the bought out media I see the Reeps for what they are:  human vermin- who warrant no respect nor any efforts to dignify their traitorous acts and attempts to destroy this nation. Those who don't appreciate my colorful descriptors are free to ignore them or my posts. Your choice!

Seniors "Running Up" Medicare and Social Security Tabs? Not Quite

No photo description available."Maybe Elizabeth Warren - a Boomer- will finally raise taxes on her generation which is running up the tab on Medicare and Social Security" -  Joseph Sternberg, WSJ, Sept. 13, p. 15A

"Yeah, I'm turning 65 next year.  Can't wait to go broke  trying to make ends meet with Medicare coverage. I worked 40 plus years paying into a system that will - at some point - kill me.  Yes, I can afford supplemental insurance at this point, but sometime in the future I may not be able to because of deteriorating health as I age."- Denver Post letter writer, Nov. 2, 'The Needs Of Our Seniors', p. 3K

It may stun many people to know that Medicare is by no means a "freebie" or entitlement. First, people have paid into it over a life time at the rate of 1.45%  in FICA taxes per paycheck. This is what appears on your W-2 tax form as "Medicare wages". It is that amount deducted from your pay for Medicare. Thus, it is most certainly not "welfare" and I'd even argue that it cannot be called an "entitlement". 

Second, no genuine "entitlement" would require a beneficiary to cover extra expenses like eye glasses and dental - two aspects that cannot be ignored and can come to thousands of dollars a year.  In addition, no entitlement makes increasing claims on one's budget  - as the Denver Post letter writer complained about - in regard to having to buy supplemental insurance. 

To fix ideas, my Medicare Part B supplemental insurance has just gone up to $144 a month.  This is in addition to my private supplemental insurance (which covers hospital procedures and tests Medicare B doesn't) which has now gone up another $30 a month to $273 a month. or $3,276 /yr.  At the same time Janice's private supplemental insurance has similarly gone up to $250/ month. So the total for both of for a year, with just supplemental insurance costs alone is now $5,004 + $4,728 =  $9, 732 for next year.  The Medicare supplemental insurance is offset by increasing the Social Security monthly payments in tandem, but all that means is that there is negligible benefit from any Social Security cost of living (COLA) increase, see e.g.

The Social Security cost-of-living increase is a cruel fraud ...



The Mythical Social Security Cost Of Living Increa...

It is clear then, as the LA Times report notes, that current cost of living increases to Social Security are simply "cruel frauds" - i.e. if they can be wiped out with a simple offset.  "Here you go, sir, your Social Security increase for the new year....But...your Medicare supplemental (Part B) is being increased too - just  that amount -  so will be deducted from your COLA to pay for it!"

Lastly, one needs to enroll in a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D),  critical since you only get one shot getting lower cost access to prescription drugs. Even if you're not currently on any drugs per se, counselors assure you that the best bet is to at least sign into one, in case you have to rely on a prescription (say for blood pressure) later.  Right now I am on a blood pressure med (amlodipine besylate) and a statin (prevastatin) both of which I need to control a tendency to malignant high blood pressure, plus control the condition of hyperlipidemia - the tendency to collect too much fat in blood and liver.  

Fortunately, I can get both as generics so keep the total drug costs down to about $15 a month.  But at the same time, the plan provider (Humana) has now announced  the third monthly annual premium increase in a row - from what used to be ($18 / month), to now $60 a month.  Hence, the monthly premium is now four times what I pay for the actual meds. For Janice the factor is a bit smaller as she takes more meds, but the monthly increase is no less painful. So for prescription drugs alone we are talking about another $1,440 a year.  

Added to the cost of supplemental insurance - and leaving out the Medicare supplemental because it's offset by deduction from the Social Security COLA - that comes to: $7, 716 total.   But this doesn't include any dental or glasses etc. which easily adds another $2, 500 a year for both of us. That makes a grand total of $7,716 +  $2,500 =  $10, 216 a year in premiums and procedures etc. not covered by Medicare.  I show all this to also indicate what costs would be like for anyone who "buys into" Medicare.

Clearly, such proposals on offer from one or more Dem candidates need to be put into realistic perspective that people aren't just going to buy into the program and get a freebie. Not any more than those of us already in the Medicare program.  It can't be otherwise.  As for the 'Medicare for all' pipedream which claims all premiums can be wiped out for millions,  I will believe that when I see it. 

Adding up all these  Medicare -related costs up it is clear Joseph Sternberg (top quote) is talking twaddle when he claims seniors are "running up the tab".  In fact, the tab is being run up on us (including via the Medicare Advantage program which is bleeding traditional Medicare into insolvency.

Few may recall that Medicare Advantage is the privatized spawn of the  "Medicare Modernization Act" that Billy Tauzin and his Reepo criminal congress forced through back in 2003 - to the cheers of Big PhRMA.  It was no wonder that soon after it passed, Goldman Sachs estimated the benefit to PhRMA ( in terms of corporate welfare), would be over $13.7 b over ten years. It's probably even more now.

Indeed, another vile aspect of the 2003 law was that it barred Medicare from negotiating for lower drug prices like the VA does. The law actually left the negotiating to private insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers. The very existence of this refuse denied Medicare the ability to drive down prices - and indeed control prices. 

But then many of us at the time suspected the Bushies were behind this recklessly expensive, bogus law as a means to rush Medicare toward insolvency - the better to privatize it. They even embedded a Trojan horse in the law called "Medicare Advantage" which is now spending $12b a year more than traditional Medicare.

Moreover, our money is daily being pilfered, "borrowed" from the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for military -defense spending, as well as other national budgetary incidentals.  The total now owed is estimated at $3.4 trillion.  So it is outrageous that Sternberg could even suggest higher taxes on Social Security beneficiaries.    But this is the skewed political landscape we inhabit now. 

 It's no surprise Sternberg would try to make a specious case to tax Medicare and Social Security given the 207 GOP tax cuts have sent deficits soaring.  So the Reep defenders want some way of replenishing the revenue lost by the reckless tax cuts. But no one with even  a normal intelligence is biting. 

See also:

10 Reasons Medicare Advantage Plans Will Never Meet Our Needs



Social Security