Stop it. Just stop it!
I get it. You hate Trump. You think he never should have been elected. You think he’s a terrible president, completely unsuited for the White House, and this latest revelation that he shared sensitive information provided to the United States by the Israelis to the Russians confirms your assertion that he is dangerous and should never be trusted with classified information.
I get it. The glaring hypocrisy of Republicans cheering as former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn led chants of “lock her up!” at the Republican National Convention last year for her spilling classified SAP information on unclassified email (something he inappropriately did himself in 2010 without authorization), even as they defend the current revelation about the information provided to the Russians, is a bit much.
But let’s get something straight here: it’s NOT treason!
Stop screaming “TREASON” from the rooftops. It shows you don’t have a clue about the legal definition of the word, and it shows your lack of understanding about how classified information is released and declassified.
My friend Charlie Martin a few days ago correctly explained the meaning of “treason” as described in the Constitution.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
Not a single report asserts that the President did any of this. He certainly did not levy war against the United States, and he certainly did not give aid and comfort to the enemy.
He met with high-level officials from a country that’s admittedly an adversary, as is his prerogative as the leader of this country. We are not at war with Russia, even though we’ve certainly seen references to Cold War 2.0. And let’s remember one very important fact:
THE PRESIDENT IS THE ULTIMATE CLASSIFICATION AUTHORITY. As the Supreme Court ruled in 1988 in Department of the Navy vs. Egan, “His authority to classify and control access to information bearing on national security and to determine whether an individual is sufficiently trustworthy to occupy a position in the Executive Branch that will give that person access to such information flows primarily from this constitutional investment of power in the President...”
Don’t believe me? Read the 2009 Executive Order 13526.
Technically and legally Trump did nothing “improper.” The White House said as much, and that is a fact. He did not reveal sources and methods, and he did not endanger any military operations.
Depending on what kind of information was revealed, it was likely ill advised, and it was probably obvious where it came from. It could damage our intelligence-sharing relationships. Reports are that the sensitive information about an ISIS laptop plot came from the Israelis, and that they’re not happy about the President’s unilateral decision to share it with Russia.
The Israeli Ambassador, however, publicly lauded his country’s relationship with the United States. Fact is we just don’t know what kind of impact this will have on our relationships with other nations’ intelligence services – and won’t, because we will never know what they won’t share.
We do know that in the era of WikiLeaks and Snowden and Manning, our own intelligence agencies are more loath to share information among themselves – one of the problems highlighted in the 9-11 Commission’s report. I can’t imagine our allies won’t have similar concerns. Manning’s leaks certainly impacted our efforts in Afghanistan and endangered lives.
I can see our allies’ logic if they do decide to limit the information they share: the United States can’t even keep a pissant, sniveling private from bringing a Lady Gaga CD into a SCIF and copying classified information, and their President just casually drops sensitive information to an adversary; why should we trust them to safeguard ours?
That said, your puerile screeching about treason makes you sound like uninformed dolts, and the fact that he is legally authorized to release and declassify information, makes his conversation – no matter how ill advised – is not an impeachable offense.
The more you vomit about reason and impeachment in this case, the more you sabotage your own credibility.
So just STOP IT!
Retired General Michael Flynn was shitcanned from his job as National Security Adviser this week, which gives him the distinct “honor” of being forced out by not just one, but two Presidents! Yes, that’s a pretty impressive feat, and we need to look at this event from an objective perspective.
First and foremost, spying on foreign ambassadors is nothing new. The press has been reporting on this since before Snowden stole millions of files from NSA and handed them over to foreigners to peruse, and if you think we’re the only ones who spy on foreign ambassadors on our soil, I have this bridge.
U.S. installations abroad also remained a primary target for espionage, particularly by the Soviet Union. Twice in one year, the Department learned that the Soviet intelligence agency had seriously compromised security at the embassy in Moscow. In January 1985, the U.S. Marine Corps announced that one of its security guards at the Embassy had passed classified information to a Russian woman.
The fact that Flynn was talking to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak made him the subject of what is called “incidental collection.” It means he wasn’t the target, but since conversations are two-way things, he was captured in the intercept as well. That’s a concept that has apparently escaped House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who is shitting himself, because “an American citizen had his phone calls recorded.” For the record, no one was spying on Flynn. The target was Kislyak, and the collection on Flynn was incidental. That’s first and foremost.
First, he was talking to the Russian ambassador, who is an agent of a foreign power. Agents of foreign powers are acceptable foreign intelligence targets and the government could have a warrant to surveil Kislyak under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) since 1978.
Next, phone calls are wiretappable. Congress ensured that would be true with the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (CALEA).
Further, while wiretapping in the criminal context involves only recording when the targets talk about illegal activity, foreign intelligence wiretapping is comprehensive. All conversations are collected and important bits mined out after the fact.
So, no. This wasn’t a matter of Obama targeting Trump and trying to destroy him, as some conspiritards claim. It also wasn’t Obama operatives conspiring to target the Trump administration.
Fact is Flynn has been a concern to the Intelligence Community long before Trump decided to even run for President.
Let’s remember Flynn in 2010 was removed by current Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, then-CENTCOM commander, and investigated for sharing classified information with Pakistan. Pakistan! Not exactly a close ally. And revealing sensitive U.S. intelligence capabilities being used to monitor the Haqqani network to Pakistan is not exactly something that’s encouraged. This from the same guy who screeched “LOCK HER UP!” about Queen Pantsuit during the Republican National Convention for putting “our nation’s security at extremely high risk with her careless use of her private email server”
So while Hillary used her private email server “carelessly,” Flynn intentionally shared classified information with other countries – more than once – and never punished for it, because he apparently didn’t know better. Sound familiar?
Although Flynn lacked authorization to share the classified material, he was not disciplined or reprimanded after the investigation concluded that he did not act “knowingly” and that “there was no actual or potential damage to national security as a result,” according to Army records obtained by The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act.
Flynn was even bragging of the fact that he shared classified information he was not authorized to share with our allies Britain and Australia! “I’m proud of that one. Accuse me of sharing intelligence in combat with our closest allies, please.”
Whether he likes it or not, there are protocols and channels through which one has to go to release intelligence – even to our closest allies. Flynn, who was accused of telling allies about the activities of other agencies in Afghanistan, including the CIA, apparently felt he was above such constraints. He wanted to do it, so intelligence protocols be damned! He did what he did, because apparently he felt he was too important to follow procedures, and his mission was too critical to be limited by bureaucracy.
This was all long before Trump, as was Flynn’s now infamous trip to Russia to celebrate RT’s anniversary alongside President Putin and rub asses with Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU). While Flynn was no longer DIA director, having been forced out by the Obama Administration, he received a DIA briefing before heading out to Russia and got paid for speaking there.
Of course, these “speaking fees” weren’t exactly for a traditional address. Flynn received an undisclosed amount of money for agreeing to be used as a propaganda tool by the Russian owned and controlled RT.
‘I was asked by my speaker’s bureau, LAI. I do public speaking. It was in Russia. It was a paid speaking opportunity,’ Flynn told the paper.
‘The gig was to do an interview with [RT correspondent] Sophie Shevardnadze. It was an interview in front of the forum, probably 200 people in the audience,’ he said.
‘I had a great trip. I was the first U.S. officer ever allowed inside the headquarters of the GRU [Russian intelligence]. I was able to brief their entire staff,’ Flynn said.
‘I gave them a leadership OPD. [a professional development class on leadership] and talked a lot about the way the world’s unfolding.
Flynn believes Russia could be an invaluable ally in the war against Islamic extremism. He said so during the RT forum. And he’s not wrong. The problem with sharing those views on a forum like RT is the optics. The forum took place after Russia illegally annexed Crimea, after more than a year of Russian funding of militant separatists in Ukraine, and after two years of the United States imposing economic sanctions against Russia for threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors. It doesn’t look great when the ousted director of DIA heads over to Russia and advocates for closer relations. It looks like a bitter former employee impugning his former boss’ foreign policy.
But besides that, we have no idea what was said in the GRU briefing. Given Flynn’s former penchant for briefing sensitive intelligence about IC operations “unknowingly” in a presentation in Afghanistan, the concerns about his trip aren’t unwarranted.
Again, this was all pre-Trump, so to claim that somehow the IC is targeting the President through Flynn is just disingenuous, given the concerns about Flynn’s continued flaunting and disregard for good intelligence practices, since long before the Presidency was even a gleam in Trump’s eye.
Once Trump won, and announced that Flynn was to be his National Security Adviser, I can’t blame old intel hands for freaking out a bit, given Flynn’s history. When Flynn spoke with Kislyak the day sanctions were announced, and then lied about the conversation to the Vice President, this became an even bigger concern. I said at the time that even if he didn’t mention sanctions – about which the President-Elect Transition Team was briefed prior to them being announced – the optics were worrying, to say the least.
Is it any surprise that a National Security Adviser to the President of the United States who doesn’t understand what he should and should not release to foreign powers, who doesn’t see that perceptions about him impugning U.S. foreign policy on an adversary’s state-owned media channel and chatting with said adversary’s Ambassador prior to a critical foreign policy announcement would be concerning as the leader of our country’s national security apparatus?
No, the IC is not trying to bring down Trump by targeting Flynn. They’re right to be concerned.
Which brings me to the leaker, whoever it might be.
The screeching conspiritards are right in one regard. Whoever leaked the information about the intercepts between Kislyak and Flynn did so illegally. While it’s common knowledge that we spy on the Russians (DUH!), releasing that information is illegal.
Listen I get it. Whoever leaked these conversations to the public had to have been paralyzingly concerned about Flynn. Hell, I was worried about having someone like that sitting in charge of the National Security Council and receiving sensitive information. Flynn was a profound concern for the IC, and whoever leaked that information had to have known that if caught, they would be prosecuted and would likely lose their job and their freedom, but was concerned enough to do it anyway.
And while identifying Flynn internally was legal, because his identity was critical to the analysis of Kislyak’s calls, the leak of the unminimized (unmasked) identity of Kislyak’s interlocutor to the public is and should be punishable by law.
Whoever leaked this information wreaked indescribable havoc.
They gave an adversary information about collection methods – signals intelligence – without which, we probably no longer have the ability to conduct surveillance on our targets.
They handed our enemies insight into the workings of the Presidential administration. Such insight is gold for our adversaries.
It gave Russia a window into the chaos in our national security apparatus.
It showed Russia our weaknesses.
This is unacceptable under any circumstances, no matter how concerning Flynn’s actions were, and make no mistake, they were worrisome.
But there was more at stake than just Flynn, and while we don’t know how compromised he was by the Russians, if at all, and whether his actions were due to arrogant stupidity or an actual desire to betray our country to the Russians, incalculable damage was done by whoever leaked this information to the public, and that cannot be ignored.
So while Flynn’s connections – and anyone else in the Administration who has had questionable interactions with the Russians – are a fair target for law enforcement and intel investigators, so are the people who are leaking this sensitive information.
Leaks are no reason to cheer. They’re a reason to be afraid.
There are few things that make me really lose my shit. I mean, get so pissed off, that I feel physically ill and fight the urge to throw up. I mean, violent headache, enraged to the point of wanting to throttle everyone who looks at me wrong-type angry. Those who betray our country, who violate their oath, who aid and abet the enemy – whether it’s because they’re too stupid to understand the harm they cause or because they hate America and want to bring her down due to some kind of twisted ideological short circuit – are the ones who evoke the most visceral reaction possible.
So when I read that Barack Obama commuted the 35-year sentence of Bradley Manning – the treacherous shit weasel who stole hundreds of thousands of classified documents and handed them over to WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, who saw it fit to publish the sensitive data, endangering not just sources and methods, but troop procedures, sensitive State Department communications, and the lives of innocent people, whose only “crime” was to cooperate with the coalition forces in Afghanistan, I saw red.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday overruled his secretary of defense to commute the sentence of former Army soldier Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of stealing and disseminating 750,000 pages of documents and videos to WikiLeaks.
The decision — which a senior defense official told CNN was made over the objections of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter — immediately touched off a controversy in the closing days of the Obama administration.
Let’s get something straight. Manning is no hero. He’s not a whistleblower – he didn’t even try to report any wrongdoing through the right channels. The only thing he cared about was revenge – revenge against the Army, revenge against his fellow Soldiers, and revenge against Uncle Sam.
As he told hacker Adrian Lamo, he was just way too smart for the Army. An effeminate boy genius, whom everyone picked on, whom no one noticed, who didn’t get the respect he thought he deserved, and who took drugs to assuage his fragile chafed labia.
(11:49:02 AM) bradass87: im in the desert, with a bunch of hyper-masculine trigger happy ignorant rednecks as neighbors… and the only safe place i seem to have is this satellite internet connection
(11:52:09 AM) bradass87: i could be hanging out here in limbo as a super-intelligent, awkwardly effeminate supply guy [pick up these boxes and move them] for up to two months
(1:40:20 PM) bradass87: ive been so isolated so long… i just wanted to be nice, and live a normal life… but events kept forcing me to figure out ways to survive… smart enough to know whats going on, but helpless to do anything… no-one took any notice of me
(1:43:59 PM) bradass87: im self medicating like crazy when im not toiling in the supply office (my new location, since im being discharged, im not offically intel anymore)
This pathetic little bastard didn’t even know what the hell he was stealing! When pressed for details, after a self-aggrandizing build-up about alleged evidence of “scandals” he stole, he admits he didn’t even know what was in the files he had been stealing for numerous months.
(1:45:00 PM) email@example.com: what kind of scandal?
(1:45:16 PM) bradass87: hundreds of them
(1:45:40 PM) firstname.lastname@example.org: like what? I’m genuinely curious about details.
(1:46:01 PM) bradass87: i dont know… theres so many… i dont have the original material anymore
If he truly had wanted to report wrongdoing, there are whistleblower channels he could have used.
If he really wanted to ensure justice, he didn’t need to steal hundreds of thousands of records that identified – if not by name, then by description – Afghans who cooperated with coalition forces, and endanger them and their families.
He didn’t have to steal communications that revealed U.S. and our allies’ infrastructure that was critical to our national security.
He didn’t have to release tactics, techniques, and procedures which subsequently were found in the compound of Osama bin Ladin.
He didn’t have to steal hundreds of thousands of private State Department communications that exposed the cards of our foreign policy, shredding our tactical and strategic advantages.
But no. He decided to release hundreds of thousands of sensitive documents to anyone with a computer, because the Army didn’t treat him like his mommy and daddy and buy him a fucking pony for being a special snowflake who was sooooo much smarter than everyone else around him!
The pathetic little fuck goblin broke the law, violated the terms of his contract, got into fights with other Soldiers, and ultimately decided to get his revenge against Uncle Sam for refusing to see just how important he was!
(02:40:26 PM) Manning: i mean, i was never noticed
(02:41:10 PM) Manning: regularly ignored… except when i had something essential… then it was back to “bring me coffee, then sweep the floor”
(02:42:24 PM) Manning: i never quite understood that
(02:42:44 PM) Manning: felt like i was an abused work horse…
His betrayal of his country had nothing to do with justice, and it had nothing to do with a desire to do what was right.
It had everything to do with his pathetic ego, and his entitlement mentality.
And for this he got his sentence commuted, and will be getting out of prison in May!
The White House claims, Manning didn’t dodge blame, and eventually confessed to his crimes, making him oh-so-much more palatable a criminal than the traitorous piece of garbage Edward Snowden, who fled right into the arms of the Russians and has been tongue washing their ball sacks for more than three years while feeding them sensitive information.
You know what this is really about? Putting a male who claims he is a transgender female into a men’s prison! Because in this social justice society, we can’t possibly imprison this bastard for his actions – actions that have caused grievous harm not just to the United States, but also to innocent Afghans – because he’s special…
I refuse to refer to him as a woman. I have friends who are transgender, and because I respect them, I refer to them by the gender they feel they are.
I have no respect for this piece of shit. He used his precious little feelz to evade responsibility for his despicable actions – actions that have endangered lives, revealed sensitive information to our enemies, and caused hundreds of analysts to work around the clock for months assessing the damage he has caused. He stole information that did not belong to him. He assaulted fellow Soldiers. He undermined the mission. The only thing preventing me from calling him a traitor is that the definition of “treason” does not apply in this case.
Bradley Manning was tried and convicted. He should be forced to serve the sentence imposed on him by the court – not let out because he doesn’t want to be attached to his penis any longer.
But instead of respecting the decision of a court, the people whom Manning compromised, and the defense officials and intelligence officers who have spent countless resources and manpower working to assess the damage Manning has caused, Barack Obama simply let him go. Because TEH FEELZ!
Bradley Manning is a criminal. Period. He should be treated as such.
Libertarians and liberals are up in arms. Rand Paul – yes, that Rand Paul – a bunch of Republicans, and half the nation’s governors have said “NO!” to having Syrian refugees relocate to our country. After last week’s Paris attacks, and after at least one of the terrorists likely sneaked into France with a wave of Syrian refugees, some GOP leaders decided that maybe – JUST MAYBE – allowing a bunch of unvetted people into this country isn’t such a great idea.
The screeching in response is epic. Dave Bier at the Niskanen Center has published an article giving us six reasons to welcome Syrian refugees after Paris. The first reason is that apparently the Paris terrorists weren’t refugees.
Assuming that the user of a fake Syrian passport found near the body of an attacker belonged to the attacker, which isn’t clear, it appears that he may have exploited the flow of people into Europe, but he was not a refugee. He did not receive refugee designation from the United Nations or vetting from intelligence agencies. He was never approved for refugee status in any country.
What I emphasized in the quote is precisely the point! There are thousands of refugees flowing into Europe. Vetting them all properly is nearly impossible, and certainly smaller EU nations don’t have the resources or assets to do so! Ultimately the problem may not even be legitimate refugees, but those hiding in their midst. This is the problem. No, we haven’t had an issue with refugees launching attacks on the United States. That’s always been a concern, but we’ve been lucky. That said, considering Da’esh has already threatened the United States, is it so unreasonable to assess that they could integrate themselves into the ranks of the refugees being allowed into this country?
To become a refugee in the United States, you undergo a multi-stage vetting process and only after receiving U.N. designation by trained officers in the field. The U.S. can vet refugees prior to admission, which means we can weed out terrorists and those most likely to become involved in terrorism, accepting only the most vulnerable. Europe cannot do the same. What happened in Paris is not applicable to the U.S. refugee process.
And guess what, that “multi-stage vetting process” is pretty much worthless if we don’t have assets in Syria to run checks on those who want to enter this country. U.S. counterterrorism officials have expressed concerns that they don’t have the resources in Syria to vet them effectively. There’s a civil war there. You think there are computer systems there that contain background information on those seeking asylum? Are there intelligence officers on the ground to collect intel? Are there U.S. forces on the ground to examine fingerprints and other biometric data? Just what is it that these people think we can do to properly vet them? The Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Nicholas Rasmussen, told the House Homeland Security Committee that this was definitely a concern. An FBI official agreed:
FBI official also questioned whether the U.S. intelligence community – with few assets on the ground in Syria and little insight into the country from elsewhere – can provide authorities with the information they need to properly determine whether any refugee could pose a threat.
“You have to have information to vet,” said FBI Assistant Director Michael Steinbach, who heads the bureau’s counterterrorism division. “Databases don’t [have] the information on those individuals, and that’s the concern.”
To be sure, this has nothing to do with racism, or a dislike for refugees, or anything else. The first responsibility of a government is to protect its citizens, and anyone who claims that this is not a legitimate national security concern, simply doesn’t understand national security!
U.S. refugees don’t become terrorists: The history of the U.S. refugee program demonstrates that the lengthy and extensive vetting that all refugees must undergo is an effective deterrent for terrorists. Since 1980, the U.S. has invited in millions of refugees, including hundreds of thousands from the Middle East. Not one has committed an act of terrorism in the U.S. (update for those unwilling to read the source, the Boston bombers were not refugees). Traditional law enforcement and security screening processes have a proven record of handling the threat from terrorist posing as refugees.
Oh, don’t they?
In a House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence Chairman hearing, Patrick Mehan in 2012 contradicted that claim.
While the motivation behind creating these special immigrant categories were well-intentioned, the fact remains that in May 2011 two Iraqi nationals who were given refugee status and resettled in the United States were arrested and accused by the FBI of plotting to send weapons and money to al-Qaeda in Iraq. One of the men arrested had openly discussed his prior experience as an insurgent until Iraq and the IED attacks he participated in against U.S. troops. The fingerprints of the other Iraqi refugee who was charged were traced by the FBI to a component of an unexploded IED that was recovered by U.S. forces in northern Iraq.
Not one has committed an act of terrorism, because they were caught, thankfully before it was too late! And even in the case above, we had experts and assets, as well as personnel in Iraq that caught the scumbags who were given refugee status in 2011.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper just this past September warned of the U.S. intelligence community’s “huge concern” that Da’esh may attempt to infiltrate Syrian refugees to enter Europe and possibly the United States.
And guess what! One of the Paris terrorists did, apparently infiltrate the flood of Syrian refugees and proceeded to participate in the carnage!
This isn’t “fearmongering.” This isn’t racism. This isn’t a hatred for refugees. This isn’t demagoguery. These are legitimate national security concerns that need to be addressed if we are to keep our population safe from attacks.
Does it suck for the legitimate refugees seeking asylum in the United States? Surely. I’m sure the vast majority are looking for a new, safer life. I get that. I’ve been there. That said, however, the U.S. intelligence community and law enforcement had more information on my family when we were coming to the United States in 1980 – FROM THE U.S.S.R. – than they do about any of the people seeking asylum from Syria today, and had information been as scarce about us back then, I would have advocated barring us from entry!
As I said previously, it is quite likely that the vast majority of the refugees seeking entry into the United States today are peaceable people. But how many does it take to launch an attack on a major city and paralyze it like the handful of terrorists did in Paris last week? It was a handful, and as far as we know today, only one came in with the wave of Syrian refugees under a false passport. One. It took a handful of terrorists to intimidate an entire country into a horrified, stunned stupor by attacking one city. A handful hiding in the thousands the current Administration is allowing into this country could wreak a similar havoc.
So don’t sit there and try to justify this inexcusable neglect for our national security with pictures of wide-eyed children whose families just want to seek protection within our shores. Even the United Nations admits that the majority of those seeking to come here are military-aged men.
Don’t accuse those opposing this neglect of racism and fearmongering. Don’t try to play politics with our national security.
The concerns are real. If you can’t see that, I can’t help you.
I know it’s been weeks since I’ve written anything. I needed a break. I haven’t really been in the mood to write. First, there was the snow, which prompted me to sit around in bed all day in my pajamas drinking hot tea and watching Law & Order reruns.
And now… I’m off on temporary duty to Miami.
I know… HARDSHIP! But you’d be surprised how crappy it feels to go from a foot of snow in DC to 85-degree heat with 10000 percent humidity down in southern Florida! So if you have a snarky comment about how you feel oh-so-sorry for me being down here, keep it to yourself, punkin, because all you’ll get from me is a one-fingered salute.
As for what I’ve been up to?
For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been a regular part of the GunBlog Variety Cast along with some awesome folks, including Sean Sorrentino and Erin Palette. I’ve been doing this for a while now, but I’ve been an abject FAIL at blogging about it, because I’m lazy. So go over there and listen. Surprisingly enough, I don’t bloviate about guns on this one, but rather foreign policy. Erin talks about prepping, Sean and Adam talk about… stuff, and other incredible, talented, and intelligent folks talk about guns and tech. It’s fun. You should check it out, if you want to find out what I sound like on the air (shout out to my broadcaster background!).
And no, I don’t curse.
So what’s been going on?
Well, for one, we kicked Maduro and his band of Venezuelan thugs in the nuts with some sanctions last week. And if you hear them whining that this means the United States is about to launch into some kind of military action against them, you can laugh a little, because they’re either ignorant, or just want to raise the level of whining. Fact is that they were sanctioned under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which authorizes the President to regulate commerce after declaring a “national emergency” in response to any unusual or extraordinary foreign threat. It certainly doesn’t authorize any kind of military action.
Specifically, the E.O. targets those determined by the Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the Department of State, to be involved in:
- actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions;
- significant acts of violence or conduct that constitutes a serious abuse or violation of human rights, including against persons involved in antigovernment protests in Venezuela in or since February 2014;
- actions that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or peaceful assembly; or
- public corruption by senior officials within the Government of Venezuela.
The E.O. also authorizes the Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the Department of State, to target any person determined:
- to be a current or former leader of an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in any activity described in the E.O. or of an entity whose property and interests in property are blocked or frozen pursuant to the E.O.; or
- to be a current or former official of the Government of Venezuela;
What does this all mean? It means we don’t like corrupt thugs who steal money from their own people while undermining their basic rights using the U.S. financial system. So we cut off their access to it.
What else has been going on?
The Justice Department determined there was no basis for continued legal action against Darren Wilson, who last year shot Michael Brown in an action which was determined to be justified. Of course, Holder and the DOJ can’t leave well enough alone, so even though the shoot was good, they put out a report citing racism in the Ferguson PD writ large in an obvious attempt to mollify the screeching race hustlers. It is interesting to note that the report cites revenue generation being emphasized in the PD’s approach to law enforcement.
Patrol assignments and schedules are geared toward aggressive enforcement of Ferguson’s municipal code, with insufficient thought given to whether enforcement strategies promote public safety or unnecessarily undermine community trust and cooperation. Officer evaluations and promotions depend to an inordinate degree on “productivity,” meaning the number of citations issued. Partly as a consequence of City and FPD priorities, many officers appear to see some residents, especially those who live in Ferguson’s predominantly African-American neighborhoods, less as constituents to be protected than as potential offenders and sources of revenue.
This is a problem that’s not just limited to Ferguson. Nothing new and different there, and I’ve often been appalled at the outrageous fees and penalties imposed on citizens for engaging in a simple mistake or minor traffic violation. So I get it. It sucks.
But in the same breath, the DOJ’s report claims that “The harms of Ferguson’s police and court practices are borne disproportionately by African Americans, and there is evidence that this is due in part to intentional discrimination on the basis of race.”
Lemme ask ya something. If it is obvious that the city’s focus is on revenue generation, rather than public safety, and therefore, it views the PREDOMINANTLY AFRICAN-AMERICAN city as a source of revenue generation, wouldn’t it stand to reason that in a predominantly black city, the brunt of those revenue generation policies would be… um… black, and that the reason Ferguson’s law enforcement practices and policies overwhelmingly impact African-Americans is because THAT’S WHO PREDOMINANTLY LIVES IN THE FRIGGIN’ CITY?
But hey, some of us don’t go looking for racism under every bed and around every corner.
In response to said report, Ferguson’s city manager has resigned and a state judge will be in charge of all Ferguson cases. Every town needs scapegoats, I suppose. That, of course, didn’t mollify the stampeding hordes, and just this past weekend, two police officers were shot after working crowd control in Ferguson. Police charged Jeffrey Williams with the shooting. The suspect admits he fired the weapon, but claims he was aiming at someone else in the crowd.
I’m trying to wrap my head at the amount of fucking stupid it takes to make such an admission. Stupid #1) You fire your weapon into a crowd of fucking people. Stupid #2) You admit to doing so, but hey… you weren’t aiming at police, and I guess you were expecting to hit your mark dead on. In a crowd. You dimwitted, miserable FAIL of a fucktard. Stupid #2) The only two people you conveniently hit are two cops. How propitious, considering the demonstrations were all about supposed police “racism.”
And, of course, Holder has been sniveling about how much acts of violence against law enforcement are not to be tolerated. Never mind he and his DOJ are the ones fomenting said unrest!
OK, enough about that.
There was supposedly a ceasefire agreement reached in Ukraine. Well, it was reached, but if you’re thinking that it’s somehow been effective, you’d be wrong. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the ceasefire is “fragile.” I think while violence has been reduced some, he’s the master of the understatement. If you want a boots on the ground (so to speak) glimpse into what’s going on, you should follow U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt on Twitter. The Russians will tell you it’s not their fault – that it’s the separatists failing to abide by the ceasefire – that they have no control over said militants. Um… yeah… right. If you think that Moscow isn’t behind the continuous arming of separatists in the region, I have this bridge…
Yes, I know I should keep up with my blogging, but even I need a break sometimes, so if I’m not around, it’s because I’m busy having a life.