FBI Claims Powers to Conduct Secret Investigations, Lie & Intimidate
This week in the case against former Trump associate Paul Manafort, Special Counsel Robert Mueller argued that U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis's complaint that he was lied to "evinces a stunning ignorance of FBI procedures. Previous court decisions have clearly established that we have the right to lie if that is what's necessary to trap a guilty party."
Mueller also defended pressuring witnesses and suspects. "We have immense resources at our disposal compared to the more limited means of those we are targeting," Mueller pointed out. "Even if we have no evidence or any chance of convicting someone of any crime, the Agency has often found that persistent and seemingly endless harassment can yield compliance with our wishes. We want Manafort to testify against Trump. Threatening him with secret evidence and expensive legal procedures is an invaluable weapon in our crusade against the most unfit person to ever hold the presidency."
Judge Ellis, though, wasn't buying Mueller's argument and demanded to "see the document authorizing your investigation. The charges alleged against Manafort predate his role in Trump's campaign by a decade. It strikes me as improbable that his prosecution fits within the scope of your mandate. Neither the American people nor the US Constitution abides the kind of unfettered power the Special Counsel seems to be claiming for himself." Ellis gave Mueller two weeks to produce an unredacted copy of the letter from DOJ Deputy Director Rod Rosenstein that authorized Mueller's investigation.
Meanwhile, Rosenstein is having his own confrontation with the House Intelligence Committee's demands to see unredacted copies of his instructions to Mueller, which he labeled "attempted obstruction of our investigation. Special Counsel Mueller must remain unfettered by any outside interference with his probe into the sketchy behaviors of Trump and his henchmen."
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) labeled Rosenstein's defiance "an impeachable offense. Congress is held responsible for oversight of government operations and activities. To exercise this oversight we must have information. The desire of Mr. Rosenstein to keep certain matters secret doesn't override the congressional obligation to oversee the FBI's actions. His insistence that he is entitled to 'unfettered powers' is a gross overreach of his authority. In his mind he may think that the ends he seeks justify whatever means he deems are necessary, but that is not what our form of government authorizes."
In related news, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe's allegation that "higher ups" pressured him to drop the FBI's investigation of the Clinton Foundation during the 2016 election campaign spurred House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va) to write a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting that the DOJ open an investigation into this allegation. "The findings of the Inspector General's report, then-FBI Director James Comey's premature exoneration of Secretary Clinton for her illegal abuse of the email system, and the FBI's use of a Democrat-funded opposition-research 'dossier' to dupe the FISA Court into allowing it to spy on the Republican campaign—establish a pattern of illegal interference in the 2016 presidential election," Goodlatte wrote. "We cannot ignore these crimes if we want to preserve a system of government where the people freely choose who will govern on their behalf."
Schumer Opposes "Taxpayers Right to Know Act"
The "Taxpayers Right to Know Act" has been passed several times by the US House of Representatives, but has been unable to get to a vote in the Senate due to the 60-vote requirement to end filibusters against it. The Bill would require federal agencies to report on how much programs cost and how effective they have been.
While the Bill, sponsored by Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla) and Claire McCaskill, (D-Mo), has bipartisan support, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) vowed to block the legislation calling it "unfeasible and unfair. Look, our government has grown too big to be accurately measured in any way. Expenditures in the billions and trillions are beyond the capacity of voters to absorb. Whether they have been effective or not is a judgment call best left to the hardworking government employees who manage these programs."
Schumer expressed his "fear that this information could be used to cancel programs people have become dependent upon. Just because the costs seem inordinately high or the results extraordinarily meager doesn't mean that real people wouldn't be hurt by the elimination, reduction, or reform of programs whose metrics indicate a bad return on our investment."
"And let's not forget that even a wasteful program still employs thousands of government employs to administer it," the Senator reminded. "Shifting funds elsewhere or giving taxpayers back more of their money would have traumatic impacts on these employees. Is it humane or ethical for us to consider inflicting these punishments just to save a little money? I think the kind of information this legislation would put into the hands of voters could ignite consequences I, for one, shudder to contemplate."
Dems Propose Socialism as Cure for US Prosperity
While Sen. Bernie Sanders (S-Vt) was first out of the gate for the 2020 presidential election with a proposal to give everyone who wants or needs a job a $15 per hour spot on a federal government payroll, other hopefuls are signing on to the idea. A poll indicating that 46% of potential voters like the idea has inspired imitators.
Sens. Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) eagerly endorsed the idea. "I think it's a good start on the road to an economy where everyone basically works for the government," Booker said. "Then we could ensure that everyone gets what they deserve and resources are allocated by collective decision making." "It would be a refreshing change from the materialistic greed fostered by private enterprise," Gillibrand predicted. "Count me in."
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, citing the Democrats' enthusiasm for socialism as yet another reason why she lost to Trump, made plans to get to the left of her rivals on this issue. "It's all very well to promise that people will get jobs if they want them, but what about those who need, but don't want jobs?" she wondered. "The collective well being of society mandates that every person assume a role that best assists the welfare of the whole. I think we should consider work gangs for critical infrastructure projects, collective farms for our Latino immigrants, and labor camps for those who require ideological reeducation. Let's not forget that an industrially backward Russia was built into a superpower using these types of aggressive motivational tools."
Sanders countered critics' estimates that his plan would cost at least $500 billion per year assuming that only those currently without jobs signed up for his program. "The $15 per hour plus health benefits is just a ballpark figure," he insisted. "Payments could also be made in-kind. We could provide dormitories as housing. Meals could be served in cafeterias. All medical care could be provided by government doctors. I saw such things work on my many vacations to the Soviet Union before counterrevolutionaries tore down that great human experiment."
In related news, the great human experiment of public education in the United States hasn't been faring well of late. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress test results released by the U.S. Department of Education, 65% of eighth graders are not proficient in reading and 67% are not proficient in math. Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, rejected the findings, calling them "irrelevant for the world in which our students will grow up to live in. All the information people need can be provided to them via TV, videos, and cell phones. The arcane skills of reading and calculating are no longer needed to live a full life. To continue to expect children to master them is just as senseless as expecting them to know how to ride horses or harvest crops. The important thing is to ensure that public school budgets are robust and that teachers get regular raises."
Dick's Lobbies for Gun Control
Unsatisfied that its own decision to stop selling rifles to those younger than 21 years of age sufficiently addresses the company's concerns about gun safety, Dick's Sporting Goods has hired Glover Park Group, a DC-based government affairs firm, to lobby Congress for more gun control laws.
CEO Edward Stack complained that "it's unfair that our firm has to totally bear the brunt of lessened sales of these weapons. As it stands now, our heroic and unselfish refusal to sell rifles to people who shouldn't be allowed to have them merely sends people to our competitors to buy them. This hurts our profits while augmenting the profits of our irresponsible rivals. This is egregiously unfair."
"When the government wanted to curb alcoholism it didn't rely on businesses to voluntarily refrain from selling liquor," Stack pointed out. "It outlawed sales by all businesses. All we are seeking here is a similar leveling of the playing field. If Congress were to ban every store and individual from selling these dangerous weapons it would not only have a better chance of reducing gun violence, it would also treat responsible businesses more fairly."
Maxine Raps Kanye
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif) called rapper Kanye West's recent favorable comments about President Trump "deeply disturbing. Polls already show that Trump's popularity with Black males has doubled over the last week. This is destabilizing the Black community and causing many to doubt the roles assigned to them by the Democratic Party."
"By breaking ranks with Black leaders, Kanye is venturing into territory he shouldn't," the Congresswoman asserted. "He has no expertise in politics. If he wants to speak on the topic he should clear what he wants to say with those of us who do have expertise. We will give him the assistance he needs to help him formulate his thoughts so he can stay safe and healthy."
Waters isn't the only one upset by Kanye's attempt to leave the plantation without permission. Fellow rapper Daz Dillinger called for the Los Angeles Crips—a criminal organization engaged in racketeering, extortion, robbery and murder—to "F*** Kanye up." Detroit hip-hop station 105.1, "The Bounce," has announced a boycott of Kanye's music "until he gets his head straight."
In related news, Waters urged Trump to resign "so I don't have to keep fighting for his impeachment. For him to continue to impose this burden on me is racist." Despite her tiresome efforts to goad her legislative colleagues into impeaching President Trump, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has named Waters "one of the nation's most corrupt members of Congress."