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TBR News November 15, 2018

Nov 15 2018

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. November 15, 2018:” Government Disinformation Methods

Governments, and the globalists who back them, have immense assets — an almost endless fiat money printing press — and control over most legal and academic institutions. With these advantages, disinformation can be executed on a massive scale. Here are just a handful of the most prominent tactics used by government agencies and private think tanks to guide public opinion, and establish the appearance of consensus:

1) Control The Experts: Most Americans are taught from kindergarten to ignore their instincts for the truth and defer to the “professional class” for all their answers. The problem is that much of the professional class is indoctrinated throughout their college years, many of them molded to support the status quo. Any experts that go against the grain are ostracized by their peers.

2) Control The Data: By controlling the source data of any investigation, be it legal or scientific, the government has the ability to engineer any truth they wish, that is, as long as the people do not care enough to ask for the source data. Two major examples of controlled and hidden source data include; the NIST investigation of the suspicious 9/11 WTC collapses, in which NIST engineers, hired by the government, have kept all source data from their computer models secret, while claiming that the computer models prove the collapses were “natural”. Also, the recent exposure of the CRU Climate Labs and their manipulation of source data in order to fool the public into believing that Global Warming is real, and accepting a world-wide carbon tax. The CRU has refused to release the source data from its experiments for years, and now we know why.

3) Skew The Statistics: This tactic is extremely evident in the Labor Department’s evaluations on unemployment, using such tricks as incorporating ambiguous birth / death ratios into their calculation in order to make it appear as though there are less unemployed people than there really are, or leaving out certain subsections of the population, like those who are unemployed and no longer seeking benefits.

3) Guilt By False Association: Governments faced with an effective opponent will always attempt to demonize that person or group in the eyes of the public. This is often done by associating them with a group or idea that the public already hates. Example: During the last election, they tried to associate Ron Paul supporters with racist groups (and more recently, certain Fox News anchors) in order to deter moderate Democrats from taking an honest look at Congressman Paul’s policies.

4) Manufacture Good News: This falls in with the skewing of statistics, and it also relies heavily on Media cooperation. The economic “Green Shoots” concept is a good example of the combination of government and corporate media interests in order to create an atmosphere of false optimism based on dubious foundations.

5) Controlled Opposition: Men in positions of power have known for centuries the importance of controlled opposition. If a movement rises in opposition to one’s authority, one must usurp that movement’s leadership. If no such movement exists to infiltrate, the establishment will often create a toothless one, in order to fill that social need, and neutralize individuals who might have otherwise taken action themselves.

During the 1960’s and 70’s, the FBI began a secretive program called COINTELPRO. Along with illegal spying on American citizens who were against the Vietnam conflict or in support of the civil rights movement, they also used agents and media sources to pose as supporters of the movement, then purposely created conflict and division, or took control of the direction of the movement altogether. This same tactic has been attempted with the modern Liberty Movement on several levels, but has so far been ineffective in stopping our growth.

The NRA is another good example of controlled opposition, as many gun owners are satisfied that paying their annual NRA dues is tantamount to actively resisting anti-gun legislation; when in fact, the NRA is directly responsible for many of the compromises which result in lost ground on 2nd amendment issues. In this way, gun owners are not only rendered inactive, but actually manipulated into funding the demise of their own cause.“

 

The Table of Contents 

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 81
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • S. judge gives Florida voters until Saturday to resolve signature challenges
  • The Watergate Blueprint for Impeaching Donald Trump
  • Trump attacks Mueller’s Russia inquiry as ‘absolutely nuts’
  • Can Donald Trump use force against the ‘migrant caravan’?
  • A Fukushima waiting to happen? Huge stockpile of nuclear waste on California fault line threatens US

 

Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 81

August 8, 2018

by Daniel Dale, Washington Bureau Chief

The Toronto Star, Canada

The Star is keeping track of every false claim U.S. President Donald Trump has made since his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. Why? Historians say there has never been such a constant liar in the Oval Office. We think dishonesty should be challenged. We think inaccurate information should be corrected

If Trump is a serial liar, why call this a list of “false claims,” not lies? You can read our detailed explanation here. The short answer is that we can’t be sure that each and every one was intentional. In some cases, he may have been confused or ignorant. What we know, objectively, is that he was not teling the truth.

Last updated: Aug 8, 2018

  • Jun 21, 2018

“We shouldn’t be hiring judges by the thousands, as our ridiculous immigration laws demand, we should be changing our laws, building the Wall, hire Border Agents and Ice and not let people come into our country based on the legal phrase they are told to say as their password.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: There is no law requiring that the U.S. hire thousands of immigration judges, nor even any mainstream proposal for him to do so. At the time Trump tweeted, Congress had allocated money for 484 immigration judges; fewer than 400 were actually in place. Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was proposing to hire 375 more, while other Republican senators were proposing to hire 225 more.

Trump has repeated this claim 12 times

 

“We have to have the wall. We started the wall. We have $1.6 billion.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: Construction on Trump’s border wall has not started. When he has made this claim in the past, Trump has appeared to be referring to a project in which a 2.25-mile stretch of existing wall in California is being replaced by a taller wall. That project was proposed in 2009, and the Los Angeles Times reported that Border Patrol spokesperson Jonathan Pacheco told reporters in March: “First and foremost, this isn’t Trump’s wall. This isn’t the infrastructure that Trump is trying to bring in. … This new wall replacement has absolutely nothing to do with the prototypes that were shown over in the San Diego area.” The $1.6 billion Congress allocated to border projects in 2018 is not for the type of giant concrete wall Trump has proposed: spending on that kind of wall is expressly prohibited in the legislation, and much of the congressional allocation is for replacement and reinforcement projects rather than new construction.

Trump has repeated this claim 20 times

“At least 15,000 people couldn’t get into the arena (in Duluth, Minnesota). And the arena was big. It held 9,000 people. But sadly, 15,000 people couldn’t get into the arena. But it was a very special evening, and people had a good time.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: While there are no precise numbers available, “at least 15,000” is an exaggeration. Trump himself tweeted the previous night that “at least 10,000” couldn’t get in. The local Star Tribune put the number at “many hundreds.” Duluth Mayor Emily Larson, a Democrat, said in an email: “People on site who manage crowds believe a few thousand were left out of entry. To me, that is 2k to 3k…Our people on site are used to counting crowds since we have considerable tourism and large events in our city.”

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“If you remember, a year and a half ago when Mike and I came into office and when this group came into office, everybody was talking about there’s going to be a war — going to be a war with North Korea. During the Obama years, that’s all I heard about: war with North Korea.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: Perhaps some observers thought Trump would go to war with North Korea, but it is certainly false that “everybody” was saying this when he came into office or during the Obama era.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“But the document we signed, if people actually read it to the public, you’d see: number one statement, ‘we will immediately begin total denuclearization of North Korea.’ Nobody thought that would be possible.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: Trump added in an important phrase that does not actually appear in the agreement between the U.S. and North Korea: “We will immediately begin.” The third item in the agreement reads as follows: “Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” There were no specifics about when North Korea would start the process.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“And I understand, Mike, that they’ve already sent back, or are in the process of sending back, the remains of our great heroes who died in North Korea during the war. And that’s already in the process of coming back.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: “Already sent back” is false, and “already in the process of coming back” is at least a slight exaggeration. No remains of U.S. war dead had been returned by North Korea at the time Trump spoke. While American officials said they were expecting the remains to be returned soon, they did not know when it would happen, the New York Times reported two days after Trump spoke.

Trump has repeated this claim 4 times

“But I think I can speak for both of us in saying it’s been an incredible experience. The relationship (with North Korea) is very good. They’ve stopped the sending of missiles, including ballistic missiles. They’re destroying their engine site. They’re blowing it up. They’ve already blown up one of their big test sites. In fact, it was actually four of their big test sites.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: As the New York Times’s Korea correspondent reported in a fact check: “There is no evidence that the North Koreans have blown up ‘four of their big test sites,’ whether nuclear or missile-related.” The Times continued: “In May, with the international news media watching, the North did detonate explosives at the site where it conducted all six of its nuclear tests to date, characterizing it as a dismantling of the facility…However, no experts from the United Nations or any other independent body were present to verify whether the site had been completely destroyed, or whether it could be repaired should North Korea decide to resume testing. Reports also emerged early this month that the North had razed a stand that it used to test launching technologies for solid-fuel ballistic missiles. But there are no signs that North Korea has destroyed any other nuclear or missile test facilities.”

“So then when people say, ‘Why are you being so tough with NAFTA?’ And I am being tough because we — it’s a terrible deal for the United States. Mexico is making $100 billion a year off us and the horrible NAFTA deal.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: Trump is off by at least $31 billion, or at least $29 billion if you give him the benefit of the doubt. The U.S. trade deficit with Mexico was $71 billion in 2017 when counting goods alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Including trade in services, the net deficit was $69 billion, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said in a report released the same month Trump spoke. (The Bureau of Economic Analysis uses a different method of calculating deficits and surpluses than the Census Bureau.)

Trump has repeated this claim 34 times

“Mexico, by the way, is doing nothing for us. Nothing. They have the strongest immigration laws. They can do whatever they want.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: Mexican officials cannot “do whatever they want” with respect to unauthorized immigrants travelling through the country up to the United States, the people Trump was talking about here. A 2011 Mexican law aimed at protecting these migrants decriminalized the act of illegal entry into Mexico, guaranteed unauthorized immigrants access to education and health care, and granted migrants due process rights.

“We have to hire thousands of judges. No country in the world is hiring judges like that. They hire border people that — you can’t come into the country.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: There is no requirement that Trump hire thousands of immigration judges, nor even any mainstream proposal for him to do so. At the time Trump spoke, Congress had allocated money for 484 immigration judges; fewer than 400 were actually in place. Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was proposing to hire 375 more, while other Republican senators were proposing to hire 225 more.

Trump has repeated this claim 12 times

“In addition, Democrat and court-ordered loopholes prevent family detention and lead to family separation, no matter how you cut it.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: No “loopholes” require the separation of families. The separations were occurring because of the Trump administration’s own decisions.

Trump has repeated this claim 7 times

“Democrats also refuse to fund the personnel, the bed space, the resources that we need to house the minors. Now, they want us to take care of the minors, and that’s fine. But they don’t want to give us the money to take care of them. Because the worse everything looks, they think, the better they’re going to do, with respect to the blue wave. Which is turning out, frankly, to be a red wave if you look at the polls. I think we’re going to have a red wave, not a blue wave.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: Trump is free to make his own prediction of a Republican wave in the midterm elections, but he is wrong that “the polls” suggest such a wave. Democrats currently lead in every poll of voters’ midterm intentions. They led by at least four points in every such poll taken in the month Trump made this remark, according to RealClearPolitics’s polling tracker.

“In the meantime, people are suffering because of the Democrats. So we’ve created, and they’ve created, and they’ve let it happen — a massive child-smuggling industry.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: Trump provided no evidence for the claim that Democrats have created a child-smuggling industry.

“The big thing is, it will be a total denuclearization (of North Korea), which has already started taking place.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: There is no indication that North Korea has begun ridding itself of its nuclear weapons. The Associated Press noted that Trump was contradicted by Secretary of Defense James Mattis the day prior: “When asked by a reporter on Wednesday whether he had seen any sign that North Korea had begun steps toward denuclearization, Mattis replied, ‘I’m not aware of any. Obviously, we’re at the very front end of the process. Detailed negotiations have not begun.'”

  • Jun 22, 2018

“We want border security. We don’t want people in our country that don’t go through a process. We want people in our country based on merit. Not based on a draw, where other countries put their absolute worst in a bin and they start drawing people. Do you think they’re going to put their good ones? They don’t put their good ones. They put their bad ones. And then, when they commit crimes, we’re so surprised.”

Source: Event with families of people killed by unauthorized immigrants

in fact: This is, as usual, an inaccurate description of the Diversity Visa Lottery program. Foreign countries do not “put their absolute worst in a bin” and “start drawing people.” Foreign governments do not choose who enters the lottery at all; would-be immigrants sign up on their own, as individuals, of their own free will, because they want to immigrate. The U.S. State Department conducts the lottery, not the foreign countries themselves. People whose names are selected in the lottery are subjected to background checks.

Trump has repeated this claim 21 times

Steve Ronnebeck, father of son killed by illegal immigrant: “Sixty-three thousand Americans since 9/11 have been killed by illegal aliens. This isn’t a problem that’s going away; it’s getting bigger.” Trump: “Sixty-three thousand. And that number, they say, is very low because things aren’t reported. Sixty-three thousand. And you don’t hear about that.”

Source: Event with families of people killed by unauthorized immigrants

in fact: In fairness, Trump was repeating a false number he had just heard, not introducing a false number on his own. But he endorsed it, and it is indeed false. There is no factual basis for it; the Washington Post discovered that it was originally concocted in 2005 by anti-immigration Republican congressman Steve King, who used a series of bizarre mathematical assumptions. No good national data is available to the public, but Texas, which releases its own data, says there have been 495 homicide charges against “criminal aliens” — that definition includes both illegal immigrants and legal immigrants — in the last seven years. Over that time, there have been more than 7,500 homicides in Texas, so “criminal aliens” have been charged with 6.7 per cent of them. There have been somewhere in the neighbourhood of 100,000 total U.S. homicides since September 11, 2001 (there is not yet good national data on 2017 and the first half of 2018); if “criminal aliens” committed the same proportion of national homicides as they did Texas homicides, they would have killed roughly 6,700 people across the country, not 63,000.

“Where is the condemnation of the Democrat sanctuary cities that release violent criminals into our communities and then protect them? Like the Mayor of San Diego, when she warned everybody that ICE is coming, and they scattered. A big operation.”

Source: Event with families of people killed by unauthorized immigrants

in fact: The mayor of San Diego is a Republican man, Kevin Faulconer. Trump was apparently intending to refer to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who warned residents of an impending ICE operation in February.

“As a result of sanctuary city policies, in Fiscal 2017, more than 8,000 criminal aliens — these are really hardcore criminal aliens — were in police custody and were released because of our weak laws. Weakest in the world. Weakest in the history of the world.”

Source: Event with families of people killed by unauthorized immigrants

in fact: It is not clear where Trump got this “8,000” statistic, but we cannot definitively call it false. What is obviously false is his claim that the U.S. has the weakest immigration laws in the history of the world. It does not even have the weakest immigration laws in the history of the United States. U.S. immigration was virtually unfettered through most of the 1800s; would-be immigrants would simply show up at Ellis Island and would largely be allowed to enter the country. “Until the late 19th century in the United States, immigration was encouraged and virtually unfettered,” historian Mae M. Ngai wrote in her book Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America.

“In Texas alone, within the last seven years, more than a quarter million criminal aliens have been arrested and charged with over 600,000 criminal offenses. You don’t hear that. I always hear that, ‘Oh, no, the population is safer than the people that live in the country.’ You’ve heard that, fellas. Right? You’ve heard that. I hear it so much. And I say, ‘Is that possible?’ The answer is it’s not true. You hear it’s like they’re better people than what we have — than our citizens. It’s not true.”

Source: Event with families of people killed by unauthorized immigrants

in fact: Trump offered no basis for his rejection of the academic consensus that unauthorized immigrants commit fewer crimes on average than American citizens. As the Washington Post reported, “the social-science research on immigration and crime is clear: Undocumented immigrants are considerably less likely to commit crime than native-born citizens, with immigrants legally in the United States even less likely to do so.” This appears true even in Texas, the state Trump was citing. In 2015, according to a sound data analysis by the pro-immigration Cato Institute, illegal immigrants represented 6.4 per cent of the state population and 5.4 per cent of homicide convictions; legal immigrants represented 10.4 per cent of the population and had 1.6 per cent of convictions; native-born Americans represented 83 per cent of the population and had 93 per cent of convictions.”

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

November 15, 2018

by Dr. Peter Janney

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks,”: Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas  in 1993  when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publications.

Conversation No. 23

Date:  Monday, July 8, 1996

Commenced:  1:40 PM CST

Concluded:   1:55 PM CST

 

 

GD: Am I disturbing anything there? I hear conversations in the background.

RTC: My son was just leaving. See you later…yes, I will…sorry.

GD: I can call back later if you wish.

RTC: No, everyone has gone.  Anything new?

GD: Yes. Talking about the Swiss, I just discovered that the Swiss minister, Bruggmann, was a brother-in-law of Henry Wallace. Married his sister Mary. Anyway, old Henry used to tell Bruggmann everything he knew and the Swiss fellow sent long reports to Bern. Unfortunately, the Germans were listening in and knew all kinds of things. Did you know about this?

RTC: Yes, we did. We found it out later. Henry was somewhat left of center and in ’44, tried to nail down the nomination for President. The party told FDR that they would not hold still for that so Franklin, who had more or less supported Henry as Vice President, dumped him for Truman. I think everyone, including Roosevelt, knew he was not long for this world and the VP would be our next President. Henry had the full support of Stalin and, through him, the Communist labor movement here. We missed having a red flag over the Capitol by very little. Henry drifted into obscurity and then vanished off the stage.

GD: I found out the same thing. Roosevelt pretended to be a liberal just as Hitler pretended to be a revolutionary. Got more votes. Hitler was a conservative but he posed as a radical. Remember the blood purge in ’34. He got rid of the real revolutionaries then and went over to the side of the professional military and the banking houses.

RTC: If Roosevelt had put Wallace in, there would have been serious trouble, believe me. Henry would have had a car accident as I was told.

GD: That’s what usually happens. Or the heart attack. That’s not as messy and much easier to arrange, isn’t it?

RTC: Yes, generally.

GD: Stalin said it was easy to plan a murder but a suicide was more difficult.

RTC: I recall that after Roosevelt passed to Valhalla with his stamp albums, there was a reaction to all his Commie friends and you recall the savage persecutions, don’t you?

GD: I was younger then but I recall McCarthy and the rest of it.

RTC: The Catholic church was behind him. Your friend Müller was also involved there. They did clean house of the lefties all right.

GD: I suppose in the process, they ruined quite a few perfectly innocent people.

RTC: Talleyrand said that you couldn’t make an omelet without the breaking of eggs.

GD: The innocent always suffer, Robert. That’s what they’re there for. By the way, I was reading about the surge of AIDS in Africa. What a tragedy. Once the evil white colonists were kicked out, taking all the skilled technicians with them, the gloriously freed natives surged forward. Of course all the countries there are falling apart. I suppose in a few years, spears will be back in fashion and at some meeting of the heads of state, one of them arrives late and asks another if he missed much and was told that everyone’s eaten.

RTC: Gregory…

GD: And did you hear the one about Desmond Tutu passing his brother in the forest?

RTC: Now that’s actually funny.

GD: Yes, the evil masters leave and the countries descend into poverty and are all infected with AIDS. In America, we all know that AIDS is the exclusive property of the homosexual and drug communities and since the average African makes about five dollars a month and can’t afford a box of Aspirin, I think they must all be gay. Instead of enlightened ethnic freedom, we have mass buggery and protracted death.

RTC: Well, Africa is very rich in natural resources. If we all wait long enough, the indigenous population will all die off and the rest of us will have free pickings.

GD:  A rational observation, Robert. Unkind but rational. I get so tired of people who reject reality and bleat like sheep. Why? Reality terrifies them and bleating along with other sheep makes them feel mighty and meaningful.

RTC: You speak ill of sheep, Gregory. You are not a sheep, are you?

GD: No, I am a wolf. I eat sheep on a regular basis. I am a civilized wolf, however, and prefer them roasted with mint sauce and new potatoes.

RTC: I seem to have heard that you have lived by your wits and the money of other people.

GD: Robert, surely you realize that a fool and his money are soon parted?

RTC: Yes, so it would seem.

GD: I do love the crooked rich. They’re the easiest to prey on. I recall once when a friend of mine became enamored of the sculpting of Frederic Remington. He was a sculptor and made a small bust of an Indian warrior. I suggested he sign the wax with Remington’s signature and then put in the name of the Roman Bronze people. Then I took the finished product up to Butterfield and Butterfield in ‘Frisco and the greedy Bernie Osher bought it from me for a lot of money. Now, mark you, Robert, I never told Bernie that it was original. In fact, I told him I knew nothing about it and got it from my Grandmother’s attic after she died. The dumb schmuck actually signed the receipt ‘As Is.’ Which speaks for itself of course. Then he tried to sue me and lost. Lots of very bad publicity for him. In the meantime, Bernie and his co-religionists resold the same piece to a sucker in New York as genuine. And they sued me! I beat them.

RTC: How much did you get out of that?

GD: All together?

RTC: Yes. All together.

GD: Fifty thousand.

RTC: My, my, Gregory how comforting.

GD: No, beating old Bernie in court was comforting.

GD: How much did your lawyer get?

GD: I was in pro per. I was my own lawyer. I could easily pass any bar exam, Robert, but I never bother to inform people of that when contracting with them. I always get the long end of the stick and they get the squishy shit on the other end.

RTC: You set them up, don’t you?

GD: Always and they always assume I am a fool.

RTC: No, you are not. A wolf in sheep’s clothing?

GD: Very often, Robert.

 

(Concluded at 1:55 PM CST)

 

U.S. judge gives Florida voters until Saturday to resolve signature challenges

November 15, 2018

by Letitia Stein

Reuters

TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) – A U.S. federal judge on Thursday gave voters in Florida whose signatures on ballots were rejected by county election officials until Saturday afternoon to resolve the challenges as a recount continues in close-fought races for a U.S. Senate seat and governor of the state.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said his ruling was intended to ensure that an estimated 5,000 people who submitted ballots by mail that were rejected by election officials had a chance to have their voices heard.

“The precise issue in this case is whether Florida’s law that allows county election officials to reject vote-by-mail and provisional ballots for mismatched signatures — with no standards, an illusory process to cure, and no process to challenge the rejection — passes constitutional muster,” Walker wrote. “The answer is simple. It does not.”

His ruling extends until 5 p.m. Saturday the window for voters whose ballots were challenged to confirm their identities.

Initial counts following the Nov. 6 elections showed Republican outgoing governor Rick Scott leading in his bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and Republican Ron DeSantis holding more support than Democrat Andrew Gillum in the governor’s race.

In both races the margins of victory were below the 0.5 percentage point threshold at which state law requires a recount of ballots. The first round of recount, conducted by machine, is due to end at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday (2000 GMT).

Overall control of the U.S. Senate is not at stake in the Florida race. President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans extended their majority in the chamber while Democrats took a majority in the House of Representatives. But both the Senate and governor’s races are being closely scrutinized as Florida is traditionally a key swing state in presidential elections.

The closeness of the race has thrown up lawsuits on both sides around the validity or not of some votes.

Nelson’s lead attorney in the case, Marc Elias, praised the judge’s ruling on Thursday.

“Big victory in our Florida signature mismatch lawsuit!” Elias wrote on Twitter. “Federal court extends deadline for voters to ‘cure’ their rejected ballots.”

Republicans, who have also filed lawsuits challenging the process, decried Walker’s ruling and the Scott campaign said it would appeal.

“Another day, another chance for Marc Elias to rack up massive legal fees regardless of the blatant hypocrisy … or the damage this will do to Bill Nelson’s legacy,” Scott spokeswoman Lauren Schenone said in an emailed statement.

If the first-round recount finds the margin of victory in either race below 0.25 percent, state law will trigger another round of ballot recounting, this time by hand.

Reporting by Letitia Stein; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Frances Kerry

 

The Watergate Blueprint for Impeaching Donald Trump

November 15, 2018

by Elizabeth Holtzman

The Intercept

When Donald Trump’s presidential election victory was announced in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016, like many Americans, I rubbed my eyes in disbelief and dismay. Two questions raced through my mind:

What had become of America that a man so unfit, so small-minded, so mean-spirited could be elected? A man whose ethnic and racial bigotry had set the stage for his presidential run when he called Mexicans rapists and made racist birther attacks on President Barack Obama. Whose vulgarity and misogyny were laid bare in the Access Hollywood tape when he bragged about forcibly grabbing women by their genitals. Whose performance at pres­idential debates showed him not only flagrantly ill-informed, but manifestly unwilling to get informed.

My second question was how much harm this man would do to America as its 45th president.

I have my answer now to the latter, less than two years after the election. President Trump has damaged American democracy far more than I would have guessed. He has relentlessly attacked the administration of jus­tice, in particular the investigation into a possible conspiracy with Russia regarding the 2016 presidential election, putting himself above the rule of law; he has failed to separate his personal business from the country’s, flout­ing the Constitution’s requirements; he has violated the constitutional rights of the people in separating children from parents at the Southwest border without due process of law; and he has refused to acknowledge Russia’s central role in interfering in our 2016 elections and to publicly lead a full-scale effort to protect against further interference. To cover up these misdeeds, moreover, he has flagrantly lied and assailed the press as an enemy of the people. These are “great and dangerous offenses” that the framers of our Constitution wanted to counteract and thwart. They provided a powerful remedy. Impeachment.

Many tremble at the word, fearing how Trump’s supporters will react to an impeachment inquiry, worrying that it will only further polarize an already deeply divided nation or that there will not be enough votes in the Republican-controlled Senate to convict him even if the newly empowered Democratic majority in the House of Representatives votes to impeach. Just calling for an inquiry will be viewed as a Democratic Party attack on the head of another party, a kind of coup d’état. It’s easy to find reasons to be anxious.

I’m not afraid. As a junior congresswoman, the youngest ever elected at that time, I served on the House Judiciary Committee that voted to impeach President Richard Nixon for the high crimes and misdemeanors he commit­ted in connection with the Watergate cover-up and other matters. Thorough, fair, and above all bipartisan, the committee acted on solid evidence pre­sented in televised hearings that riveted the nation, handing us the blueprint for how impeachment can be successfully pursued today. In our 225 years of constitutional democracy, the Nixon impeachment process has proven to be the only presidential effort that worked. Though Nixon resigned — the only president ever to do so — two weeks after the committee’s impeachment vote, he did so to avoid the certainty of being impeached and removed from office. We became a better nation for having held the president accountable.

All of which raises two further questions: Should we be considering the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump? Will we again become a better nation by pursuing that option? To answer, we need to set aside Trump’s unremitting attacks on the environment, on our close allies, on almost every program that Obama put into effect, including the Affordable Care Act, and any disagreements we have over policy, as well as any personal animus, and ascertain simply whether he has engaged in the kind of egregious conduct that would meet the constitutional standards for impeachment and removal from office.

This means we have to focus sharply on his potentially impeachable offenses. In so doing, we will find it useful to compare them, when possible, to similar offenses by Nixon found to be impeachable by the House Judiciary Committee in 1974. Here is a list of some of Trump’s potentially impeachable offenses developed as of this writing:

A possible interference with or obstruction of the administration of justice and an abuse of power. On May 9, 2017, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who was investigating both his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and Russia’s ties to the Trump campaign in connection with influencing the 2016 presidential election. Two days later, Trump admitted to NBC’s Lester Holt that Comey’s firing had to do with “the Russia thing” — in other words, Trump acknowledged that he was trying to shut down the FBI investigation into his possible conspiracy with Russia. (Flynn has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.)

The Comey firing uncannily echoes Nixon’s firing of the special Watergate prosecutor for seeking highly damaging information about the president — a brazen defiance of the rule of law that triggered the start of impeachment proceedings against Nixon.

A second possible interference with or obstruction of the administration of justice and an abuse of power. Trump has persistently and publicly attacked those heading the Russia investigation, including special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and has repeatedly condemned Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself, suggesting that he wants to fire any and all of them in order to get control of the Russia investigation. (He actually did give an order to fire Mueller.) The president’s firing of Sessions and replacement of him with Matthew Whitaker, an avowed critic of the investigation who has not recused himself from overseeing it, is the most recent — and possibly the most dangerous — assault on the investigation.

A failure to take care that the laws are faithfully executed, as required by the Constitution. To try to deflect public concern about his possible role in con­spiring with Russia about the 2016 election and to undermine the legiti­macy of the investigation into that matter, Trump has persistently attacked the Russia investigation as a witch hunt and a hoax, even though 34 people either pleaded guilty or were indicted as a result of that investigation. The indictments included Russian agents who allegedly inter­fered with the 2016 election by manipulating social media, hacking into computers of the Democratic National Committee, targeting election machinery in various states, and using other methods.

Similar behavior by Nixon became one of the grounds of the first article of impeachment against him. As part of the Watergate cover-up, Nixon was charged with making “false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States.” This included Nixon’s claim that White House investigations had cleared everyone of any involvement with the break-in, for example, and that his aide H. R. Haldeman, who had perjured himself before the Senate Watergate Committee, had tes­tified accurately.

A second failure to take care that the laws are faithfully executed, as required by the Constitution. Trump has failed to undertake his constitu­tionally mandated leadership role to protect our elections from further interference by the Russian government, including his continued refusal to acknowledge unequivocally Russia’s interference in 2016, despite the paramount importance of ensuring honest elections in our democracy. For example, cyber countermeasures were apparently undertaken starting in the summer of 2018, but without the president’s involvement. His continued hands-off approach has left too many Americans doubting the existence of Russian interference and failing to insist on robust government protective measures. In the absence of that protection, the Russians may renew the cyberattacks and other interference previously used against us.

An abuse of power. He has used the power of his office to remove or threaten to remove the security clearances of people who criticized him or who he believed were associated with the Russia investigation or could be possible witnesses against him. A historical equivalent is Nixon’s creation of an “Enemies List” of anti-Vietnam War activists, whom he directed to be audited by the Internal Revenue Service in retaliation for their political positions — actions that formed part of an article of impeachment.

A second abuse of power. He approved a lawless, ethnically based, and infinitely cruel policy of separating children from parents at the Southwest border, depriving both children and parents of their constitutional rights and subjecting them to horrific mental anguish that may result in long-term psy­chological damage, a policy that the courts struck down.

An assault on our democratic values. He has systematically lied to the American people about government policies and actions, crippling their abil­ity to make sound judgments about the direction of their government.

A violation of a specific constitutional prohibition. He has refused to sepa­rate himself from his business interests, which have received things of value from foreign and U.S. governments, ranging from Chinese trademarks to pay­ments for the use of his Washington hotel, suggesting that the presidency is open for business and that his personal business interests may influence his governmental decisions — all apparent violations of the emoluments clauses of the Constitution and possibly the ban on bribery as well. Though the House Judiciary Committee voted against an article of impeachment involv­ing Nixon’s receipt of emoluments from the federal government, notably in the form of improvements to his California and Florida properties, Trump’s business interests are far greater than Nixon’s, and Trump could have tried to cure the problem of foreign emoluments by getting con­gressional approval, which he has steadfastly refused to do.

An effort to undermine a core democratic institution. He has repeatedly attacked the media as the enemy of the people (a term used in the Stalinist purges against untold thousands of innocent people ultimately killed by the Soviet regime), encouraging Americans to disregard what they see and hear in the press as “fake news.” Seriously undermining the free press hampers the public’s right to know, which in itself hurts a democracy.

Nixon also attacked the press. He illegally ordered the wiretapping of journalists and placed a number of them on his Enemies List, targeting them for harassing IRS audits. Both actions formed a basis for Nixon’s impeachment.

Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to our democracy. Whether it is his effort to impede and obstruct the investigations into Russian interference, his declining to protect our election system from Russian manipulation, his open hand to payments his businesses receive from foreign governments and domestically, or his assault on the rights of thousands of children at the border, the president’s misdeeds cast a wide net. They are ongoing, with no end in sight. And he continues to spin a web of incessant and brazen falsehoods, deceptions, and lies to disguise and conceal the misdeeds.

In 1973, the country also faced a president run amok. Richard Nixon, whose campaign minions broke into the Watergate complex, orchestrated a vast, multipronged effort to stymie investigations into the burglary. Nixon engaged in other nefarious activities and abuses of power: He violated the rights of Americans though illegal wiretaps of journalists, an illegal break-in into a psychiatrist’s office for damaging information, an order for IRS audits of political opponents — the Enemies List — to name a few.

Nixon’s cover-up was effective: It got him re-elected with one of the largest electoral margins in American history. Then, it began to unravel. Evidence harmful to him came to light, and, in a grandiose move of maximum presi­dential authority, he ordered the special prosecutor investigating him to be fired. That’s where the American people drew the line. They demanded that Congress take action, and it did. It started an inquiry, which resulted in a bipartisan vote for articles of impeachment, forcing Nixon to resign.

It was in response to obstruction that the articles of impeachment against Nixon were adopted. Their message? Presidents cannot block, tam­per with, and destroy the machinery of justice that is aimed at them. If they do, it is at their peril. They face impeachment, removal from office, even imprisonment. But if we allow presidents to block, tamper with, and destroy the machinery of justice that is aimed at them, we do so at our peril. The rule of law will go up in smoke. We will enshrine two standards of justice, one for the powerful and one for everyone else. We will find ourselves on the road to tyranny.

It is a road that we’re dangerously close to traveling today.

Nixon worked mightily to stop the institutions of justice from closing in on him and his associates. So has Trump. Not every aspect of Nixon’s impeachable offenses is replicated in Trump’s behavior. Still, there are astonishing and troublesome parallels, particularly in the Russia investigation, including Trump’s firing the FBI director (Nixon had the special Watergate prosecutor fired); Trump’s demanding that the recused attorney general resign and replacing him with an acting attorney general who is outspokenly hostile to the investigation and who has suggested ways of terminating it by such means as defunding it (Nixon tried to fire the special Watergate prosecutor, a more direct way of ending the investigation into himself); dangling pardon possibilities to those under investigation (Nixon did the same); making relentless and false attacks on the investigation and those conducting it (Nixon called for an end to the investigations and engaged in other attacks); and deceiving the public and Congress constantly and systematically (Nixon did that, too).

Watergate started with burglars who used burglars’ tools to break into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel complex in Washington, D.C. They were interfering in the 1972 presidential election. The investigation of Donald Trump started with the Russians’ using cyber tools to break into the DNC computer servers and interfere in the 2016 presidential election. We don’t know what the Watergate burglars were look­ing for. We don’t know what the Russians’ real objective was, or even the full impact of their interference. It may even have vaulted Donald Trump into the White House.

But we do know that on July 27, 2016, Trump publicly called for Russian help in winning the election — and later repeatedly applauded WikiLeaks’ release of illegally hacked Clinton campaign emails. And we know that Russia gave him help — targeting, for example, Hillary Clinton’s personal office for the first time the day after Trump’s request and targeting 76 of her staffers as well.

Was the help coordinated with the Trump campaign or just coinciden­tal? If coordinated, then Trump has committed a high crime and misde­meanor of the gravest kind — working with a foreign power in violation of our campaign finance and other laws to get elected. It is impera­tive for Congress to ascertain the facts, and not leave us to speculate or with a secretly beholden president.

Trump’s effort to block the investigation into his possible collusion with the Russians over the 2016 election on the face of it warrants an impeach­ment inquiry. It may well be that a full examination of his behavior will exonerate him, but, given the record of his tweets and his public statements, not to mention his firing of James Comey, it is more likely that his actions have been prompted by the impermissible and impeachable objec­tive of stopping the investigations before they find him out.

Trump’s misconduct does not stop with his repeated attempts to impede the Russia investigations. He has steadfastly refused to accept that Russia seriously interfered in our 2016 elections and to take a public role in developing and announcing plans to protect against further Russian attacks, failing to fulfill his central obli­gation as president to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. This failure, too, is related to his effort to impede the Russia investigation. If the American people, including his “base,” fully understood the seriousness and scope of the Russian attacks, they would demand effective measures from the president to stop them, but they also might question why Trump is calling the investigation a hoax when the Russians really attacked us, as our intelligence agencies, the Justice Department, grand juries, and private social media com­panies have found.

The president has also defied and flouted the Constitution’s ban on emoluments on a very large scale, creating the appearance, if not the reality, of influence-peddling at the highest level of our government. This is another assault on our democracy.

Finally, Trump’s heartless separation of thousands of children from parents on the Southwest border is an action that violates our Constitution’s deepest promises of due process and equal protection. The willingness to assault the Constitution by harming so many threatens all of us.

Together, Trump’s actions are indicative of a president who has established a different standard of justice for himself — exactly the kind that we declared impermissible in Nixon’s articles of impeachment. He has done so at the expense of democracy. And he’s done so at his own peril.

There is a remedy — and I participated in it and lived through it and saw it work. The solution is what Congress, the courts, and the press used in dealing with Nixon in Watergate. It means imposing accountabil­ity and holding the president to the rule of law, as we did then.

In Watergate, there was a criminal investigation and there were congres­sional inquiries, including an impeachment process. All were thorough and fair; all won the respect of the public. And together they re-established the public’s faith in the viability of our democracy and the Constitution.

No one, not even a president, is above the law. That is the lesson of Watergate, and it must continue to be the lesson today.

Today we have the advantage of knowing what to do, of having the model for action — full-throated congressional inquiries, a bipartisan impeachment inquiry, and an investigation by Robert Mueller that proceeds without inter­ference until it is properly concluded. These are simple, realizable objectives.

The American people can force action on this agenda as they did in response to presidential misconduct in Watergate. We have the power. We are still a democracy.

 

Trump attacks Mueller’s Russia inquiry as ‘absolutely nuts’

November 15, 2018

BBC News

US President Donald Trump has attacked Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, calling it a “total mess” and “absolutely nuts”.

He tweeted on Thursday that investigators were “threatening” people to provide “the answers they want”.

“They are screaming and shouting at people,” Mr Trump wrote, adding that no collusion between his election campaign and Russia had been found.

He says the inquiry is a “witch hunt”.

The US president has previously said the special counsel investigation led by Mr Mueller, who is a highly regarded former head of the FBI and a Republican, was unfair and dominated by “hardened Democrats”.

In Mr Trump’s latest tweets, he describes Mr Mueller as “conflicted” and says that those involved in the long-running probe “are a disgrace to our nation”.

It is unclear what was behind his latest comments and Mr Trump did not provide any evidence for his claims.

Fears of an impending storm

Analysis by Anthony Zurcher, BBC Washington

Donald Trump is back on the attack against Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation. After a brief mid-term interlude that included dire warnings about refugee caravans in Mexico and mix-and-match endorsements of Republican candidates, the looming Russia investigation is back on the president’s mind – and his Twitter feed.

Mr Trump may simply be reflecting the growing sense that Mr Mueller is poised for new action after a pre-election quiet period. Rumours and reports have swirled of impending indictments and late nights at the special counsel’s office.

There’s also the possibility that the president knows something new – either passed along from his lawyers or allies under investigation, or from his newly appointed acting attorney general, who the New York Times referred to in September as the White House’s “eyes and ears” in the justice department.

Whatever the explanation, Mr Trump has appeared in a sour mood of late, lashing out at the media and, according to background sources, considering changes to his top staff. There is the feeling in Washington of an impending storm, of threats to the presidency from the outside and within.

It’s been a quiet few days, but that seems certain to change.

It comes just a week after the US president forced the resignation of Jeff Sessions, the US Attorney General who was an early supporter of Mr Trump.

Mr Sessions had earlier voluntarily removed himself from the Russia probe after Democrats accused him of failing to disclose contacts with the Russian ambassador during his Senate confirmation hearing.

Following this decision, Mr Trump told the New York Times: “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else.”

Mr Sessions’ replacement in charge of the Department of Justice, Matthew Whitaker, now has the power to sack Mr Mueller or end the investigation.

Mr Whitaker, who has been appointed acting attorney general, has been open about his concerns over the scope of Mr Mueller’s inquiry.

What is behind the Russia investigation?

In 2016, US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia had used a state-authorised campaign of cyber attacks and fake news stories planted on social media in an attempt to turn the election against Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton.

A team of investigators led by Mr Mueller is looking into whether anyone from Mr Trump’s campaign colluded in the effort.

It has been established that senior members of Mr Trump’s team met Russian officials, while several of these meetings were not initially disclosed.

  • The Trump-Russia saga in 200 words

The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, met a Russian lawyer during the campaign who was said to have “dirt” on Mrs Clinton, and adviser George Papadopoulos has admitted lying to the FBI about meetings with alleged go-betweens for Russia.

Four people connected with Mr Trump’s campaign and presidency have been charged and further indictments could be issued.

However the US president denies any wrongdoing and no solid evidence has emerged to implicate him.

 

Can Donald Trump use force against the ‘migrant caravan’?

Just ahead of the midterms, the US president deployed thousands of soldiers to the southern border, curtailed asylum law, and threatened the use of military force against an approaching “migrant caravan.” Is that legal?

November 14, 2018

by Michael Knigge (Washington)

DW

Can President Donald Trump unilaterally change US asylum law by executive order?

This key question will once again have to be decided by the courts, which could take a long time to play out. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has already filed a lawsuit challenging the order, and other cases are expected to follow.

The process could therefore take a similar path as Trump’s so-called travel ban. Just like the new asylum decree, the travel ban was issued per executive order by Trump soon after taking office in January 2017. Courts quickly blocked its implementation until a watered-down third version of the order finally held up in court eight months later.

Trump’s new proclamation mandates that individuals claiming asylum can do so only at official ports of entry. Those entering the country illegally are barred from seeking asylum, but can apply for two alternative forms of relief known as “withholding of removal” and relief under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, StephenYale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law at Cornell University, told DW in an email.

The Trump administration claims that allowing people to apply for those other forms of relief satisfies our international obligations not to return people to countries where they might face persecution”, said Yale-Loehr, who co-wrote the leading 21-volume treatise on the issue. But to decide whether Trump’s order argumentation is correct and the order legal, the courts will have to weigh competing considerations.

“Courts have traditionally ruled that presidents have large discretion on immigration issues, since immigration touches on national sovereignty,” explained Yale-Loehr. “However,” he added, “the United States has signed the United Nations protocol on refugees, which bars countries from returning people to countries where they might be persecuted. And the US asylum statute explicitly allows people to apply for asylum no matter how they enter the United States. The president cannot repeal the asylum statute; only Congress can do that.”

Can the US military legally be deployed to domestic locations to counter and arrest immigrants, and is the use of force against immigrants allowed?

In a nutshell: The US military can not be used to actively apprehend, detain or drive away potential immigrants at the border. They can only assist US Customs and Border Patrol officials and other domestic law enforcement officials. They can use arms for self-defense purposes only and can use deadly force only as a last resort.

The legal limitations on the deployment of US soldiers to secure the country’s border with Mexico are found in the Posse Comitatus Act (PCA), a federal law that prohibits the president from using the military for civil law enforcement duties. “In other words, the PCA prohibits Title 10 military personnel from enforcing civil laws, but if those troops are acting in a passive, supportive capacity, rather than active law enforcement, the president does not run afoul of the PCA,” said Timothy MacArthur, a military law scholar and director of Mason Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic at George Mason University in an email.

Asked about Trump’s suggestion that soldiers could shoot at rock-throwing immigrants, MacArthur said “it is very likely that this deadly force would violate the Standard Rules for the Use of Force (SRUF), potentially exposing soldiers and their commanders to administrative and criminal liability.”

What’s more, noted MacArthur, the PCA also prevents the president from deploying military equipment used specifically for offensive purposes or war to the border. “The use of equipment by military personnel must be in a supportive capacity to civil law enforcement and I don’t see how the use of tanks or other equipment specifically designed for warfare would be used.”

President Trump continues to promise that he will build a wall along the border with Mexico. How realistic is this now with Democrats controlling the House of Representatives?

Trump has long insisted on constructing a wall along the entire US-Mexican border, even at the risk of a partial government shutdown to try to force Democrats to pony up the funds for it. However, it is increasingly unrealistic that he will succeed in building a wall.

“It could only happen as part of a larger comprehensive immigration reform bill,” said Yale-Loehr. “But immigration is so controversial right now that it will be almost impossible to get any major immigration reform bill through Congress. I doubt we will see immigration reform until 2021 at the earliest.”

 

A Fukushima waiting to happen? Huge stockpile of nuclear waste on California fault line threatens US

November 15, 2018

RT

Millions of pounds of toxic waste are being buried under the site of a privately owned former nuclear power plant in California. The only problem? Experts warn that it sits on a major fault line — and in a tsunami zone.

The San Onofre nuclear plant, located just 108 feet from a popular beach, was shut down in 2015 after a leak was discovered. Now, the Southern California Edison energy company is burying the nuclear waste at the failed site — a move which has been approved by federal regulators.

Charles Langley, the executive director of Public Watchdogs, told RT that the situation at San Onofre is of “grave concern” because spent nuclear fuel and water “don’t mix.”

Langley claimed that research carried out by experts which highlighted the extreme risks of storing the waste at the facility was “suppressed” by the very government agency responsible for protecting public health and safety.

So far, 29 of 73 canisters of waste are below the surface of the ground. Langley warns, however, that the canisters are unequipped to store the toxic nuclear waste. The warranty for the containment system is only for 10 years “and the canisters themselves are only guaranteed to last 25 years,” he said

Nina Babiarz, a board member at Public Watchdogs, told RT that “there should have been a requirement for an underground monitoring system before one can even went in the ground.”

Babiarz believes the San Onofre plant is a ticking time bomb.

“It’s still very prevalent to me that this not only could happen, but it has happened at Three Mile Island, of course it has happened at Chernobyl, it’s happened at Fukushima — and lest we forget, it could happen at San Onofre,” she said.

Edison refused to answer any of RT’s questions. On its website, however, the company says they are “being proactive in seeking out options for the relocation of the fuel, including an off-site facility.”

But San Onofre is not the only nuclear site causing concern to scientists and environmentalists in California.

The Santa Susana Field Laboratory —  a highly classified former nuclear testing site, which was the location of the worst nuclear meltdown in nuclear history —  was scorched in the California wildfires. During the 1959 disaster, 459 times more radiation was leaked there than during the infamous 1979 Three Mile Island meltdown in Pennsylvania.

Physicians for Social Responsibility say that the toxic materials in the soil and vegetation could become airborne in smoke and ash. More than half a million people live within 10 miles of the area.

Investigative journalist Paul DeRienzo told RT that given the site’s classified status, it’s no surprise that Americans don’t know much about the place.

“It was a tremendous accident [in 1959] that gave off more radiation than Three Mile Island did — and other than that, very little is known. It’s a highly classified site and whatever we learn about it, we learn in dribs and drabs over a long period of time,” DeRienzo said.

Asked whether government assurances that the site is safe could be believed, DeRienzo warned against trusting official guarantees.

“You can’t, because it’s classified, because a lot of the things that happened at Santa Susana were classified and therefore there are things that they’re just never going to tell you and only accidentally does it come out,” he said.

 

 

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