The DOJ’s Pardon Powers and General Flynn

“The Government has engaged in highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the President,” Gleeson wrote in an 82-page brief to U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.  Judge Gleeson was assigned by Judge Sullivan to act as a friend to the court, and provide reasons why General Flynn should be sentenced.

General Flynn pleaded guilty to perjury.  Lying to the FBI isn’t a big crime.  George Papadopoulos plead guilty to lying to the FBI and got two weeks in jail,  and did a total of 12 days behind bars.

So why is this case so important?   Only the President can give a criminal a pardon.  The DOJ has no pardon powers.  They can’t roll back time, and try to “unprosecute” someone that they have already prosecuted.

The Department of Justice can accuse people of crimes, and prosecute them. They prosecute plenty of people to “the full extent of the law” every single day.

There is no way to claim General Flynn had an unfair trial, because he never went to court.  He can’t say he was conned or trapped because he had the best lawyers money can buy.   He plead guilty to all charges.  If you can’t fight the charges, the best one can do, is try to get a shorter sentence.  So Flynn cut a deal with the Mueller investigation in an attempt to reduce his sentence.   But he broke his deal.   If he did what he promised to do, he likely would not serve any time, just put on probation.  He might have been facing 6 months maximum.   And after that, Trump likely would pardon him, so he’d have a clean record.  But before his sentencing hearing, the DOJ gave him a “get out of jail free card”  which was really just as good as a pardon.  DOJ issued a motion for “leave of court”

Judge Sullivan believes he has the right to hold a hearing on the DOJ’s motion to dismiss all charges against Flynn.  It is a really unique situation, but if the DOJ wins, they have created a new “pardon” authority  which goes into effect immediately and there is no court review.

Trump’s pardon authority is a powerful tool.  A corrupt president can use to pardon criminals because they are the president’s friends or could do great harm with their knowledge of his activities. Trump  is within his authority to issue pardons to those who help him get elected:   Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn,  George Papadopoulos and  Rick Gates.  He can also pardon Rudy Giuliani’s business associates:  Igor Furman (Ukraine scandal, campaign finance) and Lev Parnas (Ukraine scandal, campaign finance).  He’s already commuted the sentence of Roger Stone.   In fact, I would be surprised if he doesn’t issue a long list of pardon once he loses the election.

Nobody know how the Appellate Court will rule.   It could be months until  the 10 judges to rule on the case.   Some did not seem to like idea of a judge being required to take orders from the Department of Justice,.  As reported, “‘The judge has to do some thinking about it, right? The judge is not simply a rubber stamp,’ one of the judges asked Powell.”  Sidney Powell is Flynn’s lawyer.   See link below.

So, this is push back from Judge Sullivan that  AG Barr didn’t expect to his  heavy handed meddling in the Flynn trial.    Sullivan just wasn’t going be Barr’s rubber stamp.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/11/michael-flynn-case-appeals-court-hears-arguments-over-trump-aide.html

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Flynn

 

Upcoming Election

An incumbent president, usually runs on his achievements during the prior  three plus years.  But, much of what Donald Trump has claimed to have accomplished is not true.  From environmental issues, energy,  the economy and immigration, Trump has claimed credit for accomplishments during the Obama administration.  Trump also falsely portrayed much of his own administration’s efforts as successes, when in fact they were not.

The 20,000 lies that Trump has told over the last 3 1/2 years are quite incredible.  His version of a stupendous economic recovery in 2018-2019 is total nonsense.   The economy was not in collapse at the end of Obama’s term.  It definitely had crashed during George Bush’s last year, losing 800,000 jobs a month and it was President Obama had turned it around, adding about 200,000 jobs a month.  In fact, when Trump cites statistics on how well his administration has done, he typically goes back in time, to the date of his election (November 8, 2016) and not his inauguration date in 2017  just to steal some credit from President Obama.

In the upcoming blogs,  I intend to examine more closely the “three E’s”  – the environment, energy and the economy, plus I intend to  address immigration policy and the “build the wall” craze (it should be called enhance the “see-through fence” initiative).   Trump could brag all he wanted as a real estate developer.  Now he is getting caught every single day, in multiple lies.

Immigration policy is a real pile of crazy sh*t,  Sorry, I just didn’t know how to express this any better.  For months Trump kept bragging how great his policies were,  because apprehensions at the southern border were going down, 40%,  then 61% and finally 78%.   So, immigrants were not trying to sneak into our country, because they were afraid of being caught.  Of course, apprehensions started to rise,  and Trump again bragged that his policies were a tremendous success because they were going up.   Down is great, up is great, who cares, it’s all in the presentation?    In January 2020, the President celebrates great numbers on immigration again, this time apprehensions again were going down.   So, down, up and down again, all with dubious statistics, and all causes to celebrate the tremendous success.

I believe it is necessary to dispel the barrage of  false claims in order to establish the truth.   There is an enormous distribution system of false information.  Energy, environment and the economy issues are all intertwined.    The  “fake news” is often slick presentations, with selected facts helped along by industry lobbyist  groups.  Just one small example –  I saw on a cable news program, a clip showing barges filled with coal going down the Mississippi river,  and the newscaster was talking about how US coal exports had doubled since 2016, which is true.  Yet, in about 2 minutes, I could verify that US coal production had continued it’s steady decline during the Trump administration.  This rise in exports was simply that more coal was being sent overseas,  because the demand was dropping in the US.    Major coal companies filed for bankruptcy in 2019 and 2020, including Cloud Peak Energy and  Murray Coal.

So, I am preparing my first blog on the environment and more will follow.  I am always receptive to comments from my visitors, contrary to my opinions.  As usual, I will support my statements with links from the internet.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Your mail-in vote will be counted

“Mail-In Ballots will lead to massive electoral fraud and a rigged 2020 Election. Look at all of the cases and examples that are out there right now, with the Patterson, N.J., being the most recent example. Republicans, in particular, cannot let this happen!”

Donald Trump July 2, 2020 (repeated  26 times)

Washington Post labels this as False.  See links below.

All properly submitted mail-in votes will be counted.  Studies have shown that intentional fraud in voting is very rare, whether it is done by mail-in votes or in-person votes.   Russia did everything they could to influence our 2016 election.  Printing fraudulent ballots is not one of them.  At least, Attorney General Barr agreed that this has not happened in the past.   The problem is that voters have to register to vote.  When bar coded mail-in  ballots are received, they  are scanned to see if they are from approved registered voters.

In 2007, a voter in King County, Texas registered her dog to show how easily it was to fool the system.  In 2016, a voter in King County tried to do the same, but this time was caught when the information was run through state and federal databases.  Providing false information on registration is a crime.  Similarly,  it is a crime for anyone except the owner of a mail box to remove mail.  See link below.

Mail-in and in-person  ballots have been rejected in the past.  More mail-in ballots are rejected.   Three reasons for this are:  (1) Ballots arrive after the election day and  (2) Voters must sign the return envelope and will not be accepted if the signature does not match the registration form.   To avoid any problems, send in the ballot in the proper return  envelope provided at least 5 days before the election.

In a very close election,  it is likely the mail-in ballots will receive extra scrutiny, because they could make a difference in the outcome of the state’s electoral votes.

Although rare, fraud has occurred in both mail-in and in-person voting.   People who have multiple homes, have been able to vote twice, but have been caught.

In some states, there is “accidental voter fraud”   where felons who have completed their sentences and thought they were able to vote.  But, the states find after election day, that they had not completely made restitution (repaid their victims, done community service, etc) and so they accidentally broke the law.  The number of people who fall into this category are very small, and it can be for very minor crimes like writing a forged check.   Laws are not the same in all states.  The  “felony disenfranchisement”  has been challenged in the courts.  See below.

The felony disenfranchisement is a serious problem is only one aspect – it makes people who have done their time, and hopefully rejoined society,  fearful to vote. State laws vary and some are unrestricted while others require probation to be completed and   a formal petition to be approved prior to restoration of voting rights.

All mail-in ballots have to be counted.  It is the law.  They may not all be counted on election night,  but the count on election night is not the final tally of votes.   Your mail-in ballot could be the one, that CNN announces “the race in this state is too close to call.”    VOTE 2020.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

NYT The facts about mail-in voting and voting fraud

Wikipedia:  Felony disenfranchisement in the US

Washington Post: Tracking all of President Trumps Lies

(This is a free and incredibly detailed tracking system,  and is rated four Pinocchio’s their highest false rating,  All repetitions occurred from April to July 2020 and were done over Twitter.)

Also see:

Amazon:  Donald Trump and his assault on truth,  G. Kessler  and Washington Post fact checker.

 

Why the electoral college?

OK, not a barn burning question for sure.   I’ll admit this topic came up at a dinner party, and as I responded, everyone seemed to move away from me.  It is a good topic to bring up at any dinner party where you would like guests to leave.

First,  the electoral college was part of our constitution and you can’t pass a law in Congress and change this to the popular vote.

Second, the idea was a compromise solution in the creation of our constitution.  The delegates who met at the Philadelphia Convention from May 25, 1787 to September 17, 1787 had a single purpose, to replace the original  framework  of federal government, the Articles of Confederation, with  a more lasting structure.   Prior to this time, there was only the unicameral Continental Congress and no judiciary or executive branch.   The president of the Continental Congress was largely ceremonial and there was no salary for this position.

A debate raged at the Convention in 1787 on how to elect a president.   Many suggested Congress throw in a hat, the names of three people who could be president, and they would be drawn at chance, thus allowing the hand of Providence to govern our selection  (ok, I’m joking).    One option was to have the Congress elect the president.  Obviously, this could lead to a less democratic system.   The idea of direct elections was an alternative, yet the problem at the time was the difficulty in the circulation of information.  Radio  transmission had not yet been invented.   So, the compromise idea was the electoral college where the people of each state would vote for electors and en bloc they would cast their vote for the president.

There was a super wrong assumption made by some at the Convention in forming the electoral college.  They added that if one candidate did not get the majority vote of electors,  then the House of Representatives would decide by a majority the next president.  Those who favored the House electing the president, thought this would happen frequently, because we would have multiple candidates.   In fact, in our history this has only happened three times.   There was nothing in our constitution to have a runoff election, as in many other countries.  One candidate can become president if he wins the majority of the Electoral College by just one vote.   At present, a tie is possible (269 to 269) and the House would have to decide.

The number of electoral votes are based on the state’s population.  There have been improvements made in this system, such as the 12th amendment and the recent Supreme Court decision to allow States to bind electors to the candidate they have pledged to support.  States have laws that fine electors who fail to vote for their pledged candidate.    More information can be found in Wikipedia – see links.

Now, what precisely did I say that made guests at a dinner party move away from me?  I said the Electoral College was a good thing as opposed to the popular vote.  Here’s my logic.   We are a closely divided country, Republicans and Democrats.  Small splinter parties may emerge in the future to try to prevent a candidate from gaining 270 or more votes.  Candidates tailor their election campaigns to the swing state voters, particularly if they see one candidate is on the rise.  In this way, our elections in the 7 to 10 swing states will continue to be tight.    If we have a near tie, under the Electoral College system,   which could happen in this November,  the losing party may ask for the courts intervention  in a closely decided states.    Immediately, potential recounts in states like North Carolina,  Wisconsin or Florida come to mind, with the clock ticking to inauguration day. The Supreme Court decision on December 12, 2000 in  Bush v. Gore created this precedent.  However,  It would be a hundred times worse under the popular vote to do a recount, with thousands of voting districts whose tally is called into question.

So, the 1787 compromise lives on.  You’ll never get a 2/3 majority of both houses to amend the constitution.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Wikipedia:  Philadelphia Convention

Wikipedia:  Electoral College

Amending the US Constitution

 

 

 

Trump’s tax case

The Supreme Court ruled the President may be issued a subpoena for evidence from Congressional Committees and any Prosecutor in the country.   There is no blanket immunity because Trump is president.   This assertion of absolute immunity from the issuance of subpoena was part of the claim made by Trump.   Most legal experts felt Trump would lose on this point.    Trump attacked both the Supreme Court and the New York prosecutors who issued the subpoena;

“The Supreme Court sends case back to Lower Court, arguments to continue,” Trump wrote. “This is all a political prosecution. … I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration! … Courts in the past have given ‘broad deference’. BUT NOT ME!”

Trump went into this great conspiracy nonsense later on Fox News.   The judicial system is disgraceful when they they investigate his close associates.  Actually, the justice system is doing their job when they prosecuted Manafort, Flynn,  Stone, and Papadopolous.    Trump can rant and rave all he wants on Fox News.   What is so abundantly clear, is that when close associates of Trump don’t cooperate with prosecutors, then they are good people and don’t deserve to go to jail.   But those who rat on him, are the bad people (like Michael Cohen, Trump’s fixer) and deserve their sentences.   Even Roger Stone admitted that his sentence was commuted from 40 months in jail to zero, because he kept his mouth shut.  This stinks to high heaven.

The truth of the matter, is that our judicial system is doing just fine.   The damage done is repairable, which I hope can happen after the November elections.  The court case in practical terms, was a win for Trump, because he doesn’t have to release his taxes prior to the election.  In fact, experts say there the cases could stretch on for a long time perhaps late 2021.  The broad subpoena from Congress will have may never be executed.

The Supreme Court very rarely has to rule on subpoenas from Congress because some accommodation is worked out.  The Supreme Court in their ruling has laid down certain criteria for executing subpoenas against a president, to really protect the president and also to allow appropriate requests from Congress and prosecutors to be executed.   I believe what was particularly important to Chief Justice Roberts was that this ruling included three conservative, Republican nominated justices (Roberts, Kavanaugh and Gorsuch) along with the four liberal justices on the court.

Having the subpoena issue pushed off to next year is likely for the best.  If the Supreme Court has enforced the Congressional subpoena, I believe it would be damaging to Trump just before the election. He could blame his defeat on “political prosecution.”   Oh gee, he’s already claiming this!

It isn’t political prosecution or harassment.   It is equal application of the law for everyone.  No absolute immunity for Donald Trump.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

I’ve copied a few opinions on the Supreme Court case.   The opinions are on the supremecourt.gov website.

NYT Opinion:  The Supreme Court Lets Trump Run Out the Clock

Politico: Supreme Court splits on Trump tax cases, potentially shielding returns until after election

Washington Post: Supreme Court says Manhattan prosecutor may pursue Trump’s financial records, denies Congress access for now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pa

Voting Fraud

RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!   Donald Trump’s Tweet, June 22.

The above tweet from Trump is total  nonsense.  It should be shoveled into a pooper scooper.   Twitter has flagged some of Trump’s more outrageous claims.

I and my wife are mailing in our ballots in the 2020 presidential election.  Many citizens will do the same in Florida.   We do not have to be absent from Miami to get one. It is expected that many people will use the mail in option with the Covid-19 risks.  Unfortunately, many others may not vote at all.  In 2016, 43% of eligible voters did not vote.

Voting fraud is extremely rare.  Investigations have uncovered cases, but never a systematic abuse.   The principal safeguard in election is voter registration, which gives officials opportunity to weed out any invalid voters.  See links below.  A study by the Washington Post found 0.0025% of votes were fraudulent.   So, given a million voters, we might have 25 votes that were not acceptable.  Sometimes valid votes are not accepted because people over time change their signature.

There are research groups who will, for a fee, find cases of voter fraud.  People who are guilty of committing a felony may not know that they are ineligible to vote.  This depends on the state they live in.  So, they are a handful of people committing “accidental” voter fraud, because if they had known, they would have never voted.  This is a minuscule number of voters.

Some people may still like to show up at the polling stations, because they are concerned their vote will not be counted.  There is some truth to this.  If their ballot does not show up before the deadline, the wrong return envelope is used or the signature does not match the one on record, then the ballot will be rejected.  About 1% of all mail-in ballots are rejected.    But, all properly sent in ballots have to be counted.

So, please ignore everything Donald Trump says.   Two reasons he is saying this:  (1) Higher turnout favors a Democratic win and (2) He can claim the election was rigged if he loses.

Please Vote 2020.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Analytical modeling from Moody’s showed Trump’s chances of winning were significantly higher when voter turnout is low, based on historical trends.

Click to access president-election-model.pdf

Washington Post: Minuscule number of potentially fraudulent ballots in states with universal mail voting undercuts Trump claims about election risks

Washington Post:  Here’s the problem with mail-in ballots: They might not be counted.

New York Times Arrested, Jailed and Charged With a Felony. For Voting.

New York Times: The Facts About Mail-In Voting and Voter Fraud

Fact Check:  Trump’s Latest Voter Fraud Misinformation

 

 

Supreme Court Decisions – 3 Down and one biggie to go.

“These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives. We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020!”    Trump’s tweets, June 18, 2020.   (Referencing the court’s decision in favor of the DREAMers, see last link)

The reference to Second Amendment rights is really pretty weird, because the Supreme Court refused to hear 10 petitions regarding gun rights, letting these issues be resolved in the lower courts. In the current term, due to expire very soon, there are no gun rights cases.

Trump has lost 3 cases in a row.  He loves to brag on how he’s backed the courts with conservative judges,  but in these cases, at least one has sided with the liberals on  the court.   The cases that were decided against Trump were:  (1) The Louisiana abortion restrictions case (2)  DACA legality case and (3) LGBQT discrimination case.   You can’t win a case in the Supreme Court unless a Supreme Court Justice nominated by a Republican president joins with the liberals.  If Biden wins,  I suspect Ginsburg will retire, so we will still be 5 conservatives and 4 liberals.

The most recent decision, the Louisiana abortion limitations case,  was decided in favor of the liberal minority, because John Roberts, normally a conservative, decided to join them.   Roberts concurred with the decision, but wrote a separate opinion, defending the decision based on the “Texas Case.”     Simply put, like cases should have like outcomes.   It is called “stare decisis.”

The Supreme Court made its interpretation of the Second Amendment in the District of Columbia v. Heller case.   Based on Heller, any  town, city or state  which passes a rule or law, which renders a gun not readily usable for the owners protection in their home has violated the Second Amendment, and judges must declare these rules to be unconstitutional.   For those who own guns and want to keep them in their homes for protection,  the Supreme Court ruled on this more than a decade ago and the doctrine of “stare decisis” will ensure that these rights are preserved.    Voting for Biden or Trump won’t change a thing.   The liberals on the court  believe strongly in stare decisis, because without this, the conservative majority could undo many decisions, including gay marriage, the right to an abortion and desegregation of schools, to name a few.

The big ones, coming any day now, are 3 lawsuits aimed at release of Trump’s taxes (Trump v. Deutsche Bank,  Trump v. Mazars, USA,  Trump v. Vance).    I think at least one of these, is going to succeed.  From what I understand it, the DOJ has opined that a sitting president can not be indicted,  and the extension of this, is that a sitting president may not be investigated for criminal actions.   Sort of blanket immunity.   We will see soon enough how far this blanket will stretch,

So in advance, let me re-tweet Donald:

“These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of me.”

If he’s got to give up his taxes, he will not exactly go gently into the night.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Wikipedia:  2019 to 2020:  Supreme Court Pending Cases

NPR:  Supreme Court Hands Abortion-Rights Advocates A Victory In Louisiana Case

NPR: Supreme Court Delivers Major Victory To LGBTQ Employees

NPR:  Supreme Court Rules For DREAMers, Against Trump

CNBC:  Supreme Court decides not to hear big gun-rights cases, dealing blow to Second Amendment activists

The DNC v-Convention

The Democratic Convention will be from August  17 to 20, in Milwaukee,  Wisconsin.   Officials have announced that the actual event will be scaled back due to the Covid-19 epidemic.   The delegates do not have to fly to Milwaukee, stay at hotel rooms, go to packed arenas, meet with others in photo ops  and sit together in numerous meetings, etc.  A convention is an epidemiologist worse nightmare.    Delegates can stay home and vote remotely.   For the health of the delegates, and their entourage, volunteers,  the press, the residents of Milwaukee and really for the state of Wisconsin, I think it’s a terrific move.

I believe the convention should be renamed the v-Convention as in the virtual convention.   Officials should play up this internet event, as not scaling down the convention but scaling up it by placing it on the internet.  The primary purpose of both the Republican and Democratic conventions is marketing of their candidate and bashing the opposition.   Recently, it seems more time is spent on the latter.  The Democrats can claim a health conscious convention and connect with voters in this manner.

I’ve also suggested to the DNC, that this should be called the v-Convention or Convention in the Clouds.   It can be amazingly successful, with live streams of supporters in all the key states.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Bolton’s book – Part 3

“I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by re-election calculations,” writes Bolton, who left his position in September.  APF press reports, “Bolton writes that Trump, who came from the worlds of real estate and show business, was inclined to offer ‘personal favors to dictators he liked.'” These excerpts taken from Bolton’s book  have been repeated dozens of times.

John Bolton will be interviewed by Martha Raddatz, tonight June 21 at 9;00 pm ET on ABC.   It is an one hour program.   

John  Bolton served under three presidents (Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush  and G.W. Bush) prior to his 17 months as Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor.  I saw him very frequently as a commentator on Fox News, during the Obama administration.   He was always very quick to explain why Obama’s policies, particularly on the Iran Nuclear Deal, were completely wrong.  A summary of his experience is provided in the first link at the bottom of this blog.  According to Wikipedia, “Bolton is a former senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and Fox News Channel commentator. He was a foreign policy adviser to 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney.”

I expect my book to arrive on Tuesday.   Shipments to booksellers have begun.  Legal action to block the book publication appears to  have failed.   But the court case isn’t over.  In the end, Bolton may lose the 2 million dollars that he was promised.  I’m thinking this could easily linger in the courts for a long while.

I am certain Trump admired Bolton’s combative style, his nationalistic approach to foreign issues  and conservative views.  I think Bolton’s way of skewing facts to his favor, really helped him convince Trump that he would be an asset to his administration.     His time at the UN showed that he was not a particularly diplomatic representative to the UN and could be very blunt.   I suspect this is why Trump selected him to head up the National Security Agency in 2018.   At a moments notice, John Bolton could present a clear and concise defense of any of Trump’s foreign policies.

Trump reminded everyone at a press conference that Bolton was not confirmed as Ambassador to the UN in December 2006 under the Bush administration after serving in the UN for 5 months.  What he fails to mention that the Senate was controlled at that time  by the Democrats in late 2006.    Senator Lincoln Chafee, a Republican from Rhode Island, on the Senate Foreign Relations  Committee opposed Bolton.  Bolton had been considered as a poor choice by Democrats as he had supported Bush in the Iraq War, but was  strongly supported by conservative Republicans and George Bush.   As stated in the link below,  at press conference, the President Bush said, “I received the resignation of Ambassador John Bolton. I accept it. I’m not happy about it. I think he deserved to be confirmed.”

I’m not particularly upset that Bolton chose to release all he know no and not during the impeachment inquiry.   In Bolton’s book, he states the impeachment inquiry was  too focused on Ukraine.   But Bolton is wrong.  Had the inquiry been broader, the evidence would have been weaker, and the Republicans in the Senate would have been accusing Democrats of making wild accusations.  Come to think of it, they did any way and tried to disparage the witnesses who had testified in the House.      They brought up the fact that the numerous Democrats thought Trump should be impeached based on Russian interference and his obstruction of justice related to the probe, then switched to Ukraine where there evidence was rock solid.

Had Bolton agreed to testify in House, Trump still would have been acquitted in the Senate.  No amount of evidence on the Ukraine scandal  could have changed the verdict.   This was re-iterated in the New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg,   “That Bolton did not testify to this earlier is to his immense disgrace. But it is a national disgrace that his confirmation of the Democrats’ impeachment case probably won’t matter, so inured are Republicans to staggering corruption.”    In fact, according to excerpts in the book,  Bolton felt acquittal in the Senate was a done deal, and if the Republicans had been  allowed subpoenaed him, Trump still would have been acquitted.  I’m paraphrasing this a bit.

I would have liked it even better if Bolton had released his book in August 2020, as Trump was really trying to rev up his base support.    From the beginning, I was not a big fan of the impeachment inquiry, because it was as clear as day,  Trump would be acquitted in the Senate, regardless of the evidence.   I said the proper way to get rid of President Trump was through the ballot box in November.

Vote, 2020.

Stay tuned and safe,

Dave

Links:

Bolton, John,  The Room Where it Happened ($19.95 Hardcopy, available June 23, 2020 Amazon Prime).  Accepting pre-orders.

Wikipedia Link:  John Bolton

APF: John Bolton’s explosive charges against Trump

(There are many copies in circulation among journalists, so many posts like the one above can be found on the internet)

Propublica, John Bolton Skewed Intelligence, Say People Who Worked With Him
Please note this article appeared when Bolton was in March 2018, when Trump announced Bolton’s appointment as National Security Advisor.

Time, John Bolton’s Temper  (Please not the date of this article,  April 25, 2005)

 

 

Bolton’s book – Part 2

Seems everybody knows what’s in this book, entitled “In the room where it happened” that I could just as well read the excerpts.  Fox New quotes Chris Hayes (MSNBC commentator) for criticizing John Bolton, but they carefully cherry pick Chris Hayes’ comments.   Of course, all this discussion is occurring when not a single copy has been distributed to the public.   What seems to really upset Chris Hayes, is a statement within the book, which blames the Democrats for failing to impeach Donald Trump, with a narrow focus on just Ukraine.   Bolton had his chance to set the record straight four months ago in front of Congress and he didn’t.   But, I think he and just about everyone else knew that once in the Senate, impeachment would fall short of the two-thirds majority as required to send Trump packing.   So, he chose the book rather than the grilling in front of Congress.  If he had chosen to  testified,  the Republicans would have attacked Bolton, despite his life long allegiance to the Republican party.

To correct the record, see below for all the comments made by Chris Hayes on MSNBC:

https://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/bolton-blames-democrats-for-failed-impeachment-despite-refusing-to-testify-85295173778

Stay tuned,

Dave

Bolton’s book is coming

John Bolton served as National Security Advisor to Donald Trump from April 2018 to September 2019.  He refused when asked to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee, in the impeachment inquiry.   Interestingly, he was never subpoenaed to testify,  His book, entitled  “The Room Where It Happened”  will be  distributed on June 23, 2020.   Release has been delayed several months in order to obtain a security clearance.  After nearly 6 months, no security clearance was given, and the publisher decided to proceed without it.

I ordered a copy from Amazon, and hope they will deliver my copy on June 23, 2020 as promised.  I have not read the other books by John Bolton, but just by their titles, I know he advocates a more militant posture for the US, particularly in our relations to Iran.   John Bolton was a very frequent guest on Fox News as was KT McFarland, typically critical of President Obama’s foreign policy.

A lawsuit has been filed by the Department of Justice, as reported below by CNN:

Trump said Bolton would have “criminal problems” if the book was published as is. The lawsuit filed Tuesday is a civil suit, and carries no criminal penalties. Initially, Attorney General William Barr did not confirm that his department was preparing a lawsuit but said the administration was focused on getting Bolton to complete the clearance process for publishing books.

At the end of the CNN article as given below, there is a link  to the DOJ civil complaint.   If this were a criminal charge, the lawsuit would have cited violations of rule 18 US Code 798, “Disclosure of Classified Information” and charged  John Bolton or the publisher of releasing information which damages the interests of the US.   The lawsuit claims John Bolton violated his non-disclosure agreement.  The remedies for this breach are generally monetary.

According to the DOJ lawsuit, the process to obtain clearance was an iterative one, beginning in December 30, 2019.  In the DOJ filing, it is stated that, “In late January 2020,  … [it was]  confirmed in writing [by the NSC reviewer, Ellen Knight] that the chapter in question contained significant classified information.”    This indicates it was not the entire book, but just one chapter that the reviewer was concerned about.   The lawsuit also reveals that on April 27, 2020 this NSC reviewer had concluded that the book contained no classified material.    It is very clear from the filing, that there was a very active period between mid February to April 27, 2020 when the book was being revised to eliminate classified information.  On April 28, 2020,  NSC decided to cut off this interaction,  and Bolton was simply told the process was ongoing.    Anyone reading the DOJ filing can feel that John Bolton was being given the run around, after close interactions with Ellen McKnight.

What happen after April 28 is clear from the filing.   Ellen Knight’s expedited review process was the normal process.   She worked with John Bolton to make the necessary changes so the manuscript was good to go.   Likely, a lot of factual details had to be removed.  The “chapter in question” as identified in January 2020,   containing classified information,  I am assuming, was the one on the Ukraine scandal leading to the impeachment of Donald Trump.   The  White House did not  want to see the book published, so they restarted the entire  review, not wanting a single sentence to be published.   It was no longer a chapter, but the book in its entirety that was under a new review.   On May 1, 2020, this new review  can only be described as a slow boat to China.  Michael Ellis holds the title of Senior Director of Intelligence Programs.  He assumed the position in March 1, 2020, and on May 1, 2020 began his review.   This time around, there were no meetings or phone calls with John Bolton or his lawyer.    It sure looks as if this was a desperate attempt to stop the publication of the book by the White House as, unlike the Knight’s review,  Ellis simply informed Bolton that “the process is ongoing” and that he was bound by the Non-Disclosure Agreement.  Unlike McKnight’s review,  Ellis kept Bolton in the dark.

I have read the complaint.   The DOJ lawsuit  does not accuse either John Bolton nor the publisher of  committing the crime of disclosure of classified information.    No lawsuit has been filed against Simon and Schuster, so there is nothing preventing them from printing the book.   Everything Trump says or does as President is not automatically classified and former employees have First Amendment rights.

In fact, the DOJ filing, provides sufficient evidence that the government did not expeditiously and in good faith work with John Bolton from May 1 to June 7, 2020 to revise or remove any classified information.  They basically stonewalled him for 5 weeks, after the book had been with the NSC for 5 months.  The  second phase of the review was simply to push approval to after November 2020.  If the book was in praise of Trump, it would have been out the door in days.  Certainly, Nikki Haley’s book faced no long term scrutiny.

The court case will be a civil lawsuit, as whether Bolton breached his non-disclosure agreements and what remedies are appropriate.  It will be a drawn out process.    As part of the remedy, the lawsuit asks the court to instruct the Bolton to tell Simon and Schuster to destroy all the pre-print copies of the book, if he can.  Just not going to happen.

I will get my copy of The Room Where it Happen.  Amazon, Simon and Schuster and of course,  John Bolton will get more publicity than they can imagine.  Amazon will publish two more books, one by Trump’s niece in July 2020, Too much is never enough,  and the second book by H.R.  McMasters entitled, Battlegrounds.   See links below.

Stay tuned and healthy,

Dave

 Links:

Trump Administration  sues Bolton over Book Dispute (includes a link to the lawsuit)

From Amazon:

John Bolton: The Room Where it Happened (June 23, 2020)

Mary Trump:  Too much and never enough: How my family created the world’s most dangerous man (July 2020)

H.R McMasters:  Battlegrounds:  The fight to defend the free world,  Sept 2020

 

Covid-19 hits South America hard

Covid-19 is exponentially increasing in  Peru, Brazil and Mexico.   Covid-19 has the capability of doubling the new cases in 2-3 days.  Each infected person gives it to 2-3 people before they become so sick that they are confirmed infected.  The lax attitude of their leaders is partially to blame.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/06/americas/latin-america-coronavirus-intl/index.html

If anything has proven effective, it is lockdowns including travel  and social distancing, whether we like it or not.   Someone with Covid-19 symptoms must immediately be isolated.

Covid-19 is worldwide, and international cooperation, including the WHO and aid organizations, is critical.  I am hoping that a vaccine can be found which is safe, effective  and easily accessible to everyone in the world.  If not, it will come back to China or  Europe, and we will see a second wave.  World problems are solvable when we pull together.

Stay tuned and safe,

Dave

 

 

 

Covid-19 Positive News on a Vaccine

The government’s initiative to help vaccine development under project “warp speed” is commendable.    Out of the hundreds of laboratories around the world, in vaccine development,  they are backing the five most promising candidates.   The success will depend on excellent international cooperation.   One reason why Dr. Fauci and others have constantly been saying it takes between 12 to 18 months to develop a vaccine, is because it must:   (a) Be safe for the billions of people likely to take it and (b) Be effective in preventing Covid-19 and (c) Be easily available worldwide at low cost.   So in sum, the vaccine must be:

  • Safe
  • Effective
  • Available in large quantities and at a  low cost

The development process right now is being fast tracked in a highly  unique manner.   Traditionally it’s safety first, then effectiveness and finally availability.  The way they’re speeding up the process is to do all three at once!  I was very surprised when I saw a Facebook posting by a dear friend, that the  Oxford University vaccine (AZD1222) was set to begin human trials with 2,000 volunteers  in São Paulo,Brazil this month.   Having just posted how to unreliable anything is on Facebook, I did some research and found out to my surprise, that it was 100% true.   The Oxford University vaccine received a grant from the Lemann foundation to fund 1,000 volunteers.   Screening and testing does not come cheap.  The individuals must be free from Covid-19 virus, as determined by tests, and be medical workers in São Paulo,

This good news continues.   Oxford University is already conducting tests  with 10,000 volunteers in Britain.   The problem with Britain is that the chance of contracting Covid-19 is low, so knowing the vaccine is working is difficult.   I guess scientists felt the city of Sao Paulo would provided additional evidence that the vaccine actually works.   Oxford has teamed up with AstraZeneca,  a very large pharmaceutical company (market cap = 143 billion USD) to manufacture the vaccine.  AstraZeneca says it has the capacity to make 2 billion doses by the end of the year.  AstraZeneca has agreed a $750 million deal to produce 300 million doses with international foundations the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi the Vaccine Alliance.   A second agreement, with Serum Institute of India, will allow the leading vaccine manufacturer to make 1 billion doses for poorer countries, with 40% of those to arrive by the end of 2020.   It was just recently announced the potential global supply of a potential coronavirus vaccine has been doubled to 2 billion after a deal including $750 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Of course,  making a vaccine before it is proven effective and safe is risky.  But the intent is excellent and the generosity of the Serum Institute,  Gates Foundations and other others is just incredible.   Besides Oxford, there are many other companies,  including Moderna,  Gilead,  Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson developing vaccines.   Novavax received Department of Defense funding to produce 10 million doses of their vaccine in 2020.

So, the vaccine research, development and production are roaring ahead. Exactly how this plays out is anyone’s guess.

Covid-19 is a global problem and we need global solutions.

Stay tuned and healthy,

Dave

Links:

https://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=AZN&source=story_quote_link

https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/05/24/oxford-professor-lowers-coronavirus-vaccines-odds.aspx

https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/06/04/astrazeneca-to-produce-2-billion-doses-of-its-coro.aspx

 

Free Speech and Social Media

The power of social media is huge.   In a survey, 19% of all Americans say they follow Donald Trump’s tweets.  Fact checking websites show that the worst lies come from anonymous social media bloggers on Facebook and Twitter.   Donald Trump comes in a close second in terms of lies, with only 4% of his statements being 100% true and an incredible 69% of his statements being mostly false, false or pants on fire according to Politifact.

Twitter has never refused a tweet from  Donald Trump.  Even when he’s attacking Twitter,  it  all goes through exactly as he sends it, and the 19% of our population can read his lies.  Often his lies are then supported on conservative commentary on cable news (Fox and OAN to name a couple).

However,  Twitter attempted to discourage false information by adding a label on his tweet.

What you need to know
– Trump claimed that mail-in ballots would lead to “a Rigged Election.” However, fact-checkers say there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud.
– Trump falsely claimed that California will send mail-in ballots to “anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there.” In fact, only registered voters will receive ballots.
– Five states already vote entirely by mail and all states offer some form of mail-in absentee voting, according to NBC News.

Simple and factual.   Trump really stepped over the line by saying anybody can get a ballot.  His comment of a rigged election can be considered an opinion, based on false information.    Please read this stuff.  Worse, cable stations repeat this.  A friend of ours was repeating exactly the same story, because it was all over the news.

I remember how one “prominent doctor” on Facebook in Brazil, all people had to do was to take zinc pills to prevent Covid-19.   Go dancing, drinking, etc and take zinc.  No thanks.  Brazil just passed 25,000 deaths as we passed 100,000.  Their outbreak started after ours.

Social media allowed Trump to promote  hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a preventative and possible cure of Covid-19.  It was neither and those people so gullible to believe him, could have risked their lives, as the medication actually increases the chance of dying from Covid-19.  And yet, cable network shows (it is not responsible journalism) like Fox News and OAN were blasting other the liberal media for not letting folks know there was this quick and safe treatment for Covid-19.

Executive orders from the White House will not shut down social media.  Our First Amendment allows Twitter to add labels as they see fit, and  also for Trump to post obvious lies with immunity.

I am hoping the real push back will come from 80 million Americans who  recognize this stuff from Trump is false (or Fake News as he likes it).    We will have open and free elections.   No, the liberal media are not hiding some quick solution to Covid-19.  The quack cures for Covid-19 were harmful to ones health.

I do not send or receive tweets.  To me, that’s like bathing in a river of slime. (see Ghostbusters II).   I am quite frustrated by people who think they can become informed by reading this stuff.

I’ll end this blog by repeating some of my favorite fact checking sites.

Stay tuned and healthy,

Dave

Factcheck.org

CNN Fact Check

Politifact.com

Snopes.com

How Covid-19 pushed Twitter to fact-check Trump’s tweets

Washington Post:  Trump lashes out at social media companies after Twitter labels tweets with fact checks