Inspector General’s Report

The link below is the full 500+ report, which as I predicted, is being reported very differently by Republicans and Democrats.    Fox News headline is:  “Disaster for Comey”  with the implication that whatever is bad for Comey,  makes the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton look bad.   They further go on to say “Trump breaks silence with damning IG report, say it vindicates move to fire FBI boss.”

The New York Times headline avoided the same adjectives, such as bombshell (seen on Fox News)  but reported “FBI Faulted in Clinton Case.”   They mention the  part of the report that Democrats like –  the conclusion that political opinions of some at  FBI involved in the Clinton email investigation  did not influence the outcome.

So, both Republicans and Democrats can reach different conclusions.   And, finally the reason most Americans will not bother to read it (beyond laziness), is best summed up by one blogger:, “The IG is just as crooked as the rest of the FBI and DOJ.”   So,  paranoid conspiracy bloggers don’t need to read and can just troll the internet for big conspiracy advocates.

The IG’s conclusions are based on the information as given in the 500 pages of documentation.   I think that’s pretty good.

2016_election_final_report_06-14-18_0

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

The Inspector General’s Report on DOJ’s handling of Clinton’s emails

The Inspector General’s report is over 500 pages long, and the average American is likely not going to read any of it.  So,  Republicans and Democrats are going to have a field day, finding their favorite sentences.   If they don’t find what they want, they will invent some things.

I won’t be commenting on the report right away.  I like to wait until the dust settles.

But to give folks an inkling of what’s coming up from the pundits, here are my predictions:

Republicans:  It is a scathing indictment of the FBI rife with political corruption, which did everything they could so Hillary Clinton could get elected.

Democrats:   The report shows the FBI, for the most part, did a thorough and complete investigation.   The disclosure of results should have been done differently.

 A lot of the focus will be on Comey’s  four announcements, which helped and hurt Clinton as follows:   (1) Opening the investigation in mid 2015 (hurt Clinton), (2) Declaring she did nothing criminal in July 2016 (helped and hurt Clinton, because he added her handling of top secret documents was extremely sloppy)   (3) Re-opening the investigation just before the election (hurt Clinton),  (4) Closing the investigation on October 29, 2016 (helped Clinton).

Rob Rosenstein criticized Comey both for actions that hurt Clinton and helped her.    He claimed that Comey had “usurped” the authority of DOJ when he said that no reasonable prosecutor would file criminal charges against Hillary Clinton.   Rumors right now are that the IG report will reach similar conclusions.   I personally think “usurp”  is too strong, and didn’t take into account the massive campaign waged by Trump every day she was the target of an FBI investigation.

Best to wait for the report, and ignore the noise which is “full of sound and fury.”   (thanks WS).

Stay tuned,

Dave

What keeps democracies working?

I think it’s a fair question.    I think two pillars of a working democracy are a system of laws, in which no one is above or has special privileges  and freedom of the press.  Where democracies are failing, there is almost a universal attempt to silence dissent, usually by jailing journalists.  Access to the internet, particularly sites like mine, are banned.

This doesn’t happen in the US.   We may have a president who regularly bashes certain newspapers, such as the Washington Post or the New York Times, but this is strictly politics.  Commentary he does not like, he refers to as lies.  Those reporting the news,  in an inquisitive manner, are not failing.  They are working hard to get their facts straight.

Democracy was at work when the Miami-Herald wanted documents about the failed FIU bridge.  It wasn’t  headline news.  The Miami-Herald is  seeking release of many documents from the state government  including minutes of  meetings of involved parties prior to the collapse of the FIU bridge.  There were reports of cracks appearing in the bridge about 10 days before the installation.  The judge will decide in two weeks (around June 21) and whatever the decision, the state may either appeal the decision or comply.   Our judiciary branch,  not the legislature nor the executive branch, has the final word on the rights of people. Certain information can not be disclosed by government.   Any document related to the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) investigation of the FIU accident is considered confidential and the Miami-Herald is only asking for documents prior to the investigation.

Countries with failing democracies, resort to use of the police and their military, to suppress dissent.   It is our system of laws which protect us from being thrown in jail or otherwise intimidated for our beliefs.   The system is imperfect and sometimes misunderstood.  The police and FBI  must use all means of investigation at their disposal, which includes legal wiretap and informants.  It is not spying on our citizens, but doing its job in crime enforcement.

This same system of laws may mean that certain information is not made public.  The media is always filing Freedom of Information Act requests, and when the governments refuse, they go to court.   It is our system working to have these clashes.   I don’t like Judicial Watch (JW) because of their strongly Republican bias and frequently politically motivated headlines, but I respect their constitutional right to seek release of information from government.

I would add a third pillar to democracy which is an informed and participating public.   We’re not doing too good here.  Only 43% of Americans voted in our last election.  We can do better.

In sum, democracies need a system of law for everybody, freedom of the press, and an informed and participating public to keep working.

My New York Times (print copy) just came, and my Washington Post is waiting to be opened.  Sorry Donald – Got to go.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Luna – all’s fair in love and war

And in divorce.   Particularly if your name is Farhad Akhmedov,  a Russian billionaire, who married Tatiana Akmedova in 1993.   The Luna is a yacht, but as today’s New York Times describes it, “With a spa, a swimming pool, two heliports, and room for 18 guests, the Luna is more like a floating villa than a yacht.”  It is worth about 500 million dollars. It has been awarded to Farhad’s ex-wife in 2016, but she’s been unable to gain possession of the yacht.

The divorce war began in 2013, when Tatiana filed for divorce in the UK.  All seemed to be settled in December 2016, when the High Court ordered poor Fakhad to pay his ex-wife, the equivalent of $646 million dollars.   When he refused, and the judge could not force payment,  he ordered him to turn over the yacht to his ex-wife.

It’s not like burying the family jewels in a coffee can somewhere on a farm.  This thing is huge – 380 feet long.    Just in case of any attack, it has an anti-missile detection system, an anti-drone system and bulletproof windows and bombproof doors.    Almost forgot the mini-submarine, and the 8 relatively smaller boats that it carries.

Fakhad’s assets are incredible, with houses in France and England, a private plane and a couple of helicopter.  His net worth is pegged at 1.4 billion dollars.

The Luna went from  Germany, to Norway and finally Dubai.   In Germany, it underwent a 50 million dollar refit.  Once it got to Dubai, it was impounded by authorities.

Farhad had challenged the divorce in a number of ways.  He claimed he was already divorced in Russian court, but the UK court found the documents were forged.  He transferred ownership to a handful of companies controlled by Farhad and his allies, in the Isle of Man, Panama, and Liechtenstein.  Finally the yacht ended up in a family trust with the name Straight.  UK Judge Haddon-Cave stated the trust was “the antithesis   of its name.”  Cute.  On April 19, 2018, he ordered the yacht to be given to Tatiana, so Farhad handed her the keys and wished her well.

Ok, the last bit about handing over the yacht never happened.  Instead, Farhad is going to the Dubai courts, hoping for  a judgment that says the British order to transfer the yacht is unenforceable in Dubai.   His trump card:  he claims to be Muslim.  His wife is Christian.  Yet his wife claims he’s not a practicing Muslim, however he has given generously to restoration of mosques.     Farhad want this to be considered a matrimonial issue to be decided by local Shariah law in Dubai, which could go bad for Tatiana.

All eyes are on the Dubai courts. The Court of Appeal of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) said that the country’s lower court had no power to seize the ship – and agreed with lawyers acting for the family trust which owns the yacht on May 10, 2018.   The yacht isn’t going anywhere right now as a further court hearing will be held in July 2018 in Dubai.   I’m certain what Farhad wants is for the courts to accept his line, that the marriage was dissolved in Russia back in 2000.  It’s pretty crazy as they were together for 13 years following the divorce.

Tatiana is ready  to settle out of court while  Farhad wants to win at all costs.  His lawyer stated, “He (Farhad) would rather see the Luna rot in the Dubai heat than see it handed over to Tatiana.”

Dubai is hot in July – and even hotter inside the courthouse, where the Luna could end up (a) Sold by Tatiana,  (b) Back to Farhad, or (c) A rusted old yacht at the bottom of the sea.

Links:

https://www.superyachtfan.com/superyacht/superyacht_luna.html

Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5713091/Billionaire-oligarch-centre-UKs-costliest-divorce-wins-latest-battle-ex-wife-yacht.html

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

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/financial-services/russian-billionaire-s-400m-superyacht-given-to-former-wife-in-divorce-case-1.3467568