Category Archives: Law

Muller’s Report puts Obama at the Center of Coup Attempt | April 19 2019

REPORT: Why Mueller’s report looks so bad for Obama…

|| dcWhispers

“And this comes from CNN! What is happening right now is that the vast majority of the Establishment Media is spinning x1000 to deflect from a multitude of facts which exonerate President Trump while also pointing out some very serious legal implications for those who perpetrated the Trump Russia hoax—including one Barack Hussein Obama. The media will continue its attempted “obstruction” drumbeat, hoping that the vast majority of Americans won’t actually take the time to read the Mueller report (and they are likely right about that) so that they can continue to push a lie – BUT they also know they’ll have to report on the actual facts just in case the truth does suddenly go mainstream.

Via CNN:

(CNN) — The partisan warfare over the Mueller report will rage, but one thing cannot be denied: Former President Barack Obama looks just plain bad. On his watch, the Russians meddled in our democracy while his administration did nothing about it.

The Mueller report flatly states that Russia began interfering in American democracy in 2014. Over the next couple of years, the effort blossomed into a robust attempt to interfere in our 2016 presidential election. The Obama administration knew this was going on and yet did nothing. In 2016, Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice told her staff to “stand down” and “knock it off” as they drew up plans to “strike back” against the Russians, according to an account from Michael Isikoff and David Corn in their book “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump”.

Why did Obama go soft on Russia? My opinion is that it was because he was singularly focused on the nuclear deal with Iran. Obama wanted Putin in the deal, and to stand up to him on election interference would have, in Obama’s estimation, upset that negotiation. This turned out to be a disastrous policy decision.

But don’t just take my word for it that Obama failed. Congressman Adam Schiff, who disgraced himself in this process by claiming collusion when Mueller found that none exists, once said that “the Obama administration should have done a lot more.” The Washington Post reported that a senior Obama administration official said they “sort of choked” in failing to stop the Russian government’s brazen activities. And Obama’s ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, said, “The punishment did not fit the crime” about the weak sanctions rolled out after the 2016 election.
A legitimate question Republicans are asking is whether the potential “collusion” narrative was invented to cover up the Obama administration’s failures. Two years have been spent fomenting the idea that Russia only interfered because it had a willing, colluding partner: Trump. Now that Mueller has popped that balloon, we must ask why this collusion narrative was invented in the first place.

Given Obama’s record on Russia, one operating theory is that his people needed a smokescreen to obscure just how wrong they were. They’ve blamed Trump. They’ve even blamed Mitch McConnell, in some twisted attempt to deflect blame to another branch of government. Joe Biden once claimed McConnell refused to sign a letter condemning the Russians during the 2016 election. But McConnell’s office counters that the White House asked him to sign a letter urging state electors to accept federal help in securing local elections — and he did. You can read it here.
I guess if I had failed to stop Russia from marching into Crimea, making a mess in Syria, and hacking our democracy I’d be looking to blame someone else, too.

But the Mueller report makes it clear that the Russian interference failure was Obama’s alone. He was the commander-in-chief when all of this happened. In 2010, he and Eric Holder, his Attorney General, declined to prosecute Julian Assange, who then went on to help Russia hack the Democratic National Committee’s emails in 2016. He arguably chose to prioritize his relationship with Putin vis-à-vis Iran over pushing back against Russian election interference that had been going on for at least two years.

If you consider Russian election interference a crisis for our democracy, then you cannot read the Mueller report, adding it to the available public evidence, and conclude anything other than Barack Obama spectacularly failed America. Subsequent investigations of this matter should explore how and why Obama’s White House failed, and whether they invented the collusion narrative to cover up those failures.

———————-

The above is CNN doing a half-hearted attempt at real journalism but the fact they are even doing that much shows just how strong a condemnation the Mueller report is against the Obama White House. President Obama’s refusal to act against Russia makes no sense unless you consider he knew the entire thing was a ruse meant to attack then-candidate Donald Trump, and later, President Trump. A sitting/outgoing president weaponized U.S. intelligence agencies, colluded with the media and foreign nations, to influence an American election in order to place his chosen successor (Hillary Clinton) into power.

That alone is enough to land Barack Obama in jail. That’s not hyperbole. It’s not a partisan comment.

THAT IS FACT AND ALL AMERICANS SHOULD BE OUTRAGED.”

Read more at dcWhispers

Obama’s ‘Spygate’ Busts Wide Open in Congress | April 10 2019

Barr: “I think spying is a big deal….”

|| Youtube – 2019

AG Barr: “I think spying did occur…..”

 

“Attorney General William Barr told a Senate panel Wednesday that “spying did occur” during the 2016 presidential campaign as he testified about the Mueller report and the origin of the Russia probe.

Barr’s disclosure came as he was being questioned by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., about his plans to investigate how the probe began into Russian meddling in the campaign.

“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” Barr told the Senate appropriations subcommittee, noting that he grew up in a Vietnam War generation that included a lot of concern about the government spying on anti-war activists.

When he stated he didn’t think rules were necessarily violated during the campaign, Shaheen then said: “So you’re not suggesting, though, that spying occurred?”

“Well … I think spying did occur,” Barr responded. “Yes, I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was … adequately predicated. And I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated.”

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, later asked Barr whether he wanted to use different language than the word “spying.”

“I think the word ‘spying’ could cause everybody in the cable news ecosystem to freak out,” Schatz said.

Barr clarified his comments later in the hearing, referring to possible “improper surveillance.”

“I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred,” Barr said. “I’m saying that I’m concerned about it and looking into it, that’s all.”

….see more at: WTOP.com

Back to the Future: U.S. Senate Debate 2016 Kamala Harris | Apr 09 2019

The Complete Debate:

|| KPBS

“Our California Counts collaborative will host a U.S. Senate debate with California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Duf Sundheim, Tom Del Beccaro and Ron Unz 7 p.m. at KPBS in San Diego Tuesday, May 10. The debate will air live on 88.5FM and stream on KQED.org.”

 

President Signs Executive Order Protecting Free Speech on College Campuses | Mar 21 2019

Trump Signs Executive Order to Protect Free Speech on College Campuses

|| PJ Media

“On Thursday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to protect free speech on college campuses.

“In America, the very heart of the university’s mission is preparing students for life as citizens in a free society, but even as universities have received billions and billions of dollars from taxpayers, many have become increasingly hostile to free speech and to the First Amendment,” the president said.

He mentioned the case of Hayden Williams, a field representative for the Leadership Institute who got punched in the face in Berkeley, Calif.

“You see people being punched hard in the face, but he didn’t go down,” Trump said of Williams. “I said you have a better chin than Muhammad Ali.”

Trump took Williams on stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) earlier this month.

Turning to the broader problem, Trump said, “Under the guise of speech codes and safe spaces and trigger warnings, these universities have tried to restrict free thought, impose total conformity, and shut down the voices of young Americans like those here today.”

More:

Mario Savio and the Free Speech Movement of 1964 at UC Berkeley –

From Wikepedia:

“With the participation of thousands of students, the Free Speech Movement was the first mass act of civil disobedience on an American college campus in the 1960s.[4] Students insisted that the university administration lift the ban of on-campus political activities and acknowledge the students’ right to free speech and academic freedom. The Free Speech Movement was influenced by the New Left,[5] and was also related to the Civil Rights Movementand the Anti-Vietnam War Movement.”

Napa Deputy Defends Herself Against Illegal Alien Shooter | Feb 26 2019

Video: Illegal Alien Deported Three Times Killed After Shooting at Deputy; Illegal Was Reportedly Protected by CA Sanctuary Laws From Multiple ICE Detainers

|| TGP

“Javier Hernandez-Morales, 43, a Mexican national thrice-deported from the U.S. who was shot to death by Napa County sheriff’s Deputy Riley Jarecki after he fired at the deputy during a traffic stop Sunday night, was protected from further deportations by California’s sanctuary laws which blocked the federal government from detaining him on four separate occasions in recent years when he was arrested there according to a statement issued Thursday by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

The Napa County Sheriff’s Office released a video Wednesday of the shooting which shows Hernandez-Morales pulling a handgun on the deputy and firing at her as she spoke to him on the driver’s side. The deputy, who was not wounded, went to the other side of the car and returned fire, killing him. The screen image above is from before the shooting. The deputy first approached from the passenger side, then went to the driver’s side where she was fired on. The video was accompanied by this statement:

“Warning: This post contains graphic video content and is not suitable for children. This Body Worn Camera footage depicts the Attempted Murder of Napa County Sheriff’s Deputy Riley Jarecki on February 17th, 2019. The decedent, Javier Hernandez Morales, fired the first shots. Deputy Jarecki returned fire. She was not physically injured. Hernandez Morales died at the scene.”

….read more at: The Gateway Pundit

Prof Jonathan Turley on Why Trump Will Win the Wall Fright | Feb 19 2019

Why Trump Will Win The Wall Fight

|| JonathanTurley.org

Turley testifying before Congress in 2015

 

“Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the litigation against the declaration of a national emergency by President Donald Trump in order to build his long-promised wall. Some members of Congress has said that they expect the House of Representatives to sue while private litigants have already filed challenges. Regardless of the litigants (and there are likely to be a mix of parties), they face similar barriers in convincing a federal judge to rescinded a declaration that Congress has not rescinded.

This is a straight statutory interpretation case, not the “constitutional crisis” widely described by critics. There are possible claims against the funding conditions, but Congress gave the President not just the unfettered authority to declare such emergencies but the largely unconditioned appropriations that he may use to build the wall.

Here is the column:

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “If my fellow citizens want to go to hell, I will help them. It is my job.” He was expressing the limited role of courts in challenges to federal law. It is not the task of judges to sit as a super legislature to question the agendas of the political branches. They will gladly send Congress to hell. It only needs to point to the destination.

In the matter of the border wall, Congress could not have been more clear where it was heading. It put itself on the path to institutional irrelevancy, and it has finally arrived. I do not agree there is a national emergency on the southern border, but I do believe President Trump will prevail. This crisis is not the making of Donald Trump. This is the making of Congress.

For decades, Congress frittered away control over its authority, including the power of the purse. I have testified before Congress, warning about the expansion of executive power and the failure of Congress to guard its own authority. The two primary objections have been Congress giving presidents largely unchecked authority and undedicated money. The wall funding controversy today is a grotesque result of both of these failures.

Start with the National Emergencies Act of 1976. Presidents have long declared emergencies based on their inherent executive authority. The use of that authority produced some conflicts with Congress, the most famous seen in the case of Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company versus Charles Sawyer, in which the Supreme Court declared that the federal seizure of steel mills during the Korean War was unconstitutional because Congress had never granted President Truman that authority.

However, Congress later gave presidents sweeping authority under the National Emergencies Act of 1976. While this law allows for a legislative override by Congress, the authority to declare national emergencies is basically unfettered. It is one of many such laws where Congress created the thin veneer of a process for presidential power that, in reality, was a virtual blank slate. At the same time, Congress has continued to give the executive branch billions of dollars with few conditions or limitations.

This is why President Obama was able to go to war in Libya without a declaration and fund the entire war with billions of undedicated funds. Neither House Speaker Nancy Pelosi nor most of the current Democratic leadership made a peep of objection at this. But when it comes to the wall, Democrats have indicated they will rely on the ruling in House of Representatives versus Sylvia Burwell, in which the court declared the House of Representatives had standing to sue over executive overreach and that Obama violated the Constitution in ordering the payment of billions to insurance companies without authorization from Congress.

I was lead counsel for the House of Representatives in that case. Ironically, Pelosi vehemently opposed the litigation as a frivolous and unfounded challenge to presidential authority. We won the case. Superficially, it may look like the wall controversy. Obama sought funds from Congress and, when unsuccessful, acted unilaterally. But Obama ordered the money directly from the Treasury as a permanent appropriation, like the money used to pay tax refunds. Congress had never approved such payments.

Conversely, Trump is using appropriated funds. Like the authority under the National Emergencies Act, Congress gave this money to the executive branch without meaningful limitations. Trump now has almost $1.4 billion in newly approved funds to use for border protection. He has identified about $8 billion in loosely dedicated funds for military construction, drug interdiction, and forfeitures. Even if a court disagreed with the use of this money, Trump has the power and funds to start construction of the wall.

Congress has yielded more and more power to the executive branch over decades. In many areas, it has reduced the legislative branch to a mere pedestrian in government, leaving real governing decisions to a kind of “fourth branch” of federal agencies. For their part, presidents have thus become more and more bold in circumventing Congress. When Obama gave a State of the Union proclaiming his intention to bypass Congress after it failed to pass immigration reform, Democrats applauded loudly.

Many of them, like Pelosi, denounce this unilateral action by Trump yet ecstatically supported the unilateral actions by Obama, including his funding of some critical parts of the Affordable Care Act after Congress denied any funds. Democrats insist Trump can be challenged on his use of emergency authority since they do not believe an emergency exists on the southern border. They will fail spectacularly if the case gets to the Supreme Court. While the source of funding can be challenged, there is no compelling basis to challenge the national emergency declaration.

The reason? Congress has never been particularly concerned over past declared emergencies, which have continued with perfunctory annual renewals. Most such emergencies are entirely unknown to the vast majority of Americans. Indeed, the first proclamation of a national emergency occurred under President Wilson in 1917, “arising from the insufficiency of maritime tonnage to carry the products of the farms, forests, mines, and manufacturing industries of the United States.”

Remember that national emergency over the “anchorage and movement of vessels” with respect to Cuba? How about the national emergency over uncut diamonds from Sierra Leone? Then there were the declarations over property owned by certain figures in Zimbabwe, the presidential election in Congo, and issues concerning Yemen, Burundi, Myanmar, Lebanon, Somalia, and South Sudan. All of these were “national emergencies.”

Curiously, Pelosi has called for the declaration of a national emergency to deal with the “epidemic of gun violence in America.” She also said that she wished Trump would add that declaration but that a “Democratic president can do that.” Yes, a Democratic president certainly could, and that is the key point here. Congress gave all presidents the power to make such declarations, and Pelosi is now making the case for Trump today.

While Democrats insist this emergency declaration is simply an effort to use executive power to get what Congress would not give Trump, any litigation would be an effort to use judicial power to do much the same thing. The House of Representatives would try to convince a federal judge of the merits against a wall, after failing to convince enough members of Congress to override the emergency declaration and a presidential veto.

That brings us back to Holmes. Congress has the authority to rescind the national emergency declaration of Trump with a vote of both chambers. The legislative branch should do so. If Congress cannot muster the votes, however, a federal judge is unlikely to do so. Simply put, the courts were not created to protect Congress from itself. Congress has been heading to hell for decades, and it is a bit late to complain about the destination.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. 

 

Amidst Record Profits Amazon and Netflix Paid No Fed Taxes | Feb 18 2019

Amazon puts the smile in federal income taxes — by not paying any

|| Seattle Times

“”Last week I suggested that Amazon isn’t so much a Seattle company as “sovereign, borderless nation-state.” It turns out I left a key descriptor out of that phrase.

That would be “taxless.”

The nation’s third-largest company booked record profits last year. But paid nothing in U.S. federal taxes.

“Zero, as in not a cent,” says Matthew Gardner, of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a D.C.-based think tank.

Amazon did pay taxes to state and foreign governments (more on that in a minute). But the financial statements mean that one of the most powerful corporate entities in the world paid fewer dollars to the upkeep of the national government than tens of millions of individuals — such as, say, your average lowly newspaper columnist.

That’s right – I’m paying more to the U.S. government for 2018 than Amazon (I’m talking about the corporate entity, not its mass of employees). So, probably, are you.

Gardner says the internet giant was able to zero out its bill — actually go below zero, as it qualified for a rebate of $129 million — in large part due to Congress and President Donald Trump’s year-old tax-cut law.

“That law didn’t reform much of anything; it was simply to slash taxes,” Gardner said. “So it isn’t surprising this is happening. Cutting corporate taxes was the whole point.”

All the way to nothing?

The company also got a series of tax credits (for equipment purchases, for example) and booked allowable business deductions (the largest of which was writing off stock options).

Businesses often pay little or no tax when they make low profits. But Amazon’s total U.S.-booked profit for 2018 nearly doubled to more than $11 billion.

Gardner isn’t saying Amazon did anything wrong, and of course its hundreds of thousands of employees pay income taxes. But last year total corporate taxes paid to the U.S. government plummeted 31 percent, a drop described by a debt watchdog group as unprecedented during a time of economic growth.”

The freight paid by U.S. businesses is already down another 18 percent in the first quarter of the 2019 year (the fiscal year for the government started last October). It’s part of the reason why the federal deficit soared 42 percent in that same quarter, despite a booming economy and no major war straining the budget.

The latest head-shaking factoid about our red ink is that the federal government next year will spend more on interest on the debt than it will on children. As one critic put it: more on the past than on the future.

Amazon’s financial statements also show it’s only the U.S. that’s letting the company contribute nothing of late.

Amazon’s total taxes paid to the U.S. and all U.S. states the past two years amounted to just $267 million (counting rebates, on more than $16 billion in profit). While its taxes paid to foreign governments totaled $1.3 billion. So a company we call “ours” contributed nearly five times as much into the kitties of countries abroad as it did here at home.

Gardner says he calls out when rich, successful companies pay nothing not because he thinks they’re evil. But because it’s “spurring a crisis of democratic legitimacy.”

It isn’t just that vital public services might go wanting (though they may). It’s that everyone else may eventually say: If even Amazon doesn’t have to pay, then why the bleep should I?

“It’s an extremely potent reinforcement of distrust,” Gardner said. “It signals strongly that we have a system that’s tilted to benefit the big and powerful, not the rest of us.”

Gardner said the obvious answer is to actually reform the tax system, so that those with an ability to pay at least contribute something.

We’re so distant right now from that more democratic ideal — the notion of asking not what your country can do for you, but what you could do for your country. Unless you’re a sovereign, borderless, taxless nation-state. Then what’s going on makes perfect sense.”

….read more from Danny Westneat at the Seattle Times

 

Netflix paid NOTHING in federal or state taxes in 2018 despite posting record profits of $845million – and even got a $22million rebate

|| DailyMail UK

 

“Netflix didn’t pay a cent in state or federal income taxes last year, despite posting its largest-ever U.S. profit in 2018 of $845million, according to a new report.

In addition, the streaming giant reported a $22 million federal tax rebate, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).

Senior fellow at ITEP Matthew Gardner said corporations like Netflix, which has its headquarters in Los Gatos, California, are still ‘exploiting loopholes’ and called the figures ‘troubling’.

Netflix says they paid $131 million in taxes in 2018 and this is declared in financial documents. But Gardner says this figure relates to taxes paid abroad, according to a separate part of their statements.

Gardner added: ‘Fortunately, however, there is another, more complete geographic disclosure of income tax payments.

‘The notes to the financial statements have a detailed section on income taxes. And what this tells us is that all of the income taxes Netflix paid in 2018 were foreign taxes. Zero federal income taxes, zero state income taxes in the US.’

Gardner said the public is now ‘getting its first hard look at how corporate tax law changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affected the tax-paying habits of corporations’.

He said: ‘With a record number of subscribers, the company’s profit last year equaled its haul in the previous four years put together. When hugely profitable corporations avoid tax, that means smaller businesses and working families must make up the difference.’

….read more at: Daily Mail UK