All posts by Ross

The Letter That Got Comey Fired

Read the letters, which are clear, for the firing of FBI Director James Comey from the man in charge of the matter, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein. His letter, below, lays it all out.

What is noteworthy is that all this happened under the previous administration, who didn’t so much as raise an eyebrow over Comey’s behavior. And very well should have.

It’s time for equal justice under the law. Comey broke all the rules. In addition to creating public and congressional distrust in the FBI and Justice Department, he destroyed morale in the FBI and Justice Department, and usurped the power of the Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, while overstepping his bounds by making the decision (which isn’t his to make) not to prosecute Hillary Clinton. And in the process, saved not only Hillary’s butt, but Loretta Lynch’s butt (who met with Bill Clinton) as well.

Time to hit the restart button on the Clinton email debacle.

President Donald Trump followed the recommendation of his deputy attorney general when he fired FBI boss James Comey. What did Rod Rosenstein say? This is his letter in full.

Memorandum for the Attorney General

FROM: Rod J Rosenstein

SUBJECT: Restoring public confidence in the FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has long been regarded as our nation’s premier federal investigative agency. Over the past year, however, the FBI’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage, and it has affected the entire Department of Justice. That is deeply troubling to many Department employees and veterans, legislators and citizens.

The current FBI Director is an articulate and persuasive speaker about leadership and the immutable principles of the Department of Justice. He deserves our appreciation for his public service. As you and I have discussed, however, I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.

The director was wrong to usurp the Attorney General’s authority on July 5, 2016, and announce his conclusion that the case should be closed without prosecution. It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement. At most, the Director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors. The Director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI Director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department. There is a well-established process for other officials to step in when a conflict requires the recusal of the Attorney General. On July 5, however, the Director announced his own conclusions about the nation’s most sensitive criminal investigation, without the authorization of duly appointed Justice Department leaders.

Compounding the error, the Director ignored another longstanding principle: we do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation. Derogatory information sometimes is disclosed in the course of criminal investigations and prosecutions, but we never release it gratuitously. The Director laid out his version of the facts for the news media as if it were a closing argument, but without a trial. It is a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.

In response to skeptical question at a congressional hearing, the Director defended his remarks by saying that his “goal was to say what is true. What did we do, what did we find, what do we think about it.” But the goal of a federal criminal investigation is not to announce our thoughts at a press conference. The goal is to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to justify a federal criminal prosecution, then allow a federal prosecutor who exercises authority delegated by the Attorney General to make a prosecutorial decision, and then – if prosecution is warranted – let the judge and jury determine the facts. We sometimes release information about closed investigations in appropriate ways, but the FBI does not do it sua sponte.

Concerning his letter to the Congress on October 28, 2016, the Director cast his decision as a choice between whether he would “speak” about the FBI’s decision to investigate the newly-discovered email messages or “conceal” it. “Conceal” is a loaded term that misstates the issue. When federal agents and prosecutors quietly open a criminal investigation, we are not concealing anything; we are simply following the longstanding policy that we refrain from publicizing non-public information. In that context, silence is not concealment.

My perspective on these issues is shared by former Attorneys General and Deputy Attorneys General from different eras and both political parties. Judge Laurence Silberman, who served as Deputy Attorneys General under President Ford, wrote that “it is not the bureau’s responsibility to opine on whether a matter should be prosecuted.” Silberman believes that the Director’s “Performance was so inappropriate for an FBI director that [he] doubt[s] the bureau will ever completely recover.” Jamie Gorelick, Deputy Attorney General under President George W. Bush, to opine that the Director had “chosen personally to restrike the balance between transparency and fairness, department from the department’s traditions.” They concluded that the Director violated his obligation to “preserve, protect and defend” the traditions of the Department and the FBI.

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who served under President George W Bush, observed the Director “stepped way outside his job in disclosing the recommendation in that fashion” because the FBI director “doesn’t make that decision”. Alberto Gonzales, who also served as Attorneys General under President George W Bush, called the decision “an error in judgement.” Eric Holder, who served as Deputy Attorneys General under President Clinton and Attorneys General under President Obama, said that the Director’s decision “was incorrect. It violated long-standing Justice Department policies and traditions. And it ran counter to guidance that I put in place four years ago laying out the proper way to conduct investigations during an election season.” Holder concluded that the Director “broke with these fundamental principles” and “negatively affected public trust in both the Justice Department and the FBI”.

Former Deputy Attorneys General Gorelick and Thompson described the unusual event as “read-time, raw-take transparency taken to its illogical limit, a kind of reality TV of federal criminal investigation,” that is “antithetical to the interests of justice”.

Donald Ayer, who served as Deputy Attorneys General under President HW Bush, along with former Justice Department officials, was “astonished and perplexed” by the decision to “break[] with longstanding practices followed by officials of both parties during past elections.” Ayer’s letter noted, “Perhaps most troubling… is the precedent set by this departure from the Department’s widely-respected, non-partisan traditions.”

We should reject the departure and return to the traditions.

Although the President has the power to remove an FBI director, the decision should not be taken lightly. I agree with the nearly unanimous opinions of former Department officials. The way the Director handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong. As a result, the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them. Having refused to admit his errors, the Director cannot be expected to implement the necessary corrective actions.

President Trump began that corrective action. It’s what leaders do.

Link: Rod Rosenstein’s letter recommending Comey is fired  |  The letters that got Comey fired

Panhandle Pensacola

The City of Pensacola has been grappling with the problem of what to do about panhandlers, aka beggars, in the downtown area. The County has the same issues at intersections and on/off ramps all over the place.

The “problem” is the image portrayed in a City trying to attract residents and business when beggars are sitting and laying on the sidewalk, some with dogs. Not to mention the human problem of the situation they portray themselves to be in.

You might get the impression that there is no help for them, when there is. They just don’t choose to take advantage of it. And no one is making the case that making it easier for someone to stay on the streets is not humane, like Houston Mayor Annise Parker did in 2014. The panhandlers have made begging their livelihood, their “business.”

Always tuned in to how to get into your pockets, I don’t know how this idea has escaped the politicians?  Do what they are prone do, regulate. Regulate the Begging Industry right out of business. Like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama tried to do to the Coal Industry.

If begging is your business, you must have a Begging License, that’ll cost you. I don’t know, say $150 a year. And since the real estate for your business is the public sidewalk or right-of-way, you’ll have to pay rent to the city or county for that. How about $100 a week or $400 a month for “rent?”

See how getting off the street and seeking help is starting to look more attractive, not to mention financially rewarding?

But wait, there’s more. Small businesses have to pay 6% sales taxes to the State and 1.5% to  Escambia County every month. This requires verifiable record keeping. Failure to pay your taxes will result in shutting down the business, and possibly jail time.

All the city has to do is to think of them as small business operators and do, for government, what comes naturally. I bet the “problem” will go away. But, that will never happen. It’s easier to give in to threats of lawsuits from the Beggar’s Lobby than to take proactive steps to help get them off the sidewalk.

Link: City Council to take up panhandling, dog-friendly dining

The Democrat Plan

The whole idea can be summed up in five words. “Lie, then lie some more.”

Let’s lie about what the ACA is all about and what it will really do, Jonathan Gruber. Family premiums will go down by an average of $2400/year, you can keep your doctor and your plan, Barack Obama.

While we’re at it, let’s give stuff to people that they can not use or afford. Then if/when Republicans want to fix it, to actually meet the promises made by the Democrat administration, we (and our media) will squeal about those Republicans wanting to kill people, especially poor people and old people (who have medicare anyway) and take away their health care.

See how that works?

aSide Order

Ex-FBI translator marries ISIS fighter she was ordered to investigate, court documents show

Giving new meaning to an ‘under-cover operation.’

A FBI spokesperson released this statement, “As a result of this case the FBI took several steps in a variety of areas to identify and reduce security vulnerabilities. The FBI continues to strengthen protective measures in carrying out its vital work.”

Add this to Hillary Clinton’s illegal email server, violations of the Espionage Act, DNC’s computer system hack,  and the so-called Russia-Trump campaign connection, FBI Director James Comey ought to be tendering his resignation.

This is a Trump Campaign Ad that CNN won’t run. They seem to be saying that the “fake news” shoe in the ad, fits them.

Where I come from, tax cuts leave money in the pockets of small business. They don’t put money there.

Dems Don’t Want Border Security

Democrats say nyet to Trump’s request for $1B to get the border project started. The same Democrats who voted for it* in 2006, who include Sens. Schumer, Pelosi, Clinton, and Obama.

Of a $3Trillion budget, they are saying no to .1% (one tenth of one percent) of the spending budget. Shows how bad they don’t want to protect our border and our people. Not to mention how much they care for the will of the American people who elected him.

Below is a dialog of both sides of the issue swiped from my Facebook page. Commenting is Derek Cosson and myself. H/T to Derek for his civil, thoughtful response.

Have anything to add? Use the comment section provided.

Cosson The wall is a really dumb waste of money.

Calloway Disagree. If you want to talk waste of money. Border security, with a wall, double fencing, all the electronic bells and whistles, is a one-time charge of somewhere between $15-25 billion. One time. (At $25B, that comes to $200/household. Where do I send my check?) The financial cost of illegal aliens here is $113B PER YEAR, or $904/household, per year. There’s your waste of money. The burden on education, health care, infrastructure, prisons, jobs and unemployment is not the only cost. That $113B is not counting the social cost of these illegal aliens. Does not count the people illegals have killed, raped, robbed, and assaulted. That is the social cost you can’t put a price on.

Cosson Your argument rests on the premise that the wall would somehow eliminate illegal immigration, though, and it won’t.

Calloway They say illegal crossing has dropped considerably in the last few months. I don’t think a wall will “eliminate” illegal immigration. It will be doing all that we can do to prevent it. While not building a wall, fences, etc, will guarantee illegal immigration forever, drug cartels, terrorists, human traffickers, gangs, all that. To me it is no different that having a lock on the door of your home. Since it won’t stop a burglar, will you take your lock off?

Cosson It literally astounds me that anyone who claims to be a fiscal conservative could get behind this project. It’s the literal definition of government spending run amok. In addition to the insane capital cost of this wall, it’s going to cost hundreds of millions of dollars a year just to maintain it. All with literally zero evidence it will do anything at all to impact the problem it’s intended to address. If we build a wall, they will build ladders and tunnels. But the bottom line is this: we have an insane deficit. We cannot afford this, and its questionable benefit doesn’t merit charging it to the nation’s credit card.

Calloway When the gov’t does what it’s supposed to do, keep us safe and sovereign, I don’t see that as running amok. Granted there’s a lot of pencil sharpening to do to reduce deficits, and the unsustainable national debt. But in my first reply, the numbers demonstrate that a secure border, and enforcing immigration law, will do both. I just can not accept the notion that doing nothing to stop illegal immigration, and granting illegals amnesty and voting rights, is good for America. The problem is in Central America, and it’s not ours to fix. If their governments were not so corrupt, and economies so socialist broke, they wouldn’t have a reason to flee. But it’s just like our bleeding heart liberals to make the rest of us pay for their better future.

*Actually, in the 109th Congress, H.R. 6061 , Secure Fence Act of 2006, was for building a fence, with other bells and whistles, with the goal of gaining “operational control” of the border. The purpose of which was to keep out all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband. Congress passed the bill.  President Bush signed it into law. It covered only 649 miles of the 2000 mile southern border. Trump’s proposal includes all that plus a wall in appropriate places.

Links: H.R. 6061 (109th): Secure Fence Act of 2006

BLS ‘Secret News’

That the Bureau of Labor Statistics cooks the books in the way that they report unemployment is no surprise to those paying attention. So I’m not touting this news from last Friday’s report. What is newsworthy though, is that the media is not saying a word about it like they (and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich) did religiously, every Friday, while Barack Obama was in The White House.

Instead, they’re talking about Trump’s low poll numbers. (Everyone knows how they make and use poll numbers, and how Hillary was going to win, until she lost.) They’re hyping that, they’re hyping other irrelevant stuff like the ‘first 100 days’ and the Georgia special election for Tom Price’s Dist. 6 seat.

Not a peep about Friday’s report, that says . . .

The national unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point from February to 4.5 percent and was 0.5 point lower than in March 2016.

The U-6, the best government numbers on real unemployment, is down .6% in March 2017 from February 2017. And down a full percentage point in March 2017 to 8.9% compared to 9.9% in March 2016.

So while the media is excited to report about Trump’s so-called unfulfilled campaign promises, isn’t it weird how they miss this one?

Link: STATE EMPLOYMENT AND UNEMPLOYMENT — MARCH 2017  |  THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — MARCH 2017

Media Driving No-Bench Dem Party

Garance Franke-Ruta, the Senior Politics Editor at “Yahoo News,” has a story about Georgia’s 6th Congressional District special election Tuesday to fill Rep. Tom Price’s seat. Her report has a banner in it called “RESISTANCE REPORT.” Making no claim at objective news reporting. It is the media, Yahoo included, that is the driving force for the Democrat Party. The days of the media carrying the water for the party have past. That was the case when the party was strong, and had a message that resonated with Americans. Absent that, the media has taken the ball. Now, the party follows them. 
Her takeaway #2 is worth commenting on. Garance Franke-Ruta says . . .
Karen Handel is more vulnerable than she might seem, even with Trump now in her corner. Her inability to consolidate the GOP vote — she won 19.1 percent of the total field, against 10 other Republicans — despite being well known in the Sixth District suggests enthusiasm for her candidacy is not terrific.
Another way to look at the field of eleven candidates, like we saw in the last presidential primary, is that the GOP has a  big bench. There are a lot of people who want to be involved, who care about the country. And for that, she blames the candidate, Karen Handel, for her “inability to consolidate the GOP .” With that analysis, I suppose you could say that Jon Ossoff consolidated the Democrat Party so much that there was no candidate in Price’s district to run.

The FairTax Will Fix What Ails Us

I’m afraid that the “tax reform” in the works is not going to be the game changer needed, the FairTax. The politicians are not willingly going to give up the Tax Hammer. It gives them too much power and lines their pockets with campaign cash. It is up to we the people to demand it.

Enactment of the FairTax would be the greatest transfer of power from the government back to the people since the Declaration of Independence. Instead of paying 39% of what you earn, you’ll pay 23% of what you spend, and keep all that you earn. Because your gross pay will be your “take-home” pay, the FairTax will be an economic generator and job creator for people, big and small business. All the while still generating the same amount of money to fund the government and its programs.

Just how can the FairTax be revenue neutral compared to the current income tax? Simple really, when you consider that the tax base expands from just those lucky ones who have jobs to everybody within our borders who purchases any new good or service.

With no tax returns to file, aside from eliminating the need for the IRS, the FairTax will end tax fraud like this; Three Indicted in Florida for Using Stolen IDs to File Tax Returns Claiming More Than $6.8 Million in Fraudulent Refunds.

Here’s a great presentation of the FairTax from the guy who wrote the book on it, Neal Boortz

Neal Boortz podcasts, like this one graciously lifted from yesterday, are available on ConnectPal for a paltry $4.99/month.

No Free Speech Here

Free speech today has nothing to do with freedom or liberty. Today, free speech in schools has morphed into the antithesis of freedom and liberty.

Schools have turned into progressive indoctrination centers that are taking on Marxist tendencies, the seeds of which were planted 100 years ago. Today, William Ayers gives voice to using schools as the means to wage this revolution.

With Chavez at his side, Ayers voiced his support for ‘the political educational reforms under way here in Venezuela under the leadership of President Chavez. “We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution…”

Here is how The Association of Teacher Educators (whose guest speaker for their 2013 Convention was William Ayers) feel about their role as “educators” . . .  (emphasis added)

Without attention to culture, social conditions, environmental roadblocks, and economics, lasting change will not happen. Educators, schools, and institutions of higher education must step up and become empowered as agents of change, not as recipients of mandates for change that come from outside of the education community. Change can start with one teacher, one classroom, one school, one college of education, and should be tailored to the local environment and its needs. Learn how you can take action and make a difference from pioneers in the field of Education for Sustainable Development.

See anything there about teaching our country’s founding principles? Me neither. Their goal is the dilution of America. The “fundamental change” President Obama had in mind, being a disciple of Bill Ayers, is what is going on. And, must be stopped.

We are witnesses of its “success” today when speakers are shouted down on campuses, and physically assaulted. All of which is condoned by the educational establishment and administrations by virtue of the lack of discipline and consequences for such unruly behavior.

Great article HERE details the disintegration of our education system. The American Experience has its roots in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. Limited government, power of the individual, private property, individual freedom and liberty. Over the last 60 years, those principles have stopped being taught. Progressives now occupy the educational system, the entertainment industry, the news industry, where the collective, not the individual, has taken priority. Marxism to a tee.

Link: Understanding the Campus Free-Speech Crisis  |  Bill Ayers To Teachers, It’s A ‘Movement’

Repeal, Do Not Replace

Not Repeal And Replace. Just Repeal. Then fix what’s left with private sector solutions, competition, Health Savings Accounts and Risk Pools.

Not Obamacare-lite with wealth transfers using the tax code. No government mandates on people, policies, coverage, or bailout guarantees for health insurance carriers. All of which contribute to higher premiums, higher deductibles, and yes, death panels.

Give insurance carriers time to revise their actuary tables for free and open market competition. They needed more than a year to adapt to Obamacare and that included 24 months of bailouts. Likewise, they will need time to adjust to something they’ve never tried, or been allowed to try, before. Free-market interstate competition where the consumer, not the government, chooses the policies and coverage they want.

Repeal Obamacare. There is no “better” way for government to make, or manage, your health care choices. Look what a great job they do with the VA. The utopian dream of socialized medicine doesn’t work, is not sustainable, and no where close to affordable.

UPDATE: Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) Files One-Sentence Bill To Repeal Obamacare