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Everything posted by bostonangler

  1. WASHINGTON — The Justice Department's internal watchdog found the controversial surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser was riddled with errors, raising questions about its justification. The voluminous report, released Monday by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, identified 17 separate inaccuracies across three surveillance applications, effectively inflating the justification for monitoring former foreign policy adviser Carter Page starting in the fall of 2016. Horowitz, however, concluded the FBI was legally justified in launching its inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. There was no "documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI’s decision to conduct these operations," the report said. The 400-page report debunks claims by the president and his allies that political bias played a role in the FBI's decision to investigate members of the Trump campaign for possible coordination with Russia. The inspector general said there was "no evidence" the FBI placed any undercover sources or agents in the Trump campaign or had them attend campaign events. The criticism of the FBI’s surveillance activities, however, is central to the report’s findings and is likely to fuel new attacks from President Donald Trump and a cadre of Republican allies. Horowitz also singled out a Justice Department official for possible criminal investigation. Horowitz launched his review in March 2018 in response to requests from Republican lawmakers and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The review examined the FBI's decision to investigate four Trump associates and campaign aides: Page, former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Papadopoulos caught the attention of the FBI after he boasted to an Australian diplomat that Russia had offered political dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Hillarious Clinton. The diplomat alerted the FBI. Page had longstanding ties to Russia and admitted meeting with Kremlin officials on a July 2016 trip to Moscow. Manafort and Flynn also have ties to Russia and traveled there. The inspector general also examined the FBI's relationship with Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who was hired by a research firm working for Clinton's campaign. Steele authored a now-infamous "dossier" alleging ties between Trump and Russia. Errors with requests to wiretap Page Throughout the report, the inspector general raised questions about the management of the high-profile, politically charged investigation. "So many basic and fundamental errors" were made by investigative teams handpicked to conduct one of the FBI's most sensitive investigations, the report said. "We believe this circumstance reflects a failure not just by those who prepared (applications for wiretap warrants) but also by the managers and supervisors in the chain of command, including FBI senior officials who were briefed as the investigation progressed," the report said. How we got here: The events that led to the inspector general's report on the origins of the Russia probe Among the most common errors in the wiretap applications for Page were the omission of important information, including some that contradicted investigators' suspicions. For example, the FBI didn't note Page's denial that he had been involved in revising a part of the Republican platform to be more favorable to Russia. In other cases, inaccurate information was included. At one point, the significance of Steele's prior cooperation with U.S. authorities was “overstated.” The FBI didn't corroborate Steele's account of Page's dealings with Russians, but still used it in its preparation of the surveillance applications. The decision to rely on Steele’s reporting "to help establish that Page was an agent of Russia" was supported by “FBI officials at every level," the report said. The inspector general found “no evidence” that FBI officials raised any concerns about the reliability of Steele's information with top officials, including then-FBI Director James Comey or Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. Because the bureau's top leadership was not notified, the report said, they "authorized the FBI to seek to use this highly intrusive investigative technique targeting Carter Page based on significant omissions and inaccurate information in the initial and renewal FISA applications.” Horowitz singled out Bruce Ohr, an FBI lawyer and associate deputy attorney general, for additional review and possible criminal investigation. The inspector general sharply criticized Ohr for his relationship with Steele and for failing to inform his Justice supervisors of those contacts. In a written response, FBI Director Christopher Wray characterized the report as “constructive criticism that will make us stronger as an organization.” “We are vested with significant authorities and it is our obligation as public servants to ensure these authorities are exercised with objectivity and integrity,” Wray said. “Anything less falls short of the FBI’s duty to the American people.” Barr disagrees with IG's findings Attorney General William Barr disagreed with Horowitz's overall finding that the FBI's investigation was justified. “The inspector general’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken,” Barr said. Barr is overseeing a parallel criminal investigation into the origins of the Russia probe. John Durham, whom Barr tapped to lead the parallel investigation, also refuted the inspector general's conclusion. "Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the inspector general that we do not agree with some of the report's conclusions as to the predication and how the FBI case was opened," Durham said in a statement. Democrats on Capitol Hill said the report debunks conspiracy theories fanned by Trump and Republicans about how the Russia investigation began. "Those discredited conspiracy theories were attempts to deflect from the President's serious and ongoing misconduct, first urging Russia and now extorting Ukraine into interfering with our elections to benefit him personally and politically," said Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, Democrats representing New York and co-chairs of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees. The report comes as Democrats are drawing up articles of impeachment against Trump over allegations that he sought to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations that would help Trump politically. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, decried the FBI's "spying" on four Americans. "This is a grave matter that should deeply trouble Americans of all political stripes," he said. Political bias did not play a role in Russia probe Despite his criticism, Horowitz's investigation found that the FBI's decision to investigate Page, Papadopoulos, Flynn and Manafort was properly authorized and followed Justice Department policies. In determining whether bias played a role in the decision to launch the Russia probe, the inspector general examined text messages exchanged by Peter Strzok, a former FBI counterintelligence agent assigned to the investigation, and Lisa Page, a former FBI lawyer. Horowitz determined that the messages, which were hostile toward Trump, "created an appearance of bias" and "raised serious questions" about the validity of decisions involving the two. But Horowitz noted that Page did not play a role in the decision to investigate Trump's campaign aides. Although Strzok was involved, "he was not the sole, or even the highest level decision maker," the report said. "Witnesses told us that they did not recall observing during these discussions any instances or indications of improper motivations or political bias on the part of the participants, including Strzok," the report said. Strzok's attorney, Aitan Goelman, said in a statement that the report confirms that Strzok's "personal opinions never impacted his work as an official of the FBI." FISA report: Dueling investigations? Days before inspector general's report on FBI's Russia investigation, Trump promotes AG probe Special Counsel Robert Mueller took over the FBI's investigation in May 2017 and indicted three dozen individuals and entities, including six former Trump associates and campaign aides – all of whom have either pleaded guilty or have been convicted by a jury. Page was never indicted as part of the Russia probe. Mueller's two-year investigation found a “sweeping and systematic" effort by the Russian government to intercede in the election to help Trump win, but concluded neither the president nor his campaign conspired with Russians, according to the special counsel’s report released in April. The report, however, portrayed the campaign as an eager beneficiary of Russian efforts. Debunked... Discredited.... Deep State.... B/A
  2. Toolman, this is coming the previous empires who are now weak... The empire we are today will follow the rest of history's empires. If you think Trump is going to save America buy increasing debt over a trillion dollars in 9 months or by handing out corporate welfare, then you are doomed to follow history. B/A
  3. You are correct toolman… I stated this many times and always get negged, but we are the modern romans. We are like every empire in history... You've read history, you know it doesn't end well for empires. B/A
  4. No only the Trump crowd.... I know lot's of real conservatives, not these fake ones that have suddenly popped up.... B/A
  5. It’s whispered in NATO meeting rooms and celebrated in China’s halls of power. It’s lamented in the capital cities of key U.S. allies and welcomed in the Kremlin. Three years into Donald Trump’s presidency, America’s global influence is waning. In interviews with The Associated Press, diplomats, foreign officials and scholars from numerous countries describe a changing world order in which the United States has less of a central role. And in many ways, that’s just fine with the White House. Trump campaigned on an ''America First'' foreign policy and says a strong United States will mean a stronger world. “The future doesn’t belong to globalists,” Trump told the U.N. General Assembly in September. “The future belongs to patriots.” Trump insists he’s abandoning globalism for bilateral ties more beneficial to the U.S.. But there’s little sign of that. Instead, once-close allies — France, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mexico, Turkey, Germany and more — have quietly edged away from Washington over the past three years. Sometimes it’s not so quiet. In a Buckingham Palace reception room during the recent NATO summit, a TV camera caught a cluster of European leaders grinning as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared to mock Trump. “You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor,” Trudeau said, apparently speaking about his meeting with Trump, talking to a group that included the leaders of France, Britain and the Netherlands. Trudeau quickly tried to walk back his words, telling reporters that he and Trump have a “good and constructive relationship.” But the footage brought into the open the increasing divide between the United States and its allies. This is a major change. For generations, America saw itself as the center of the world. For better or worse, most of the rest of the world has regarded the U.S. as its colossus — respecting it, fearing it, turning to it for answers. “We are America,” said Madeleine Albright, secretary of state in the Clinton administration. “We are the indispensable nation.” To be sure, America is still a global superpower. But now, the country's waning influence is profoundly redrawing the geopolitical map, opening the way for Washington’s two most powerful foes — Russia and China — to extend their reach into many countries where they had long been seen with suspicion. Because those longtime friends of Washington? Many are now looking elsewhere for alliances. Very often, they look to China or Russia. In Islamabad, for example, where the U.S. was once seen as the only game in town, Pakistan's government now gets military aid and training from Russia and billions of dollars in investment and loans from China. In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte is nurturing closer ties to Beijing despite his nervousness over its expansionism in the South China Sea. In Egypt, long one of America’s closest Middle Eastern allies, Cairo now lets Russian military planes use its bases and the two countries recently held joint air force exercises. In Ukraine, which has looked to U.S. military aid for years to try to keep an expansionist Russia in check, Trump’s questionable loyalty is seen as creating a dangerous vacuum. “Once the U.S. role in Europe weakens, Russia’s influence inevitably grows,” Vadim Karasev, head of the Kyiv-based Institute of Global Strategies said. Or there’s France, whose friendship with America goes back to the days of George Washington. Perhaps more than any other Western leader, French President Emmanuel Macron has made clear that Europe should look to Beijing, not Washington, when it comes to addressing global issues from trade wars to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Macron’s recent trip to China was choreographed in part to convey that the European Union has little faith in Washington anymore. Europe is on “the edge of a precipice,” Macron told The Economist magazine in a recent interview. “What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO,” he said, a reference to the announced U.S. withdrawal from northern Syria. Perhaps no U.S. ally is more worried than the Kurds, America’s longtime battlefield allies. They bore the brunt of the combat as the Islamic State group was driven from the territory it held across a swath of Iraq and Syria. “Betrayal process is officially complete,” a Kurdish official said in a WhatsApp message sent to journalists after Trump's defense secretary announced U.S. troops would fully withdraw from northeastern Syria. That pullout paved the way for a Turkish offensive against Kurdish fighters and signaled to the world that U.S. may no longer be as reliable as it once was. The Kurds weren’t taken completely by surprise. Kurdish officials had been holding back -channel talks with Syria and Russia for more than a year before the announcement. The Kurds feared they would be abandoned by Washington. China has been delighted by what it sees as the voluntary abdication of U.S. leadership, particularly on free trade and climate change. Trump’s pullout from the planned Trans-Pacific Partnership, for example, opened the way for Beijing to push ahead with its own alternative free-trade agreement. Meanwhile, China has gone from being a climate change curmudgeon to sometimes reaping praise as a global leader on the issue. The White House's National Security Council did not respond to requests for comment about this story. Trump insists he is not pulling the U.S. off the world stage. He cites partnerships with other nations to fight terrorism and his administration highlights a recent high-profile raid in Syria that killed the leader of the Islamic State group. Trump has successfully coaxed NATO allies to spend billions more on their own defense to lessen the burden on the U.S. He complains that America should not be the world's policeman or its piggy bank, and needs to get out of what he calls ''endless wars.'' Some former administration officials have cited Trump's business background to describe him as having a "transactional'' approach to foreign policy. He has pulled out of multilateral agreements, such as the Iran nuclear deal, yet he needs international support to pressure Tehran for its regional aggression and nuclear program. He gets credit for opening dialogues with the Afghan Taliban and North Korea, although efforts to end America's longest war and get Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons have so far been unsuccessful. He also has set about negotiating bilateral trade agreements with many countries because he says deals made by previous administrations were unfair to the U.S. He had success with South Korea, yet has not yet sealed a deal with China. In some ways, Washington’s declining influence is simply a reflection of history: America is no longer the singular economic and military giant that overshadowed nearly every other nation. In 1945, America had the world’s only nuclear weapons and produced roughly half the world’s gross domestic product. Today, the U.S. has perhaps 15 percent of global GDP and even North Korea has nuclear weapons. Other countries have grown immensely. China, once a poverty-battered behemoth, has become a financial giant and an emerging superpower. Countries from Brazil to India to South Korea have become serious regional powers. But if history plays a role, the diplomatic shifts of the Trump years are more about a White House unapologetically focused on the U.S. Globalism was once one of Washington's few unifying themes. Now, it's an insult in the capital, and the U.S. gets more attention for rejecting multilateral agreements, from Trump pulling out of the Asia-Pacific deal to his rejection of the Paris climate accords. The president has hosted only two state dinners and has repeatedly sought to slash the State Department budget. Trump insists talk of American decline is nonsense. “The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to belittle my VERY successful trip to London for NATO,” Trump tweeted after the summit, adding that there was “only deep respect” for the United States. America still has enormous power. A 2018 Pew Research Center survey done across 25 countries found that only 25 percent of people believed the U.S. plays a less important role now than it did a decade ago. Another of the survey's findings: People in nearly every country said they preferred a world order led by the United States. But we already knew that.. B/A
  6. I watched it... And I've heard that speech before... Some think Democrats are the problem, but Republicans are just as guilty. Our debt hasn't gone down with any republican in charge. Our government hasn't shrunk at all... Like Rome, Egypt, or any other empire our country is falling onto itself. And like every other empire, our pompous leader is turning away from our allies, lying and breaking promises. And the world is laughing. B/A.
  7. Yup you are correct, most of the people I talk to about their hate for Obama is pretty obvious. And now we see Trump turning on the Jewish Americans, so I guess the goosestep crowd will follow and they will tell us all our problems are the Jews Trump is talking about. B/A
  8. No I didn't watch it... I lived it and it all went wrong long before we ever heard the name Obama... We need to go back to when we sold out to the Saudis and came off the gold standard... Of course deregulated banks didn't help, and I remember correctly that was Clinton who set the banks free... And in my personal opinion, we ain't seen nothing yet... The next big economic turn down is going to change America forever and all we are witnessing today will seem like small potatoes. B/A
  9. I wish... I'd make more money selling Amway to lonely housewife's!!! B/A
  10. You really shouldn't talk about your fellow Trump worshippers that way!!! 😎 B/A
  11. I totally agree... Most Americans are busy living their lives and don't pay attention. Most Americans thought things were great in 2007 and 2008 until Wall Street struck.. Today half of American doesn't have $400 saved in their emergency fund. Those people aren't ready for their refrigerator to quit never mind a real down turn. We live in The United States of Amnesia. Today Americans have more debt than they did before the recession and our government has more debt than those days. When the multinationals stop buying back their stock, let's see what happens to the markets, people's retirement funds and the rest of the economy... All day I hear people talking about fake news, but I don't hear anyone talking about the fake economy. Personally, I think the democrats are wasting their and our money, because if Trump makes it to November, he'll be out anyway. B/A
  12. Virginia... Louisiana… Kentucky.... All come to mind. Or are those losses more fake news? B/A
  13. The Senate will do nothing because of the 2 party system. They will protect the party and forget the law... As for democrats, they are picking up seats on the local, state and national level... And this coming year could be really bad for republicans if the trend continues. B/A
  14. This isn't about the trade war, but I thought you would find this interesting The founder of $1 billion self-driving truck firm TuSimple says human truckers having to spend hours on the road is a 'tarnish on the glory of humanity' The founder of self-driving truck unicorn TuSimple says that human truck drivers being required to work long hours on the road is a "tarnish on the glory of humanity." Xiaodi Hou is the founder, president and chief technology officer of TuSimple, which develops tech for automating long-haul truck journeys without human intervention needed. The self-driving trucks still have a human truck driver and an engineer present at all times, as a failsafe. The company is based in San Diego, California, and splits its operations with China. The firm's US presence comprises offices in San Diego, California and Tucson, Arizona, from which it oversees its long-haul US operations. It also boasts offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Fukuoka, Japan. Hou said he will expand its presence further in the next two to three years – a goal he said stemmed from "the confidence of our general stability." Founded in 2015, TuSimple has enjoyed huge investor interest. It was valued at just over $1 billion after a $95 million Series D fundraise in February. It went on to add a further $120 million, bringing the round to $215 million. Its backers include global delivery giant UPS, US chipmaker Nvidia, and Chinese tech firm Sina, owner of Weibo. Though TuSimple currently retrofits existing trucks for pre-existing truck companies, it aims to have a factory-produced self-driving truck on the road by 2023. TuSimple doesn't think it will completely replace drivers with self-driving trucks Speaking to Business Insider, Hou was asked how he'd respond to truckers who (rightly or wrongly) fear that their jobs are at risk. "This is my first time responding to this question in English, but here goes," he said. "To drive a truck for 11 hours per day, without even taking a shower every day, and getting far away from their home, is really a tarnish on the glory of humanity. "You don't hire chimney sweeps nowadays, and people don't harvest the way they did 500 years ago." Asked what he'd say to those truckers who value the work, Hou said his company complements – and doesn't compete with – the traditional trucking industry. "The transition is actually slower than you thought," he explained. "The transition is not like, 'tomorrow, all of sudden, trucks will be autonomously driven.' It's not like that. Autonomous driving is more likely to involve the retrofitting of existing trucks rather than the building of new trucks. tusimple "It'll be a very gradual thing, and truck drivers still need to [drive] trucks. Think about the gap we have [in terms of] truck driver shortage. The average truck driver age is 51. I don't think even [on] a very optimistic view, we can fill up that gap within the time frame it needs to be filled." According to a July 2019 report by the American Trucking Associations, the US trucking industry was 60,000 drivers short of the number required to meet industry needs in 2018, up nearly 20% from 2017's shortage of 50,700. "Secondly, we don't actually think self-driving trucks are going to deprive any truck drivers [of their jobs]," Hou continued. "I don't think we're going to be enemies of the truck drivers. We're actually very good friends with the American Trucking Associations. "We're helping the associations to solve problems that they can't solve alone, by themselves." B/A
  15. He is hiding... He has kept all his people from testifying and proving he is innocent, but he chooses to tweet about fake conspiracies.... B/A
  16. An American trucking giant is slated to declare bankruptcy — and it may leave more than 3,200 truck drivers stranded and jobless Trucking giant Celadon is declaring bankruptcy this week, inside sources told FreightWaves on Dec. 6. It's poised to be the largest truckload bankruptcy in history. The bankruptcy has the potential to leave more than 3,200 truck drivers stranded and away from home. Numerous Facebook groups have been set up to help stranded Celadon truck drivers connect to others. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The trucking "bloodbath" of 2019 is ending on a remarkably sour note. Celadon, a truckload carrier that grossed $1 billion as recently as 2015, will file for bankruptcy on Dec. 11 or earlier, inside sources told leading industry publication FreightWaves on Dec. 6. It's poised to be the largest truckload bankruptcy in history — and its drivers are already getting slammed. Read more: Truckers can't pay off their fuel cards — and it's a 'sure sign' that more trucking bankruptcies are coming The bankruptcy has the potential to leave more than 3,200 truck drivers stranded and away from home. Sources told Business Insider that Celadon truck drivers' fuel cards are already getting turned off, which means they're unable to get home without spending serious cash on gas or arranging their own transport by car, plane, or bus. An internal source confirmed to FreightWaves that the company may not be able to get drivers home on time, and encouraged them to fill their tanks as soon as possible. Numerous Facebook groups have been set up to help stranded Celadon truck drivers connect to others, including Celadon Closure Assistance and Jobs. Celadon did not immediately respond to a Business Insider request for comment. 2019 has been a challenging year for truck drivers and their employers. In the first half of the year, about 640 trucking companies went bankrupt, according to industry data from Broughton Capital LLC. That's more than triple the number of bankruptcies from the same period last year — about 175. Read more: Another 1,000 truck drivers lost their jobs in November, and it's a chilling sign for the economy ACT Research said America's $800 billion trucking market has been in a recession since early 2019. Freight volumes have declined for 11 straight months. Manufacturing, which tracks the trucking industry, has contracted for four straight months. However, the source of Celadon's troubles dates back further than 2019. On Dec. 5, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged two former Celadon executives following a multi-year accounting scandal. The alleged fraud resulted in shareholder loss of more than $60 million. That plunged Celadon's stock to 41 cents a share on Friday — a considerable tumble from the high $20s per share that the stock was worth in 2015 before the accounting scandal became public knowledge. What recession? B/A
  17. Yeah he knows that the crazy conspiracies have been debunked... Trump's lies about spies are going to be proven that he made it up and people were conned. B/A
  18. More Than 500 Legal Scholars Say Trump Committed Impeachable Acts A group of more than 500 legal scholars has signed an open letter to Congress declaring that President Donald Trump “engaged in impeachable conduct” as the impeachment proceedings against him continue. “We do not reach this conclusion lightly,” stated the letter, dated Friday. Trump “betrayed his oath of office” by attempting to pressure Ukrainian leaders to help him “distort” the 2020 election “at the direct expense of national security interests as determined by Congress.” “The Founders did not make impeachment available for disagreements over policy, even profound ones, nor for extreme distaste for the manner in which the President executes his office. Only ‘Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors’ warrant impeachment,” the scholars asserted. The signees include professors and other experts from an array of academic institutions such as Columbia, Berkeley, Harvard, Yale, George Washington University and the University of Michigan, among many others. Their message was spearheaded by the Protect Democracy Project, a nonprofit created in 2017 with the goal of holding the White House “accountable to the laws and longstanding practices that have protected our democracy through both Democratic and Republican Administrations.” Since the impeachment inquiry began in late September, House investigators have heard from a number of witnesses both in private and in public who have painted a fuller picture of Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. According to sworn testimony from U.S. foreign policy officials, Trump threatened to withhold millions of dollars in military aid in exchange for investigations that would help his reelection campaign, and conditioned a White House meeting with Ukraine’s president on a public announcement of those investigations. On Tuesday, a panel of four constitutional law experts took questions from the House Judiciary Committee over whether the president’s alleged offenses were serious enough to warrant articles of impeachment ― or a formal description of impeachable misconduct. Three of the four experts said Trump’s behavior was clearly impeachable, while a fourth dissenting in part because he believed more testimony was needed. In their letter, the legal experts said Trump’s “conduct is precisely the type of threat to our democracy that the Founders feared when they included the remedy of impeachment in the Constitution.” They also noted that “conduct need not be criminal to be impeachable.” “Whether President Trump’s conduct is classified as bribery, as a high crime or misdemeanor, or as both, it is clearly impeachable under our Constitution,” the signees concurred. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday asked that articles of impeachment against Trump be prepared, saying the president’s actions have left “us no choice” If the articles are passed in the Democratic-controlled House, the process moves to the Republican-controlled Senate, where it is not likely to result in Trump’s removal from office. Oh well just another 500 experts who don't know as much as Trump and his worshippers... The constitution is not just for one's convenience. B/A
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