Former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance has been revoked. Sarah Huckabee Sanders led off her press briefing on August 15, 2018, by reading a note from President Trump announcing the revocation.
Trump’s statement included the reasons why Mr. Brennan’s clearance was revoked, including that he is unlikely to add value to the present administration’s need for intelligence and analysis, a common reason for accommodating clearance for those who have left government service. Trump went on to cite Brennan’s words and actions in recent media appearances in partial justification:
Additionally, Mr. Brennan has recently leveraged his status as a former high-ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations, wild outbursts on the internet and television about this administration. Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with access to the nation’s most closely held secrets and facilities.
Then Sanders read a list of names: James Clapper, James Comey, Michael Hayden, Sally Yates, Susan Rice, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr. Those persons were placed on notice that their clearances might be revoked or non-renewed.
Sanders telegraphed the move last month, then stating, “[t]he president is exploring the mechanisms to remove security clearances because they politicized, and in some cases monetized, their public service and security clearances.” The New York Times had mentioned that “[t]wo of the targets Ms. Sanders cited, James B. Comey, who was fired by Mr. Trump as F.B.I. director in 2017, and Andrew G. McCabe, who was dismissed in March as deputy director of the F.B.I., no longer have security clearances.” It’s unclear why they were included in Sanders’ reading.
Trump reportedly got the idea for the revocations from Senator Rand Paul, (R, KY). Brennan, a 25-year CIA man, was confirmed by Senate to lead that agency over an unsuccessful filibuster attempt by Senator Paul.
Lies Upon Lies
Brennan famously lied to Congress about spying on them, when Senator Dianne Feinstein (D, CA) revealed his CIA had spied on Congressional investigators who were examining CIA interrogation techniques. In 2011, Brennan lied about civilian casualties and U.S. drone attacks. The claim was seen as so patently false, that as the Washington Post put it, “either Brennan knew that his claim was a lie, or he is secretly deaf.”
Did Brennan then become part of a group organized to frustrate Donald Trump’s candidacy? The Daily Caller reports:
“According to “Russian Roulette,” by Yahoo! News chief investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff and David Corn, the Washington bureau chief of the left-wing Mother Jones magazine, Brennan contacted Reid on Aug. 25, 2016, to brief him on the state of Russia’s interference in the presidential campaign. Brennan briefed other members of the so-called Gang of Eight, but Reid is the only who took direct action.
Two days after the briefing, Reid wrote a letter to then-FBI Director James Comey asserting that “evidence of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign continues to mount.”
Security clearances, their issuance, revocations, and standards regarding same, are solely Executive functions, allowing President Trump to act unilaterally on them
Paul Manafort’s defense team rested its case late morning on August 14, declining to call a single witness or introduce any of its own evidence. The arguments before the first of at least two federal criminal trials for Paul Manafort will conclude August 15 after the presentation of closing arguments in the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Va. Then Judge T. S. Ellis will charge the jury with their instructions, and we will all await the verdict.
They will judge the cases against Manafort for multiple felonies including tax fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit the same. The jury did not hear, will not hear, and will not judge any evidence or charges related to Russian interference with U.S. elections, treason, or President Trump. This first prosecution issued from the offices of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller is chock full of pedestrian charges and utterly lacking in election stealing, spying, or collusion with Moscow.
And Justice for All
The entire prosecution is a burlesque. It is simply criminal prosecution being used as a lever. Robert Mueller wants incriminating information on Donald Trump. If we grant Mueller an honest motive, he sincerely believes Manafort has that information. Since Mueller cannot legally compel Manafort to testify against Trump, he uses a workaround with identical effect. Manafort can give up Trump to Mueller, or suffer the raging storms of multiple federal criminal actions, pre-dawn raids, and solitary confinement.
Judge Ellis himself called the tune when he addressed the prosecution, saying, “you don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud.” A man who displays his earned reputation as a jurist with little truck for trial shenanigans, he said “[y]ou really care about getting information Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump and lead to his prosecution or impeachment.”
Burden of Proof
A defense resting its case without putting up its own witnesses or evidence is uncommon but hardly unheard of. If the defense believes the jury will be unlikely to vote guilty based on the evidence presented by the prosecution thus far, resting may be the best chance they have for a favorable verdict.
Judge T.S. Ellis
Manafort himself briefly addressed the court outside the jury’s presence so that Judge Ellis himself could question the defendant and his decision not to testify in his own defense. Satisfied the decision was considered, the judge moved on to other business. The court and counsel will shortly settle arguments regarding jury instructions, and final arguments will be delivered on Wednesday, August 15.
Paul Manafort will be back in federal court in September to face more federal criminal charges that have nothing whatsoever to do with the corruption of elections, undue influence upon the body politic, Russian interference in U.S. domestic political concerns, or President Donald J. Trump.
Judge Robert S. Lasnik of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington signed a nationwide restraining order Tuesday night, preventing Cody Wilson and his company, Defense Distributed from making available online their 3D gun part Computer Aided Design (CAD) files. A cadre of activist Democrat attorneys general initiated the action.
Lasnik’s order also mandated that the federal government treat the files as prohibited information under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). As reported by LN, only days ago the State Department settled a case with Mr. Wilson explicitly agreeing that ITAR does not permit them to violate the First Amendment rights of Americans and that banning the distribution of digital files would be such a violation.
The next hearing in the case is currently set for August 10th, when Lasnik will rule on whether to make the restrictive order more permanent. That is, of course, barring any actions or appeals that may come from a higher court. The court of appeals for the Western District of Washington is the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Called derisively the “Ninth Circus,” it has the reputation of being far-left with an activist inclination.
After emerging from over five years of litigation over the publication of the files, Wilson planned a big release on August 1, 2018, at his website defcad.com. Visitors there are now greeted by a notice that the site was shuttered by a federal judge and a call to join the fight to uncensor the site.
While there are many restrictions on transferring those parts to others, they don’t exist on creating them for oneself. You may not, without a federal gun manufacturers license, (to say nothing of state and local licensure) build and sell a gun to another. You may, however, build one for yourself. So, while 3D printing cannot make a gun barrel that replaces a metal one (yet), it need not do so, because barrels are not restricted.
Federal firearms regulations generally specify one or a few parts of a given weapon that are the regulated part. Take the AR-15 for instance – America’s most popular rifle:
Depending on how you count, there are dozens or hundreds of parts for that firearm. The single part circled in red is called a stripped lower receiver, and that is the part that is, legally speaking, the firearm. The other parts shown are not regulated in any way and may be bought or sold by anyone without restriction. One can create their own AR-15 then, by buying all the parts that are not subject to regulation and using a 3D printer with the appropriate CAD file to create the part that is – all without permission from government authorities. That’s the point for Cody Wilson. The libertarian said: “I think the state should be as weak as possible relative to the individual,” and that “the proper posture of the state is one that at least is in fear of its citizen, not one that lords over it.”
The Democrat politicians’ attempts to suppress the distribution of the files was successful for Mr. Wilson’s website, so far. It is not, however, stopping the files’ distribution. The files are now and have been hosted in various corners of the web since they were initially released. A recent check of the popular file sharing torrent website The Pirate Bay reveals numerous versions, all well seeded. Get yours while you still can.
Numerous state attorneys general have filed suit to stop Cody Wilson and his company, Defense Distributed, from distributing digital copies of gun drawings, and Donald Trump’s tweet on the matter indicates he may be on board with the censorship.
Cody Wilson gained widespread notice after a 2012 pitch video for the crowd-funder Indiegogo went viral. He and an informal group of others calling themselves Defense Distributed (DD) wanted access to a 3D printer to develop a printable firearm. They created the prototype for a firearm using 3D printing technology, and after successful development, they shared their work, called a Computer Aided Design (CAD) file, with the world.
Knowledge Is Power
“Defense Distributed’s goal is not personal armament; it’s the liberation of information.” Liberating and disseminating the knowledge of how to produce a workable firearm by just about anyone is manna for some, but terrifying for others. It’s especially upsetting for authoritarian types who desperately wish to keep the people unarmed. It certainly was to President Obama and John Kerry, who searched for any legal way to prevent DD from making the files available.
Less than a week after the files were made public, the United States Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) ordered DD remove its publicly accessible CAD files. The Obama administration draped its censorship in the veil of International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), interpreting the regulations to impose a prior approval requirement on the publication of Defense Distributed’s files into the public domain. Wilson and DD quickly sued, alleging the novel theory of ITAR regulatory enforcement was little more than an end-run around their First and Second Amendment rights.
That case was slowly working itself through the courts, until July 29th. That’s when the State Department settled with Wilson, opening the door for him to again host and distribute these files online. Wilson commented with a tweet of a tombstone bearing the inscription “American Gun Control.”
— Cody R. Wilson (@Radomysisky) July 10, 2018
Democrats To The Rescue
Enter the Dem AGs. Activist Democrat attorneys general from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and at least five other states plus D.C. have sued Wilson, his company, and the State Department to censor the publication of the files. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, separately announced an agreement with DD on the 29th, whereby visitors to the website with IP addresses indicating they were accessing the files from Pennsylvania would be refused access. Shapiro said:
“Defense Distributed was promising to distribute guns in Pennsylvania in reckless disregard of the state laws that apply to gun sales and purchases in our Commonwealth. Once these untraceable guns are on our streets and in our schools, we can never get them back. The decision tonight to block Pennsylvania users from downloading these 3D gun files is a victory for public safety and common sense.”
Shapiro was not available for comment to Liberty Nation. Since the language of the release states that Pennsylvania’s attorney general considers digital information to be the same as tangible objects, I asked if perhaps the release itself misquoted him. His staffer told me that it was not published in error. I refrained from asking if Pennsylvania would be prosecuting the thousands, if not millions of website owners who publish information on how to build a bomb. Are digital librarians around the world guilty of furnishing alcohol to minors if they include a beer recipe online? The shocking degree of censorship authority Attorney General Shapiro grants himself is not supported by the Pennsylvania or U.S. Constitutions.
President Trump seemed to signal a willingness to support the censorship and disavow his own State Department’s legal agreement on the case. Tuesday morning, he Tweeted “I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”
I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2018
I’ll make it easy for you Mr. President. This is simply about whether the government gets to tell one person he can’t share his knowledge with another. Wilson says “[i]t meets all the requirements of speech — it’s artistic and political, you can manipulate it, and it needs human involvement to become other things.” Barak Hussein Obama repeatedly demonstrated open contempt and willfully violated the First and Second Amendment rights of all Americans. Let’s pray President Trump doesn’t follow suit.
Defense Distributed site DefCAD promises to publish its files to those not under court-ordered ignorance on August 1st, 2018.
3D printers typically use plastic raw materials heated and extruded along three axes to replicate the file dimensions that it is printing. You can see a demonstration here:
New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland filed suit Tuesday, July 18 against the federal government over taxes. Salt taxes. You would be mistaken if you thought that was a new Democrat plan to pay for everything by taxing table salt. The SALT here stands for state and local taxes, and Blue State Democrats aren’t about to give up their fat budgets and defined benefit pension plans without a fight. They are suing because the new federal tax laws eliminate subsidies for high tax jurisdictions and they want them back.
Hope and Change
State and local income taxes used to be deductible against one’s federal income taxes. So if you, for instance, lived in California and made $250k last year, your California income taxes would be about $33,250. Golden State indeed. It used to be that when you then went to pay your federal income tax, you could reduce your reported income by $33,250. That has changed.
At the end of 2017, Republicans passed, and Trump signed, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. One of the changes the law implemented was to cap the deductibility of state and local taxes to $10,000. Not a change that will affect the poor, except perhaps create more of them in high tax jurisdictions.
Because of the previous unlimited deduction, people who lived in high tax states, the politicians there, and the states themselves, all received a massive subsidy from those in low tax jurisdictions. It just so happens that states and localities with the highest of taxes are often the places you’re most likely find a Clinton voter.
Since every dollar they collected was deducted from federal taxes, the federal receipts are lowered, while state spending is discounted to the tune of whatever the marginal tax rate of the earner is. No more.
Stop the Presses!
What will the federal courts do with this claim? My prediction is nothing. Sadly, state attorneys general, both Democrat and Republican, often use the power of their office to file wildly political suits seemingly designed not to honor their oaths of office and protect the citizenry, but to advance their near-term political interests.
New York estimates that taxpayers will pay $14 billion more in 2018 because of the new rules. New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said in a statement, “[T]his cap is unconstitutional – going well beyond settled limits on federal power to impose an income tax.” Did a statewide elected Democrat from New York just make an argument that there were limits on the federal taxing authority? Be still my heart.
Tim Donner and Scott Cosenza talk about the future of abortion law in the U.S. with Justice Kennedy’s resignation and the vacancy on the Supreme Court.
The Uprising – Liberty Nation’s own podcast, hosted by Scott Cosenza and Tim Donner, offers in-depth, incisive and ultimately entertaining commentary.
Stormy Daniels was arrested in Columbus Ohio in the early morning hours of July 12th while performing at a strip club. The porn star became famous for suing President Trump over a non-disclosure agreement designed to conceal a night’s liaison from 2006. She had been trying to sell her story to tabloids on the eve of the presidential election in 2016 when Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen agreed to buy her silence for $130,000. Daniels (real name – Stephanie Clifford) has been on a nationwide tour of strip-clubs since she rocketed to fame. Columbus police arrested Daniels for touching a patron, but then released her after charges were dismissed later that day.
Her arrest and release show off several profoundly disturbing features of our justice system that cry out for reform.
To Protect and Serve
Reading the charges about touching, and knowing Daniels is comfortable selling sex, you could be forgiven for thinking she was arrested for engaging in sex for sale. This is false. She was, according to her attorney Michael Avenatti, “arrested for allegedly allowing a customer to touch her while on stage in a non-sexual manner!” Mr. Avenatti later claimed in a television interview that an officer asked her to do it.
In Ohio, only immediate family members of nude employees of sexually oriented businesses may touch them or be touched by them at work. That’s not a misprint. If you’re asking why an immediate family member would want to watch their immediate family member working nude, or semi-nude, in a sexually oriented business, join the club. Why that’s something Ohio’s legislature sought to codify, we’ll leave for another day.
In one of the last opinions Justice Kennedy wrote, the Court ruled in favor of Fane Lozman, a man whose case is similar. No, he isn’t an exotic dancer, but he was arrested for what he said, a violation of his First Amendment rights. City leaders were mad at him and directed police to arrest him at a town meeting for disorderly conduct. Lozman claimed the arrest was illegal because it was made due solely to the words he spoke, not that he was talking out of turn. The law previously held that so long as probable cause for an arrest exists, true motivations need not be considered.
Kennedy and the Court did not make a bright-line rule establishing whether officials’ motivations for arresting people may be considered without considering probable cause. Instead, they issued a decision so narrowly tailored it likely will only apply in Lozman’s case, giving no guidance for the rest of us. We don’t know Daniels was arrested because of her speech. We can, however, say that common sense demands we assume that to be true unless other compelling reasons are given.
Can you imagine being paid a six-figure salary with generous medical benefits and an amazing pension, all to work a barstool, drinking and looking at naked dancers on the taxpayers’ dime? The brave men and women in blue at the Columbus, Ohio Police Department did not respond to requests for information as to whether lap dances are included in the police budget.
Not to be outgunned against the feature dancer, at least four Columbus police officers were on duty and dispatched to Stormy Daniels’ performance that Monday night. Three detectives and a patrol officer in plainclothes were part of this special enforcement detachment. Heroes all, they gathered, a thin blue line at the edge of the stage as Ms. Daniels gyrated. They were then victims/survivors/witnesses of the following:
During the performance, after removing her top, began forcing the faces of the patrons into her chest and using her bare breasts to smack the patrons.
Stormy ran afoul of the law by a performance that sounds less like a scene from a porno than a Benny Hill skit. Naughty, I suppose, but in a way that warrants police attention? Well if the officers or their supervisors are huge Trump fans who hate her for embarrassing the president, that’s another story.
Avenatti accused at least one detective of acting against Daniels for the political reason that they are pro-Trump and impermissibly discriminated against Daniels. Avenatti includes images alleged to have been posted to social media accounts owned by arresting officers that are pro-Trump, and whose accounts have now been deleted.
Since news of the arrest broke, the Columbus police department has been in damage control mode. First, they claimed the cops were investigating human trafficking. They were quick to add that the department “engages in these operations routinely, with no effect on other calls for service.” Columbus had 125 homicides in 2016, the most recent year reported. The next day, after Daniels’ release, the department’s chief, Kim Jacobs, released a statement promising to investigate the motivations behind the arrest.
While Daniels’ arrest doesn’t pass the smell test, neither does her release. I’m not suggesting it was wrong for Deputy Chief Prosecutor Joseph Gibson to run to court to with a motion to dismiss and a memorandum in support of it a few hours after her arrest. I am suggesting that if you are ever arrested in Columbus, Ohio for a few misdemeanors at a strip bar on the overnight shift, it will likely be a lot longer than that before the DA provides a similar letter for you.
Her charges were dismissed because Avenatti and local defense counsel Chase Mallory convincingly argued that the statute only applies to those who “regularly” appear nude at the premises, and that police offered no evidence Daniels did so. While it’s not at all surprising to see charges dropped with these facts, it is surprising to see it done so quickly. Bravo to Columbus City Attorney Klein and his deputies if they treat defendants with less than half a million twitter followers thusly.
Daniels’ “Make America Horny Again Tour” continued that Thursday night, albeit with a change in venue:
I will be at Vanity Gentlemen's Club in Columbus tonight NOT at Sirens. The owners were too fearful to have me back but thankfully I have found a new venue so my Columbus fans will not be disappointed!! #TEAMSTORMY #Basta
— Stormy Daniels (@StormyDaniels) July 12, 2018