AWRM
01/17/2019 08:48 PM Federal Judge Orders Obama Officials To Respond Over Clinton Ben [by ConSigCor]
Federal Judge Orders Rhodes, Rice, & Other Obama Officials To Respond Over Clinton Benghazi/Email Scandal

Tyler Durden
January 16th, 2019
Zero Hedge


In what Judicial Watch describes as a “major victory for accountability,” a federal judge ruled Tuesday that former national security adviser Susan Rice and former deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes must answer written questions about the State Department’s response to the deadly 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, as part of an ongoing legal battle over whether Hillary Clinton sought to deliberately evade public record laws by using a private email server while secretary of state.

As Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain reports, the judge’s order amounts to approval of a discovery plan he ordered last month. In that ruling, Lamberth wrote that Clinton’s use of a private email account was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency” and said the response of the State and Justice Departments “smacks of outrageous misconduct.”

Judicial Watch announced last night that United States District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that discovery can begin in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides will now be deposed under oath. Senior officials – including Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap – will now have to answer Judicial Watch’s written questions under oath. The court rejected the DOJ and State Department’s objections to Judicial Watch’s court-ordered discovery plan. (The court, in ordering a discovery plan last month, ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”)

Judicial Watch’s discovery will seek answers to:

Whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system;
whether the State Department’s efforts to settle this case beginning in late 2014 amounted to bad faith; and
whether the State Department adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request.

Discovery is scheduled to be completed within 120 days. The court will hold a post-discovery hearing to determine if Judicial Watch may also depose additional witnesses, including Clinton and her former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills.

Judge Lamberth ordered written responses under oath to Judicial Watch’s questions from Obama administration senior officials Rice, Rhodes and Sullivan, and former FBI official Priestap. Rice and Rhodes will answer interrogatories under oath on the Benghazi scandal. Rejecting the State and Justice Department objections to discovery on the infamous Benghazi talking points, Judge Lamberth reiterated:

Yet Rice’s talking points and State’s understanding of the attack play an unavoidably central role in this case: information about the points’ development and content, as well as their discussion and dissemination before and after Rice’s appearances could reveal unsearched, relevant records; State’s role in the points’ content and development could shed light on Clinton’s motives for shielding her emails from FOIA requesters or on State’s reluctance to search her emails.

Judicial Watch also may serve interrogatories on Monica Hanley, a former staff member in the State Department’s Office of the Secretary, and on Lauren Jiloty, Clinton’s former special assistant.

According to Lamberth’s order, regarding whether Clinton’s private email use while Secretary of State was an intentional attempt to evade FOIA, Judicial Watch may depose:

Eric Boswell, the former Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security.… Boswell’s March 2009 memo to Mills … discusses security risks Clinton’s Blackberry use posed more generally. And Boswell personally discussed the memo with Clinton. So, he plainly has relevant information about that conversation and about his general knowledge of Clinton’s email use. Judicial Watch may depose Boswell.

Justin Cooper. the Clinton Foundation employee who created the clintonemail.com server. In its proposal, Judicial Watch noted Cooper’s prior congressional testimony “appears to contradict portions of the testimony provided by Huma Abedin in the case before Judge Sullivan.” … Cooper repeatedly told Congress that Abedin helped set-up the Clintons’ private server, e.g., Examining Preservation of State Department Federal Records: [before a Congressional hearing] Abedin testified under oath she did not know about the server until six years later.… Judicial Watch may depose Cooper.

Clarence Finney, the former deputy director of State’s Executive Secretariat staff…. [T]his case’s questions hinge on what specific State employees knew and when they knew it. As the principal advisor and records management expert responsible for controlling Clinton’s official correspondence and records, Finney’s knowledge is particularly relevant. And especially given the concerns about government misconduct that prompted this discovery, Judicial Watch’s ability to take his direct testimony and ask follow-up questions is critical.

Additionally, Judicial Watch states that it seeks to go beyond cursory, second-hand testimony and directly ask Finney what he knew about Clinton’s email use. This includes asking about emails suggesting he knew about her private email use in 2014, and emails he received concerning a December 2012 FOIA request from Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington (CREW) regarding senior officials’ personal email use-topics State’s 30(b)(6) deposition in Judge Sullivan’s case never addressed. Judicial Watch may depose Finney.

4. Heather Samuelson. the former State Department senior advisor who helped facilitate State’s receipt of Hillary Clinton’s emails.… [T]his case turns on what specific government employees knew and when they knew it. Judicial Watch must be able to take their direct testimony and ask them follow-up questions. Judicial Watch may depose Samuelson.

5. Jacob Sullivan. Secretary Clinton’s former senior advisor and deputy Chief of Staff. The government does not oppose Sullivan’s deposition.

Regarding whether the State Department’s settlement attempts that began in late 2014 amounted to “bad faith,” Judicial Watch was granted depositions from the State Department under Rule 30(b)(6); Finney; John Hackett, the former deputy director of State’s Office of Information Programs & Services; Gene Smilansky, an attorney-advisor within State’s Office of the Legal Advisor; Samuelson; and others.

Judicial Watch was also granted interrogatories on whether the State Department adequately searched for responsive records, as well as several document requests.

“In a major victory for accountability, Judge Lamberth today authorized Judicial Watch to take discovery on whether the Clinton email system evaded FOIA and whether the Benghazi scandal was one reason for keeping Mrs. Clinton’s email secret,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

“Today, Judicial Watch issued document requests and other discovery to the State Department about the Clinton email scandal. Next up, we will begin questioning key witnesses under oath.”

The court-ordered discovery is the latest development in Judicial Watch’s July 2014 FOIA lawsuit filed after the U.S. Department of State failed to respond to a May 13, 2014 FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)). Judicial Watch seeks:

Copies of any updates and/or talking points given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or relating to talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency.

The Judicial Watch discovery plan was in response to a December 6, 2018, ruling by Judge Lamberth.

Incredibly, Justice Department attorneys admit in a filing opposing Judicial Watch’s limited discovery that “Counsel for State contacted the counsel of some third parties that Plaintiff originally included in its draft discovery proposal to obtain their client’s position on being deposed.” This collusion occurred despite criticism from the Court that the DOJ engaged in “chicanery” to cover up misconduct and that career employees in the State and Justice Departments may have “colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton, skirt FOIA, and hoodwink this Court.”

Judicial Watch countered that “[t]he government’s proposal, which is really nothing more than an opposition to [Judicial Watch’s] plan, demonstrates that it continues to reject any impropriety on its part and that it seeks to block any meaningful inquiry into its ‘outrageous misconduct.’”

As a reminder, this Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit led directly to the disclosure of the Clinton email system in 2015.
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01/16/2019 06:07 PM Dem Hearings on “Rightwing Extremism [by ConSigCor]
Democrats Prepare Hearings on “Rightwing Extremism”

Kurt Nimmo
January 15th, 2019
Another Day in the Empire

Prior to the 2018 midterm election, I speculated a Democrat-controlled House would result in hearings targeting “hate groups,” that is to say anybody on the “right” who challenges official narratives, otherwise known as “conspiracy theories.”

“Rep. Bennie Thompson, an African American lawmaker from Mississippi, is in charge of the House Homeland Security Committee,” reports McClatchy. “Thompson intends to hold hearings to spotlight what experts say is a growth of deadly right wing extremism in America, even if the hearings could feature members of white supremacist groups.”

Thompson said his aim is to change the dialogue and find a balance in a U.S. domestic terrorism strategy that he believes has focused too heavily on the threat of homegrown Muslim terrorism and too little the rise of far right, white nationalist, and anti-Semitic groups.

The corporate propaganda media has done a fair job of conflating “white supremacy” and political thought the government wants to silence and shutdown.

The McClatchy article follows this line and links the “trend” of antigovernment activism to Timothy McVeigh and the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. That event has served as a touchstone for over two decades, primarily thanks to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has made a cottage industry out of hyping “rightwing hate” (unacceptable political thought) and the threat of violence (for the state, the two are inseparable).

McClatchy and the corporate media have attached “rightwing extremism” to a number of violent incidents that have more to do with disturbed individuals than ideology.

A recent spate of deadly incidents—including the shooting deaths of 11 congregants at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October, the February 2018 shooting deaths of 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and the August 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia—have given Thompson and other congressional Democrats anecdotal evidence about the extreme right.

The Obama administration, continuing the work of the Bush administration, had the Department of Homeland Security produce a paper on the supposed threat posed by “rightwing extremists,” who are by the state’s definition terrorists on par (or worse than) al-Qaeda and its follow-up act, the Islamic State. Republicans, at the time a majority in the House, lambasted the paper and accused the Obama administration of overreach. Then DHS boss Janet Napolitano went into damage control mode.

Napolitano apologized for the report. But the political backlash led DHS to halt work on tracking violent far right extremism, according to Daryl Johnson, the report’s author.

But now the House is in the hands of the Democrats and they want blood following the election of Donald Trump and the rise of the so-called Alt-right, or New Right.

Under Republican control from 2011 until last week, the House Homeland Security Committee repeatedly rejected calls by Thompson and Democrats for specific probes of domestic far right activities. Some Republicans now are wary that Thompson’s probe would be conducted with a partisan eye.

“Congress and the White House has looked at terrorism through the lens of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. The House Homeland Security Committee, established after those attacks, largely has focused on the foreign threat or potential danger posed by U.S. residents becoming radicalized by foreign terrorist groups.

That emphasis will change under the Democrats. The new terrorists are “homegrown” and include nationalists (shorthand for racist), constitutionalists, and libertarians. There will be hearings and possible show trials in the months ahead.

The DHS will finally arrive at its final destination—a national secret police focused on political activism challenging the ruling elite and their contrived political arrangement.

Thompson said his aim is to change the dialogue and find a balance in a U.S. domestic terrorism strategy that he believes has focused too heavily on the threat of homegrown Muslim terrorism and too little the rise of far right, white nationalist, and anti-Semitic groups.

In order to be classified as antisemitic, a group or an individual only need criticize Israel and its incestuous relationship with the ruling elite and its political operatives, in particular the neocon faction.

Thoughtcrime—opposition to the state and its policies—will not be tolerated by the political class. Democrats want to make sure another Donald Trump will not sit in the White House. In order to do this, they have to go after high profile individuals and groups, hold show trials, and continue the work of deplatforming “deplorables” and their “hate,” in other words, free speech.

Finally, a word of warning to the “far-left.” If you wander outside the parameters set by Democrats and their “progressive” foundations, you will also be attacked and undermined by the state, especially if you oppose Bush’s wars, which became Obama’s wars and now Trump’s.
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01/14/2019 11:55 PM The FBI Counterintelligence Probe into Trump [by airforce]
Stewart baker is not a great fan of Trump, but he says the New York Times story about the FBI counterintelligence investigation on Trump has a very bad odor.

Quote
...The political and bureaucratic motives mixed into this incident are reminiscent of the motives mixed into the decision to launch an investigation of Russia and the Trump campaign, the decision to rely on Christopher Steele's research despite his partisan funding, and the decision to interrogate national security adviser Michael Flynn in the slipperiest of fashions. There are reasons why all of these things might have seemed necessary to honest, committed cops just doing their job. But they also offer a roadmap for how to abuse counterintelligence authority to serve partisan ends—a roadmap that more or less begins where the civil liberties protections of the 1970s end.

My concern is that we're not taking that risk seriously because so many former officials and commentators believe that President Trump deserves all this and more. Some of them still hope that the election of 2016 can be undone, or at least discredited. This leads to a perseverating focus on leaks and scraps from the investigation and a determined lack of concern about the investigation's sometimes tawdry origins. (Yes, I'm talking to you, #BabyCannon!)

If we're going to prevent future scandals, we need to look at both. We need to know the answers to a lot of questions that are not being seriously addressed today: To what extent was politics involved in the decision to open the Trump-Russia investigation; to what extent did politics drive its direction; to what extent was politics involved in the Obama administration's transition intelligence leaks; and, finally, to what extent was politics involved in adding the president to the counterintelligence probe?

The only independent review of any of these questions seems to be the investigation launched by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. He's examining the FISA application for Carter Page. That's a good start, but it's only a start. It's a commonplace insight that President Trump's norm-defying conduct has triggered norm-defying payback by others. I'm sure we're going to learn about the first, but we can't ignore the second.

It's time to expand the Horowitz inquiry, or something like it, into all of these events.


Onward and upward,
airforce
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01/03/2019 09:47 PM Rough Times Are Ahead [by airforce]
...but liberty can still win. A new essay by Ron Paul at the Mises Institute.

Quote
While Congress and the president fight over funding a border wall, they continue to ignore the coming economic tsunami caused by the approximately 22 trillion dollars (and rapidly increasing) federal debt. President Trump may not be troubled by the debt’s effect on the economy because he believes he will be out of office before it becomes a major problem. However, the crisis may come sooner than he, or most people in DC, expects.

The constituency for limited government, while growing, is still far outnumbered by those wanting government to provide economic and personal security. From lower-income Americans who rely on food stamps, public housing, and other government programs, to middle-class Americans who live in homes they could not afford without assistance from federal agencies like Fannies Mae and Freddie Mac, to college students reliant on government-subsidized student loans, to senior citizens reliant on Social Security and Medicare, to billionaire CEOs whose companies rely on bailouts, subsidies, laws and regulations written to benefit politically-powerful businesses, and government contracts, most Americans are reliant on at least one federal program. Many programs are designed to force individuals to accept government aid. For example, it is almost impossible for a senior citizen to obtain health insurance outside of Medicare.

The welfare state is fueled by the Federal Reserve’s easy money policies, which are also responsible for the boom-and-bust cycle that plagues our economy. The Federal Reserve’s policies do not just distort our economy, they also distort our values, as the Fed’s dollar depreciation causes individuals to forgo savings and hard work in favor of immediate gratification. This has helped create an explosion of business and individual debt. There has been a proliferation of bubbles, including in credit card debt, auto loans, and student loans. There is even a new housing bubble.

An economy built on fiat currency and public and private debt is unsustainable. Eventually the bubbles will burst. The most likely outcome will be the rejection of the dollar’s world reserve currency status due to government debt and the Federal Reserve’s monetization of debt. When the bubbles pop, the result will be an economic crisis that will likely dwarf the Great Depression.

The fall of the dollar and the accompanying economic downturn will make it impossible for the government to continue running up huge debts to finance a massive welfare-warfare state. Thus, Congress will be forced to raise taxes and cut benefits. Cowardly politicians will likely outsource the job of raising taxes and cutting benefits to the Federal Reserve. This will cause a dramatic increase in the most insidious of taxes: the inflation tax.

As the Federal Reserve erodes the value of the dollar, thus reducing the value of both earned paychecks and government-provided welfare benefits, a large number of Americans who believe they are entitled to economic security will react by engaging in acts of violence. Politicians will use this violence to further crack down on civil liberties. The resulting economic and civil unrest will further the growth of authoritarian political movements.

Fortunately, the liberty movement continues to grow. This movement counters the authoritarian lies with the truths of Austrian economics and the non-aggression principle. While the years ahead may be tough, if those of us who know the truth work hard to educate others, the cause of liberty can prevail.


Onward and upward,
airforce
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01/03/2019 04:52 PM Gun Rights to be Targeted by Corporations? [by airforce]
Dick's Sporting Goods and Citigroup have already started. A new article from the Mises Institute.

Quote
Ever since Dick’s Sporting Goods and banks such as Citigroup made business decisions in line with the mainstream media’s push for gun control, some opponents of gun control have debated whether private companies pose a bigger threat to gun rights than government does. In the case of Dick’s Sporting Goods, the outdoor company decided to stop selling rifles like the AR-15 and banned the sale of firearms to individuals younger than 21. In response to the Parkland shooting in Florida, banks like Citigroup also crafted their own anti-gun policies as reported in The New York Times:

Quote
Citigroup is setting restrictions on the sale of firearms by its business customers, making it the first Wall Street bank to take a stance in the divisive nationwide gun control debate.

The new policy, announced Thursday, prohibits the sale of firearms to customers who have not passed a background check or who are younger than 21. It also bars the sale of bump stocks and high-capacity magazines.


It’s not just gun owners who are experiencing limited shopping choices. Gun rights lobbies like the National Rifle Association have faced opposition from corporate America. Rental car companies like Avis and software companies like Symantec have severed their affiliate programs with the NRA in the wake of the Parkland shooting hysteria.

It appears the next fad in virtue signaling in the corporate world may be gun control gun.

Why More Laws are Not the Answer

US Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana recently filed the No Red and Blue Banks Act that would “prohibit the federal government from giving contracts to banks that discriminate against lawful businesses based solely on social policy considerations.” Kennedy does raise a valid point about how the government should put the brakes on business subsidization.

Unfortunately, Kennedy falls for the modern-day conservative trap of attacking government contracts because they benefit corporations who espouse leftist causes, rather than categorically opposing all forms of government intervention. For starters, all state contracts and privileges to businesses should be cut off, regardless of their stated goal or purpose. However, many well-intentioned conservatives are stuck on myopic thinking and fail to notice the implicit state coercion in the background. For them, ironically, more government is the answer.

Thinking Beyond Stage 1

Most people see the capitalistic façade of the US economy, but they don’t recognize the implicit threats of state force. Corporations these days are trying to beat the government to the punch when it comes to disassociating with politically maligned groups like gun owners.

If corporations continue to lag, they’ll receive veiled threats from the government to either ban these businesses or else have laws slapped on them. This was on display with the latest social de-platforming scandal.

Justin Raimondo detailed Senator Chris Murphy’s threats to social media companies during the de-platforming:

Quote
All this wasn’t good enough for Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), who demanded to know if the plan was to only take down “one website.” No doubt he has a whole list of sites he’d like to take down. Even more ominously, it was revealed that a direct threat had been made to these companies by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia), who sent out a memo listing all the ways the government could crack down on Big Data if they refuse to go along with cleansing the internet of “divisive” material.


In many regards, politically-connected corporation’s decisions to discontinue business with certain political organizations provide cover for control-freak politicians. Instead of having to pass laws themselves, of which they can be held accountable for during election time, politicians can just pressure and even extort a corporation into carrying out their agenda. No controversial laws or regulations necessary — at least for the time being.

It Goes Back to Culture

It would be naïve to believe that these forms of dissociation and censorship are going to be confined to the private sector. At the end of the day, politics is downstream from culture.

What we’re seeing now is a manifestation of this degenerative process — in real time.

No matter what the naysayers claim, political correctness and state-linguistic complex are tools of the political establishment in its campaign to legitimize political universalism. Once businesses embrace state-linguistic complex hook, line and sinker, this same behavior will then permeate to other parts of society. The political realm will eventually be one of the last sectors to embrace these trends. This has become apparent with the incoming Congress, which is already proposing a slew of gun control bills ranging from universal gun registration to red flag gun confiscation schemes.

America Needs De-Politicization

Yes, business decisions to disassociate with gun groups are not qualitatively the same as state-based gun control. In fact, state-imposed gun control is heavy-handed and much harder to repeal due to institutional inertia in government. Think about it: when was the last time we saw any meaningful legislation repealed at the federal level?

In the long-term, gun organizations can at least turn to other banks and service providers for their daily operations. In some cases, certain entities will emerge to serve the needs of niche organizations that find themselves ostracized by legacy institutions. The controversial social media outlet Gab comes to mind.

Other alternatives such as seeking legal remedies through the courts could be valid options for those affected by controversial business decisions. Plaintiffs could cite breach of contract actions such as violations of terms of service or defamation of character should they decide to take these companies to court. One thing is certain: adding more bureaucracy is not the answer in fighting corporate America’s political correctness agenda.

America desperately needs a political detox, and decentralization might just provide the cure.


Onward and upward,
airforce
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