Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/26/18: Spin! Hypocrisy! Heresy! Demagoguery! Idiocy! And Weren’t Those Sex Slaves Cheering For North Korea Adorable?

Good Morning!

Of course it’s a good morning…the 2018 Winter Olympics ended last night!

1 The Schiff Memo. The Democrat’s alleged rebuttal to the Devon Nunes memo regarding how Carter Page came to be the object of secret surveillance that extended into the Trump campaign should have been the big story of the weekend, along with the fact that government systems repeatedly failed to protect the students in Parkland from an unbalanced young man who had been repeatedly identified as a risk for exactly the kind of mad act he ultimately engaged in. But the left-biased news media downplayed it after trying to spin it, because the hyped memo did not rebut the key allegations in the previous Republican House document. The FISA court was not informed that the Russian dossier was created and funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. The dubious dossier  was a key component of the evidence that led a secret court to remove the Constitutional rights of a citizen, while interfering with a Presidential campaign.

Amusingly, the Schiff memo spins that the Obama Justice Department application was “transparent,” and then describes transparency as a FISA warrant application that said that Christopher Steele, referred to as “Source #1,” was “approached by” Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, referred to as “an identified U.S. person,” who

indicated to Source #1 that a U.S.-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. Person to conduct research regarding Candidate #1’s [i.e., Trump’s] ties to Russia. (The identified U.S. Person and Source #1 have a longstanding business relationship.) The identified U.S. Person hired Source #1 to conduct this research. The identified U.S. Person never advised Source #1 as to the motivation behind the research into Candidate #1’s ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. Person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign.

Andrew McCarthy, in the National Review, concludes that the Schiff memo does the Democratic narrative more harm than good. I agree: it looks like a desperate spin attempt to me, so desperate that the news media abandoned the story as quickly as it could.

2. Segue Alert! And speaking of transparency…From the Boston Herald:

Ex-President Barack Obama gave a secret talk in Boston yesterday at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, where organizers threatened to eject and ban credentialed journalists for simply doing their jobs — prohibiting them from tweeting or reporting on the event, both during and after. “Everyone involved in this blanket coverage ban should be embarrassed,” said Ken Paulson, the president of the First Amendment Center at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. “I’m sure President Obama has his pick of lucrative speaking gigs. Why pick one that’s the antithesis of transparency?”

Reporters were granted media credentials weeks ago, only to be slapped with the journalistic equivalent of a gag order just 24 hours before the conference. The Herald declined a credential after being informed it could purchase one for a “discounted rate” of nearly $400. “During President Obama’s panel the following will not be permitted, without exception: photography, video recording, streaming, and social media posting — including the use of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other platforms,” read the warning from MIT conference organizers. “Following the panel, the sharing or reporting of its contents on public platforms, including news outlets and social media, will not be permitted. This policy applies to all attendees, credentialed media included.”

The MIT conference also threatened that “those who fail to adhere to this policy will be subject to removal from the conference and denied tickets to future SSAC conferences.”Paulson said reporters should be the ones giving the ultimatum to conference organizers over their “oppressive restrictions” on journalism.

“Why would you agree to play the game, encouraging future manipulation?” Paulson asked. “The strength of a free press depends on true independence. A private organization can certainly set its own rules, but journalists need to apply their own, including not attending events they can’t share with their readers and viewers.”

MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference spokesmen declined to comment last night.

Officials closely monitored attendees and quickly scolded anyone who even reached for their phones, participants told the Herald.

I do not understand why a full report of Obama’s remarks have not already been submitted by the reporters who were present, threats be damned. They have been reporting illegal and unethical leaks regarding private meeting at the White House with national security implications, and they are afraid to reveal what Barack Obama said at a sports conference?

If American journalists had any integrity at all, a report would have been filed within hours of the conclusion of Obama’s remarks.

3. Ethics Hero: Mona Charen. Charen was often the lone conservative on the old CNN Sunday morning panel show “The Capitol Gang,”  In a panel at CPAC, the annual gathering of conservatives where Republicans preach to the choir and pander to extremists, Charen shocked the crowd and drew boos and jeers by saying in part,

“I am disappointed in people on our side for being hypocrites about sexual harassers and abusers of women, who are in our party, who are sitting in the White House, who brag about their extramarital affairs, who brag about mistreating women—and because he happens to have an ‘R’ next to his name we look the other way…This is a party that endorsed Roy Moore for the Senate in the state of Alabama even though he was a credibly accused child molester. You cannot claim that you stand for women and put up with that.”

Charen had to be ushered out of the venue by security personnel out for her own protection after the panel ended.

Good for her: that took integrity and courage.

I don’t care for her remarks about Moore, for the reasons I have already written about extensively. Republicans shouldn’t have supported him because he was an unethical judge, homophobic and a scofflaw. Absent that (“and other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”), Republicans could justifiable support Moore despite “credible allegations”  because they stand for fairness and due process, and at the moment, women like Charen and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand no longer do.

4. Sure. Such as what? From a paid ad in yesterday’s Times titled “Heads of Schools Speak Out About Gun Violence”:

“…Now is the time to take action. As educators, we believe the United States Constitution, including the Second Amendment. We also believe our country need not choose between the protection of responsible gun ownership and the prevention of gun violence and that both can be achieved through thoughtful and forceful legislation. Never before have so many Independent School leaders in our region spoken with one voice on behalf of a single issue. We are moved to do so out of a duty to our students and all of our nation’s children. We stand ready to help in this effort, and encourage our colleagues leading schools across the country to join us. Above all, we demand that reason and compassion prevail when it means protecting our society’s most vulnerable members….”

Possible translations:

  • Do something! But don’t ask us what.
  • Aren’t we virtuous?
  • Think of the Children! But also think of the Constitution!
  • You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope some day you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one!

This doesn’t help. It just injects more platitudes and lazy thought into a debate that is already crippled by too much of the same.

5. Segue Alert 2!: And speaking of lazy thought: I’ll have more about Junior Demagogue David Hogg later, but for now let’s focus on this incompetent statement among many of his that went unchallenged on CNN yesterday, as he defended the officers who refused to enter Hogg’s school to try to stop shooter Nicholas Cruz:

 “Who wants to go down the barrel of an AR-15, even with a Glock? And I know that’s what these police officers are supposed to do, but they’re people too.”

Ah, the irrepressible wisdom of children!  Yes, David, they are people who accepted the responsibility of confronting such a shooter when they accepted the job and the compensation for it. Who wants to run into a burning building? Who wants to confront an armed gang member? Who wants to jump into the ocean from a helicopter to rescue a pleasure boat in a storm? Who wants to risk deadly viruses by treating plague victims in third world countries?

You’re on TV: Shut up about what you know nothing about, like duty, responsibility, professionalism, sacrifice, courage and ethics.

Why is the media presenting a smug, callow student who understands so little as a respectable commentator on anything?

6. Our brilliant school administrators  at work: Man wins girls’ wrestling championship…again. For the second year in a row, Mack Beggs, who was born female and is transitioning to male while taking steroids. won the girls’ state high school wrestling title in Texas by beating the  the same opponent in the final match as last year. Of course, she is still wholly female, while he si more male than before. A rule passed in 2016 by the University Interscholastic League, the governing body for Texas high school sports, mandates that competitors must compete as the gender on their birth certificate.

I wrote about Beggs last year. Take that post and double it.

Here’s the 2018 girl’s wrestling champ in action:

7. Finally, this happy note about those “awesome” North Korean cheerleaders at the Winter Olympics that NBC kept gushing over:

From the New York Post: 

Members of the North Korean national cheerleading squad — who have been featured gleefully rooting at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics — are systematically forced to have sex with high-ranking members of Kim Jong Un’s twisted regime… Behind the scenes, the troupe — dubbed the “Pleasure Squad” by insiders — are forced to perform sex acts on party leaders during their trip to the Olympics, a defector with knowledge of the sexual slavery told Bloomberg News.

I am proud to say that I did not watch one second of this year’s Olympics.

55 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Marketing and Advertising, Professions, Rights, Sports

55 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/26/18: Spin! Hypocrisy! Heresy! Demagoguery! Idiocy! And Weren’t Those Sex Slaves Cheering For North Korea Adorable?

  1. #7) And how many of them will be promptly sent to the gulag for not smiling sufficiently or for thinking things might just be a little more spiffy in South Korea than in North Korea?

  2. #5) I am wondering when the protective mode of David Hogg wears off? At some point the “he’s just a kid” shield is gone. At some point in time the “ok, fine, but he’s being abused by the adults around him” shield is gone. If that point in time hasn’t passed it must be passing soon.

    The more of him I see and more about him I learn, the more I see a cynical opportunist at work. Maybe he fits in just fine with the adults at CNN who are abusing him every time he appears on screen.

    • Aleksei

      It’s like the Eurythmics song.
      “Some of them want to abuse you. Some of them want be abused by you.”
      It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. And hopefully after Sheriff Israel resigns or gets fired for incompetence, David Hogg will have a great election campaign for Broward County Sheriff. Finally being the youngest sheriff ever, that will actually get stuff done! Yay!

      • It’s like back in the day of early video game systems, especially those on computers, when multiple players had to share the same “hot seat”…what was the countdown timer called when the upcoming player’s character was temporarily “invincible” as he or she was occupying the “hot seat”?

        • (Though, I say this mostly facetiously. Hogg still has a great deal to learn. The bad actors in all of this are the adults parading him around and they deserve the lion’s share of condemnation)

          • Aleksei

            I agree, the adults are failing David Hogg here. Arguably, the shooter was also failed by adults around him as well, since the large amount of signals he sent out about his mental state, it seems like it was a cry for help. It’s like the corpse on the NYC subway, it only gets noticed when it starts to smell and decompose, if the cleaning crew didn’t catch it yet.

  3. Aleksei

    #7
    Those cheerleaders were just starting a conversation with their appointed officials about treatment of women in society and the DPRK’s reaction towards #metoo. After intense negotiations, it was decided that further investigations into the matter must be started, right after a bacchanalia in honor of the brave women representing the glorious DPRK.
    #atleasttheyrenotpence

  4. #2) This doesn’t look nefarious at ALL…

  5. Chris

    I don’t see how the Schiff memo is anything but devastating to the Nunes memo. The Nunes memo’s central claim was that the FBI didn’t inform the FISA court that the Steele dossier was funded by the Clinton campaign. But according to the Nunes memo, the FBI didn’t even know that, and said so in the application.

    The Schiff memo quotes the actual application (which the Nunes memo did not) as saying that the FBI “speculates” that Steele had been hired by someone to “discredit” Trump. If the FBI had to speculate that, then they didn’t know who was funding the dossier, and apparently didn’t need to in order to get the application approved. Now if the Republicans can prove that the DOJ lied on the application and that the FBI actually did know Steele was being paid by the Clinton campaign, then that would prove the application was fraudulent, but that doesn’t seem to be McCarthy’s argument. Nor does he seem to be arguing that the judge should have gotten confirmation before approving the application. So how is this damaging to Democrats?

    • What? Read again. They did know that, and the memo admits it. If they didn’t know the source of the memo, then it was illegal to present it as evidence. Catch 22.

      • Tangentially: should we begin to discuss the ethics of “opposition research”, especially as it touches on specifically looking for criminality? The more I ponder this, and it certainly will affect both parties as both parties engage in this, the more I can’t help but conclude that campaigns specifically looking for dirt on opponents are going to be biased in that search and, in a desire to FIND dirt, will have a tendency to spin anything and everything into something heinous.

        This can’t help but undermine the democratic process. I would think that if candidates really had “dirt” rising to a criminal level or a disqualifying level, it would already be generally well enough known by the voting public for the voting public to make an informed decision. This would free voters to vote on policy and, in the case of an Executive position, on leadership.

        I’m open to persuasion on this, as I’m not certain of the finality of my conclusion that “opposition research” being inherently unethical. Consider this initial brainstorming.

      • Chris

        Where? Show me. I just read through the entire memo. I then used the find function to see if I missed anything; there are zero references to the DNC, and every reference to Clinton has nothing to do with the campaign’s funding of the Steele dossier. According to the memo, even Steele himself didn’t know who was funding the dossier.

        Here’s the part relevant to the claim that the FBI omitted information about who was funding the dossier. Bolding is mine:

        DOJ’s Transparency about Christopher Steele

        Far from “omitting” material facts about Steele, as the Majority claims, DOJ repeatedly informed the Court about Steele’s background, credibility, and potential bias. DOJ explained in detail Steele’s prior relationship with and compensation from the FBI; his credibility, reporting history, and source network; the fact of and reason for his termination as a source in late October 2016; and the likely political motivations of those who hired Steele.

        —DOJ was transparent with Court about Steele’s sourcing: The Committee Majority, which had earlier accused Obama Administration officials of improper “unmasking,” faults DOJ for not revealing the names of specific U.S. persons and entities in the FISA application and subsequent renewals. In fact, DOJ appropriately upheld its longstanding practice of protecting U.S. citizen information by purposefully not “unmasking” U.S. person and entity names, unless they were themselves the subject of a counterintelligence investigation. DOJ instead used generic identifiers that provided the Court with more than sufficient information to understand the political context of Steele’s research. In an extensive explanation to the Court, DOJ discloses that Steele.

        “was approached by an identified U.S. Person, who indicated to Source #1 (Steele) that a U.S.-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. Person to conduct research regarding Candidate #1’s ties to Russia. (The identified U.S. Person and Source #1 have a longstanding business relationship.) The identified U.S. person hired Source #1 to conduct this research. The identified U.S. Person never advised Source #1 as to the motivation behind the research into Candidate #1’s ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified J.S. Person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign.”

        Contrary to the Majority’s assertion that DOJ fails to mention that Steele’s research was commissioned by “political actors” to “obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia,” DOJ in fact informed the Court accurately that Steele was hired by politically-motivated U.S. persons and entities and that his research appeared intended for use “to discredit” Trump’s campaign.

        The accusation all along has been that the FBI lied by omission by not telling the court that the dossier was paid for by the Clinton campaign. If the FBI did know this, then they didn’t just lie by omission; they flat-out lied. Is that what you’re asserting?

        . If they didn’t know the source of the memo, then it was illegal to present it as evidence. Catch 22.

        I assume you mean dossier, not memo, and they did know the source. They just didn’t know who funded it.

        Furthermore, the argument that they deceived the court simply doesn’t hold water, and never has. Would you be deceived by this? I don’t see anyone going after the judges here, and if the application was invalid, then the ruling was illegal. Otherwise, you’re simply wrong on the law.

        • Your own quote disproves your contention. DOJ would not be wary of “unmasking” if it didn’t know about the funding of the memo, or which candidate did the funding! Obviously.

          From Berman’s piece:

          Concealing the Dossier’s Clinton-Campaign Origins

          Another major takeaway from the Schiff memo is that the FBI and the DOJ withheld from the FISA court the fact that Steele’s work was a project of the Clinton campaign. Naturally, the reader must ferret this admission out of a couple of dense paragraphs, in which Democrats risibly claim that the “DOJ was transparent with the Court about Steele’s sourcing.”

          How’s this for transparency? The FISA warrant application says that Steele, referred to as “Source #1,” was “approached by” Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, referred to as “an identified U.S. person,” who

          indicated to Source #1 that a U.S.-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. Person to conduct research regarding Candidate #1’s [i.e., Trump’s] ties to Russia. (The identified U.S. Person and Source #1 have a longstanding business relationship.) The identified U.S. Person hired Source #1 to conduct this research. The identified U.S. Person never advised Source #1 as to the motivation behind the research into Candidate #1’s ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. Person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign. [Emphasis in Schiff memo, p. 5]

          The first thing to notice here is the epistemological contortions by which the DOJ rationalized concealing that the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid for Steele’s reporting. They ooze consciousness of guilt. If you have to go through these kinds of mental gymnastics to avoid disclosing something, it’s because you know that being “transparent” demands disclosing it.

          NOBODY except you has made the impossible argument that DOJ didn’t know about the Clinton campaign’s involvement.

          Next, Schiff — again, hilariously enough to make you wonder if it’s done tongue-in-cheek — accuses Nunes of hypocrisy for condemning the omission of Mrs. Clinton’s name after having rebuked the Obama administration’s “unmasking” of American names. Of course, the two things have nothing to do with each other.

          “Unmasking” refers to the revelation of American identities in intelligence reports. These are Americans who, though not targeted as foreign agents, are incidentally intercepted in surveillance. In marked contrast, we are talking here about a FISA warrant application, not an intelligence report. In a warrant application, it is the DOJ’s honorable practice, and the judiciary’s expectation, that the court must be informed about the material biases of the sources of the factual allegations that the DOJ claims amount to probable cause.

          As the Democrats’ own excerpt from the FISA application illustrates, unmasking has nothing to do with it, because there is no need to use names at all: Note that Simpson is referred to as “an identified U.S. person”; Perkins-Coie is referred to as “a U.S.-based law firm.” The dispute here is not about the failure to use the words “Hillary Clinton.” They could have referred to “Candidate #2.” To state that “Candidate #2” had commissioned Steele’s research would have been just as easy and every bit as appropriate as the DOJ’s reference to a “Candidate #1,” who might have “ties to Russia.” Had DOJ done the former, it would not have “unmasked” Hillary Clinton any more than Donald Trump was unmasked by DOJ’s description of him as “Candidate #1”; but it would have been being “transparent” with the FISA court. By omitting any reference to Clinton, the DOJ was being the opposite of transparent.

          • And as to the last point: the fact that judges might guess, discern, or puzzle out inadequate or deceitful representations doesn’t make that practice less illegal or unethical.

            • Chris

              The fact that the judges didn’t think it was illegal is solid evidence that it wasn’t illegal and that you are interpreting the law incorrectly.

              • Nope. It’s evidence that the FISA judges, like DOJ, ignored the law, as there is considerable evidence that they have been doing quite a bit of. This is the problem with secret proceedings.

                • Chris

                  The memo outlines the case against Page well. There was probable cause. The dossier was not the sole source, and came weeks into the investigation, after Page had already left the Trump campaign. Did you even read it?

                  You’ve never put forward a shred of evidence to support the idea that admitting evidence while saying “This was paid for by someone biased against the suspect” is illegal, but admitting the same evidence while saying “This was paid for by this specific campaign that is biased against the suspect” is not, let alone evidence that a court approving such an application based on the former claim is illegal. Both assertions are ridiculous. There is no material difference; in both cases, the court knew there was a political bias behind the funding. They trusted Steele’s intel, and got independent confirmation of some of it. What’s the crime? Point to the specific law broken by either the DOJ or the judges.

                  • 1. Yes.
                    2. And if dubious evidence is even part of a decision to issue a warrant, the warrant is likely to be found invalid.
                    3. The court gets to decide what the bias is and how serious it is, and that can only occur with names.

                    • Chris

                      1. OK. In that case I don’t know why you said the memo admits that the FBI knew that the Clinton campaign paid for the dossier, when it says no such thing.
                      2. That the Clinton campaign funded the dossier does not make it “dubious evidence,” especially since the guy who compiled the dossier didn’t even know they were the ones funding it.
                      3. The court gets to decide whether the bias even matters at all. In this case, they clearly decided that it didn’t. You have asserted–but have not backed up–that their decision was illegal. Prove it.

                    • I wrote about the Woods Procedures here: https://ethicsalarms.com/2018/02/07/the-woods-procedures/

                      “Under the Woods procedures, each and every fact presented in an FBI request to electronically spy on a U.S. citizen must be thoroughly vetted for accuracy, and presented to the court only if verified.”

                      I don’t see how this could be any clearer.

                    • Chris

                      I wrote about the Woods Procedures here: https://ethicsalarms.com/2018/02/07/the-woods-procedures/

                      “Under the Woods procedures, each and every fact presented in an FBI request to electronically spy on a U.S. citizen must be thoroughly vetted for accuracy, and presented to the court only if verified.”

                      I don’t see how this could be any clearer.

                      That has nothing to do with the claim that the FBI broke the law by not revealing the source of the funding for the dossier—which again, according to what they wrote in the FISA app, they did not know. The facts laid out in the dossier relevant to Page—which was not the sole or initial basis for the app in the first place—were vetted for accuracy according to the Schiff memo.

                    • OK, Chris. You want to deny, deny. This will all come out eventually, and It’s pretty clear that there was massive misconduct by all parties, including the court. But hold on to your dreams. I’d love you to be right, but the evidence all points the other way.

                    • Chris

                      OK, Chris. You want to deny, deny. This will all come out eventually, and It’s pretty clear that there was massive misconduct by all parties, including the court. But hold on to your dreams. I’d love you to be right, but the evidence all points the other way.

                      Usually you have actual content to match your level of condescension; this isn’t one of those times. A lot of the evidence you’ve provided in this thread has been flatly wrong. You said the memo confirmed the FBI knew the Clinton campaign paid for the dossier; I showed that it didn’t, which you ignored. I asked you to prove that the FBI would have committed a crime by withholding the fact that the Clinton campaign funded the dossier, or that the judge committed a crime by accepting their application without the knowledge of who funded the dossier; you responding by citing the Woods procedure, which has nothing to do with any of that. And when I point that out to you, you say “Hold on to your dreams?” This is unlike you.

                    • Balderdash. The government cannot spy on a citizen without probable cause and due process, and a secret court proceeding that resulted in continuing surveillance of a citizen based on unverified evidence and a breach of FBI policy is unconstitutional..that is, illegal. You are simply wrong, and will eventually have to admit it. Sorry. You’re wasting my time.

                    • Chris

                      Balderdash. The government cannot spy on a citizen without probable cause

                      There was probable cause, as the memo you claim to have read pointed out.

                      and due process, and a secret court proceeding that resulted in continuing surveillance of a citizen

                      If your objection is to the existence of such secret courts and surveillance, make that objection. There is no evidence that this case was any different from the rest of those, however. None.

                      based on unverified evidence

                      The evidence the application was based on was verified. Read. The. Memo.

                      and a breach of FBI policy

                      You’ve shown no breach of FBI policy. You’ve invoked the Woods procedure, but that ignores the fact that the evidence in the dossier relevant to Page was corroborated. You also previously tried to apply the Woods procedure to the issue of whether the FBI told the court that the dossier was paid for by the Clinton campaign, which has nothing to do with the Woods procedure. Why won’t you admit this?

                      You are simply wrong, and will eventually have to admit it. Sorry. You’re wasting my time.

                      When you continue to respond without addressing a single one of the rebuttals to your claims, that is a waste of your time, but it is your doing, not mine.

                    • I have addressed them, here and elsewhere, as have many, many other analysts in other forums. Your simply repeating denials is not a rebuttal. I could fetch them in 20 seconds, but so can you.

                    • Andrew McCarthy is no hack, by the way. And here’s a sample of his sound analysis on one aspect of the irregularities:

                      “…the FBI did not corroborate Steele’s informants. Their inflammatory allegations about Trump are acknowledged to be “salacious and unverified.” According to the Nunes memo, FBI corroboration efforts were only in their “infancy” at the time the first warrant was sought, and they never yielded anything but “minimal” verification (which may be a charitable way of putting it)….

                      To justify a finding of probable cause, the government must satisfy the court as to the credibility of the informant who, it is claimed, witnessed the factual transactions described in the warrant. There is no vicarious credibility: The informant’s reliability cannot be shored up by the impeccable credentials of the investigative agent. The agent is not the witness; the informant is.”

                      McCarthy was an extremely tough and successful prosecutor, and is a legitimate authority on what constitutes a legal investigation or prosecution.

                    • Chris

                      “…the FBI did not corroborate Steele’s informants. Their inflammatory allegations about Trump

                      Perhaps McCarthy doesn’t realize that the FISA warrant wasn’t for Trump, but I would expect you to know that. The warrant was for Carter Page. The inflammatory allegations about Trump in the dossier didn’t have to be verified. The allegations in the dossier about Page did, and were.

                    • WRONG. EVERY aspect of evidence means every aspect. If it’s going to be used, all of it has to be verified. All of it. If a document contains falsity, the whole thing is tainted and unreliable. Testimony in court is treated the same way.

                    • Chris

                      Do we even know if the court looked at information from the dossier that wasn’t directly related to Page’s activities? Did the DOJ include that evidence in the application?

                      We do know that some evidence from the dossier related to Page has been corroborated, but the government has blacked out which parts:

                      How confident are you that the dossier won’t turn out to be mostly accurate?

                      I’m glad you’ve at least abandoned the point about whether the FBI revealed the dossier’s funding, though I wish you’d concede you were wrong about it.

                      David French responded to McCarthy in the National Review and I find his argument much more persuasive.

                      https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/the-schiff-memo-undermines-republican-claims-of-fisa-abuse/

                    • As I keep trying to explain, “mostly accurate” isn’t enough.Moreover, it all had to be verified BEFORE it was presented to the court. It can’t be retroactively validated.

                    • Chris

                      We don’t know how much of the dossier was a) included in the application and b) verified. It could be all of it. What we do know is that there was enough probable cause for the court to grant the application.

                      There’s basically been three separate claims here:

                      1) That there was no probable cause for the wiretap.
                      2) That the FBI misled the court by not saying who funded the dossier.
                      3) That the wiretap is invalid because not every part of the dossier has been verified.

                      1) and 2) are obviously wrong. The corroborations detailed by the Schiff memo show that there would have been probable cause even without the dossier. Point 2 is wrong for several reasons. First, according to the application the FBI only “speculated” that the dossier was funded by a political entity opposed to Trump. If they knew it was funded by the Clinton campaign they wouldn’t have had to speculate. Steele didn’t know, so it’s possible the FBI didn’t either. Second, even if they did know the Clinton campaign funded the dossier, that’s irrelevant. They told the court it was funded by a biased source. Political bias is political bias. There is no world in which a court would approve a FISA warrant after being told it was funded by a biased entity, but would not approve that same warrant after being told which specific biased entity it was. The court obviously knew there was a very high chance the Clinton campaign funded the dossier, and they didn’t care, nor should they have. What matters is the evidence, not who funded it.

                      Point 3 may turn out to be correct, but it’s unlikely. According to the Schiff memo enough of it was verified for the court to approve it. If not all of it was verified, and if that is a violation of the law, what is it exactly you want done? For the investigation into Trump, which began long before the dossier was even on the FBI’s radar, to end? For the judges to step down? I’m not getting what you want here. I’m also not getting why you don’t want to know more about which parts of this dossier have been confirmed. The fact that any of it was confirmed should concern you. Why don’t you care about that?

          • Chris

            Your own quote disproves your contention. DOJ would not be wary of “unmasking” if it didn’t know about the funding of the memo, or which candidate did the funding! Obviously.

            I’m not trying to be obtuse, but I don’t get this. The “unmasking” refers to Glenn Simpson (the “identified U.S. person”) and Perkins-Coie (“a U.S.-based law firm”), no? I can find no reference to any entity that could be mistaken for Clinton or her campaign in the Schiff memo’s description of the FISA warrant.

            Again, can you show me, specifically, which part of the memo you’re referring to? Here’s the link:

            From Berman’s piece:

            You mean McCarthy’s. He’s a right-wing hack, Jack. Of course he is spinning this to favor Republicans. It isn’t even convincing spin. The FBI told the court that they thought the dossier was funded by someone with a political agenda who was trying to discredit Trump. You are telling me that the same court that looked at that and said “Well, this is still good evidence and we’re going to approve your warrant” would have made a different decision had the application specified that it was paid for by the Clinton campaign? That is an untenable claim. And if that is not your claim, then there is no worthwhile objection to the application at all.

            How’s this for transparency? The FISA warrant application says that Steele, referred to as “Source #1,” was “approached by” Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, referred to as “an identified U.S. person,” who

            indicated to Source #1 that a U.S.-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. Person to conduct research regarding Candidate #1’s [i.e., Trump’s] ties to Russia. (The identified U.S. Person and Source #1 have a longstanding business relationship.) The identified U.S. Person hired Source #1 to conduct this research. The identified U.S. Person never advised Source #1 as to the motivation behind the research into Candidate #1’s ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. Person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign. [Emphasis in Schiff memo, p. 5]

            Absolutely none of this indicates that the FBI knew who funded the dossier. Simpson didn’t fund it.

            NOBODY except you has made the impossible argument that DOJ didn’t know about the Clinton campaign’s involvement.

            Wrong. I stumbled across this Vox article today after reaching that conclusion independently from reading the memo itself. What do you think “speculate” means? It means the FBI didn’t know who funded the dossier.

            At this point, it’s unclear whether the FBI did in fact know who specifically was funding Steele’s work, or that it was the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign. But regardless, the FBI clearly told the judge that some of the information it was using to justify the FISA warrant request came from a partisan source. And the judge — who presumably read the footnotes — decided it was compelling enough to approve the application anyway. Case closed.

            https://www.vox.com/world/2018/2/24/17048936/democrat-rebuttal-nunes-schiff-memo

            More from McCarthy:

            As the Democrats’ own excerpt from the FISA application illustrates, unmasking has nothing to do with it, because there is no need to use names at all: Note that Simpson is referred to as “an identified U.S. person”; Perkins-Coie is referred to as “a U.S.-based law firm.” The dispute here is not about the failure to use the words “Hillary Clinton.” They could have referred to “Candidate #2.” To state that “Candidate #2” had commissioned Steele’s research would have been just as easy and every bit as appropriate as the DOJ’s reference to a “Candidate #1,” who might have “ties to Russia.” Had DOJ done the former, it would not have “unmasked” Hillary Clinton any more than Donald Trump was unmasked by DOJ’s description of him as “Candidate #1”; but it would have been being “transparent” with the FISA court. By omitting any reference to Clinton, the DOJ was being the opposite of transparent.

            Again, McCarthy provides no evidence that the DOJ was aware that the Clinton campaign funded the dossier at all. There is no evidence in the quoted portions of the application in the Schiff memo that they did, only that they knew that Glenn Simpson had approached Steele on behalf of Perkins Coie.

            Remember, the Nunes memo contained no quotes from the application at all. Nunes himself didn’t even read it. That you immediately gave that memo credence, while immediately dismissing this one, reveals a lot.

    • #1: I wonder about the authenticity or reliability of the Schiff Memo (and the Nunes Memo, for that matter). Schiff wrote his memo in response to the Nunes memo, to correct the record. Is that normal or common House Intelligence Committee action? Do the Republicans write counter memos to the Democrats’ memos? It seems a bit odd to have competing memos floating around, no?

      The Nunes Memo undermines or discredits the FISA court’s wiretap procedures relating to a private citizen and the Trump Campaign, which was based on the Steele Dossier. Schiff takes shots at Nunes, characterizing that memo as undercutting the credibility of a number of government agencies, including the FBI, the FISA courts, and the Justice Department. Nunes also links the Steele Dossier to the Clinton Campaign. Schiff does not appear to address the Steele Dossier and the Clinton Campaign’s role in its creation, and that the Clinton Campaign relationship to that dossier really was unnecessary for the FISA court to issue its orders. Schiff appears to be saying that the FISA court relied on other things to authorize wiretapping Page.

      jvb

    • Chris Marschner

      If Steele is source 1 did he affirmatively swear to the truth of the information he provided to the FBI or did they just take his word for his claims? Given Steele’s statements regarding his contempt for Trump could the reference to political motivation be attibuted to Steele? Was the decision not to make specific the speculation in question based on something that has not been reported?

      It seems to me that Steele is no more of a source than any news story if the information was not independently confirmed by the FBI unless it can be established that Steele had first hand knowledge of that which is alleged in the dossier. So calling him source 1 is as improper as calling someone reading Yahoo news as source 2 without any other independent validation.

  6. Cleophus

    On February 25, 1994 Baruch Goldstein opened fire on moslem worshippers in the Cave Of The Patriarchs with an actual military issue Galil assault rifle, killing 29 before someone in the crowd threw a fire extinguisher at him, striking him in the head. Then the crowd beat him to death. So parity in arms is not exactly necessary when lives are on the line, only will.

  7. JimHodgson

    Regarding #5:
    I spent a number of years as a patrol shift supervisor, and was the first supervisor of our SRO unit, attending SRO training with our first SROs. Back when active shooter response protocols were still being debated, years before Columbine, I told my guys (they were all guys back then), “It may be just me, and it may be just you, but we will go in regardless.” I do not know of a single one who disagreed or wouldn’t have unhesitatingly gone in alone to confront a shooter. To do otherwise would have been morally repugnant to us, an inexcusable breach of duty and honor.The same goes for several friends who are SROs now.

  8. 2. “During President Obama’s panel the following will not be permitted, without exception: photography, video recording, streaming, and social media posting — including the use of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other platforms,” read the warning from MIT conference organizers. “Following the panel, the sharing or reporting of its contents on public platforms, including news outlets and social media, will not be permitted. This policy applies to all attendees, credentialed media included.”

    So…. They can’t record it, can’t post about it…. In other words, they can’t report on it…. f they can’t report on it, why would reporters show up?

    6. I’m just going to click that link and make sure I’m not horribly contradicting myself before I say…. Oooh. I’ve evolved. I still think the right thing for Mack to do is to not compete. If you can’t compete in the men’s division because the school doesn’t recognize you as a man, that doesn’t make ragdolling the girls the right thing to do.But that brings me to the position I didn’t hold last year: Where the hell are the adults, and why haven’t they figured this out in the last 365? Seriously… Whatever leniency I was willing to give them last year as they were bumbling around trying to figure out the hell was going on is gone. There are certain biological truths that we have to deal with: At 5’9″ and built like a brick shithouse, I was never going to have a great future in basketball, and born a boy in a girls body, Mack was never destined to compete in gendered sports. He’s on testosterone and steroids. Letting him participate in either division is like condoning the Russian doping program. He’s on testosterone and steroids. For fucks sake, how is that acceptable in a competition, ever?

    • Re #2: The other question (besides why would they show up) is why were reporters invited in the first place if they were not allowed to do their jobs? What could Pres. Obama have to say at a sports conference/seminar that is so vital to national and international security that his comments should be made under and inside of the Cone of Silence? It makes you wonder about that Obama-Farrakhan photo from a few weeks back. Our intrepid Ethicist wrote about it here:

      https://ethicsalarms.com/2018/01/30/the-obama-farrakhan-photo/

      Perhaps there is nothing to it, and Pres. Obama simply wanted to be free to talk about sports stuff without having to worry about making sports political, but it seems odd to me that MIT would require newspeople to refrain from doing their jobs. But, then, the reports capitulated. In the immortal words of Jacques Clouseau. “Vedy Schtrange”:

      jvb

      • That pretty much sums up my thoughts on #2 and #6. I’m boggled at the foolishness displayed in both scenarios.

      • It seems that Reason has a recording of the speech and published it on its page, along with analysis by Robby Soave. Here is the link: https://reason.com/blog/2018/02/26/barack-obama-mit-sloan-sports

        So, why the secrecy? This speech seems pretty typical of Pres.Obama’s past comments. Perhaps it was simply to allow him to speak freely without fears of politicizing his comments. I don’t know.

        I wonder what he meant when he said Google, Facebook, etc., are “a public good as well as a commercial enterprise,” though. Did that mean he thinks the internet is akin to a utility subject to government regulation? It that his reasoning behind net neutrality?

        Soave writes, “Obama described social media platforms as a ‘hugely powerful potential force for good,’ but then immediately hedged. ‘What’s also true is that our social media platforms are just a tool,’ he said. ‘ISIS can use that tool. Neo-Nazis can use that tool. I do think the large platforms—Google and Facebook being the most obvious, Twitter and others as well, are part of that ecosystem—have to have a conversation about their business model that recognizes they are a public good as well as a commercial enterprise. They’re not just an invisible platform, they’re shaping our culture in powerful ways.'” Pres. Obama also said, media giants like Facebook and Google should keep in mind that the U.S. government has a role to play in ensuring there are “basic rules of the road in place that create level playing fields.”

        jvb

        • Oh, and the amusing part was when Pres. Obama said “We didn’t have a scandal that embarrassed us[.]” Lois Lerner? Gun-running in Mexico? Failures in Libya and the strange Iran Nuke deal. Oh and how about the Russian reset? I thought that the Russian Bear was dead and gone (did he mock Romney about Russia’s threat to our democracy?). Hmmmm.

          jvb

    • “He’s on testosterone and steroids. For fucks sake, how is that acceptable in a competition, ever?”

      Key.

      The whole transgender thing should be immaterial to the discussion… the chemical boost to the competitor should be disqualifying. Individual players should be taught that they need to prioritize what it is they particularly want at whatever phase in life they are in. If two items on their priority list conflict…pick one for now and save the other for later.

  9. Chris Marschner

    Regarding point 4.
    The other day I stated that the the question of what the opportunity costs of rights are depends on who is responsible for incurring them.

    According to the CDC, nine people die and 1000 are injured daily by vehicular accidents attributed to texting while driving.. Other researchers put the number at 11 teen deaths daily from texting and driving.

    So where is David Hogg and all these teen activists who want safer schools? Do they not want safer streets? Where are their demands that no student should have access to a device (cell phone) that can be directly attributable to the cause of death and injury of their classmates and/or the families of innocent people?

    I wonder whether if any who are quick to demand the banning of certain firearms would be willing to have phones be limited to making calls only by eliminating the keypad on their preferred tool.

  10. Obama and the media going along with the secrecy is what fed Trump’s election. The optics are terrible, and unnecessary.

  11. Pennagain

    re: Mack Beggs. This confused me the first time around. Since anabolic steroids fundamentally change muscle fibers, i.e., their potential for size and strength is permanently increased, why can’t he … just like the Soviet female athletes who used (who were caught using, that is) steroids … be banned from all all-female sports?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s