U.S./MEXICO BORDER—The migrant caravan headed for the U.S. has been the center of much controversy, but the problem seems to have solved itself, as the entire caravan has mysteriously disappeared.
In other, unrelated, good news, there's now a really cool-looking giant wooden horse sitting right at the U.S. border, fresh for the taking.
The wooden horse is massive in size - big enough to fit thousands of people inside if it were hollow (though judging by its weight, the horse is already filled with something). It could make a neat tourist attraction, and President Trump was quick to call dibs on it. "That's my horse; I saw it first!" Trump said in a public statement. "It's the biggest and best horse ever, so obviously it's meant for me. Bring it across the border immediately before someone else takes it!"
Workers are already busy moving the horse, which is conveniently on four giant wooden wheels. "Remember Troy!" called out one of the workers as they began moving it. It's unclear what Troy, a character from the NBC sitcom Community played by famous actor/musician Donald Glover, has to do with a large, wooden horse, but remembering his antics did put a smile on everyone's faces as they began the hard work of moving the massive horse across the U.S. border.
U.S.—In a recent report by the federal government released Friday, the increasingly divided nation was found to have only one thing left in common: enjoying videos in which people fall off things, get hit with a ball or errant baseball bat, or attempt dangerous stunts that end in injury.
While Americans continue to argue about nearly every possible subject, people on the left and the right are still able to join together in laughing at people doing dumb things that result in bodily harm.
"Democrats and Republicans are coming together for only one remaining activity: watching people fall off bicycles, slip on treacherously icy paths, and attempt dangerous stunts while drunk," said a government representative. "The unifying power of people doing stupid stuff and suffering the consequences can't be overstated."
The nation used to at least come together over religion, baseball, and common holidays. But this report found that even those things are less unifying in this tense political atmosphere, with people breaking down into arguments over literally everything—except the pure joy that comes with watching as a kid throws a ball at his dad's crotch.
The science is settled: if you want to unite with family members and friends who disagree with you, invite them over to your house and fire up some compilations of people falling down on YouTube.
HELMAND, Afghanistan — A smart bomb has been used to destroy something that costs more than a smart bomb for the first time since the introduction of precision-guided munitions in 1968, sources confirmed today.
U.S. forces employed Hellfire laser-guided missiles to destroy five Taliban gun trucks as they prepared to attack Musa Qala, a district center in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
“We assess the value of these trucks that we destroyed as being about $200,000 a pop,” Gen. Austin S. Miller, commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, told reporters. “A Hellfire missile only costs $115,000. This was the most efficient strike we’ve seen in this war yet.
The White House said the strike is proof the administration’s strategy in Afghanistan is working.
“This is what winning looks like. It’s proof that we’re putting the Taliban in a place where they be forced to negotiate,” said a senior administration official, who was not authorized to speak publicly. “They can’t afford this.”
Some Pentagon officials have pushed back on this assessment.
“The armored Humvees that the Taliban had stolen from the Afghan National Army originally cost $220,000, and we paid the Afghan interior ministry $8,300 in bribes to get them into the country,” John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, told reporters. “Also, the Taliban were using these as substitutes for trucks that they buy for $800 in Peshawar. So the general’s assessment of the replacement cost of these vehicles is not accurate.”
Foreign policy experts have raised concerns the White House could be overstating the long-term effects of the strike.
“This will not have a significant impact on the outcome of the conflict,” noted John Gentle, a foreign policy expert at RAND Corporation. “The U.S. spends $167 million a day in Afghanistan, and the American people don’t even know we’re still there. I don’t think they really expect our forces there to be efficient at this point. What is an efficient war, anyway?”
ALBANY, N.Y. – While most elderly people plan for relaxation and travel during their retirement years, one federal employee at the Department of Veterans Affairs is settling in for the long haul, sources confirmed today.
Gertrude Smith, well into her nineties, will not retire anytime soon despite doing absolutely no work for the past 6 or 7 years, according to her co-workers.
“She literally stopped moving years ago, contributes nothing to our office and yet remains employed here,” front desk receptionist Angie Brooks said. “It’s frustrating. We’ve been trying to convince her to retire, but she never really answers us. She just sits there staring at her computer.”
Smith never really moves or even speaks, her manager said. She also reportedly doesn’t go home at night. She instead sits in her office staring into the distance.
Smith, who was around 30 years old when Kennedy was shot, attends daily meetings but hasn’t said a word or asked a question since the Challenger explosion.
“We carry her weight literally.” said Duke Krenz, another coworker. “Someone always has to wheel her into the boardroom for meetings.”
Co-workers have urged Smith to retire, but she smiles and shakes her head no.
“Look, I appreciate that some people have health issues, but her blood has pooled in her feet and she just smells god-awful. Can she not smell herself?” said Laura Anderson, a nurse at the VA clinic. “Come on, have some courtesy for the rest of us.”
“I mean, our hands were tied,” said Smith’s previous supervisor Jake Torrance. “To remove a non-performer from the federal government, jeez, it takes years to navigate the process. We gave Smith a bunch of warnings, but the VA’s Performance Improvement Plan requires us to give an employee at least five years to improve. Even then, she has many appeal rights to counter management’s efforts.”
Records show that Smith was fired from the VA in 2015. However, an attorney filed an equal opportunity appeal on her behalf and she was reinstated. She was also awarded a large settlement, but the check was apparently never cashed.
The impact of Smith’s inactivity is not only impacting the morale of her coworkers, but it’s also affecting the government’s efforts to recruit new talent into its aging workforce.
“This is concerning to me for a variety of reasons,” said Stacy Novak, the current human resources manager. “This is going to set a precedent and all ‘aged’ employees are going to stick around forever. I have to worry about bringing in fresh talent so the federal government can get out of the 1950s’ mindset.”
“But I can’t hire anyone until Gertrude stops taking up desk space,” she continued. “Doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon, unfortunately.”
WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a special report Thursday, CNN's Jim Acosta took President Trump to task for failing to take any responsibility for causing World War II.
The president was criticized for not acknowledging that his rhetoric may have contributed to the conflict that spilled out across the globe in the late 1930s. While some historians acknowledge that there may have been other factors—like the Treaty of Versailles, the expansionist Japanese Empire, and a certain German fascist—a large swathe of liberal scholarship has now pinned the war squarely on Donald Trump.
"The president is quick to talk about the Germans' part in instigating the war, yet he still refuses to take any responsibility for inciting the violence that led to World War II," said Acosta. "It is obvious to everyone who watches our channel 24/7 that President Trump is the cause of every woe mankind has ever suffered, from famine and disease to war and death. And yet he stubbornly refuses to acknowledge this."
Acosta then excused himself for his customary afternoon practice of speaking encouraging words to himself in the mirror.
At publishing time, both Snopes and Politifact had rated CNN's claim that President Trump was the main cause behind the conflict that killed tens of millions 100% true.
Quote of the Times;
“With good humor and pessimism it is not possible to be either wrong or bored.” - Davila
Link of the Times;
Issue of the Times;
13 Shocking Facts About Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller
Talking heads act like Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is fair, impartial and unbiased.
But the facts are a wee bit different ...
Failure to Aggressively Prosecute the BCCI Scandal
The BBC noted:
[Mueller] is also known for leading the probe into the 1991 collapse of the Luxembourg-registered Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).
Williams Safire wrote in the New York Times:
The B.C.C.I. scandal involves the laundering of drug money, the illicit financing of terrorism and of arms to Iraq, the easy purchase of respectability and the corruption of the world banking system.
For more than a decade, the biggest banking swindle in history worked beautifully. Between $5 billion and $15 billion was bilked from governments and individual depositors to be put to the most evil of purposes - while lawmen and regulators slept.
Now the fight among investigators is coming out into the open. Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who gave impetus to long-contained probes, told a Senate subcommittee headed by Senator John Kerry that he is getting no cooperation from the Thornburgh Justice Department.
Justice's Criminal Division chief, Robert Mueller, tells me he will have a hatchet-burying session with the independent-minded D.A. next week, and vehemently denies having told British intelligence to stop cooperating with the Manhattan grand jury.
Mueller's handling of the BCCI scandal as the point man for the Justice Department was widely criticized. As noted by a Senate report written by Senators Kerry and Brown:
Over the past two years, the Justice Department's handling of BCCI has been criticized in numerous editorials in major newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, reflecting similar criticism on the part of several Congressmen, including the chairman of the Subcommittee, Senator Kerry; the chief Customs undercover officer who handled the BCCI drug-money laundering sting, Robert Mazur; his superior at Customs, Commissioner William von Raab; New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau; former Senate investigator Jack Blum, and, within the Justice Department itself, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Dexter Lehtinen.
Typical editorials criticized Justice's prosecution of BCCI as "sluggish," "conspicuously slow," "inattentive," and "lethargic." Several editorials noted that there had been "poor cooperation" by Justice with other agencies. One stated that "the Justice Department seems to have been holding up information that should have been passed on" to regulators and others. Another that "the Justice Department's secretive conduct in dealing with BCCI requires a better explanation than any so far offered.
Under Assistant Attorney General Mueller, the Department assigned nearly three dozen attorneys to the case. During 1992, the Department brought several indictments, which remained narrower, less detailed and, at times, seemingly in response to the efforts of District Attorney Robert Morgenthau of New York, the Federal Reserve, or both
Suddenly, on August 22, Dennis Saylor, chief assistant to Assistant Attorney General Mueller, called Lehtinen and, according to the US Attorney, "indicated to me that I was directed not to return the indictment."
The Senate Report also noted:
While the Justice Department's handling of BCCI has received substantial criticism, the office of Robert Morgenthau, District Attorney of New York, has generally received credit for breaking open the BCCI investigation.
In going after BCCI, Morgenthau's office quickly found that in addition to fighting off the bank, it would receive resistance from almost every other institution or entity connected to BCCI, including at various times, BCCI's multitude of prominent and politically well-connected lawyers, BCCI's accountants, BCCI's shareholders, the Bank of England, the British Serious Fraud Office, and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Squashing Warning Signs that May Have Stopped 9/11
Larry Klayman writes:
Robert Mueller first hit my radar ... just months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center.
I came to meet and later represent FBI Special Agents Robert Wright and John Vincent, of the agency’s Chicago Counter-Terrorism Field Office. During our meeting, both Special Agents Wright and Vincent revealed to me that they had been conducting a counterterrorism investigation of Saudi money laundering into and in the United States, and they both believed that a massive terrorist attack was imminent.
In the course of this investigation, both special agents had asked a fellow FBI agent who was undercover, one of Muslim descent, to be wired to turn up further evidence of this terrorist operation. The Muslim agent refused, indignantly telling both Wright and Vincent that Muslims don’t spy and rat on other Muslims. In shock, my soon-to-be clients reported this to their supervisors at the FBI, but no action was taken. To make matters worse, Wright’s and Vincent’s FBI supervisors quashed their investigation. They both believed that the order to kill the investigation came from the highest reaches of the FBI, and, upset if not outraged by this cover-up, Wright then decided to write a book detailing this breach of FBI honor.
The only way I could explain this cover-up was that then-FBI Director Robert Mueller was sensitive to the ties between the family of President George W. Bush and the Saudi royal family.
Director Mueller, along with his “yes men” supervisors at the agency, not only quashed my clients’ investigation and ignored the disloyalty of the Muslim undercover agent, but then missed the warning signs leading up to September 11 – the biggest intelligence failure in American history, even surpassing Pearl Harbor.
But shamelessly, despite this historic intelligence failure and the World Trade Center terrorist attacks that ensued, Mueller later led an effort to drum both Special Agents Wright and Vincent out of the FBI, in part by attempting to remove their security clearances, as a “reward” for their candor.
FBI special agent – and a 2002 Time Person of the Year – Colleen Rowley points out:
The FBI and all the other officials claimed that there were no clues, that they had no warning [about 9/11] etc., and that was not the case. There had been all kinds of memos and intelligence coming in.
But overwhelming evidence shows that 9/11 was foreseeable. Indeed, Al Qaeda crashing planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was itself foreseeable. Even the chair of the 9/11 Commission said that the attack was preventable.
Mueller was one of the people who dropped the ball and let 9/11 happen.
Allowing Escape of Saudi Persons Connected to Bin Laden
Right after 9/11, American airspace was closed down. Yet Mueller was one of the people who allowed relatives of Bin Laden and other persons of interest fly back to Saudi Arabia.
Entrapping Innocent People for P.R. Purposes
After dropping the ball, Mueller then went on to entrap innocent people for P.R. purposes.
And Rowley notes:
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Mueller directed the “post 9/11 round-up” of about 1,000 immigrants who mostly happened to be in the wrong place (the New York City area) at the wrong time. FBI Headquarters encouraged more and more detentions for what seemed to be essentially P.R. purposes. Field offices were required to report daily the number of detentions in order to supply grist for FBI press releases about FBI “progress” in fighting terrorism. Consequently, some of the detainees were brutalized and jailed for up to a year despite the fact that none turned out to be terrorists.
9/11 Cover Up
TIME Magazine would probably have not called my own disclosures a “bombshell memo” to the Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry in May 2002 if it had not been for Mueller’s having so misled everyone after 9/11.
In addition, Rowley says that the FBI sent Soviet-style "minders" to her interviews with the Joint Intelligence Committee investigation of 9/11, to make sure that she didn't say anything the FBI didn't like. The chairs of both the 9/11 Commission and the Official Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 confirmed that government “minders” obstructed the investigation into 9/11 by intimidating witnesses (and see this).
Mueller's FBI also obstructed the 9/11 investigation in many other ways. For example, an FBI informant hosted and rented a room to two hijackers in 2000. Specifically, investigators for the Congressional Joint Inquiry discovered that an FBI informant had hosted and even rented a room to two hijackers in 2000 and that, when the Inquiry sought to interview the informant, the FBI refused outright, and then hid him in an unknown location. See this and this.
Bob Graham, the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told me recently that Robert Mueller, then the FBI director (and now the special counsel investigating connections between Russia and the Trump campaign) made “the strongest objections” to Jacobson and his colleagues visiting San Diego.
Graham and his team defied Mueller’s efforts, and Jacobson flew west. There he discovered that his hunch was correct. The FBI files in California were replete with extraordinary and damning details …
Nevertheless, Mueller adamantly refused their demands to interview him, even when backed by a congressional subpoena, and removed Shaikh to an undisclosed location ‘for his own safety.’
Graham also wrote that the FBI also “insisted that we could not, even in the most sanitized manner, tell the American people that an FBI informant had a relationship with two of the hijackers.”
And Kristen Breitweiser - one of the four 9/11 widows instrumental in forcing the government to form the 9/11 Commission to investigate the 2001 attacks - points out:
Mueller and other FBI officials had purposely tried to keep any incriminating information specifically surrounding the Saudis out of the Inquiry’s investigative hands. To repeat, there was a concerted effort by the FBI and the Bush Administration to keep incriminating Saudi evidence out of the Inquiry’s investigation. And for the exception of the 29 full pages, they succeeded in their effort.
When you had the lead-up to the Iraq War … Mueller and, of course, the CIA and all the other directors, saluted smartly and went along with what Bush wanted, which was to gin up the intelligence to make a pretext for the Iraq War. For instance, in the case of the FBI, they actually had a receipt, and other documentary proof, that one of the hijackers, Mohamed Atta, had not been in Prague, as Dick Cheney was alleging. And yet those directors more or less kept quiet. That included … CIA, FBI, Mueller, and it included also the deputy attorney general at the time, James Comey.
Rowley also points out:
Mueller was even okay with the CIA conducting torture programs after his own agents warned against participation. Agents were simply instructed not to document such torture, and any “war crimes files” were made to disappear. Not only did “collect it all” surveillance and torture programs continue, but Mueller’s (and then Comey’s) FBI later worked to prosecute NSA and CIA whistleblowers who revealed these illegalities.
Mueller also presided over the incredibly flawed anthrax investigation.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office says the FBI's investigation was "flawed and inaccurate". The investigation was so bogus that a senator called for an "independent review and assessment of how the FBI handled its investigation in the anthrax case."
The head of the FBI's anthrax investigation says the whole thing was a sham. He says that the FBI higher-ups "greatly obstructed and impeded the investigation", that there were "politically motivated communication embargoes from FBI Headquarters".
The FBI's anthrax investigation head said that the FBI framed scientist Bruce Ivins. On July 6, 2006, he filed a whistleblower report of mismanagement to the FBI’s Deputy Director pursuant to Title 5, United States Code, Section 2303, which noted:
(j) the FBI’s fingering of Bruce Ivins as the anthrax mailer; and, (k) the FBI’s subsequent efforts to railroad the prosecution of Ivins in the face of daunting exculpatory evidence.
Following the announcement of its circumstantial case against Ivins, Defendants DOJ and FBI crafted an elaborate perception management campaign to bolster their assertion of Ivins’ guilt. These efforts included press conferences and highly selective evidentiary presentations which were replete with material omissions.
In other words, Mueller presided over the attempt to frame an innocent man (and see this).
Unsure If Government Can Assassinate U.S. Citizens Living On U.S. Soil
Rather than saying "of course not!", Mueller said that he wasn't sure whether Obama had the right to assassinate Americans living on American soil.
Constitutional expert Jonathan Turley commented at the time:
One would hope that the FBI Director would have a handle on a few details guiding his responsibilities, including whether he can kill citizens without a charge or court order.
He appeared unclear whether he had the power under the Obama Kill Doctrine or, in the very least, was unwilling to discuss that power. For civil libertarians, the answer should be easy: “Of course, I do not have that power under the Constitution.”
Crippled Investigations of Financial Fraud ... Helping to Allow the Great Recession
In a 2013 piece entitled "Mueller: I Crippled FBI Effort v. White-Collar Crime", the country’s top white collar crime expert, William Black – who put over 1,000 top S&L executives in jail for fraud, and is a professor of law and economics at the University of Missouri - wrote:
The FBI never developed “an intelligence operation” “to analyze threats” of even epidemic fraud.
White-collar crime investigations and prosecutions are massive money makers that reduce the deficit, but Mueller, Holder, and Obama refuse to make these points and refuse to prosecute the elite bank fraudsters. On substantive and political grounds their actions are either inexplicable or all too explicable and support my readers’ belief that the FBI leadership no longer wants to investigate and prosecute the elite bank frauds.
This is important because:
• Fraud CAUSED the Great Depression and the 2008 financial crisis
• Numerous Nobel prize winning economists say that we need to prosecute fraud, or else the economy will never truly stabilize
• After the Great Depression, the government cracked down on Wall Street fraud. But Mueller and other Bush and Obama administration officials let it slide
(There are a lot of people more responsible for the Great Recession - and for lack of reform afterwards - than Mueller. For example, Mueller's boss (the FBI is a part of the Department of Justice) made it more or less official policy not to prosecute financial fraud. But this is another example of Mueller dropping the ball.
Spying on Americans
Mueller participated in one of the greatest expansions of mass surveillance in human history.
As we noted in 2013:
NBC News reports:
NBC News has learned that under the post-9/11 Patriot Act, the government has been collecting records on every phone call made in the U.S.
On March 2011, FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee:
We have put in place technological improvements relating to the capabilities of a database to pull together past emails and future ones as they come in so that it does not require an individualized search.
Remember, the FBI - unlike the CIA - deals with internal matters within the borders of the United States.
On May 1st of this year, former FBI agent Tim Clemente told CNN's Erin Burnett that all present and past phone calls were recorded:
BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they can try to get the phone companies to give that up at this point. It’s not a voice mail. It’s just a conversation. There’s no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them?
CLEMENTE: “No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. It’s not necessarily something that the FBI is going to want to present in court, but it may help lead the investigation and/or lead to questioning of her. We certainly can find that out.
BURNETT: “So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible.
CLEMENTE: “No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not.”
The next day, Clemente again appeared on CNN, this time with host Carol Costello, and she asked him about those remarks. He reiterated what he said the night before but added expressly that “all digital communications in the past” are recorded and stored:
NSA whistleblowers say that this means that the NSA collects "word for word" all of our communications.
Colleen Rowley writes:
Mueller’s FBI was also severely criticized by Department of Justice Inspector Generals finding the FBI overstepped the law improperly serving hundreds of thousands of “national security letters” to obtain private (and irrelevant) metadata on citizens, and for infiltrating nonviolent anti-war groups under the guise of investigating “terrorism.”
Covering Up for Turkish Terrorists
Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI translator who has been deemed credible by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, several senators(free subscription required), and a coalition of prominent conservative and liberal groups, who the ACLU described as "The most gagged person in the history of the United States of America", and who famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg says possesses information “far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers”, says that Mueller covered up a Turkish terror network.
Edmonds also said that Mueller gagged her and other whistleblowers.
Rather than being "above the fray", Mueller is an authoritarian and water-carrier for the status quo and the powers-that-be.
As Coleen Rowley puts it:
Mueller was chosen as Special Counsel not because he has integrity but because he will do what the powerful want him to do.
Mueller didn’t speak the truth about a war he knew to be unjustified. He didn’t speak out against torture. He didn’t speak out against unconstitutional surveillance. And he didn’t tell the truth about 9/11. He is just “their man.”
It’s sad that political partisanship is so blinding and that so few people remember the actual sordid history.