Editor’s Note: It is difficult to recall a time in recent US history when national politics has been so exciting to watch–as if something is in fact proceeding that is unprecedented. If one has only been half-paying attention they must notice very unusual developments that have been largely overlooked by major media, including the recent revelation that top DOJ officials plotted to oust the present presidential incumbent.
Don’t tell former FBI general counsel James Baker that those now-infamous discussions about secretly recordingPresident Trump and using the tapes to remove him from office were a joke.
He apparently doesn’t believe it. And he held quite the vantage point — he was on the inside of the bureau’s leadership in May 2017, when the discussions occurred.
Baker told Congress last week that his boss — then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe — was dead serious about the idea of surreptitiously recording the 45th president and using the evidence to make the case that Trump should be removed from office, according to my sources.
Baker told lawmakers he wasn’t in the meeting McCabe had with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in which the subject came up. But he did have firsthand conversations with McCabe and the FBI lawyer assigned to McCabe, Lisa Page, about the issue.
“As far as Baker was concerned, this was a real plan being discussed,” said a source directly familiar with the congressional investigation. “It was no laughing matter for the FBI.”
Word of Baker’s testimony surfaced just days before Rosenstein was set to be interviewed in private on Thursday by House Judiciary Committee lawmakers.
Since The New York Times first reported the allegations, Rosenstein, the No. 2 Department of Justice (DOJ) official, has tried to downplay his role in them. His office has suggested that he thought the discussions were a joke, that Rosenstein never gave an order to carry out such a plot, and that he does not believe Trump should be removed from office.
Editor’s Note: California may set the tone for a national conversation and perhaps even set of laws addressing what the state’s lawmakers deem “false information … spread online.” Since political motivation and ideology often underly what one deems “fake news” this proposed move should be especially concerning for those who truly cherish free thought and expression. As the article below suggests, Facebook’s recent nod to corporate media outlets as an antithesis to “fake news” has demonstrated how such an effort is likely to be instituted in California and elsewhere. The Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that the law is dangerous because it places the governing body in a position to determine what is true and false.
The proposed speech legislation was introduced by California State Senator Richard Pan, a practicing pediatrician and the principal lawmaker behind SB277, the state’s mandatory vaccination law. A voter-driven campaign in 2015 to have Pan ousted from office was not successful.
California is considering creating a “fake news” advisory group in order to monitor information posted and spread on social media.
Senate Bill 1424 would require the California Attorney General to create the advisory committee by April 1, 2019. It would need to consist of at least one person from the Department of Justice, representatives from social media providers, civil liberties advocates, and First Amendment scholars.
The advisory group would be required to study how false information is spread online and come up with a plan for social media platforms to fix the problem. The Attorney General would then need to present that plan to the Legislature by December 31, 2019. The group would also need to come up with criteria establishing what is “fake news” versus what is inflammatory or one-sided.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation opposes the bill, calling it “flawed” and “misguided.” The group argues the measure would make the government and advisory group responsible for deciding what is true or false. It also points out the First Amendment prevents content-based restrictions, even if the statements of “admittedly false.”
A recent study by Massachusetts-based MindEdge Learning was conducted with 1,000 young adults, ages 18 to 31-years-old. According to MindEdge’s nine-question survey, 52 percent of the respondents incorrectly answered at least four questions and received a failing grade. The number of young adults who could detect false information on the internet went down by all of the group’s measures. Only 19 percent of the college students and grads scored an “A” by getting eight or nine questions correct. That number is down from 24 percent in last year’s survey.
Facebook recently did away with its “Trending News” section – calling it outdated and unpopular. That section was criticized in the past after reports came out claiming the human editors were biased against conservatives. After Facebook fired those editors, the algorithms it replaced them with couldn’t always distinguish real news from fake.
After the 2016 election, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg denied that fake news spread on the social site he oversees influenced the outcome- calling the idea “crazy.”
A previous bill, AB 155, would have required schools to teach students the difference between “fake news” and “real news.” It died in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations.
The current bill SB 1424 was authored by Senator Dr. Richard Pan. It passed the Senate on May 30, 2018 by a vote of 25-11. It will be heard by the Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, tourism, and Internet Media Committee on Tuesday.
First Attorney General Held in Contempt of Congress
“Could maybe unify the country”
President Barack Obama’s Attorney General Eric “Fast and Furious” Holder has intimated that he may be considering a 2020 presidential run. The nation’s former top law enforcer thinks he can unify the country after having served close to eight years dividing it along racial lines.
Holder presided over one of the most corrupt US Justice Departments in the country’s history. Further, a host of mass casualty events occurred under his watch, ranging from the dubious to the wholly fraudulent, These included Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Boston Marathon, Umqua College, Charlotte, San Bernardino, and Orlando.
Following many of these events Holder’s DOJ curiously paid out millions of dollars to those directly involved in the incidents and/or residents of the communities. In fact, Holder does not keep secret his contempt for the Second Amendment.
And for all the ballyhoo about Holder being the “First African-American Attorney General,” he proceeded to let all of the criminal bankers go unpunished while leaving black-on-black crime entirely unaddressed.
What about Freedom of the Press? Eric Holder served under an ostensibly “liberal Democrat.” Plus he once sported a “black power” afro the size of Billy Preston’s. Surely he upholds the right to free speech.
In fact, Holder’s DOJ prosecuted more journalists under the archaic Espionage Act than all previous administrations combined. Holder also used aggressive search-and-seizure tactics against individual news organizations for alleged leaks that would have made the Nixon administration blush.
Below are a few of the remarks from a March 2018 conversation Holder had with the New York Times, highlighted in USA Today.
“If I were gonna [run], I would do it because I think- I would have concluded that I could maybe unify the country,” he said. “Help unify the country, because it’s bigger than one person… That I could repair and then advance the nation in a variety of contexts.”
But after serving under both the Obama and Clinton administrations, Holder’s not so sure that he wants to jump back into public life.
“I remember some unpleasant hearings with some congressmen who are now leaving,” he said. “I’m gonna miss them.”
While he thinks could personally withstand any criticism thrown his way, he’s not sure he would want to subject his family to that.
“I read about, ‘Holder’s corrupt,’ ‘Holder’s whatever,'” he said. “It’s all politics, and I just dismiss it. But I saw the impact that it had on my family.”
“‘Holder’s corrupt. Holder’s whatever'”? (Not this again.) The facts speak for themselves.
In 2011, the United States adopted the Strategy for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States (Strategy) and a corresponding Strategic Implementation Plan. Since publication, the mission to prevent violent extremism has progressed, and violent extremist threats have continued to evolve. The overall goal of the Strategy and United States Government efforts to implement it remains unchanged: to prevent violent extremists and their supporters from inspiring, radicalizing, financing, or recruiting individuals or groups in the United States to commit acts of violence.