Monday, July 24, 2017

Today's links

"No society can legitimately call itself civilized if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means."  Nye Bevan, UK's National Health Service

No statutory basis for special counsel???

The terms 'special prosecutor', 'independent counsel', and 'special counsel' have the same fundamental meaning, and their use (at least at the federal level in the U.S.) is generally differentiated by the time period to which they are being applied. The term 'special prosecutor' was used throughout the Watergate era, but was replaced by the less confrontational 'independent counsel' in the 1983 reauthorization of the Ethics in Government Act.[5] Those appointed under that act after 1983 are generally referred to as 'independent counsels'. Since the independent counsel law expired in 1999, the term 'special counsel' has been used. This is the term used in the current U.S. government regulations concerning the appointment of special counsels...

Inspired in part by Watergate, in 1978 Congress passed the Ethics in Government Act, which among other things established formal rules for the appointment of a special prosecutor. The special prosecutor provisions in the bill were temporary, but were reauthorized by Congress in 1983 and 1987, expiring five years later in 1992, then were reinstated for another five years in 1994 before expiring again in 1999. The appointment of special prosecutors under the Ethics in Government Act varied in important ways from appointments made before and since. Most notably, although the decision to appoint a special prosecutor was still made by the attorney general, the actual selection of the special prosecutor was made by a three-judge panel

Special prosecutors have also been appointed under special one-time regulations issued by the attorney general. This was the case, for example, for the Watergate special prosecutors.

Passed partly in response to the events of Watergate, the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 created a statutory basis for the appointment of special prosecutors, and specifically restricted the authority of the president or attorney general, for example, to fire the independent counsel once appointed. The independent counsel provisions of the law were in effect during the periods 1978–1992 and 1994–1999.
With the expiration of the independent counsel authority in 1999, the Department of Justice under Attorney General Janet Reno promulgated regulations for the future appointment of special counsels. As of 2017, these regulations remain in effect as 28 CFR section 600.[6] While the regulations place limits on the authority of the attorney general, for example to fire the special counsel once appointed, they are internal Department of Justice regulations without an underlying statutory basis. It is thus unclear whether the limits these regulations place on the attorney general would prove binding in practice.

The attorney general sets the subject jurisdiction of the special counsel:
The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall be established by the Attorney General. The Special Counsel will be provided with a specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated. The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall also include the authority to investigate and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel's investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses; and to conduct appeals arising out of the matter being investigated and/or prosecuted.

Three special prosecutors have been fired before they had completed their investigations


The appointment of a special prosecutor raises inherent separation of powers questions under the U.S. Constitution. Since the special prosecutor is a member of the executive branch, it has been argued that the special prosecutor is ultimately answerable to the president, and can therefore be fired by them. Richard Nixon, for example, argued that he could not be compelled by a subpoena issued by his own subordinate.
The constitutionality of the independent counsel law was affirmed by an 7–1 decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Morrison v. Olson.

1--Obama gives green light to propaganda--HR5736 Smith-Mundt Modernization Act & The Cointelpro Program

(the origins of domestic brainwashing for political objectives that run counter to an informed public and a free press)

" authorize domestic dissemination of information and material about the United States intended primarily for foreign audiences."

2--CIA Not Only Armed Terrorists in Syria they paid their salaries, Julian Assange

3--Yes, There Is a Government Troll Training Program

4--Quantitative Easing: the Most Opaque Transfer of Wealth in History

(wages stagnate while asset prices skyrocket)

“Central banks have flooded the global economy with cheap money since the financial crisis, yet global growth is still in the doldrums, particularly in Europe and Japan, which have both seen colossal stimulus packages thrown at the problem.” Even Forbes admits that QE has “largely failed in reviving economic growth”...

QE has had a similar effect on the global South: enriching the holders of assets at the expense of the ‘asset-poor’. Just as the influx of new money created bubbles in the housing and stock markets, it also created commodity price bubbles as speculators rushed to buy up stocks of, for example, oil and food..

It has been estimated that around 40% of the money generated by the Fed’s first QE credit expansion (‘QE1’) went abroad – mostly to the so-called ‘emerging markets’ of the global South – and around one third from QE2. However, this is not necessarily the great boon it seems. Much of the money went, as we have seen, into buying up commodity stocks (making basic items such as food unaffordable for the poor) rather than investing in new production, and much also went into buying up stocks of currency, again causing an export-damaging appreciation

5--What Americans really care about: Healthcare, jobs, terrorism, immigration, global warming....Russia (6%)  Top Political Issue Is Health Care, Not Russia: Poll

6--Tucker: Trump White House has lost control of its fate

7--US throwing in the towel? 

At the Aspen Security Forum on Friday, Special Operations Command chief Army General, Raymond Thomas was asked whether American forces will remain in Syria, after Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) is defeated, possibly, to support the Kurdish forces in the north of the country.
Thomas acknowledged that American forces are fighting in a sovereign Syria, where they will likely “have no ability to stay” if that presence is questioned “in terms of international law,” Thomas said, replying to the Washington Post journalist’s question....

Lavrov cited Turkish media reports of “ten US bases already having been set up in Syria” and pointed to the “hundreds of military bases of the United States all over the world.”

8--Blumenthal  says Dems are a "corporate sellout establishment that can’t agree on a big economic message

Blumenthal laid out the progressive case against “Russia hysteria.” His first point was that, by obsessing about the Russia scandal, Democrats are forfeiting the chance to outline a genuinely progressive alternative to Trump. For the “corporate sellout establishment that can’t agree on a big economic message, that doesn’t favor single payer [health care],” Blumenthal argued, “this is just convenient because this gives them a way of opposing Trump without having to do anything remotely progressive

9--Former US intelligence chiefs urge Congress, executive to defy Trump

By Patrick Martin
24 July 2017

In remarks that have no parallel since the emergence of the US national-security state after World War II, the two former leaders of the intelligence apparatus told a forum in Aspen, Colorado Friday that President Trump’s loyalty to the United States was in question. They suggested that executive branch officials should refuse to carry out his orders

The comments by former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper came at an annual forum sponsored by the Aspen Institute that brings together the national security establishment. Present at the event were high-level representatives of the Trump administration, Congress and the media.

Brennan and Clapper were the featured speakers at a session moderated by Wolf Blitzer of CNN, a long-time conduit for the military-intelligence apparatus. The title of the session, “Under Assault,” was meant to convey the position of the United States in relation to supposed Russian government hacking of the 2016 US presidential election, and the alleged collaboration of the Trump campaign with Russia in efforts to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton, the consensus favorite of the national-security elite.

Neither Brennan nor Clapper offered any proof of Russian intervention or Trump campaign collaboration. Instead, they relied on previous declarations by four US security agencies—the CIA, NSA, FBI and DNI—and the media campaign that has been fueled by incessant leaks from within these agencies to paint a picture of the Trump White House as a virtual outpost of Moscow....

Brennan went on to declare that if Trump attempted to fire Mueller as special counsel, Congress should “stand up and say enough is enough and stop making apologies and excuses for things that are happening that really flout, I think, our system of laws and government.” His ruling class audience gave him a round of applause.

Blitzer then asked what Congress could do about the firing of Mueller, since it is well within the powers of the president, and Brennan gave an astonishing response: “First of all, I think it’s the obligation of some executive branch officials to refuse to carry out some of these orders that again are inconsistent with what this country is about.”...

Trump heads the most reactionary administration in US history, committed to a program of persecuting immigrants, destroying critical social programs such as Medicaid and pouring trillions into tax cuts for the wealthy and an accelerated military buildup. His opponents—in the national-security establishment, the Democratic Party and the corporate media—are seeking to oust Trump, or at least cripple his administration, through methods of intrigue and provocation that resemble a palace coup.

Brennan and Clapper embody the right-wing, antidemocratic character of the opposition to Trump within the US political establishment. In his three decades with the CIA and his tenure on the White House staff, where he was antiterrorism coordinator and organizer of drone-missile assassinations for President Obama, Brennan was responsible for countless crimes carried out in the name of US “national security.”...

Among those in the audience at Aspen were several leading Republican congressmen, including Mac Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Michael McCaul, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. Several top Trump administration officials also addressed sessions of the weekend meeting, including CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

None of these officials addressed the open call by Brennan to defy orders from Trump, or the statements by both Brennan and Clapper that Trump might be loyal to Moscow rather than Washington...

the Post was not engaged in investigative journalism, but rather in transcribing leaks from high-level intelligence sources opposed to the policies of the Trump administration. The newspaper cited “current and former US officials” who were familiar with the intelligence intercepts of communications between senior Russian officials in the United States and their superiors in Moscow.

10---US ends ban on 'domestic propaganda'

11--The media blackout of Seymour Hersh’s exposé on US missile strike against Syria

12--IRAQ: Vice President says Iraq’s survival was ensured by Russia’s role in Syria

13--Jill Stein sent out a tweet slamming the DNC saying, ‘Unlike the Dems, I didn’t sabotage Bernie Sanders in the primaries, then try to cover my tracks with ludicrous Russia conspiracy theories.” OUCH! Hey Jill Stein is on point with this tweet, but every broken clock is right twice a day

14--Brennan, Rice, Power -- Lock Them Up!

15--  There is no information suggesting that Veselnitskaya is herself an intelligence agent or an employee of the Russian government. But the new information adds to the intrigue surrounding the June 2016 encounter, in which Donald Trump Jr. met with what he was told was a "Russian government attorney" who could offer damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.


  1. 10--Joshua Landis‏Verified account @joshua_landis Jul 23Most" arms being supplied to Syrian rebels were going to radicals - Washington knew this by mid-2012. Took 5 more years to shut down flow.

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