Judging from how the Democrats have been acting, they want to see some folks go to jail over this whole Trump-Russia collusion thing. But at this point it looks like the ones most likely to go to jail are Hillary Clinton supporters in the FBI and the Obama administration.

If the Democrats were half as smart as they think they are, they would be begging President Donald Trump to stop the investigation of the special prosecutor because it looks like Bob Mueller has uncovered collusion, and it was collusion in the Obama administration to use the power of the Justice Department and the FBI to help Hillary Clinton win.

The bad news is that isn’t the kind of investigator Mueller is. Mueller is the kind of investigator who decides who is guilty at the beginning of the investigation and then spends all his time ignoring the evidence that doesn’t support his belief and exaggerating evidence that does.

It’s what Mueller did on the Anthrax investigation, where he ruined the life of a good, honest scientist and ignored the guy right next door who everyone else suspected was the culprit and who was. Mueller in that case followed his instincts instead of the facts and was monumentally wrong.

But with the help of Democrats, the evidence is being made public that a lot of illegal activity took place. And it wasn’t by the Trump campaign but by the Clinton campaign and those in the FBI and the Obama administration.

The memo written by the Democrats on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, called the Schiff memo, is the best evidence so far that the FBI wasn’t honest with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and got warrants by lying and withholding pertinent information from the court.

The memo goes into a long, twisted explanation of the FBI admitting in the warrant that the person who did the investigation that resulted in the Steele dossier, which was used to get the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant, was politically motivated. But in doing so, it also admits that the FBI did not give the FISC the key piece of information that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for the report, or that Russians were paid for information. There is some real collusion. The Hillary Clinton campaign paid the Perkins Coie law firm, which paid Fusion GPS, which paid Christopher Steele, who paid Russians for information about Trump. Then the FBI took that information and, without telling the court its source, used it to spy on the Trump campaign.

It is incredible that although Steele shopped his dossier around to all the news media, nobody but Yahoo News would touch it because it was unverified and unverifiable. But the FBI used it in court as a legitimate source.

The Schiff memo also talks about how the Steele dossier was supported by a Yahoo News article. But Michael Isikoff, who wrote the Yahoo News article, says the article was based on his conversations with Steele.

It makes you wonder if Rep. Adam Schiff is not very smart. He can’t really expect people to believe that because Steele told a reporter about the information in the dossier and the reporter wrote a story about it that that verifies the dossier. But that’s what the memo seems to say.

The Democratic memo gets into even deeper water admitting that long time Clinton operative Sidney Blumenthal and Steele had contact and that the State Department was involved.

The Democratic memo is actually much more damning of the actions of the FBI and the Obama administration than the Republican memo.

It will be really interesting when Schiff or one of his people leak the unredacted version of the memo, because there are a lot of redactions. They must have wanted people to know that it was redacted because it would have made a whole lot more sense to rewrite it leaving the redacted portions out, rather than releasing it with all these questions left hanging.

But Congress is not good at keeping secrets. It’s only a matter of time before the unredacted version appears.

From reading into the Schiff memo, it certainly appears that what happened was that the Clinton campaign hired Perkins Coie that hired Fusion GPS that hired Steele and then Blumenthal fed Steele information because everyone knew that if the information could be traced back to Blumenthal that it would be discounted.

There appears to be only one person on earth who thinks that information from Blumenthal can be trusted and that is Hillary Clinton.

It would have done the campaign no good for Blumenthal to even leak the information to the press because knowing the source it would have been ignored. The only people it seems who would accept it were at the FBI.

The Schiff memo goes into some detail about Carter Page, who was the former Trump campaign advisor that the FBI had the FISA warrant to surveil. But the proof is in the pudding on Page – despite having access to every electronic communication Page made for a year, no charges were brought against Page – and it was actually more than a year because, with a FISA warrant, the FBI can go back and look at past correspondence.

What all of that proves is that the FBI found nothing it could possibly prosecute with Page, which lends credence to the theory that the FBI had little interest in Page but the actual target was the Trump campaign.

The best thing for the public at this point would be for Schiff to start releasing more memos.

*****

The entire investigation of special prosecutor Mueller could fall apart because the judge in the case of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn is forcing Mueller’s team to play by the rules.

The prosecution is supposed to turn over any evidence it uncovers that would be helpful to the defense, known as exculpatory evidence.

There is some legal uncertainty about whether or not that is required in the sentencing phase of a trial, but in the case of Flynn, Judge Emmet Sullivan has said there is no uncertainty in his court and the exculpatory evidence will be turned over to Flynn’s attorneys.

Sullivan took over the case when federal District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras recused himself without explanation. It is widely assumed that Contreras recused himself because he was the judge that approved the FISA warrant in the Flynn case, and it is suspected that the FISA warrants were based on the Steele dossier, which former FBI Director Jim Comey described as “scurrilous” and “unverified.”

Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI when he was interviewed about having a conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The FBI agent who conducted that interview was Peter Strzok, who famously texted his mistress, FBI attorney Lisa Page, constantly. Strzok wrote in a text to Page that he thought Flynn was honest during the interview, and that is what he put in his report.

However, Strzok’s report went to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who altered the report from stating that Flynn was telling the truth to Flynn was lying. McCabe has since been forced to retire from the FBI.

So the phony Steele dossier was likely used to gain warrants to spy on Flynn and then McCabe, who wasn’t present for the interview but only looked at the notes, was the one who decided that Flynn was lying, while the agent who conducted the interview, Strzok, thought Flynn was being honest.

With all that information available, and no doubt there is more to come, it doesn’t look like the FBI has much of a case against Flynn. And after the exculpatory evidence is turned over to Flynn’s attorneys, it is highly likely that rather than be sentenced, Sullivan will allow Flynn to change his plea and the Justice Department will dismiss the charges because they don’t want all of this information about the FBI to be aired in open court.

If Mueller loses his first and biggest case because of prosecutorial misconduct, which is where this looks like it is headed, then Mueller should be asked to resign, and if he refuses he should be fired.

If Mueller goes, then Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who hired him, should also be fired or forced to resign.

At that point, if Attorney General Jeff Sessions can find some courage, he will take it as an opportunity to clean out the Justice Department of all those who still think they are working for Barack Obama.

At that point Trump should get rid of FBI Director Chris Wray and bring in someone willing to clean house at the FBI.

People talk as if the FBI losing some of its top agents is going to destroy the organization. There are over nearly 14,000 special agents; if 10, 20 or even 50 are fired that would make the organization stronger, not weaker.

The FBI has to be loyal to the elected president of the United States regardless of what their personal views are. If they can’t be, they don’t need to be working for him.

Available in the public domain is a wealth of evidence that the FBI and the Justice Department were working against Trump and for Hillary Clinton. They should have stayed out of the election altogether, but if they were going to get involved they should have backed the winner. Whether it is horse racing or politics, if you back a loser you pay the price.

It is past time for those in the FBI and the Justice Department who used the vast power of that department entrusted to them by the American people to try and influence the outcome of an election to be fired.

If Sessions is too weak to do it then Trump needs to send him back to Alabama and appoint Sen. Ted Cruz or some other tough, hardnosed individual to head up his Justice Department.

*****

I have no problem with raising the age to buy guns to 21. But if that is going to be done then the voting age needs to be raised to 21. The age that a couple can get married needs to be raised to 21. The age someone can join the armed forces or a law enforcement agency needs to raised to 21, and the age that someone can operate a motor vehicle needs to be raised to 21.

I don’t see how you can say to an adult US citizen, you have all the rights and responsibilities of being a US citizen at age 18, except for your Second Amendment rights, which don’t apply until you’re 21. Are constitutional rights age sensitive? Could, for instance, Congress take away the right of freedom of religion from anyone under 21? Do people under 21 not have freedom of speech? If the Constitution recognizes human rights, does it only recognize them for people over 21?

I think it’s a discussion the country needs to have. It makes no sense to me that a person can buy a gun at 18, can join the armed forces and defend our country at 18, can get married at 18, can vote at 18, can drive a car at 16, but can’t buy a drop of alcohol until they are 21. Which is more likely to affect a person for the rest of their life – buying a beer or getting married?

We trust young people to drive a car at 16, and far more people in this country are killed by cars than by guns, but they can’t legally buy a beer until they are 21.

The laws are haphazard and nonsensical. Like many of the new laws now being suggested about firearms, they were made based on emotion, not logic.

*****

Everyone from the president on down is talking about more gun control because 17 white teenagers were shot in Lakeland, Florida. It’s amazing, but in Chicago, from Feb. 1 through Feb. 20, there were 23 teenagers shot and 11 killed, and those events raised no national outrage because almost all of them were black.

The fact is that when black teenagers are killed the government doesn’t do anything, but when white teenagers are killed the government leaps into action.

As the facts about the shooting in Lakeland, Florida, are slowly emerging, it is becoming evident that – as in the Columbine shooting – some of the blame for the deaths has to be placed on law enforcement.

Instead of rushing into the building to attempt to stop the shooter, the armed school resource officer stayed outside while he knew hundreds of unarmed students and teachers were trapped in the building with the shooter.

Perhaps more information will be forthcoming about why this armed law enforcement officer didn’t go into the building where it was obvious that there was an active shooter. But the only armed law enforcement officer on the scene didn’t do his job. Maybe he wouldn’t have been in time to save any lives, but then again maybe he would have. We’ll never know because he chose not to go in the building and confront the shooter, which was his job.

Add to that the fact that it had been reported to the police and the FBI that Nikolas Cruz was saying that he wanted to be a school shooter and nothing was done, and this becomes a huge mistake by law enforcement.

It is also being reported that Lakeland, Florida, had a policy of not arresting high school students for committing crimes that would lead to an arrest by anyone else. If this policy had not been in effect then Cruz would have had a criminal record and would not have been allowed to legally purchase a firearm. It is also likely that he would have been in prison.

*****

I was reading about another liberal initiative by the “nonpartisan” League of Women Voters and realized that according to the mainstream media there are two types of organizations in the country – nonpartisan and conservative.

The NRA is a nonpartisan organization and actually has many members who are lifelong Democrats, but the mainstream media don’t usually refer to it as nonpartisan. It is as nonpartisan as the League of Women Voters, which is almost universally referred to as a nonpartisan organization.

It’s kind of like the way the mainstream media refers to candidates – Republicans are conservative and Democrats are moderates.

*****

The goal of terrorism is to make people scared, so scared that, if successful, it disrupts their way of life.

The 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center were remarkably successful, not because nearly 3,000 people were killed, but because it changed the way of life in the US.

Imagine how many trillions of dollars those attacks have cost the American people. Not simply in the direct costs of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and more recently Syria, but in the way of life.

Millions of man hours of time are now lost every year by people waiting in line with their shoes in one hand and their belt in the other, waiting to be searched, have naked pictures of themselves taken and being hassled by Transportation Security Administration employees. We now accept this as the status quo.

People can no longer get to the airport minutes before a flight and have any hope of getting on the plane. Partially disrobing, being patted down or having someone you’ve never met look at a screen of what’s under your clothes is a way of life.

Americans have accepted it and the result is that the 9/11 terrorist attack had an impact far greater than the lives lost.

*****

It’s easy but senseless to blame the Lakeland, Florida, shooting on the gun. There are millions of guns in America that have never killed anyone or anything.

It would be more productive to look at the failures in the system that allowed the shooting to occur. Deputy Scot Peterson, who reportedly cowered outside the building behind a column wearing a bullet proof vest and with a .40 caliber pistol in his hand, is getting a lot of criticism and he deserves it. If you aren’t willing to do the job, you should resign.

It’s like a bus driver getting caught in traffic and abandoning the bus, or a surgeon finding an operation far more difficult than she anticipated and walking out of the operating room. Protecting the students was his job and he failed.

But there is more blame. The FBI had been repeatedly called about Nikolas Cruz and did nothing.

But even worse was the method of lowering the number of students convicted of crimes in Broward County. Law enforcement officers were told not to arrest high school students and they didn’t. If this had been a normal part of the country then Cruz would have had a long record and would have never passed a background check to buy a gun, if he hadn’t been in prison. But in order to make the statistics for the schools look better, a decision was made not to arrest high school students, and the cops on the street did as they were told.

It is a sad story, and you can’t help but wonder if the cops are told not to arrest people committing crimes and they don’t, would they do the opposite and arrest people who had committed no crime.

*****

People are now protesting against the AR-15. Probably these are the same people who think that the AR-15 is an assault rifle and used by American soldiers for combat.

But protesting against the AR-15 is the equivalent of having people killed in a bad accident that involved a Shelby GT Ford Mustang and protesting against Ford Mustangs. It is true that nobody needs a car with a 526 horsepower engine on the streets. So why is a car with a huge V-8 engine even sold?

But you can’t blame the accident on the car. Without a driver the car would still be sitting in the showroom not hurting a soul.

Without a shooter the AR-15 – which is not a military assault rifle but a semi-automatic rifle made to look like an assault rifle – would not harm anyone.

Protesting against a particular brand of rifle doesn’t make any more sense than protesting against a particular brand of car.

*****

Those who have come to believe that banning assault weapons would prevent mass shootings should look at the assault weapons ban during the Bill Clinton administration.

Does anyone really believe that if the gun used by Cruz had a wooden stock (making it a not an assault weapon) instead of a plastic one that it would have prevented deaths? If the AR-15 didn’t have a handle on the top or a flash suppressor, would that have prevented any deaths?

Banning assault weapons means banning guns because of the way they look. It simply doesn’t make sense.

*****

Sometimes when people are really angry they say and do things that don’t further their own cause. I’ve read a lot of letters and wondered why the sender didn’t run it past a friend or associate before sending it.

In the case of the Democratic memo from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Adam Schiff should have given himself a couple of weeks to cool off before writing the memo.

One of the points confirmed by the Schiff memo is that the FBI never told the FISC that the Steele dossier was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign. He notes that the FISA warrant does say that the “identified person” who paid for the Steele memo did so with the intent of discrediting “candidate #1.” That is stating the obvious and is not at all equivalent to saying that the memo was paid for by the opposing candidate for president.

The memo was not incorrect when it stated that Carter Page met with Igor Sechin, but later the memo says that Page met with someone who worked for Sechin, which is not the same thing.

It goes into great detail about how Page had been under FBI surveillance for years, but it doesn’t mention that Page assisted the FBI in apprehending and convicting a couple of Russian spies who tried to recruit him.

A FISA warrant to intercept every electronic communication by an American citizen is only supposed to be issued if there is no other method of obtaining the information. Page, as noted, had cooperated with the FBI previously.

The FBI doesn’t explain why if it needed information about Page’s trip to Moscow, which despite what Schiff implies was in no way illegal. It is perfectly legal for an American citizen, even one who supported Trump, to travel to Moscow and to do business in Moscow.

But why didn’t the FBI simply call Page? The answer, of course, is that the FBI has little interest in Page, who they had already determined was not much of a threat to anyone; but Page did provide a way to get information on the Trump campaign.

*****

The end of women’s sports has begun. Tiffany Abreu, who was born male, is now dominating professional women’s volleyball in Brazil. Back when she was a he and playing in men’s volleyball, he was a mediocre player. But once he became a she and started playing women’s professional volleyball, she has completely dominated – setting records in her first matches.

At the professional level, women cannot compete in sports with men, which is the very reason there are men’s teams and women’s teams. If a woman could compete in the NBA, they would be crazy not to, because the salaries for men’s professional basketball players are in the millions where the salaries for women are measured in thousands.

If people who were born male but now consider themselves female are allowed to compete, they will dominate women’s sports so that the record books in a few years will be filled with the names of women who were born as men.

*****

It is amazing that the mainstream media still pays so much attention to polls, although they tend to give a lot more credence to polls that support their own view that Trump is a terrible president and less to polls that indicate about half of Americans like the job Trump is doing.

But regardless of what the polls indicate, what we now know from the polling data over the past five years is that polls no longer have the accuracy that they once had.

It is purely anecdotal but a good indication of the problem. I have not been polled in years, but my mother who is 90 and still has a landline gets polled with amazing frequency. It indicates to me that people with landlines, and who answer the phone every time it rings, get polled much more than those who don’t have landlines and allow numbers from unknown area codes to go to voicemail.

Pollsters who use the telephone for polling can only poll those who answer their phones, which in my experience skews the polling toward older people and people at home with nothing to do.

My experience with younger people is that their phones are constantly ringing, buzzing, beeping and vibrating. It would be impossible for them to answer every call, respond to every text or deal with every other communication in real time. I think it’s one reason they are constantly bent over their phones; they can never catch up. It seems highly unlikely to me that any of them would take five or 10 minutes to answer a bunch of political questions when there are so many more interesting ways they can use their phone.

In a rational world, polls would be ignored; but the mainstream media still love them, so they get far more attention than they deserve.

Until pollsters come up with a better method than the one they are using now, and predict a few elections accurately, it doesn’t seem they are worth the time it takes to read about them.

 

I was watching CNN, something I rarely do, and they displayed a chart that showed that the assault weapons ban during the Clinton administration resulted in fewer crimes being committed with assault weapons. What the chart didn’t indicate is whether than resulted in fewer crimes committed with guns.

If the goal is to reduce the number of crimes committed with assault weapons then certainly an assault weapons ban makes sense; but one has to hope that isn’t the goal.

The shooting of Republican lawmakers last spring in Washington, DC, was not done with a weapon that would qualify as an assault weapon under the old Clinton rules because it had a wooden stock and didn’t have a detachable magazine. But the lawmakers were saved, not because the gun wasn’t an assault weapon, but because there were armed Capitol Hill police officers who didn’t cower behind a post but immediately confronted the shooter, even though the police officers only had pistols and the shooter had a rifle.

One of the police officers was shot, but if those two police officers had not engaged the shooter he could have picked off the unarmed congressmen and senators one by one.

If that shooting proves anything it is the value of having armed personnel to confront a shooter. If Deputy Peterson had immediately confronted the school shooter, there is no telling how many lives he could have saved.

*****

Just because a person is a good senator and supports the winning candidate for president doesn’t mean that person will be a good attorney general.

One would hope that Trump has learned this lesson and is waiting for the right moment to fix it.

Attorney General Sessions said that the Justice Department would investigate the use of FISA warrants to ascertain if the system was being abused.

Wow. How many congressional memos, tweets from the president and newspaper articles does it take to get Sessions’ attention? You might think that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence passing a motion to release a memo that excoriates the FBI for misleading the FISC might be enough to get Sessions’ attention, but evidently not.

Sessions was one of Trump’s biggest mistakes so far. Without Sessions you have no special prosecutor. Without Sessions you don’t have Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein running the Justice Department.

It’s hard to believe that a more forceful attorney general would allow Assistant Attorney General Bruce Ohr to continue working for the Justice Department after misleading the Justice Department on the fact that she was working for Fusion GPS doing opposition research for the Hillary Clinton campaign, or that he met with Steele on at least two occasions.

It makes you wonder what someone in the Justice Department has to do to be fired. Lying to the FBI results in felony charges against people who worked for Trump, but lying to the FBI results in nothing if you worked for Hillary Clinton.

A large contingent of the FBI appears to be confused about who won the election, but Sessions shouldn’t be.

Sessions should save Trump the trouble and resign to spend more time with his family.

Parisian Promenade at Bicentennial Garden