OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Posts Tagged ‘Republicans’

Are We Still A Nation of the Rule of Law? A Serious Question – Part I

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on February 8, 2018

Is our country still a nation of the rule of law or are we now under the rule of men? This is now a very serious question facing the American people. At the beginning of our Republic the Founders instituted the U.S. Constitution with the original 10 amendments. One of them is the 4th Amendment against unreasonable search and seizure. It states:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue,     but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

One of the main reasons the Founders insisted on the inclusion of the 4th Amendment was to be rid of the British practice of issuing “general warrants” that allowed British officials to invade and search randomly vast numbers of homes and farms on no evidence of wrongdoing by those being searched.  Of course the Founders did not have “telecommunications” where our conversations, plans, information gathering, etc. is done over the telephone and the Internet.  However the Courts and Congress have recognized and applied 4th Amendment protections to those methods of communication and information gathering.

Today we are faced with a very serious challenge to our rights as Citizens of this Republic regarding our 4th Amendment rights with the recent revelation of abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (or FISA) laws being used against US Citizens by the FBI and the Dept. of Justice.

As you know the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee have released the “Nunes Memo” which, if accurate, details serious misuse and maybe outright fraud upon the FISA court on at least one application – to surveil Carter Page, a onetime volunteer adviser to the Trump campaign.  Here is a link to the Nunes Memo.  It is important that people read this short three and one half page document.  Another important thing to read and understand is the timeline of these events.  Thomas Del Baccaro has put together that timeline in his article which appeared in Political Vanguard. Here is the link. One thing important to note from the timeline – the 2016 FISA warrant application and order were after Carter Page left the Trump campaign.  Also importantly Senator Charles Grassley and Senator Lindsey Graham have released a letter to the DOJ (with some redactions) for potential criminal prosecution of Christopher Steele.  That letter confirms much of the Nunes Memo. Here is the link to that letter.

At the time of my writing this post the White House is reviewing the Democratic memo by Congressman Adam Schiff for release, release with redactions, etc.  I suspect it will be out soon.  Both the Nunes and Schiff memos claim to be accurate and based upon the underlying documents including the FISA application and renewal applications.   Reportedly the Schiff memo rebuts statements made in the Nunes memo.  As an aside, given that many things Adam Schiff has said have been proven to be untrue, in my opinion he is not to be trusted.

But this scandal raises serious questions: Are highly placed members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice actively misleading the FISA court to spy on American citizens?  If Carter Page was “surveilled” (spied upon), did the FBI follow others who spoke to Mr. Page such as persons in the Trump campaign separate and apart from any conversations Mr. Page had with them?  What part did the Fusion GPS “dossier” play in the FISA application?  Even if it was only a small part of the application, if the dossier was “salacious and unverified” as Former FBI Director Comey stated, why was it used in the application at all?  Did the FBI and Department of Justice attorneys withhold from the FISA court that the dossier was paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC (via an illegal concealed payment to Fusion GPS by the campaign’s attorneys)?  If so, did the Court ask any questions about this either at the time of the original application or on one of the renewals of the warrant? If the origin of the dossier was disclosed to the FISA court why did it issue the warrant?  Were any other warrant applications to the FISA court by these same individuals made with tainted evidence?  Etc., Etc., Etc….There are SO MANY MORE QUESTIONS that the Nunes Memo and other information in the news regarding this scandal bring up.

One thing is certain – the American people deserve to have the entire FISA application and renewal documents (with only sparse redactions for true national security purposes) released and very soon.  Let the American people decide for themselves if the application and its renewals were done properly or not.

The fact that the FISA process, applications and courts are designed to operate in secret is no excuse for withholding this application and its renewals.  There is just too much independent evidence (such as the infamous texts between disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page) of bias investigations and abuse of the FISA process to keep this “under wraps” for any reason.  The American people have a legitimate reason to demand and receive these documents.  If it proves that Mr. Nunes is correct, then massive changes need to be made to the FISA process and certain people need, at the very least, to lose their jobs.  If the evidence is that the Nunes memo is false, the American people need to know that too.

In Part II – My Thoughts on What People Involved in this Scandal Should Do Now.

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A Long Buried Reagan Nugget

Posted by Assemblyman Don Wagner on February 4, 2014

Ronald ReaganI had the opportunity recently to read some of Ronald Reagan’s personal diary from his White House days. I was struck by one very short sentence from April 20, 1982. It remains relevant today, and explains a lot about the differences between Republicans and Democrats.

In this particular passage, Reagan recounted a meeting earlier in the day with Tip O’Neill. At the time, O’Neill was the very liberal Speaker of the House. From Massachusetts and a committed man of the left, Reagan accurately described O’Neill as a “New Deal Democrat.” He and Reagan sparred constantly over policy but apparently got along famously well. And then Reagan said this of the Speaker:

“He honestly believes that we’re promoting welfare for the rich.”

I find the line instructive both about O’Neill and his mindset, but equally about Reagan and his.

In this seemingly offhand observation, Ronald Reagan gives Tip O’Neill credit for acting in good faith in their policy disputes. O’Neill and the Democrats really do believe that Republican policies are intended to help the rich get richer. Forget for a moment that they’re wrong about that (as I’ll demonstrate below) and set aside the evidence from Reagan’s time and ours that shows unmistakably that our policies actually help the poor get richer. Just consider that Reagan recognizes O’Neill, however wrong, actually believed that Republican policies were explicitly designed to help the rich.

The same remains true today. Democrats actually believe this stuff; they truly think that Republican policies are intended to help the rich become richer. And, of course, if you believe this of us, like O’Neill did and today’s Democrats still do, you would vigorously oppose and denounce our selfish, mean spirited “welfare for the rich” policies.

But I note the passage from Reagan’s diary for another reason than just to explain Democrats. It really says eloquently that O’Neill and today’s fellow travelers with him are just plain wrong. That is actually the most telling point of the diary entry. Quite simply, Ronald Reagan knew that this absurd Democratic belief was not true. The diary entry is inexplicable otherwise.

Note that Reagan did not say “O’Neill is on to me about our policies . . . .” He did not say, “Well, Old Tip finally figured us out . . . .” Instead, one can almost hear the incredulity in Reagan’s voice.

There can be no other explanation of this diary comment. It only makes sense if Reagan saw it as saying something important about O’Neill: He actually does believe that nonsense. How silly of him.

A simple sentence in a personal diary from a generation ago gives lie to the Democratic canard and still prevalent notion that the GOP is all about making the rich richer.

Tip O’Neill might have believed that. But Ronald Reagan knew better.

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