Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Forty Two » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:50 pm

Joe wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:34 am


Kudos for getting your news from Amy Goodman too. She's brought a lot of important stories to light over the years.
I like Noam Chomsky. I've read a lot of his stuff. He's a smart guy, albeit with a political point of view with which I vehemently disagree. Not sure why it would be an issue for you. I'm not like some of you who refuse to listen to other sides and points of view.

Also, it doesn't change what Chomsky said for it to be played on Democracy Now, even though you can't trust Democracy Now as far as you can throw it. Nothing wrong, though, with citing Chomsky's words, whether it's on DN or InfoWars.
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by pErvinalia » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:45 pm

Just read the other day that Chomsky is now 90! (90 years, not 90 factorial years.. :hehe: ). He's still fully compus mentus.
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Forty Two » Thu Dec 20, 2018 12:08 am

American Power and the New Mandarins will knock your socks off.

He was right on the ball when it came to Vietnam.
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Joe » Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:16 am

Forty Two wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:50 pm
Joe wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:34 am


Kudos for getting your news from Amy Goodman too. She's brought a lot of important stories to light over the years.
I like Noam Chomsky. I've read a lot of his stuff. He's a smart guy, albeit with a political point of view with which I vehemently disagree. Not sure why it would be an issue for you. I'm not like some of you who refuse to listen to other sides and points of view.

Also, it doesn't change what Chomsky said for it to be played on Democracy Now, even though you can't trust Democracy Now as far as you can throw it. Nothing wrong, though, with citing Chomsky's words, whether it's on DN or InfoWars.
And it doesn't change your use of what Chomsky said as whataboutism, fallacious in this context, which is the only "issue" I have with it. The rest is just humor. Speaking of humor, Wikipedia's definition of Whataboutism is pretty humorous in light of the topic.
Whataboutism (also known as whataboutery) is a variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent's position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument, which in the United States is particularly associated with Soviet and Russian propaganda. When criticisms were leveled at the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the Soviet response would often be "What about..." followed by an event in the Western world.
Better watch out Forty Two. Old Bob Mueller might be sneaking down your chimney Christmas Eve.

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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Cunt » Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:24 am

Why the heck is that Flynn guy so obstinate? It sounds like they offered him an easier out, and he said no thanks. Is there a chorus line coming up with him, Mueller, Starsky and Hutch?
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Forty Two » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:44 am

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: The obvious point here that everyone should understand is that the FBI didn't ask him these questions to learn the truth, because they knew the truth. They weren't trying to obtain more information, they were simply giving him an opportunity to lie.

Now, he could have told the truth, obviously, if he remembered, but the idea is that I don't think in America we want to empower the FBI, grand juries, and prosecutors to impose morality tests, criminal morality tests, on citizens. Give them opportunities to lie, opportunities to tell the truth, test them. And as Judge Sullivan implied and as Judge Ellis said very clearly, the goal here was not to get Flynn, he was just a means to an end. The goal was to get low-hanging fruit, to figure out a way of getting him to lie to the FBI so that they could squeeze him then either to sing or compose.

The obvious target here was Trump, not Flynn, and the question is whether we want to live in a society --and as a civil libertarian I don't-- in which the FBI, grand juries, and prosecutors are empowered to conduct morality tests.

The function of grand juries and FBI agents is to get to the truth, they should never ask anybody a question to which they already know the answer.
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video ... tests.html
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by L'Emmerdeur » Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:47 am

Yesterday, the story was that the acting US Attorney General had been told by 'ethics officials' that he didn't need to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation. The story changed today, though. The Department of Justice ethics officials told him that he should recuse himself, but then he apparently convened a special little committee of compliant stooges who told him 'nah, don't worry about it.'

The person nominated by Trump to officially fill the position has the same issues with bringing along a known bias against the investigation. New York Times link below.

'A Memo and a Recusal Decision Underscore Potential Threats to the Mueller Inquiry'
Matthew G. Whitaker, who was installed last month as acting attorney general by President Trump, has cleared himself to supervise the special counsel’s investigation, rejecting the recommendation of career Justice Department ethics specialists that he recuse himself, a senior department official said on Thursday.

The development came soon after the disclosure that the president’s nominee for attorney general, William P. Barr, had written a memo this spring in which he strongly criticized one of the main lines of inquiry by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III — whether Mr. Trump had committed obstruction of justice. Disclosure of the memo raised questions about whether Mr. Barr would order Mr. Mueller to shut down that component of the inquiry if the Senate confirmed him.

Together, the developments underscored the potential threats to Mr. Mueller’s ability to complete his work without interference at a time when his inquiry appears to be drawing closer to the White House and the president’s most trusted associates.

...

The Justice Department had refused to answer questions about whether ethics officials cleared Mr. Whitaker to take over supervision of Mr. Mueller. A department official said on Thursday that Mr. Whitaker had not been receiving briefings on the special counsel investigation, but had decided on Wednesday that he would not recuse himself and would instead assume final say over major investigative or prosecutorial actions Mr. Mueller wants to take.

...

Rather than requesting a formal ethics vetting and opinion under Justice Department regulations, [Whitaker] engaged in an informal conversation with the department’s career ethics lawyers that focused on statements like those he had made as a political commentator.

After reviewing the matter, the ethics lawyers said the decision was a “close call” but advised Mr. Whitaker to recuse himself to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, the senior department official said. But because Mr. Whitaker had not asked for a formal review, they also apparently said the decision was up to him.

Mr. Whitaker separately brought together his own ad hoc advisory council of four political appointees within the department, including an unidentified United States attorney.

They recommended that he not recuse himself, arguing that there was no precedent for an attorney general to step aside solely because of appearances, the official said.
Then there's Barr, the official nominee, who it seems agrees with presidential counsel John Dowd, who claimed that 'The president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution's Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case':
Barr, who served as Attorney General under George H.W. Bush, submitted the memo on June 8 to Rosenstein and Assistant Attorney General Steve Engel, months before he was nominated to return to his former position atop the Justice Department.

According to the memo, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, Barr expressed concern on Muller's probe widening to include possible obstruction of justice by the president.

"Mueller should not be permitted to demand that the President submit to interrogation about alleged obstruction," Barr wrote.

He added that such questioning "would have grave consequences far beyond the immediate confines of this case and would do lasting damage to the Presidency and to the administration of law within the Executive branch.”

[Politico]
Last edited by L'Emmerdeur on Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Joe » Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:07 am

Forty Two wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:44 am
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: The obvious point here that everyone should understand is that the FBI didn't ask him these questions to learn the truth, because they knew the truth. They weren't trying to obtain more information, they were simply giving him an opportunity to lie.

Now, he could have told the truth, obviously, if he remembered, but the idea is that I don't think in America we want to empower the FBI, grand juries, and prosecutors to impose morality tests, criminal morality tests, on citizens. Give them opportunities to lie, opportunities to tell the truth, test them. And as Judge Sullivan implied and as Judge Ellis said very clearly, the goal here was not to get Flynn, he was just a means to an end. The goal was to get low-hanging fruit, to figure out a way of getting him to lie to the FBI so that they could squeeze him then either to sing or compose.

The obvious target here was Trump, not Flynn, and the question is whether we want to live in a society --and as a civil libertarian I don't-- in which the FBI, grand juries, and prosecutors are empowered to conduct morality tests.

The function of grand juries and FBI agents is to get to the truth, they should never ask anybody a question to which they already know the answer.
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video ... tests.html
"Now, he could have told the truth, obviously, if he remembered," or otherwise said he didn't recall, which is also the truth.

A prudent course, since he was under oath. or so I've been told. :prof:
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by L'Emmerdeur » Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:10 am

An intriguing development:

'Russian Agents Sought Secret US Treasury Records On Clinton Backers During 2016 Campaign'
US Treasury Department officials used a Gmail back channel with the Russian government as the Kremlin sought sensitive financial information on its enemies in America and across the globe, according to documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News.

The extraordinary unofficial line of communication arose in the final year of the Obama administration — in the midst of what multiple US intelligence agencies have said was a secret campaign by the Kremlin to interfere in the US election. Russian agents ostensibly trying to track ISIS instead pressed their American counterparts for private financial documents on at least two dozen dissidents, academics, private investigators, and American citizens.

Most startlingly, Russia requested sensitive documents on Dirk, Edward, and Daniel Ziff, billionaire investors who had run afoul of the Kremlin. That request was made weeks before a Russian lawyer showed up at Trump Tower offering top campaign aides “dirt” on Hillary Clinton — including her supposed connection to the Ziff brothers.

Russia’s financial crimes agency, whose second-in-command is a former KGB officer and schoolmate of President Vladimir Putin, also asked the Americans for documents on executives from two prominent Jewish groups, the Anti-Defamation League and the National Council of Jewish Women, as well as Kremlin opponents living abroad in London and Kiev.

In an astonishing departure from protocol, documents show that at the same time the requests were being made, Treasury officials were using their government email accounts to send messages back and forth with a network of private Hotmail and Gmail accounts set up by the Russians, rather than communicating through the secure network usually used to exchange information with other countries.

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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Brian Peacock » Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:55 am


Forty Two wrote:
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: The obvious point here that everyone should understand is that the FBI didn't ask him these questions to learn the truth, because they knew the truth. They weren't trying to obtain more information, they were simply giving him an opportunity to lie.

Now, he could have told the truth, obviously, if he remembered, but the idea is that I don't think in America we want to empower the FBI, grand juries, and prosecutors to impose morality tests, criminal morality tests, on citizens. Give them opportunities to lie, opportunities to tell the truth, test them. And as Judge Sullivan implied and as Judge Ellis said very clearly, the goal here was not to get Flynn, he was just a means to an end. The goal was to get low-hanging fruit, to figure out a way of getting him to lie to the FBI so that they could squeeze him then either to sing or compose.

The obvious target here was Trump, not Flynn, and the question is whether we want to live in a society --and as a civil libertarian I don't-- in which the FBI, grand juries, and prosecutors are empowered to conduct morality tests.

The function of grand juries and FBI agents is to get to the truth, they should never ask anybody a question to which they already know the answer.
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video ... tests.html
Law is the moral code of a nation. When there exists the possibility that a crime has been committed then a moral assessment is applied against a test in law with the aim of judging innocence or guilt.

In appearing to de-couple possible criminality from morality and moral assessment Mr Dershowitz does the law, the judiciary, and the investigatory role of the FBI a disservice.

I'm sure Mr Dershowitz knows that the role of an independent judiciary is to facilitate the impartial administration of justice, but he seems somewhat keen to imply that American citizens are to be judged by the FBI - cast as a kind of Orwellian thought police - rather than against a legal code within the context a dispassionately administered justice system. This he asserts by fiat.

He is also more than likely aware that an investigator knowing that someone has lied and to substantiating that charge in court are different matters entirely. Investigators ask question to which they know the answers all the time, and Mr Dershowitz is being somewhat disingenuous when he suggest they should do otherwise. The matter rests not on whether Investigators know the truth before they ask a witness or suspect a question, but on the reply given by the witness or suspect.

Essentially Mr Dershowitz's point resides in subscribing to a view that lying to Investigators is, at the least, morally ambiguous, and at best (or worse, depending on one's perspective) justifiable when they already know the answer to the question - in which they should adopt the "I'll ask you no questions and you'll tell me no lies..." imperative.
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Forty Two » Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:32 pm

Brian Peacock wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:55 am
Forty Two wrote:
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: The obvious point here that everyone should understand is that the FBI didn't ask him these questions to learn the truth, because they knew the truth. They weren't trying to obtain more information, they were simply giving him an opportunity to lie.

Now, he could have told the truth, obviously, if he remembered, but the idea is that I don't think in America we want to empower the FBI, grand juries, and prosecutors to impose morality tests, criminal morality tests, on citizens. Give them opportunities to lie, opportunities to tell the truth, test them. And as Judge Sullivan implied and as Judge Ellis said very clearly, the goal here was not to get Flynn, he was just a means to an end. The goal was to get low-hanging fruit, to figure out a way of getting him to lie to the FBI so that they could squeeze him then either to sing or compose.

The obvious target here was Trump, not Flynn, and the question is whether we want to live in a society --and as a civil libertarian I don't-- in which the FBI, grand juries, and prosecutors are empowered to conduct morality tests.

The function of grand juries and FBI agents is to get to the truth, they should never ask anybody a question to which they already know the answer.
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video ... tests.html
Law is the moral code of a nation. When there exists the possibility that a crime has been committed then a moral assessment is applied against a test in law with the aim of judging innocence or guilt.

In appearing to de-couple possible criminality from morality and moral assessment Mr Dershowitz does the law, the judiciary, and the investigatory role of the FBI a disservice.
Well, the law is not the same as morality, nor is law a moral code. Never has been. Moreover, the issue Dersh is pointing out is that Flynn hadn't committed a crime until he said he did not have two conversations. The conversations themselves were not crimes. The liberal position on this for the last 60 years has been that it's not proper for the State to prosecute people for lying about non-crimes.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:55 am

I'm sure Mr Dershowitz knows that the role of an independent judiciary is to facilitate the impartial administration of justice, but he seems somewhat keen to imply that American citizens are to be judged by the FBI - cast as a kind of Orwellian thought police - rather than against a legal code within the context a dispassionately administered justice system. This he asserts by fiat.

He is also more than likely aware that an investigator knowing that someone has lied and to substantiating that charge in court are different matters entirely.
No no no, and more no. The investigator did not know Flynn "had lied." Flynn HADN'T lied. What the investigator knew was that Flynn had a conversation with the Russian Ambassador. He wasn't trying to get proof of a lie he had committed, he was trying to get Flynn to commit a crime by lying about something the FBI already knew ,which was not a crime.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:55 am

Investigators ask question to which they know the answers all the time, and Mr Dershowitz is being somewhat disingenuous when he suggest they should do otherwise. The matter rests not on whether Investigators know the truth before they ask a witness or suspect a question, but on the reply given by the witness or suspect.
Yes! That's the problem. If Flynn had lied about something that was criminal, or part of a criminal prosecution, that would be one thing. There is no underlying crime here. What they wanted was to get Flynn to lie, so they could hold him over a barrel to get him to "sing, or compose" something regarding someone else.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:55 am

Essentially Mr Dershowitz's point resides in subscribing to a view that lying to Investigators is, at the least, morally ambiguous, and at best (or worse, depending on one's perspective) justifiable when they already know the answer to the question - in which they should adopt the "I'll ask you no questions and you'll tell me no lies..." imperative.
The FBI knew the truth. They had recordings of the conversations. Then why did they ask him whether he had those conversations? Obviously, not to learn whether he had them but, rather, to give him the opportunity to lie to federal agents so that they could squeeze him to provide damaging information against President Trump. If you do not believe me, read what Judge T.S. Ellis III, who presided over the Paul Manafort trial, said to the prosecutors: “You do not really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud. What you really care about is what information Mr. Manafort could give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment.”
Ellis continued: “This vernacular to ‘sing’ is what prosecutors use. What you have got to be careful of is that they may not only sing, they may compose.” Experienced criminal lawyers have seen this phenomenon at work. Most judges, many of whom were former prosecutors, have also seen it. But few have the courage to expose it publicly as Ellis did. Judge Emmet Sullivan of the District of Columbia Court also has expressed concern regarding federal prosecutorial practices in the investigation.

Defenders of the tactics used by special counsel Robert Mueller argue that his potential witnesses are generally guilty of some crime, such as lying to FBI agents, and that may well be true. But they are targeted not because of what they may have done. They are targeted for what they may know about what the real target may have done. Then they, and their relatives who may also be complicit, are threatened with imprisonment and bankruptcy unless they plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors.

So the real question, which transcends the Flynn, the Manafort, and even the Trump investigations, is whether these tactics should be deemed acceptable to use in our justice system. Is it the proper role of law enforcement to conduct criminal morality tests to determine whether citizens will tell the truth or lie when given the opportunity to do either by FBI agents? Is it proper to target individuals for such tests for the purpose of pressuring them into becoming witnesses against the real target?

These are important questions for all citizens who care about civil liberties and prosecutorial abuses. They should not be addressed in a partisan manner. Instead, they should be answered by reference to the “shoe on the other foot” test. How would liberal Democrats react if those or similar prosecutorial tactics were being used against a president Hillary Clinton? I know the answer because I have seen how liberal Democrats reacted when President Bill Clinton was being investigated and impeached. The shoe was, indeed, on the other foot. Some of the same liberal Democrats, who today are justifying everything Mueller is doing, expressed outrage when the special prosecutor in the Clinton case employed similar tactics. Nor did all conservative Republicans pass the “shoe on the other foot” test as many applauded these tactics when directed against Democrats.
So back to the question of whether citizens who care about civil liberties should favor the tactics used by the FBI against Flynn. I believe the answer should be no. The function of law enforcement is to uncover past crimes, not to provide citizens the opportunity to commit new crimes by testing their veracity. There may be extraordinary situations, such as prevention of mass casualty terrorism, that justifies the use of highly questionable tactics but, absent such extraordinary circumstances, FBI agents and prosecutors should not deliberately provide citizens the opportunity to commit federal crimes in order to turn them into government witnesses.
When questioning any suspect, officials should not ask questions whose answers they already know, for the sole purpose of seeing whether the suspect will lie. If they do ask such questions, untruthful answers should not be deemed “material” to the investigation, because the FBI already knew the truth. The FBI should not discourage the suspect from having his lawyer present during the questioning, if a false answer will subject him to criminal liability. Even noble ends do not justify ignoble means, and some of the means used by the special counsel have, indeed, been ignoble.
https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/4 ... improperly
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Brian Peacock » Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:44 pm

Forty Two wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:32 pm
Brian Peacock wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:55 am
Forty Two wrote:
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: The obvious point here that everyone should understand is that the FBI didn't ask him these questions to learn the truth, because they knew the truth. They weren't trying to obtain more information, they were simply giving him an opportunity to lie.

Now, he could have told the truth, obviously, if he remembered, but the idea is that I don't think in America we want to empower the FBI, grand juries, and prosecutors to impose morality tests, criminal morality tests, on citizens. Give them opportunities to lie, opportunities to tell the truth, test them. And as Judge Sullivan implied and as Judge Ellis said very clearly, the goal here was not to get Flynn, he was just a means to an end. The goal was to get low-hanging fruit, to figure out a way of getting him to lie to the FBI so that they could squeeze him then either to sing or compose.

The obvious target here was Trump, not Flynn, and the question is whether we want to live in a society --and as a civil libertarian I don't-- in which the FBI, grand juries, and prosecutors are empowered to conduct morality tests.

The function of grand juries and FBI agents is to get to the truth, they should never ask anybody a question to which they already know the answer.
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video ... tests.html
Law is the moral code of a nation. When there exists the possibility that a crime has been committed then a moral assessment is applied against a test in law with the aim of judging innocence or guilt.

In appearing to de-couple possible criminality from morality and moral assessment Mr Dershowitz does the law, the judiciary, and the investigatory role of the FBI a disservice.

Well, the law is not the same as morality, nor is law a moral code. Never has been.
I suggested that The Law (in both concept and practice), being an embodiment of a society's notions of right/wrong, permissible/prohibited action, speech and thought is 'the moral code of a nation' - which is to say that The Law is a codified system of proscriptions and prescriptions upon the human action of all who fall within its jurisdiction. Therefore, when considering what society deems permissible/prohibit3ed in law, morality; moral concepts, moral assessments, and moral judgments, are necessarily invoked. Now support your declaration that this is not the case: that, in effect, The Law (in concept and practice) is not concerned with good or right action etc but is, by contrast, essentially either amoral or immoral.
Forty Two wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:32 pm
Moreover, the issue Dersh is pointing out is that Flynn hadn't committed a crime until he said he did not have two conversations...
Well, he had already committed the crime of withholding the fact that he was representing a foreign power who's interests he was being paid to promote.
Forty Two wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:32 pm
... The conversations themselves were not crimes.
Red herring.
Forty Two wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:32 pm
The liberal position on this for the last 60 years has been that it's not proper for the State to prosecute people for lying about non-crimes.
The conversations may not have been crimes, but lying to his line manager, the FBI, or Congress (and by extension the American people) about them certainly was.
Forty Two wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:32 pm
Brian Peacock wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:55 am

I'm sure Mr Dershowitz knows that the role of an independent judiciary is to facilitate the impartial administration of justice, but he seems somewhat keen to imply that American citizens are to be judged by the FBI - cast as a kind of Orwellian thought police - rather than against a legal code within the context a dispassionately administered justice system. This he asserts by fiat.

He is also more than likely aware that an investigator knowing that someone has lied and to substantiating that charge in court are different matters entirely.

No no no, and more no. The investigator did not know Flynn "had lied." Flynn HADN'T lied. What the investigator knew was that Flynn had a conversation with the Russian Ambassador....
... Which he lied about...
... He wasn't trying to get proof of a lie he had committed, he was trying to get Flynn to commit a crime by lying about something the FBI already knew ,which was not a crime.
You're attempting to displace the context here. N.B. My quoted remarks which follow we're abutted directly to those quoted above. Nonetheless...

In saying "No no no" what is it exactly which you wish to counter in the statement that Mr Dershowitz "is more than likely aware that an investigator knowing that someone has lied and substantiating that charge in court are different matters entirely"?
Forty Two wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:32 pm
Brian Peacock wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:55 am
Investigators ask question to which they know the answers all the time, and Mr Dershowitz is being somewhat disingenuous when he suggest they should do otherwise. The matter rests not on whether Investigators know the truth before they ask a witness or suspect a question, but on the reply given by the witness or suspect.

Yes! That's the problem. If Flynn had lied about something that was criminal, or part of a criminal prosecution, that would be one thing. There is no underlying crime here. What they wanted was to get Flynn to lie, so they could hold him over a barrel to get him to "sing, or compose" something regarding someone else.
I see: 'they' wanted him to lie so 'they' asked him questions they knew he would lie about? How devlishly sneaky of them. I guess it was pretty immoral of investigators to put him in the position where he was forced to lie about things he wanted to keep secret.

Unfortunately, and as you might guess, I'm not seeing how General Flynn has been poorly or roughly treated here. The obvious corollary to your point is that secretly negotiating with a foreign government and being paid by another to represent their interests, while being in a position to influence the domestic government's policy and/or shape the implementation of policy, and then lying about it, is, well, just fine-and-dandy because ... reasons.
Forty Two wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:32 pm
Brian Peacock wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:55 am
Essentially Mr Dershowitz's point resides in subscribing to a view that lying to Investigators is, at the least, morally ambiguous, and at best (or worse, depending on one's perspective) justifiable when they already know the answer to the question - in which they should adopt the "I'll ask you no questions and you'll tell me no lies..." imperative.
The FBI knew the truth. They had recordings of the conversations. Then why did they ask him whether he had those conversations? Obviously, not to learn whether he had them but, rather, to give him the opportunity to lie to federal agents so that they could squeeze him to provide damaging information against President Trump. If you do not believe me, read what Judge T.S. Ellis III, who presided over the Paul Manafort trial, said to the prosecutors: “You do not really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud. What you really care about is what information Mr. Manafort could give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment.”
Ellis continued: “This vernacular to ‘sing’ is what prosecutors use. What you have got to be careful of is that they may not only sing, they may compose.” Experienced criminal lawyers have seen this phenomenon at work. Most judges, many of whom were former prosecutors, have also seen it. But few have the courage to expose it publicly as Ellis did. Judge Emmet Sullivan of the District of Columbia Court also has expressed concern regarding federal prosecutorial practices in the investigation.

Defenders of the tactics used by special counsel Robert Mueller argue that his potential witnesses are generally guilty of some crime, such as lying to FBI agents, and that may well be true. But they are targeted not because of what they may have done. They are targeted for what they may know about what the real target may have done. Then they, and their relatives who may also be complicit, are threatened with imprisonment and bankruptcy unless they plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors.

So the real question, which transcends the Flynn, the Manafort, and even the Trump investigations, is whether these tactics should be deemed acceptable to use in our justice system. Is it the proper role of law enforcement to conduct criminal morality tests to determine whether citizens will tell the truth or lie when given the opportunity to do either by FBI agents? Is it proper to target individuals for such tests for the purpose of pressuring them into becoming witnesses against the real target?

These are important questions for all citizens who care about civil liberties and prosecutorial abuses. They should not be addressed in a partisan manner. Instead, they should be answered by reference to the “shoe on the other foot” test. How would liberal Democrats react if those or similar prosecutorial tactics were being used against a president Hillary Clinton? I know the answer because I have seen how liberal Democrats reacted when President Bill Clinton was being investigated and impeached. The shoe was, indeed, on the other foot. Some of the same liberal Democrats, who today are justifying everything Mueller is doing, expressed outrage when the special prosecutor in the Clinton case employed similar tactics. Nor did all conservative Republicans pass the “shoe on the other foot” test as many applauded these tactics when directed against Democrats.
So back to the question of whether citizens who care about civil liberties should favor the tactics used by the FBI against Flynn. I believe the answer should be no. The function of law enforcement is to uncover past crimes, not to provide citizens the opportunity to commit new crimes by testing their veracity. There may be extraordinary situations, such as prevention of mass casualty terrorism, that justifies the use of highly questionable tactics but, absent such extraordinary circumstances, FBI agents and prosecutors should not deliberately provide citizens the opportunity to commit federal crimes in order to turn them into government witnesses.
When questioning any suspect, officials should not ask questions whose answers they already know, for the sole purpose of seeing whether the suspect will lie. If they do ask such questions, untruthful answers should not be deemed “material” to the investigation, because the FBI already knew the truth. The FBI should not discourage the suspect from having his lawyer present during the questioning, if a false answer will subject him to criminal liability. Even noble ends do not justify ignoble means, and some of the means used by the special counsel have, indeed, been ignoble.
https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/4 ... improperly
Please show how those snippets relate to my quoted remarks above. Anyway...

STOP PRESS!!! Flynn sought to obscure the truth of his activity by making materially false statements, and in so doing he broke the law - to which he pleaded guilty. He wasn't tricked into lying, he chose to lie in response to questions about a number of matters, including his interactions with Russian officials and his paid-for role representing the interests of a foreign power in the US. You assert that undertaking private negotiating with the Russian government or failing to acknowledge he was representing Turkish interests in the US are not crimes and therefore Flynn has been bounced or manipulated into lying about those things in an FBI "sting" or "GOTCHA!!" situation. Now ask yourself who's interests Flynn was representing, was he in a position to influence government policy either in development or practice, and did the things he lied about have a capacity to materially influence the function of government(?) Making private, off-the-books deals with foreign governments, and then seeking to implement those deals as government policy is, surely, less than an ideal way to run an administration? In fact, doesn't it have the potential to represent an abuse of power and/or position - to be something which might very well look like treason to the dispassionate observer?
.

"It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice.
There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia."

Frank Zappa

"This is how humanity ends; bickering over the irrelevant."
Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
.

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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by L'Emmerdeur » Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:54 pm

The investigation is a legitimate inquiry into Russian meddling in the electoral process, and possible conspiracy by members of the campaign with the Russians who engaged in the meddling. We know that there is enough evidence of meddling to indict Russian persons and entities.

Questioning Flynn in regards to his possible involvement was a completely legitimate line of inquiry, regardless of what the investigators were aware of. Interviews with subjects of investigation are not always or necessarily about learning what the subject has done or has knowledge of. The objective can also be to expose what is known as consciousness of guilt. If the subject lies about past actions that is evidence of consciousness of guilt. The line of questioning during the interview with Flynn was not immaterial to the investigation, nor was it any form of entrapment. Dershowitz knows all of this, yet he continues to spew crap for Trump sycophants to ignorantly regurgitate in righteous indignation.

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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by L'Emmerdeur » Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:23 am

Party time in old Москва.



The original Russian approach to the tune ("Подмосковные вечера" -- "Evenings in the Moscow Suburbs," known outside of Russia as "Moscow Nights") sounds more like a dirge. *shrugs*


'Russia Gloats: "Trump Is Ours Again"'

The Kremlin is awash with Christmas gifts from Washington, D.C. and every move by the Trump administration seems to add to that perception.

...

[T]he Mattis departure is being cheered in Russia. Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Upper House of the Russian Parliament, has said that “the departure of James Mattis is a positive signal for Russia, since Mattis was far more hawkish on Russia and China than Donald Trump.” Kosachev opined that Trump apparently considered his own agenda in dealing with Russia, China and America’s allies to be "more important than keeping James Mattis at his post," concluding: "That’s an interesting signal, and a more positive one” for Russia.

Jubilation was even more apparent on Russia’s state television, which adheres closely to the Kremlin’s point of view. The host of the Russian state TV show “60 Minutes,” Olga Skabeeva asserted: “Secretary of Defense Mattis didn’t want to leave Syria, so Trump fired him. They are leaving Syria.”

President Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Sanders, remarked: “The idea that Putin is happy about this [Trump's decision to withdraw US forces from Syria] is ridiculous. It puts them at a greater risk, so I think that's just silly.” To the contrary, the idea of an American withdrawal from Syria is being widely perceived in Russia as “a total dream come true” if it truly takes place.

State TV host Olga Skabeeva surmised that Americans are “losers, since Putin has defeated them in every way.” With a theatrical sigh, her co-host, Evgeny Popov, added: “Trump is ours again—what are you going to do?” Every member of the sizeable audience enthusiastically clapped. While these statements are decidedly sarcastic, Russian opinion makers recount the Kremlin’s victories with unmistakable glee. Popov smirked: “It seems to Americans that we won on every front: the U.S. Secretary of Defense has been removed, we unquestionably secured a complete, unconditional victory in Syria.” Skabeeva chimed in: “They’re also planning to leave Afghanistan.”

Popov pointed out: “On top of that, Rusal sanctions have been lifted with Trump’s hands.” Panelists of the show, including Russian lawmakers, couldn’t hide their satisfied grins. The reference was to the announcement that Trump’s Treasury Department intends to lift sanctions against the business empire of Oleg V. Deripaska, one of Russia’s most influential oligarchs, sanctioned for Russian interference in the U.S. elections.

Texas Representative Lloyd Doggett told The New York Times that the move to lift Rusal sanctions amounted to Trump “sliding another big gift under Vladimir Putin’s Christmas tree.” The gesture is certainly being interpreted that way in Russia. Deripaska’s attorneys are reportedly mounting an aggressive campaign to pursue the removal of personal sanctions from the Putin-linked oligarch as well.

Discussing the planned departure of the U.S. from Syria, state TV host Olga Skabeeva pondered why Trump suddenly decided to leave at this point in time: “Americans say, it’s because he is beholden to Putin. Is that logical? Yes, it is.”
Last edited by L'Emmerdeur on Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Jason » Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:38 am

L'Emmerdeur wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:23 am
Party time in old Москва.



The original Russian approach to the tune ("Moscow Nights") sounds more like a dirge. *shrugs*
Sounds like a funeral march through New Orleans. Cool song. :smoke:
Hooray! Onward to greater synthethis!

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