AG Barr Accused Of Running A Secret Police Force

U.S. Attorney General William Barr

Recent media reports have pointed to U.S. Attorney General William Barr as the person who ordered the group of peaceful protesters in Washington DC this past Monday (06/01) to be dispersed so that President Trump could walk to St John’s Church for the infamous Bible photo op. Even more troubling, are revelations that it was AG Barr who brought from Texas, the officials seen policing the protesters without any tags or insignia designating which federal agency they came from. This has led to concerns by many, most notably Sen Chris Murphy(D-CT), that AG Barr may be running a secret police force.

This serious issue of a possible secret police was covered on Friday’s edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show(TRMS) and followed up on Saturday’s edition of the AM Joy show. The guest on AM Joy show, Sarah Kendzior, is someone who has warned for years about Trump’s authoritarian tendencies and was therefore justifiably upset that both the mainstream media and the U.S. Congress have not done enough to push back on Trump’s incremental authoritarianism.

When asked by host Joy Reid whether AG Barr was running a secret police as Senator Murphy and others have intimated, Sarah Kendzior responded, “Yes, essentially. When you have no identification, you have no accountability, and accountability is what they’ve been trying to avoid and trying to destroy the entire time. What Malcolm[Nance] said before about Trump viewing the military as his own personal military, that of course extends to his view of [AG] Barr as his personal attorney, and that extends to their general philosophy for the United States which is not to govern, it’s to rule. It’s to see Americans who show any form of dissent, any form of independent thought as rivals, as enemies. It’s to deem the press itself as enemies of the state……This is a very consistent pattern for this administration. A lot of people were in denial about it because they kept thinking to themselves that is not what authoritarianism looks like. Authoritarianism means soldiers on the street, it means soldiers firing and fighting against their own citizens, well guess what, we are now at that point because people remained in denial for so long.”

Notice that both Sarah Kendzior’s commentary and Senator Chris Murphy’s tweet are advancing the same main argument and that is, the importance of accountability in law enforcement. This cannot be emphasized enough because the Trump administration and other proponents of this creeping authoritarianism have a tendency of painting critics as people, usually liberals, who are opposed to a strong and secure America. As Sarah Kendzior and Senator Chris Murphy correctly point out, the debate has never been about more or less security but rather, accountability. Americans simply want to know who in law enforcement is doing what so that in case of abuses, which are bound to happen, people know where to go to seek redress.

Bringing in armed officers from Texas to Washington DC to police a protest without identifying uniforms or insignia is the quintessential lack of accountability. One can even make a credible argument that AG Barr brought these “anonymous” officers from out of state to rough up protesters for the sole purpose of skirting accountability in case their actions crossed the line. Sarah Kendzior is absolutely correct that this should be enough cause for congress to immediately begin the process of impeaching AG Barr.

When asked about these unidentified officers, AG William Barr gave this explanation;”In the federal system, the agents don’t wear badges in their names and stuff like that, which non-federal police agencies do, and I could understand why some of these individuals simply wouldn’t want to talk to people about who they are, if that in fact was the case.” As you can see from AG Barr’s response, he puts zero premium on accountability and is perfectly okay with these secret police forces.

It cannot also be left unsaid that there is a fear among members of the public of what appears to be an increasing reliance on vigilantes by law enforcement agencies nationwide. This issue was brought front and center in the recent high profile case of Ahmaud Arbery, where a text surfaced showing a Glynn County(GA) police officer enlisting the services of a vigilante, who later killed Arbery. This again pings back to the issue of accountability. The only reason a law enforcement agency would resort to using vigilantes is to cover their tracks in case something goes wrong, as it horribly did in Arbery’s case. This simply cannot be allowed in law enforcement.

Bottom line the mainstream media and members of congress need to start paying close attention to the rise of vigilantism in American law enforcement. This is an issue that puts the lives and safety of the public, especially minorities, at serious risk and needs to be addressed immediately. Simply put, the public has every right to know exactly what agency(s) the law enforcement officials they encounter are working for so that they are clear as to where to seek redress in case of infractions. AG Barr’s seeming tolerance of secret police forces is patently un-American and must be shunned by every accountability-loving American.

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Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick Wants To Limit Mail Voting To Voters Over 65 Because Covid-19 Mostly Kills Them

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick(R)

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick appeared on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom show and parroted the falsehood currently being spread by President Trump that mail-in ballots are prone to massive voter fraud. Lt. Gov Patrick argued that because CDC data has established that it is people over 65 who are mostly losing their lives due to covid-19 , only Texas voters over 65 should be allowed to vote by mail. As shocking as this sounds, Lt Gov Patrick is literally telling Texas voters under 65 not to worry about contracting covid-19 at the polling places because even if they do, it will not kill them–it only kills people over 65. This is sadly, the kind of reasoning you get from a guy who’s second-in-command to the Texas Governorship.

Lt. Gov Patrick said when asked about voters’ valid fears of covid-19, “I want to go back to what the CDC said. 80% of people who have died from the virus [covid-19] are over 65. Anyone over 65 in America can vote safely from home. That’s already the law virtually everywhere–some states have all mail-in ballots on the west coast. So anyone 65 who is really vulnerable can vote from home. This idea that we want to give you a disability claim because ‘I’m afraid to go vote’ if you are under 65 is laughable. You have more chance of being in a serious auto accident if you are under 65 on the way to vote, than you do from catching the virus and dying from it by voting.”

One of the biggest flaws in Lt Gov Patrick’s reasoning (it’s actually totally flawed), is this idea that covid-19 affects one’s life only if it kills you. A leading pulmonologist Dr Andrew Martin, told Heathline, a medical journal that, “Patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), seen often in severe COVID-19 illness, sometimes develop permanent lung damage or fibrosis as well.” So voters of color who are especially vulnerable to covid-19, have a valid reason to fear contracting covid-19 because even if it does not kill them, there’s a good chance it will leave them with long-term medical problems. It is not unreasonable, or “laughable” as Lt Gov Patrick put it, for them to opt for mail-in voting.

Lt Gov Patrick also pointed out in the same Fox News segment that some states in the west coast already conduct all their elections by mail. Notably, he didn’t point to any reports of widespread voter fraud in elections conducted by the said west coast states.

Another eye-catching moment in Lt Gov Patrick’s interview was his unprompted revelation that he knew of ways someone can easily steal votes to swing a close election. This was an eye-catching revelation because Texas voters to this day, have a lot of questions as to how Senator Ted Cruz narrowly defeated his Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke in the 2018 elections.

Lt. Gov Patrick told host Ed Henry, “We [Texas] have so many elections that are so close…….you can swing the balance easily Ed. I can give you ten scenarios but I won’t because I don’t want to give anyone ideas how you can easily steal thousands of votes…” Actually Lt Gov Patrick, Texans would like to find out what you know about easily stealing thousands of votes.

Bottom line folks as we’ve seen numerous times before, Republicans in Texas and elsewhere, will do everything in their power to get as few people as possible to vote. Republicans nationwide have come to terms with the fact they are increasingly becoming a regional party, totally out of step with mainstream American political thought. Lt Gov Patrick’s desperate attempts to stop voting by mail has nothing to do with voter fraud and everything to do with voter suppression–ensuring as few Texans as possible vote in November. It is truly a sad way to “win” an election, but that’s exactly where we are with Trump’s GOP.

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Dallas Doctor Claims Hydroxychloroquine Cures Her Covid-19 Patients Within 24 Hours

Fox News’ Laura Ingraham Interviewing Texas Doctor Ivette Lozano

Dr Ivette Lozano, a Dallas area doctor, appeared on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle show and made the startling claim that hydroxychloroquine “resolves” covid-19 symptoms in her patients within 24 hours. This startling claim comes just a few weeks after the food and drug administration (FDA) issued a warning about the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment drug for covid-19 because of among other things, the potential for patients developing heart rythm problems.

Dr Lozano told host Laura Ingraham, “Every patient that I’ve treated, serious, moderate, has had resolution of symptoms within 24 hours, that are improved within five hours, the fevers are gone within two days, the lung restriction which is the most important, resolves within about four to five hours. You see dramatic improvement. It’s incredible. I’m surprised myself.”

Instead of vetting Dr Lozano’s claims given FDA’s recent warning about hydroxychloroquine, host Laura Ingraham who has been a major pusher of the drug, used the opportunity to attack FDA’s stance saying, “Dr. Lozano, I hope the FDA is watching this. Peoples’ lives are on the line because of these [FDA]restrictions or these warning I should say, because it’s trickling down to the pharmacies and the pharmacy boards. You educated a lot of people with this segment tonight.”

Bottom line folks, it’s very clear that Laura Ingraham and many other conservatives are keen on pushing hydroxychloroquine as a covid-19 treatment drug despite FDA’s warning. It is therefore very important for the FDA to come out and forcefully challenge Dr Lozano’s claim before members of the public, desperate for a cure for covid-19 either for themselves or their loved ones, get harmed by the information they consume from Fox News and other conservative media outlets. Simply put, the FDA needs to step up and clear up the hydroxychloroquine confusion once and for all.

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Did Trump Fire State Dept IG Over Probe Into Pompeos?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with his wife Susan

CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood, citing a House Democratic source, said President Trump may have fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick because Linick had opened an investigation into Secretary Mike Popmeo and his wife Susan, for improperly using a political appointee to perform personal favors for them. While this kind of allegation would have rocked any other modern U.S. administration, it perfectly fits the corrupt pattern that has been set by the Trump administration.

Westwood specifically said, “House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel who is a Democrat, said that he had learned that the Inspector General had opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a Democratic source claimed to CNN that that involved allegations that Pompeo had used improperly, a political appointee to do personal favors for him and his wife.”

This troubling report comes just a few weeks after President Trump removed Inspector General Glenn Fine, who members of congress in a bipartisan fashion chose to oversee the disbursement of $2 trillion in covid-19 stimulus funds. It is difficult at this juncture for anyone not to conclude that the Trump administration is by far the most corrupt in modern U.S. history, especially if one takes into account the fact that despite intense public demand, Trump is yet to release his tax returns, something almost every other modern U.S. president has gladly done.

Bottom line folks as Yours Truly has repeatedly stated, the rampant corruption by the Trump administration has to be called out loudly. We cannot afford to accept this corruption simply because AG Barr’s DOJ will do nothing about it. The fact of the matter is that neither Trump nor Barr will be in office forever, meaning there will come a time, hopefully next year with a Biden administration, when Secretary Pompeo and his fellow corrupt Trump administration officials will be held to account.

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Is Barr’s DOJ Targeting Sen Burr To Thwart His TrumpRussia Collusion Findings?

Senator Richard Burr(R-NC) and U.S. Attorney General William Barr (right)

On Thursday’s edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show (TRMS), host Maddow advanced a provocative theory as to the real reason Attorney General Barr’s Department of Justice (DOJ) may be going after senate intelligence committee chairman Richard Burr(R-NC) for possible covid-19 insider trading. According to Maddow, DOJ and by extension AG Barr’s pursuit of senator Burr may have very little to do with the serious covid-19 insider trading allegations, and more to do with the fact that senator Burr was getting ready to release the final installment of his committee’s findings on whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.

Host Rachel Maddow said, “As bad as the insider trading allegations are against Senator Burr, we also simultaneously have to worry whether the U.S. justice department under Attorney General William Barr might be targeting Senator Burr for reasons that are less about insider trading and more about convenience to the Trump administration. Sen Burr you will recall, has led the only functional bipartisan congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. His committee’s findings have supported the intelligence community’s conclusions that for example, Russia interfered in the 2016 election to support Donald Trump’s candidacy. That is something President Trump continues to deny as recently as an interview that aired this morning. More to the point though, Senator Burr’s committee is set to release it’s final report on the Russia issue in the coming months and that last installment we are expecting is on ‘possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.’ That’s what Burr is working on right now, but he’s had to step down as chair of the committee.”

As Maddow correctly points out, given AG Barr’s demonstrable pattern of acting as president Trump’s personal defense attorney, it is not entirely implausible for one to conclude that the AG’s pursuit of senator Burr is also about defending Trump from a potentially damning senate intelligence committee finding that the Trump campaign did indeed collude with Russia in 2016. Maddow also correctly points out that an investigation into a sitting U.S. senator, especially one who chairs the powerful senate intelligence committee, must have been approved at the very highest levels of DOJ meaning AG Barr’s footprints are all over this.

Bottom line folks, AG Barr has so tarnished DOJ’s reputation that even when it undertakes a valid high profile criminal prosecution like senator Burr’s, the general perception among members of the public is that it must have something to do with helping president Trump politically. The very same thing happened during Jeffrey Epstein’s high profile criminal prosecution. I will say again what I have repeatedly stated before and that is, the only way DOJ can cure its tarnished reputation is for career officials within the DOJ to pressure AG Barr to step aside. Because it is highly unlikely that Trump will ever push aside his trusted defender, the onus is on career DOJ officers to begin demanding that AG Barr step down for the good of the department. Simply put, continued silence by career DOJ officials regarding AG Barr’s conduct at this juncture is tantamount to complicity.

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AG Barr, FBI’s Wray Sued Over Terrorist Watchlists

An interesting terrorist watch list lawsuit is currently playing out at the United States District Court for the District of Colorado (USDC-Colorado). The lawsuit, Coker v Barr (1:19-cv-02486, filed 08/30/19), names U.S. Attorney General William Barr, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Charles H. Kable, Director of the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) as defendants. The plaintiff James A. Coker, a military veteran and former law enforcement officer believes, as do many other innocent Americans, that he has been wrongfully placed on a terrorist watch list and is fighting to be accorded a court hearing where he can challenge the basis of his inclusion in the watch list(s). Below is a copy of the very well done complaint filed by the plaintiff’s attorney Patricia S. Bangert.

Terror Watch List Lawsuit by Emolclause on Scribd

According to the complaint, James Coker (plaintiff) who is a military veteran and decorated law enforcement officer(Georgia), began experiencing problems at airports on his air travels in 2016. He raised this issue with the Department of Homeland Security(DHS) using the procedure the department has set up for people who suspect they have been wrongfully placed on the no-fly list. DHS never took him off the no-fly list. In 2018 he applied for, and was offered a job by Veterans Affairs(VA) as a police officer. As a condition of the job, he was required to attend training at a VA police officers training center in Arkansas. Two weeks into his training, armed guards informed him that he was on a terrorist watch list and escorted him out of the training center–a totally humiliating experience. With this lawsuit, Coker seeks to find out among other things, how the hell he ended up on a terrorist watch list.

Coker’s lawsuit is very important in that it yet again reinforces one of the strongest arguments made against the terrorist watch list system and that is, it is very possible for innocent Americans to get caught up in these terrorist watch lists for reasons that have nothing to do with terrorism either through errors but also, quite commonly, through malice. In an unrelated terrorist watch list lawsuit for example, the plaintiff claimed that the FBI placed him in a watch list simply because he refused to be an informant against his fellow Muslim friends, a clear cut case of retaliation. This Just Security piece provides other examples of grave abuses of these terrorist watch lists but more importantly, the disastrous effects of the said abuses on the innocent targets’ lives.

The plaintiff in the instant case James Coker, doesn’t fit the profile of someone many Americans would expect to land on the terrorist watch list–a military veteran with a law enforcement background and zero criminal record. The fact that someone like James Coker can also get ensnared in the terrorist watch list dragnet should be reason enough for members of congress to finally crack down on this grotesquely unjust program.

Think about that folks. With all the hue and cry in the mainstream media about FISA surveillance abuses against Carter Page, it is shocking how since 2003, we have seemingly tolerated this grotesquely unjust terrorist watch list system where on any given day and for whatever reason, someone can arbitrarily decide that you pose a threat to national security, throw your name into some watch list turning your life upside down, without you ever getting a chance to challenge the basis of your inclusion in the said watch list. Anyone who claims to be concerned about surveillance abuses regarding Carter Page but is okay with this abuse-prone terrorist watch list system cannot be taken seriously. Simply put, any serious debate about surveillance reforms has to include these terrorist watch lists.

Why is Coker v Barr very important and potentially the ground zero for much anticipated push back against the surveillance state? The simple answer is timing. It is impossible to ignore the backdrop against which this lawsuit is playing out. A reasonable argument can be made that ever since the 9/11 terrorist attack in 2001, it is in 2020 that the anti-surveillance sentiment has finally reached fever pitch, and a lot of this has to do with the FISA surveillance abuses revealed in the Carter Page case. An investigation conducted by the Department of Justice Inspector General into 29 other FISA surveillance applications after the Carter Page revelations, found errors in all the 29 applications. Coker v Barr is therefore playing out at a time when there is tremendous appetite for surveillance reform and I suspect the USDC-Colorado district judge is fully aware of that.

It also bears pointing out that when a key surveillance law recently came up for reauthorization, it was “law and order” Republican Senators who temporarily held up its automatic renewal. Folks, if “law and order” Republican Senators holding up automatic renewal of a crucial surveillance law is not the ultimate signal that time has finally come for some serious surveillance reform, I don’t know what is.

Bottom line, Coker v Barr comes at a time when there is a great national appetite for a serious overhaul of the surveillance regime. There is a very good chance that USDC-Colorado may finally force the government (AG Barr and Co.) to explain how secretly throwing an individual in some list that upends their life and livelihood, without ever according them a chance to challenge such a placement does not on its face, grossly violate the 5th amendment’s due process requirements. Prior to the Carter Page and DOJ-IG findings of surveillance abuses, courts were reluctant to address the glaring due process concerns raised by the terrorist watch list program. I suspect with Coker v Barr, USDC-Colorado will be very eager to get an explanation from AG Barr and Co. as to how the secretive terrorist watch lists satisfy the 5th amendment’s due process requirements. Major kudos to attorney Patricia Bangert for this forceful legal challenge to the surveillance regime.

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GOP Sen Burr And His Brother-In-Law Suspected Of Covid-19 Insider Trading

Senator Richard Burr(R-NC), Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee

In case you missed it, there was a bombshell revelation on MSNBC’s AM Joy show by ProPublica’s Robert Faturechi, that the chairman of the senate intelligence committee Richard Burr(R-NC), may have fed his brother-in-law Gerald Fauth, who is Trump’s appointee to the national mediation board, with confidential covid-19 information, which Fauth then used to make profitable stock trades. Interestingly, Senator Burr’s brother-in-law made the questionable stock trades on the very same day Senator Burr dumped a significant portion of his stock, a strange coincidence that is sure to catch the attention of investigators, congressional and otherwise.

ProPublica’s Robert Faturechi told host Joy Reid, “Senator Burr sold a significant portion of his stock holdings on February 13th. What we [ProPublica] discovered last week was that his brother in law Gerald Fauth who is on the National Mediation Board and therefore needs to disclose his securities trading as well, sold on the exact same day between $97,000 and $280,000 worth of stock. I gave Gerald Fauth a call…..I asked him if he and Senator Burr coordinated and he immediately hung up on me.”

You’ll remember recent media reports that Senators Burr, Kelly Loeffler and others may have traded stocks based on information they obtained from a senate covid-19 briefing. DOJ reportedly launched an insider trading investigation into this issue. This latest bombshell that Senator Burr’s brother-in-law made questionable stock trades on the very same day Senator Burr dumped a significant portion of his stock should be cause for some serious scrutiny by the said DOJ investigators. According to ProPublica’s Faturechi, Burr’s brother-in-law hung up on him when he inquired as to whether there was any coordination with Senator Burr regarding the stock trades. While hanging up on a reporter is not by itself sufficient proof of guilt, it certainly opens up both Sen Burr and Gerald Fauth to a perception by the public that they have something to hide.

Bottom line folks, coronavirus pandemic has dealt a serious blow to Americans whether that be through lost loved ones, lost livelihoods(businesses and jobs), disruption in their children’s education, drastic lifestyle changes in a covid-19 world (masks), just to mention but a few. The idea that as covid-19 was knocking millions of Americans to the ground, the chairman of the senate intelligence committee Richard Burr, Senator Kelly Loeffler and other U.S. Senators were using their privileged positions not to shield Americans from the fall, but to personally enrich themselves, should enrage all Americans regardless of their political affiliation. Simply put, if Senators Burr, Loeffler, et al cannot demonstrate conclusively to the public that they did not engage in covid-19 insider trading, then they need to step aside. The burden should be on them to demonstrate conclusively to public that they did nothing wrong, not for the public to chase them around, begging for transparency.

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