No, Mueller Did Not Clear Trump. Period.

By Arturo Castañares / La Prensa San Diego Publisher and CEO

After going more than two years without making any public comments as he headed the independent counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, Robert Mueller finally spoke out on Wednesday to clarify the intention of his report.

US Attorney General William Barr gave the world his own summary of the Mueller Report back in early March just days after Mueller had turn it over to the Justice Department. Barr’s summary was that the report did not find any collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russians, and that there was no evidence that Trump tried to obstruct justice during the investigation.

According to Barr, and then Trump and his supporters, the report completely cleared Trump of any wrongdoing, and that it was the clear no one around Trump colluded with Russians.

For nearly two months now, we have heard repeated chants from Trump et al that the Mueller investigation was a waste of time, money, and manpower in its attempt to find what they maintained never existed. Case closed, they all declared.

But that’s not what Robert S. Mueller said this week. Not even close.

The surprise press conference was announced just hours before Mueller took to the podium at the Justice Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. Exactly on time at 9 a.m. Eastern time, the man who had held his tongue for two years while investigating the President of the United States finally got his opportunity to explain his work-product.

For background, Robert Mueller is a former Assistant US Attorney, former US Attorney, former Assistant US Attorney General, former Acting-Deputy US Attorney General, former Director of the FBI under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and also a highly decorated former US Marine who earned a Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”, Purple Heart Medal, and two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals with Combat “V” during his service in Vietnam.

His stellar reputation as a serious and respected former Justice Department and FBI official is why he was appointed by then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to conduct the special investigation. Although he was routinely criticized by Donald Trump and others, there were no comments or leaks from his office during the two-year investigation.

Until this week, most people had never even heard Mueller’s voice. But when he spoke on Wednesday, the course of American history may have changed.

Robert Mueller clearly stated that Robert Mueller clearly stated that his investigation found evidence of obstruction of justice by Donald Trump but that a Department of Justice policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted limited him from bringing any charges. Mueller said that had they found no evidence of obstruction of justice, the report would have clearly stated that.

Translation. He didn’t say there was no evidence of obstruction of justice. He didn’t say Donald Trump was innocent. He didn’t exonerate the President of the United States.

Mueller said that a criminal indictment is not the way to accuse a sitting president of serious crimes.

“The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing,” Mueller said on Wednesday.

Let that sink in for a minute.

The former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations for 12 years, who was appointed by GW Bush and reappointed for a second term under Barack Obama on a 98-1 vote of the US Senate, a registered Republican, and is described as a good friend of current Attorney General William Barr, publicly said that there is enough evidence of obstruction of justice that he could not clear the current President.

What’s more troubling is that for two months, the Attorney General and Republicans protecting Donald Trump have carried on a charade in front of the world, restating the Mueller Report as proof of Trump’s innocence. It took two months for Mueller to finally take a stand and accurately explain his report. And that’s a shame.

The position of Attorney General of the United States is supposed to be the chief lawyer for the federal government, not the personal lawyer for the president. Historically, presidents have kept their distance from the AG so that they didn’t seem to be exerting pressure on them, especially when it involved the president himself.

It wasn’t too long ago that even a meeting between the AG and a former president was shocking, well, at least to Donald Trump.

In June 2016, former President Bill Clinton was at an airport in Phoenix at the same time that a plane carrying then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch landed there too. It was reported that Clinton boarded Lynch’s plane and they chatted for a few minutes, reported about personal issues.

But Republicans, and then-candidate Donald Trump, called it “terrible” and “unethical”. They charged that Lynch couldn’t be unbiased and impartial in her review of the Benghazi investigation and Hillary Clinton’s emails because she had met with the former president, who didn’t have any authority over her in any way.

If it was wrong for former President Clinton to even meet with the AG, then how it is acceptable for Donald Trump and William Barr to discuss the Mueller report when Trump appointed and could fire Barr?

It was Trump’s appointed AG Barr that has been describing the Mueller report for two months, and publicly declared that there was no collusion and no obstruction of justice by his boss. Barr could have let the report speak for itself, or waited for Mueller to discuss it.

If you’ve seen this movie before, its because again the Trump White House is acting much like the Nixon White House during the Watergate scandal. Back then, it was Attorney General John Mitchell, who had run Nixon’s first campaign, that took direction directly from the President.

Now, Barr, who previously served as Attorney General under George H.W. Bush, also believes in a “unitary executive” doctrine that all federal officers, agencies, and commissions must be under the direct control of the President.

AG Barr even helped Bush Sr. in pardoning six men charged or convicted in the Iran- Contra scandal, including former Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger. Bush’s pardons ended an independent counsel investigation into the Iran-Contra affair, including Bush’s own actions that would have been investigated.

So, Donald Trump’s appointment of William Barr as Attorney General just three months ago now seems like a preemptive move to protect himself, knowing that Barr could run interference for him during and after the Mueller investigation.

Mueller’s report and comments this week should be taken at face value, and it is up to Congress to look into the underlying evidence the two-year investigation compiled. After a reported $20 million expense on the investigation, taxpayers should demand a full review – not for partisan reasons – but for full transparency. It’s what Congress does, and should do.

If, after public hearings, Congress doesn’t find enough evidence to move forward, then it ends, much like the Congressional hearings into the Benghazi incident. After two years, millions of dollars, and 11 hours of testimony by Hillary Clinton, the committees did not find any evidence of wrong-doing.

Donald Trump should not be afraid of Congressional oversight if, as he so vehemently claims, he did nothing wrong. Congress has the obligation to pursue the work of Mueller’s team to its conclusion, for the good of the country.

This shouldn’t be about Democrats or Republicans, Trump, Mueller, or Barr. It should be about the institutions that must survive these times, for all time. That’s what makes America great.

Run in sprints – for your heart and perfect body, new research confirms it

reformation bathing suit

Want a summer body and the fastest way to lose weight? Run in sprints, according to new study

If your knees are still young and your mind willing, running is by far the best way to keep your heart and bones strong. It’s by far the easiest way to lose weight but you need to be committed. Recent studies show that swimming and cycling may have very little positive effect against osteoporosis (and can even be putting your bones at risk). And as we learn in grade school, it’s never too young to start keeping your bones strong.

I started running 2 years ago, I admit, to lose weight I had been gaining from childbirth. Not the actual birthing but after I stopped nursing. I started running on a trip to Costa Rica. Not a fan of gyms, driving or working very hard to exercise, running seemed like the least hassling option for looking better. Side benefits I now see are plenty… I eat better as I crave less fatty foods, I feel better as the positive hormones cycle through my body, and people respond to me more favorably creating lots of positive feedback loops. I had been feeling so good about myself that one year after running I started combining it with Iyengar yoga to lengthen the muscle mass I had started to build.

"jogging energy electricity"

When I started running I only took cues from my body. As I was already in my 40s yet was quite active as a teen and young adult in my 20s, I had some muscle memory and some basic skills that carried through with me. When I first started running I decided that I would run for 3 miles (about 5 kilometers) and do it every other day. My step-son told me that it’s good for the body to have a day off to burn fat.

So I started out. From the outset I decided that I would never stop running. Even if I was going slower than the walkers. I wanted to keep my hips and leg muscles engaged in the running position and I wanted to improve with every run, even if it was just a tiny bit. If I was sick and needed to take a day or two off, I would return to the run a bit slower than my last run. This way I was never discouraged.

I did two other important things: I told myself that I can’t quit. That not running 3 days a week for myself would be like not giving my kids breakfast in the morning or taking the dog out for a walk.

Somehow among all my friends with “great tips” from speed-walking yoga gurus to crossfit enthusiasts, I decided to go with my intuition. In order to advance in my running and improve my heart health and overall effect I would sprint 3 times during my 3 mile run. I normally started the sprinting sessions, about 150 yards at a time, after I had run halfway or even two thirds of the way in. I would start sprinting only at the time when I felt my heart rate was stable (I could feel it inside me, I don’t wear a monitor); and during the sprint I would run as fast as I can.

Being a little competitive I sometimes like to sprint past the people who try to run ahead of me. Lucky for me I live on the Mediterranean Sea so have a lovely wind and backdrop for my sport. Hopefully you too can find a forest or a cool path that makes you happy to run through. One of my rules: never change the route. This way my mind can’t play tricks on me to shorten the route. Also I know what to expect most of the time — although today I saw a colt taking a bath in the sea — did not expect that!

The results of my two year running combined with yoga have been exceptional and it really does boil down to what you do and what you eat. If you run and do piles of yoga but then eat meals of junk food, soda and processed food, well it might not give you the effect you want. That said I do eat whatever I want but cravings for sweets and fried foods and meat have tapered off.

reformation bathing suit pin-up model style

This is me. I eat what I want; but I am committed to exercising. I ride my bike as much as I can; and exercise about 5 days a week – 2 runs, combined with 3 sessions of yoga.

To my chagrin and not surprise a new study on running looks at the approach I have taken and it confirmed my intuition.

In a new observational study that looked at more than 70 scientific papers, the results were in line with what my body had told me. Compared to high intensity training (HIIT) like working out at the gym, taking it in stride with sprinting (SIT) is the key to losing weight.

“The data shows that sprint interval training led to a 39.95% higher reduction in body fat percentage than HIIT. Additionally, SIT participants exercised for 60.84% less time than HII.”

All Findings:

  • Sprint interval training (SIT) vs High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
  • SIT resulted in a 39.59% higher reduction in body fat percentage than HIIT.
  • SIT significantly outperformed HIIT in Body Fat Percentage (BF%) reduction while requiring 60.84% less time spent exercising than HIIT.
  • SIT participants spent 81.46% less time sprinting in comparison to time spent doing high-intensity intervals of HIIT.
  • On average, SIT conducted 10% fewer workouts per week and these workouts were 44% shorter in comparison to HIIT.
  • During these workouts, the SIT group did 4.68% fewer sprints than the HIIT participants did their high-intensity intervals.
  • These sprints were 85.64% shorter in duration than the high-intensity intervals of the HIIT group.
  • Sprint interval training vs Moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT)
  • SIT resulted in a 91.83% higher reduction in body fat percentage than MICT.
  • SIT significantly outperformed MICT in Body Fat Percentage (BF%) reduction while requiring 71.17% less time spent exercising.
  • SIT participants conducted 15.54% fewer workouts every week on average compared to MICT.
  • These workouts for SIT were 60.12% shorter than MICT workouts.

For those that want to try it know that sprint interval training requires intense bursts of energy, where you give it your all, but you have long rests in between (in my case jogging at a slow pace) so it makes it super easy to achieve the desired effects without a lot of time or effort. The key here is just committing to it. Once you have the game plan, stop wasting hours and hours at the gym. You are telling yourself lies and spending money for no reason.

Your time can be spent doing so many other things, like hanging out with your friends or making a healthy home-cooked meal at home for your kids.

Peace out and read about the whole study here.

 

Just A Few Words About Impeachment

Just a few words on Impeachment.

The Constitution is clear: The Congress is the one that has the power to hold a wanton, unlawful President to account. It’s sort of odd – the framers of the Constitution absolutely believed that this country would be confronted with a person undeserving of being President, and gave us the solution to dealing with them: Impeachment.

Impeachment in the United States is the process by which the lower house of a legislature brings charges against a civil officer of government for crimes alleged to have been committed, analogous to the bringing of an indictment by a grand jury. At the federal level, this is at the discretion of the House of Representatives. Most impeachments have concerned alleged crimes committed while in office, though there have been a few cases in which officials have been impeached and subsequently convicted for crimes committed prior to taking office.[1] The impeached official remains in office until a trial is held. That trial, and their removal from office if convicted, is separate from the act of impeachment itself. Analogous to a trial before a judge and jury, these proceedings are (where the legislature is bicameral) conducted by upper house of the legislature, which at the federal level is the Senate.

At the federal level, Article I, Section 2, Clause 5 of the Constitution grants to the House of Representatives “the sole power of impeachment”, and Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 grants to the Senate “the sole Power to try all Impeachments”. In considering articles of impeachment, the House is obligated to base any charges on the constitutional standards specified in Article II, Section 4: “The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors

I believe that Robert Mueller was clear, just as the Southern District of New York was clear:

IF NOT for him being President of the United States, Donald Trump would most certainly be UNDER INDICTMENT.

PERIOD.


For me, Impeachment was always what should be done, because, either we are a nation of laws, or we are not. There is no in between.

But, as long as THAT is agreed to, then I am willing to give the Democratic Party leadership the time they need to bring the country along. Make no mistake – the Democrats are on their own. We know that the Republicans are lockstep traitors with Dolt45.

We know that we can’t depend upon the MSM, who has spent nearly every phucking day, trying to normalize Dolt45, and tell us that he’s ‘Presidential’.

We know that they can’t be depended upon, because you can look at the difference in attention and kinds of attention that they give between Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell. They insist on questioning Pelosi and pestering her at every turn. All the while, they are quiet as churchmice on the person most responsible for obstruction in our government today – McConnell. After the Democrats vote for impeachment, after laying out all the proof…I would be the farm, that they won’t approach McConnell OR any other Republican Senator, about the proof laid out by the Democrats. Won’t challenge them in the least. Just let them put on a bullshyt trial in the Senate, and not pushback on it being garbage.

There is only one shot for this. We need to make sure that we get all the evidence out there. With every refusal of a subpoena, that’s obstruction. With every refusal to turn over evidence, that’s obstruction. Threatening of witnesses – obstruction. Obstruction of justice, up and down this Administration. The breaking of the Emoluments Clause – bribery. There is PLENTY for impeachment. And, we should lay it out , everyday, with hearing after hearing.

Impeachment – yes.

But, let’s slow walk it. More evidence revealed, drip drip drip, everyday.

Friday Open Thread | The Chicanery With the 2020 Census

Ever since we saw Wilbur Ross trying to put a Citizenship Question on the 2020 Census, we knew that phuckery was afoot. The Constitution is very clear – everyone in the United States is to be counted. Period. There has always been some finagling with the Census – hell, it’s how we got the 3/5 compromise.

But, when we saw that they wanted to put the Citizenship Question on the 2020 Census, it was nothing but rotten. WE KNOW that Ross LIED as to how the request for the question was done. He lied and said that the Justice Department wanted it put on the Census – to back up the Voting Rights Act. Are you kidding me? Lying like a mofo. When has THIS Justice Department given two shyts about the Voting Rights Act.

We know now that they LIED when they testified before Congress, and judges. Not just Ross, but a Trump Transition Official, and John Gore, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights and the DoJ’s chief overseer of voting rights issues, also lied under oath about the intended effects of the census question and the origin of the documents.

So now, because of this NYTimes Article, the intent for the Citizenship Question goes even BEFORE THE 2016 ELECTION.

Hard Drives Reveal Details on Citizenship Question

May 30, 2019 at 8:59 am EDT

Thomas Hofeller achieved near-mythic status in the Republican Party as the Michelangelo of gerrymandering, the architect of partisan political maps that cemented the party’s dominance across the country, the New York Times reports.

But after he died last summer, his estranged daughter discovered hard drives in her father’s home that revealed something else: Mr. Hofeller had played a crucial role in the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Files on those drives showed that he wrote a study in 2015 concluding that adding a citizenship question to the census would allow Republicans to draft even more extreme gerrymandered maps to stymie Democrats… The disclosures represent the most explicit evidence to date that the Trump administration added the question to the 2020 census to advance Republican Party interests.

Files on those drives showed that he wrote a study in 2015 concluding that adding a citizenship question to the census would allow Republicans to draft even more extreme gerrymandered maps to stymie Democrats. And months after urging President Trump’s transition team to tack the question onto the census, he wrote the key portion of a draft Justice Department letter claiming the question was needed to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act — the rationale the administration later used to justify its decision.

Those documents, cited in a federal court filing Thursday by opponents seeking to block the citizenship question, have emerged only weeks before the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the legality of the citizenship question. Critics say adding the question would deter many immigrants from being counted and shift political power to Republican areas.

…………….

The documents cited in the Thursday court filing include an unpublished August 2015 analysis by Mr. Hofeller, who was hired by The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news outlet financially backed by Paul Singer, a billionaire New York hedge fund manager and major Republican donor. Mr. Hofeller’s charge was to assess the impact of drawing political maps that were not based on a state’s total population — the current practice virtually everywhere in the nation — but on a slice of that population: American citizens of voting age.

………………………….

Mr. Hofeller’s exhaustive analysis of Texas state legislative districts concluded that such maps “would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites,” and would dilute the political power of the state’s Hispanics.

The reason, he wrote, was that the maps would exclude traditionally Democratic Hispanics and their children from the population count. That would force Democratic districts to expand to meet the Constitution’s one person, one vote requirement. In turn, that would translate into fewer districts in traditionally Democratic areas, and a new opportunity for Republican mapmakers to create even stronger gerrymanders.

 

I want to tie this into another story that I read a few weeks ago, about the number of offices being cut for the 2020 Census. It is being done because of something the GOP did in 2014 – after they had taken back Congress. The DELIBERATE SABOTAGE OF THE CENSUS PREDATES DOLT45. So, when folks like me say, uh uh, you can’t isolate Dolt45 from the GOP. That they are ONE. That they are hooked together. Getting rid of Dolt45 doesn’t resolve the problem that the entire GOP is nothing but a rotten cesspool.

And, anything that resembles little ‘ d’-democracy, the GOP is against it. They know that the demographics are against them, but, they are determined that the MINORITY of this country will try and rule over the MAJORITY. THAT is why they must be defeated, because they do not want to live in a country where THEY aren’t ruling over us.

EPA takes Monsanto’s side on glyphosate

wtf

Alternative Roundup Label



The pesticide world has been abuzz with the outcome of the third glyphosate trial. Earlier this month, Bayer (Monsanto) was found liable for Alva and Alberta Pilliod’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and was ordered to pay over $2 billion total in damages.

In light of the World Health Organization’s determination in 2015 that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s flagship herbicide Roundup, is a ‘probable human carcinogen,’ more than 10,000 individuals who have been exposed to the herbicide and suffered from cancer are in the process of suing the chemical giant, recently acquired by Bayer.

You’d think this precedent-setting verdict, the third consecutive against Bayer, would put the gears in motion for EPA to withdraw glyphosate from circulation. But disturbingly, the agency plans to keep the chemical on the market.

Seriously EPA?

Internal memos show that this administration went as far as to reassure Monsanto that they “have their back” when it comes to pesticides like Roundup.

We’ve already seen this EPA getting cozy with industry executives. Consider the chlorpyrifos fiasco — former Administrator Scott Pruitt decided not to ban the neurotoxic pesticide after meeting with Dow Chemical (chlorpyrifos’ manufacturer) executives.

But this is a new low. Ignoring recommendations of the World Health Organization, and dismissing concern from members of EPA’s own Scientific Advisory Panel over the hazards of glyphosate is a blatant disregard for sound science and public health.

Glyphosate has to go

Glyphosate is used on more than 100 crops, including corn, soy, cotton, canola and sugar beets. Use as skyrocketed over the past decade as “Roundup ready” crops that are genetically engineered to tolerate application of the herbicide have become standard in industrial agriculture systems.

While dangers are highest for pesticide applicators, farmworkers and rural communities exposed during spraying, residues of the chemical have been found in numerous food and drink products as well.

The U.S. Geological Survey found glyphosate in nearly all water and air samples taken in recent testing, and a recent study found the chemical in the bodies of pregnant women. In addition to its link to cancer, studies have also linked glyphosate to birth defects, liver damage, and hormone disruption.

Given the widespread exposure to this chemical that science has shown can harm human health, EPA must revise the recommendation that glyphosate be re-registered without restrictions. It’s time to invest in effective systems of farming and weed control that don’t rely on chemicals that put our health at risk.

Sign on to PAN’s petition today, telling EPA it’s time to put public health and the environment above the interests of corporations like Monsanto (Bayer).

Photo: Global Justice Now | Flickr

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