This declaration is actually long overdue given how ANTIFA has been involved in basically nothing but riots. That's basically the definition of violence against civilian population for political purposes. What will be really interesting here is how far AG Barr will be able to follow the communications from the organizers and funders. I suspect those communications lead to known political figures and organizations.
Steele also testified he was paying his sources, meaning they had a financial incentive to make things up. Steele said he got some of his information from Hillary's lawyers, and names Susan Rice as someone at the high level of the Obama administration who knew or was involved as early as July. That's the first direct information linking this to Obama's inner cycle, aside from occasional Strzok-Page texts referring to the White House.
Steele got Alfa Bank story directly from Clinton, DNC lawyer
So thje FBI knew this story was coming from the DNC and Clinton campaign when Sussman pitched to the James Baker, a top FBI official at the time. The two had worked together previously and so knew each other. The FBI can't claim ignorance of the politics by hiding behind Steele here. Steele was involved to give this frame-job a "credible" front, but it seems it was all made-up bullshit and Clinton lies.
The downside: it looks like they figured out a way to hack iPhones, even if it took them 5 months. This is a case where that is a good thing... but the technology can be applied to everyone, so there's some inherent risk.
So just to be clear in how I characterize this: The reporter standing in front of a burning building describes it as "mostly a protest, not generally speaking unruly" while different reporters are egging people on to vandalize police buildings or bring pitchforks and torches to a Trump fundraiser.
Also, reality check: when you burn down someone's home or business, riot in their city, loot the stores they shop in, and then they hate you... that's not racism. That's cause and effect based on your actions.
The veto threat is basically the exact opposite of DOJ's recommendation to veto. Trump wants more protections. DOJ wants less. But they both want the bill vetoed. And if it doesn't get renewed, the surveillance authority goes away and is left in the hands of the President and his national-security discretion. Whether that's better or worse is a complicated debate, but burning down the current FISC and starting over seems like a good idea at this point.
But using personal and political connections in this case is hardly unprecedented. The judge who accepted Flynn's guilty plea almost immediately had to recuse himself when it became clear he was friendly on a personal level with the infamous Strzok, and the text messages suggest a desire by Strzok to discuss the case with the judge off-the-record using a personal event as cover.
More interesting reading from the comments at Meaning in History, linked above. It's speculation about the why behind this frantic cover up effort. The author thinks it's all about the Iran nuclear deal, and Flynn knows stuff about that that he can't talk about with criminal charges hanging over his head. That's part of it. But the other big thing that's being protected, I think, is the extensive use of the US (and allies) intelligence assets to manipulate elections. That's the prize that the deep state is frantic to protect.
This doesn't actually surprise me much; there's historically a lot of latitude for this sort of thing during public emergencies. Courts will let the executive handle the emergency and focus on reviewing it all well after the fact.
The aspect this court is missing -- probably deliberately -- is whether there is actually an emergency that justifies that treatment. There's certainly a panic, but I'm not convinced the data shows an actual emergency. So can the government exaggerate an unusual, but not disastrous, new disease and get a pass from the bill of rights? I suspect not, but I doubt the courts will say so until more time makes the evidence very clear. Particularly courts with a liberal bias.
There's also the question of duration; temporary restrictions can pass muster where permanent ones would not. So, for how long are we supposed to hide from the Kung Flu? What happens if there is never a cure, never a vaccine, and (just like the normal flu or the common cold) we just have to learn to live with it? Does the bill of rights stay suspended then?
... and they did it because of red flag laws. They are also refusing to share their bodycam footage, because of course they are. After all, that footage would expose them as liars who shot and killed a man while he slept peacefully in bed next to his pregnant girlfriend, who they also shot.
The police are keeping the survivors under surveillance and threatening them with arrest if they attend protests.
Everyone involved here needs to go on trial for murder and violation of civil rights. But they won't. Because they are police.
The consequences in the November presidential election may be dramatic. And unpleasant. And, yes, this is why the Democrats have been letting felons out of jail during the Kung Flu panic. Let them out, let them vote (by mail if possible) and win elections. That's the plan. Trashing the economy is a nice bonus.
This was a political panic job designed to sabotage the economy. Not that the virus isn't real; that seems undeniable. Not that it wasn't manufactured in a lab -- case not proven yet, but it seems likely. But it certainly wasn't the deadly disease it was sold as when the CDC's Dr Fauci shut down the country.
Unanswered questions: So why did China shut down like they did? Maybe deliberately, because they hate Trump and were read in on the plot. Maybe they just panicked in the presence of an unknown disease. Maybe the disease really was as bad as advertised, but mutated to a less deadly strain. Maybe air pollution in China is bad enough to increase vulnerability. I don't know.
It's worth also pointing on when that funding happened. 2015, under Obama.
I'll trust Pompeo's description of what the intel community's best experts think over what a random interviewer thinks they said, given that Pompeo's the one with the official clearances. I don't read Pompeo as backtracking at all.
We're a long ways from understanding everything going on behind the scenes with this virus. But Fauci appears to be central to it, and I don't think he's been asked the right questions yet.
So a lot of people are complaining that government payment policies are incentivizing hospitals and doctors to specify COVID-19 on death certificates because it means they get paid, even if the patient had never tested positive for COVID-19. Aesop says that's bullshit, based mainly on the idea that a diagnosis of COVID-19 is possibly via X-rays without specific testing, combined with the idea that the treatment is expensive and the cost of the treatment is more than what the government is paying so there's no financial incentive.
They are both right, I think.
The thing about costs and incentives is -- the patient is getting treated. The costs are there and already spent. The argument that "they don't want to spend the money to treat a patient for COVID-19 because it's not profitable" ignores that the patient is already there, already treated, and in this argument, already died... the question isn't how they will be treated, it's how any treatment will be reimbursed. As such, there's absolutely a financial incentive to put down COVID-19 on the death certificate and claim some of the government cash. It's better than nothing, and the money to treat the patient at this point is already spent.
The argument that COVID-19 can be diagnosed based on X-rays and symptoms also fails even though it's not actually wrong either. Yes, a doctor can probably look at an X-ray and note things specific to COVID-19 and reach a diagnosis with reasonable accuracy. But, as noted above, they have incentives to weight the scale and, by the time you are talking about a death certificate, a dead patient for whom getting it right is no longer a priority and getting paid is.
Against those incentives, the cost of a test so that we can KNOW is at this point pretty low. We're making millions of test kits. Just run the test and reduce the false-positive rate. There's really no reason not to. That doesn't mean you can't diagnose and treat the living patient based on that X-ray and professional judgement. But the dead guy is patient (pun intended) and the benefits of better statistics and knowledge about this disease are more important than the trivial costs of running another mass-produced test.