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Posts Tagged ‘DOJ’

The continuing efforts by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. intelligence community are a useful reminder to Trump, Putin and the rest of the world.  Whatever the fallout from the Helsinki summit, no one man ultimately controls the enforcement of America’s laws or the defense of its national security.  And nothing Trump says or does will change that.
  —    Brian Bennett
From the article: “A Crisis Of His Own Making
Appearing in Time Magazine, Dtd: 30 July 2018
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On This Day In:
2017 Strongly Convinced
2016 Me, Myself & I
2015 God, Give Us Men!
2014 Got Any Bezzy Mates?
2013 On Being A Nerd – Awesome
2012 Writers Write
2011 And History Has Proved This Correct
2010 Fascinating Discontinuity
Tasted Bacon?

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Sicario (2015) — movie review
Today’s review is for the drug cartel crime fighting thriller, Sicario,  released a few years ago and which has a sequel just wrapping up in theaters now.  The movie title translates to “hitman” according to the opening credits.  It stars: Emily Blunt as FBI Agent Kate Macer; Antonio Banderas — just kidding — Benicio del Toro as Alejandro Gillick; Josh Brolin as CIA Agent Matt Graver and Daniel Kaluuya as Blunt’s FBI partner Reggie Wayne.  Gillick’s “character / role” is not entirely clear.  On the one hand, he is said to be an attorney who’s family is murdered by a drug cartel, and on the other had he is said to be a member of the Medellín cartel.  I think I would have to view the movie again to see which is true as multiple sources seem to disagree (Rotten Tomatos, IMDB, Wikipedia).  Really, he’s a combination of Paul Kersey (Death Wish) – vengeance / vigilante, John McClane (Die Hard) – one man against the gang / vigilante, and Frank Castle (Punisher) – super-efficient killer with multiple weapons / vigilante.
The basic plot is the CIA needs an FBI agent on a cross-departmental team to function on US soil.  Hence, they recruit Macer and Wayne to help “arrest” (i.e. track down and kill) some cartel leaders.  To do this, they pursue the cartel in both the US and Mexico.  Blah, blah, blah.  Shoot-em up.  Blah, blah, blah.  Feel sorry for Macer and Gillick.  Blah, blah, Gillick saves Macer.  Blah, blah, Gillick gets revenge.  Blah, blah, Macer let’s Gillick skate (to make a sequel).  Kind of a happy / unhappy ending…
So, is this a good movie?  Does it work as a thriller?  Is it realistic?  Yes.  Yes.  And, so-so.  I found the movie to be very interesting because it was the best depiction I’ve seen of night vision / thermal vision head gear.  The acting is solid and the characters are reasonably developed enough that you can start to feel for them.  The movie works quite well as a thriller.  The action starts strong with a pretty powerful (if gruesome) opening of the FBI breaking into a house full of dead bodies to arrest / kill gang members and free hostages and then it just goes from there.  Anyway, the Department of Justice wants to make a “bigger” difference in the drug war, so they join the CIA and DOD’s Delta Force to perform operations both in the US and in Mexico.  There are multiple action / set pieces and they work – in terms of both increasing theatrical tension and creating bonding of the law enforcement team (character development).
Is the movie realistic?  I do believe it’s realistic in terms of gang violence and military capability.  No.  I don’t believe it is realistic in the depiction of action.  The action happens the way we (as an audience) would like it to happen – person shot, person drops.  But, again, it’s only a movie, so I’m willing to cut Hollywood some slack.  They are trying to entertain us, not educate us.
The movie is rated: “R” and this is deserved due to the graphic depiction of gang violence.  Having said this, it shies away from the most graphic violence of Gillick avenging his own family by killing the drug lord (and his family first, in front of him).  Today’s post title is a quote of the final words Gillick says to the gang / drug lord.
So, final recommendation: strong.  The story is good.  The action and tension builds.  The characters / actors get developed during the film.  It has a satisfying (if not happy) ending.  With the proviso that it is not for the squeamish and is correctly rated as “R”, it is worth your time if you are into spy / crime / thriller / action movies.
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On This Day In:
2017 Wealth Within
2016 Soaring
2015 Gone To The Library…
2014 Choose To Lead
2013 Not Sent Yet
2012 Wall-Crawler Reboot
Learning To Count
On Worshiping God
2011 Emancipated Differences
2010 A Little More Technology, Please…

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The following is a partial transcript of President’s press rant (dtd: 9 April 2018) about the execution of a multiple location search warrant on Attorney Michael Cohen (Trump Organization attorney) in a start of the day “raid”.  You can find a full copy of the statement on multiple internet news sites.  The statements were made by the President at a special meeting of the President’s National Security Team where he was surrounded by the Joint Chiefs of the military and they were supposedly there to discuss the proper response to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against their own people.  [All comments (which appear in italics) are my own.  —  KMAB]:
President Trump: So I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys — a good man.  And it’s a disgraceful situation.  It’s a total witch hunt.  I’ve been saying it for a long time.  I’ve wanted to keep it down.  We’ve given, I believe, over a million pages’ worth of documents to the Special Counsel.
[The FBI did NOT “break” into the office / residence of the attorney.  They “executed” a legally authorized search warrant.  The situation does not appear to be either disgraceful or a witch hunt.  President Trump has indeed been stating both “for a long time”.  That doesn’t make the statement that “it’s” a witch hunt factually accurate / true.  The volume of documents given over to the Special Counsel is irrelevant and another attempt by President Trump to misdirect / mislead his supporters.  The vast majority of documents have been conveyed voluntarily, rather than under seizure.  This means, there “may” be some unknown volume of documents (it could be one or it could be ten million) which were not conveyed.  Without seizure, there is no way to verify the number which should have been conveyed.]
They continue to just go forward.  And here we are talking about Syria and we’re talking about a lot of serious things.  We’re the greatest fighting force ever.  [Wag the Dog“, Donald.  “Wag the Dog.]  And I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now — and actually, much more than that.  You could say it was right after I won the nomination, it started.
[Actually, the FBI investigation may have begun before his announcement to run for the nomination and that as the investigation of George Papadopoulos certainly pre-dates Trump’s campaign.]
And it’s a disgrace.  It’s, frankly, a real disgrace.  It’s an attack on our country, in a true sense.  It’s an attack on what we all stand for.
[Like many of President Trump’s comments, this is completely incorrect.  The investigation is “exactly” what is supposed to be happening.  The lawful tools of government are being used to prosecute a response to the Russian interference in our democratic election process for the purpose of ensuring it does not happen again.]
So when I saw this and when I heard it — I heard it like you did — I said, that is really now on a whole new level of unfairness.
So this has been going on — I saw one of the reporters, who is not necessarily a fan of mine, not necessarily very good to me.  He said, in effect, that this is ridiculous; this is now getting ridiculous.  They found no collusion whatsoever with Russia.  The reason they found it is there was no collusion at all.  No collusion.  This is the most biased group of people.  These people have the biggest conflicts of interest I’ve ever seen.
[When you know you are guilty and before the evidence can become public knowledge, attack the potential accusers with a claim of bias.]
Democrats all — or just about all — either Democrats or a couple of Republicans that worked for President Obama, they’re not looking at the other side; they’re not looking at the Hillary Clinton — the horrible things that she did and all of the crimes that were committed.  They’re not looking at all of the things that happened that everybody is very angry about, I can tell you, from the Republican side, and I think even the independent side.  They only keep looking at us.
[There is no need to “look” at Hillary Clinton.  Clinton has been under a Republican microscope for almost a quarter century and they have not been able to offer proof of a single crime.  Questions of judgement, yes, but not evidence of criminality.  And Republicans have spent millions of dollars trying to find proof – and haven’t been able to.]
So they find no collusion, and then they go from there and they say, “Well, let’s keep going.” And they raid an office of a personal attorney early in the morning.  And I think it’s a disgrace.
So we’ll be talking about it more.  But this is the most conflicted group of people I’ve ever seen.  The Attorney General made a terrible mistake when he did this, and when he recused himself.  Or he should have certainly let us know if he was going to recuse himself, and we would have used a — put a different Attorney General in.  So he made what I consider to be a very terrible mistake for the country.  But you’ll figure that out.
All I can say is, after looking for a long period of time — and even before the Special Counsel — because it really started just about from the time I won the nomination.  And you look at what took place and what happened, and it’s a disgrace.  It’s a disgrace.
I’ve been President now for what seems like a lengthy period of time.  We’ve done a fantastic job.  We’ve beaten ISIS.  We have just about 100 percent of the caliphate or the land.  Our economy is incredible.  The stock market dropped a lot today as soon as they heard the noise of this nonsense that’s going on.  It dropped a lot.  It was up — way up, and then it dropped quite a bit at the end.  A lot.
[No.  Trump’s Administration has not done a “fantastic job” – except in his own mind.  They have not “beaten ISIS”.  ISIS – in Iraq – is being eliminated, but they (or whatever they evolve into) remain a worldwide threat.  The caliphate in Iraq has certainly been beaten down.  But, we should not imagine it has been defeated – once and forever.  Also, the American “economy” is not doing well.  The stock market is still doing well – a carry on from the Obama Administration – despite multiple days this year with massive losses, but main street and Joe Citizen (the “99%”) are both still doing poorly.]
But that we have to go through that — we’ve had that hanging over us now from the very, very beginning.  And yet the other side, they don’t even bother looking.  And the other side is where there are crimes, and those crimes are obvious.  Lies, under oath, all over the place.  Emails that are knocked out, that are acid-washed and deleted.  Nobody has ever seen — 33,000 emails are deleted after getting a subpoena for Congress, and nobody bothers looking at that.  And many, many other things.
[Again, #IncompetentDonald with the specious attacks on Clinton.  Hey, Donald.  News flash…  She lost the election in 2016 and you’ve been President for almost 15 months.  In another tiresome display of public relations / attempted manipulation we once again see President Trump acting as if he can “Wag the Dog” and at the same time drip, drip, drip his lies in a torturous attempt to discredit the rule of law and its enforcement via the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.]
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On This Day In:
2017 Bricolage Art
2016 Just A Shame
2015 Treasures Of The Mind
2014 Not Quite Exceeded Reach
2013 Who’s Side?
2012 Why I Joined The Army And Not The Navy…
2011 Is It Your Turn Yet?
Just Trippin’

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The effective use of violence implies a preponderance of destructive power at vital places through the entire operation.
   —  Harold Lasswell
[When I first wrote this in my journal I was in the military and “studying” leadership and the art and science of warfare.  Re-reading the quote in modern days, I recognize it applies equally well to President Trump’s attacks on the Department of Justice, the FBI and (repeatedly) on legitimate news organizations (cable / TV and print).  American political norms and our Constitutional form of government are under attack.  It remains to be seen how sturdy our government and the rule of law actually are and whether / if they can survive these attacks from the literal head of our government.   —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2017 Playing The Same Music
2016 Survival Instinct
2015 Tears
2014 Bourne Again (4)
2013 God’s Protection
2012 Happy Easter!!
Edge, Class, Clash, And Flight
The Value Of Bureaucracies
2011 Logic Cuts

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