Two Funerals and a Missing Cardinal

The Mueller investigation continues without hitting paydirt and further diminishing the reputation of the special counsel and Clintonite team.  I expect the president to shortly (maybe even this week) declassify the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrant on Carter Page.  This warrant provided the means to spy on the president and his campaign.  We learned this week that the warrant, which triggered this partisan witch hunt, was signed by the FISC (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) without any hearing whatsoever.  We already know that it was based on lies scrounged up by a Hillary Clinton-paid former newsman and passed on by corruptocrats in the FBI, CIA, and Department of Justice.

It is amusing to recall the defense of the FISC when it first was instituted and the assertion that such an unverified, politically motivated piece of junk never would be allowed to invade the privacy of dozens of Americans.

Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton detailed the explosive news:

In response to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, the Department of Justice (DOJ) admitted in a court filing last night that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held no hearings on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) spy warrant applications targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign part-time advisor who was the subject of four controversial FISA warrants.

[National Security Division] FOIA consulted [Office of Intelligence] ... to identify and locate records responsive to [Judicial Watch's] FOIA request[.] ... [Office of Intelligence] determined ... that there were no records, electronic or paper, responsive to [Judicial Watch's] FOIA request with regard to Carter Page.  [Office of Intelligence] further confirmed that the [Foreign Surveillance Court] considered the Page warrant applications based upon written submissions and did not hold any hearings.

The warrants were first issued in 2016 and subsequently renewed three times.

The Department of Justice previously released to us the heavily redacted Page warrant applications.  The initial Page FISA warrant was granted just weeks before the 2016 election.

The DOJ filing is in response to our lawsuit for the FISA transcripts (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-01050)).

In February, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a memo criticizing the FISA targeting of Carter Page.  The memo details how the "minimally corroborated" Clinton-DNC dossier was an essential part of the FBI and DOJ's applications for surveillance warrants to spy on Page.

We recently filed a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking the transcripts of all hearings related to the surveillance of Carter Page.

It is disturbing that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance courts rubber-stamped the Carter Page spy warrants and held not one hearing on these extraordinary requests to spy on the Trump team.

Perhaps the court can now hold hearings on how justice was corrupted by material omissions that Hillary Clinton's campaign, the DNC, a conflicted Bruce Ohr, a compromised Christopher Steele, and anti-Trumper Peter Strzok were all behind the 'intelligence' used to persuade the courts to approve the FISA warrants that targeted the Trump team.

Gregg Jarrett, author of the bestselling The Russia Hoax, says Chief Justice Roberts must get involved, as he appointed the FISC judges and has oversight responsibilities for its operations.  He calls for the FISC to hold contempt hearings against the DOJ and FBI officials who pulled the wool over its eyes.  Whether it happens as he says it should or not, I expect the Court to amend its ways or FISA to be substantially amended when this is all over.

As the Mueller juggernaut keeps dropping bolts and rumbling to a final crash, we were temporarily distracted by the funerals of the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin and "Maverick" senator from Arizona.

In both cases, the pageantry was over the top.

Aretha's open gilded casket was on display for four days, with the remains clothed in new flashy garb.  Pink Cadillacs in tribute to her lined the streets of Detroit.  Celebrities attended, and some managed to throw in a tribute to the deceased in speeches largely praising themselves and attacking the president.  Former president Bill Clinton spoke, claiming he and "no ways tired" Hillary had been her groupies forever.  He also quite obviously ogled the young singer Ariana Grande.  On the stage in the front row were Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Louis Farrakhan, though MSNBC and CNN edited the latter out of the photos they ran.

The Maverick's five-day funeral rites were reportedly planned in every detail by the departed and reflected his bitter, vindictive streak.  In particular, he disinvited Sarah Palin, his running mate in his unsuccessful run for the presidency, and the family made this gesture public.  To my mind, without her, his campaign would have been an even bigger failure.

Chadwick Moore reflected quite well my thoughts on the snub and on the press volte face on McCain:     

Forget hating McCain, the Democratic Party's new poster boy, for singlehandedly crushing the Republican dream of repealing ObamaCare, along with his many other sins against the people who made him their choice for Presidential contender in 2008, I dislike him more for being a petty, ungrateful old b‑‑‑‑ I wouldn't want to be in the same room with for two minutes. ... After the 2008 election Palin and McCain went down different paths, with Palin become a hero of the Tea Party movement, a movement McCain later said was filled with "wacko birds."  By explicitly refusing to invite Palin to his funeral, McCain, called "a quiet man of faith" by the media, and a lifelong Episcopalian, apparently was dragged into the hereafter clutching with gnarled hooves onto his earthly failures and disputes, presenting to Saint Peter a soul coffee-stained with bitterness. ...

As for McCain, I didn't feel the need to attack him after his death.  I was, however, enjoying a good laugh as the myopic leftwing media turned him into a saint, hoping their crocodile tears might somehow convince Conservatives to run back to those simpler days before Trump, when they always lost.  Mostly, I didn't feel the need to attack McCain because he was gone, game over, and now I never have to think of him again.  Or, in a nod to a famous line from our Commander-in-Chief regarding the late McCain, I like people who aren't dead.

Julie Kelly summed it up succinctly:

Partisan attacks at a funeral by folks bemoaning partisan attacks is quite the spectacle[.]

And then there's the missing cardinal to make the crazy week even weirder.  Pope Francis was under attack for failing to act on countless documented cases of sex abuse within the Catholic Church.  The Vatican's ex-ambassador to Washington, Archbishop Carlo Viganò, fired the first salvo, detailing the misconduct of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and Cardinal Donald Wuerl and calling on the pope to resign.  Ricochet had the best wrap-up of the crisis in the church and the Lavender Mafia flourishing under Pope Francis.

Unfortunately, however, Benedict's successor was Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina – the man who calls himself Pope Francis.  As a Belgian cardinal named Gottfried Daneels [sic] – who had been removed as an archbishop because he had covered up pederasty on the part of another Belgian cardinal and had come out in support of contraception, divorce, gay marriage, euthanasia, and abortion – revealed in his memoirs, Bergoglio's candidacy was promoted by the St. Gallen Group, a part of what Catholics call "the Lavender Mafia."  This disgraced figure stood on the balcony with Bergoglio after he was elected Pope; he was chosen to say the prayer at the new Pope's inauguration; and there was joy in the ranks of those inclined to break the vow of celibacy.

If you want to get a sense of what such people thought, I suggest that you read "The Vatican's Secret Life," an article that appeared in Vanity Fair in December 2013.  It is an eye-opener.  Its author, Michael Joseph Gross, is not scandalized by what he found.  He celebrates it; and, tellingly, he never once mentions, even under the guise of pedophilia, the propensity of prominent priests to indulge in pederasty.  As Gross observes,

At the Vatican, a significant number of gay prelates and other gay clerics are in positions of great authority.  They may not act as a collective but are aware of one another's existence.  And they inhabit a secretive netherworld, because homosexuality is officially condemned.  Though the number of gay priests in general, and specifically among the Curia in Rome, is unknown, the proportion is much higher than in the general population.  Between 20 and 60 percent of all Catholic priests are gay, according to one estimate cited by Donald B. Cozzens in his well-regarded The Changing Face of the Priesthood.  For gay clerics at the Vatican, one fundamental condition of their power, and of their priesthood, is silence, at least in public, about who they really are.

... They had reason to be delighted.  Since his election, Pope Francis has done everything within his power to soften and subvert the Church's teaching concerning human sexuality.  He put the Lavender Mafia in charge of the two Synods on the Family held in 2014 and 2015.  They tried to push through their agenda; and, when the assembled bishops balked, they got a tongue-lashing from the Pope, and he inserted in the final report without comment two paragraphs that had not received the requisite two-thirds vote.  All of this – including the machinations of the St. Gallen Group and the role played by Cardinal Daneels [sic] – is laid out in detail by an English Catholic, who was in Rome during the early year of this papacy, and who writes under the pseudonym Marcantonio Colonna.  The title is The Dictator Pope: The Inside Story of the Francis Papacy.

There are calls for Cardinal Wuerl to resign and he appears to have gone missing, with rumors that he was spirited out of the country to avoid prosecution.

Certainly all this turmoil in our justice system and the Church is unsettling.  But it's a useful reminder that in all hierarchies, sooner or later, the mission of the organization becomes the protection of the hierarchy, not the stated mission, and every now and then, a thorough housecleaning is in order.

In the meantime, the president goes about his business.  This week, he seems to have brought Canada to heel on trade policies, and choked Hamas by cutting off funds to the corrupt UNRWA, which sustains those murderers.  He is squeezing China on tariffs – I think as much to ensure fairer trade policies as to make Xi stop pressuring North Korea to avoid denuclearizing.  He certainly has set a pattern of using all the economic tools at his disposal to settle issues instead of the warm bodies of our men and women in the military.

The Mueller investigation continues without hitting paydirt and further diminishing the reputation of the special counsel and Clintonite team.  I expect the president to shortly (maybe even this week) declassify the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrant on Carter Page.  This warrant provided the means to spy on the president and his campaign.  We learned this week that the warrant, which triggered this partisan witch hunt, was signed by the FISC (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) without any hearing whatsoever.  We already know that it was based on lies scrounged up by a Hillary Clinton-paid former newsman and passed on by corruptocrats in the FBI, CIA, and Department of Justice.

It is amusing to recall the defense of the FISC when it first was instituted and the assertion that such an unverified, politically motivated piece of junk never would be allowed to invade the privacy of dozens of Americans.

Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton detailed the explosive news:

In response to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, the Department of Justice (DOJ) admitted in a court filing last night that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held no hearings on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) spy warrant applications targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign part-time advisor who was the subject of four controversial FISA warrants.

[National Security Division] FOIA consulted [Office of Intelligence] ... to identify and locate records responsive to [Judicial Watch's] FOIA request[.] ... [Office of Intelligence] determined ... that there were no records, electronic or paper, responsive to [Judicial Watch's] FOIA request with regard to Carter Page.  [Office of Intelligence] further confirmed that the [Foreign Surveillance Court] considered the Page warrant applications based upon written submissions and did not hold any hearings.

The warrants were first issued in 2016 and subsequently renewed three times.

The Department of Justice previously released to us the heavily redacted Page warrant applications.  The initial Page FISA warrant was granted just weeks before the 2016 election.

The DOJ filing is in response to our lawsuit for the FISA transcripts (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-01050)).

In February, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a memo criticizing the FISA targeting of Carter Page.  The memo details how the "minimally corroborated" Clinton-DNC dossier was an essential part of the FBI and DOJ's applications for surveillance warrants to spy on Page.

We recently filed a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking the transcripts of all hearings related to the surveillance of Carter Page.

It is disturbing that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance courts rubber-stamped the Carter Page spy warrants and held not one hearing on these extraordinary requests to spy on the Trump team.

Perhaps the court can now hold hearings on how justice was corrupted by material omissions that Hillary Clinton's campaign, the DNC, a conflicted Bruce Ohr, a compromised Christopher Steele, and anti-Trumper Peter Strzok were all behind the 'intelligence' used to persuade the courts to approve the FISA warrants that targeted the Trump team.

Gregg Jarrett, author of the bestselling The Russia Hoax, says Chief Justice Roberts must get involved, as he appointed the FISC judges and has oversight responsibilities for its operations.  He calls for the FISC to hold contempt hearings against the DOJ and FBI officials who pulled the wool over its eyes.  Whether it happens as he says it should or not, I expect the Court to amend its ways or FISA to be substantially amended when this is all over.

As the Mueller juggernaut keeps dropping bolts and rumbling to a final crash, we were temporarily distracted by the funerals of the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin and "Maverick" senator from Arizona.

In both cases, the pageantry was over the top.

Aretha's open gilded casket was on display for four days, with the remains clothed in new flashy garb.  Pink Cadillacs in tribute to her lined the streets of Detroit.  Celebrities attended, and some managed to throw in a tribute to the deceased in speeches largely praising themselves and attacking the president.  Former president Bill Clinton spoke, claiming he and "no ways tired" Hillary had been her groupies forever.  He also quite obviously ogled the young singer Ariana Grande.  On the stage in the front row were Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Louis Farrakhan, though MSNBC and CNN edited the latter out of the photos they ran.

The Maverick's five-day funeral rites were reportedly planned in every detail by the departed and reflected his bitter, vindictive streak.  In particular, he disinvited Sarah Palin, his running mate in his unsuccessful run for the presidency, and the family made this gesture public.  To my mind, without her, his campaign would have been an even bigger failure.

Chadwick Moore reflected quite well my thoughts on the snub and on the press volte face on McCain:     

Forget hating McCain, the Democratic Party's new poster boy, for singlehandedly crushing the Republican dream of repealing ObamaCare, along with his many other sins against the people who made him their choice for Presidential contender in 2008, I dislike him more for being a petty, ungrateful old b‑‑‑‑ I wouldn't want to be in the same room with for two minutes. ... After the 2008 election Palin and McCain went down different paths, with Palin become a hero of the Tea Party movement, a movement McCain later said was filled with "wacko birds."  By explicitly refusing to invite Palin to his funeral, McCain, called "a quiet man of faith" by the media, and a lifelong Episcopalian, apparently was dragged into the hereafter clutching with gnarled hooves onto his earthly failures and disputes, presenting to Saint Peter a soul coffee-stained with bitterness. ...

As for McCain, I didn't feel the need to attack him after his death.  I was, however, enjoying a good laugh as the myopic leftwing media turned him into a saint, hoping their crocodile tears might somehow convince Conservatives to run back to those simpler days before Trump, when they always lost.  Mostly, I didn't feel the need to attack McCain because he was gone, game over, and now I never have to think of him again.  Or, in a nod to a famous line from our Commander-in-Chief regarding the late McCain, I like people who aren't dead.

Julie Kelly summed it up succinctly:

Partisan attacks at a funeral by folks bemoaning partisan attacks is quite the spectacle[.]

And then there's the missing cardinal to make the crazy week even weirder.  Pope Francis was under attack for failing to act on countless documented cases of sex abuse within the Catholic Church.  The Vatican's ex-ambassador to Washington, Archbishop Carlo Viganò, fired the first salvo, detailing the misconduct of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and Cardinal Donald Wuerl and calling on the pope to resign.  Ricochet had the best wrap-up of the crisis in the church and the Lavender Mafia flourishing under Pope Francis.

Unfortunately, however, Benedict's successor was Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina – the man who calls himself Pope Francis.  As a Belgian cardinal named Gottfried Daneels [sic] – who had been removed as an archbishop because he had covered up pederasty on the part of another Belgian cardinal and had come out in support of contraception, divorce, gay marriage, euthanasia, and abortion – revealed in his memoirs, Bergoglio's candidacy was promoted by the St. Gallen Group, a part of what Catholics call "the Lavender Mafia."  This disgraced figure stood on the balcony with Bergoglio after he was elected Pope; he was chosen to say the prayer at the new Pope's inauguration; and there was joy in the ranks of those inclined to break the vow of celibacy.

If you want to get a sense of what such people thought, I suggest that you read "The Vatican's Secret Life," an article that appeared in Vanity Fair in December 2013.  It is an eye-opener.  Its author, Michael Joseph Gross, is not scandalized by what he found.  He celebrates it; and, tellingly, he never once mentions, even under the guise of pedophilia, the propensity of prominent priests to indulge in pederasty.  As Gross observes,

At the Vatican, a significant number of gay prelates and other gay clerics are in positions of great authority.  They may not act as a collective but are aware of one another's existence.  And they inhabit a secretive netherworld, because homosexuality is officially condemned.  Though the number of gay priests in general, and specifically among the Curia in Rome, is unknown, the proportion is much higher than in the general population.  Between 20 and 60 percent of all Catholic priests are gay, according to one estimate cited by Donald B. Cozzens in his well-regarded The Changing Face of the Priesthood.  For gay clerics at the Vatican, one fundamental condition of their power, and of their priesthood, is silence, at least in public, about who they really are.

... They had reason to be delighted.  Since his election, Pope Francis has done everything within his power to soften and subvert the Church's teaching concerning human sexuality.  He put the Lavender Mafia in charge of the two Synods on the Family held in 2014 and 2015.  They tried to push through their agenda; and, when the assembled bishops balked, they got a tongue-lashing from the Pope, and he inserted in the final report without comment two paragraphs that had not received the requisite two-thirds vote.  All of this – including the machinations of the St. Gallen Group and the role played by Cardinal Daneels [sic] – is laid out in detail by an English Catholic, who was in Rome during the early year of this papacy, and who writes under the pseudonym Marcantonio Colonna.  The title is The Dictator Pope: The Inside Story of the Francis Papacy.

There are calls for Cardinal Wuerl to resign and he appears to have gone missing, with rumors that he was spirited out of the country to avoid prosecution.

Certainly all this turmoil in our justice system and the Church is unsettling.  But it's a useful reminder that in all hierarchies, sooner or later, the mission of the organization becomes the protection of the hierarchy, not the stated mission, and every now and then, a thorough housecleaning is in order.

In the meantime, the president goes about his business.  This week, he seems to have brought Canada to heel on trade policies, and choked Hamas by cutting off funds to the corrupt UNRWA, which sustains those murderers.  He is squeezing China on tariffs – I think as much to ensure fairer trade policies as to make Xi stop pressuring North Korea to avoid denuclearizing.  He certainly has set a pattern of using all the economic tools at his disposal to settle issues instead of the warm bodies of our men and women in the military.