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Jonathan Turley

Behold Your Afghan Air Fleet: How U.S. Paid $549 Million For Defective Cargo Planes and Then Sold Them For $40,257 Of Scrap Metal

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If you want to know why waste and conflicts of interests are so prevalent in the United States, you need to look no further than the recent report of he Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) on the so-called G222 program. 

I wrote about this program in 2013 but we now have the result of the criminal investigation. Under the program, the United States Air Force spent $549 million to buy 20 Italian-made cargo planes for the Afghan government. They were found to be unreliable and turned into scrap metal for $40,257. No action was taken against the company, Alenia North America, or the Air Force General responsible for the outrageous contract (despite a finding of a conflict of interest).

The Justice Department refused to take action because such cases are “unheard of.” Perhaps, but government officials and contractor heard the message loud and clear: there is virtually no contractual waste that you can commit in the United States military that will result in sanctions. This picture from SIGAR is what remains of over half a billion dollars of US taxpayer money.
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Sweden Moves To Protect Academic Freedom After Professor Quits Covid Research Due To Harassment

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We have been discussing erosion of free speech and academic freedom protections at colleges and universities around the United States. Most faculty have been conspicuously silent as their colleagues are attacked, suspended, or even fired for taking opposing views on systemic racism, police brutality, or movements like Black Lives Matter. In Sweden, the response has been quite different after Professor Jonas Ludvigsson, announced that he would stop all further research on Covid-19 after a campaign of abuse and harassment following his study on the low threat that the virus poses to children and teachers. The country is ramping up protections for academics to combat such cancelling campaigns.

Ludvigsson researches and teaches clinical epidemiology at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. His research is consistent with studies that have long found a low risk to students and teachers. This research was highlighted during the Trump Administration in a call for the resumption of classes but largely ignored by the media. The argument for reopening schools, particularly for young children, was portrayed as political and “not following the science.” Commercial rans that calls to returning to the classroom was tantamount to “murder.” However, the science has been overwhelmingly supportive of such reopening. Indeed, Catholic and other private schools in many states never closed without surges in the virus.

Ludvigsson looked at children from age 1 to 16 during the first wave of COVID-19 and found that only 15 children went to the ICU, for a rate of 0.77 per 100,000. Moreover, in the 1-16 age group, there was only a slight increase from the four-month period before the pandemic to the four-month period following the period.
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New Comey Email Raises Additional Questions About His Use and Defense of The Steele Dossier

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There is a new and intriguing document related to the Russian investigation out this week. Justthenews has released a previously undisclosed email from former FBI Director James Comey that raises additional questions about his role in using the now discredited Steele dossier as part of the FBI Russian investigation. The email on Jan. 12, 2017 email to then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper falsely claims that Christopher Steele was found to be “reliable” but then states that the FBI could not “sufficiently corroborate the reporting.” The email went out the same day that Comey signed a FISA surveillance warrant application declaring that content from Christopher Steele’s dossier had been “verified.” We are still waiting for the results of the John Durham investigation but this email raised additional questions about Comey’s role. Comey has testified that he would not have approved such surveillance if he knew then what he knew now about the Steele dossier.

Comey signed a statement to the secret court that the information was “verified” on the same day that he admitted to Clapper that “We are not able to sufficiently corroborate the reporting.” Yet, he also did not tell Clapper what the FBI had already knew about Steele and Carter Page. While Comey later insisted that he was unaware of basic information, he was signing applications for secret surveillance and advising Clapper without either confirming or disclosing information.

The CIA had already told the FBI that Page was a US intelligence asset, not a Russian spy. It had also been warned that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was trying to plant a false Russian collusion story in the media.
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A Return To Rage: Schumer and Pelosi Attack Members Who Voted To Acquit As Political Cowards and Shills

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There was a palpable sense of relief in Washington as the Trump trial came to a chaotic but final end. The verdict is in so now the vilification can begin. Both Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi immediately weaponized the verdict and demonized those who voted to acquit. While the Democrats insisted that all senators should “vote their conscience” that only meant if their conscience supported their side. Pelosi denounced opposing senators as cowards while Schumer lashed out at them for holding an opposing view of the evidence or the process. While groups are targeting members on both sides of the trial, our leaders should be calling for unity and civility after the trial. Instead, they are fueling the politics of division.

CNN and other media followed suit. While McConnell denounced Trump and said that he could still be held accountable for any crimes, CNN hosts Wolf Blitzer and Dana Bash immediately followed his speech by denouncing him as hypocritical. There was nothing hypocritical in denouncing Trump’s conduct as “unconscionable” while also maintaining that the trial was unconstitutional. What Democratic members and commentators would not accept is that anyone could hold opposing views on these questions and not be a shill or coward. Welcome to unity in 2021. It remains unity on our terms or else. The “or else” was made clear to Trump’s defense counsel soon after the verdict. Attorney Michael Van der Veen’s home was vandalized. Other lawyers have faced harassment and threats after campaigns targeting them by groups like The Lincoln Project for representing Trump or Republicans.
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Did The Democrats 'Tank' The Second Trump Trial?

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Below is my column in USA Today on the lack of a strategy by the House to secure conviction in the trial of former President Donald Trump. As I have previously noted, the House managers did an excellent job in their presentations and many of the videotapes rekindled the anger that most of us felt over the riot.
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Reckless Rhetoric Is A Reckless Standard For An Impeachment Trial

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Below is my column in the Hill on how the second Trump impeachment could become a trial over reckless rhetoric in America. The House managers may be playing into that very danger by selecting some managers who have been criticized in the past for their own over-heated political rhetoric. As managers were replaying the comments of former President Donald Trump from prior years to show how his words fueled divisions, critics were pointing to similar statements from the managers themselves.
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Raskin: Trump’s Decision Not To Testify May Be Cited As Evidence Of His Guilt

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Over the last four years, we have seen an alarming trend of law professors and legal experts discarding constitutional and due process commitments to support theories for the prosecution or impeachment of Donald Trump or his family. Legal experts who long defended criminal defense rights have suddenly become advocates of the most sweeping interpretations of criminal or constitutional provisions while discarding basic due process and fairness concerns.  Even theories that have been clearly rejected by the Supreme Court have been claimed to be valid in columns.
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Pelosi Declares That The 'Enemy Is Within The House of Representatives' In Call For More Security

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been attacking Republicans members as traitors in a continuation of the reckless rhetoric from the last four years on both sides. Despite a desire for greater unity from voters, Pelosi has sought to capitalize on rather than close those divisions while other Democrats are calling for blacklists and retaliatory measures. The Speaker has now doubled down on these attacks by claiming that the need to increase security is due in no small degree to the “enemy within” in reference to the Republican ranks. As with her prior conduct as Speaker, Pelosi continues to refuse to recognize any obligation to the institution in seeking consensus and reconciliation.

Pelosi declared on Thursday that there is an obvious need for a “supplemental [budget] for more security for members when the enemy is within the House of Representatives — a threat that members are concerned about in addition to what is happening outside.”

Such language obviously thrills many who want to portray any opposing voices as traitors and seditionists. It has been rhetoric building for years as the more leaders and academics engage in the politics of personal destruction. The idea is to avoid responding to actual positions by labeling the opposition as actual traitors, criminals, and threats. It is the very signature of this age of rage in American politics.
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'Aid and Comfort' To the Enemy: Speaker Pelosi Ramps Up Attacks On Republican Colleagues Amidst Calls For Expulsion

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi ramped up the attacks on members of her own house this week, accusing them of giving “aid and comfort” to those who want to destroy the nation. The comments came after Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., denied a public accusation by Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., that she personally took rioters around the capitol for a tour before the attack on January 6th. Boebert pointed out that the “rioters” were her family members and she has never given such tours.
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Trust In The Media Hits An All-Time Low In New Polling

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We have previously discussed how American journalism has been destroyed by years of openly partisan coverage in an age of echo journalism. Not surprisingly, the public has lost faith in what was once the leading nation in terms of journalistic practices and ethics. A new survey by the global communications firm Edelman (via Axios) found only 46 percent of Americans trust traditional media. That mirrors polls by Gallup showing an even lower level of trust. We are living in a new age of yellow journalism at a time when real journalism has never been more needed.
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