Category Archives: Losing Freedom

FBI misled judge on Beverly Hills seizure warrant – Los Angeles Times

FBI is out of control. Totally taken by the anti-MAGA narrative. No longer beholden to the Constitution. Makes me ill. mrossol

Source: FBI misled judge on Beverly Hills seizure warrant – Los Angeles Times

The privacy invasion was vast when FBI agents drilled and pried their way into 1,400 safe-deposit boxes at the U.S. Private Vaults store in Beverly Hills.

They rummaged through personal belongings of a jazz saxophone player, an interior designer, a retired doctor, a flooring contractor, two Century City lawyers and hundreds of others.

Agents took photos and videos of pay stubs, password lists, credit cards, a prenuptial agreement, immigration and vaccination records, bank statements, heirlooms and a will, court records show. In one box, agents found cremated human remains.

Eighteen months later, newly unsealed court documents show that the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles got their warrant for that raid by misleading the judge who approved it.

They omitted from their warrant request a central part of the FBI’s plan: Permanent confiscation of everything inside every box containing at least $5,000 in cash or goods, a senior FBI agent recently testified.

The FBI’s justification for the dragnet forfeiture was its presumption that hundreds of unknown box holders were all storing assets somehow tied to unknown crimes, court records show.

 

 

The FBI’s attempt to confiscate tens of millions of dollars from Beverly Hills safe deposit boxes draws resistance and charges of government misconduct.

Sept. 19, 2021

It took five days for scores of agents to fill their evidence bags with the bounty: More than $86 million in cash and a bonanza of gold, silver, rare coins, gem-studded jewelry and enough Rolex and Cartier watches to stock a boutique.

The U.S. attorney’s office has tried to block public disclosure of court papers that laid bare the government’s deception, but a judge rejected its request to keep them under seal.

 

The failure to disclose the confiscation plan in the warrant request came to light in FBI documents and depositions of agents in a class-action lawsuit by box holders who say the raid violated their rights.

FBI agents search safe-deposit boxes during at the U.S. Private Vaults store in Beverly Hills, shown in a video screen capture taken from U.S. District Court records.
(U.S. District Court)

The court filings also show that federal agents defied restrictions that U.S. Magistrate Judge Steve Kim set in the warrant by searching through box holders’ belongings for evidence of crimes.

 

 

“The government did not know what was in those boxes, who owned them, or what, if anything, those people had done,” Robert Frommer, a lawyer who represents nearly 400 box holders in the class-action case, wrote in court papers.

“That’s why the warrant application did not even attempt to argue there was probable cause to seize and forfeit box renters’ property.”

 

 

After a two-year investigation that opened in 2019, leaders of the FBI’s Los Angeles office believed U.S. Private Vaults was a magnet for criminals hiding illicit proceeds in their boxes.

 

 

Customers of U.S. Private Vaults are suing the FBI over its attempt to confiscate gold and silver, jewelry and $86 million in cash from safe deposit boxes.

June 9, 2021

The business was charged with conspiracy to sell drugs and launder money.

The FBI and U.S. attorney’s office denied that they misled the judge or ignored his conditions, saying they had no obligation to tell him of the plan for indiscriminate confiscations on the blanket assumption that every customer was hiding crime-tainted assets.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said the warrants were lawfully executed “based on allegations of widespread criminal wrongdoing.”

 

 

“At no time was a magistrate misled as to the probable cause used to obtain the warrants,” she said.

U.S. Private Vaults has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder drug money, and the investigation is continuing, she said.

The plaintiffs in the class-action suit have asked U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner to declare the raid unconstitutional. If he grants the request, it could force the FBI to return millions of dollars to box holders whose assets it has tried to confiscate.

 

 

It could also spoil an unknown number of criminal investigations by blocking prosecutors from using any evidence or information acquired in the raid, including guns and drugs.


Until the FBI shut it down, U.S. Private Vaults was an easy-to-miss store in an Olympic Boulevard strip mall with a Supercuts hair salon and kosher vegan Thai restaurant.

Around 2015, it began attracting police attention. Local detectives and federal agents spotted drug suspects walking in and out.

 

 
U.S. Private Vaults store in Beverly Hills
The U.S. Private Vaults store in a strip mall on Olympic Boulevard in Beverly Hills.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

FBI agent Lynne Zellhart, a former Sacramento attorney, first heard about it from a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy. Customers, who could rent boxes without identifying themselves, entered the store’s vault with a biometric eye scan, the deputy told her.

The Sheriff’s Department suspected a customer was a criminal but was “having all kinds of problems getting into the box that they had a warrant for because of the nature of the business,” Zellhart testified in the class-action suit.

 

 

By 2019, federal and local law enforcement had managed to search more than a dozen boxes and seized about $5 million from five drug dealers, a bookie and a debit card thief.

The FBI opened an investigation of the business itself. Zellhart, who specializes in money laundering, said she thought it should be shut down. She joined forces with counterparts at the Drug Enforcement Administration and Postal Inspection Service.

Through surveillance, informants and undercover work, they surmised that U.S. Private Vaults and a precious-metals store next door were helping drug dealers launder cash by converting it into gold and silver they stashed in their boxes.

 

 

The feds suffer court setbacks in their effort to confiscate $86 million in cash seized from safe deposit boxes they were legally barred from searching.

July 27, 2021

Zellhart was tasked with spelling out the government’s case in an affidavit that took her more than six months to write. Prosecutors submitted it to Kim in a request for six warrants.

Five of them were for straightforward searches of the store and the homes of its owners and managers to gather evidence for prosecution of the company.

 

 

But the sixth — to seize the store’s business equipment for forfeiture — was highly unusual. The government wanted to take not just computers, money counters, video cameras and iris scanners, but also the “nests of safety deposit boxes and keys.”

The only way the FBI could seize the racks of boxes would be to take possession of the contents too. Any judge reviewing the warrant request would recognize a threat to the rights of what turned out to be about 700 customers who had locked away some of their most private and valuable belongings.

Box holders would liken the raid to police barging into a building’s 700 apartments and taking every tenant’s possessions when they have evidence of wrongdoing by nobody but the landlord.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office declined to say whether the government had evidence of criminal activity by any specific box holders prior to the raid.

An FBI agent inspects gold coins taken from a safe-deposit box.
An FBI agent inspects the contents of a safe-deposit box during the raid of U.S. Private Vaults in this video screen-capture taken from U.S. District Court documents.
(U.S. District Court)

 

 

The 4th Amendment protects people against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” It requires the government to get a warrant by showing in a sworn statement that it has probable cause to believe that a particular place needs to be searched and describing specific people or things to be seized.

In her affidavit, Zellhart made sweeping allegations of criminal wrongdoing by box holders, saying it would be “irrational” for anyone who wasn’t a lawbreaker to entrust the store with assets that a bank could better safeguard.

“Only those who wish to hide their wealth from the DEA, IRS, or creditors would” rent a box anonymously at U.S. Private Vaults, she wrote.

 

 

But the FBI’s evidence against customers was thin.

Agents had seen some of them pull up to the store in vehicles with Nevada, Ohio and Illinois license plates, Zellhart wrote.

“Based on my training and experience in money laundering investigations, Chicago, Illinois is a hub of both drug trafficking and money laundering,” she said. “I believe these patrons were using their USPV box to store drug proceeds.” She cited no facts to back up the suspicion.

Other customers were showing up in rental cars, and that too, she claimed, was a sign of drug dealers evading law enforcement. An owner of U.S. Private Vaults told a government witness that the store’s best customers were “bookies, prostitutes and weed guys,” Zellhart wrote.

 

 

Of all the box holders, Zellhart mentioned only nine, either identifying them by their initials or not at all. She said they were “linked” or “associated” with law enforcement investigations, but again provided no facts specifying criminal misconduct.

While the majority of customers seemed to be drug dealers, she wrote, U.S. Private Vaults tried “to attract a non-criminal clientele as well, so as not to be too obvious a haven for criminals.”

At Zellhart’s deposition, Frommer asked, “Was it your opinion that most of the people who rented safe-deposit boxes were criminals in some way?”

 

 

“I was expecting a lot of criminals,” she said. “I don’t know about most.”

Frommer reminded her of the language in her affidavit.

“I don’t sort of know how to answer your question as to whether it was all of them, it was most of them,” she responded. “I don’t — I don’t have a percentage.”

Attorney Robert Frommer with clients in a class-action lawsuit.
Attorney Robert Frommer, left, with his clients Jennifer Snitko, her husband Paul Snitko, far right, and Joseph Ruiz, who are plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit over the FBI raid of U.S. Private Vaults.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
 

On the affidavit’s 84th and 85th pages, Zellhart assured Kim the FBI would respect customers’ rights.

That section, she testified, was written by Andrew Brown, an assistant U.S. attorney and driving force of the investigation.

What Brown wrote contradicts the FBI’s plan for hundreds of box confiscations. He underlined the government’s lack of evidence to justify any criminal search of the customers’ property.

 

“The warrants authorize the seizure of the nests of the boxes themselves, not their contents,” his section of the affidavit said. “By seizing the nests of safety deposit boxes themselves, the government will necessarily end up with custody of what is inside those boxes initially.”

The affidavit told Kim that agents would “follow their written inventory policies” and “attempt to notify the lawful owners of the property stored in the boxes how to claim their property.”

Under FBI policy, it said, inspection of each box would “extend no further than necessary to determine ownership.” But agents’ inspection of the boxes went substantially further — just as the government planned, according to FBI records filed in court.


By the time Kim got the warrant request, the FBI had been preparing an enormous forfeiture operation for at least six months, according to Jessie Murray, the chief of the FBI’s asset forfeiture unit in Los Angeles.

In the summer of 2020, she testified, Matthew Moon, then one of the highest-ranking FBI agents in Los Angeles, asked her if her team “was capable of handling a possible large-scale seizure” of safe-deposit boxes at U.S. Private Vaults.

 

Murray told him yes. She recalled joining a conference call in late 2020 and another in early 2021 to plan forfeitures of the box contents with the U.S. attorney’s office, other federal and local agencies, and “maybe even our legal forfeiture unit at [FBI] headquarters in D.C.”

Zellhart and a colleague confirmed the grand scale of the planned forfeiture in a memo to fellow agents with detailed instructions for carrying out the raid.

The memo, approved by Moon and two other senior FBI managers, ordered agents to assign “CATS ID” numbers to “all cash” found in the boxes. The government uses the Consolidated Asset Tracking System to keep track of everything it seizes for forfeiture.

 

 

Murray testified that once she reviewed the final draft of Zellhart’s affidavit, it was clear to her that there was probable cause to seize and confiscate the contents of every box — as long as it met the $5,000 minimum set by the Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture Policy Manual.

Murray offered no explanation for why the FBI believed it had legal grounds to take away the assets of hundreds of unknown box holders based on their presumed ties to unknown crimes.

To confiscate an asset under U.S. forfeiture laws, the government must first have evidence that it was derived from criminal conduct or used to facilitate it.

 
Excerpt from the FBI's plan for the raid on U.S. Private Vaults.
This excerpt from the FBI’s plan for the raid on U.S. Private Vaults instructs agents to assign forfeiture identification numbers to “all cash” found in the safe-deposit boxes so the money could be permanently confiscated on the presumption it was linked to crime.

In a court filing in the class-action case, Brown and other prosecutors claimed the FBI had no obligation to tell Kim that it was “prepared to seek forfeiture” of property inside the boxes.

Agents “owe a duty of candor to courts,” they acknowledged, “but that is about known facts that have already occurred.”

 

They said the FBI did not need to tell Kim “how later actions, such as criminal investigations against boxholders or forfeiture of box contents, would play out.”


Kim was explicit in limiting the scope of the raid. “This warrant does not authorize a criminal search or seizure of the contents of the safety deposit boxes,” his warrant stated.

The judge gave the FBI permission to take inventory of the box contents to protect against theft accusations. He ordered agents to identify the owners and notify them that they could claim their property.

 

But by then, Zellhart and her colleague had already told agents in their memo to take notes on anything that suggests any of the cash “may be criminal proceeds,” such as whether it was bundled in rubber bands or smelled like marijuana.

The FBI also had dogs sniff all the cash for any odor of marijuana or other drugs, a step that was outside the bounds of the “written inventory policies” that the government vowed to follow.

Lyndon Versoza, a postal inspector who often has dogs check mail for drug investigations, testified that Zellhart or a DEA agent — he could not remember which — asked him to round up K-9 teams. He got dogs from the Glendale, El Monte, Chino and Los Angeles police departments to smell the money.

 

At his deposition, Versoza was asked whether a drug dog can help identify the owner of a pile of cash.

“No,” he responded.

What about protecting agents against accusations of theft? Frommer asked.

“No,” Versoza said.

Could a dog help justify forfeiture of the cash?

“It could,” Versoza replied.

Prosecutors have made extensive use of the dog alerts on cash — notoriously unreliable evidence in a state where marijuana is legal — to convince judges to approve confiscation of box holders’ money.


In the raid’s aftermath, the criminal case against U.S. Private Vaults sputtered to an end with nobody sent to prison.

 

The company went out of business. It was sentenced to pay a $1.1-million fine for laundering drug money, but prosecutors conceded it lacked the means to pay it.

Under a plea deal, the U.S. attorney’s office agreed not to prosecute the company’s owners, despite a Justice Department policy under Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland to hold individuals accountable for corporate wrongdoing — and despite Zellhart telling Kim it was “owned and managed by criminals.”

The FBI and U.S. attorney’s office rebuffed repeated Times requests for a full accounting of what was seized. They divulged neither how much the government has kept, nor how much it has returned.

Records from dozens of lawsuits stemming from the raid make clear, though, that it produced a windfall of tens of millions of dollars for the Justice Department. Local police departments that assisted in the raid have sought shares of the money, according to Murray.

Some of the government’s gains came from customers who abandoned their boxes. “There’s a good number of people who just said, ‘I don’t want it,’ ” Zellhart testified. “I think there was 20 or 30 of those.”

When the FBI vacated U.S. Private Vaults, it posted a notice in the store window inviting customers to claim their property. The FBI went on to investigate anyone who stepped forward, checking their bank records, state tax returns, DMV files and criminal histories, agents testified.

FBI sign taped on the window of the U.S. Private Vaults store in Beverly Hills.
A sign taped on the window of U.S. Private Vaults in Beverly Hills advises people whose valuables were seized by federal agents to contact the FBI to retrieve them.
(Joel Rubin / Los Angeles Times)

 

Lawyers for box holders denounced the process as a ploy to gather evidence for forfeitures and criminal investigations.

Zellhart testified that the FBI was just making sure it was returning things to rightful owners.

In all, the FBI ultimately returned at least some of the contents of about 430 of the 700 boxes, according to the government.

 

Many box holders have agreed to give up a portion of their cash and property after deciding it was not worth spending tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees — or more — to recover the rest.
Some of those, and many others, have faced baseless FBI accusations of criminal wrongdoing. In May 2021, the FBI claimed the contents of 369 boxes — including the $86 million in cash — were linked to crime and filed papers for confiscation through forfeiture.

It went on to return everything in about 180 of those boxes after failing to produce evidence to support the allegations, court documents show. Those box holders retrieved more than $27 million. Attorneys for other customers say they recovered close to $25 million more through private negotiations with the U.S. attorney’s office.

“This entire episode is a stain on the U.S. attorney’s office and on everyone who played a part in it,” said Benjamin Gluck, a lawyer for box holders.

 

Prosecutors have pressed ahead, filing more than 40 court complaints to confiscate millions of dollars from box holders who challenged the seizures.

In some of those cases, prosecutors cited no evidence that the money was tied to any specific crime, alleging simply that a dog smelled drug residue on the cash, or that it was bagged or wrapped in a way that aroused suspicion of drug trafficking.

In a few other cases, prosecutors and the FBI accused box holders by name of committing multiple felonies, offered no evidence to back up the allegations, and then gave back everything.

 

 

One of those customers was a glassware maker who kept more than $340,000 in cash and gold in his box.

In a court declaration, he said he rented the box in 2020 because it was a “disturbing and scary” time of social upheaval, and he distrusted banks.

 

The U.S. Private Vaults store in Beverly Hills.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

“Protests and riots were the normal news, banks had been boarding up their windows, and emergency alerts were prompting people to stay indoors after curfew,” he wrote.

Prosecutors falsely accused the man of fraud, racketeering, conspiracy, drug trafficking and money laundering. FBI agent Madison MacDonald — who co-authored the raid plan — filed a sworn statement saying the allegations were true.

The complaint included no evidence the glassware maker had committed any of those crimes, but alleged he had “an extensive history of narcotic trafficking arrests and convictions.”

The man’s lawyer, Yael Tobi, castigated the prosecutors for exaggerating expunged misdemeanors, saying they intentionally omitted that he’d been arrested 16 years ago and was never convicted of a felony.

She called it “an egregious abuse of power.”

Spokespersons for both the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment on the case.

Prosecutors demanded that the glassmaker provide a sworn statement on when, why and from whom he received every dollar of the $340,000; the names of everyone who’d given him gifts since 2017; five years of tax returns for him and his wife, a doctor; and all of their bank and investment account numbers.

“Before proceeding too far down the road on this case, do you have a settlement offer to resolve this matter?” Assistant U.S. Atty. Victor Rodgers asked Tobi in an email six days later. “The government is prepared to be reasonable in connection with a resolution, and I think that an early settlement of this case would probably be beneficial to both parties.”

Tobi refused to cut a deal. She asked U.S. District Judge Mark C. Scarsi to “put a stop to the government’s abuse and overreach” by dismissing the complaint.

On March 9, nearly a year after the FBI seized the man’s cash and gold, Scarsi ordered the government to give it back.


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FBI SWAT Team Conducts Early-Morning Raid, Arrests Pro-Life Activist At Pennsylvania Home

The FBI is out of control. They have become very (not totally) politicized. The FBI is an ‘intelligence’ organization, not a policing one. And they are to be concerned about National threats, not local, which should be dealt with by local law enforcement. US Citizens need to stand (physically and verbally) against this kind of “totalitarian” action by the government. mrossol

Source: FBI SWAT Team Conducts Early-Morning Raid, Arrests Pro-Life Activist At Pennsylvania Home: Report | The Daily Wire

   DailyWire.com
 
Nes/Getty Images

FBI agents reportedly raided the home of a pro-life activist in Pennsylvania on Friday and arrested him.

A group of between 25 and 30 FBI agents raided the Bucks County, Pennsylvania, home of pro-life activist Mark Houck early Friday morning, his family told LifeSite News. Houck is the leader of a nonprofit group that provides sidewalk counseling at abortion clinics in Philadelphia. The arrest seemed to stem from a court case that was dismissed by a federal court in Philadelphia, but was somehow picked up by the Department of Justice, his family said.

“The kids were all just screaming,” Houck’s wife, Ryan-Marie, told LifeSite. “It was all just very scary and traumatic.”

Ryan-Marie Houck told the outlet that the group of agents in SWAT gear arrived in 15 vehicles outside the family home at around 7:05 a.m. Friday morning. The agents quickly surrounded the house and began pounding on the door, demanding they open up. Houck reportedly tried to get the agents to calm down, noting that his seven children were scared, but the agents kept shouting. “[T]hey had big, huge rifles pointed at Mark and pointed at me and kind of pointed throughout the house,” his wife said.

Houck and his wife asked the agents why they were there, to which the agents allegedly replied that they were there to arrest him. His wife asked for a warrant, but “they said that they were going to take him whether they had a warrant or not,” Ryan-Marie Houck recalled. She protested, saying that what the agents were doing was tantamount to kidnapping. Only then did they provide a copy of the warrant. Shortly afterward, Houck was apparently taken out and put into one of the vehicles.

But the FBI agents quickly softened once they realized the distress they had inflicted on the family, Houck’s wife recounted. “After they had taken Mark, and the kids were all screaming that he was their best friend, the [agents] kind of softened a bit,” she said. “I think they realized what was happening. Or maybe they actually looked at the warrant.”

“They looked pretty ashamed at what had just happened,” she added.

According to the warrant, shared by LifeSite reporter Patrick Delaney, Houck’s arrest stems from an indictment on charges of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994, specifically for “attack[ing] a patient escort.”

According to his wife, Houck was providing sidewalk counseling at abortion centers in Philadelphia last year, and had taken his then 12-year-old son. On multiple occasions over weeks, a “pro-abortion protestor” allegedly shouted vulgarities and insults at the boy. Houck repeatedly told the protestor not to speak to his son, but the protestor continued to encroach on the boy’s personal space, still spewing vulgarities. Finally, Houck shoved the man away, causing him to fall down. The protestor was not injured, but tried to sue Houck. Though the case was thrown out this summer, it was somehow picked up by the DOJ, Ryan-Marie Houck said.

Conservative leaders slammed the FBI raid as another example of the political weaponization of the FBI.

“In case you hadn’t caught on already, the satanic Biden administration is waging war on Christians,” Daily Wire podcast host Michael Knowles tweeted, linking to the original report.

“This is a disgrace and should not be happening in America,” LifeSite co-founder and editor-in-chief John Henry Westen wrote on Twitter. “Pray for Mark Houck and his family.”

“So, a man who does nothing but run an org that teaches men to be strong Catholics and sidewalk counsels outside Planned Parenthoods had 30 armed federal agents sent to his house and is now facing jail time over an incident that resulted in a failed lawsuit,” conservative digital strategist Greg Price said.

“The FBI has turned into Biden’s secret police force,” Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) wrote. “Sending a small army of heavily armed agents to raid Mark Houck’s home should frighten EVERY American. The FBI using fear & intimidation tactics to go after conservatives needs to END!!”

“The continued weaponization of the FBI and persecution by Joe Biden’s DOJ against ordinary Americans is an outrage,” Republican Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano said in a statement. “Citizens across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania join me in expressing our outrage at this early-morning raid executed on a young family. This show of force carried out by the Biden regime against ordinary Americans is an abuse of power that stands against the fundamental principles our nation was founded on.”

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PayPal and Venmo Deplatform Gays Against Groomers

Source: PayPal and Venmo Deplatform Gays Against Groomers – American Faith

The group has a stated mission of safeguarding children from abuse.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The group Gays against Groomers has been deplatformed by money transfer groups Venmo and PayPal.
  • The group has a stated mission of safeguarding children from abuse, particularly the sexualization of children by the LGBTQ community.
  • “We have just been BANNED from @Venmo and @PayPal (within minutes of each other) for ‘violating’ their user agreements. We are an organization that consists entirely of gay people whose only mission is to safeguard children from abuse,” the group said on Twitter.
GROUP’S MISSION:
  • “Gays Against Groomers is a coalition of gay people who oppose the recent trend of indoctrinating, sexualizing and medicalizing children under the guise of ‘LGBTQIA+,’” the group’s “About” page says. “Our community that once preached love and acceptance of others has been hijacked by radical activists who are now pushing extreme concepts onto society, specifically targeting children in recent years.”
  • ​”The overwhelming majority of gay people are against what the community has transformed into, and we do not accept the political movement pushing their agenda in our name,” the group said.
BACKGROUND:
  • The issue of “grooming” has become prevalent, particularly within the issue of what materials will be allowed in schools.
  • The state of Florida brought the issue to the forefront with its parental consent bill, called the “never say Gay” bill by its detractors.
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C&C. Its Total Madness. Timing. Electric Heaters.

Source: Coffee & Covid ☙ Wednesday, September 14, 2022 ☙ MADNESS!

🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞

💉 Even though the 11th Circuit partially vacated the injunction on the federal contractor mandate last month, effectively limiting its scope to just the plaintiff states, the Biden Administration’s GSA issued new guidance yesterday stripping the mandate from federal purchasing requirements. The government now says it will take no action to enforce the mandate “absent further written notice from the agency.”

Ding, dong. Another jab mandate is dead.

🔥 One of the dreariest but most rewarding parts of a litigating lawyer’s job is reviewing bank statements. There’s a lot I could say about it, but for this morning, that often mind-numbing task is not just about WHAT people did with their money but it’s also about the TIMING. You can learn so much about people by looking at what they do with their money and especially, WHEN.

For example, say you have a guy who is a defendant in a lawsuit that went to trial on January 1st. He wound up losing big and owing a lot of money. That guy’s December bank statement is going to be EXTREMELY interesting, as would the entire last half of the year before trial while he was fretting about what would happen. You’re looking for large transfers to relatives or foreign jurisdictions that suggest he was trying to get ready to be judgment proof.

Once, I looked into a guy who only used his Venmo account when he traveled, and it was always to give $200 or $300 dollars to individuals, usually female names, suggesting he was always lonely when he was away from the comforts of home. By the way, you can always tell when someone was traveling, because the charges on their statements are from out-of-state or out-of-country gas stations, hotels, restaurants, and shops.

On the other hand, cash transactions are not so helpful. Sure, you can point to cash withdrawals and say “aha! Look, judge, he took out $10,000 cash out of the account every time he went to Vegas!” But it doesn’t PROVE anything. The witness will just say, “I needed it for something else; I can’t remember. I definitely didn’t gamble with it, are you insane?” Sure, it makes them look bad, and the judge might help you out, but it can’t prove where the money WENT. You still need the casino receipts.

Many people think this is part of reason governments are suddenly pushing for digital currencies; because it’s so easy to know everything worth knowing about someone by their account records.

But I digress. The point is about the TIMING. When you’re trying to figure out what another person is up to, the WHY of something they’re doing, you should consider whatever they did in the context of what ELSE is happening around the same time.

Right now, we have to consider everything Joe Biden does in the context of the mid-term elections.

🔥 Biden issued a massive new executive order yesterday that sweeps through every agency in the U.S. government, with the awkward title, “Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe, and Secure American Bioeconomy.”

It’s the E.O. on A.B.B.I.S.S.S.A.B!

The order sets the driving policy of the Biden Administration to massively increase investment in bioengineering and manufacturing, because “[t]he COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the vital role of biotechnology and biomanufacturing in developing and producing life-saving diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines that protect Americans and the world.”

Stop laughing! He’s serious, pay attention.

Biden’s latest mega-order claims that the government has a CRITICAL NEED; a need to re-program people like robots. I’m not making that up. Here’s exactly what the E.O. says:

We need to develop genetic engineering technologies and techniques to be able to write circuitry for cells and predictably program biology in the same way in which we write software and program computers[.]

Haha! “Predictably program biology.” In case you missed the memo in second grade, YOU are biology, partner. Biden wants you to be predictable. Like a computer program. No pesky software bugs. No garbage in, garbage out. No MAGA extremism.

Haha, this is so over the top I’m starting to think they’re deliberately trolling us. I’m also sensing that the robot program must be struggling, since Biden seems to think it’ll be easier to re-program US than our metallic assistants.

Anyway, within the next two months, the order requires the Secretaries of HHS, Energy, Agriculture, and Commerce, plus the Director of the National Science Foundation, to come up with recommended programs to incorporate biotechnology and biomanufacturing into nearly every aspect of American government, “in order to further societal goals.”

Sounds legit, right?

After the agency heads turn in their proposals, the E.O. gives the OMB and other agencies about 3 months to “develop a plan (implementation plan) to implement the recommendations in the reports. “ They have to “solicit input” from “experts” on ethics, environmental sustainability and environmental justice, whatever that is, and however it is different from regular “justice.”

Soliciting input is not the same as following input.

Then, within two years, the agencies will have to report on how well they’ve implemented the bioengineering plans.

The two words of greatest interest are so broadly defined in the E.O. that they aren’t particularly helpful:

(b) The term “biotechnology” means technology that applies to or is enabled by life sciences innovation or product development.
(c) The term “biomanufacturing” means the use of biological systems to develop products, tools, and processes at commercial scale.

Now. I know what you’re thinking. You want to talk about the awful dystopian implications of predictably reprogramming everybody’s cells, but that’s bait.

Think about the timing. Right before mid-terms.

The real story is, the gold rush is on! Aside from anything else this order might actually accomplish, it will positively be a HUGE cash grab. Nearly every federal agency is going to be wanting to buy new products with the “bioengineered!” label on them. Every federal agency is going to be soliciting grants for products and services that help achieve the new bio-plans. Every federal agency will be handing out lucrative low-accountability bio-contracts to its special friends, like candy at Halloween. Some for you, some for you, and some for YOU!

It might be even bigger than the Covid Gold Rush.

So here we are, less than 60 days out from the midterms, and Biden is offering a brand-new gold rush, a massive across-the-board federal purchasing program that depends on a cooperative Congress to fund it. It’s an offer to corporate America — forget about the supply chain! Forget about mandates! Forget about CRT!

Because, if the right people get elected, we’ll shower you all with crisp, newly printed cash. And remember, you’ll only get the money if you play ball. They’ll remember who their friends were — and weren’t — during the elections.

And as a side benefit, the E.O. is bioengineered to spin up MAGA extremists and the medical freedom lobby, who are expected to decry and condemn the E.O., which will turn MAGA into a threat to anybody who stands to make oodles of money from all the proposed new programs.

Don’t take that bait! I’m not saying you should relax into this, just wait till the day after the elections, and then be smart about it.

Now we know why Joe Biden has been on vacation for the entire summer. They were resting him up for all this stuff he’s doing now, from his Great Big Hate Speech to his stump speeches and executive orders. It’s all about the midterms.

🔥 Trump’s lawyers and the DOJ have now traded feisty briefs on whether the judge should stay her order requiring a special master until the DOJ’s appeal runs its course. Which of course will be well after the FBI finishes doing whatever it is planning to do. But a spectacular opportunity is shaping up for President Trump, and if he planned it this way, he’s a genius.

There’s a lot of great stuff in the briefs. President Trump’s brief persuasively argued that the president has sole authority to declassify whatever he wants; it even cited a very helpful Obama executive order reinforcing that authority. But I’m detecting a momentum, a momentum pushing toward a single legal issue, and that issue was neatly summarized by the DOJ in its reply brief, filed yesterday, which made this perfectly legitimate point:

[Former President Trump’s] attempts to change the subject by holding out the possibility that he could have declassified some of the seized records and-or that he could have designated them as “personal” records fare no better. As already noted, Plaintiff [Trump] has now filed multiple lengthy submissions with the Court that stop short of asserting that he in fact took any of these actions with respect to any of the seized records, including those at issue in the stay motion.

The DOJ is right. If President Trump wants to argue that the classified records he was keeping at Mar-a-Lago were declassified, he needs to say so, and say it clearly. At present, Trump is playing coy, one of his usual strategies, and is trolling the government by saying that he’s NOT saying he did declassify or didn’t declassify, but as far as the government knows, he DID.

That kind of fence-sitting won’t hold up forever. In fact, it’s probably not going to hold up for very much longer at all, now that the DOJ has explicitly called him out. The judge can see this issue looming on the judicial horizon just like I can. It’s the key to the entire case. I wouldn’t be surprised if the judge sets a special trial just to determine whether the records are or are not declassified.

So so this could quickly and finally produce a miraculous victory for Trump, not just in the case but against the entire Deep State, a definitive victory once again snatched right out of the jagged jaws of defeat. We know that, shortly before he left office, Trump had proposed to declassify a bunch of records relating to Russiagate and other FBI corruption. He sent those records to the FBI so they could offer redactions of anything that would harm U.S. interests. But the FBI slow-walked their response until Trump was out of office.

Sorry!

It is not unreasonable to assume the records snatched by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago were the very same ones Trump proposed to declassify: the evidence of FBI corruption (and maybe a lot more) in the Russiagate papers, at least.

So Trump has been trapped in a weird middle ground. Were the records declassified even though the FBI never completed its redactions? Was Trump’s act of requesting the redactions merely a courtesy, and not a requirement for redaction? These are unsettled questions. Trump can’t — shouldn’t — release those documents until a court says they’re declassified, or they COULD lock him up.

But to get a judge to issue a “declaration” of a party’s rights — like the rights of a former president to publish declassified records — there must a REAL and PRESENT dispute over those rights, not just a hypothetical dispute. This may not make sense to non-lawyers, but judges may not give pure ‘advisory opinions.’

In other words, the only way Trump could have gotten this issue in front of a judge, the issue of whether the records ARE IN FACT declassified, was to pick a fight with someone over it. I have no idea whether the Trump team planned it this way, but it could not have possibly played out any better than it has. If Trump had been the one to instigate a dispute, it would have almost certainly been heard in D.C., where all the agencies are located, and where the deck is completely stacked against the 45th president.

To get the issue into an unbiased jurisdiction, Trump had to get someone ELSE to start the fight, in a place where he could fight on neutral ground. Where better than Florida?

Because the FBI raided Trump in Florida, starting a case there, and because the DOJ has now called the issue out, the decision over the records’ classified status will be heard in Florida, the inevitable appeal will travel to the 11th Circuit, and then it will go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

I will skinny out onto a thin branch and predict Trump is likely to win in all three courts. If he’d started in D.C., he would’ve lost twice — at the D.C. federal court and then the D.C. appeals court — and then the Supreme Court would’ve had the odious and unwanted duty of overturning both lower courts. If it had played out this way, the corporate media would have trumpeted the Supreme Court decision as more evidence of out-of-control judicial activism, and the whole thing would have looked illegitimate.

All that noise would have distracted from the real story, which is the Deep State’s corruption, exposed by the declassified records.

Trump’s lawyers know a lot more than I do. I might be missing something. But the strategy now looks crystal clear to me. All Trump has to do now is say the magic words, “I DID declassify those records,” and the judge can set the matter for a showdown in Florida.

I know it sounds weird, but this could be the best thing that ever happened to Trump. Thanks, DOJ!

💉 Fox ran an uplifting story yesterday headlined, “Navy Quietly Rolled Back Punishments for SEALs Seeking Religious Exemptions to the COVID Vaccine.” The article explains that the Navy’s jab order, issued a year ago, was titled “Trident Order #12,” and medically disqualified any SEALs who asked for religious jab exemptions, precluding them from training, traveling for deployments, and other standard business.

In other words, making them unemployable.

Fox reported that the Navy just filed a brief in the case that attached a May 2022 order rescinding Trident Order #12. The new order plainly states, “This order rescinds reference A [Trident Order #12] on COVID-19 Vaccinations.”

Even the SEALs were surprised to see the order. It’s not clear whether the Navy might’ve replaced Trident Order #12 with a new jab order, but the lawyers in the case don’t think so.

So. Progress!

🚀 Reuters ran an article Sunday headlined, “Germans Switch to Costly Fan Heaters as Gas Shortage Fears Bite.” The headline tells you the whole story; Germans aren’t stupid. They’re buying up every electric heater they can get their hands on and German grid operators are freaking out. Electric heaters place HUGE demand on the grid. But it’s better than freezing.

So as you can see, the Russia Sanctions are really working out great. The GERMANS are starting to feel the pain. Russians, not so much. Maybe Germany will surrender soon?

And it’s a good thing Germany’s best and brightest are in charge. Guess what they’re up to now?

Last week, the Guardian UK ran a story headlined, “German Chancellor Rejects Calls to Reverse Nuclear Power Plant Closures.” Hahaha! That’s right, suckers! You Germans think you can warm yourselves with electricity, with your cute little heaters? Think again!

The Guardian reported that German chancellor Olaf Scholz rejected calls to extend the life of the country’s three nuclear power plants, insisting that Europe’s largest economy will have plenty of energy to get through the winter, don’t worry.

If you think that sounds crazy, you’re not alone. The Guardian said the opposition conservative alliance and at least one leading economist described the decision to close one reactor and place the country’s last two remaining reactors on standby status, in case of an emergency, instead of letting them produce electricity, as “madness.”

Madness!

I wonder what “emergency” they’re waiting for.

It gets better. After taking criticism for his decision, Scholz blamed German conservatives for the country’s power problems. “You were incapable of bringing about the expansion of renewable energies. You led defensive battles against every single wind turbine,” Scholz whined.

Hahaha! Wind turbines! These guys kill me. It’s even funnier that corporate media takes that kind of kooky talk seriously.

Have a wonderful Wednesday! I’m flying this morning to meet with some state politicians about proposed parents’ rights legislation, so I have to cut it short. But don’t worry! C&C will be back tomorrow morning with another great roundup. See you then.

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