Saturday, June 23, 2018

Reason #5943 That Trump Was Elected

The White House has announced plans to find a way to protect the Earth from dangerous Asteroids.
This Is NASA’s New Plan to Detect and Destroy Asteroids Before They Hit Earth
By Hanneke Weitering, Staff Writer | June 20, 2018 06:30pm ET
NASA has updated its plans to deflect potentially hazardous Earth-bound asteroids — and none of them involve Bruce Willis.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released a new report today (June 20) titled the “National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan.” The 18-page document outlines the steps that NASA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will take over the next 10 years to both prevent dangerous asteroids from striking Earth and prepare the country for the potential consequences of such an event.

Officials with NASA, FEMA and the White House discussed the new asteroid-mitigation strategies in a teleconference with the media today. “An asteroid impact is one of the possible scenarios that we must be prepared for,” Leviticus Lewis, chief of FEMA’s National Response Coordination Branch, told reporters during the teleconference, adding that a catastrophic asteroid strike is “a low-probability but high-consequence event” for which “some degree of preparedness is necessary.” [Related: How Trump’s Space Force Would Help Protect Earth from Future Asteroid Threats]
“This plan is an outline not only to enhance the hunt for hazardous asteroids, but also to better predict their chances of being an impact threat well into the future and the potential effects that it could have on Earth,” NASA’s planetary defense officer, Lindley Johnson, said during the teleconference. Johnson added that the plan will help NASA “step up our efforts to demonstrate possible asteroid deflection and other mitigation techniques, and to better formalize across the U.S. government the processes and protocols for dissemination of the best information available so that timely decisions can be made.” …
Read more:

Asteroids are low risk high impact events – the probability of serious impact occurring in anyone’s lifetime is low, even less the probability of actually being personally affected by an impact. But a big impact could destroy a city, or an entire region. A really big impact could destroy civilisation, maybe even wipe out all life on Earth.
I read somewhere that a living persons chances of dying from an asteroid strike is greater than their chance of dying in a plane crash. It's not so much that the chance of the earth being hit by a large asteroid is so high, it's just that the potential number of casualties is effectively only limited by the number of people alive, where as the  number of people killed in a plane crash has a fairly low upper limit as catastrophes go, a few hundred at most.

Here ya go:  What Are the Odds a Meteorite Could Kill You?
Putting a probability number on the chances of being hit by a space rock is difficult, since the events are so rare. Still, Tulane University earth sciences professor Stephen A. Nelson published a paper in 2014 that made the effort. He put the lifetime odds of dying from a local meteorite, asteroid, or comet impact at 1 in 1,600,000.

Compared with 1 in 90 for a car accident, 1 in 250 for a fire, 1 in 60,000 for a tornado, 1 in 135,000 for lightning, 1 in 8 million for a shark attack, or 1 in 195 million for winning the PowerBall lottery.

Nelson put the risk of dying from a large, global asteroid or comet impact at 1 in 75,000. If that seems surprisingly high, it's because when massive objects have hit the Earth in the geologic past, they have wiped out millions of organisms, even whole species. Most of the creatures aren't killed from the direct impact, but from the aftereffects, which include heat, radiation, and dust that clouds out the sun.
So yeah, maybe it's time to get serious about protecting civilization from asteroid strikes. And, who knows, maybe eventually we can pay for the system with minerals extracted from the asteroids.

Retailing Russiagate

We'll start off today with an article by David B. Rivkin Jr. and  Elizabeth Price Foley: Mueller’s Fruit of the Poisonous Tree "It makes no difference how honorable he is. His investigation is tainted by the bias that attended its origin in 2016", unfortunately behind the WSJ paywall. Fortunately, it's been heavily excerpted from by Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation may face a serious legal obstacle: It is tainted by antecedent political bias. The June 14 report from Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general, unearthed a pattern of anti-Trump bias by high-ranking officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Some of their communications, the report says, were “not only indicative of a biased state of mind but imply a willingness to take action to impact a presidential candidate’s electoral prospects.” Although Mr. Horowitz could not definitively ascertain whether this bias “directly affected” specific FBI actions in the Hillary Clinton email investigation, it nonetheless affects the legality of the Trump-Russia collusion inquiry, code-named Crossfire Hurricane.

Crossfire was launched only months before the 2016 election. Its FBI progenitors—the same ones who had investigated Mrs. Clinton—deployed at least one informant to probe Trump campaign advisers, obtained Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court wiretap warrants, issued national security letters to gather records, and unmasked the identities of campaign officials who were surveilled. They also repeatedly leaked investigative information.

Mr. Horowitz is separately scrutinizing Crossfire and isn’t expected to finish for months. But the current report reveals that FBI officials displayed not merely an appearance of bias against Donald Trump, but animus bordering on hatred. Peter Strzok, who led both the Clinton and Trump investigations, confidently assuaged a colleague’s fear that Mr. Trump would become president: “No he won’t. We’ll stop it.” An unnamed FBI lawyer assigned to Crossfire told a colleague he was “devastated” and “numb” after Mr. Trump won, while declaring to another FBI attorney: “Viva le resistance.”

The report highlights the FBI’s failure to act promptly upon discovering that Anthony Weiner’s laptop contained thousands of Mrs. Clinton’s emails. Investigators justified the delay by citing the “higher priority” of Crossfire. But Mr. Horowitz writes: “We did not have confidence that Strzok’s decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on [the] investigative lead discovered on the Weiner laptop was free from bias.”

Similarly, although Mr. Horowitz found no evidence that then-FBI Director James Comey was trying to influence the election, Mr. Comey did make decisions based on political considerations. He told the inspector general that his election-eve decision to reopen the Clinton email investigation was motivated by a desire to protect her assumed presidency’s legitimacy.

The inspector general wrote that Mr. Strzok’s text messages “created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations.” The report adds, importantly, that “most of the text messages raising such questions pertained to the Russia investigation.” Given how biases ineluctably shape behavior, these facts create a strong inference that by squelching the Clinton investigation and building a narrative of Trump-Russia collusion, a group of government officials sought to bolster Mrs. Clinton’s electoral chances and, if the unthinkable happened, obtain an insurance policy to cripple the Trump administration with accusations of illegitimacy.
As Glenn quips:
It seems pretty clear that this is a case of investigating a man in the hopes of finding a crime, rather than investigating a crime and hoping to find the man behind it.
There's more at the Instapundit link. On a practical level, I can't imagine going into court on any of his charges, and surviving cross examination on the source of their evidence. The first thing I would do is call Strzok to the stand. Unless of course, it's a D.C. jury . . .

Via Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 06.21.18" Power Line asks Did The FBI Frame General Flynn? He should be withdrawing his guilty plea and preparing to call Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok to the stand:
In my opinion, the likelihood of getting a criminal conviction of General Flynn on the basis of a Form 302 was vanishingly small. If the government can’t prove what Flynn said–exactly–there is no way they can convict him of what amounts to perjury. So I find Flynn’s statement that he didn’t do anything wrong, but pled guilty to a single count to preserve what little net worth he has left, to be credible.

We also know that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn, one of whom was Peter Strzok, reported that they thought he was telling the truth, which is probably strike four in any possible prosecution. Against that background, an interesting new development emerged today: Congressman Mark Meadows suggested in an interview with The Hill that the Form 302 on Flynn’s interrogation may have been altered to facilitate prosecution:
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) suggested Thursday in an interview wth Hill.TV’s “Rising” that evidence may have been tampered with in the case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“Justice should be meted out evenly, and yet we’re finding that evidence could have been tampered with,” Meadows said.
Meadows suggested one focus is whether FBI interview reports — known as 302 reports — about Flynn were altered to improve the chances he’d be prosecuted.
“I brought this up with the inspector general the other day. Some of those key witnesses will be asked to appear before House Oversight,” he added.
The question about the FBI interview reports, he said, was “were they changed to change the outcome of prosecution decisions. I think they might have.”
“We’re not going to yield until we get an answer,” he added.
Not too many years ago, a claim that the FBI fabricated evidence to facilitate a prosecution would have seemed incredible. Today, given what we know of the corruption of the Bureau under the Obama administration, such a claim appears entirely plausible.
IBD: Clinton Email IG Report: Why Is The FBI Still Covering For Discredited Agents At The Heart Of The 'Investigation'? Honor Among thieves. Da Caller: BAD NEWS: It Looks Like The DOJ Official Who Tipped Off Podesta Is Unlikely To Face Legal Consequences, But CNN: Let’s Face It, Trump’s Responsible For Erosion In Confidence In Mueller.

A man bites dog story: Jim Jordan Criticizes DOJ For Seizing NYT Reporter’s Materials In Leak Case
“Ali [Watkins] had all her material just grabbed,” Jordan (R-Ohio) told CNN’s “New Day” on Thursday. “It is not supposed to work that way. That is not how the First Amendment operates. And my concern is we’ve seen so many encroachments on our liberties from the government.”
Meanwhile the ACLU seems to be willing to give up free speech for conservatives.

Comey jumps onto the issue du jour: James Comey: 'You stare at children crying – what kind of people are we?’ Your official actions never separated children from their parents, right? Especially when the crying child was a "fake news" picture.
But the girl’s father told The Washington Post on Thursday night that his child and her mother were not separated, and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman confirmed that the family was not separated while in the agency’s custody. In an interview with CBS News, Border Patrol agent Carlos Ruiz, who was among the first to encounter the mother and her daughter at the border in Texas, said the image had been used to symbolize a policy but “that was not the case in this picture.”

Ruiz, who was not available for an interview Friday, said agents asked the mother, Sandra Sanchez, to put down her daughter, nearly 2-year-old Yanela, so they could search her. Agents patted down the mother for less than two minutes, and she immediately picked up her daughter, who then stopped crying.
More evidence for the coming Comey/Daniels or Daniels/Comey 2020 ticket (I can't say who'll be on top): Stormy Daniels Says She’s Headed to the Border Next Week As Soon as She Figures Her Best Course of Action. Nope I won't give you another Stormy Daniels picture. I've run out of non-NSFW ones.  But we hear Comey say “I’d Rate Donald Trump A One Out Of Ten As President”. You have your opinions, but now that you're no longer FBI director there's nothing you can do but whine. Notice, he goes out of the country to bash the American president. Don't bother coming home Jim, if we want you we'll extradite you.

Now we know shit's getting deep: Tom Arnold says he's teaming up with Michael Cohen and 'taking Trump down' Maybe he can join Mueller's team of objective prosecutors.
Arnold then told NBC News that he met with Cohen as part of a show he is working on for Vice, in which he searches for incriminating videos of the president.

"This dude has all the tapes — this dude has everything,” Arnold told NBC News. "I say to Michael, 'Guess what? We’re taking Trump down together,’ and he’s so tired he’s like, 'OK,' and his wife is like, 'OK, f--- Trump.’”
Expecting Mueller to get a boner over this one: National Enquirer sent stories about Trump to his attorney Michael Cohen before publication, people familiar with the practice say. Like rich people have never had influence over the press before.
Federal prosecutors subpoenaed American Media Inc. as part of their investigation into Cohen, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week. A Justice Department official said Pecker did not fall under the regulation that governs when and how prosecutors can obtain records of members of the news media.
. . .
Pecker declined to be interviewed for this story. Dylan Howard, the company’s chief content officer, called it “completely false” that Trump and Cohen “were told in advance, and copies were shared in advance, and that they had some sort of sway over who the magazine attacked on any given week.”
Judge turns down Manafort's bid to nix money laundering charge
Manafort's defense team argued that the tens of millions of dollars he's accused of laundering didn't qualify as the proceeds of criminal activity because lobbying for a foreign entity in the U.S. is legal and the only crime Manafort may have committed in that regard is failing to register.

But U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson disagreed.

"It is a crime to 'act' [as a foreign agent] 'unless' one has registered – the statute does not simply state that the failure to register is unlawful," Jackson wrote in a nine-page decision issued Friday. "These laws are not just about paperwork; their object is to ensure that no person acts to advance the interests of a foreign government or principal within the United States unless the public has been properly notified of his or her allegiance."
Note that Tony Podesta and the Podesta Group hastily filed after the charges were filed against Manafort. Also note that Mueller shows no interest in similarly prosecuting the Podestas.

Rule 5 Saturday - Banking on Elizabeth Banks

to satisfy your Rule 5 Saturday needs:
Elizabeth Irene Banks (née Mitchell; born February 10, 1974) is an American actress, director, model and producer. Banks made her film debut in the low-budget independent film Surrender Dorothy (1998), and is known for her roles in the films Wet Hot American Summer (2001), Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy (2002–2007), Seabiscuit (2003), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008), Role Models (2008), The Next Three Days (2010), the Pitch Perfect trilogy (2012-2017), Power Rangers (2017), The Lego Movie (2014), and The Hunger Games film series (2012–2015). In 2014, she portrayed Melinda Ledbetter, the girlfriend and later wife of the Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson, in the biographical drama Love & Mercy and made her directorial debut with Pitch Perfect 2, whose $69 million opening-weekend gross set a record for a first-time director.

On television, Banks had a recurring role as Avery Jessup on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock, which garnered her two Primetime Emmy Award nominations. She also had recurring roles on the comedy series Scrubs and Modern Family, the latter of which earned her a Primetime Emmy Award nomination. She reprised her Wet Hot American Summer role as Lindsay for the Netflix miniseries Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (2015) and Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later (2017).

Banks was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and grew up on Brown Street, the eldest of four children of Ann (née Wallace) and Mark P. Mitchell. Her father, a Vietnam veteran, was a factory worker for General Electric and her mother worked in a bank. She has said that she grew up "Irish + WASP + Catholic."
Growing up, Banks played baseball and rode horses. She was in Little League when she broke her leg sliding into third base. She then tried out for the school play, which was her start in acting.

Friday, June 22, 2018

EPA Tells the States Where to Go for the Next 7 Years

EPA sets expectations for states, D.C. in third phase of Bay pollution diet
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given the jurisdictions in the Chesapeake Bay watershed—Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia—its expectations for the third phase of the Bay’s pollution diet.

The pollution diet, also known as the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (Bay TMDL), establishes pollutant limits that are designed to reduce the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that flow to the Bay and its tidal tributaries.

Since 2010, the six watershed states and the District of Columbia have shown how they would reduce pollutant loads to meet those limits through watershed implementation plans (WIPs). WIPs are detailed plans, developed by the jurisdictions in conjunction with local and federal partners, with specific timelines for implementing and achieving pollutant load reductions. These will be the third WIPs since the Bay TMDL was set, and will carry the jurisdictions through 2025 to meet their water quality goals.

The expectations are built upon decisions made by the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership, which includes the EPA as well as the seven Bay jurisdictions, and addresses how to account for changing conditions due to the Conowingo Dam, climate, and growth.

Despite some jurisdictions having to do more in order to achieve their nutrient and sediment targets, each of the seven watershed jurisdictions reaffirmed their commitment to having all the practices and controls in place by 2025 to meet applicable water quality standards in the Chesapeake Bay.

The expectations guide the jurisdictions in building on their two earlier WIPs to:
  • Further optimize their choices of pollutant reduction practices.
  • Incorporate lessons learned and new science and information from the midpoint assessment.
  • Develop comprehensive local and federal engagement strategies so their contributions are clearly articulated.
  • Ensure new and increased pollutant loads are offset.
  • Build and sustain the necessary capacity needed to achieve their Phase III WIP commitments by 2025.
In their Phase III WIPs, the jurisdictions are expected to:
  • Specify the programmatic and numeric commitments needed to achieve the Phase III WIP planning targets by 2025.
  • Develop comprehensive local, regional and federal engagement strategies and commitments.
  • Engage local partners in local planning goal development and implementation.
  • Consider adjustments of state-basin targets and Phase II WIP source sector goals.
  • Account for changes due to climate change and growth.
  • Target implementation at the Bay segment-shed scale (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia only).
So what ever happened to Federalism?

Reason #5942 That Trump Was Elected

Edvin Escobar Mendez, 17, of Falls Church, left,
 and Sergio Arita Triminio, 14, of Alexandria,
 were found dead last year
11 MS-13 Members Charged In Murder Of Two Teenagers In Virginia
Eleven MS-13 gang members – all of whom are illegal immigrants except one – are facing life in prison after being charged in the kidnappings and deaths of two teens whose bodies were dug up in a Virginia park last year.

The ages of the male gang members charged Friday ranged from 20 to 27. All of them are from El Salvador and only one – who is believed to have fled the country – is not in police custody, according to NBC Washington.

Police uncovered the bodies of 17-year-old Edvin Escobar Mendez and 14-year-old Sergio Arita Triminio at Holmes Run Park in March 2017 after receiving a tip.

The two teens disappeared just weeks apart the prior year.

After Mendez vanished and was reported missing by his family, his brother tracked down Triminio - one of his friends - who revealed to him that Mendez was “abducted or killed” because the MS-13 members thought he was allied with a rival gang.

Two days after that reported conversation, Triminio, who lived near Holmes Run Park, disappeared while taking out the trash.

"He never came back," his mother said.

Investigators believe Triminio was killed because the MS-13 members thought he was working as a police informant, a federal indictment said. A court-ordered electronic monitoring device that Triminio was wearing, per his probation orders, stopped working the day he vanished, the documents added.

All but one of the men facing the conspiracy to kidnap charges are reported to be illegal immigrants, and one suspect is facing a conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering charge.
. . .
The names of those charged are Elmer Zelaya Martinez, 27, Erick Palacios Ruiz, 20, Ronald Herrera Contreras, 20, Josue Vigil Mejia, 21, Henry Zelaya Martinez, 24, Oscar Contreras Aguilar, 20, Yonathan Melgar Martinez, 21, Pablo Miguel Barrera Velasco, 20, Anderson Villatoro, 21, Francisco Avila Avalos, 20 and Fredys Baires Abarca, 20. Their gang member aliases included nicknames such as "Killer", "Horror" and "Lil Clandestino".
Michael Anton: Here's a Question No One Ever Asks-- Why Does a Nation of 320 Million Need Millions of More Immigrants?
Not a Cuck. Trump made an error in letting this cat go, and should rehire him in a more important position if he ever becomes available again, and if he's even willing to take a job again with Trump.
As Capitol Hill Republicans attempt for -- what, the eighth? ninth? -- time in the past two decades to jam through an amnesty that their voters have explicitly, loudly and repeatedly said they do not want, it’s worth asking a question that is rarely raised:
Does the United States -- population 320 million and rising --need more people? If so, why?
To most ears, the question sounds blasphemous, which illustrates the rottenness of our immigration debate. Actually, "debate" is far too generous. One side has made sure that there is no debate. Good people want more immigration, and bad people object or raise questions. An inherently political issue has been effectively rendered religious, with the righteous on one side, sinners on the other.
The basic question remains. The pat answer over the past 20 years 0-- "to do the jobs Americans just won’t do" -- may seem to have some salience with a 3.9 percent unemployment rate. But that only further begs the question. After at least two decades of wage stagnation and even decline, now that we've finally reached the nirvana of full employment (and who knows how long it will last), why not take advantage of this tight labor market to raise wages across the board? Especially for the working and middle classes that got nowhere or even lost ground during the housing, finance and tech booms of recent years?
Just about everyone knows the answer: because the business community does not like tight labor markets and the concomitant necessity to raise wages. That's bad for the bottom line. The solution? More workers! And so the Chamber of Commerce Annex -- a.k.a. Capitol Hill Republicans -- dutifully attempt to do their donors' bidding at the expense of their voters’ interests.
Economists in league with big business got good at torturing data to "show" that immigration benefits the economy. But as demonstrated by Harvard University’s George Borjas, one of the nation’s leading economists on the topic, immigration is a net economic benefit to immigrants and to their employers. To workers already here, not so much. . . .

Rascally Russiagate

It seems like an everyday sort of thing, a new column by Andrew McCarthy at NR: The IG Report Should End Mueller’s Obstruction Investigation
The IG finds abundant evidence of corrupt motivation on behalf of the officials who were running the Clinton-emails investigation. And there is a plausible theory — indeed, a very persuasive one — that a corrupt motive (viz., political bias) drove the decision-making: The investigators wanted Clinton to win the election and feared a Trump presidency, so they tanked a solid criminal case against Clinton, then turned their dedicated attention to framing Trump as a traitor based on such “evidence” as the Clinton-campaign-generated Steele dossier.

Nevertheless, Horowitz reasons that the law and Justice Department policy do not permit such a conclusion. The FBI and the Justice Department have broad executive discretion to decide whether charges should be filed, what investigative avenues to pursue, and which investigative techniques should be used. Even if they could have had corrupt motives, the IG says the Justice Department must assume law-enforcement officials exercised their broad discretion legitimately as long as it is possible that valid, non-corrupt reasons supported their decisions — e.g., a belief that precedent did not support charging Clinton with an Espionage Act offense; a belief that granting immunity rather than charging an accomplice with lying to the FBI was a better investigative approach; a belief that consenting to limit their examination of evidence in order to get quick access to it was more prudent than issuing a subpoena that might have resulted in time-consuming litigation.

So, let’s compare. President Trump clearly has broader executive discretion than the FBI and the Justice Department. He is the executive; their powers are limited by their subordinate status and the fact that they are created and heavily regulated by statute. It is incontestable, moreover, that the president had abundant legitimate reasons to fire Comey and to weigh in on whether Flynn merited investigation.

As Horowitz points out, when we are evaluating a discretionary judgment call, the question is not whether we agree with it, or whether it was right or wrong. What matters is whether it was rational. Horowitz’s own report finds major faults with Comey’s performance as director; in this, it echoes Rosenstein’s memorandum written at the time of Comey’s dismissal.
Or a shorter  one Giuliani: "This Is The End Of Mueller's Investigation Effectively"; James Comey Going To Jail, by Ian Schwartz at RCP One can only hope. George Neumayr at the American Spectator: Mueller Has Strzok Out "The only thing Trump obstructed was a partisan railroading."
Mueller, according to his mandate, is supposed to be completing a counterintelligence investigation launched by Peter Strzok, the most abominably anti-Trump partisan FBI official imaginable. That fact alone discredits it. Imagine a judge telling a jury to decide the fate of the accused based on an investigation started by one of his fiercest enemies. In Mueller’s case, the circumstances are even worse than that: he not only inherited Strzok’s poisoned work but added Strzok to his team and would have kept him on it until the end of the probe had Horowitz not revealed Strzok’s anti-Trump texts. Strzok, as he explained to his mistress, had joined the team in the hopes of inducing the impeachment of Trump. Strzok described the Mueller probe as “unfinished business.”
Politico: Trump’s war against Mueller borrows from Bill Clinton’s playbook Are they complaining or admiring? Mueller's team might be starting to crack, from Law and Crime, ‘It’s Not Responsible’: Mueller’s Office Calls Out New York Times for Incorrect Story About Picking Manafort’s Lock
Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his office just wanted to set the record straight about how former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort came to be arrested by the FBI. Articles from the New York Times and the Washington Post were both cited in a footnote of a filing as examples of “not responsible” reporting, particularly on the claim that authorities picked Manafort’s lock.

Mueller and his prosecutors took issue with reported details that FBI agents conducted a no-knock raid and picked the lock of Manafort’s front door. In the footnote, they quote the court: “But, I do question the publication of the completely unsupported speculation that this revelation was an intentional leak by the Office of the Special Counsel. No reporter had any facts to base that on, so I’m not sure why anyone printed it. It’s not responsible.”
Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon: IG Report Highlights FBI Counterspy Failings.   Victor Davis Hanson at IBD: Clinton Email IG Report: Scandals Sanitized With Linguistic Trickery If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with BS.
Throughout Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz's massive report on the Hillary Clinton email investigation are lots of strange things. One of the weirdest is the extent to which the FBI went to make up words and phrases to disguise reality.

An early draft of the 2016 FBI report on the email scandal was reportedly subjected to linguistic surgery to exonerate the former secretary of state, who at the time was the Democratic nominee for president. Clinton was originally found to be "grossly negligent" in using an illegal email server. That legalistic phrase is used by prosecutors to indict for violation of laws governing the wrongful transmission of confidential government documents.

Yet the very thought of a likely President Clinton in court so worried the chief investigator, FBI Director James Comey, that he watered down "grossly negligent" to the mere "extremely careless."

FBI investigators also had concluded that it was "reasonably likely" foreign nations had read Clinton's unsecured emails. Comey intervened to mask such a likelihood by substituting the more neutral word "possible."
Marc Thiessen, Fox News: The overlooked bombshell of the IG report
We also learned new details about Clinton's recklessness and willful misconduct in using her private email. The final version of Comey's statement did note that Clinton "used her personal e-mail extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related e-mails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries." But we did not know at the time that the original draft included one more sentence: "That use included an email exchange with the President while Secretary Clinton was on the territory of such an adversary." According to the inspector general, "This reference later was changed to 'another senior government official,' and ultimately was omitted."
The Manhattan Contrarian, Francis Menton, notes that I Guess That IG Report Really Struck A Nerve from all the sudden caterwauling about children being taken away from their parents at the border.

All things Strzok: The Washington Times: Anti-Trump FBI Agent Strzok joined Mueller probe to 'fix' 'unfinished business' from 2016 election because he knew he fucked up the Clinton probe.  “For me, and this case, I personally have a sense of unfinished business. I unleashed it with MYE [Midyear Exam, the investigation into Clinton’s emails]. Now I need to fix it and finish it.” Strzok was escorted out of the building because Peter Strzok Has Lost His Security Clearance, Says Jeff Sessions according to da Caller. I was unsettled with his still having access to the FBI computer system, and having a clearance. Good riddance. Ace: Peter Strzok Has Lost His Security Clearance
This probably had to do with the IG's inquiry. The IG can interview federal employees but not ex-federal employees (well, at least the IG has no authority to demand an interview).

People have said, erroneously I think, that Page and Strzok had "cooperated' with the IG. I think that is a misunderstanding. Their lawyered-up, "Gee I don't remember saying 'We'll stop it' and if I did say it I only meant we'll stop the exploitation of child labor" bullshit answers weren't "cooperation." They were just some lies they were telling because they had to offer some answers, so long as they were still sucking off the federal tit.

But now that the IG has probably gotten all of their bullshit answers, there's no reason to continue keeping these two as real employees.

This might be a move towards an eventual firing.
Brew at Peter Strzok Claims He's a Victim Da Hill: GOP lawmaker says evidence might have been tampered with in Flynn case. I had guessed it might have something to do with Flynn before. Good to see it being considered aloud.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) suggested Thursday in an interview wth Hill.TV's "Rising" that evidence may have been tampered with in the case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Meadows, the leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and a close ally of President Trump's, said he and other lawmakers are finding evidence of possible tampering, an allegation he previously made at a House hearing where Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified.
Joe Hoft at Gateway Pundit: Analysis –Crooked Comey Reopened Hillary Email Case in October 2016 Because Good Cops in the FBI Leaked Info to Congress – Comey Later Fired the Good Cops
We also know that Peter Strzok in a text with Lisa Page noted that FBI Agents in New York were later fired. This was important enough that they noted it with each other and also the FBI redacted part of the text messages about these individuals being fired.  Clearly there is more to this text that will be cleared up when unredacted.

So in summary –

Comey was forced to reopen the Hillary email scandal due to some good cops in the FBI who leaked the information to Congress. Later Comey fired these good cops for leaking.
But it's different when he does it. Gee, I wonder why: FBI’s Popularity Plunges Since February As Plurality Of Independents Now View Agency Unfavorably?

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air: Obama Cyber Chief: You’d Better Believe I Was Ordered To Stand Down On Russia, giving Putin plenty of flexibility.
Consider this a confirmation of an allegation that first emerged in March, because the co-author of the book that contained it certainly does. Michael Isikoff and David Corn published an explosive allegation that the Obama administration issued a stand-down order to efforts to counter Russian cyberwarfare in 2016. Yesterday, the head of the Obama administration’s cyber programs told the Senate Intelligence Committee that’s precisely what happened . . .
Read it all and weep (or get really pissed off).

Ocean City Topless Fight Goes to the Feds

The topless issue that created a firestorm for Ocean City officials this summer is heading to court after a lawsuit filed Tuesday challenges the town's emergency ordinance prohibiting women on the beach from going topless.

Salisbury resident Chelsea Eline, who previously used the pseudonym Covington in interactions with local officials and with, filed a suit in U.S. District Court with four other women that claims Ocean City's emergency ordinance is unconstitutional. Tuesday's filing in court makes Eline's real name public.
Chelsea Eline (Covington) at Ocean City

Along with Eline, the plaintiffs include Rose MacGregor, of Salisbury; Megan Bryant, of Anne Arundel; Christine Coleman, of Long Island, New York; and Angela Urban, of Pittsburgh.

The lawsuit seeks a ruling that the ordinance violates an equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution and the Declaration of Rights to the Maryland Constitution.

"This lawsuit is about confirming the legal right of women to be bare-chested, in public, in the same places that men are permitted to be bare-chested, for purposes other than breastfeeding," the lawsuit reads.
It claims that gender classification does not further government interest, but increases the idea that women are
viewed as "inherently sexual objects."
She is also working in Washington D.C. to the same end.
The defendants named in the suit include the town; Mayor Rick Meehan; Emergency Services Director Joe Theobald, who oversees the beach patrol; and police Chief Ross Buzzuro.

The lawsuit lists several examples of precedence for the plaintiffs' claims. In the most recent example, a federal district judge in Fort Collins, Colorado, ruled against enforcement of ordinances attempting to make female toplessness illegal.
Filed under lawsuits I hope will succeed.