Monday, July 16, 2018

ThunderStrzok by Russiagate

Many more reviews of FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Counter Intelligence  Human Resources specialist Strzok's performance, after some reflection, and they aren't good: Peter Strzok’s Affair is a National Security Crisis by Brandon J. Weichert at American Greatness, Seriously: Call in the Secret Service to investigate Special Agent Strzok by Ed Timperlake at the American Thinker, and Thunder Strzok - A Performance for the Ages by Melissa Mackenzie at the American Spectator:



Peter Strzok’s arrogance is the product of a corrupt FBI by Michael Goodwin at the New York Post:
Who is this jerk, I wondered, and how in the hell did he get to be a big shot at the FBI? And why are taxpayers still paying for the privilege of his malignant presence on the FBI payroll?

My answers can be summarized in four names: James Comey, Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein and Christopher Wray. They are chief culprits in the death of public trust in the Department of Justice.

The cause of death was murder, and it was an inside job.
And some new allegations; Aaron Klein at Breitbart: Peter Strzok Reveals FBI Debated Russia Collusion Probe Based on Trump’s Poll Numbers
Some people said, hey, look. Every poll is saying candidate Trump is likely not to win. Every Republican was saying that. Some people said as a result of that let’s not risk the source. Let’s go slow. But I indicated for them. What I am saying is. Look, we are the FBI. We need to do our job. We need to investigate.

While it isn’t likely according to all the pollsters and everybody that candidate Trump is elected, we need to make sure we are protecting America. We need to responsibly and aggressively investigate these actions, because you know what, if candidate Trump is elected, there might be people we need to be investigating that might be nominated for important security positions. Everybody in America would want to know that. Candidate Trump would want to know that.
Thread by @ThomasWictor: "(1) I read an article about Peter Strzok's father Peter Senior that made me think that Junior is a spy for Iran. Well, my dad was born in China, and I am most definitely not a spy for China.  Thread by @MWBarnesEsq: "1. A little tutorial thread re Comey, McCabe and Strzok, and a decades-old lesson from Stanford Law School days. A law professor was exhibit […]" Strzok et al's testimonies are designed to sway the weak minded, i.e. Democrats. Althouse: Trey Gowdy on the Strzok hearing: "Public hearings are a circus... I mean it's a freak show.", but he's very effective in them. Trump calls FBI agent Peter Strzok a 'disgrace to our country'. How dare he pick on the poor abused FBI Human Resources specialist?

And Strzok's gal pal Lisa Page? Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page gets closed-door grilling from House Republicans, by Kaie Bo Williams at Politiko, GOP Lawmakers: Lisa Page ‘Credible’at the OAN Newsroom,   PoliZette: Is Lisa Page Spilling the Beans on Former FBI Lover Peter Strzok? Prolly not.  Lisa Page Testimony Highlights Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Lied To Chairman Devin Nunes… by Sundance at CTH.


Paging Strzok - Why won't the FBI let Lisa Page answer key questions?
“Lisa Page is not an FBI employee,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida Republican, told reporters, “but the FBI was here providing counsel and giving her direction as to which questions to answer or not answer and there is a question as to the propriety of that before the House.” Gaetz did not reveal which questions the FBI attorneys instructed Page not to answer, nor how many times the FBI had slapped on the gag order. Gaetz did say “I didn’t agree with her characterization of every text message and every piece of evidence. But we did not see the smug attitude from Lisa Page that we saw from Peter Strzok.”
On Robert Mueller's/Rod Rosentstein's announcement of the indictment of 12 alleged GRU agents in Russia on cgharges of hacking the Podesta and the DNC, Sundance at CTH: Rosenstein Delivers Indictments For 12 Russians – Then Buries in Lock-box of DOJ National Security Division…
The indictment is a grand exposition in explaining something without a single citation of factual evidence for how they arrived at the multitude of conclusions.

Consider this takeaway from a left-wing group who love the indictment:
“The indictment is impressive in its detail and the specificity of its allegations. It shows that Mueller has developed extremely good evidence. Where is it coming from?” (link)
You see, that’s the rub…. there is not a single piece of information explaining how Robert Mueller’s team arrived at their indictment conclusion. Just lots of conclusions.

Again, I repeat: the FBI was never allowed access to the DCCC, DNC and Clinton Campaign servers?
Well, the evidence should have been presented to the Grand Jury, and would need to be presented at trial. I don't trust a D.C. Grand Jury to care, and the cases will never come to trial, but regarding the evidence: Thread by @PaulSchmehl: "Today I want to talk about why the recent indictment of 12 GRU members is the purest baloney. In order to do that, I have to explain some th […]" ings about computer security and forensics, so you’ll understand why what I claim about the indictment makes sense." Read the whole thing. With a grain or two of salt. If Putin is half as clever as I think he might be, he would direct one of the indicted GRU guys (Potemkin might be a good choice for the name alone), to voluntarily surrender and force Mueller to put up or shut up.

The Dersh:  Indictment of 12 Russians Proves Special Counsel 'Never Needed' I guess he really doesn't want to go to any of those parties on the Vineyard.
"It proves — this indictment proves that we never needed a special counsel,” Dershowitz said. "This indictment could have been brought by ordinary prosecutors, ordinary FBI agents. There's no conflict here. It's Russians they are going after. There is no president; There's no people around the president;

"There's no conflict between the attorney general, the deputy attorney general and Americans — it's all Russians. Why do we need to spend 20, 30, 40 million dollars, have a special counsel appointed to do a routine national security investigation? [That's] number one."

The second point, according to Dershowitz, was that the guilt or innocence of those indicted would never be known because "they are never going to go on trial."
. . .
Dershowitz called the indictments "one-sided allegations," adding, "They are not proof."
Byron York at the Washington Examiner notes Nunes: Mueller indictment tracks House Intel report. They said the same thing "It was the Russians", but without the power to indict.
"It's pretty clear if you read the indictment, and you read our four findings and Chapter Two, even with redactions, you get most of the indictment," House Intel chairman Rep. Devin Nunes told me in a phone conversation Sunday. "If you didn't have the redactions, you'd get more than what's in the indictment, except for the Russian names."
Also Mueller indictment looks 'ridiculous' because it omitted Republicans targeted by Russia
"However, in the indictment, they leave out some really important people that they also went after, so the indictment plays like they are only going after the Democrats, when Bob Mueller and all his investigators and his lawyers know for a fact that they also targeted Republicans. Why is that not in the indictment? It makes the indictment look ridiculous."
Because that would contaminate the narrative that the Russians sole interest was in helping Trump.

Deep diving into the "Deep State," Mark Penn at Da Hill: The dishonesty of the deep state
Remarkably, we learned that special counsel Robert Mueller never even made the slightest direct inquiry into Strzok’s actions and behavior, other than to remove him from the investigation. Mueller, you may recall, for five months ducked answering congressional inquiries as to why Strzok and Page were reassigned, and we only learned the reasons when the DOJ inspector general sent these text messages to Congress. Mueller, it seems, was too busy combing every single email of the transition team, and later monitoring every single call of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, to stop and review how this bias might have tainted much of the evidence of his investigation and require new interviews of witnesses or other action.
Margot Cleveland at the Federalist: 10 Ways DOJ Abused Its Authority When It Spied On Trump’s Campaign Only 10?
1. Misled the FISA Court on Crossfire Hurricane’s Launch . . . 2. Misleading the FISA Court that Papadopoulos Colluded with Russia . . .3. Misleading Claims that Papadopoulos Was Connected to DNC Hacking . . . 4. Misleading Claims that Papadopoulos Interacted with Russian Agents . . . 5. Misleading about Page’s Connections with Russian Agents . . . 6. Political Bias of the DOJ and FBI Official Involved in the FISA Applications . . . 4 Abuses the Nunes Memo Highlighted
 Sundance again at CTH: FISA Abuse: It is the Risk, the Reality, and the Reason…
When you look at the timeline picture, and overlay the unlawful and illegal FISA-702(16)(17) users the picture is so clear it becomes silly to argue. The DOJ indicting 12 Russians based on forensic computer data evidence provided to the connected Mueller team by FBI contractor Crowdstrike takes on new levels of ass-covering. The motives are clear as day.

Crowdstrike was/is an FBI contractor. Crowdstrike, along with Fusion GPS, likely participated in the exploitation of the FISA database that NSA Director Mike Rogers shut down. Crowdstrike, operators and agents within the organization, could have even accessed the FBI/NSA database from servers connected to the DCCC, DNC and/or Clinton campaign. Looking at the timeline it certainly needs to be explored…. but who would do the investigation?
Thread by @DropTha_Mic25: "1. For over a year I have been harping on the DNC Russia Crowdstrike LIES. I have been more than annoying putting out thread after thread co […]" #DNC #Russia #Crowdstrike #Mueller Interesting, but another one to read with salt shaker in hand. But it seems reasonable to be skeptical of Crowdstrikes claims that the DNC hack was Russian. Too bad it will never have to be proven to a jury of fair minded people, no?

Streif at Red State: The FBI’s Lack Of Curiosity About A Foreign Power Getting 30K Hillary Clinton Emails Is Astounding. They expected her to be President, and to ask demand their help in cleaning up the mess she made getting there.

Emily Birnbaum at the Hill: Gowdy rules out Rosenstein impeachment. He's not the sole decider, of course, and while I generally like the cut of his hair jib, I think he gives a little too much deference to the prosecutor types.
 “I’ve had my differences with Rod Rosenstein,” the South Carolina congressman said. “I talk to him quite often privately, which again is a lot more constructive than the public hearings we have.”

Gowdy said if President Trump is unhappy with Rosenstein’s performance, “he can fire him with a tweet” since he is a Trump appointee.
Sure, and he could order a missile strike on California too.

Some red meat for the tin-foil covered head crowd? Kim DotCom: I Was Warned Not to Turn Over Seth Rich Evidence to Mueller

L.E. Dyer at The Lid: Liberal Media Sees A Russian Conspiracy In Every Trump Policy With Which They Disagree, Tom Trinko at American Thinker: The Left is Always Wrong: Election Meddling Edition
On every issue the left has two standards; one for the left and one for everyone else.  In this case, it’s perfectly fine when parties release false information that is damaging to Trump, but it’s the ultimate evil when someone releases accurate information that hurts a leftist; i.e. Hillary.

Allahpundit at Hot Air: Bolton: Why, I Think The New Mueller Indictments Strengthen Trump’s Hand In His Summit With Putin. I can see that. And that hardy perennial Trump resists Mueller interview, leaving decision on subpoena before fall elections Wake me up when that changes.

The Last Straw At Starbucks

On Monday, Starbucks joined a growing list of companies in pledging to phase out the use of plastic straws (by 2020). Many other companies — and even cities like Seattle, Wash., and Vancouver, B.C. — have banned plastic straws, widely seen as a fairly easy way to minimize harm to the environment. These bans will make life harder for the disabled, however.

Many disabled people with diseases like muscular dystrophy find it increasingly difficult to lift cups to their mouths. Plastic straws enable them to drink without what would be a herculean effort. There may not be a fitting substitute.

Daniel Gilbert, a 25-year-old in Kentucky who was born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, keeps plastic straws with him because not all of them are the same. He once left his straws at home while he was at a bar with his friends, and the bar only had plastic stirrers.

"I had to manage, but it took a lot of effort," Gilbert told CNN. "It was really exhausting."
Taylor Swift is too good for Starbucks
And for what great gain are we to be banning plastic straws?  Starbucks Bans Plastic Straws, Winds Up Using More Plastic
The coffee giant says that by 2020 it hopes to have eliminated all single-use plastic straws at its 28,000 stores worldwide. It will now top all its cold drinks with fancy new strawless lids that the company currently serves with its cold brew nitro coffees. (Frappuccinos will still be served with a compostable or paper straw.) As is to be expected, Starbucks' decision was greeted with universal adulation.

The World Wildlife Fund and Ocean Conservancy both provided ebullient quotes for Starbucks' press releases. Liberal magazine The New Republic praised the move as an "environmental milestone." Slate hailed the Starbucks straw ban as evidence of as a victory for a bona fide anti-straw movement, one that would hopefully lead to bans of more things plastic in years to come.

Yet missing from this fanfare was the inconvenient fact that by ditching plastic straws, Starbucks will actually be increasing its plastic use. As it turns out, the new nitro lids that Starbucks is leaning on to replace straws are made up of more plastic than the company's current lid/straw combination.

Right now, Starbucks patrons are topping most of their cold drinks with either 3.23 grams or 3.55 grams of plastic product, depending on whether they pair their lid with a small or large straw. The new nitro lids meanwhile weigh either 3.55 or 4.11 grams, depending again on lid size. (I got these results by measuring Starbucks' plastic straws and lids on two separate scales, both of which gave me the same results.)

This means customers are at best breaking even under Starbucks' strawless scheme, or they are adding between .32 and .88 grams to their plastic consumption per drink. Given that customers are going to use a mix of the larger and smaller nitro lids, Starbucks' plastic consumption is bound to increase, although it's anybody's guess as to how much.
So, ban plastic straw,  discriminate against the disabled and increase plastic pollution, got it.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Beach Report, 7/15/18

A cloudy day at the beach, which was kind of a relief from the 80/80 heat and humidity. You cant see it here, but there were a lot of people on the beach, swimming, fishing, sunbathing and fossil collecting, including a friend, Paul Murdoch, who runs trips to the local beaches for fossils.
It was a tough day for fossil, although we found 17 in the end. At right, the best. Center and left, large Tiger Shark teeth, right a Snaggletooth upper, lower a Mako Shark lower, and top a Crocodile tooth. Skye collected pets and hugs from little kids.
 A particularly pretty log, having had it's bark stripped, and wood polished by the waves. I'm pretty sure it's a Tulip Poplar, one of our common forest trees.

In Praise of the Fearful Frankenfish

Stop killing the Potomac’s snakehead, an opinion at the paywalled WaPo:
My brother and I had been fishing under an exit ramp to Interstate 495 on a tributary of the Potomac River when we heard shouts from my son and nephew. Finally, someone had hooked a snakehead. We paddled our canoe as fast as we could toward my son’s canoe, where my nephew was battling a fish from the bow. It’s hard for non-anglers to understand how riveted the four of us were on the outcome of the fight. We would vividly remember the details of the duel years six years later.

My nephew Danny recounts, “We were out of our minds with excitement! Every time I would get the fish near the boat, it would sprint away, tearing out yards of line.” Eventually, my son Michael jumped into the waist-deep water and scooped the eight-pound fish into our landing net and then into his canoe, where it thrashed for several minutes before he dispatched it with several blows to its bony head.

Our response to a snakehead hookup was typical. Check out the Department of Natural Resources’ Maryland Angler’s Log. Fights with snakehead are described as “amazing” and runs as “exhilarating.”

Unfortunately, this fish is in decline in some portions of the Potomac because for more than a decade, fish and game authorities on both sides of the river have asked fishers to kill every snakehead they catch. The time has come to end that practice, designate the snakehead a game fish and limit the number of snakehead that can be kept.

The request to kill them was once reasonable. After all, this is an invasive fish. It was first spotted in a Maryland pond in 2002. Two years later, it was in the Potomac. Its population grew rapidly. Authorities feared it might destroy the largemouth bass fishery that many anglers enjoy. But that has not happened, nor does it seem that it will.

John Odenkirk of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said last year that the bass population in the Potomac River system has recently increased. According to Joseph Love of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the snakehead population peaked in 2012. It’s about the same today, but in areas that have seen a lot of fishing pressure, the population has shrunk. Fishing guide Michael Starrett of Indian Head Charters has seen the number of snakehead his clients have caught plummet from 249 in 2013 to only six as of June 22.
And I'm proud to say I was witness to one of those six:
For my money, the largemouth is not near the game fish that the snakehead is. Snakehead get almost twice the size of bass, fight much harder and taste better — much better. Plus, they often lurk in less than a foot of water, which means their wake can be seen racing toward top-water lures before the fish explodes on it. Take my word for it, this is what anglers live for. Now that it is reasonably certain that the snakehead is not going to ruin the Potomac’s ecosystem, anglers should not be catching, killing and dumping these magnificent fish back into the river. That’s a bloody business — you usually have to cut off their heads — that should be done only if absolutely necessary.

If the snakehead population drastically increases after it is named a game fish, the death penalty could be brought back. These fish are vulnerable to human predation. Starrett says bow hunters fishing at night with powerful lights are particularly successful at killing snakehead, because they make easy targets as they lie on the surface of shallow water. Other anglers snag snakehead as they migrate upstream. Each spring, hundreds of anglers with stiff rods, florescent line and huge gang hooks line the banks near Little Falls waiting to snag spawning snakehead, a technique that is illegal for all fish except the picked-upon snakehead.

We caught only that one snakehead during our trip in 2012. When we got to the dock hours later, four other fishermen gathered around our cooler to get a look at our catch. When I opened the lid, the snakehead sprang a foot in the air, scattering the eight of us. This die-hard deserves to live and flourish in the Potomac.
Having fished Mattawoman Creek with Mike Starrett almost yearly for about 10 years, I have to say, either snakeheads are awfully hard to catch (probably true) or not in sufficient numbers to be a real threat to the ecosystem. If my last trip was any indication., snakeheads and bass coexist quite nicely, each eating the others young.

Rollicking Russiagate

As probably intended, the indictment of 12 Russians who will never be arrested or stand trial for meddling in our elections seems to have overwhelmed the noise created by Peter Strzok's contentious "testimony" to Congress. Still, Kevin Brock at Da Hill says Peter's 'principles' damaged public's faith in FBI
Stilton's Place

Disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok spent a long Thursday on Capitol Hill, trying his best to sell the idea that his own words are not indicative of how he acts. What a third-grader would recognize as absurd, nevertheless got the full political-theater treatment by an oversight committee that seemed to miss the point.
. . .
Mr. Strzok may have convinced himself that he wasn’t biased but there apparently wasn’t a single member of the two House oversight committees who believed him. The Republicans attacked him because they thought he was biased against the president. The Democrats defended him because ... they thought he was biased against the president. And there, in the kind of hearing that makes Congress’s low approval ratings understandable, oversight got bogged down in a playground argument.
I think I said this yesterday.
Don't know much about history: 24,000 RETWEETS AND COUNTING: John Brennan uses bogus Abe Lincoln quote to bash Congress over Peter Strzok hearing (Twitchy).

Andrew McCarthy at NR Strzok by a Farce. This isn't one of his fact filled, insightful column; this is a gut reaction to the Strzok show:
The principal question before the joint investigation of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees is whether the Democratic administration’s law-enforcement and intelligence arms strained to manufacture an espionage case against the Republican candidate, having buried an eminently prosecutable criminal case against the Democratic presidential nominee.

It should be straightforward to answer this question, provided that the investigative process has the one attribute central to any credible probe: the capacity to compel the production of evidence and testimony, with the corollary power to hold witnesses in contempt for defiance.

The House investigation has devolved into farce because it lacks this feature.

Oh, it exists on paper. There is even a statute making contempt of Congress a crime, punishable by up to a year in prison (and not less than a month). That may not sound like much, but the months can pile up: A separate offense occurs each time a question is ducked or a document is not surrendered. As the Wall Street Journal’s Bill McGurn explains, Congress has inherent power to enforce its subpoenas unilaterally, or it can seek assistance from the other branches.

But then reality intrudes. The committees pursuing the probe lack either the will or the votes — or perhaps both — to hold witnesses in contempt. This, despite audacious refusals to answer questions and turn over documents that would explain when and why the Trump–Russia investigation commenced.

It is an elaborate game of chicken.
Scott Johnson at Powerline: Strzok mounts the Otter defense
Watching disgraced G-Man Peter Strzok lecture us on politics and patriotism this week made my skin crawl. He is a repulsive character. Neo-neocon drew on her knowledge of art to find the comic antecedent to Strzok’s deep thoughts in Eric “Otter” Stratton’s defense of his fraternity in Animal House (video below).



Hot Air swipes from Garret Graff at the paywalled NYT: The Real FBI Election Culprit Isn’t Peter Strzok
The F.B.I. agent corps today overwhelmingly fits the demographic profile of a Trump voter. During the 2016 campaign, in The Guardian, one agent said, “The F.B.I. is Trumpland.” In his testimony, Mr. Strzok all but laughed out loud when committee members pressed him Thursday on whether the whole F.B.I. was made up of Democrats.

The New York field office, one of only three headed not by a special-agent-in-charge but by a full assistant director, has always been a particular challenge for bureau leaders — it’s fiercely independent, combative and notoriously leaky. The office, which works closely with the local United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, a job held by both Mr. Comey and Mr. Giuliani, is sometimes referred to inside the Justice Department as the “Sovereign District of New York” for charting its own course . . .
Switching to Mueller, as Rod Rosenstein intended us to, Mueller, pushing to wrap up parts of Russia probe, faces question of American involvement. He is pushing pretty hard to find someone to justify his abusive tactics. ABC News: Mueller team pushing for information on Roger Stone, WikiLeaks, sources say, and Roger Stone says he’s the 'US person' mentioned in Mueller indictment. He fully admits he emailed with "Guccifer 2.0", who Mueller claims to have indicted, thinking he was a Romanian hacker. He could still be right, since Mueller will never have to test his claim.
“As I testified before the House Intelligence Committee under oath, my 24 word exchange with someone on Twitter claiming to be Guccifer 2.0 is benign based on its content, context and timing,” Stone said when reached by ABC News late Friday. "This exchange is entirely public and provides no evidence of collaboration or collusion with Guccifer 2.0 or anyone else in the alleged hacking of the DNC emails, as well as taking place many weeks after the events described in today’s indictment,” he said.
Adam Hill at the Federalist maintains  The DOJ Has Turned The Russia Investigation Into A Puzzle Designed Never To Be Solved
Like Leonard Shelby in “Memento,” Rosenstein and others embarrassed by DOJ’s actions may derive raison d’ĂȘtre, if not safety, from the never-ending nature of the investigation. And like Leonard Shelby’s investigative file, the Russia investigation has become a puzzle that is designed to never be solved. Because to do so would end the “ongoing investigation” excuse that keeps the cause of DOJ’s embarrassment under wraps.

The key to understanding all of this starts with Perkins Coie, a law firm hired by Hillary Clinton and the DNC. . . .
Read it all. But it's a nice smooth transition to Rosenstein not smiling anymore after House Republican’s spotted with his impeachment docs. From Da Hill, Donald asks a good question, Trump on Russia indictment: Why didn’t Obama do something? Because, like everyone else, he thought Hillary was going to win and sweep everything under the rug. Besides, he was objectively pro-Russian.

Seems like I've heard this before: Assange could soon be evicted from London embassy ( Mary Kay Linge, The New York Post). He was a hero of the left until he leaked on them.

And, Russiagate by contamination Fusion GPS Targets Jim Jordan, by Julie Kelly At American Greatness.
Fully invested in pushing the phony Trump-Russia plotline in a malicious attempt to destroy Trump’s presidency, the media are intensifying this narrative and creating new villains in the process.

The Ohio congressman has been under a relentless media siege since NBC News reported on July 3 that Jordan ignored “sexual abuse” by a team doctor when Jordan was an assistant coach for the wrestling team at The Ohio State University from 1986 to 1994. The article is short on evidence of sexual abuse but quotes a few of Jordan’s former teammates who insisted the congressmen knew of the inappropriate behavior by Dr. Richard Strauss and did nothing about it. In April, the university announced it would investigate allegations against Strauss, who committed suicide in 2005.

The NBC News report offered mostly innuendo from less-than-credible sources: One accuser is an ex-con who did time in prison for mail fraud, drug possession, and stealing from investors; another is a shady business owner with a “long history of litigation and an apparent bone to pick with the Jordan family” who allegedly sent a disturbing picture to the widow of a former OSU wrestler.

But the initial story did provide one telling clue about where the Jordan smear job originated: Perkins Coie, the same law firm that hired Fusion GPS on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016 to produce the infamous “Steele dossier.” Perkins Coie is overseeing OSU’s investigationinto Strauss and has “interviewed more than 150 former students and witnesses and is engaged in further investigative efforts.”

Coincidence? Not a chance. . . .

ScarJo Submits to Transsexual Pressure

Scarlett Johansson has exited the drama film “Rub and Tug” a little more than a week after her casting sparked backlash amid trans groups and activists, a source with knowledge of the situation confirms to Variety.

“In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project,” Johansson told Out Magazine, which first reported the news, in a statement. “Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive. I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues. According to GLAAD, LGBTQ+ characters dropped 40% in 2017 from the previous year, with no representation of trans characters in any major studio release.”
Given the fact that circa 0.3% of the population identifies as trans, and even allowing for "Hollyweird", it likely that the number of trans actor is very small, and the number of great trans actors is vanishingly small.

“While I would have loved the opportunity to bring Dante’s story and transition to life, I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film,” the statement continues. “I believe that all artists should be considered equally and fairly. My production company, These Pictures, actively pursues projects that both entertain and push boundaries. We look forward to working with every community to bring these most poignant and important stories to audiences worldwide.”
And then there's the fact that people like to watch actors and actresses they can identify with, and very few identify with the trans (what do you call them, actors or actresses?). And there is that sex appeal thing, and by and large, trans is a turnoff to 99.7% of the population. Sorry, but you're as disabled as a paraplegic on "Deadliest Catch."

New Regency won an auction for the movie on July 2, and it was set to be directed by Rupert Sanders, who previously worked with Johansson on “Ghost in the Shell.”

“Rub and Tug” focused on Dante “Tex” Gill, a crime kingpin who used his massage parlor as a front for prostitution in the ’70s and ’80s. Gill lived his life as a trans man, which led many on social media to wonder why a trans actor wasn’t tapped for the role.
Because Scarjo and company bought the rights to the screenplay, and intended her to play it?

“Oh word?? So you can continue to play us but we can’t play y’all?” Trace Lysette, a transgender actress best known for appearing on Amazon’s “Transparent,” wrote on Twitter after the casting announcement. “Hollywood is so f—ed… I wouldn’t be as upset if I was getting in the same rooms as Jennifer Lawrence and Scarlett for cis roles, but we know that’s not the case. A mess.”
. . .
It’s currently unclear where production stands on “Rub and Tug” after Johansson’s exit.
Hopefully it won't be done at all. Without Scarjo, the draw will certainly be far less. More at Althouse: Scarlett Johansson shrinks from criticism and backs out of playing the role of a transgender man.
The argument seems to be that at least all transgender roles should go to transgender actors. It's an interesting argument and it was effective, but it was only effective in scaring cisgender actors off of any transgender role. What will be the result of that victory? Will the transgender actors get what they want? The big goal is to get access to cisgender roles, to make it seem bigoted to exclude them. Obviously, there's the question what audiences will want to see.
Why should that bother them; they should buy all the tickets themselves.
 Quite aside from the goal of getting access to cisgender roles, there's the question whether there will be support and enthusiasm for movies about transgender characters if the actor isn't tasked with pretending to be transgender. There's no impressive stunt to perform. Maybe there will be more movies where some characters happen to be transgender without that needing to be the whole story. There could be an argument like what we've seen from black actors for many decades: It's wrong to limit us to stories about black people. Almost any role should be playable by a black actor.

In that light, Scarlett Johansson found herself in a position like that of the last white person cast to play Othello. Yes, there was a long tradition of eminent actors playing Othello, and maybe some day, black actors will get so many roles that it will be fine to have another white actor as Othello, but right now, we're in transition.
When will Hollywood wise up to the true cost of paying the Danegeld? I don't want to see Trace Lysette.  I want to see Scarlet.