Tuesday, May 21, 2019

A Change in the Weather at the Beach

The temperature dropped from 90 to 65 F overnight in the wake of an evening thunderstorm. Today was sunny, breezy and much less humid. Skye and I took off for the beach around 10:30. Along the way, something brown flitted past us and ducked into the grass. It turned out to be this Eastern Comma, flashing its small but distinctive namesake white mark on the underside of its wing.
It was a gorgeous day at the beach, and Skye was much happier at 65 than at 90.
A fossil scallop, Chesapecten, lying on the beach partially filled with sand and shell hash. I don't see how that happened, but I don't think someone did it, either. Weird. Otherwise, a mediocre day for fossils.

 Not a lot of traffic.
 A Clouded Sulphur in the dunes.
Back at home, a rare shot of the Spring(?) Azure at rest displaying its wings on one of Georgia's Blueberry plants.

Some Rinky Dink Russiagate

Not the best collection; a lot of old news being rehashed.

From Politico, Mueller’s House testimony likely off until at least June. I still don't think Democrats really want Mueller to testify, he might say too many unpleasant truths. They just want the issue.  According to Byron York: Mueller changed everything
From now on, the Trump-Russia affair, the investigation that dominated the first years of Donald Trump's presidency, will be divided into two parts: before and after the release of the Mueller report. Before the special counsel's findings were made public last month, the president's adversaries were on the offensive. Now, they are playing defense.

The change is due to one simple fact: Mueller could not establish that there was a conspiracy or coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign to fix the 2016 election. The special counsel's office interviewed 500 witnesses, issued 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search-and-seizure warrants, and obtained nearly 300 records of electronic communications, and still could not establish the one thing that mattered most in the investigation.

Without a judgment that a conspiracy — or collusion, in the popular phrase — took place, everything else in the Trump-Russia affair began to shrink in significance.

In particular, allegations that the president obstructed justice to cover up a conspiracy were transformed into allegations that he obstructed an investigation into a crime that prosecutors could not say actually occurred. Although it is legally possible to pursue an obstruction case without an underlying crime, a critical element of obstruction — knowledge of guilt — disappeared the moment Mueller's report was released.

Of course, TV talking heads are still arguing over obstruction. But with the report's release, the investigation moved from the legal realm to the political realm. And in the political realm, the president has a simple and effective case to make to the 99.6% of Americans who are not lawyers: They say I obstructed an investigation into something that didn't happen? And they want to impeach me for that?
Margot Cleveland at Da Federalist runs through What We Know So Far About The Justice Department’s Spygate Scandal Investigations
Barr, however, isn’t stopping there: According to his testimony, he is also reviewing the special counsel’s investigation to determine what the special counsel looked into. From that inquiry we will learn whether Mueller’s team buried any facts or failed to pursue leads indicating, for example, that dossier author Steele lied about his Russian source, or instead that the Kremlin fed Steele misinformation in order to interfere in the 2016 presidential election—a question on which the special counsel report was silent.
This report is making the rounds. Gowdy seems to have seen documents that cast a lot of doubt on the FISA applications for at least Carter Page, and maybe more. I think he's stumping to get them declassified.  The WaEx, Trey Gowdy: FBI withheld 'game changer' transcript material from FISA Court. Capt. Ed at Hot Air, Gowdy: You Gotta Read This One FISA-Warrant “Game-Changer” FBI Transcript. Ace, Gowdy: FBI Probably Has Exculpatory Evidence About Trump-Russia Collusion, But Didn't Reveal It To the FISA Court When Seeking Warrants Potentially a "game-changer," he says.
This thread presents persuasive evidence that Mueller's team -- the team that doesn't leak, supposedly -- leaked highly derogatory information about Trump to the NYT and thereby gifted the Times with a Pulitzer.
Victor Davis Hanson takes on the finger pointing among Clapper, Brennan and Comey. It's not exactly new, but you should read it all because of the way VDH says it. He Did It, Not Me!
The appointment of William Barr as attorney general has sobered the lawbreakers, and perhaps soon the media, which may not wish to go down the drain with their erstwhile FBI and CIA speaking-truth-to-power heroes.

No longer are Brennan, Clapper, Comey, and McCabe along with a host of others insisting that they acted nobly. No longer are they in solidarity in their defiant opposition to Donald Trump.

Now, for the first time, they are pointing fingers at one another, because they have come to realize that their prior criminality may not be rewarded, praised, or even excused, but rather prosecuted.
From Fox Business,  Brennan may have set his own perjury trap: Judge Napolitano
“I haven't seen the e-mail obviously, but if the e-mail is correct, it directly contradicts what Brennan said under oath, which is another thing for the folks in Connecticut to examine whether or not the former director of the CIA perjured himself in order to make himself look good,” Judge Napolitano told Bartiromo on “Mornings with Maria”Opens a New Window. on Monday.
At the Last Tradition, DOJ Cabal Finger Point: Obama AG accuses Comey of mischaracterizing key Clinton probe conversation during House testimony
Fox News reports former Attorney General Loretta Lynch has flatly accused former FBI Director James Comey of mischaracterizing her statements by repeatedly alleging, under oath, that Lynch privately instructed him to call the Hillary Clinton email probe a "matter" instead of an "investigation."

Lynch, who testified that Comey's claim left her "quite surprised," made the dramatic remarks at a closed-door House Oversight Committee hearing last December.
Via the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 05.20.19. Power Line has Spy Vs. Spy Euphemism "What we have here is failure to communicate…truthfully." Power Line also brings Emails Show Deep State Conspiring Against Trump. From Sundance at CTH, Sunday Talks: Maria Bartiromo Interviews Rep. Doug Collins….
Maria Bartiromo discusses ongoing investigative events with House Judiciary Ranking Member Doug Collins. In addition to discussing the direction of the attorney general inquiry, Rep. Collins notes his intent to release more investigative transcripts next week.

Reuters is pissed that Trump tells ex-White House counsel McGahn not to appear before Congress, but no doubt encouraged that Prosecutors examining tens of thousands of Trump inauguration documents (CNN) and that Judge upholds Dem subpoena for Trump financial records (Politico) and Cohen told lawmakers Trump attorney Jay Sekulow encouraged him to falsely claim Moscow project ended in January 2016 (WaPoo).

From PJ Media's Liz Shield, The Morning Briefing: Justin Amash Gone Wild
Rep. Justin Amash ("R"-Mich.) decided to brain dump on Twitter this weekend, announcing:

OK, bro.

Amash does not offer specifics. Barr's letter summarizing Mueller's conclusion was entirely accurate. Barr said the report concluded there was no collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the RUSSIANS. Barr said that Mueller did not make a decision about whether the president committed obstruction of justice. How is that misleading? Why would Barr lie about the report and then release it? None of these things makes sense. But you know what does make sense? That Amash wants to run for president as a libertarian.
And the President's entirely predictable response, via Da Caller, Trump Hits Back Against GOP Rep Who Took Stance On Impeachment: ‘Justin Is A Loser’

SJWs Resent Rise of Robosexuals

Calvin Klein is apologizing after the fashion label came under fire for a video campaign showing model Bella Hadid kissing female robot Lil Miquela.

The 30-second ad drew backlash since Hadid identifies as heterosexual, with critics commenting, "There are plenty of real LGBTQ Models that could have been used."
Bella Hadid was my  2017 Girl of the Summer.

In a statement posted to their social media late Friday, the company said they "welcome all types of constructive feedback from our community."

"The concept for our latest #MYCALVINS campaign is to promote freedom of expression for a wide range of identities, including a spectrum of gender and sexual identities," the statement read. "This specific campaign was created to challenge conventional norms and stereotypes in advertising. In this particular video, we explored the blurred lines between reality and imagination.”

It's not like Calvin Klein doesn't have a history of controversial ads. But I don't think they backed down when all they offended were Christians.

Despite the article, Lil Miquela is not a real robot, she is a digital digital fictional character:
Miquela Sousa, better known as Lil Miquela, is a fictional character and digital art project. Miquela is an Instagram model and music artist claiming to be from Downey, California.

The project began in 2016 as an Instagram profile. By April 2018, the account had amassed more than a million followers by portraying the lifestyle of an Instagram it-girl over social media.[6] The account also details a fictional narrative which presents Miquela as a sentient robot in conflict with other digital projects.

In August 2017, Miquela released her first single, "Not Mine". Her pivot into music has been compared to virtual musicians Gorillaz and Hatsune Miku.

Monday, May 20, 2019

A Taste of Summer at the Beach

It was 88 F in the shade, with a good dose of humidity when Skye and I headed off for the beach after lunch. Siberians aren't really designed for 88 degrees, and she spent a lot of time trying to cool off in the water.
 We had the beach pretty much free to ourselves (there were a few people up by the marina, but not many)
Skye's favorite friend Cindy and Georgia talk while I catch up. Cindy carries a pocket full of dog treats, and Skye can hardly contain her joy when she sees her.
Another fossil hunter up in the clay blocks north past  Matoaka Cottages. Not a great day for teeth, only 18 between the two of us, and none picture worthy.
This photo from a few days ago shows the last remnants of the winter duck population, a pair of Buffies (and a crab float).
A Summer (or is it Spring) Azure. I can't tell the difference. The first show up in early spring, the last end in fall. I call 'em Spring Azures during spring, and Summer Azures once summer starts. I guess that makes it a Spring Azure.
 One of the first Spicebush Swallowtails I've spotted this year, puddling on the beach.
And an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

Monday Morning Russiagate

In short, the 2018 IG report of DOJ/FBI conduct during the Clinton investigation was heavy on narrative engineering; contained the fingerprints of institutional participants focused on justification (ie. ‘small group’); and was devoid of accountability for the bigger issues outlined within it.

The question becomes: will the 2019 IG report on DOJ/FBI handling of the FISA application process suffer the same outcome?

For the upcoming report the diminutive influence of Jeff Sessions is gone; the institutional protective influence of Rod Rosenstein is gone; and the corrupt intents of Andrew Weissmann and Robert Mueller are gone. Unfortunately, on the FBI side, Chris Wray, David Bowditch and Dana Boente remain; along with the 40 “rank and file” FBI investigators who participated in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 operations.

Will Attorney General Bill Barr be more willing to allow the IG report to shine a light on DOJ/FBI issues and politically manufactured FISA submissions?

If the intent is to build public confidence in both institutions a third IG report without accountability is not likely to advance the goal. And, as we see with the Papadopoulos entrapment operation and the recent redactions to the Kavalec report, the corrupt ‘rank and file’ are very clearly still present.
From the Epoch Times, Probe Into Russia-Trump Investigation Will Figure Out if Officials ‘Put Their Thumb on the Scale’: Barr, or rather, how much.

At Da Caller, Comey Quotes Communist Leader Lenin, Accuses Barr Of ‘Sliming His Own Department’. He' just calling a spade a spade.  Jonathon Turley:  House Judiciary in for 'world of hurt' if they sue Barr.

National Sentinel, ‘Bull’ Durham: New Russiagate prober has been haunting the FBI for months I think my nickname is going to stick.

The Market Ticker tries to explain the Mueller Report:
On collusion: There was no "strong evidence" say much less anything that would rise to probable cause. At all.

On obstruction: It's complicated.

One of the reasons its complicated is intent. All criminal statutes require mens rea, with only a smattering of exceptions (oddly enough the statute Hillary violated with her "email server" does not require intent; negligence is sufficient. Nonetheless remember, she was not prosecuted.)

Obstruction is a funny statute though, in that you can obstruct an investigation into something that didn't happen. The reason for this is that the prosecution is presumed not to be corrupt!

But.... what if it is?

In this case we know it was. Specifically, we know the originating event that led to Mueller's appointment was the Steele Dossier which was a piece of opposition research paid for by a political opponent's campaign during the election and that the origin of the alleged "evidence" that gave rise to the investigation was intentionally concealed from a FISA judge and worse, it wasn't just concealed -- the FBI affirmatively lied.

Had they not lied the FISA judge would have never approved anything and there would have been no Mueller; a mere assertion alone by Ohr or Strzok without alleged facts doesn't get there. The FISA warrant on alleged verified information does. But.... the FISA warrant was predicated on repeated lies. Not mistakes -- perjury. That's a felony standing alone.
 But there's always one, Congressman Justin Amash: Mueller Report Shows Trump Met “Threshold For Impeachment” (Hot Air).

Via Sundance at CTH, Sharyl Attkisson Discusses “Spygate” as a Cover Operation…. "CTH agrees, everything after March 9th, 2016, is a function of two intelligence units, the CIA and FBI, operating together to cover-up prior political surveillance operations." Sharyl is one of the few media heroes in all this.

At The Lid, Christopher Steele’s Dossier ‘Sources’ Were Confirmed Agents Of Russia. So Mueller  was wrong, there were Americans who colluded with the Russians to influence our elections. It was Hillary Clinton and the DNC, though.

Twitchy, ‘Game changer’: Trey Gowdy says one transcript between George Papadopoulos and an FBI informant could be YUGE. Unfortunately, it's still classified. More at CTH, Trey Gowdy Says He Has Seen Exculpatory Transcripts of FBI Spies Engaged With Papadopoulos…
And some of us have been fortunate enough to know whether or not those transcripts exist; but they haven’t been made public and I think one in-particular is going – it has the potential to actually persuade people. Very little in this Russia probe I’m afraid is going to persuade people who hate Trump, or who love Trump, but there is some information in these transcripts that I think has the potential to be a game-changer if it’s ever made public.
Sara Carter, Retired FBI Agent Battles DOJ For McCabe’s Texts and Emails. As DOJ Fights FOIA Request.
Danik’s FOIA lawsuit is focused specifically on McCabe’s text messages and emails. The search terms are related to all of McCabe’s connections with Hillary Clinton and person’s known to have associated with both him and family members connected to the Clintons. Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit for any information containing the name of McCabe’s wife, “Dr. Jill McCabe,” “Jill.” Jill had unsuccessful campaign for the Virginia state senate in 2015, when she was urged by then Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to run for office.
Don Surber, Comey's book could convict him. That would be appropriate; he's such a drama queen.
I trust that prosecutors will consider using his book against him. One problem for liars is keeping their story straight. His book will straighten him out.

By the way, I am convinced he is the Designated Indicted Co-Conspirator. Someone will take one for the team. Why not him?
Judicial Watch, Smoking Gun Ohr Emails
To the fomenters of the coup against Donald Trump in the CIA, FBI and DOJ, we can add at least one high-ranking State Department official.

We have released four pages of documents from the U.S. Department of Justice showing a conversation between former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Kathleen Kavalec and former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, discussing the targeting of Donald Trump with Steele dossier material.

In discussing a meeting with the potential source for a Mother Jones article accusing the Trump campaign of taking money from a Russian-American oil magnate, as well as Christopher Steele’s connection to that source, Kavalec emails Ohr citing the accusatory Mother Jones article. Ohr says, “I really hope we can get something going here.”
Gateway Pundit, EXCLUSIVE: Deep State Corrupt Couple – Bruce and Nellie Ohr – Caught in Another Lie, but it's only obstruction of Justice if a Republican does it.

More Judicial Watch, Judicial Watch: Obama Knew Of FOIA Request, Knew Clinton Was Using Private Servers. Is anyone surprised? I think this is a case of keeping your enemies closer.

And in what may prove to be real news,


At which point Judge Nap ran into trouble at Fox, and has been devoutly anti-Trump ever since. WTF?

Roger L. Simon, Biden Was Projecting When He Called Trump 'Divider-in-Chief'
But more to the point, Biden represents a political party that could not accept the 2016 election of Donald Trump on any level, before or after his victory. Their supporters taking to the streets almost immediately, they and their compliant media were talking about impeachment before Trump was even inaugurated.

Where was Biden in that extraordinarily divisive behavior? Not uttering a peep, as I recall.

As is becoming increasingly evident, the previous Democrat administration, of which Joe was a significant member, was up to its eyeballs in skullduggery, working through allies in the Department of Justice and the FBI (and the CIA and the State Department, apparently) to undermine the Trump presidency before it got started. This gave rise to the Mueller probe that tarnished Trump with outrageous accusations of non-existent Russia collusion for over two years, an act of sabotage unprecedented in our history. Again not a word from Joe.

This was divisiveness taken to the nth power. Yet Biden is advertising himself as the decent man of moderation, our new uniter-in-chief, who will cure all this. As if.

Now the entire Russia probe is starting to come apart as its corrupt predicate is under investigation from several sources. (Ever wonder why Mueller suddenly isn't testifying in front of Congress? Were you he, would you like to answer questions about when you first knew there was no collusion and why you never said anything? The problem for Mueller is that they say he wasn't charged with looking at the origins of the investigation -- the Steele dossier, FISA, etc. But how could you really make that investigation in any thorough or even decent manner without doing that?)

The bigger question is whether Joe Biden -- our new uniter -- knew in any way about these treasonous games and/or whether he was directly involved. If it's only the former, it's despicable enough and completely disqualifies him as a uniter of any kind -- or as a candidate for the presidency for that matter.

Perhaps It's For the Best

Some people are just not well suited to handle fame. Then again, maybe she'll mature into it. Britney Spears May Never Perform Again, Manager Says
Britney Spears’s longtime manager Larry Rudolph says the singer may never perform again. Speaking to TMZ, Rudolph said, “As the person who guides her career — based on the information I and all of the professionals who work with her are being told on a need-to-know basis — from what I have gathered it’s clear to me she should not be going back to do this Vegas residency, not in the near future and possibly never again.”

Rudolph has managed Spears for most of her career, going back to her first album, “Baby… One More Time,” in 1999. “I’ve been with her for two-thirds of her life,” he tells Variety. “I look at her almost like I look at my own daughter. It’s very emotional for me … and really rough. Personally, I want for her to just find a peaceful, happy place — whatever that means for her. It’s not about a career anymore — it’s about life.”

The singer is scheduled to undergo psychological evaluation after postponing her Las Vegas residency in the wake of her father’s recent treatment for a ruptured colon. Rudolph says that, though Spears had rehearsed the show (the residency was due to launch on February 13), the Vegas engagement is effectively off, which is what prompted his speaking out in the early hours of May 15.

The decision was made “not to move forward with the Vegas residency,” he explains, adding that the question of what she’s going to do next is not the focus Spears or her family is concerned with right now. “She’s taking time to regroup and get her head together,” says Rudolph. “She’s putting herself ahead of everyone else, and I’m proud of her for that. If she never works again, she never works again. My role is to handle her career when she wants a career. If she comes back strong and full of desire and passion and wants to do it, great. If she takes off six months or six years, it’s totally fine. To me, it’s about her finding her happy place.”

Spears’ father Jamie Spears has been her co-conservator since 2008 when she suffered a very public breakdown. He became sole conservator this year after attorney Andrew Wallet resigned from his co-conservatorship in March. Jamie Spears’ recovery from his ailment evidently has not been smooth; after postponing her residency, Britney later checked herself into a health facility for a month-long stay, suffering from stress due to his illness.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Reason #6716 That Trump Was Elected

Rapid DNA testing reveals a THIRD of migrants faked family relationship with children to claim asylum during ICE pilot of the procedure in Texas
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement pilot of new rapid DNA testing at the border has found that nearly a third of those tested were not biologically related to the children in their custody.
So what do they do with the children being used to perpetrate these frauds; try to seek out their true parents and return them, or just put them into the "Obama cells?"

ICE conducted the pilot for a few days earlier this month in El Paso and McAllen, Texas, finding about 30 per cent of those tested were not related to the children they claimed were their own, an official told the Washington Examiner.

The official said that these were not cases of step-fathers or adoptive parents. 'Those were not the case. In these cases, they are misrepresented as family members,' the official said.

It is unclear whether every family unit was tested during the pilot, or only those who raised some sort of red flag. An ICE spokesman did not immediately respond to request for comment.
At 30%, I suspect some sort of screening was used to select cases more likely to represent fraud, mostly to find out if this technology is worth the trouble. I hope that once ID fraud of any sort is detected by DNA (or any other positive means for that matter), the perpetrator is put on a list permanently barring them from claiming refugee status.
The official said that some migrants did refuse the test and admit that they were not related to the children they were with, when they learned their claim would be subjected to DNA proof.ICE said the Department of Homeland Security would look at the results of the pilot to determine whether to roll out rapid DNA tests more broadly.

After President Donald Trump's administration backpedaled on 'family separation' in the face of enormous backlash last summer, the number of family units arriving at the southern border has skyrocketed. Current U.S. law and policy means that Central Americans who cross the border illegally with children can claim asylum and avoid any lengthy detention in most cases.
I would advocate for taking DNA samples from all people apprehended at the border as a positive ID. Once border jumpers learn that attempted family unit fraud and multiple fake IDs result in their being flagged for immediate deportation, it should significantly reduce the motivation to attempt it.

Linked by EBL in The Bangles: Manic Monday,  Arya Sails West and Mia Sabathy 白彌兒.

A Load of Russiagate

A relatively light load on this Sunday morning. Could this be calming down?

The "Honey Badger" AG William Barr keeps making news. Fox New, Bill Barr vows to uncover 'exactly what happened' with Russia probe, says explanations have been 'inadequate'

Carmine Sabia at the Federalist Papers, Bill Barr Promises Payback, The Investigations Into Investigators Begins. Don Surber promises Justice is coming. "This will take time. We must be patient. The third act has just begun."  I'm only cautiously optimistic; the institutional inertia at DOJ makes it extremely resistant to change.

From Sundance at CTH, Devin Nunes Discusses “Spygate” and Comments by AG Bill Barr…

S. Noble at the Independent Sentinel, Ex-Commie Comey Attacks Barr, says he’s Sliming the DOJ
Perhaps Comey is crazier than he is corrupt. The walls are closing in, the ship is sinking and the rats are scurrying. If I had to bet, I’d bet Comey will be indicted.

Comey the commie was reacting to Barr’s interview with Bill Hemmer on Friday.
Capt. Ed at Hot Air,  Dems Wonder: Will Mueller Ever Testify At All? I really think they don't want him to testify, Republicans would ask too many questions they don't want to hear the answer to. They just want to make an issue out of it.
So what’s going on? It has begun to dawn on Democrats that Mueller — in the parlance of our times — just isn’t into them. The Hill reports that the prospects of getting any testimony from Mueller have begun to dim. That hasn’t kept them from shifting the blame, however . . .
S. Noble at the Independent Sentinel again, Rush says he knows why Mueller’s NOT COMING to testify!
“If Mueller doesn’t want to talk, do you know what it means? It means he’s got nothing to tell ’em that he knows they’re gonna want to hear. If Mueller had things to tell them that they wanted to hear, he would have been there by now,” he added, noting that even if Mueller does testify, Democrats and critics will be “disappointed and mad” as there won’t be anything in his testimony to satisfy them.

“All Mueller knows is that if he goes up there and talks to ’em, they’re gonna be disappointed and mad at him. He doesn’t want them mad at him, and the press and all these Democrats on Capitol Hill, they think that Mueller should know that they’re on his team. See, they’re convinced that Mueller has got more information than Barr has released, that Mueller has more information than what’s in the report,” Limbaugh continued.

“Bob Mueller’s like anybody else in that town: ‘Give me a really good puff piece in the Washington Post and I’ll do anything for you,’” Limbaugh said Friday. “If he thought there was a great Washington Post Style section puff piece waiting, he would have been up there by now. But Mueller knows he doesn’t have anything to tell them along the lines of what they want to hear.”
NYDayNews, Fox News surprising poll results: Mueller is more trusted than Trump and Barr. Well, the Democrats have been campaigning against Barr since he was appointed. Besides, one should, in fact, always be suspicious of Attorney Generals, as history suggests the job carries a strong probability of having a political side.

Rod Rosenstein, quoted in Medium “I Was Always on the Same Team”. Read the whole thing.
As acting Attorney General, it was my responsibility to make sure that the Department of Justice would conduct an independent investigation; complete it expeditiously; hold perpetrators accountable if warranted; and work with partner agencies to counter foreign agents and deter crimes.

We achieved those goals.

As a result, our nation is safer, elections are more secure, and citizens are better informed about covert foreign influence schemes.

But not everybody was happy with my decision, in case you did not notice.
Andy McCarthy at NR, The Steele Dossier and the ‘VERIFIED APPLICATION’ That Wasn’t
Here’s what you need to know: In rushing out their assessment of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, Obama-administration officials chose not to include the risible Steele-dossier allegations that they had put in their “VERIFIED APPLICATION” for warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) because . . . wait for it . . . the allegations weren’t verified.

And now, the officials are squabbling over who pushed the dossier. Why? Because the dossier — a Clinton-campaign opposition-research screed, based on anonymous Russian sources peddling farcical hearsay, compiled by a well-paid foreign operative (former British spy Christopher Steele) — is crumbling by the day.
But read it all anyway. Streif at Red State, Key Russian Sources For The Steele Dossier Are Identified And They Will Blow Your Mind. Well, not mine. The names didn't even ring a bell, and I've read an awful lot of this stuff in the course of preparing these daily briefings:
The larger question about the dossier is the role the Russians had in creating it. Persons as widely separated by politics and position as New York Times reporter Scott Shane and Attorney General Bill Barr have wondered aloud if the dossier was actually a Russian disinformation operation(see If This New York Times Reporter Suspected The Dossier Was A Fraud Why Is He Only Reporting On It Now and Kevin McCarthy Calls The Russia Collusion Hoax A Coup Attempt And He’s Right).

One of the first things that you notice about the sourcing in the dossier is the incredible number of former and current Russian intelligence goons who were willing to talk about what had to be a highly classified operation with no less an objective than gaining control of the President of the United States (see The Steele Memo Is Much More Likely Russian Dezinformatsiya Than It Is Intelligence). In most places, particularly in places like Russia, that is not cocktail lounge gossip. And Russia doesn’t just take away your security clearance when you divulge secrets, they often run you alive into a crematorium. Now the Daily Caller had uncovered information that makes the sourcing look more and more like a Russian operation.
Dossier author Christopher Steele identified a former Russian spy chief and a top adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin as being involved in handling potentially compromising information about President Donald Trump, State Department notes show.
In her notes, State Department official Kathleen Kavalec also referred to the two Russians — former Russian foreign intelligence chief Vyacheslav Trubnikov and Putin aide Vladislav Surkov — as “sources.”
The references to Trubnikov and Surkov, which have not previously been reported, are not definitive proof that either were sources for Steele’s dossier or that they were involved in an effort to collect blackmail material on Trump.
But the notes are significant because they are the first government documents that show Steele discussing potential sources for the information in his dossier, which the former MI6 officer provided to the FBI.
Think about that for a moment. I could see some low level operative shooting his mouth off to impress someone but claiming the former head of the SVR and a current Putin aide are talking about something this sensitive. What makes this more interesting is Trubnikov’s relationship with another well known figure in the Russia hoax:
Trubnikov also has links to Stefan Halper, an FBI informant who collected information from Trump campaign aides George Papadopoulos and Carter Page. Halper arranged for Trubnikov to visit intelligence seminars at the University of Cambridge in 2012 and 2015. He also tapped Trubnikov to contribute to a Pentagon study published in 2015.

Halper tapped Trubnikov to contribute to a study he did in 2015 for the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA) titled “The Russia-China relationship: The Impact on the United States’ Security Interests.” Halper, who served in three Republican presidential administrations, was paid over $1 million from 2012 through 2018 for reports from ONA, which is led by Pentagon officials Andrew May and James Baker.
Given Halper’s role in attempting to sandbag Mike Flynn and compromise Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, one is left wondering if Halper was one of Christopher Steele’s intermediaries.

The very fact that Barr is asking the right questions is a good sign that we’ll eventually have the answers to these questions and many more.
But the idea that the dossier is Russian disinformation, eagerly accepted by FusionGPS, the DNC,  the Clinton campaign and Trump hating US Intelligence chiefs rings true.

Adam Mill at AmGreat in explaining How the FBI Broke the Rules Using Christopher Steele, harkens back to Mueller's time in Boston, and connection to the Whitey Bulger case:
The FBI’s relationship with Steele reminds us of John Connolly’s relationship with Whitey Bulger in a number of ways. First, the post-Bulger guidelines warn the FBI to make an assessment of the informant’s “motivation in providing information or assistance, including any consideration sought from the government for this assistance.” Remember, Fusion GPS paid Steele at the same time the FBI paid him. He had a job to do for the Clinton campaign and unique access and trust with the FBI to do that job.

According to John Solomon’s reporting, Steele was also known to be politically biased against Trump and, “desperate that Trump not be elected.” Solomon has also reported that the FBI withheld (or at least significantly downplayed) those derogatory facts from the FISA court in much the same way Connolly used to paper over the record to make Bulger appear more credible than he really was.

Second, the post-Bulger guidelines also warn the FBI that the information obtained from the confidential informant “must be truthful.” And we now know Steele’s desperation, or perhaps his love of money, led him to pass on information that he would later admit could be untrue or even “deliberately false.”

Third, the guidelines require that the confidential informant must “abide by the instructions of the [FBI].” As Fox News noted, Steele was “suspended and then terminated” as an FBI source for what the bureau defined “as the most serious of violations”—an “unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI.” The FBI would later cite a news report sourced to Steele as a way of corroborating Steele—an echo chamber effect that further corrupted the investigation.

Thus, Steele not only helped trigger FBI-sponsored surveillance against his client’s political enemy, he also interfered in the ongoing presidential election by smearing candidate Trump with a public disclosure of the investigation.

Recall that the February 2018 Nunes memo detailed how Steele in September 2016 leaked information to Yahoo News, even going so far as to suggest he was authorized to speak on behalf of “U.S. officials.” Thus, Steele broke a fourth FBI rule, which bars confidential informants from taking “any independent action on behalf of the United States Government.”

So the Steele tail wagged the FBI dog much the same way Whitey Bulger used the FBI frame his enemies. As Bulger’s money found its way into Connolly’s pocket, so, too, did Clinton money find its way into the Ohrs’ pockets as the husband promoted Steele’s work to the FBI.

Some may argue that the Russia collusion hoax is nowhere near as serious as the tragedy of four men being framed for murder by an FBI agent trying to protect a “confidential informant.” But the Trump-Russia hoax is arguably far worse because of the lasting damage it has done to our constitutional republic. As serious as the allegations against Trump were, framing a person for treason may be worse than treason itself. The hoaxsters have done incalculable damage to the rule of law and Americans’ faith in the justice system.
And finally, "Bonchie" at Red State explains why The New Trump-Flynn Obstruction Of Justice “Bombshell” Is Complete Garbage, an ordinary conversation between lawyers being dressed up a crime.

A Howl of a Good Time

Anneka Svenska:

Anneka Svenska is a naturalist, broadcaster and film maker, who specialises in wolves, wildlife crime, films for animal & environmental charities and wildlife conservation. Anneka is also the face and creator of top wildlife online TV Show ANIMAL WATCH.

Anneka is a canid expert, wolf enthusiast and handler and has filmed and worked alongside both European and North American Timber Wolves as well as living with high content wolfdogs on a daily basis. Anneka is not afraid to speak of her love of apex predators and is quite at home swimming with great whites, catching snakes, tracking wolves in the wild and anything which involves dangerous, or rather, misunderstood animals.

Anneka appears as a regular guest on UK news and current affairs shows includingGood Morning Britain, BBC News, Channel 5 News, ITV and Sky news where she is invited to discuss topical wildlife news items, canids and animal rescue. Most recently she is filming with Channel 5 on new show When TV Animals go horribly Wrong. 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

I Know I'm Hurt

Emily Ratajkowski Poses Nude To Punish ‘Old White Men’ For Alabama Abortion Law

Now that Missouri has passed a similar law, I hope we can count on a similar response.  But I do wonder what her excuse was the previous times: NSFW links 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Judge Overrules Cities Trying to Farm Rural Livers

Also WaPoo (30 day passcode), Federal judge blocks new U.S. policy for distributing livers for transplant
A federal judge temporarily blocked a new policy for distributing scarce livers for transplant Wednesday, deciding that patients and hospitals in less-populated areas will suffer if the new rules remain in effect.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg in Atlanta came just a day after the policy was implemented. On Monday, she had declined to intervene but had asked the government to voluntarily delay it until the Supreme Court decided a case on relevant issues in coming weeks.

When the Department of Health and Human Services moved forward Tuesday, Totenberg apparently decided to step in. She said patients on the liver transplant list and a group of hospitals, which together filed the lawsuit, would be harmed if the new rules were used.

“Given the gravity of the medical issues and risk of disruption in the transplant system and the concrete likelihood of harm to the plaintiffs and the public at large if the status quo is not maintained, the Court finds that the public interest is best served” by keeping the old policy in place, Totenberg wrote.

The transplant system has struggled for decades to find a fair way to distribute livers, kidney, hearts and other organs in the United States, where a severe donor shortage has created a waiting list of about 114,000.

About 13,500 people are on the list for livers; in 2018, 8,250 of the organs were transplanted, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), a nonprofit organization that runs the transplant system. At least three people die each day while waiting for livers.

For years, transplant hospitals generally had first claim to organs donated in their areas. The new policy offers livers to the sickest patients as far as 500 nautical miles from the donor. It was approved after a lawsuit was filed in New York by patients who said they were waiting longer for livers than less-ill people in other parts of the country. The government, concerned that the policy in place was illegal, ordered transplant authorities to consider another approach.
New York has lots of people; why can't they grow their own damn livers!
The plaintiffs — which include transplant centers in Georgia, Michigan, Kansas and Missouri, as well as people on the waiting list for livers — say the rules will leave patients in those places with about 20 percent fewer organs than the current policy, resulting in an increase in waiting-list deaths.

The plaintiffs contend the new policy will allow big-city transplant centers, where demand is greater, to reach far into areas where the shortage is less severe and take livers that otherwise would go to patients in those regions.

Supporters of the new policy maintain, however, that regional disparities have become too great. For example, they have said, a moderately ill patient in Kansas has a 60 percent chance of receiving a liver within 30 days, while a similar patient in California has just a 1 percent chance.
Living in Kansas has other drawbacks though, I'm sure.

I do wonder about the origin of the disparities. Why do the more rural areas of the country have a relative excess of people dying with healthy livers, and the cities have a deficit. Drugs, HIV and Hep C? A physically more dangerous lifestyle in rural America, more accidents?

Anyhoo, before the feds codify a plan to shift livers from the countryside to the cities, they need to find a way to reward the countryside for producing them, and indemnifying the cities. Maybe a liver transfer tax!

Reason #6715 That Trump Was Elected

The Trump administration on Thursday followed through with its plan to pull more than $900 million in federal funds from California’s beleaguered high-speed-rail project.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said California officials “failed to make reasonable progress” and had not met federal requirements for a project beset with cost overruns. But the decision is also consistent with President Trump’s penchant for sparring with leaders of the liberal-leaning state.

After Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) in February proposed reducing the scope of the rail project, Trump tweeted that the project was a “green disaster” that “wasted many billions of dollars.”

“They owe the Federal Government three and a half-billion dollars,” Trump tweeted.
What it looks like
 Sounds about right
In addition to revoking the federal government’s agreement to contribute $929 million to the project, the administration Thursday said it “continues to consider all options regarding the return of $2.5 billion” in stimulus funds given to the state.

California officials have argued that Trump’s decision to pull federal funding from the project was payback for the state’s opposition to Trump’s promised border wall.
Which seems entirely reasonable to me.
In February, Trump tweeted: “California, the state that has wasted billions of dollars on their out of control Fast Train, with no hope of completion, seems in charge” of efforts by a number of states to oppose the wall.

On Thursday, Newsom called the Trump administration’s final decision an “illegal and a direct assault on California” and the thousands of workers building the project.

“Just as we have seen from the Trump Administration’s attacks on our clean air standards, our immigrant communities and in countless other areas, the Trump Administration is trying to exact political retribution on our state,” Newsom said in a statement. “This is California’s money, appropriated by Congress, and we will vigorously defend it in court.”
It's not your money until you have it in hand and even then it's not secure until it's spent. I know that from long years of getting grants from the Federal government.

California, if you want a fast train from Merced to Bakersfield, build it. Just don't use my money.

Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup and links.

Russiagate Interrupted

I got dragged off to the beach in the middle of this one, which is why it's so late.

AG Barr is at it again, Hot Air, Barr: “Government Power Was Used To Spy On American Citizens”
Looks like William Barr still has no issues using the s-word to describe Operation Crossfire Hurricane. Despite criticism over calling the FISA-warrant surveillance on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page “spying,” Barr insists that’s exactly what it was in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. Barr wants to develop more specific rules for the circumstances which gave rise to it in order to ensure any future probes are properly predicated
Ace, AG Barr: "If we're worried about foreign influence, for the very same reason shouldn't we be worried about whether government officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale?"
The Attorney general gave an interview, which is slowly being trickled out, talking about his investigation into Spygate.
Attorney General William Barr said in an interview that aired Friday that he is investigating what role the Steele dossier played in the Russia probe, and that the salacious document had "a number of clear mistakes."
"It's a very unusual situation to have opposition research like that, especially one that on its face had a number of clear mistakes and a somewhat jejune analysis," Barr told Fox News' Bill Hemmer.
"And to use that to conduct counterintelligence against an American political campaign is a strange -- would be strange development."
Liz Shield, PJ Media in The Morning Briefing: A.G. Barr is Getting 'Inadequate' Answers. John Sexton at Hot Air, Barr: Congressional Democrats Are ‘Trying To Undermine My Credibility’, as is ex-FBI director Comey: ‘This shouldn’t happen in America’: Could someone please remind James Comey that he was DIRECTOR OF THE FBI?

John Nolte at Breitbart, 9 Reasons James Comey Might Be in Real Legal Jeopardy "1. Comey Conducted High-Level Investigations out of FBI Headquarters" . . .  Ace, Senior FBI Officials Worried That Comey's "Briefing" About Blackmail Material Just Might Seem Like Comey Was Himself Blackmailing Trump, Just as Former FBI Capo J. Edgar Hoover Did to Presidents. James Comey, onetime communist, knows how to use kompromat. Hoover got the building named for him, though. I don't think Comey will.  Hannity- Deep State is Crumbling Investigation of investigators causing FBI-CIA rats to leave sinking ship, The Last Tradition has the video.

Gregg Re, Catherine Herridge | Fox News Dispute erupts over whether Brennan, Comey pushed Steele dossier, as DOJ probe into misconduct begins.    Biz Pac Review,  ‘Both stories can’t be true:’ ‘Spygate’ begins to unravel as Brennan vs Comey camps point fingers. As Henry Kissinger reportedly said about the Iran Iraq War, I hope both sides lose.

RCP, Gowdy: It's Been Two Years And The Country Wants To Know What Set Off Trump-Russia Probe

At AmThink, Thomas Lifson reports Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing reveal Brennan was the mastermind of the Russia hoax
The most important bombshell they released is that they believe that John Brennan, then head of the CIA, was the core of the conspiracy.  Victoria Toensing added that this is because Clapper is too dumb to pull off such an operation.  They also revealed that Admiral Mike Rogers is happily willing to testify about the abuses he uncovered, which actually triggered the initiation of the Russiagate plot.  Recall that when he was head of the National Security Agency (NSA), which comprehensively monitors telecommunications, he discovered that political appointees in the White House were using its database on a huge scale to monitor political opponents and acted to cut off that access.  Suddenly cut off from their ability to spy on political opponents, and almost certainly fearful of public exposure should Hillary Clinton be defeated, the wheels were put in motion (with Brennan in the lead) to generate the Steele dossier and the FISA warrants to both spy on and tar the threat of a Trump presidency.
Ed at Hot Air asks New Mueller Mystery: Why Was No One Charged For Tampering With Flynn?
Is a communication between attorneys over a withdrawal from a joint defense agreement witness tampering? If so, then a not-insignificant number of attorneys might be at risk of prosecution. Mueller wasn’t making that argument anyway; it was part of his argument on obstructive behavior by Trump, and it wasn’t one of his strongest arguments either. The theory was that Trump ordered his attorneys to deliver a wink-wink, nudge-nudge reminder of the value of his “warm feelings,” but Mueller never makes a case that this was anything other than a negotiation between attorneys who had worked together previously on a joint defense.
. . .
The likeliest explanation is that none of these alleged attempts at tampering reached a level that could be charged, let alone prosecuted. Mueller, whose institutional roots at the DoJ run deep, would not have included derogatory information on others absent an indictment.
LMT online, Judge orders public release of what Michael Flynn said in call to Russian ambassador. Good, more information, not less. Althouse quotes Trump "It now seems the General Flynn was under investigation long before was common knowledge. It would have been impossible for me to know this but..."
"... if that was the case, and with me being one of two people who would become president, why was I not told so that I could make a change?"
Because that was never the point. The point was to entrap Flynn and then Trump. Sundance at CTH has a long diatribe on Sally Yates -vs- Michael Flynn… It's clear the Obama team had a major bone to pick with Flynn.

Daniel Chaitin, WaEx, Nellie Ohr deleted emails sent from husband's DOJ account. What, no Bleach Bit or hammers? What an amateur!
Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said that Nellie Ohr informing her husband about deleting the emails indicates a pattern of covering up a plot against Trump. “This email is disturbing and suggests documents relevant to the improper targeting of President Trump were destroyed,” Fitton said in a statement.
Hot Air, citing the NYT, finds Frustrated House Dems Pin Their Hopes On Mueller, while at Politico, Mueller’s House testimony likely off until at least June and No Mueller, no McGahn and stalled investigations leave House Democrats frustrated (LMT). So sad!

AP reports Step by step: Democrats play the long game against Trump and since their attention span is about 1 hr, he's probably golden. At Hot Air (again citing NYT) Pelosi Raises Impeachment As A Way To Break Trump’s Information Stonewall
“The courts would respect it if you said we need this information to carry out our oversight responsibilities — and among them is impeachment,” Ms. Pelosi said during her weekly news conference at the Capitol.
Especially if they chose the Hawaiian judge. The Peacock, Former AG Eric Holder sees 'grounds for impeachment' in Mueller report, but then, to be fair, he found grounds for impeachment in Trump beating Hillary.

Here's What Jerry Nadler and the Dems Were Doing During Trump's Immigration Speech "House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler led colleagues in reciting the 400-page Robert Mueller report out loud - in its entirety." What they needed was an utterly useless gesture, and they're just the people to do it.

And in the wishful thinking department, Sundance at CTH, Deep State – Former Trump Senior State Dept. Official Tells Beijing to Wait Until Trump is Removed…
Mrs. Susan Thornton, the former acting assistant secretary of state in the Trump administration, tells her Beijing audience to stop negotiating until President Trump is removed from office in 2020.
And from John Solomon at Da Hill, Ukrainian who meddled against Trump in 2016 is now under Russia-corruption cloud. Will he turn on Biden?