Sunday, March 31, 2019

Lamanai

Today’s adventure was a visit to the Mayan ruins at Lamanai, about 50 miles north of Belize City on the New River (imaginative names, those British).  The fist part of the trip was by car, to the site of the start of the “eco-tours” near Orange Walk Town, with our driver Gustavo, sent by the people who arranged the tour, who passed us off to Colin who drove the boat with us and another 9 folk the 20 miles up the River to Lamanai, stopping along the way to point out birds, trees, turtles, and crocodiles. Really a fantastic trip. Well worth the time to go.

















I Belize



I believe I’ll have another Belikan.









Friday, March 29, 2019

A Wonderful Bird is the Pelican. . .

His beak can hold more than a Belikan. Belikan Beer is called the national beer of Belize. Not bad for a tropical beer, and they have nice pinups


The Final Fishing Day

Of our trip to Belize; Pretty good.  Several Bonefish on the fly, a small Permit on a fly, and a giant Permit on a crab:



No love from the Tarpon today, we only saw a couple of them in the wild, and no decent opportunities for a cast. There were however, no lack of big Tarpon at the feeding dock on Caye Caulker:


And a Crocodile:







Still Fishin?



Stone Crab fishing with Darcizzle.

The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Satellite Girl and FMJRA 2.0: Let’s Dance up and collecting hits.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

All I Got Was Jack

A tough day in the fish mines. The wind was blowing 15-25 it’s all day, making it tough. But Ken did find some protected water , and I managed a couple of Bonefish

Laater we went back to one of the Tarpon spots, where we did spot a couple, or rather I should say Ken spotted them, I was lucky to be able to see the shadows he was pointing at. None of them bit, however. Fortunately a ravenously hungry school of Jacks passed by and I hooked on as they did.


No Insurance was Sold

A little gecko at breakfast yesterday:




Still Fishin'



Luiza goes lobstering

Linked by EBL in Vintage HollywoodAnnie Starke, National Tweed Day, Bingbing Fan and Melanie Hamrick, Mick Jagger's Current Girlfriend. The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Satellite Girl and FMJRA 2.0: Let’s Dance up and collecting hits.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Permit granted

On the second day of fishing on our Belize vacation, I got one little Bonefish, then we went looking for Tarpon and Permit. We tried several places, and had a couple shots at Tarpon, but no takers.  Then we went out further to som clears blue water over.a sand flat where Permit were reputed to dwell. After polling around for a while Ken spotted a small group of them at the edge of turtle grass patch. After fumbling the first cast, I tossed my crab a good ten feet in front of the lead fish. The race was on, and it seems like it went to the biggest and strongest.. It made many blistering runs on the heavy Tarpon rod before I got it to the boat.


We had no more sightings after that, so we went back after Tarpon. After several sightings, and more then a few bungled casts int the heavy wind, I finally had one eat my baitfish, and get hooked. It must have been about 4 ft long, and jumped at least four times before it threw the hook. We went back to fishing for Tarpon when a huge school of Jack Caravelle swam neat, and a bait fish tossed in resulted in an instant hookup.


At that point it was time to call it a day. Maybe more shots at Tarpon tomorrow.

Still Fishin'

But definitely not like this:



But it's amazing how it looks like a few days from work.

The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Satellite Girl and FMJRA 2.0: Let’s Dance up and collecting hits.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Bonefish

First of 8 for the day:



We chased bonefish in the flats near mangroves today, with decent success. My fly casting sucks, as I was told, and I appear to be too old and set in my ways to learn to do it right. The 11 weight we tried for Tarpon and Permit with kicked my ass. Had a Tarpon look at a fly, but not take it. Had a couple of big Jacks take a bait fish while live lining for Tarpon, but the pulled loose.

Maybe tomorrow!

Still Fishin'



Darcizzle

The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Satellite Girl and FMJRA 2.0: Let’s Dance up and collecting hits.

Monday, March 25, 2019

We’re Here!



Baltimore to Ft. Lauderdale to Belize City to Caye Caulker. Time for an ice cream cone. 48 F in Baltimore, 84 in Key Caulker. Will start fishing in the AM.

Scanning the news, I see the Democrats continue to take the Mueller decisions gracefully.

Gone Fishin!

Maybe like this. But without the purple bikini.



Actually, today is the travel day; tomorrow is fishing.

Luiza Barros.

The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Satellite Girl and FMJRA 2.0: Let’s Dance up and collecting hits.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Proving Her Point . . .

An Egyptian singer has been banned from performing in her home country after suggesting that it does not respect free speech.

A video clip circulated online shows Sherine Abdel-Wahab, during a performance in Bahrain, saying: "Here I can say whatever I want. In Egypt, anyone who talks gets imprisoned."

Egypt's Musicians Union responded late Friday by barring the singer, popularly known by her first name, from performing. It also summoned her for questioning.


Samir Sabry, a pro-government lawyer with a reputation for moral vigilantism and suing celebrities, filed a complaint against the singer accusing her of "insulting Egypt and inviting suspicious rights groups to interfere in Egypt's affairs."

Last year, Sherine was sentenced to six months in prison over a similar clip from a concert in which she joked that the Nile is polluted. The sentence was suspended upon appeal. She apologized for the remark, calling it a "bad joke."

The singer, who hosts the Arabic version of "The Voice," apologized again after the latest remarks in a TV interview aired late Friday, saying she was joking.

"I am very tired. I made a mistake. I am sorry. I appeal the president of the Arab Republic of Egypt, who is our father. I feel that I was persecuted. I did nothing. I love Egypt," she said.

Egyptian authorities have waged an unprecedented crackdown on dissent since President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi led the military overthrow of an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013. The local media is dominated by pro-government outlets that attack anyone seen as criticizing the country or its leaders, and several people have been jailed or fined for violating vaguely written laws outlawing such criticism.
The Egyptians are such lovely allies.

The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Satellite Girl and FMJRA 2.0: Let’s Dance up and collecting hits.

Mueller: No Collusion! Barr: No Obstruction!

Attorney General William Barr's letter to Congress summarizing the major findings of the Mueller investigation has been submitted. You can read it here. Very briefly, the probe found no evidence for collusion with the Russians to  affect the election, by Trump campaign or any other American, despite multiple contacts by Russians. On the matter of whether President Trump committed obstruction of justice in a variety of well publicized acts, Mueller did not find obstruction, but left the determination whether the acts met the legal definition of obstruction to the Attorney General. Barr and DAG Rosenstein made the decision that the acts did not rise to the level of obstruction, in part, because the underlying collusion was not found.

This will, of course, not satisfy the Democrats, but it certainly takes a lot of wind out of their sails. It's going to make their investigations look like double jeopardy and sour grapes. I expect we'll see some new weepy videos from Rachel Maddow.

Ancient Weight Loss Secret Continues to Work

Back in November I  mentioned how Georgia and I had gone on the mystical "ancient diet" program. Don't' each so damn much.

It's still working, albeit slowly. When I stepped on the scale this morning I hit a new low, 203.5 lbs, marking the loss of 30 lbs. I don't expect it to stay there, at least initially, history suggests bouncing up and down a pound or two is nothing to get worked up over. In fact, given the fact we'll be on vacation a week, a little backsliding is not out of the question.

I still plan to see the underside of 200 at some point in the reasonable future.

Russiagate: The Final Exam

I hate to do this, but, this going to be one of the DIY Russiagates, mainly because, due to the conclusion of the Mueller investigation, there are just shitloads of articles. I've tried to order them by subjects, but my criteria are a bit subjective. Feel free to indulge yourself in the gluttony of excess political awareness. You might recall that the FBI/DOJ crew investigating former SecState Clinton's email scandal called their investigation the Mid Year Exam. I think that makes it fair to call the Mueller investigation much of the same crew started the Final Exam. How did they do.

End of the Mueller affair | Power Line

JustOneMinute: Let The Games Begin!

MOTUS A.D.: The Mueller Report, What Does It Mean…Anyone?

Now That Mueller Report Is Done, Hot Takes Abound » Pirate's Cove

Matt Zapotosky on Twitter: "Attorney General William P. Barr will not submit the principal conclusions to Congress today, according to a senior Justice Department official."




The Great Gnashing of Teeth: The Left Reacts to the Mueller Report, Schiff Threatens To Call 'Bob Mueller,' Possibly 'Bill Barr" Before His Committee

Democrat freak-out: Reaction to Mueller report brings tears and jeers

Meltdown: MSNBC Threw The Biggest Tantrum Since Hillary’s Loss After Mueller Report Shows No Trump-Russia Collusion

Adam Schiff rejects reports that Mueller indictments are over, says special counsel could be called to testify | Fox News

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews livid over Mueller report: ‘How could they let Trump off the hook?’ | Fox News

READ: Dems' Collective Letter To Barr Is A Sign Of What's To Come


Showdown looms over Mueller report | TheHill

Four Arguments About the Mueller Report You Should Ignore - The Bulwark

The Mueller Investigation Was A Distraction, The Bigger Story Is Coming | Bustednuckles

The American Media Destroyed Themselves over the Mueller Investigation | Roger L. SimonFLASHBACK: John Brennan Predicted Additional Mueller Indictments Just Two Weeks Ago | The Daily Caller

FBI clashed with DOJ over potential 'bias' of source for surveillance warrant: McCabe-Page texts | Fox News

The politics of "collusion delusion" - Axios

Dershowitz: Comey and Others Committed Fraud on FISA Court - Should Be Held in Contempt (VIDEO)

Episode 462 Scott Adams: The Mueller Witch Hunt is Evolving Into an “IF” Hunt - Dilbert Blog

How much of Mueller’s report will see daylight? - Hot Air
CAUTION: Fast-moving goal posts ahead! Ex Hillary spox Brian Fallon & journo Ryan Lizza pivot FAST from Mueller report – twitchy.com

The Week in Pictures: Mueller Time at Last! | Power Line

Memo From the National Affairs Desk: Who’s Heading to the Cornbread Festival? : The Other McCain

Important Report: McCabe and Page Text Messages Withheld From Congress by Corrupt DOJ Officials… | The Last Refuge

Fox News Publishes Set of Andrew McCabe Texts With Lisa Page – Notes Main Justice Concerns With FBI FISA Source/Motive… | The Last Refuge

The never-ending Mueller investigation ends, but once the needle goes in… – The New NeoPelosi Holds Emergency Call With Democratic Caucus Over Mueller Report. Here's What Transpired.

Nancy Pelosi rejects Mueller report classified briefing - Washington Times

BAM: Tucker Runs Down a List of Democratic Party Shills Who 'Lied' When They Pushed Collusion Theory

Mark Penn on Twitter: "Two plus years, thirty million dollars, our fbi and doj compromised, thousands of fake news stories, millions of people all entranced in a false story of Russia collusion based on oppo research that was always unsubstantiated and preposterous"

Mueller Orders Trump To Sit On Scale To See If He Weighs The Same As A Duck | The Babylon Bee

We are leaving on a week long fishing/sun bathing "vacation" to Belize this week. And while I will have the IPad, and maybe able to post intermittently, I won't be doing regular Russiagate updates. We'll have to see what kind on nonsense is going on when we get back.

Sarah Hoyt:
OUR COCKTAIL THIS WEEKEND IS THE MUELLER REPORT: It costs millions to make, takes two years to be served. Rumors and expectations about it are stoked to fever pitch. Arrives as an empty glass. Every news source claims it’s the finest Russian Vodka. Rachel Maddow most affected.

You Don't Have to Be a Genius to Wear Clothes

Wildwood model with Down syndrome breaks down stereotypes
Doctors whisked Grace from her parents the minute she was born to run tests on her. About four hours later a genetic counselor came to their hospital room to give them the news: Grace had Down syndrome, a genetic condition that impairs cognitive development and can cause a range of health issues. She would face a lifetime of challenges, the counselor warned them.Linda and Jeff Strobel, who had not yet even held their baby girl, listened in shock while she told them their daughter would never read or write.

There is no shame in this at all,” Jeff remembers her saying, “there are still institutions that will take her. Just take your time to think about it.”

They each remember that day 22 years ago in California vividly. It lighted a fire in Linda. They would show this counselor and anyone else who thought their child wasn’t capable.

They named her Grace Elizabeth.

Linda started working with her the minute they got home. She put her on her belly to help her build muscle tone in her neck. She read everything she could on how to stimulate brain development in babies. They embarked on a lifelong journey in which she became her daughter’s teacher, coach and cheerleader.

“When I look at Grace, I see courage and beauty."

Jeff, a Navy veteran, appreciated the intensity of his wife’s training and joined in however he could. They set up an incline board, covered it with carpet and used her sippy cup as motivation to get Grace to crawl up it. They built obstacle courses in their living room to help her crawl, then walk. Linda focused on more than her baby’s gross motor skills; she researched ways to boost her nervous system and neurodevelopment.

Anything is possible, her mom said.

Last summer, she hired a photographer to take modeling photos. Grace comes alive in front of the camera. When Linda posted the images of Grace on Facebook, the photos went viral. People from around the world sent encouraging messages. Her sister, Laine, was so blown away by how the pictures from one of Grace’s photo shoots turned out, she kept them on her phone, posted them on her Instagram and showed anyone who walked by her at college.

“Look at my sister,” she said.

A friend gave Linda the contact information for Ola Hawatmeh, a St. Louis fashion designer.

“My daughter has a dream to become a model,” Linda wrote to her, explaining her circumstances.

“I’m going to make her dream come true,” Hawatmeh said. She gave her some runway lessons on how to walk. She gave her homework to practice. She designed a dress to fit Grace’s 4-foot-11, petite frame. Designers are not allowed to bring their own models for Fashion Week shows in Atlantic City, so she reached out to the organizers to get special permission.

Grace strutted out as the finale in the show in a long, white dress. The audience erupted in the loudest applause of the show.

Hawatmeh has invited her to walk in her fall show during New York City’s Fashion Week.



“When I look at Grace, I see courage and beauty,” she said.

Grace has been featured on the cover of Chesterfield Lifestyle Magazine. Other magazines have run inside editorial spreads about her. The local high school newspaper did a story on her. She’s been interviewed by several local TV stations. She continues to work with her occupational therapist to learn how to shop for groceries and cook for herself with the dream of living independently one day.

Her father says he wishes he could buy the genetic counselor they met when she was born a plane ticket to New York to watch Grace walk the runway.

When she’s not practicing her walk or her talk, Grace still volunteers in a preschool and kindergarten classroom.
Good for her!

The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Satellite Girl and FMJRA 2.0: Let’s Dance up and collecting hits.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Russiagate Muellergasm

I already had a long list of potential Russiagate material set aside from yesterday when the announcement came the Special Counsel Mueller had handed in his report to Attorney General Barr, making much of it moot. That's the good thing. The bad thing was that it touched off a massive discharge of new articles, trying to find meaning, in what appears to be a formal end to the investigation, without much clue as to what the report actually contains. Let's start with a negative, from Byron York, WaEx,  Five things that didn't happen in the Mueller investigation:
1. Mueller did not indict Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, or other people whose purported legal jeopardy was the subject of intense media speculation in the last year.

2. Mueller did not charge anyone in the Trump campaign or circle with conspiring with Russia to fix the 2016 election, as was the subject of intense media speculation in the last year.

3. Mueller did not subpoena the president, as was the subject of intense media speculation in the last year.

4. The president did not fire Mueller, as was the subject of intense media speculation in the last year.

5. The president did not interfere with the Mueller investigation, as was the subject of intense media speculation in the last year. In his letter to Congress, Barr noted the requirement that he notify lawmakers if top Justice Department officials ever interfered with the Mueller investigation. "There were no such instances," Barr wrote.
Paul Mirengoff at Power Line, Report: Mueller not recommending any more indictments
Fox News reports that Mueller has not recommended any new indictments. Thus, President Trump will not be indicted based on the Mueller report.

What we don’t know is why. Is it because Mueller has concluded that the U.S. president can’t be indicted while in office? Is it because Mueller has concluded that Trump did not do anything wrong, either by way of “colluding” with Russia or interfering with the administration of justice? Or is it because Mueller has concluded, James Comey style, that Trump did collude and/or interfere but that his conduct doesn’t rise to the level of a crime?

I hope we’ll find out which of these conclusions Mueller reached. I think the public has the right to know, especially given all the time, money, and drama associated with Mueller’s investigation.
Ace, Politico: Democrats Prepare Themselves for a "Dud" Mueller Report; Expect There to Be No More Indictments "Remember, when evaluating your preferred pundits, which ones flagged this as a baseless conspiracy theory early and which have been breathlessly pushing it as the Rosetta Stone of impeachment." Katie Pavlich, Democrats on Capitol Hill: The Mueller Report Will Likely Be a Dud, You Know

 Rachel Maddow Crying?


RCP: Tucker Carlson: There Must Be "Consequences" For Those Claiming Russian Collusion if Mueller Report Shows NoneTucker Carlson: The Media Figures Who Pushed This Soon-to-be-Disproved Sham Collusion Conspiracy Theory Should be "Punished" - Mollie Hemingway on Tucker Now
This is from last night. It applies with even more force today.

Now, by "punished," he does not mean "indicted," as he clarifies. He means "publicly shamed" and "forced to apologize."

I normally wouldn't even agree with that... except I remember the left demanding "accountability" from pundits who made erroneous claims and false predictions about the Iraq War. And there was a lot of that in the media.

So: Should conspiracy theorists pushing a falsehood that undermines trust in the US democratic system be similarly required to come to a reckoning?

Answer: No. They control the message, and that means they control the questions that may be asked, and the criticisms that may be lodged.

You don't have to respond to a question or criticism you've suppressed so much that the half of the country you depend on for support never even hears of it.

Carlson also asks, rhetorically: If people on the right had claimed, without evidence, that Barack Obama was colluding with Iran for three years, would they be allowed on any media platform?

He says that's rhetorical. They wouldn't be -- unless they offered a groveling apology to King Barky the Wonderdog.

Definitely watch the opening of last night's show.
Stacy McCain: ‘Russia! Russia! Russia!’
Tucker Carlson makes an important point about the Mueller probe:
So let’s recall, for the record, what the Robert Mueller investigation is about, why we got a special counsel in the first place. The point wasn’t to discover whether the president fudged deductions on his tax returns thirty years ago. It wasn’t to find out whether he wanted to build another hotel in foreign country. From its first day, the Mueller investigation was justified by a single question: Did Donald Trump collude with the Russian government to steal the 2016 presidential election? Did the president betray his country? For close to three years, Democrats have told us that, yes, he did . . .
To this day, even the most basic questions about the Russia story remained unanswered. Meanwhile we’ve upended our entire foreign policy, we’ve put Americans in prison, all on the basis of charges nobody was willing to prove. “How do we know that, Congressman?” “Shut up. You’re a Russian agent.” The conspiracy hawks seemed totally impervious to shame or reason. You couldn’t debate them, because they wouldn’t engage. They just threw slurs. . . .
Once the Mueller report appears and it becomes incontrovertible that, whatever his faults, Donald Trump did not collude with the Russians, the many people who’ve persistently claimed on the basis of no evidence that he did collude with the Russians must be punished.
Watch the video:


Ed Morrissey, Hot Air, Comey: I Hope Mueller Talks His Rear End Off, Ken Starr, Mueller Cannot Seek an Indictment. And He Must Remain Silent.

Just part of the Drudgegasm:

DELIVERED
675 DAYS OF INVESTIGATION
PUBLIC STILL IN DARK
COUNTDOWN TO LEAKS
NO MORE INDICTMENTSAG may send Congress 'summary' of findings this weekend...
Full disclosure battle...

Speculation Begins...
The invisible prosecutor who shook White House... 
PAPER: Don't expect hysteria to end...
Other Investigations Loom...
Cable viewers digest through Hannity, Maddow... 


But some non-Mueller material waded through the slime to the forefront. Fox News, Clinton, in newly revealed emails, discussed classified foreign policy matters, secretive 'private' comms channel with Israel
A newly unearthed batch of heavily redacted, classified emails from Hillary Clinton'spersonal email server revealed that the former secretary of state discussed establishing a "private, 100% off-the-record" back channel to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and that one of her top aides warned her that she was in "danger" of being "savaged by Jewish organizations, in the Jewish press and among the phalanx of neoconservative media" as a result of political machinations by "Bibi and the Jewish leadership."

The 756-page group of new documents, revealed Thursday as part of a transparency lawsuit by Judicial Watch, seemingly contradicted Clinton's insistence under oath in 2015that she had turned over all of her sensitive work-related emails to the State Department, and included a slew of classified communications on everything from foreign policy to State Department personnel matters.

The files came from a trove of 72,000 documents the FBI recovered and turned over to the State Department in 2017. The documents, representing a small proportion of the tens of thousands of emails still unaccounted for from Clinton's server, also underscored the apparently significant political threat that the Obama administration felt it faced at the hands of Israel.

Additionally, according to the email dump, Clinton chatted with former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair about classified foreign policy matters before she was sworn in, aided the application of at least one State Department applicant who was connected to her daughter, Chelsea, and apparently met with Putin-aligned Georgian oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili before he became prime minister on a staunchly pro-Russian platform -- and with reported help from a Russian interference operation.
Evidence that Russiagate went to the top of the Obama administration from Katie Pavlich, New Texts Show the Obama White House May Have Been Briefed About Spying on the Trump Campaign
Next, while Page and McCabe are refusing to clarify, it appears the Obama White House may have been directly briefed on the matter.
On Oct. 14, 2016, Page again wrote to McCabe, this time concerning a meeting with the White House.
“Just called," Page said to McCabe. "Apparently the DAG [Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates] now wants to be there, and WH wants DOJ to host. So we are setting that up now. ... We will very much need to get Cohen’s view before we meet with her. Better, have him weigh in with her before the meeting. We need to speak with one voice, if that is in fact the case.” ("Cohen" is likely then-Deputy CIA Director David Cohen.)
McCabe responded within the hour: "Thanks. I will reach out to David." On Oct. 19, Page wrote to McCabe that the "meeting with WH counsel is finally set up."
Neither Lisa Page nor McCabe responded to Fox News' inquiries as to whether the meeting was designed to brief the White House on the FISA application or some other matter.

The Obama White House has denied knowing anything about surveillance or spying on the Trump campaign or any American citizen.

Rule 5 Saturday - Helga Lovakaty

This week's Rule 5 award goes to Helga Lovakaty. Who is Helga Lovakaty?
Helga Lovekaty, born Olga Korobitsyna in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on 7 April 1992, is an actress and model.

She had a small role in the movie Hardcore Henry.
$3.99 on Prime Video. Sounds deliciously awful.
She has her own Reddit sub, which is the first time I've heard of that, in addition to the usual Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter page.

How much more do you really need to know, besides some NSFW photos from Marvin?

Linked by EBL in Vintage HollywoodAnnie Starke, National Tweed Day, Bingbing Fan and Melanie Hamrick, Mick Jagger's Current Girlfriend.

Friday, March 22, 2019

#HimToo? Shep Smith Accused of Sexual Attack

From Stacy McCain: Anonymous Man Claims Shep Smith of Fox News Sexually Assaulted Him in 2004
Remember, we must believe the victims:
John Doe #1 says he met up with Smith at the now defunct Nation bar in Manhattan, a spot Smith used to frequent to play Golden Tee and hang out when he was not on the Fox airwaves.
“I wake up, and Shepard is on top of me, like, in a towel or a bathrobe. And he’s got his tongue down my throat and his hands all over me. Completely uninvited. I mean, I gave him no signal. There was nothing,” John Doe #1 says . . .
“I pushed him off. I was like, ‘Dude what are you doing?’ And he’s like, ‘what you don’t like it?’ There was like this, kind of like No!, and he kept going, he kept pushing. Like, pushing his hands on all these spots,” John Doe #1 said.
“He was just on top of me,” John Doe #1 said, calling the experience “definitely shocking.” John Doe #1 noted that “he finally stopped, but it took a lot of — it wasn’t just an immediate no, and then everything was like, so sorry.”
John Doe #1 said that Shep Smith lunged at him “three or four more times” after the initial attack.
(Hat-tip: Ace of Spades.) Democrats tried to stop Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination with allegations that were arguably less believable than what “John Doe #1” is claiming, but as for me, I think we should reserve judgment until we hear Shep Smith’s side of the story. And by that, I mean, I want to see him deny on live TV that he’s ever stuck his tongue down another man’s throat. It would be helpful if he could also provide sworn affidavits and a polygraph test.
Or maybe even a penile plethysmograph.

Ace:  Big League Politics: Man Anonymously Accuses CNN-Curious FoxNews Host Shep Smith of Sexually Assaulting Him While He Was Asleep in 2004
Fox News has not responded to a request for comment. The claimant did not provide any outside corroborating evidence, or at least Big League Politics doesn't note any.

I don't know how far we want to go down the #MeToo rabbit-hole with dated allegations.

Though... of course you know my rooting interest here.

Big League Politics previously brought us the scoop about Ralph Northam's blackface, so they're not unreliable. I just don't know if this guy has anything to back up his word apart from his word.
Can we appoint a special counsel?

It's Mueller Time!

Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday submitted to Attorney General Bill Barr his long-awaited report on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race and possible collusion with Trump associates.

Several lawmakers, including Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., received a letter about the report's drop. Graham is the chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee. Feinstein is the ranking member.

“Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III has concluded his investigation of the Russian interference in the 2016 election and related matters," the letter said.

Barr also said that he “may be in a position to advise you of the Special Counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend.”
Developing quickly, but it looks like we might hear something this weekend. They'll probably be a bunch in tomorrow's regularly scheduled Russiagate post.


And a Pretty Girl Shall Lead Them Out of Bondage

to the Democratic Party: Meet The Maxim Model Leading The ‘Jexodus’ Movement 



Elizabeth Pipko is a previous Rule 5 selectee, but I held a few photos back.


Linked at The Right Way in this week's Rule 5 Saturday LinkOrama. Linked by EBL in Sara MatosIva LamarĂ£oRuthie Collins: Country RoadsRun Beto Run and Making Marianne Williamson HappenPocahontas, RIPEmma Eliza ReganChristopher Moltisanti Gets A Message From Hell and Irish Dating Show.

Some Relaxing Russiagate

So, here we sit coffee in hand on another Friday morning wondering if the Mueller report is going to come out today or not, if by come out we mean have William Barr acknowledge that Mueller has sent him the "final" paper work for him to review and decide what to release. It's getting pretty close to the pre-release date given by Amazon for their book "The Mueller Report", with a planned release date of March 26, or next Tuesday. I'm betting against it; I think the Mueller crowd will try to keep the investigation on Trump up to the 2020 election. Speaking of the Mueller crowd, Nice Deb reports Top Prosecutors Leave Mueller Team After GOP Reps Complain to AG Barr.
Zainab Ahmad and Andrew Weissmann -- two top prosecutors on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team -- have left the team in recent days, sparking speculation that the Russia probe is wrapping up. One Republican congressman, however, thinks something else may have prompted their departures.

On Fox News Tuesday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) speculated that a letter he and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) sent to Attorney General William Barr on March 1 may have prompted the pair's departures.

In the letter, Reps Jordan and Meadows questioned the independence of Ahmad and Weissmann, pointing out that both were involved in discussions with DOJ official Bruce Ohr as he transferred unverified anti-Trump dossier material from Fusion GPS into the FBI and DOJ.
These were folk who were involved with investigation before Mueller was appointed, and who, if you believe Sundance at CTH, were more the drivers of the investigation than Mueller ever was. So, whether they were pushed, or left for lack of work, it does signal the investigation is rounding some kind of corner.

RCP, Data Show MSNBC Has Been Robert Mueller's Biggest Fan. Funny, I didn't think Rachel swung that way. She might be disappointed, Letter from deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein offers potential road map to special counsel Robert Mueller's probe - Sources familiar with the probe believe there are no more indictments expected, (ABC). No more indictments? Where's the fun in that?

AP, Trump says public should see ‘ridiculous’ Mueller report. Pirate's Cove, Trump Shoots Down Major Argument Against Releasing Mueller Report
“I don’t mind,” he said when asked whether the report should be public. “I mean, frankly, I told the House if you want, let them see it.”
However, interestingly, Aaron Blake, who wrote the Washington Post analysis article above, continues
As I wrote during Barr’s confirmation period, DOJ guidelines combined with Trump’s status as the sitting president created something of a Catch-22 for the Mueller report:
Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6 says that, unless and until details are revealed by court order as part of an indictment or other proceeding, they must be kept secret. This is to guard against the government releasing derogatory things about people for political purposes.
Lots more to that, but it breaks down to the notion that it kinda must be kept secret, unless there is an indictment or other proceedings. And they sure do not seem to have anything on Trump, and, based on the non-leaks these past years, there is nothing, despite all the Russia Russia Russia conspiracy idiocy.
And don’t forget that Trump himself last week suggested that fellow Republicans at least profess to be all in favor of transparency with the Mueller report. “Makes us all look good and doesn’t matter,” he assured.
“Play along with the game!” he added.
Perhaps Trump has been advised he might as well do the same — and that statements of support for the report’s public release ultimately will not matter.
I hadn’t gotten beyond the first half of the article when I wrote about Trump’s statement being a psych-out for the conspiracy minded. I didn’t expect the Washington Post to go there so fast.
Another bend in the road, The Daily Wire, Top Ukrainian Official Opens Investigation Into Alleged Plot To Boost Hillary In 2016 Election, Report Says and from John Solomon at Da Hill, As Russia collusion fades, Ukrainian plot to help Clinton emerges. Fancy that, another Slavic nation trying to influence our election.
Ukraine’s top prosecutor divulged in an interview aired Wednesday on Hill.TV that he has opened an investigation into whether his country’s law enforcement apparatus intentionally leaked financial records during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign about then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in an effort to sway the election in favor of Hillary Clinton.

The leak of the so-called black ledger files to U.S. media prompted Manafort’s resignation from the Trump campaign and gave rise to one of the key allegations in the Russia collusion probe that has dogged Trump for the last two and a half years.

Ukraine Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko’s probe was prompted by a Ukrainian parliamentarian's release of a tape recording purporting to quote a top law enforcement official as saying his agency leaked the Manafort financial records to help Clinton's campaign.
Ann Althouse,  "ADDED: It should say "As allegations of Russia collusion fades." The collusion didn't fade. There was no collusion. Apparently." You can't prove a negative, but if you spend enough time and money investigating something, and you can't find it, we assume it didn't happen. And lest we forget Hillary's other major failings, Judicial Watch Uncovers More Classified Emails in Hillary Clinton’s Unsecure Email System (Flopping Aces). I think it's about time for another Special Counsel, don't you?

Althouse, "John McCain received the fake and phony dossier. You hear about the dossier? It was paid for by Crooked Hillary Clinton." "And John McCain got it. And what did he do? He didn’t call me. He turned it over to the FBI hoping to put me in jeopardy...." I can understand his long simmering resentment. People can be both heroes and cads. Althouse is on the subject of phony fact checks, it this case by NYT. Julie Kelly at AmGreat, McCain’s Key Role in Fueling Post-Election Trump-Russia Hysteria. Look, the same people calling McCain a hero now were calling him a Nazi when he opposed Obama.

With liberty and Just Us for All" CNS News IG: DOJ Declined to Prosecute FBI Agent Who Worked for FBI Contractor, Filed False Financial Disclosures, Sexted on FBI Phone
The Department of Justice has declined to prosecute an FBI agent—who has now resigned—who worked for an FBI contractor while still with the FBI, made “false representations” relating to mortgage loans, filed false financial disclosure forms and “exchanged sexually explicit text messages” on a government cell phone, according to the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Justice.

“Prosecution of the SSA was declined,” the IG said in an investigative summary.

The IG issued the investigative summary on February 5. On March 15, CNSNews.com asked the Justice Department six questions about the case. The department has not responded.
And brother Mark, the lawyer, sent me this one from RCP: Is an FBI Interview a G-Man's License to Lie?  on the well known problems with basing prosecutions on FBI 302 summaries of interviews.
At 10:38 on the morning of Feb. 4, 2019, the deputy for United States District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said, “Good morning, Your Honor. This is a sealed proceeding, and the courtroom has been locked.”

It was a hearing at which lawyers for Special Counsel Robert Mueller would argue that Paul Manafort had lied to them during 12 interviews, both before and after striking his plea bargain on foreign lobbying and money laundering charges. We know what was said behind those locked doors because a word-for-word transcript was made of the courtroom proceedings.

Strangely, there was no such transcript of what Manafort had said in his interviews. This made it difficult to reconstruct what his responses to questioning had been, let alone determine whether they were truthful. But if there was no transcript, surely the court could consult a videotape of his interrogation, the sort of recording that is standard practice for local police who are interviewing, say, a suspected car thief. And if there was no videotape for the judge to watch, surely there was, at the very least, an audiotape.

But no. The bureau has insisted instead, for more than half a century, on summarizing its interrogations, of everyone from witnesses to targets, in a type of memo designated an FD-302 or just “302.” Those memos have been used in recent high-profile investigations to summarize the statements of Manafort, Hillary Clinton, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, among others. Many were shocked to learn that Clinton’s interview with the FBI about her handling of classified emails was not tape-recorded. They may be more shocked to learn that is standard FBI procedure.

Judge Jackson, who would ultimately side with Mueller’s team on the question of Manafort’s truthfulness, was flummoxed at first. She didn’t quite know what to make of the accusations Manafort had lied after he had pleaded guilty and promised to cooperate. Flummoxed, because she was trying to reconstruct from 302s what had and hadn’t been said.

“That's not the way the 302 read to me when I read it,” she said in response to the prosecution’s characterization of Manafort’s testimony. “This is the problem with not having grand jury testimony, but having to look at a 302.” Clearly frustrated, the judge added, “I may not be able to resolve it on the face of the 302.”
Mark says:
I’ve taken hundreds of witness statements, and made memos like 302s. I’ve taken hundreds of depositions, with verbatim transcriptions and video. I have written hundreds of declarations, statements under oath.

You should not be able to secure a perjury charge based on a 302, a summary of notes of an interview. It violates fundamental notions of due process. Does anyone think that Peter Strzok, even if he believed he was unbiased, created a fair summary of testimony, days or weeks after an interview. From personal experience, I can tell you that if you don’t prepare your memo of an interview within 24 hours, the accuracy is at best suspect.

We should end this practice. The DOJ conviction rate might drop from 99% to 95%, but it’s worth the price. The potential for abuse is enormous.
It will take a judge to decide not to roll over for the FBI. And then have it appealed to the Supremes.

Aynaz Anni Cyrus at AmericanThinker says to ignore The Kushner Security Clearance Noise. Done.

Well, She Has a Point

Report: Loughlin’s Daughter Furious At Parents For Ruining Her Income Stream With Admissions Scandal
Or so “sources” say, but how can this story not be true? I made the same point in a post last week. Lost amid the outrage over rich parents buying college seats for their dimwit children is the fact that Lori Loughlin’s daughter Olivia was doing quite well for herself as a social-media “influencer.” If you can pull a million views for a video, as she could, you can make serious money from that alone. If you can bring a sponsor’s products to an audience of that size, as she routinely did, you’ve got serious ad money on top of it. How serious? Page Six talked to an expert in the field a few days ago.

“We’re estimating … she’s probably making a minimum of $30,000 for a post on Instagram. It could even be upwards of $50,000,” said Cartin, who has not seen any of Giannulli’s contracts.
And those totals don’t account for a cut in sales she likely receives from her sponsored-content posts.
“She’s more than just a regular influencer — she has that celebrity hook with her,” Cartin said.

Giannulli has 525 Instagram posts in the bank (pun intended) as I write this and scores of YouTube uploads, virtually all of which have hundreds of thousands of views. She was rolling in dough without even taking into account whatever money mom and dad had set aside for her in a trust fund or whatever. The trust fund is presumably still intact but the social-media income stream is momentarily at a standstill — and, with corporate sponsors like Sephora and Tresemme dropping her, the corporate sponsor stream seems to be up in smoke.

All of which raises a tantalizing possibility: Could Olivia Jade sue mommy and daddy for wrecking her social-media career by embroiling her in a harebrained fraud scheme to get her into a college she didn’t even want to attend?
It’d be the civil suit of the century.. . .

I’m only joking about her suing them too, if for no other reason than that she and her sister presumably stand to inherit mega-bucks from mom and dad so long as they’re on good-ish terms with them. You may think Loughlin’s not loaded since she’s not an A-list actress but her husband Mossimo is a successful clothing designer worth upwards of $80 million by some estimates. The family home in Bel Air was listed two years ago for $35 million. There’s nothing Olivia could win in a civil suit, I suspect, that’d make it worth her while to alienate her folks and risk losing half of that down the road. Worst-case scenario: She never rebuilds her online presence and somehow has to try to find happiness with tens of millions of dollars in the bank to break her fall.
And even if she did have clue as to what her parents were up to (having her pose for crew photo might have been a give away, she was a minor at the time.

I think this "internet influencer" job she created for herself is probably a net drain on the world, but then so are a lot of jobs, including some that I might have held. She worked extremely hard to "build up her brand" as they say; one friend said she literally never went to class in high school, which makes you wonder how she got through, other than on celebrity power, but she was spending enormous amounts of time and energy on her side job.

I trust in the end that she'll come out of this OK.