Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Forget It Jake, It's Baltimore

Shiand Miller, 23, and her 3-year-old daughter
Da Sun, The coronavirus pandemic and surveillance plane have not stemmed Baltimore’s torrid rate of homicides this year
Not continuing calls by residents to end the violence, not the launch of a police surveillance plane, not even the coronavirus pandemic have slowed Baltimore’s relentless pace of homicides. Approaching the year’s halfway point, more people have been killed in the city than during 2019, which had the highest homicide rate on record.

The stay-at-home orders have not abated the killings, even though crime in most other categories has dipped, according to police and crime statistics. And now, with restrictive health measures easing and the historically violent summer months arriving, Baltimore police are working to come up with solutions.

“The bad actors who are committing murders are still out,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said.

Baltimore has counted 164 homicides this year, more than 152 at this time last year when the city eventually saw a 348. The Northwestern and Southwestern districts have been the hardest hit, with 27 and 26 homicides, respectively.

So far in June, 35 people have been killed, including Shiand Miller, 23, and her 3-year-old daughter Shaniya Gilmore. Miller was 8 months pregnant with a baby boy when she was fatally shot in Southwest Baltimore on June 19.
Baltimore Surveillance Plane

The city has a new tool in its efforts to stem violence. A pilot program started in May launched a police surveillance plane, which flies over the city during daylight hours in an effort to help investigate and track suspects in serious cases and, hopefully, police say, act as a deterrent to would-be criminals.

Harrison said in a recent interview that the program has not yet led to any arrests, but it has shown some promise.

“As of this moment, it has not turned into any clearance of any homicides or shootings, although there are a number of cases that are captured,” Harrison said.
Let's all agree to more social distancing while committing our murders.

No Surprise Here

Bay Journal, Mercury widespread in Chesapeake Bay headwaters fish. But we knew this already.
Nearly half of all gamefish in freshwater lakes, streams and rivers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed may be unsafe to eat because of high levels of mercury, a new study suggests.

In the first study to examine mercury across a spectrum of fish in the six-state region, scientists found that the pollutant remains prevalent in the environment in its most toxic form despite years of declining mercury emissions.

The totals vary widely by location, a possible indication that local conditions are raising or lowering the risk of contamination, according to the research conducted by three U.S. Geological Survey scientists.

“Our goal here was to really do a first cut of what we saw across the landscape,” said Collin Eagles-Smith, a USGS research ecologist. “Hopefully, that can be a springboard for future studies to get a better sense at why.”

The study centers on the type of mercury that is most toxic to humans: methylmercury. The neurotoxin is formed when inorganic mercury interacts with certain bacteria. It is particularly harmful to fetuses and children, potentially leading to intellectual deficits and problems with motor skills.

In the Chesapeake Bay watershed, mercury is the main trigger for fish-consumption advisories. Coal-fired power plants and trash incinerators are the largest sources of the pollutant in the region, scientists say. Once released into the air, mercury can travel great distances before getting deposited into waterways through rainfall or as a gas.

The Chesapeake watershed’s mercury levels — with 45% of all fish in the study exceeding the consumption standard — are similar to those found in many parts of the country, the authors say. The findings underscore the importance of checking for public health advisories before eating any wild-caught fish, said James Willacker, the study’s lead author.
Georgia used to work for the premier mercury biogeochemist from the Chesapeake Bay region, Dr. Cindy Gilmour, doing most of her mercury analysis in fish and a variety of other matrices. Mercury is, indeed, everywhere you look, if you have sensitive enough analytical techniques. And fish have so much it's not even particularly challenging.

In fact, many years ago, me and my fishing buddy Tom, who just happens to be Cindy's husband, helped catch a bunch of Striped Bass of varying sizes, from sub legal to 50 inches, and produced a data set that showed (not unexpectedly) that the concentrations of Hg were higher in larger fish, and that above about 30 inches, they usually had concentrations at which advisories would be recommended.

The techniques were well known, all that was necessary was for someone to go around and catch a few of each fish of edible size, from all the possible water ways, and analyze them. Oh, and somebody to pay for it. ICPMSs don't buy themselves.


The USGS researchers culled fish contamination records from two sources: a study conducted by the agency in the watershed from 2013–17 and state monitoring programs with reporting dating as far back as 1990.

Together, the collections contained measurements from nearly 8,000 fish caught in 600 locations.

The researchers found that the basin with the highest mercury concentrations was the Susquehanna. More than half of the basin’s freshwater areas ranked among the most toxic spots across the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which stretches from Virginia Beach, VA, to Cooperstown, NY.

Next was the Potomac, where 18% of waters landed in that tier. No water body outside of the Potomac and Susquehanna drainage areas fell into the most-polluted category. In contrast, at least half of the water bodies in the James, Rappahannock and York watersheds — all in Virginia — placed in the category with the lowest levels.

Eagles-Smith said it’s unclear why the watersheds in the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay basin have higher mercury levels in fish than those in the south. Regional air patterns would suggest the opposite — mercury tumbles from the atmosphere to the ground at higher rates in the South than in the North, according to the study.

Because methylmercury levels intensify with each step up food chain, the USGS scientists found the highest amounts in larger fish, including some of the region’s most prized sportfish.
 Ah, but where are the conditions better for the methylation of Hg, the step most necessary for its accumulation in fish?
Striped bass, a gamefish popular on restaurant menus, had the most mercury in its meat of the 32 fish tracked in the study, with a typical concentration of 0.31 parts per million. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set a consumption limit for mercury of 0.3 parts per million.

“There are lots of people out there recreationally consuming that [fish],” said Betsy Nicholas, executive director of Waterkeepers Chesapeake. “These people don’t realize what they’re ingesting and how much of a detrimental impact that can have.”

Striped bass was followed, from more contaminated to less, by bowfin (0.2), walleye (0.19), largemouth bass (0.18) and flathead catfish (0.17), according to the report. The species with the least mercury included three types of trout and the creek chub.

“Trout are a great choice if you’re trying to avoid mercury exposure,” Eagles-Smith said.
Meh. If you're past reproductive age (or male) it takes a lot of Hg to be a real problem.



Wombat-socho has Rule 5 Sunday: Summer Musashi up and running as expected.

Halfway Through 2020: I'm Not Done Yet!

‘Pandemic potential’: New swine flu strain discovered in China
A strain of swine flu that scientists fear has the potential to become a pandemic in humans has been identified in China.

According to a report from the BBC, researchers are concerned the flu could mutate and easily spread from person to person. Right now, it’s carried by pigs but could infect humans, according to scientists.

Experts say this strain has “all the hallmarks” of adapting to impact the human population. With it being a newer virus, people would likely have little to no immunity.

“We just do not know a pandemic is going to occur until the damn thing occurs,” Robert Webster, an influenza investigator, told Science Magazine. “Will this one do it? God knows.”

Scientists say G4 EA H1N1, which is the name of the new virus, could grow and multiply in human airways. They say the current flu vaccines don’t appear to protect against it, according to the BBC report.

“Right now, we are distracted with coronavirus and rightly so. But we must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses,” said Prof Kin-Chow Chang of Nottingham University in the UK in an interview with the BBC.
As far as I know there's no rule that says you can't have two pandemics in one year. . . .

Russiagate Turns a Page

Well, regular "Russiagate" has all but fizzled as it has become clear that it was all a setup from the Obama administration and its holdovers, a fact that the MSM refuses to report, or to make excuses for. Unwilling to get let the Russian "collusion" meme go, the NYT has opened a new chapter, in this case making a charge that intelligence community reported to Trump that Russians had offered a bounty on American soldiers lives, which had been collected in several incidents, and that Trump had ignored this, and welcome Putin to come back to the G7. According to a happy AllahPundit at Hot Air, AP jumped in with Yes, Trump Was Briefed On Russia Putting Bounties On U.S. Troops Earlier This Year, and the Bulwark Boyz cheered The Russian Bounty Scandal Shouldn’t Surprise Anyone.

But, given the fact that all the stories cited unnamed intelligence, and portions of the intelligence agencies appear to still be consumed with never-Trump fervor, the whole thing seemed a little fishy, and indeed, evidence soon emerged to counter the claim. US News,  Trump Denies Russia Bounty Claim as Bipartisan Outrage Grows on Capitol Hill
"Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP," Trump wrote in a late-night tweet on Sunday. He was referring to the story first reported in The New York Times on Friday and subsequently confirmed by other news organizations about the Russian scheme, including reports that Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were briefed on it as early as March. Trump added in his tweet, "Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!"
 AP, GOP lawmakers urge action after Russia-Afghanistan briefing.
Eight Republican lawmakers attended a White House briefing Monday about explosive allegations that Russia secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing American troops in Afghanistan — intelligence the White House insisted the president himself had not been fully read in on.

Members of Congress in both parties called for additional information and consequences for Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, and eight Democrats were to be briefed on the matter Tuesday morning. Still, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted Trump had not been briefed on the findings because they hadn’t been verified.

The White House seemed to be setting an unusually high bar for bringing the information to Trump, since it is rare for intelligence to be confirmed without a shadow of doubt before it is presented to senior government decision-makers. McEnany declined to say why a different standard of confidence in the intelligence applied to briefing lawmakers than bringing the information to the president.

Republicans who were in the briefing expressed alarm about Russia’s activities in Afghanistan.
Fox, Pentagon says ‘no corroborating’ evidence to stand up NYT report on Russian bounties
“To date, DOD has no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations found in open-source reports. Regardless, we always take the safety and security of our forces in Afghanistan—and around the world—most seriously and therefore continuously adopt measures to prevent harm from potential threats,” Jonathan  Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.'
Tom Rogan at WaEx, The likely reason Trump wasn't briefed on Russia's Taliban plot
The New York Times correctly reported on Friday that U.S. intelligence officials believe Russia's GRU intelligence service paid the Taliban to attack coalition forces in Afghanistan. But even as he hasn't refuted the reporting, the director of national intelligence has confirmed the White House's statement that President Trump did not receive intelligence briefings on the matter.

A few things are going on here.

First, note that belief and some evidence do not alone make a presidential-level intelligence product. . . .
Monica Showalter at AmThink assembles at fine collection of evidence at Another Deep State hoax blown out of the water: Trump never briefed about Russian bounties —Herridge

Virginia Kruta at Da Caller, Herridge: Intel Official Says NSA Cannot Corroborate Russia, Taliban Story
Ace, Surprise: Latest Deep State Leak Pushed by Leftwing Media Is Another Huge Lie
There was never anything about Russians paying the Taliban bounties on American soldiers to report.

This was low-level gossip (at best) that was never corroborated even in a small way.
At JOM, Tom Maguire offers a plausible theory at Hold The Fake News Presses!
Wait, what?!? The big NY Times scoop about Russian bounties to the Taliban for killing Americans was raw intel the credibility of which was still being assessed? Whoa, Fake News Watch!

Although, don't rule out this scenario - Faction A is convinced the intl is legitimate. Faction B is convinced that the US/Russian relationship is complicated, we have no good responses, we don't need this aggravation right now, and anyway like most intel, this report has holes.

The upshot: Faction B is slow-walking, foot-dragging, and basically hoping to bury this under unanswerable follow-up questions. A frustrated Faction A leaks the mess to the press. And here we are, lost in the fog.
Whew, but a little of the old stuff keeps coming out. Monte Kuligowski at AmThink, Did Obama give a tell about Flynn investigation in his last press conference? Jed Babbin at AmSpec, It Was Obama All AlongWorse than Watergate: Part 3. Well, Obama, with his insiders in the intelligence community and the media.
It’s a great pity that you can’t impeach someone who is no longer in office, because Obama’s actions — clearly in violation of the law and of the constitutional rights of Flynn, Trump, Carter Page, and others — were entirely worthy of impeachment.
 Sundance at CTH sends along Sidney Powell Discusses In-Depth Background of Michael Flynn Case…., Long and nothing new, but well worth the listen:



And a little dirt on Hunter Biden from John Solomon at JTN, Air Biden: Secret Service provided security for Hunter Biden on 400-plus trips during Obama years. Of course they did, but Hunter could always reimburse the treasury with some of his Chinese billions.

It's Great to Have Options

Racing prodigy Renee Gracie now an outcast after porn star reveal
Former V8 Supercars racer Renee Gracie has received a significant financial windfall since going public with her new career in pornography.

During an exclusive interview with the Daily Telegraph, Gracie revealed she walked away from the sport without earning a cent, and after working in an auto shop, she decided to cash in on her good looks by joining adult subscription website onlyfans.com.

Now 25, Gracie is making bank as an adult entertainer, charging subscribers $9 a month for photographs and videos.

The Daily Telegraph reported over 5,000 people have subscribed to Gracie’s site since the story broke on Friday, meaning she has made an extra $45,000 in three days.

In total, Gracie reportedly boasts 7,000 subscribers, meaning the former racer now makes $63,000 every month, or $756,000 per year, assuming the subscribers all stick around.

“It has been the best thing I have done in my whole life,” Gracie told News Corp Australia. “It has put me in a financial position I could never have dreamt of and I really enjoy it. I am fine with whatever they want to call me. I am earning good money and I am comfortable with where I am at.”

Supercars released a statement further distancing the sport from Gracie. . .
Wombat-socho has Rule 5 Sunday: Summer Musashi up and running as expected.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Russiagate: Flynn Fiasco Heating Up Again

It looks like pundits are getting set for the next step in the Flynn saga. Will Judge Sullivan accept his rebuke, however sulkily, and just dismiss the case like the Appeals Court told him to, or will he appeal to the main body of the court, or even the Supreme Court. I'll bet he appeals. He's lost any pretense of being non-partisan, so now, all he can do for the cause is stall as long as possible. My uneducated guess is something will happen this week. Insty cites a big chunk of Kimberly Strassel at WSJ in KIMBERLEY STRASSEL: Judging FBI Conduct: The D.C. Circuit becomes the first court to acknowledge the FBI’s 2016 abuse.
The Justice Department’s credibility was at stake here. Judge Sullivan bought into the same Democratic conspiracy theories, which is why he refused Justice’s motion to dismiss and appointed retired judge John Gleeson to act as shadow prosecutor. He argued the Justice Department wasn’t entitled to the usual “presumption of regularity.” And if the circuit judges thought there was anything to claims that Mr. Barr was playing political favorites, it could have allowed the process to continue.

Instead they bluntly noted that there was no “legitimate basis” to question the department’s behavior. They even slapped Mr. Gleeson for relying on “news stories, tweets and other facts outside the record.” By contrast, Judge Rao’s opinion notes: “The government’s motion includes an extensive discussion of newly discovered evidence casting Flynn’s guilt into doubt.” It points out that this includes “evidence of misconduct by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” It finishes by noting that each government branch must be encouraged to “self correct when it errs.”

The court’s conclusion is obvious. All it had to do was look at the voluminous evidence the Justice Department supplied. Its briefs proved the FBI had improperly pursued Mr. Flynn, keeping open an investigation that produced no evidence, ginning up a “violation” of the seldom-enforced Logan Act, sandbagging Mr. Flynn with an interview that had no “legitimate investigative basis.” It even provided new FBI notes this week suggesting that then-President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were improperly engaged in the investigation. The department’s filings showed that the Mueller team had consistently denied defense attorneys exculpatory information. And it explained the straightforward process by which it had reached its decision to withdraw: Mr. Barr in February appointed veteran U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen to review the case, and in May Mr. Jensen concluded dismissal was “the proper and just course.”
One of the last honest liberals, Jonathon Turley writes “Irreparable Harm”: How The Flynn Case Became A Dangerous Game Of Legal Improvisation
This record proved too much for the appellate court. Rather than order Sullivan off the case, it decided to order Sullivan to dismiss the case. Short of an order of actual recusal of a judge, a mandamus order is the most stinging indictment of the handling of a case that can come from an appellate court.

The ruling in this case is unlikely to force any real circumspection by legal analysts or the media in the prior coverage. Nuanced legal questions quickly evaporate in this age of rage. Conflicting case law is dismissed in favor of the clarity demanded by echo journalism. The law however brings its own clarity and the message of this opinion could not be clearer. Sullivan’s actions in the case did not spell “trouble” for the Trump administration, but rather, they spelled trouble for the administration of justice in our court system.
At De Federalist, John Lucas thinks the  DC Court Of Appeals Blasts Judge Sullivan For Michael Flynn Power Grabs
He now has a choice. He can obey the order from the appeals court. Or he can continue his unconstitutional attempt to seize more power — power not authorized by the Constitution — by seeking to overturn the court’s opinion and continuing the unlawful persecution of Flynn.
Hot Air catches the NYT whining about  How Michael Flynn’s Defense Team Found Powerful Allies
Asking for “utmost confidentiality,” Ms. Powell told Mr. Barr that the case against Mr. Flynn, the president’s former national security adviser who had pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I., smacked of “corruption of our beloved government institutions for what appears to be political purposes.” She asked the attorney general to appoint an outsider to review the case, confident that such scrutiny would justify ending it.

Mr. Barr did what she wanted. He appointed a U.S. attorney six months later to scour the Flynn case file with a skeptical eye for documents that could be turned over as helpful to the defense. Ultimately, Mr. Barr directed the department to drop the charge, one of his numerous steps undercutting the work of the Russia investigation and the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.
Speaking of whining, the WaPoo chief fact spinner Glenn Kessler wrote a missive Michael Flynn, Barack Obama and Trump’s claims of ‘treason’, without the usual Pinocchios.

NYPo editorial board, Fresh evidence Obama ordered up the phony Russiagate scandal
Notes handwritten by (now disgraced) FBI agent Peter Strzok show Obama, with then-Veep Joe Biden playing along, encouraging the FBI and Justice Department’s investigation of Flynn, even as they were told his actions “appear legit.”

The document, plainly Strzok’s notes of FBI chief Jim Comey’s account, offer more details of the Jan. 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting of Obama, Biden, Comey, National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.

On learning that the FBI was set to close its investigation into Flynn after finding no evidence of wrongdoing, Obama and Biden suggested finding ways to keep it open, with Biden bringing up the (dead letter) Logan Act.

More, the notes have Obama ordering the continued investigation be kept secret from the incoming president and his people: “Make sure you look at things and have the right people on it.”
. . .
Biden told ABC last month, “I know nothing about those moves to investigate Michael Flynn.” Was he lying, or has his memory grown that bad?
Embrace the healing power of "and."

And what was Gen. Flynn's real crime? Before ‘takedown’ of General Flynn, he was planning to audit John Brennan for running billions ‘off the books’ (Lifezette). What's the fun of being CIA Director without a few billion bucks in off the book accounts to play with?
Sidney Powell, attorney for retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, said her client, in his duties as the White House national security adviser, was prepared to “audit” the U.S. intelligence community.

That, according to the former federal prosecutor, is partly why federal agents “set up” Flynn.

“He was going to audit the intel agencies because he knew about the billions Brennan and company were running off the books,” Powell said, referring to former CIA Director John Brennan.
Roger Kimball at AmGreat writes A Coup Against Our Institutions "The systematic campaign to undermine an incoming presidential administration through politicized investigations is a true constitutional crisis."
Nota bene “the peaceful and unobstructed transition of power from one presidential administration to the next. . . is the crown jewel of the American constitutional system.”

“Is” or “was”?
Jonathon Turely, again, this time from atop Da Hill, Think twice about why the media attacks William Barr
While I have publicly criticized Barr for some of his policies and actions, he is someone I have known personally for years and even represented with other attorneys general during the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton. Piling on Barr has never been more popular today, but the basis for this criticism has never been weaker. Three stories seemed to entirely break free from factual or legal moorings, and no one seemed to care.

The case of Michael Flynn has been in the media, including the hearing exploring the involvement of Barr. Of course, for Barr to be immoral, the case must be portrayed as virtually immaculate. The media coverage has steadfastly ignored disclosures about officials pushing unrelentingly for any criminal charge to use on Flynn, allegedly withholding exculpatory evidence, and giving misleading statements to the trial court.

Confirming the facts seems irrelevant to the criticism. My colleagues at George Washington University signed a letter denouncing him over the case despite new developments. The letter is written well and raises a number of legitimate issues. But some of us felt it reached conclusions before establishing any facts. It praised the work of retired Judge John Gleeson, an appointment by Judge Emmet Sullivan that some criticized. Gleeson argued against the dismissal of the case against Flynn. It stated that the brief by Gleeson showed “gross prosecutorial abuse.”

The faculty concluded it was thus established that “the attorney general once again sought to do a favor for the president.” A day after the letter was signed, the circuit court issued an opinion that ordered Sullivan to dismiss the case against Flynn and criticized the brief as an example of the “irregular” course of conduct by Sullivan. It noted that the brief by Gleeson was based on little more than the stories and facts “outside the record” to contrast the government grounds for dismissal.

New evidence further supports the Justice Department position that no legitimate investigation was tied to the original interview of Flynn, a key portion of a prosecution. Notes from fired agent Peter Strzok reveal that former director James Comey told President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden that the call between Flynn and the Russian ambassador was legitimate from the start. Yet officials continued to find a way to charge Flynn on any crime, including violations of the Logan Act.

Next is the issue of Geoffrey Berman. Barr said he was “stepping down” as the United States attorney for Manhattan to make way for Jay Clayton, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Clayton wanted to return to New York and expressed an interest in the position. Barr had told Berman that he and Trump wanted the men to swap positions, or Berman could take over the civil division of the Justice Department.

Berman wanted to think about it, but Barr announced it. Berman issued a statement which strongly suggests his removal was an effort to influence investigations of Trump associates. The media exploded and some called for the impeachment of Barr. Meanwhile, some journalists had confirmed that the move had nothing to do with those investigations.

There is no credible allegation that Barr has hampered the investigations since becoming attorney general, and he told the United States attorneys in Manhattan to report any kind of interference to the Justice Department inspector general. I do not agree that Clayton is the best candidate for the spot. But the substantive question is whether, as reported, Barr was trying to influence the investigations of Trump associates. There is no evidence, but plenty of media coverage, to support that proposition.'
The Peacock wonders  If the Deep State hates Trump, why aren't more officials speaking out like Bolton? "Analysis: If John Bolton is telling the truth, plenty of career diplomats, soldiers and spies have kept silent while watching Trump abuse his office. Why?" "If" covers a lot of ground here. Why won't the Democrats subpoena him? There's now a long record of their witness saying one thing in public, and another thing under oath. The real reason is that bureaucrats are, for the most part, inherently cowards. They didn't go into government service to risk their careers, they did it for the security.

Oh goody! From Sophia Mann at JTN, Complaint filed against former Mueller prosecutor Zelinsky alleging misconduct in Stone case
he National Legal and Policy Center, in conjunction with Andrew Miller, a former aide to Roger Stone, filed a complaint against one of Stone's prosecutors who worked with Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the case against Stone.

Miller and the NLPC are alleging that prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky engaged in ethical misconduct pertaining to the use of a grand jury in the case against Stone.

The 17-page complaint accuses Zelinsky of misleading the court in 2019, in addition to switching grand juries without informing Miller, who was testifying, his attorney or the court.

"Mr. Zelinsky abused the grand jury by seeking Mr. Miller’s testimony long after Mr. Stone was indicted, which violates Department of Justice policy prohibiting gathering evidence on a defendant after indictment, unless the government was seeking evidence for new crimes against Mr. Stone or other targets. Neither exception appeared to be the case," said Paul Kamenar, a National Legal and Policy Center attorney and counsel for Miller.

Another Muddy Monday


Wombat-socho has Rule 5 Sunday: Summer Musashi up and running as expected.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Beach Report 6/28/20

A warm and humid day, but partial clouds kept it from getting too bad.

On the way down to the beach, Skye paused long enough for me to get a picture or two of this Pearl Crescent.
Compare and contrast to the Silvery Checkerspot I found last weekend at Raccoon State Park in Pennsylvania. I don't know if this is mimicry, convergent evolution or closely related species.
 One of the neatest flowers around, Button Bush.
A decent crowd at the beach, but not as crowded as yesterday.
 A Spicebush Swallowtail puddling on the beach.
Up at the big cliff fall I found this whale vertebra embedded in a clay lump. Also found in the clay, but not pictured, a large but broken Snaggletooth, a big cookie, several Ecphora in various states of disrepair, and the best preserved Scallop shell I've ever found. Plus we found the usual complement of random teeth (including a fragodile) scattered around on the beach.

Skye and Georgia take the lead on the way home.

Scattered Popup Russiagate

Like our weather lately, generally hot and muggy, with occasional popup thunderstorms of varying intensity:

At Red State, "shipwreckedcrew" gives play-by-play as AG Barr Does Hand-To-Hand Combat with NPR
Two days ago he sat down with NPR Morning Edition’s Steven Inskeep for a more “skeptical” session of questions and answers. NPR has now posted a transcript online of the interview.

Two observations before I get into the substance: 1) the interview shows Barr is willing to sit down and answer questions not just from a presumably “friendly” journalist, but he’s also willing to sit down and answer questions from journalist who is going to “bait” him with questions full of false premises; and 2) from the interview you can see why the House Judiciary Committee really doesn’t want AG Barr to sit in an open Committee session and be given the opportunity to lay waste to idiotic questions they think they can ambush him with.

Near the end of the interview AG Barr identifies the problems with media coverage of DOJ and his decision-making — it’s all a pre-constructed media narrative that is impervious to actual facts. The coverage tells the story that the media wants to tell, with inconvenient facts ignored, and imaginary facts made-up when necessary. It’s the quintessential “calling out” of the making of “fake news” by the media.

The transcript shows that there were in the neighborhood of 25 substantive questions/subjects put to AG Barr by Inskeep over the course of the interview. No fewer than 12 times Inskeep’s questions explicitly stated or implied that AG Barr’s actions across a variety of subjects were 1) taken at the instruction of the President, 2) done for the purpose of benefiting the President, or 3) done in a manner that would advantage the President’s interests in some way. He are a few examples of the way he framed his questions . . .
It goes on and hits a number of specific Russiagate topics, including Michael Flynn and Roger Stone. It's sad that we must consider NPR to be a wholly owned, federally funded subsidiary of the the Democratic Party. Read it all. And speaking of Gen. Barr, Mollie Hemingway at Da Fed details how CBS Deceptively Edits Barr Interview, Leaving Out Key Details On Violent Riots, Police Oversight, in other words, standard operating procedure.

From Town Hall, Peter Marshall calls Peter Strzok: The Deep State’s Worst Nightmare
It occurred to me as I looked at the chicken-scratching notes released this week that Strzok purportedly took of a January 5, 2017 White House meeting that this guy Strzok couldn’t have done more damage to the anti-Trump coup-plotters in the Obama administration if he had tried.

Exactly how Strzok came to learn the contents of this meeting is a matter of some conjecture, and curiosity, as it appears that he either attended the meeting, listened in on it, or heard a recording of it. It’s been said that then-FBI Director James Comey relayed the contents of the meeting to Strzok, but given the disjointedness of the scrawled notes, it seems odd that they were not organized in a more legible and coherent manner if Comey really told Strzok about it later.

In any event, through these notes, Peter Strzok provided the most damning documentary evidence released to date that Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Sally Yates, Susan Rice and James Comey directly participated in possibly the most outrageous known act of sedition in American history, putting in motion the investigative targeting for ostensible “Russian collusion” of Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor-designate Michael Flynn using, in Obama’s words, “the right people.” And we haven’t even seen the redacted portions of that document. One can only imagine what sins lurk among the blacked-out portions of the notes.
. . .
No, I’m not really suggesting Strzok had some cunning motive to undermine Biden and his fellow coup-plotters. Frankly, Strzok wasn’t that smart, nor that patriotic. But it would make for a neat twist in our hypothetical Hollywood political thriller.
While Larry O'Connor at Town Hall calls Strzok's notes Biden's #Obamagate Smoking Gun
The note is as clear as day and can't be ambiguously interpreted or misinterpreted to throw Joe Biden a lifeline. Disgraced FBI official Peter Strzok made the notation personally and helpfully added the quotation marks so that we all know that Mr. Biden raised the issue of the arcane, unenforced, and probably unconstitutional law that was employed as a pretext to set-up, entrap and ruin Gen. Michael Flynn.
Seth Barrett Tilman compares Liberals: Then and Now
Liberals from November 2016 until June 2020: The Department of Justice enjoys independence, both legally as well as normatively, from the White House and President. The President should only supervise investigations and prosecutions at the broad policy-making level (via statutes and regulations) and by appointments in the normal course of rotation in office, through retirements and resignations. If the President wants to know the details of ongoing investigations and prosecutions, he can read about them in the newspapers like anyone else. The unitary executive theory is alien to our legal system—a phony doctrine made up by the Federalist Society.

Liberals after June 2020 Publication of the Strzok Memorandum in the Flynn Matter: Of course, the President should be apprised of the details of all ongoing investigations—even if they involve the opposition party’s candidate and his confidantes. No one is above the law! The President is supposed to comment about how to staff those investigations. And the Vice President is supposed to put forward novel legal theories (e.g., the Logan Act) in order to help the investigation/prosecution (of his future opponent). These are not disqualifying conflicts: such conflicts are built into the Constitution. The Vice President is part of the Executive Branch and has a role in active Justice Department investigations—even if that involves the opposition. The unitary executive includes the Vice President. The Unitary Executive …

To put it another way ... the active involvement of the Attorney General and Main Justice in overriding the decisions of subordinates and career civil servants is bad, particularly if all the facts are known and when it is done in public. But the Vice President’s putting forward novel legal theories to move an investigation of the opposition forward is ... perfectly normal ... especially when done in secret. Makes complete sense.
Jenny Beth Martin at Town Hall has 8 Questions Biden Must Answer. Only eight? And she doesn't even ask one about Strzok's notes.

The AP (through the Philly Inquirer) reports A key witness in the Robert Mueller report has been sentenced to 10 years on child sex charges. George Nader. I guess his answers weren't good enough to get the President impeached, which would have surely got him immunity.

WaPoo (cited in ctpost) reports that dangerous man Roger Stone ordered to report to prison July 14, as judge denies request for two-month delay. That judge really hates him and wants him to die before his appeals can be heard or Trump can pardon him.

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

Palm Sunday

Another celebrity edition, for some values of the word celebrity:

Katie Bell
Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup and linkfest. Wombat-socho has Rule 5 Sunday: Summer Musashi up and running as expected.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Beach Report 6/27/20

On the way down to the beach, this Green Heron didn't even bother to get away as Skye and I passed.

It's hot today - mid 80s at the beach, and 92 at home, with a SE breeze that doesn't bring much relief to the beach.
The beach at Matoaka was pretty much packed to capacity, at least the part close to the path down. The big cylindrical culverts used as barriers mark the junction between Calvert Beach and Matoaka.
 The two community beaches, Calvert Beach (in the foreground) and Long Beach in the distance were pretty well used, but not as packed.
although the area near the parking lot at Long Beach was pretty crowded.

Russiagate: Batting Cleanup

An odd lot of material, mostly following the week's previous developments.

From Roger Simon at ET, No Holds Barred: Barr and Durham Must Investigate Obama & Biden Too He should, but he won't because he won't want to be seen as that political, although that ship has long gone over the horizon. From Dan Chaitin at WaEx, Barr: Trump powerless to dictate Durham investigation
Attorney General William Barr emphasized President Trump has no authority to tell him how to steer U.S. Attorney John Durham's inquiry into the Russia investigation.

"No," Barr said when asked Thursday by Steve Inskeep, host of NPR's Morning Edition, whether Trump has any dominion under the Constitution to dictate the outcome of the DOJ investigation into misconduct by federal law enforcement and intelligence officials.

Barr said the same in response to a question about whether the president can instruct him to release a report a certain way. "I think Durham is going to report the facts," he added.

All this came after Inskeep noted how Trump has expressed "very strong opinions" about Durham's work. The president has, for instance, asserted the Obama administration improperly spied on his campaign and claimed his predecessor committed "treason."

Democrats, law enforcement veterans, and others have raised concerns that Durham is conducting a politically motivated inquisition, even warning of an "October Surprise" to boost Trump in the November election.

Barr insists that neither Trump's Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, nor former President Barack Obama are targets of Durham's investigation.

"No one under investigation in the Durham matter is running for president. And I've said publicly that neither President Obama or Vice President Biden are under investigation," he said. "And I've also said I'm committed to having the American people have a free choice in this election between the candidates, and I don't want the Department of Justice to be interfering in that."
From Sundance at CTH, Attorney General Bill Barr Podcast Interview With Senator Ted Cruz – (Video)…



Chuck Ross at Da Caller recounts how the FBI Refuses To Disclose Records On Source Who Undermined Steele Dossier. My guess is Oleg Deripaska.
The FBI is refusing to release documents related to the primary source for dossier author Christopher Steele, saying in response to a public records request that the information is classified and risks identifying a confidential FBI source.

The source, whose identity remains a mystery, holds key information that could shed light on apparent inaccuracies in Steele’s dossier, which the FBI cited extensively in applications for surveillance orders against Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
But FBI Director Says He’s Terminated and Disciplined Those Involved with FISA Abuse (News Thud). Too little, too late. He's stalling hoping for a Biden administration.

Via the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 06.25.20 July Kelly reminds us of Obama and his Gang of Untouchables.
Despite a steady flow of evidence confirming that Obama’s White House directed the operation to infiltrate, spy on, and sabotage Trump’s presidential campaign and then employ those same forces against Trump after he won, the media refuses to report any of it. Notes released this week once again reveal that the targeting of Lt. General Michael Flynn, Trump’s incoming security advisor, was openly discussed during a high-level Oval Office meeting in early January 2017 with Obama, Biden, James Comey, Susan Rice, and Sally Yates.
Margot Cleveland at Da Fed, Svetlana Lokhova Takes Her Russiagate Defamation Case To Another U.S. Court
A little more than a year ago, Lokhova, now a U.K. citizen, filed suit in a Virginia federal court against the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, NBC Universal, and Stefan Halper, for defamation and interference with contract. Lokhova’s complaint alleged that Halper, who served as a confidential human source during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, “colluded with the media defendants and others to ‘leak false statements about [her] as part of a nefarious effort to smear General [Michael] Flynn and fuel and further the now debunked and dead narrative that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.”

The complaint further alleged that “Halper intentionally misrepresented that Lokhova was a ‘Russian spy’ who ‘had an affair with General Flynn on the orders of Russian intelligence’ and ‘compromised General Flynn.’”

A chance meeting in February 2014 between Lokhova and Flynn—then President Barack Obama’s director of the Defense Intelligence Agency—at a dinner at Cambridge University where Lokhova was completing her Ph.D. in history provided the silver for the scandalous tale Halper allegedly crafted and then sold to the media outlets.

The story that Lokhova had an affair with Flynn began with inuendo when the U.K. Sunday Times ran an article suggesting impropriety between Flynn and an unnamed Cambridge student. Later reporting by U.S. outlets named Lokhova as the “Russian” and relied on an unnamed former senior U.S. official’s expression of concern about the meeting to provide a veneer of credibility to story.

Each story spun the tale further, while adding hyperlinks to the earlier reports. The earliest reports, however, came more than a year before Lokhova filed suit. That delay caused the district court to dismiss Lokhova’s complaint based, in part, on the one-year statute of limitations. The district court also found Lokhova’s complaint failed to adequately allege facts to show that Halper was the source of the defamatory statements given the various media outlets. Accordingly, the court threw out Lokhova’s lawsuit.

Lokhova vowed an appeal and now her attorney, Steven Biss, has filed his opening brief with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. In his brief, Biss hammers the damning facts that show the harm done to Lokhova, while also hitting an array of legal points underlying the lower court’s decision.
Filed under suits I wish to succeed.

Matt Margolis at PJ Media, Does a Newly Released Document Prove Hunter Biden Was Selling Access to the Obama Administration? Yes, but don't expect the media to trumpet this.  Dan Payne and John Solomon, Hunter Biden's Ukraine firm landed deal with USAID program while under corruption investigation
Just a few months after Hunter Biden joined the board of Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian gas company landed a deal with an Obama administration renewable energy program that had been championed by one of his father's key vice presidential advisers, newly released State Department memos show.

The Memorandum of Understanding between Burisma and USAID's Municipal Energy Reform Project in Ukraine (MERP) was signed in October 2014, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by Just the News under the Freedom of Information Act.

At that time, Burisma was under very public investigations by both the British government and the Ukrainian prosecutor general's office and considered by the State Department to suffer from corruption issues.

And the Burisma official who signed the MOU, Andrii Kicha, was publicly identified in British court documents in 2014 as someone whose conduct was questioned during the probe. More recently, Kicha was detained in Ukraine in what law enforcement authorities there said was a failed attempt to deliver a $6 million bribe to prosecutors designed to end continuing investigations of the controversial gas company.
Also via the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 06.25.20 Volokh Conspiracy: In Re Michael Flynn As Bush v. Gore. A legal comparison.

Rule 5 Saturday - Julia Majewska

For some reason or another, this week's Rule 5 wonder is the Polish model Julia Majewska

Some NSFW pictures.

Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup and linkfest. Linked by EBL in  Tristan und Isolde ๐ŸŽญVintage Monsters and Babes ๐Ÿค–๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿฝ‍๐Ÿค‍๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿผ, Madama Butterfly ๐ŸŽญ๐Ÿฆ‹, Eugene Onegin ๐ŸŽญ, Rolling Stones: Monkey Man, Oona Chaplin, Francesca da Rimini ๐ŸŽญ, Cosรฌ fan tutte ๐ŸŽญ, Il Trovatore ๐ŸŽญ, La Bohรจme ๐ŸŽญ๐Ÿ˜ท☣️๐Ÿ•ฏ️, Seattle's "Summer of Love" so far not so great ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿป‍♀️๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿป‍♀️, Bon Jovi: Miss Fourth of July ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ, La Donna del Lago ๐ŸŽญ, Don Pasquale ๐ŸŽญ, Happy 4th of July ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ, Bruce Springsteen: 4th of July, Asbury Park ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ, Mount Rushmore July 3, 2020, Hypocrite Alyssa Milano Attacks Redskins Team Name While Selling Their Gear ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿป‍♀️๐Ÿˆ๐Ÿค‘๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿป‍♀️, Don Giovanni ๐ŸŽญ, Carmen ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿป๐ŸŽญ, The Nose ๐ŸŽญ๐Ÿ‘ƒ, Stompin' Tom Connors: Canada Day, Die Walkรผre ๐ŸŽญ, Force of Nature ๐ŸŽฅ, La Fille du Rรฉgiment ๐ŸŽญ, Die Zauberflรถte ๐ŸŽญ, The Brian Jonestown Massacre: Miss June 75, and New Women of Yellowstone. The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Erin Gray and FMJRA 2.0: Run With Me, Wherever I Go up and running on time and within budget. Linked by Proof Positive in the weekly Best of the Web* and at The Right Way in the weekly Rule 5 Saturday LinkOrama.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Back From Fishing

Five of us, Col. Ski, Derek, Tom, Col. Ricardo (retired), and me hooked up for a fishing trip with Walleye Pete. We left Solomons at 5 PM to hit the daybreak bite at Location X, where we caught half our boat limit of ten Striped
Bass.
Calvert Cliffs shining in the daybreak.
Derek with one of the several stripers he caught today. He had the hot hand, and caught the biggest fish of the day, a 29 inch striper. We had hoped for some Speckled Trout, as Pete has had some caught in the region recently, but they eluded us today.
 After wearing out our welcome at "Location X", we crossed the Bay to the Little Choptank River, where we hit many sites, and caught fish at most of them.
From there, we wandered to the Choptank River, where I scored this nice 23 inch striper out of a rip.We did manage a boat limit of keepers, and had to throw back some spares.
 Derek also got this perchasaurus on a lure you might not expect it to hit.

We we on the way back to Solomons by 1 PM and arrived around 2. Here we were passing Cove Point Lighthouse.

Gone Fishin' Russiagate

But not like this:



So you'll get it this way or not at all:

General Michael Flynn Calls into the Mark Levin Show

Breitbart - Exclusive -- Michael Flynn Lawyer Sidney Powell: 'Rule of Law' Prevailed

Will Judge Sullivan Defy The Latest Flynn Ruling? There's A Good Chance

Strzok strikes again - Power Line

Svetlana on Twitter: "“Now we know both Obama and Biden were directly involved in planning the attack on Flynn,” Nunes said. “The Obama administration exploited our intelligence community to spy on their political opponents and engineer bogus investigations and prosecutions of them. Devin Nunes" - Twitter

Devin Nunes Discusses Peter Strzok Notes that Tie Obama and Biden to Flynn Targeting…  -  The Last Refuge

Wray Has ‘Serious Concerns’ About Comey FBI’s Investigation Of Michael Flynn - The Daily Caller

PJ Media -Trump Jr. Says Explosive Docs Show 'Joe Biden Got Caught Red-Handed Setting Up Gen. Flynn'

Sidney Powell Discusses Peter Strzok CYA Notes – “There’s A Criminal Conspiracy in There”… -The Last Refuge

GOP Lawmaker Forces DOJ Whistleblower To Admit He Sought Job With Democrats During Trump Impeachment - The Daily Caller

National Security Advisor Robert C. O'Brien on President Trump and General Secretary Xi - The Hugh Hewitt Show

How Bill Barr's Manhattan transfer went awry – HotAir

Maybe more like this:



But certainly not like this:



Linked at Proof Positive in the weekly Best of the Web* and at the Right Way in the weekly Rule 5 Saturday LinkOrama. The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Erin Gray and FMJRA 2.0: Run With Me, Wherever I Go up and running on time and within budget.

Fish Pic Friday - Mystery Fisherwoman

I need to figure out who this girl is:


Linked at Proof Positive in the weekly Best of the Web* and at the Right Way in the weekly Rule 5 Saturday LinkOrama. The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Erin Gray  up and running on time and within budget.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Storm Stayed Away at the Beach

Georgia had to stay home today. I waited out a shower, checked the radar, and decided the oncoming storms would track south of us. When I got to the beach, the southern sky was dark and gloomy . . .
While the northern sky was mostly sunny. It stayed that way the whole walk, with the storms sliding along south of us.
I found another one of those "different" fossil shells again today, up in the big new slide. The experts on the Facebook fossil board have identified them as "volutes", and say they are rare in our formations.
Volutes are distinguished by their distinctively marked spiral shells (to which the family name refers, voluta meaning "scroll" in Latin).

The shells have an elongated aperture in their first whorl and an inner lip characterised by a number of deep plaits. The elaborate decorations of the shells has made them a popular collectors' item, with the imperial volute (Voluta imperialis) of the Philippines being particularly prized.