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. 

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 –

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!

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:

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?