Saturday, March 31, 2018

Long Ago, In a Galaxy Far, Far Away

There was not enough Dark Matter to keep it together? It must be "The Force": Astronomers find the 'impossible': a galaxy without dark matter
Stupefied astronomers on Wednesday unveiled the first and only known galaxy without dark matter, the invisible and poorly-understood substance thought to make up a quarter of the Universe.

The discovery could revise or even upend theories of how galaxies are formed, they reported in the journal Nature.

"This is really bizarre," said co-author Roberto Abraham, an astronomer at the University of Toronto. "For a galaxy this size, it should have 30 times as much dark matter as regular matter," he told AFP by phone. "What we found is that there is no dark matter at all." "That shouldn't be possible," he added.

There are 200 billion observable galaxies, perhaps more, astronomers estimate. Some 65 million light-years from Earth, NGC1052-DF2 -- "DF2" for short -- is about the same size as our Milky Way, but has 100 to 1,000 times fewer stars.

Dark matter's existence is inferred from the motion of objects affected by its gravitational pull.

"It is conventionally believed to be an integral part of all galaxies, the glue that holds them together and the underlying scaffolding on which they are built," said co-author Allison Merritt from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, in Germany.
I can remember when "dark matter" was just an accounting trick to account for missing mass in the universe. Wait a minute. It's still just an accounting trick. It's never been directly detected.

Theories? Maybe it's the remnant of a galactic collision, where a group of stars were flung out and away from the colliding galaxies without the dark matter, which would pass through largely unaffected.

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

I'll Really Miss the Rule of Law

Karenna Gore, daughter of former Vice President Al Gore
 protests at the site of Spectra Energy's West Roxbury Lateral
 pipeline in Boston
Boston Judge Accepts Climate Necessity Defense, Dismisses Charges
Judge Mary Ann Driscoll has dismissed criminal charges against protestors including Al Gore’s daughter on the grounds that their actions were necessary to prevent climate change.

Judge sets aside charges in pipeline protest …
The protesters, including Karenna Gore, the daughter of former Vice President Al Gore, were facing charges of trespassing and disturbing the peace after climbing into a construction trench. On Tuesday, prosecutors asked a judge to convert the criminal charges into civil infractions, saying in the event of a conviction they were unlikely to ask for any further punishment. After allowing the motion, Judge Mary Ann Driscoll found the defendants not responsible, saying she agreed with their argument that their actions were necessary to combat climate change.
“Based on the very heartfelt expressions of the defendants who believe, and I don’t question their beliefs in any respect, who believe in their cause because they believe they were entitled to invoke the necessity defense, I’ll accept what they said,” Driscoll said.
So let's look at the "Necessity Defense":
A defense that permits a person to act in a criminal manner when an emergency situation, not of the person's own creation compels the person to act in a criminal manner to avoid greater harm from occurring.
There are, however, several requirements that must be met in order for the defendant to use necessity as a defense.

  • The defendant must reasonably believe that an actual threat exists. 
That may be the only requirement they meet, and that's giving them the benefit of the doubt; most watermelon (green on the outside, red in the middle) environmentalists really just want to kill capitalism; global warming is merely the chosen all purpose excuse.
  • The defendant must reasonably believe that the threat he is trying to prevent is greater than the damage that will result from his actions. Therefore, Christopher will be able to use the necessity defense if he reasonably believes that burning some of the houses at the edge of the forest is a lesser evil than allowing the entire town to burn.
The amount of global warming which could be prevented by the defendant's actions are effectively zero, a decimal fraction of degrees with many zeroes in front. There can be no reasonable belief that the defendant's action would have any reasonable effect.
  • The threatened harm that the defendant is trying to prevent with his actions must be imminent.
Global warming, if occurring (and there is a reasoned debate) is not imminent. It will be many years before the effects, if any, will become damaging. Currently, mild warming is beneficial.
  • The defendant can only use the necessity defense if there was no other, less harmful way to avoid the threatened danger. In the above example, Christopher will only be able to use the necessity defense if burning a few of the houses was the least harmful way to protect the town.
You mean, like win an election?
  • The defendant will only be able to use the defense if the defendant himself was not at fault in creating the situation that made it necessary to commit his crime. In other words, if Christopher himself had been responsible for the forest fire, he would not be able to use necessity as a defense to burning those houses.
Did they come to the scene of the crime in a car that burns fossil fuel, or even an electric one charged by a coal fired plant? Did they eat food grown using fossil fuels? Do they heat their house with gas or electric from a fossil fuel source? Almost certainly, making them complicit in the demand for fossil fuel energy.

It's very disappointed for a judge to agree with such a stupid assertion, but what can you expect from Massachusetts. I can only hope someone would appeal to more sensible court, but I doubt it will happen

But there is good news on the legal environmental front. A Federal Judge Rules that an Environmental Group Has Sued Others, Therefore It Can Be Sued
Last August, Energy Transfer Partners, the company that built the Dakota Access Pipeline, sued a number of environmental groups, including Greenpeace, BankTrack, and Earth First!, alleging the groups were collectively engaged in racketeering. Here’s a bit of the company’s press release:
This group of co-conspirators (the “Enterprise”) manufactured and disseminated materially false and misleading information about Energy Transfer and the Dakota Access Pipeline (“DAPL”) for the purpose of fraudulently inducing donations, interfering with pipeline construction activities and damaging Energy Transfer’s critical business and financial relationships. The Complaint also alleges that the Enterprise incited, funded, and facilitated crimes and acts of terrorism to further these objectives.
Obviously, public protest is legal and protected in the U.S., but ETP’s lawsuit claimed the protest was a cynical spectacle intended to raise money. It also claimed the illegal action of individuals, such as cutting holes in the pipeline with a blowtorch, were incited by these groups. ETP’s filing said the damage done to the company by this behavior amounted to “no less than hundreds of millions of dollars.”

One of the groups targeted by the suit, Earth First!, is being represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), which claims Earth First! is not a legal entity but a movement and therefore cannot be sued. In fact, CCR asked the judge to sanction ETP for bringing the Earth First! Journal, which is supposedly a separate entity, into the lawsuit. Last week a federal judge denied that request and gave the group until this coming Monday to prove it can’t be sued. From the Associated Press.
The Center for Constitutional Rights maintains Earth First is an unstructured social movement or philosophy, similar to Black Lives Matter, and can’t be sued. However, U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson says Earth First has been a listed plaintiff in three federal lawsuits in the 1980s and 1990s, involving a water project in Arizona, a wilderness area in Oregon and a New Mexico canyon important to American Indians.
“If Earth First can sue, it seems to me that it is subject to being sued,” Wilson said in a March 22 order.
That seems like common sense, but what does that have to do with the legal system?

Redolent Russiagate

It smells. First up, via Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 03.30.18", Don Surber has more on the DOJ IG investigation: Special counsel investigating the FBI
The headline and accompanying story in the Hill made it appear as if Attorney General Jeff Sessions is defying the Senate: "Sessions declines to appoint second special counsel."

The story said, "Attorney General Jeff Sessions revealed in a letter to lawmakers Thursday that he had declined to name a second special counsel to investigate allegations of surveillance abuse within the Department of Justice, despite pressure from the Republican Party for him to do so."

I read the letter. Sessions, a veteran prosecutor, said a special prosecutor isn't necessary. Inspector General Michael Horowitz and his staff of 470 people are handling the investigation in the corruption of the FBI by Barack Obama and company.
. . .
Sessions is an experienced prosecutor who knows how investigations work. He also is a Trump loyalist, and former colleague of Senator Chuck Grassley, who was among the three congressmen he sent the letter to.

There is no rift between Congress and Sessions.

But the media wants to create one to divert attention from the fact that Obama was Nixon on steroids when it came to abusing his power.
Ace: Sara Carter Claims The Coming-Soon IG Reporter Contains Criminal Referrals
Against whom, we don't know. We do know that McCabe lied -- or, per his own admission, accidentally made false statements, and did so, per Representative Jordan, four times, each more accidentally than the last time -- and so it could be that McCabe is being criminally referred.

We don't know. We also can't know for sure that Carter's sources are 100% right about this. Reports do change.

We do know that McCabe is shaking the tin cup for his legal defense fund on Go Fund Me and has collected $440,000+ so far.

Please consider his victims fund raisers, Gen. Michael Flynn and former FBI Agent Robyn Lee Gritz, instead.

More from Ace, who really wants another Special Counsel: Rep. Jim Jordan: McCabe Didn't Just Lie Once About His Leaks. He Lied Four Times.
His "I was all confuzinated!" defense might work for one lie, but for four, all consistent with each other but inconsistent with the facts?
"He didn't lie just once, he lied four times," Rep. Jim Jordan said. He continued, "He lied to James Comey. He lied to the Office of Professional Responsibility and he lied twice under oath to the Inspector General."
Rep. Mark Meadows added, "Everybody is saying this is political in nature, but when you read the report you see that it's not political because under oath and certainly with the investigation, it was a real problem." Meadows went on to say that the Attorney General's decision not to appoint a second special prosecutor was 'extremely disappointing."
No "intent" to lie, I'm sure.
For a contrary opinion: Dershowitz On Special Counsel: The Investigation Should End - "That's What They Did In The Soviet Union, 'Show Me The Man, And I'll Find You The Crime'"
Dershowitz said that special counsels are not the right way to approach criminal justice. “When you appoint a special counsel you give them targets and you say, ‘You better get that guy or the people around him…and we’re going to give you tens of millions of dollars. And if you come up empty handed you’re a failure.'”

Dershowitz said that if an ordinary prosecutor goes months without finding a crime then “that’s great, no… there have been no crimes committed.” He says not so with a special counsel. “Special Counsel always has the goal of ‘getting the people.’ They’re going to find crimes, or they’re going to manufacture crimes or they’re going to stretch the criminal law to fit the ‘crimes’ because they’re not going to come away empty handed.”
Speaking of manufacturing crimes:  FBI questions Ted Malloch, Trump campaign figure and Farage ally
A controversial London-based academic with close ties to Nigel Farage has been detained by the FBI upon arrival in the US and issued a subpoena to testify before Robert Mueller, the special counsel who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

Ted Malloch, an American touted last year as a possible candidate to serve as US ambassador to the EU, said he was interrogated by the FBI at Boston’s Logan airport on Wednesday following a flight from London and questioned about his involvement in the Trump campaign.

In a statement sent to the Guardian, Malloch, who described himself as a policy wonk and defender of Trump, said the FBI also asked him about his relationship with Roger Stone, the Republican strategist, and whether he had ever visited the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has resided for nearly six years.

In a detailed statement about the experience, which he described as bewildering and intimidating at times, Malloch said the federal agents who stopped him and separated him from his wife “seemed to know everything about me” and warned him that lying to the FBI was a felony. In the statement Malloch denied having any Russia contacts.

Malloch said he had agreed with the special counsel’s office that he would appear before Mueller’s grand jury in Washington DC on 13 April.
. . .
He said the agents confiscated his mobile phone and told him it would be taken to Washington DC for a “full assessment”.

“I was unfazed and very dubious about why they thought I knew anything,” he said. He also suggested in the statement that prosecutors could have read a not yet published book that alleged a conspiracy was underway to undermine Trump’s presidency, a book he said clearly troubled the “deep state”.

“I did … find it objectionable to treat me the way they had, as I was entering my home country, where I am a citizen,” Malloch said. “They did not need to use such tactics or intimidation. I was a US patriot and would do anything and everything to assist the government and I had no information that I believed was relevant.”
So is the possible crime here being controversial, or supporting Trump?

Rule 5 Saturday - Another Young Lady from Perth - Georgia Gibbs

This week's Rule 5 notable is Georgia Gibbs:
Before Fame she was Season 8 contestant in Australia's Next Top Model who was previously a finalist for Miss Universe Australia 2014.

She was discovered in 2015 while in Sydney, Australia on business.

She enjoyed dancing and horseback riding as she grew up. She has earned more than 440,000 followers on Instagram.

She is from Perth, Western Australia. She began dating striker Danny Ings.
The 6 Worst Pick-up Lines Georgia Gibbs Got in NYC
1. “Do your legs have insurance, if not can I insure you?”
2. “Do you have a tour guide and if not can I be one?”
3. “Hey Miss, I got stopped by your beauty, can I take you for a drink?”
4. This was from a guy who was 50, and he told me, “You just took the hot scale in New York from a 7 to an 11 so thank you for that!”
5. The guy that was sitting at a table with the guy from pick up line #4: “If I were like 20 years younger, we would be getting married.”
6. A gay guy approached me and asked, “Are you Australian” and I was like umm yes? Then he said, “I can tell, every Australian turns me straight!”
The first young lady from Perth.

Her Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup" and links. Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Lieutenant Dish" and "FMJRA 2.0: And Now A Few Words From The Evolution Control Committee" up and running on time.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Reason #5912 That Trump Was Elected

U.S. economic growth slowed less than previously estimated in the fourth quarter as the biggest gain in consumer spending in three years partially offset the drag from a jump in imports.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.9 percent annual rate in the final three months of 2017, instead of the previously reported 2.5 percent, the Commerce Department said in its third estimate for the quarter on Wednesday. That was a slight moderation from the third quarter’s brisk 3.2 percent pace.

The upward revision to the fourth-quarter growth estimate also reflected less inventory reduction than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had expected that fourth-quarter GDP growth would be revised up to a 2.7 percent rate.
Does anyone seriously think the economy would be rolling along as well if Hillary, and her business killing (when they aren't accepting bribes contributions) henchpeople were in charge?

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

Judge: Coffee Causes Cancer in California

Have as cup of cancer?
Don't mind if I do!
Starbucks, other coffee sellers ordered to warn California customers of carcinogens in coffee
A judge ruled that Starbucks and other coffee sellers in California must provide a cancer warning on their products for customers.

A nonprofit group sued several companies that sell coffee, including Starbucks, coffee distributors and retailers in 2010.

The lawsuit claimed those companies violated state law, which requires them to warn consumers about chemicals in the roasting process that may cause cancer. One of those chemicals is acrylamide, which is a carcinogen.

A long time ago, Georgia worked in a biochem lab where much of her job consisted of making gels for electrophoresis of DNA and proteins. Most the gels were polyacrylimide (familiar as the clear gel used to pot plants in) which was made with acrylamide monomer, a powerful neurotoxin as well as carcinogen.
Attorneys for about 90 companies said the chemical is present in the process, but that it's at harmless levels and is outweighed by the benefits of drinking a cup of coffee.

The ruling came despite eased concerns in recent years about the possible dangers of coffee, with some studies finding health benefits. In 2016, the International Agency for Research on Cancer - the cancer agency of the World Health Organization - moved coffee off its "possible carcinogen" list.
Plants have evolved a huge number of compounds to try to discourage being eaten by animals. Poisons and irritants, or just tasting bad, many of them are also carcinogenic. Remember that when someone wants you to eat your vegetables.

They should put broccoli on their list; it's far more carcinogenic than coffee. At least I'd have an excuse not to eat broccoli.

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Lieutenant Dish" up and running on time.

3/30/18 Beach Report

Skye and I walked down to the beach around 2 PM in 70 F , with darkness gathering in the northern sky. Once at the beach you could clearly see the edge of the cold front passing down the Bay.
 Georgia caught up with us for the walk.
 While we were up the beach, the cold front arrived, the temperature dropped from 74 to 56 F (at Cove Point, but that felt about right), while the wind switched around and jumped from 10 kts W to 28 kts N. So far, no rain although the radar shows it could arrive any minute.
The best of 7 teeth. The upper one is a "Mako" Shark lateral, while the bottom is a run of the mill Snaggletooth lower.

Russiagate Revving Up

Still not a special counsel who can drag people in front of a grand jury and indict them.

Personally, I see it as just another excuse for Snoozy Jeff to not appoint an actual special counsel.

On the other hand, Snoozy Jeff can prosecute based on information gathered by the IG, and this IG seems, from what we know so far, to be a diligent investigator. We'll have to see about that, though: We only have rumors that more is coming, and we don't know that his report won't wind up whitewashing most of this.
For a contrary point of view:  Why AG Sessions declined to appoint a special counsel
But, for the moment, at least, I see good reason for Sessions to take this position. In the letter, Sessions noted that he has asked the DOJ’s Inspector General Horowitz to investigate these matters, and, in a new disclosure, tasked US Attorney John W. Huber to investigate. Huber serves in Utah, far from the beltway, and was first appointed US Attorney by President Obama, and reappointed by Trump.

First of all, while the IG cannot convene a grand jury and subpoena witnesses outside the DOJ’s employees, Huber can. And the IG can and does make criminal referrals. There is tremendous inside expertise on the DOJ resident in the IG’s organization, meaning that there is no start-up delay and no learning curve in getting to work on abuses. So, with the IG digging up information, and referring it to Huber, further steps, including subpoenas to former DOJ and FBI employees, such as Andrew McCabe and James Comey, can be taken before a grand jury in Utah. An indictments issued by that grand jury presumably could be tried before a federal jury in Utah, whereas a special counsel would most likely work with courts in the District of Columbia, Virginia, or Maryland, beltway strongholds. Which jury pool would you prefer? The District of Columbia or Utah?

Even more importantly, there is reason to believe that a lot of work already is underway by Huber and his staff. . .
Sessions Pushes Rosenstein to Start Delivering Subpeonaed Documents to Congress Jeff Sessions Is Winning for Donald Trump. If Only He Can Keep His Job:
Even if his tenure ends tomorrow, Sessions would leave a legacy that will affect millions of Americans. He has dramatically shifted the orientation of the Justice Department, pulling back from police oversight and civil rights enforcement and pushing a hard-line approach to drugs, gangs and immigration violations. He has cast aside his predecessors’ attempts to rectify inequities in the criminal-justice system in favor of a maximalist approach to prosecuting and jailing criminals. He has rescinded the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and reversed its stances on voting rights and transgender rights. “I am thrilled to be able to advance an agenda that I believe in,” he told a group of federal prosecutors in Lexington later that day. “I believed in it before I came here, and I’ll believe in it when I’m gone.”
Congressman: FBI Report Says Andrew McCabe ‘Lied Four Times’ About Media Leaks I was about to say it's not illegal when they do it, but: Fired FBI official Andrew McCabe soliciting online donations for legal defense fund. Find Michael Flynn's legal defense fund here, instead.

Swiped from Theo's

I don't see anything in there about asking him about leaking, or McCabe's claim that all of his own leaks were known and authorized by Comey (disputing Comey's congressional testimony to the contrary), or the proposition that the bureaucracy is the true government of a nation, rather than its officials.

What I see is what sounds like an open celebration of the Magic that is James Comey, like Jake Tapper celebrated Broward Sheriff Scot Israel, the Spokesmoppets, and the proposition that Dana Loesch is nigh a murderess.
 First Investigate, then Dismantle, the FBI
The FBI, bluntly, is a mess. The level of incompetence mixed with bias is stunning. If the FBI were a private corporation, it would either be in Chapter 11 or fighting off stockholder rebellion or both. Unfortunately, however, it's our most important law enforcement agency,

Its litany of incompetence is extraordinary -- completely missing the Boston Marathon and Pulse night club terror murderers when they were staring them in the face and overlooking the Parkland schools mass killer when his violent psychosis should have been apparent to anyone with an IQ in triple digits are but three recent catastrophes on their watch.

As for the bias part, well, that is what is being uncovered.  The extent of it, it is easy to predict, will be great.  It already is. We have already seen how dishonest the organization is, how desperately they are hiding facts from the public. Documents have to be pried out with a crowbar. The stonewalling is endless, the numbers of self-serving redactions myriad and seemingly rote.  It is anti-democratic in the extreme.

The FBI, in sum, no longer looks out for the American citizen.  It looks out for itself or the leaders it chooses.  It deserves to be dismantled and a new FBI built from the ground up.  An entirely new system must be devised.  As perspicacious as the Senate and House committees have been, they are not enough.  Congresspeople alone cannot oversee this, nor should they have to.

After the IG reports have all been published, as suggested by Alan Dershowitz, an independent commission should be convened to review what has happened, devise these systems, and reconstitute a new FBI that  is organized differently and directly responsible to the citizenry.  This will not be easy.  Bureaucracies abhor transparency.
At some point the primary business of every governmental agency becomes keeping itself going. That is precisely the point at which it should be junked and reconstituted.

Via Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 03.29.18" Power Line has The Democratic Party Collusion Story Gets Worse:
Newly uncovered text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page suggest a possible coordination between high-ranking officials at the Obama White House, CIA, FBI, Justice Department and former Senate Democratic leadership in the early stages of the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to GOP congressional investigators on Wednesday.
The investigators say the information provided to Fox News “strongly” suggests coordination between former President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, then-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, and CIA Director John Brennan — which they say would “contradict” the Obama administration’s public stance about its hand in the process.
The texts indicate that Strzok and Page knew their actions were illegal or, at a bare minimum, improper, and intended to keep them safe from FOIA requests or Congressional investigations. (To be fair, this was standard practice in the Obama administration.)
Page texted Strzok on Aug. 2, 2016, saying: “Make sure you can lawfully protect what you sign. Just thinking about congress, foia, etc. You probably know better than me.”
The White House was involved in the Democrats’ plans from an early date, contrary to Barack Obama’a public claims:
Days later, on Aug. 8, 2016, Strzok texted Page: “Internal joint cyber cd intel piece for D, scenesetter for McDonough brief, Trainor [head of FBI cyber division] directed all cyber info be pulled. I’d let Bill and Jim hammer it out first, though it would be best for D to have it before the Wed WH session.”
In the texts, “D” referred to FBI Director James Comey, and and “McDonough” referred to Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, the GOP investigators said.
So Obama’s White House was in on the FBI’s machinations more or less from the start.
The congressional investigators pointed out to Fox News that the CIA and FBI are supposed to be “independent agencies,” and noted that “coordination between political actors at the White House and investigators would be inappropriate,” raising questions about the level of involvement of Obama White House officials.
But that’s not all. Democrats at the CIA and the FBI brought Senate Democrats into the act as well:
But weeks later, on August 25, 2016, Brennan went to Capitol Hill to brief Harry Reid — and it was unclear whether FBI officials attended the briefing, a congressional source told Fox News.
Two days after the briefing, Reid penned a letter to Comey requesting an investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Harry Reid was the Senate Minority Leader at the time. Did John Brennan brief the Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, as well? . . .
Victor Davis Hanson: The Distortions of Our Unelected Officials
If there is such a thing as a dangerous “deep state” of elite but unelected federal officials who feel that they are untouchable and unaccountable, then John Brennan is the poster boy.

Immediately after the 2008 election of Barack Obama, the careerist Brennan quickly reinvented himself as a critic of the very methodologies that he once, as a George W. Bush administration official, had insisted were effective. Brennan was initially appointed Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, and then took over the CIA after the abrupt and mysterious resignation of Gen. David Petraeus following the 2012 election.

Brennan claimed that intelligence agencies had not missed clear indications in 2009 that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called “underwear bomber,” would try to take down a U.S. airliner. Just days later when his denials were ridiculed, Brennan flipped and blasted intelligence agencies for their laxity.

In 2011, Brennan falsely alleged that the Obama administration’s drone program had not caused a single civilian death in Pakistan over the previous year. In truth, around 50 civilians had been killed by drones since the 9/11 attacks. The same year, Brennan offered various versions of the American killing of Osama bin Laden. His misleading narratives required White House revisions.

In March 2014, Brennan denied accusations that CIA analysts had hacked the computers of U.S. Senate staffers to find out what they knew about possible CIA roles in enhanced interrogations. After he was caught in a lie, Brennan was forced to apologize to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Most recently, in May 2017, Brennan testified under oath before Congress that he had no knowledge during the 2016 presidential campaign of the origins of the Fusion GPS/Christopher Steele dossier. Nor, Brennan claimed, was he aware that the FBI and the Department of Justice had used the infamous file to obtain surveillance warrants from the FISA court before and after the election.

Several sources, however, have said that Brennan was not only aware of the Steele dossier, but wanted the FBI to use it to pursue rumors about Trump. Brennan reportedly briefed Democratic Sen. Harry Reid on the dossier. Armed with those rumors, Reid then became insistent that they be leaked before the 2016 election, according to reports.
Brennan is typical of the careerist deep state.
Trigger Warning — 2016.
Hillary Clinton has called the 2016 election a "traumatic" experience. Fox News's Paulina Dedaj:
Almost a year and a half since losing her bid for president, former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton still is talking about election woes, calling it a “traumatic” experience.
Speaking at Rutgers University Thursday, Clinton spoke primarily about being a woman in politics — and being targeted as a result, the problem Republicans face as a disjointed unit, the upcoming elections and her hopes that the recent events under the Trump administration would motivate people enough to vote for change.
In another part of her Rutgers remarks, Clinton suggested that Russian election meddling could have swung 21 states into the Trump column...

“At some point, I worry that we don’t know what we don’t know my friends. We don’t know,” Clinton said while speaking at Rutgers University. “When they say, ‘well, you know, the Russians got into 21 states and their voter registration files but nothing changed.’ I’m sitting there thinking well how do we know?”

NTK Network pointed out:
Russia was successfully able to penetrate the voting systems in 21 states during the 2016 election.
Despite Clinton’s open speculation that Russia could have changed votes, federal officials have determined and repeatedly said that this interference did not result in any votes changing.
Former FBI Director James Comey said as much during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in 2017.
“Are you confident that no votes cast in the 2016 presidential election were altered?” Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) asked Comey.
“I’m confident,” Comey responded. “When I had left as director, I had seen no indication of that whatsoever.”
“Collusion” Stories Undermine Democracy More Than The Russians Ever Could
. . . Kirchick argues that Trump’s opponents who are constantly ginning up talk of collusion in terms of High Crimes and Misdemeanors are actually doing Russia’s work for them, undermining public confidence in our elections and even our democracy. (Emphasis added)
The word “collusion” became a household term. For some Trump critics, every action or utterance of his presidency — firings, tweets, executive orders — is analyzed through the prism of these presumptions, breathlessly anticipating special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s nearly year-long Russia investigation will find a smoking gun validating it all.
Trump supporters, up to and including Trump himself, have tried to delegitimize Mueller’s necessary investigation for crassly partisan purposes — with the president constantly professing innocence while routinely acting guilty. But it’s also true that Trump’s opponents, eagerly taking reports of each new crumb of circumstantial corroboration as ironclad proof of collusion, are rapidly delegitimizing the presidency, our government and democratic processes.
In their haste to brand President Trump a tool, they’re unwittingly doing the Russians’ work for them: validating the notion that our democracy is a sham.
That has the ring of truth to it. From the beginning, I’ve said that if it turns out that either the President or his campaign staff were knowingly working with actors from the Russian government to disrupt the election, alter the vote count or otherwise directly change the outcome, the public deserves to know and all guilty parties must be held to account. And if it involved the President himself then he would need to be impeached.
But if, as so many indicators have suggested thus far, the only fire under all of the MSM smoke is a few inexperienced campaign aides talking to people they thought might have useful information, only to continually fail like the Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight, what then? If the Russians were the only party responsible for hacking the DNC emails (a subject still up for debate) then they may have succeeded in having an effect on the polls, but if they didn’t involve the Trump campaign then most of this collusion talk becomes smoke and mirrors.
It's a feature, not a bug. 

Don't Like Tests? Don't Go to the University!

Ashton Whitty narrates as SJWs try to interrupt a test at UC Berserkeley:

Ashton Whitty is an aspiring conservative commentator. Her Twitter and Patreon.

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Lieutenant Dish"up and running on time.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Anti-Science Party

Have We Reached Peak SJW Yet? It's hard to imagine we haven't, but life is full of surprises.

Stacy has one of his weekly anti-feminist rants. I kind of let them go by because, well, they just don't move me that much, but in the middle of this one I found:

I pretty much just call them dicks wherever they appear.
Speaking of “science,” last month an anonymous question was posed in the “Evolution” section of the Internet site

“I got into an argument with my friend because I reject evolution because it’s heteronormative. Are scientists going to make evolution more inclusive or will they replace it with something else?”

Permit me to speak on behalf of the Sane Community in declaring that the person asking this question is deranged, demented, delusional, bonkers, wacky, off her rocker, and cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

In short, she is crazy, and it is a waste of time to offer rational arguments in reply to craziness. We do a disservice to the mentally ill when we act as if their delusions deserve to be taken seriously, except as symptoms of their psychiatric pathology, yet this questioner on Quora received a serious reply from Anna Hardin, who recently received her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Minnesota:
Because science is just a set of methods we use to observe and report what is happening around us, scientists will not replace the theory of evolution unless another theory that better explains the change we observe in living things is better supported by the evidence. Evolution is well supported and has been for almost 200 years of scientific research, so it is unlikely that a better theory can be discovered.
To the point of heteronormativity, only the evolution of sexually reproducing organisms is heteronormative and only insofar as it requires sexual reproduction. On the other hand, the ways that scientists describe evolution is often very heteronormative, and some confuse sex and gender or ignore variation in sexual behaviors. Other scientists are working to change the ways that we talk about evolution so that it is less anthropocentric and less heteronormative. Heteronormativity is no reason to reject evolution, but it should motivate us to find better ways to discuss evolution and variation that are less biased.
Yeah, I guess so, but shouldn’t an anthropologist point out the basic problem with the jargon term “heteronormativity”? In point of fact, heterosexuality is not only normal, but necessary to reproduction of the species. . . 
Reject evolution because it's "heteronormative"? Evolution doesn't care whether you reject it or not. It only cares whether you have progeny, and raise them to be successfully reproducing  members of the species. Fortunately, it seems unlikely that such feminists will contribute many genes to the next generation. Hopefully their ideas will die with them.

Baltimore Tries New Method to Fund Stormwater Runoff Pollution

Baltimore is slated to be the second city in the Chesapeake Bay region to try a novel way of financing its costly water pollution reduction projects under a plan announced Monday by city officials and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

City officials said that with assistance provided through the Bay Foundation, they expect to issue up to $6.2 million in “environmental impact bonds” later this year to help pay for green infrastructure projects aimed at managing stormwater in more than three dozen neighborhoods.

“Baltimore can and, we predict, will be a model for innovation in pollution reduction,” declared Bay Foundation President Will Baker at a news conference announcing the deal in West Baltimore by the site of one of the planned projects. “It’s a partnership with nature to save dollars and reduce pollution.”
So, just what is an "environmental impact bond" and how does it differ from normal municipal bond?
Environmental impact bonds are a variation on “social impact bonds,” which are familiar to charity-minded investors who focus on issues like chronic homelessness and prison recidivism. These bonds are meant to attract investors who not only expect a modest financial return, but also want to support environmental improvements.

As with conventional municipal bonds — which fund schools or roads, for instance — the bond issuer (the borrowing municipality) makes periodic interest payments on the amount invested, at an agreed rate, until the bond’s maturity date, at which point the borrower pays back the entire principal.

But environmental impact bonds differ from traditional bonds: The municipality and investors share the risk of the investment to some degree, because the payback of the bond is based on the relative success or failure of the project. Given that setup, they are often called “pay for success” bonds.

If the project simply meets expectations, the investor will receive interest payments at the agreed-upon rate. If the project fails to meet expectations, the terms of the bond help the municipality recoup some of the cost by specifying that the investor earns little or no interest. This allows the city to protect its budget and likely channel the money held back from investors toward additional projects that help meet regulatory requirements.
So, it's a bond with an added risk of failure. Pardon me if I don't run to include them in my portfolio. Especially when I would be relying on Baltimore to carry out its promises.

Gathering Russiagate

Newly uncovered text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page suggest a possible coordination between high-ranking officials at the Obama White House, CIA, FBI, Justice Department and former Senate Democratic leadership in the early stages of the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to GOP congressional investigators on Wednesday.

The investigators say the information provided to Fox News “strongly” suggests coordination between former President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, then-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, and CIA Director John Brennan — which they say would “contradict” the Obama administration’s public stance about its hand in the process.
Ace: All such straight-arrows they menaced the streets looking for gay arrows to bash.
A friend told me he'd heard someone, maybe Brit Hume, make this point: He (I think, could have been someone else) said that McCabe was deliberately making himself a partisan lightning rod because being a partisan lightning rod would guarantee you an acquittal in any possible trial for lawbreaking. You'll always have 2-3 (at least) members of #TheResistance on the jury to nullify any verdict, just based on them sympathizing with you for being #DownWithTheCause.

It could be that Brennan, who's been pretty partisan, is likewise considering such a strategy.
Porcini Mushrooms
 John McCain’s FBI Handoff Turned Trump Hoax Dossier Into ‘Urgent Matter’
“Upon examination of the contents, and unable to make a judgment about their accuracy, I delivered the information to the director of the FBI,” McCain said at the time. “That has been the extent of my contact with the FBI or any other government agency regarding this issue.” Shortly after McCain gave Steele’s dossier to Comey, the FBI chief updated then President-Elect Trump and President Obama on the dossier in an official classified briefing.

As Breitbart News documented, Comey’s dossier briefing to Trump was subsequently leaked to the news media, setting in motion a flurry of news media attention on the dossier, including the release of the document to the public. The briefing also may have provided the veneer of respectability to a document that had been circulating for months within the news media but was widely considered too unverified to publicize.
Wheels within wheels. It appears to me that Steele/Hillary/DNC/FBI/CIA kept bringing the damn thing to light in order to magnify its apparent importance. John McCain was just one of those tricked into acting as their agent.

Wood Ear mushroom
Another undercover op? Why Was Papadopolous Contacted Out of the Blue by a Man Named Halper, Who In Turn Is a "Close Associate" of a Man Named Dearlove, Who In Turn is a Former MI-6 Colleague of Christopher Steele?
But here's what I'm wondering, if all of this was true: Was this all part of the Fusion operation to "incept" Trump aides with information which could, upon their repeating it, serve as a pretext to get the FBI investigating Trump?
Devin Nunes: Trump's foes getting boomeranged, could face impeachment
"Now this has effectively boomeranged on them," Nunes continued. "You have at least I think half of the American people now know that the other party, the Democrats, appear like they weaponized, to some degree, the intelligence services by using the foreign intelligence surveillance apparatus in this country to go and target the opposition campaign is totally unacceptable."
House subpoena rattles Justice Department; Sessions 'angry' at slow response; FBI 'called on the carpet'
Senior staff on both sides of the street have met on this and the FBI is getting called on the carpet. The Attorney General is angry with how slow the process has moved when it comes to requests from Congress to the FBI. He's told Wray that the pace is unacceptable and that if the FBI needs to double the number of people working on this, then that's what they need to do, but he is done seeing the Department criticized for the FBI's slow walking of requests from Congress like the last administration when these requests should be a top priority.
In response, Wray doubled the number of FBI agents clearing documents, and set up shift work.

Oyster Mushrooms
Gates Knew Contact During Campaign was Russian Intelligence, Says Mueller DocumentNew Mueller Filing: Manafort, Gates Tied To Russian Spy In 2016 But then I would assume anyone important in Russia would be somehow connected to Russian intelligence. It's what they do, it's what they are.
Politico’s Kyle Cheney remains cautious on whether this means much — yet:
The filing shed little light on whether Americans aided Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, but it shows that prosecutors believe a top Trump official remained in contact with a Russian intelligence-linked operative well into the campaign. …
Gates remained in touch with “Person A” late in the campaign, Mueller said, communicating with the associate and van der Zwaan in a “series of calls” in September and October of 2016.
IG investigating FBI abuses of FISA in Trump campaign surveillance
The Justice Department’s inspector general said Wednesday that he is investigating whether the FBI overstepped its bounds when it conducted secret surveillance of a Trump campaign figure in 2016 and 2017, and whether the FBIbungled its handling of the anti-Trump “Steele dossier.”
. . .
“In response to requests from the Attorney General and Members of Congress, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will initiate a review that will examine the Justice Department’s and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) compliance with legal requirements, and with applicable DOJ and FBI policies and procedures, in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) relating to a certain U.S. person,” Mr. Horowitz said in a statement.
Hen-of-the-Woods Mushrooms
More here: DOJ Inspector General To Look At FISA Court Applications (Update: Goodlatte Responds) It's a start, but an IG from DOJ doesn't have enough authority to investigate the CIA, the NSA, the DNC etc.

Mr. Mueller: Was the DNC Server Actually Hacked by the Russians? "So much evidence suggests it was not, starting with the DNC’s refusal to cooperate." They probably did, but others might have as well. It appears the data was taken on a thumb drive physically attached to the DNC network. Seth Rich?

A federal judge has denied Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s request for a protective order for materials gathered during discovery for the upcoming trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in Alexandria, Virginia.

In a two-page order entered Wednesday morning, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said Mueller’s request was “insufficiently specific in describing the information to be subject to the requested protective order, which is, in the circumstances, excessively broad.”

“To be sure, there may be good reason to apply a protective order to certain specific information in this case, but that information has not been adequately identified or described,” Ellis wrote. “Instead, the protective order simply refers vaguely to ‘other confidential materials’ that need to be shielded from disclosure.”
But I thought Mueller was a legal saint? GOP Senator John Kennedy: Mueller Probe is 'Why God Made Special Counsels'

ANALYSIS: Constitution Compels Sessions Dismiss Mueller From Non-Campaign Cases
Paul Manafort‘s legal team brought a motion to dismiss on Tuesday, noting that Rosenstein could not appoint Mueller to any investigation outside the scope of the 2016 campaign since Sessions did not recuse himself for anything outside the campaign. I agree with this take on Mueller’s authority. If we follow that argument that would mean Sessions himself has exclusive authority to appoint a special counsel for non-collusion charges, and Sessions has taken no such action. Sessions himself should make that clear to Mueller, rather than await court resolution. Doing so would remove three of the four areas of inquiry from Mueller’s requested interview with President Trump.
Analysis is only a good as the analyzer. I like the direction, but I'm not compelled. So is Mueller just covering all the bases, or conducting a witch hunt? The verdict is still out.

Former Trump Lawyer Talked Pardons For Flynn And Manafort With Their Attorneys Last Year Old meme, Presidents get to act with Presidential power, newer meme, Presidents who exercise legitimate presidential powers against democratic objections commit obstruction of justice. Newest meme, Presidents whose advisers even talk about exercising legitimate presidential powers over democrat objections commit obstruction of justice.

Are You Ready For The James Comey, CNN Town Hall? No? How about a variety show; I'll bet that tall guy can dance with the stars, tell a joke, and make a funny skit.

We Will Never Have an Honest Conversation about Russia Again Analysis, true, in no small part to the shenanigans of the "Deep State."

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Lieutenant Dish" and "FMJRA 2.0: And Now A Few Words From The Evolution Control Committee" up and running on time.

#HerToo! “No, Stacy — Hollywood is worse”

Dan Schneider and Amanda Bynes
Nickelodeon’s #MeToo Moment: Producer Dan Schneider Fired Amid Rumors
Monday afternoon, Nickelodeon children’s TV network dumped producer Dan Schneider and, as Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva writes, “for years Schneider had been under a cloud of suspicion over the treatment of some younger stars of his shows”:
Among the things that have raised eyebrows are his tweeted photos of the toes of his young female stars. Additionally, there have been issues with bloated budgets and long production days on Schneider’s shows.
Schneider has had well documented temper issues for years. . . .
It's always amused me that whenever I go to collect pictures of some cutie for a Rule 5ish post, there are always a few pictures named after their feet. I've never understood a foot fetish. It seems so, uh, pedestrian.
Schneider’s “temper issues” may be the least of his problems:
For 20 years, Dan Schneider was Nickelodeon’s golden goose. Their top showrunner and creator, Schneider launched the careers of Amanda Bynes, Ariana Grande, Jamie Lynn Spears, and many others. Despite his involvement in their early careers these young women seem to remain curiously silent on Mr. Schneider. When accepting his 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from Nickelodeon, the stage was devoid of any of his former female stars, save for Victoria Justice who was still under contract at the time. . . .
[I]t was alleged by an anonymous source that Dan Schneider was known for hosting pool parties at his home. The guest lists for these parties frequently featured his young stars, who would attend without their parents according to the source. . . . Stories and rumors about regarding Dan Schneider and his lack of boundaries with his young stars, particularly Amanda Bynes and Jamie Lynn Spears. His foot fetish was also well-documented, with tons of feet references in his show and sexualizing of teens. He was also caught at one point using the official “Sam & Cat” Twitter account to solicit foot pictures from child fans. . . .

So, there was a “blind item” about Schneider at the blog Crazy Days and Nights that included an email that the blogger had received from “an actress ALL of you know who knows the producer as well as anyone”:
thank you for all of your ongoing support. i Don’t know how Any of these meN sleep at night, but if there’s one thing that i Do know Is that what’s Done In the dark, always comes to lighT! xoxo
Sorry, I thought it was clever unfortch I will obviously not be making any comment whatsoever (for obvious reasons) and unfortch I feel as though the only way that legitimate stories can make the headlines regarding ____ is if others publicly speak on his behavior. _____ was truly like a 2nd father to me. But things changed. After the 2nd incident, i don’t know if I will ever be able to have children or have the family of my dreams.

I’ve bolded the unusual capitalizations which spell out “DAN DID IT.”
The commenters immediately guessed that this is from Amanda Bynes, and they’ve got a pretty good track record at Crazy Days and Nights. Some commenters speculated that the “incident” which allegedly impaired the actress’s reproductive system was an abortion. In 2013, when she was 27, Amanda Bynes had a mental breakdown, and a judge ordered her committed to a psychiatric ward. A gossip site at the time quoted a source:

“There are no drug problems involved, it’s all mental. She has deep anger and PTSD, which tripped a psychotic episode.”

Permit me to quote myself:
Years ago, when I’d complain to Andrew Breitbart about the corruption in Washington, he’d always say, “No, Stacy — Hollywood is worse.” The people who produce America’s entertainment, Andrew would assure me, are very bad people. Obviously, Andrew was right.
Andrew had a habit of being right. Damn, I miss him.
Remember that the next time someone from Hollywood starts telling you how to behave.

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Lieutenant Dish" and "FMJRA 2.0: And Now A Few Words From The Evolution Control Committee" up and running on time.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Speaking of Striped Bass . . .

Emergency Action Seeks to Reduce Minimum Size Requirement for Striped Bass
The Maryland Department of Natural Resourcesis moving forward with emergency regulationsthat will reduce the minimum size of striped bass for charter boat and recreational anglers in the summer and fall fishery in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries from 20 to 19 inches.

This action comes after the state’s proposal was approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in February 2018.

“Following a series of robust conversations and discussions with anglers, charter boat captains, conservationists and other stakeholders, the department believes that moving to a 19-inch rockfish, with corresponding conservation actions and efforts, will reduce striped bass mortality in the bay and provide additional recreational opportunities for anglers,” Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “The change will benefit anglers and charter boat captains, and – most importantly – the species, which we are committed to conserving and protecting.”

The emergency regulations have been submitted to the Maryland General Assembly Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review, which has jurisdiction over regulatory changes. The department anticipates approval before the start of the summer fishing season.
I thought this was basically a done deal when the ASMFC approved their application.

Did Some Fishing Today

I know, surprise.  I was walking Skye down to the beach, around the harbor, and I met Ron, who was about to go out on his own, but he invited me. I called Georgia, and had her bring my rods, tackle bag and float coat, and we headed out to the usual location. Georgia finished the walk and found four shark's teeth.

We met Pete on his last drift of his day trip. He reported excellent fishing, with many big fish.

It was a little slow at first (we arrived as the current was slackening to flood to ebb), but it did get pretty good after a while, with a lot of fish between 25 and 30 inches and a few smalls, no giants.